Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Six Pack Of... The Most Annoying Movie Theatre Snacks

Andrew: Hello readers! The month of May is almost over, Memorial Day has come and gone, and we're fully into the swing of 2013's summer movies - and summer movies mean packed movie theatres. Sarah and I have been going to a number of the big blockbusters that have come out this month so far, along with a number of sold-out advanced screenings, and there's something that's really been on my mind while sitting in this packed theatres both while we wait for the movies to begin and when the movies are playing - movie theatre snacks are LOUD. 

(Full disclosure, I'm a bit weird in that little things like a ticking clock, a dripping faucet, or a morbidly obese dude munching on popcorn with his mouth open totally drive me nuts.) 

So after a month of movie-going with sold-out crowds (and one not-so-sold-out crowd), we thought it would be a perfect time for us to do A Six Pack Of... The Most Annoying Movies Theatre Snacks!

1.) Smelly Foods 

Sarah: Well let's start with the smelly food category. With all the free screeners that we are seeing ahead of the release dates, this means that we have to show up a good hour before the theatre opens for seating. Many people that go to these bring their dinner with them while they wait. This can really bring some weird things to the theatres - from strange smelling soups to messy sandwiches. 

We love tuna sandwiches, too, but for the love of God, DON'T bring them into a movie theatre!

And while we, too, have brought dinner with us, the extent of ours has been PB&J's. When you start to get into the messy dinners it just becomes rude. While the theatres are big, there isn't great air circulation  Smell carries and can fill the space and it can get gross. You don't know what allergies people have around you. You don't know if something could set off their gag reflex. So if you're going to go with something pungent, have someone hold your spot and go eat it outside.

A: I don't think I could have said it any better! This one is truly mainly about being courteous to your fellow movie-goers. Don't bring something smelly into a small, cramped space. If they sell it at the concession stand that's one thing, but if you're bringing it from home or from a fast-food joint (which is what we're really talking about), then that's just rude and annoying.

2.) Peanuts In The Shell

A: Okay, so this one isn't one we've come across recently when we've seen something together, but I recently saw Aftershock, starring Eli Roth, in a theatre a few towns over with a friend of mine (it's a horror movie, Sarah was working late, so she wouldn't have seen it anyways). Anyhow, it's me, my friend, and about six other people in a very tiny theatre. During the pre-movie commercials/trivia and through the trailers not a single one of us was eating anything. But as soon as the movie started playing, the couple sitting directly behind us busted out a bag of peanuts in the shell and proceeded to crack them open, drop the shells on the floor, and eat their peanuts.

This was a first. Never before in my life have I ever seen or heard someone bringing peanuts in the shell to a movie theatre. Know why? Because they DON'T BELONG. Cracking the shells is noisy enough (annoying), but then you're going to drop the shells on the floor, too (rude), and what if someone sitting near you has a peanut allergy (inconsiderate)? That was a party foul. Don't bring peanuts in the shell to the movie theatre, gang.

Bringing these in as a movie theatre snack is a big no-no. They're noisy, they're messy, and
you never know who might be allergic. C'mon, people.

S: This just blows my mind that this actually happened! This isn't a bar! People have paid good money to come and see this movie! We don't need you to be here disrupting everyone's experience. And how rude for the people that work there! Yes, it's their job to clean the auditorium but that is just SO rude!!!

3.) Chips

S: This one can be a little tricky. And in all honesty this really bothers Andrew more than it does me. There is the right way to eat chips in public and a wrong way to eat them. This might seem like a no-brainer to everyone, so why don't we all follow those etiquette rules!? Chips are a closed mouth food. And even then they can still be loud, so I just don't think they're a quiet auditorium food. 

But like I said, this bothers Andrew even when we're at home and I'll be eating chips next to him. He's weird, but you learn to live with that.

Not a totally unusual movie snack, but they're kinda out of place at the theatre.

A: Here's my thing with chips - I know they're delicious, and you'd think they'd be a perfect movie snack. And you'd be right.....if you're at your own house. But in a public movie theatre? Where odds are you've brought a bag of them, so not only are you munching on chips but you're digging into the bag, too? That's just too much noise. If you've brought them in a plastic baggy, that's a bit better. 

It also depends a bit on the type of chip that's been brought. Are they regular potato chips? Those aren't so bad. Are they Sun Chips? Or kettle-cooked potato chips? Now we're getting somewhere. Those are as noisy as they get. (Delicious, yes, but noisy all the same.) But this one, for me, boils down to the bags being noisy and people chewing them with their mouths open. Keep 'em closed and we'll be good.

4.) Nachos

A: This one is related to Chips, but there's an inherent differece - these are sold at movie theatres, so they're generally thought of as being just fine. And for the most part I'll agree. But when I order nachos at the movie theatre, they're pretty much gone by the time the movie starts because I don't want to be chomping away at them while the movie is playing. Nachos can be very noisy when you're eating them, especially if the person near you is an open-mouth chewer. But beware people, if you think we're getting too nit-picky because nachos are sold at the concession stand, this is just the beginning.

A personal favorite of ours to get, but because they're so noisy we eat them
all before the movie starts. Otherwise they're too crunchy for movie-time.

S: The hardest part about nachos is that since they are messy there are other noises that accompany eating them besides the crunch of the chip. There's the slurping, the licking of the fingers and smacking of lips. Bodily functions that just are kind of weird to hear in a movie theatre. It's dark and so it just gets weird. Depending on the movie theatre these can also verge into the "smelly" category, too, if they include options like meat, jalapeno peppers or other accoutrements.

5.) Candy 

S: There are only certain kinds of candy that really get on the nerves, and this is hard candy in a cardboard box. The kind that you smuggle in your purses or coats from Walgreens since WHO PAYS $4 FOR CANDY?! It makes total since, but the shaking back and forth of the candy in the box is crazy annoying. It's really a little nit-picky, we know, but it can be pretty disruptive in a quiet theatre.

A: Let's break down some of the more egregious offenders here:

- M&M's
- Skittles
- Reese's Pieces
- Mike & Ike's (and their cousin brands)
- Nerds

I'm sure there's a ton I'm missing, but you get the point. These are all fantastic candies, and every now and then we'll partake in some Junior Mints or Raisinets, but please do us a favor: if your candy comes in a box and that box is wrapped in plastic, please unwrap the box before the movie starts. (NOTE: Nerds are probably the worst of these candies for a movie theatre because they sound like a rain stick.)

6.) Popcorn

S: The last one is the holy grail of movie snackage: popcorn. This is THE go-to movie snack and while it's not my favorite, it really is where all the money at movie theatres is made. It's salty, buttery and (of course) CRUNCHY. Once again, it's a closed-mouth process (as really all food is) but for some reason when people get popcorn at the movies they are suddenly all raised by Neanderthals. The worst is when the huge fat guy sitting three rows up is shoveling handfuls of the snack into his gaping maw with such ferocity that it makes you want to gag. It's crazy. And it's kind of gross too.

The bane of Andrew's movie-going existence..

A: We know this is sacrilegious, but seriously, popcorn might be the worst. It's not only crunchy, but whether it comes in a bucket or it comes in a bag, it's noisy when someone is digging their hand into it, scrounging up a handful to shove in their mouth. I'll admit, I can handle other people around me eating popcorn when I have some of my own (which isn't often), but that's only because the popcorn I'm eating is noisy enough to drown out the other people's. The worst is the scenario Sarah just described, where someone just takes a handful and mows down on it. That's disgusting and noisy. You're in public. Don't eat like a Neanderthal.

The crazy thing about popcorn is the variety of ways that people eat it. Some take huge handfuls and shove it all in their mouths, some take handfuls and bite away at it in many bites, some people take one piece and toss it in their mouths, some people take a couple pieces and eat those (which is how we do it), and so many more. But the recurring thing for whatever way you eat your popcorn is that it's noisy. Are we being prudish? Maybe. But if we ever owned our own movie theatre, we can guarantee you we would NOT sell popcorn at it. (We'd also probably then go out of business.)

S: Okay readers! That's our the last of our Six Pack! What kinds of movie snacks do you think are loud and annoying? Did we forget any kind that gets on your nerves? Or do you completely disagree with us and think we're out of line? Let us know what you think down in the comments! And thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Think Ocean's Eleven with Magicians, In a Good Way: Our Review of "Now You See Me" (2013)

Directed By: Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Melanie Laurent

Rating: PG-13 for language, some action and sexual content

Run Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

Synopsis: FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Ruffalo) teams up with an Interpol agent (Laurent) and a former magician (Freeman) to track down a team of illusionists called "The Four Horsemen," who somehow pull of bank heists during their elaborate performances and give the money to their audience.


Andrew: Hello readers! Last week Sarah and I were able to catch an advance screening of NowYou See Me, the new film directed by Louis Leterrier, who is probably best known for directing The Transporter and The Incredible Hulk. Now You See Me stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco as a quartet of illusionists…

Sarah: Called “The Four Horsemen”…

A: Who make a name for themselves with elaborate stage shows, during which they pull off bank heists and give the money they've stolen to their crowd, which naturally draws the attention of the feds. Mark Ruffalo plays the FBI put in charge of figuring out how they do it, and Melanie Laurent, - best known for playing Shoshanna in Inglourious Basterds - plays an Interpol agent who is assigned to work with Ruffalo.

S: Michael Caine plays the casino owner who pays for the grand shows the Four Horsemen put on, and Morgan Freeman plays an older magician who now gets rich by debunking magic tricks with online videos, essentially breaking the magician’s code.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More Like Star Trek Into Discord: Our Review of "Star Trek Into Darkness" (2013)

Directed By: J.J. Abrams (Super 8

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Benedict Cumberbatch

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action & violence

Run Time: 2 hours, 12 minutes

Synopsis: When Starfleet is viciously attacked by a terrorist from within their own organization, Captain Kirk (Pine) leads his crew on a perilous journey to capture the fugitive - a mysterious figure named John Harrison (Cumberbatch), who may hold secrets about Starfleet that can do more damage than he could ever done alone.


Andrew: Hello dear readers! This past Thursday Sarah and I saw Star Trek Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams' highly anticipated sequel to his 2009 reboot, which sees the return of all the major actors in their roles from the first one - Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, etc. - and also adds some new yet familiar faces to Abrams' new take on the series.

Sarah: We'd been looking forward to Star Trek Into Darkness for quite some time because the 2009 film is one of our absolute favorites (as you can see HERE in my Top Ten Favorite Movies), but what made us really excited about it is our main man Benedict Cumberbatch plays the main villain in the movie, a mysterious terrorist named John Harrison. We love Cumberbatch from Sherlock and think he's just fantastic. So we were very excited to see this one.

A: Indeed. And in full disclosure before we dig into this review, I've seen STID twice now - once in 3D at a screening the day before its release, and then again with Sarah in 2D. But this movie seems to be getting some split reactions from fans on the blogosphere, but has been getting generally positive reactions from reviewers and movie-goers. STID currently holds a solid "A" from CinemaScore and is 88% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

S:  Also in full disclosure, we're going to talk extensively about the plot, so ***SPOILER ALERT - DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU DON'T WANT PLOT SPECIFICS SPOILED FOR YOU**

Like seriously, we're going to talk about Benedict Cumberbatch's character, John Harrison (center), and
how it affects the rest of the movie. If you don't want to know, stop reading.

Okay, so what did you think of Star Trek Into Darkness?

A: Well, from what I've read online, there seems to be three camps on this film: people who loved it, people who hated it, and people who noticed some flaws but generally liked it overall. I think I'm in that last group. There are some things that I think J.J. Abrams and his entire crew did incredibly well, but there are also some things - especially towards the very end - that just didn't work for me.

S: I felt there were things that were just wrong.

A: What do you mean by "wrong?"

S: There are things that just aren't correct, or just felt wrong. Here's our first big spoiler, so seriously, if you're reading this and don't want the movie to be spoiled then stop reading, but the biggest part that felt wrong to me was the scene where Kirk dies in the same sort of way that Spock does at the end of Wrath of Khan. When Spock yells, "KHAAAAAN!" it was NOT Khan's fault that Kirk died! So not only did things not feel right to me but there were some plots holes, too.

A: Right. So let's get into this: A big thing people have been talking about and hating on this film for is because of the excessive amount of fan servicing Abrams and the screenwriters - Alex Kurtzman Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof - did. Things like callbacks to "Star Trek: The Original Series" and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan...and then of course casting Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan Noonien Singh. A lot of people did like the fact that a British Caucasian man is playing a character that is supposed to be from India...

S: But even the original Khan wasn't played by an Indian actor. Ricardo Montalban was Mexican, wasn't he?

A: Yes he was. But the thing is that the movie, for the most part, is on its own merits. It's a totally new story for these characters for about three-quarters of the way through the film, and then the final act...

S: Starts to look very familiar, where it hearkens back to The Wrath of Khan.

A: Exactly, and that's when it starts to go off the least it did for me, and I think it did for you as well.

S: Mhmm. Yeah, it lost me there. And I'm afraid my expectations for this film were so unbelievably high that it was going to be difficult for this to live up to them. The reboot was so amazing and so new, but I do think that they made a mistake with...if they were going to reboot the entire series, I feel like they made a mistake having Khan as the bad guy and linking it back to the original series with another appearance by Leonard Nimoy. That bothered me a little bit because it's its own story. This should be its own story in this new parallel universe.

A: I was okay with them using Khan for a few reasons. One is that lately in movie, especially big blockbusters based off of famous source material, we've been seeing the most prominent villain appearing in the second film. We saw this with Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2 and The Joker in The Dark Knight, and at least in the case of those two, those were the best films in those trilogies. So I'm okay with Khan coming in the second film because they've already established the reboot in the first movie, now you have to take it somewhere bigger and hopefully better.

While he's not as exotic-looking at Ricardo Montalban was, we still thought Benedict Cumberbatch's
portrayal of Khan was a strength of the movie.

The problem to me was with the fan servicing. I'm okay with Khan because even in this rebooted universe, Khan was still a warlord years before Kirk's dad gets killed in the new timeline. I look at the use of Khan in the same vein as when Old Spock essentially tells New Spock that he and Kirk will become best friends - it's pretty much destiny, despite the alternate timeline. There are some things that will still happen, they'll just be altered a bit.

S: Okay, I'll go with that.

A: So I'm cool with Khan being used because now he's brought back from his slumber in a completely new world, and they can do different stuff with him. And they were doing so well with him at first! I think the first three-quarters of the movie work really well, but then they try to shoehorn in the ending and it really falters.

S: Absolutely. Yeah, it didn't bother me that Benedict Cumberbatch plays Khan, we love him, and maybe it's because we love him that it didn't bother us so much. He has great acting chops, his voice is amazing, and I do like that they lent themselves to the possibility of more Khan appearances. Because in the original series he has one episode in the show and one movie. That's it. So this was better to me because maybe they'll use him in future appearances.

A: Here's the only other problem I can see with them using Khan here: J.J. Abrams tried to keep it a secret.

S: Marketing-wise that was a huge mistake.

A: He gambled and I think he lost, because you're using the biggest villain in the series and you're keeping it a secret. That should have been the centerpiece of the marketing campaign. So they tried to keep it a secret and then there's a scene where Cumberbatch says, "My Khan." And if you're new to the series? There's absolutely no backstory. You're just like, "Okay..."

S: "Who is Khan and why is he important?" Yeah, if this is your introduction to Khan...the only reason we know he was a warlord years ago is because we know the original take on him. We don't know that from this movie.

A: Exactly. I mean, that bit comes out later in the film when they finally say what he did, but even at the time of the big reveal Kirk has no reaction to it.

S: He's just like, "Okay. And?" So that's another scene that fell flat for me.

A: I guess they should have done something different than what they did. They did try something different and it just didn't work. All that said, I still loved this movie.

S: I felt that there were missed opportunities in this movie. I felt that they could have done more with the relationship between Admiral Pike (Bruce Greenwood) and Kirk. They start to touch on it and then it fizzles out.

A: That was a bit of a recurring theme in the movie.

S: Then there was Spock and Uhura's relationship. There's a build-up of tension between them, but that's quickly followed up by an explanation and all of a sudden that's over. So I thought there were so many missed opportunities. Not just with Khan, but all the little things between the rest of the characters, too.

That's where it missed the mark for me, and I struggled a little bit with that and I struggled with the retread of the Khan stuff because I wanted this one to be new! I don't want to go see a remake...

A: But it's not a straight remake.

S: It's not, and that's not what I meant, but that's what it sort of ended up being. Toward the end that's what it sort of becomes.

A: It feels like it towards the end. But there are a lot of differences. They just tried to do a twist on it.

S: They should have just left it alone.

A: Another thing like you were just talking about, with something fizzling out? The filmmakers chicken out on their own convictions a number of times, but none so much as at the end when Kirk dies. Kirk dies of radiation poisoning from fixing the warp drive - which happened to Spock in Wrath of Khan - and then there's a deus ex machina where it turns out Khan's genetically enhanced blood and cure diseases and revive the dead, so naturally Bones is able to use Khan's blood to bring back Kirk. And this happens like, ten minutes after he dies.

S: Yes! So all of sudden everything's okay??? They should've had that been at the very end and left us wondering what's going to happen from there, like they did in Wrath of Khan! If they were going to kill off Kirk, they needed to stick to it. But that was a missed opportunity like we were talking about. I get why they did it the way they did, it's a blockbuster movie and you don't want to alienate the casual viewers or the die-hards, but it was really lazy.

A: It just left a bad taste in the mouth. Okay, I want to stop harping on the negatives of the movie and talk about some of the positives, of which there were many. The best thing about the entire movie is still the cast...

S: They really did do a good job of casting these roles.

A: The chemistry between Chris Pine's Kirk, Zachary Quinto's Spock and Karl Urban's Bones is still top-notch. They're funny together, Saldana's still great as Uhuru...Anton Yelchin's Chekov kind got short-shrifted  ...but Simon Pegg's Scotty got more screen-time here, which I felt was a good thing!

S: Oh definitely. Simon Pegg is hilarious and after not coming into the last film until more than halfway through, I was glad he was there from the start and even got some important stuff to do in the plot.

A: I've always liked Bruce Greenwood as Admiral Pike. I like the addition of Alice Eve as Carol Marcus, even though she didn't have much to do. Peter Weller was pretty great as Starfleet Admiral Alexander Marcus...I don't know, I just thought the casting overall was top-notch. Especially Cumberbatch, I thought he was great in his role.

We like Alice Eve from her turn in She's Out of My League and we liked her here, too. The topic of whether
this shot from the movie is gratuitous, though, is for another discussion.

Was there anything about the cast that bothered you? Did it lose it's spark at all?

S: Nope, it lost it's magic for me. I don't know why, but I think because the first one was so new and so one knew what to expect. And now we know what to expect and I thought it was going to be bigger and better, and I don't know if that that was fair to this movie or not, but it just fell short for me.

A: Oh no, I meant did the cast lose any of its spark.

S: Oh! Oh, no no. I thought I answered that question. No.

A: I meant more like, this movie is just funny. There are a lot of funny moments, one-liners, responses to other lines, it's just humorous. Which carried over from the first one.

I loved the music. Michael Giacchino is great, I love his work and I hope they bring him over to do the music for Star Wars: Episode VII, although I'm sure John Williams will still do it.

S: This movie looks great. The CGI is still fantastic...

A: And it looked great when I saw it in 3D. I think we need to see this one again so you can see it in 3D.

S: Well they added something in this movie...okay, this movie looks beautiful, the series still looks amazing, but the sparkly warp trail that gets left behind when the Enterprise goes into warp speed? That was absolutely ridiculous.

A: What?? You thought that was ridiculous? I liked it!

S: But the reason I find it ridiculous is because it looks like they added it purely for 3D. Like they added it just so it would look cool in 3D.

A: I doubt it, because they post-converted this movie. J.J. Abrams didn't want this to be in 3D. He shot it normally and with some IMAX stuff, but it was after the fact that Paramount wanted it post-converted.

S: I don't know why it bothered me, I just know that it did.

A: Honestly I think this is the best post-converted 3D movie we've seen.

S: I think it was literally because they would go into warp, and instead of that feeling that they got sucked into space, that silence that I feel is so appropriate and felt so believable? They got rid of that and left these sparkles with a sparkly sound. It was like when Tinker Bell goes to the top of the castle at Disney. If they hadn't lingered on that, if it hadn't been the focal point of every warp from behind, I wouldn't have had a problem with it. But they focus on it EVERY TIME they jump into warp speed. I found it ridiculous.

A: I guess I don't get why you didn't like it.

S: Well it will bother you now.

A: No it won't, I've seen the movie twice. I enjoyed it both times. I looked cool to me! I thought it was a neat little addition. Just in general, this movie looks great. J.J. Abrams does a fantastic job of directing action sequences, no one can argue that. Now, arguably some of the action sequences weren't organic, specifically the climax, but they're still framed well, acted well, they look great...this dude is going to make a great-looking Star Wars movie.

S: Oh yeah. Yeah, I guess.

A: Was there anything about Star Trek Into Darkness that you legitimately liked?

S: Well I liked that there was another Star Trek movie. I liked that fact.

A: You like that it exists.

S: I like that it exists. I like that there was a second one, I like that Benedict Cumberbatch is in it, I'm glad Simon Pegg got more screen-time...but I felt that there were too many things that turned me off. I don't know.

A: What did you think of the plot? I know we've focused a lot of this review on the last 20 or 30 minutes, but what about the entirety of the plot?

S: I liked it but there were so many holes that I got distracted from the rest of the movie.

A: There are some final things I want to get your take on. A big part of the focus in this film is on Kirk and Spock, again. That's the whole heart to the first movie, the original series, and it's a big focal point for this one - how Spock's human side still hasn't come out as much as Kirk wants, like when Spock turns Kirk in for breaking the Prime Directive at the beginning of the film

S: Ok, to me there were a number of times that the relationship between Kirk and Spock did not feel organic. I feel like the relationship between these versions of Kirk and Spock are being forced on us almost. I felt like...I don't know why, but it didn't feel organic to me. At no point prior to the very end did Spock show any kind of emotion for Kirk. Zero. None whatsoever. Like, he couldn't have cared less. And I think there was more shown in the 2009 version than this one. What happened? You would've expected their friendship to have grown and blossomed in-between the two films, but it felt like an awkward relationship to me.

I felt that Spock and Uhura's relationship grew more than Kirk's and Spock's. So when they're trying to force the relationship between the two guys it just felt ridiculous to me.

Sarah felt like the classic relationship between Spock and Kirk didn't feel adequately 
formed between the two films, while Andrew liked getting to see the relationship grow more.

A: Okay, this is good!

S: Wow, it really sounds like I didn't like this movie.

A: It really does not sound like you liked it at all. I didn't find the Kirk/Spock relationship forced, personally. I felt like a lot of what they did at the beginning of this film kind of, not negates the first one, but you're right - enough time should have passed that these two guys should have bonded a little more than it seems like they have.

S: Yes! These two have been the commanding officers of the Enterprise for years now, so their friendship should have grown, they're friendship should have been stronger already, and Spock should've known how Kirk would react to things.

A: True, but I do feel like their relationship does grow as the movie progresses.

S: Correct, as this second movie progresses. And I understand that, but some of that should have taken place off-screen. I felt like there was too much of a gap.

A: While I agree with your basic sentiment, I still liked watching their relationship grow. I liked seeing when Kirk starts listening to Spock. I don't want that stuff to have happened off-screen too much, otherwise we don't connect with them as much.

S: I mean, I guess to me the relationship between Kirk and Spock is such a classic friendship that, at least in the originals, they have such a repertoire this one the repertoire didn't even come in until the end.

A: But you have to remember in the original series they've been working together for years. For years. Like, Kirk has 15 years worth of training before he even becomes a captain.

S: I guess.

A: The second time I saw this I noticed things I hadn't seen before, like when Spock is mind-melding with Admiral Pike as Pike is dying...Quinto's look...he's feeling Pike's fear and solitude.

S: Yes, but I wanted to feel that more. I wanted that to have actually been something or lead somewhere because Kirk wasn't there for Pike's death. I wanted that to lead somewhere and it just didn't for me. I was like, "Ugh!" That was the first missed opportunity of the movie.

A: What do you mean by missed opportunity there?

S: I wanted it to have been like Spock had felt the compassion that Pike felt for Kirk, and that Spock would've shared that later with Kirk to comfort him as he was dying.

A: Gotchya.

S: So I just felt like that was a missed opportunity, you know because they led us to believe that there was such a father-son bond between Pike and Kirk.

A: Okay, I like where your head is at. That was a dropped ball I guess. But I thought they brought it around nicely later when Spock is telling Kirk and Uhura how Pike had been afraid as he was dying...

S: And that Spock had felt that same way when Vulcan was destroyed, so he didn't want to feel that way again, right...

A: But they brought it back around later when Kirk is dying, and Kirk is telling Spock how he's afraid, and how Spock felt that not only with Vulcan and then with Pike, but he's feeling it now with Kirk and he realizes that he actually does care about him. He's getting upset because his friend is dying and he knows the feeling he's going through. I thought they kind of brought that around nicely.

And we haven't even talked about the Klingons or the lens flares! There are Klingons in this movie, and for a pretty good section!

S: Mmm, they don't quite look like Klingons.

A: Well when they take their helmets off they do. It's a different look for the Klingons, but I dug it. At least the Klingon we see without a helmet in this movie looks huge, he's got some cool tribal looking things going on, his eyes are scary looking...

S: I don't know, I just thought, "That's not a Klingon."

A: I'm fairly certain the Klingons are going to be the antagonists in the third movie...

S: At least they should be.

A: This review/discussion has been pretty long, and honestly there's a lot more we could talk about. We could talk about the science of the movie, the politics...there's tons to talk about. But did you really just not like it?

S: I'm trying to think of redeeming qualities that I liked about it.

A: I'm surprised you're struggling to do so. I found so many.

S: I think I was just so distracted by the dropped balls and missed opporutnities and the f'ing sparkles that I had a hard time enjoying it. It looked beautiful. It looks perfect. I think they made a mistake with showing the Excelsior class starship in the trailers, because that scene would've been awesome not knowing it was coming.

A: Here's my last thing I want to touch on, and something I really enjoyed about the movie and the 2009 reboot: J.J. Abrams and his crew are doing a good job of making this a Star Trek for our generation. This story is about how after Nero effed up the timeline, destroyed Vulcan and attacked Earth, Admiral Marcus is now afraid of what else is out there that could attack and he's militarizing Starfleet. It's a parallel to what happened with America after 9/11. They mention it time and time again in the movie that the Federation and Starfleet are supposed to be a peace organization - they're supposed to go out and...

Andrew liked that Peter Weller's Admiral Marcus is a metaphor for the United States' and George W. Bush's
response to 9/11. Plus, ROBOCOP!

S: Explore strange new worlds, yes.

A: But the key conflict is that after Nero's actions, Admiral Marcus has made it a focus to be able to attack first and to be able to defend. He has turned Starfleet into...

S: A military.

A: Exactly. I think that's an interesting concept and a cool take on this new storyline.

S: Well the words that they use is "recruit." That's interesting because you don't normally recruit for a peace-keeping organization, you recruit for military purposes. I think the words they use have definitely focused on how they're not necessarily a peace-keeping organization anymore.

A: Not anymore, yeah.

S: And these movies will have a lot of action, they won't be like the Star Trek series of old.

A: I agree with you, it shouldn't have been in the trailer, but the idea behind Marcus unfreezing Khan to help him bolster Starfleet's fire-power was a neat idea. I was really digging it. I liked that Khan felt he was being used and wanted to get back at Marcus. Then they took a wrong step in trying to make it too similar to Wrath of Khan at the end. If they didn't do that, then I don't think so many people would've had so many problems with it.

Alright, let's wrap this up then. Final thoughts?

S: You have to see this in theatres regardless. If you've been waiting for four years for it to come out like we have, you gotta see it in theatres. It's a blockbuster that needs to be seen on the big screen. If you're a fan of the first one, I think you'll most likely like the second one, even though I didn't. If you've never seen any of the originals, I think this one will be great for you. If you're a fan of the original series and the films with Kirk and them, you might have some problems with it.

(Individual Scores - S: 3/5  A: 4/5) 

Photo Courtesies:,

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Luhrmann Can't Make Jay Gatsby and Co. Any More Interesting, But They Sure Do Look Pretty!: Our Review of "The Great Gatsby" (2013)

Directed By: Baz Lurhmann (Moulin Rouge!

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton

Rating: PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language

Run Time: 2 hours, 22 minutes

Synopsis: Midwestern writer Nick Carraway (Maguire) moves to New York City to try his hand at bond trading. While in New York is befriended by the charismatic and mysterious Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio), who harbors a long-standing love for Nick's beautiful, but married cousin, Daisy (Mulligan). When Gatsby enlists Nick's help in rekindling his relationship with Daisy, it draws the ire of Daisy's husband, Tom Buchanan (Edgerton), who begins to unravel the truth of who Gatsby truly is.


Andrew: Hello readers! This past Saturday Sarah and I had the recently rare opportunity to go see a movie in the theatre, considering we weren't on the road somewhere for the first time in four weeks. We took that opportunity to see this past weekend's big new release, The Great Gatsby.

It's directed by Baz Luhrmann, of Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet fame, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the rich and mysterious Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as his neighbor/writer/bond salesman Nick Carraway, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan (the object of Gatsby's desire), and Joel Edgerton as Daisy's husband, Tom Buchanan.

So this is a film that we've been looking forward to for some time now...

S: The trailers for it have been absolutely AMAZING. They made it look like it was going to be another Luhrmann spectacle.

A: To be quite honest, I never read "The Great Gatsby" - I wasn't made to read it in high school, I wasn't made to read it in college, and I've never read it just because. So this was my experience with any version of this tale.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Is Sarah Starting to Get Sick Iron Man?: Sarah's Review of "Iron Man 3" (2013)

Directed By: Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content

Run Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Synopsis: Following the epic battle in New York City involving monsters, Norse gods, aliens and a near-death experience, Tony Stark (Downey) can't sleep at night and has panic attacks at the mere mention of NYC. Not helping matters are a scientist (Pearce) that Tony blew off in the past who has a break-through technology and a grudge, plus a terrorist named The Mandarin who's attacking Americans and hits Tony close to home, and Tony's forced to protect those closest to him at all costs.


Andrew: Hello readers! Earlier this week Sarah and I went to see last weekend’s gargantuan hit Iron Man 3. I had seen it once already without Sarah (you can read my solo review of it HERE), so this was the first time she had seen it, meaning this review will be a little different in that it’s going to be Sarah heavy.

Sarah, I know that I personally was very excited when this film was released, but it wasn’t until we were leaving the theatre and getting in the car that you admitted to me that it had never been one you were particularly jonesing to see.

Sarah: It wasn’t, really. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movies that comprised Marvel’s “Phase 1” and I love them all the way up to The Avengers, but I’ve had a little bit of a roadblock getting my head wrapped around the films that are going to be following The Avengers. I feel like there was all this build-up and a climactic event in The Avengers and now we’re going back to the separate movies – and I understand their reasoning for doing so, I get Disney and Marvel’s plans for Phases 2 and 3, but I think I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around them.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Alone In The Dark: Andrew's Review of "Iron Man 3" (2013)

Directed By: Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle

Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content

Run Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Synopsis: Following the epic battle in New York City involving monsters, Norse gods, aliens and a near-death experience, Tony Stark (Downey) can't sleep at night and has panic attacks at the mere mention of NYC. Not helping matters are a scientist (Pearce) that Tony blew off in the past who has a break-through technology and a grudge, plus a terrorist named The Mandarin who's attacking Americans and hits Tony close to home, and Tony's forced to protect those closest to him at all costs.


Andrew: Hello dear readers! Today I bring you a very special version of Alone in the Dark because I’m not doing a solo review on a horror movie. As I’m sure the headline, the poster picture, and the link you probably clicked to get to this page have already told you, this is a solo review of Iron Man 3! I got to see the movie a day early thanks to an employee screening at my place of work (we’re owned by the same company as Marvel), but Sarah had to work late tonight so she couldn’t go. We’ll see it together after the weekend, but for now, here’s my take on it.

Starring Robert Downey, Jr. in his fourth turn as billionaire/playboy/philanthropist Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), this is the first film in Marvel’s “Phase Two” – meaning it’s also the first Marvel film since last summer’s gargantuan hit The Avengers. Without a doubt the biggest question going in to Iron Man 3 is whether or not it could be a worthy follow-up to The Avengers, and thanks to two things in particular the answer – in these eyes – is an emphatic “yes.”

Bay's Latest A Nice Reminder That He Can Still Makes Good Movies: Our Review of "Pain & Gain" (2013)

Directed By: Michael Bay (The Rock

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris

Rating: R for bloody violence, crude sexual content, nudity, language throughout and drug use

Run Time: 2 hours, 9 minutes

Synopsis: Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) is a personal trainer at a fitness club, unhappy with his lot in life when he becomes obsessed with a "get rich" guru's three-step plan. Inspired by the guru, he enlists two co-workers - Paul (Johnson), an ex-con and drug addict, and Adrian (Mackie), who's impotent because of steroid use - to help kidnap and extort a rich member of their gym (Shalhoub).


Andrew: Hello readers! Last night Sarah and I were finally able to find some time to catch a flick at the local movie theatre, so we caught a late showing of Michael Bay’s latest film, Pain & Gain, starring Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and Dwayne Johnson as a trio of body-builders who conspire to kidnap and extort a rich member of their fitness club in order to “live the American Dream.” And then things go haywire, and it’s based on a true story, no less.

We had seen the trailers for this one numerous times over the past few months, and it was certainly one that caught our attention. At least I thought it was pretty funny each time we saw it. What did you think about Pain & Gain before we went into the theatre, though, Sarah?