Star Trek Beyond's Plot is a Middle Finger to Isolation and Pessimism

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Jul 28, 2016 12:00:00 PM

star-trek-beyond-title-card.gifYou might notice there are three separate condemnations of haywiring isolationist psychos hitting the movies this summer.

The timing couldn't be better if God himself carved it into the walls of his prison cell with a toothbrush shank like this is the year we finally get out. We're going through the final, painful transformation.

First, we had Civil War (go team Cap), wherein Iron Man wants to take authority from Captain freaking America. Next, we spent three hours learning that Batman is a violent, childlike weirdo who grew up wrong.

This brings us to Star Trek Beyond. It's unfortunate the film was built as a space action-adventure, which it is: but it's also a prescient moral lesson about mankind's obsession with war, domination, and life's emptiness when we stare into the universe bucking and exploding within our own skulls.

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Topics: Review, storytelling analysis, Movie Review

Differences in Batman V Superman Ultimate Cut Explained | Zack Snyder Movie Review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Jun 26, 2016 12:48:05 PM

superman-missed-the-bomb.gifBatman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is an F+ movie. It hums a very weird tune compared to its contemporaries. It hates Superman. It wants Batman to be its dad. Its Lex Luthor reads as a self-proclaimed alpha male's opinion on modern wealth. It is an advertisement, a vision-statement, a joyless creature with cracked skin, bleeding at the seams.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Cut (BvS) is not an F+ movie. It's a much better movie. Its thesis actually makes sense. I'll dissect the film's updated version here, point out the differences in the two separate cuts, and shine light on its more bizarre choices.

First, understand the statements BvS makes in its characterizations of the two protagonists: Superman is conflicted, and Batman is in the wrong.

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Topics: Review, Movie Review, shared universe

Transcendence | Stupid Sci-Fi Movie Review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Jul 15, 2014 12:00:00 PM

“Why don’t you just turn it off?” Rebecca Hall’s character, Evelyn, chides during TRANSCENDENCE’s opening.

part i | TRANSCENDENCE is full of bad ideas


What high school sophomore scribbled this story, eyes leering in bored desperation at the stains on the classroom ceiling, searching for a clear thought as his math and home-ec classes ooze and BLORP together? Truly, if a high school sophomore conceived of the story of a man that dies and is reborn again as a godlike computer through his wife’s pants-on, lights-on, Facetime-on-iPad love-facsimile, then it was most certainly proof-written by his gluten-free former-missionary Earth Sciences teacher.

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Topics: Review, Movie Review

In Defense Of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Dec 16, 2013 12:00:00 PM

With the two Hobbit movies, we, the people that bother to think, and wonder, and hope for good movies set in worlds other than our own, are living the life. We are not living well, though.

The movies are so long. They serve so many masters, standing trial accused of Being A Chopped-Up Hobbit Movie and three charges of Being A Lord Of The Rings Movie. There are a lot of places for them to go wrong and send out ripples of wrong across all of that real estate.

Two questions arise:

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Topics: Review, Movie Review

Spring Breakers | Harmony Korine movie review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Sep 7, 2013 12:00:00 PM

"When the shit goes down... Spring Breakers is... miles and TIMEZONES away from Scarface and Britney."

spring-breakers-title-logo.pngTaking the turn onto Spring Breakers' back stretch, we were already taking bets on who would die. Because the movie appeared to be, quite plainly, a movie (and little more). The story's good Christian girl had already gotten out of dodge when things got too real, and our quartet of skinny young skanks was down to a trio. So, would the really bad ones get their bodies dumped in a swamp or fed to a gangster's pet hammerhead shark? Without the good girl, the movie had been let off the leash, we were free to follow these miscreants on a hell ride down Florida's dirt path. James Franco, draped in the ceremonial robes he raided from Kevin Federline's closet, will be your Virgil for this journey. You are about to see the seedier side of spring break, guys—

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Topics: Review, Movie Review

The Raid: Redemption | Movie review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Aug 29, 2013 12:00:00 PM

The Raid is the single best movie about an expert fighting for his life in very threatening surroundings.


Art can be commended for being thematically-focused and for authenticity. In this case, we're talking about movies. For example, praise can be heaped upon a movie because of a lead in a biopic performing flawless mimicry. It feels authentic. It might be the movie's biggest strength, perhaps it's only strength. Movies where authenticity are their main strengths can overpower other potential shortcomings, so when a movie is about a place, or when a movie is about ideology, or about traveling, about being on the run, about emotion, and fear, and love -- even if the rest of it is vacant, that one authentic trait can make it rise up because viewers will walk out of it and say, "That was a movie about [SUBJECT]. Finally, somebody made a great movie about [SUBJECT]."

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Topics: Review, Movie Review

Pacific Rim Is One Of The Best Summer Movies Since Independence Day

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Jul 16, 2013 12:00:00 PM


At a movie theater with $6 matinée tickets, still humming the Pacific Rim theme song and picking popcorn kernels out of my teeth, a dad and his daughter, she was probably 7, came walking past me. He was walking. She was hop-scotching. Her was mouth agape, like it should be.

"It was was so awesome! So, so awesome! And so funny at the end when he cut open the monster, and he shouted, 'where is my goddamn shoe!' "

"Okay, yeah, it was pretty awesome, but let's try not to use the bad words though, okay?"

This, everybody. This right here is proof that kids have taste.

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Topics: Review, Movie Review, best summer movies

Star Trek Into Darkness Stupid Plot Holes Explained

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: May 22, 2013 12:00:00 PM


Everybody on the roller-coaster, put your hands up! That's a direct order from Commander Fun! There are jerks out there that probably went to undergrad at UCLA that are being quoted in ads for Star Trek Into Darkness for using words like, "whiz-bang!" or "fun!" or "adventure!" or "rip-snorting!" in their film reviews. We would be so blessed to have rip-snorting added into any sentence, especially one about Star Trek Into Darkness.

The movie isn't bad. It is entertaining, but if it were rip-snorting, that would actually mean there was a possibility of people getting dirty or facing some consequence. This movie, this $99.99 add-on protective casing for your iPad that your dad got you, believes that it has form, function, and maybe even some brains under that fantastic dye-job.

The trouble is that Star Trek Into Darkness is trying to serve wine to young people when it should just serve cheese to people that like cheese. Lots of people like cheese! It's on almost every kind of sandwich imaginable. It's awesome. If I had to give up cheese or chocolate for the rest of my life, I'd give up chocolate. While trying to serve that many tastes, Star Trek Into Darkness' helmsmen had to sacrifice logic in the name of, well, creating a living homage to The Wrath of Khan. That's when the plot holes start cracking open.

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Topics: Review, storytelling analysis, Movie Review

Why "Man Of Steel" And "The Great Gatsby" Are The Two Vital Versions Of America

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: May 1, 2013 12:00:00 PM


"What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?"

Truth, justice, and the American way. Strangely enough, I learned a lot about Superman from my mom, who in turn had learned it through osmosis from her brothers when she was young. Back when comic books were books, and not recognizable intellectual properties ripe for mass-marketing, they represented a kind of simple math that a kid could understand. Superman was the simplest, so much so that most people, young people especially, are untucking their shirts and sneezing directly at the idea of Man of Steel coming out in June, because while The Dark Knight Rises was a French revolution allegory, what in the blue fucking hell could boring-ass Man of Steel possibly bring to the modern discussion? These days, we have Batman, and Wolverine, and The Avengers, and Robert Downey Jr, who is a genre unto himself. Superman's a boyscout. Punch the Commies, save the cat in the tree, last son of Krypton, Moses-allegory, defend the defenseless so they can live in peace, and on and until the day is done. Superman was conceived in 1933 in a time before the term "nuclear family" had been added to the American lexicon, nevertheless, he was the hope, the aspiration that even though we aren't invincible like he is, America, and all its promises, won't burn out if we stick together and keep driving forward.

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Topics: Review, storytelling analysis, Movie Review, marketing, shared universe

Oz the Great and Powerful | Sam Raimi Movie Review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Mar 13, 2013 12:00:00 PM


Oz the Great and Powerful is the frantic outcome of a thousand-million primary-colored Legos clicked together, discovered at dawn after showing your four year-old daughter Army of Darkness the night before.

Oz the Great and Powerful is a grilled ham sandwich served to you on a plastic Fischer Price plate at high tea-time, between the hours of 5-7pm. It's best to watch Oz the Great and Powerful with no intention of liking it, because that will set you up for some electrically-enhanced make-up sex. Oz the Great and Powerful contains an intricate adoration normally reserved for a drunken retelling of your fifth-grader's stage performance of The Wizard of Oz, if you were at a train station bar, and you were describing it to a stranger that you suspect is there to kill you, and you're stalling for time. The point the movie is trying to make is that your lies aren't nearly as convincing as you might think, and that you aren't fooling anybody, and Oz the Great and Powerful is full of characters like this, and deception and self-deception will make you real ugly, real fast.

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Topics: Review, Movie Review

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