REVIEW: 10 Cloverfield Lane

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Chris Luckett

One of the most fascinating characters on the J.J. Abrams-produced series Lost was Desmond Hume, a man who had spent a 3-year portion of his life living underground in a bunker filled with ‘60s technology, hoodwinked by a man who convinced Desmond he’d saved him from a epidemic and that to leave would be to expose himself to a deadly plague. The two-hour episode that showed his whole ordeal in flashback is considered by many to be not just one of the best episodes of the show but of modern broadcast television.

The fact that J.J. Abrams wasn’t involved in the creation of 10 Cloverfield Lane (which was originally titled The Cellar, until Abrams changed the title to juxtapose it with his 2008 monster movie, Cloverfield) makes this a fascinating case of full-circle art, as the movie is, for the most part, that very same two-hour episode of Lost. But while Lost had to keep itself open to more seasons of possibilities, 10 Cloverfield Lane is free to aim for the sky and reach as high as they dare. Continue reading

REVIEW: The Force Awakens

Chris Luckett

Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

When it was announced to the world that the director of the seventh Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, would be J.J. Abrams, it made the most sense of anyone imaginable. The task of continuing arguably the most beloved film saga of all time — while also redeeming the collective disappointment of “the prequels” — was a fool’s errand, after all.

Of course, so was rebooting Star Trek in 2009, which Abrams handled with such deft aplomb that it resurrected the entire franchise. Abrams showed the perfect flair for paying respect to a series’ roots (which a new Star Wars movie is required, by nature, to do) while also being unafraid to take bold chances (which the three most recent Star Wars movies largely failed to do).

Perhaps most anticipated about The Force Awakens has not been what the exact plot would be or how new and old characters would intertwine but how well Abrams would do with the torch that Disney passed on, after George Lucas finally released his grip. The world can now release its collective breath. J.J. Abrams’ hugely successful rescue of the series represents the truest new hope for the saga since 1977 — and in more literal ways than you may expect. Continue reading

REVIEW: Star Trek Into Darkness

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Chris Luckett

J.J. Abrams’s 2009 Star Trek was an exhilarating breath of fresh air for a franchise that had become stale and somewhat antiquated, despite its futuristic setting. By injecting his trademark cinematic flair and knack for gripping action, the reboot soared to heights not reached on the big screen since 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Low expectations four years ago made Abrams’s job easier; his follow-up arrives with much larger hype and much closer scrutiny. Continue reading

REVIEW: Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Chris Luckett

I can’t recall another film franchise in recent history that has as noticeable an increase in quality as the Mission: Impossible series. Sometimes, a movie franchise either starts crappy and remains so, or starts brilliantly and maintains its brilliance throughout. Most common in film series is for them to start fantastically, but then drop in quality when sequels are made. The Mission: Impossible series is an anomaly. Continue reading