REVIEW: Snowden

Image: Open Road Films

Image: Open Road Films

Chris Luckett

A year ago, Joseph Gordon-Levitt starred in The Walk. Adapted from the same you-wouldn’t-believe-it-if-it-weren’t-true tale as 2008’s Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire, The Walk was a biopic of tightrope-walker Philippe Petit that fictionalized the events that’d been shown in documentary footage less than a decade earlier.

What saved it from feeling like an unnecessary re-tread — besides Gordon-Levitt’s strong performance — was the skill of legendary director Robert Zemeckis, who made the crazy true story feel even more real than the documentary footage.

Now here we are one year later, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt starring in Snowden, adapted from the you-wouldn’t-believe-it-if-it-weren’t-true tale as 2014’s Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour. Once again, Gordon-Levitt’s performance gives the movie a strong anchor. Director Oliver Stone, though, can’t pull off the same daring feat as Zemeckis.

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REVIEW: Star Trek Beyond

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Chris Luckett

Die Hard with a Vengeance, Jurassic Park III, and Mission: Impossible III were all excellent third entries, each more than making up for the problems of its weak predecessor. In all of those cases, changing directors allowed a breath of fresh air into the property the third time around — in M:I III’s case, funnily enough, from J.J. Abrams.

Abrams’ next movie would be the 2009 Star Trek reboot, a thrilling adventure that redefined the franchise — which then swiftly became stale and unimaginative in his 2012 follow-up, Star Trek Into Darkness.

Now that Abrams has jumped from warp drives to hyper drives, Justin Lin has been hired to do for Star Trek what he did for Fast & Furious movies 3-6, and he proves to be just what the series needed to once again shoot for the stars.

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CORE STORY: Chris Hemsworth beaming back aboard Star Trek

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Chris Luckett

The 2009 reboot Star Trek introduced the movie world to Chris Hemsworth, spring-boarding the career of the man who would be Thor.

His character, father to James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), may have given his life in the opening scene of the 2009 picture, but that hasn’t stopped him signing on to co-star with Pine and Zachary Quinto in Star Trek 4.

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CORE STORY: Star Trek cast stands against George Takei’s anti- “Gay Sulu” comments

Photo: George Takei

Photo: Getty Images

Chris Luckett

Star Trek has been more inclusive and progressive than any TV/movie franchise its age or size has ever been, yet has never had an openly gay major character until now.

Hikaru Sulu, originally played by George Takei and more recently by John Chu, has been revealed to be gay in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond. But George Takei is not okay with Sulu being gay. 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