Star Trek: Nemesis

khan

It’s long been said that the Star Trek movies work on an unwritten rule that the odd numbered ones wind up being disappointments and the even numbered ones wind up being the ones that are worth watching. If you go down the lineup and check the work on that theory, it seems to hold up. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was widely considered to be a misfire, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was considered to be the rebound that got things right, and then things keep sticking to that pattern all the way up to the tenth movie, Star Trek: Nemesis, which is said to have ended the streak of even numbered movies being good and is essentially the reason the franchise had to go through a reboot. Of course, if you’ve read this column before, you can probably predict that I don’t agree with this assessment. The Wrath of Khan is widely considered to be the best of the Star Trek movies, but to my non-fan eyes it plays as a set-bound bore full of paunchy, over the hill actors who were well past needing to be put out to pasture. Maybe you need an emotional investment in the franchise to really get its appeal. Nemesis, on the other hand, starts really horribly with a cringe-worthy wedding scene full of clunky banter and fake laughter, but as it goes on it develops into becoming an entertaining enough big, dumb action movie. It’s the perfect thing for the […]

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Tom Hardy has had a break-out few years, pulling himself out of the ensemble obscurity he found himself in even in larger movies (don’t pretend you picked him out of the line up in Black Hawk Down). Sure, he was solid in the Guy Ritchie and Guy-Ritchie-like films, but it wasn’t until Bronson that he really emerged as a major force in the film fan world. That’s when he became a household name in households that have Terry Gilliam-signed Brazil quads hanging in their foyers. Fortunately, he was able to translate that insider appeal into broad-based worship by stealing scenes in Inception and becoming the man that broke the bat in The Dark Knight Rises (which, ironically, means a giant part of the movie-going world still doesn’t know what he looks like). He’s proven himself fearless, and like many actors, he’s had an unusual road to get to the top. In a way, he’s a That Guy character actor who’s become a leading man, so let’s take a short, strange trip into the roles of his rising career. It begins in the ancient time of 2001.

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It’s one thing when we’re talking about Alfred Hitchcock having a walk-through in every single one of his films, including one that exclusively takes place on a lifeboat (he appears in a newspaper ad for that one). Sure it’s eccentric but it’s not surprising because, well, they’re his films and he can appear in them as he pleases. What does strike me as weird is when a director shows up totally unexpected in someone else’s film. Usually there is a good reason – either they are producing the film or friends with the cast. However despite the later explanation, it’s still a bit jarring to see, say… the director of Kill Bill in an Adam Sandler comedy…

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