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Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond

It’s been 7 years since Star Trek was rebooted with an alternate timeline, now with the third of the new Trek films around does the films still boldly go where no one else has gone before?

The crew of the Enterprise are three years into their five year mission where they are sent to rescue a ship is stranded on an abandoned planet. However when the Enterprise fall under attack, the splintered crew must find each other and battle against an enemy with a personal vengeance against StarFleet.

I really enjoyed Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness (although not so much on repeated viewings in the case of Into Darkness) so it was a relief that I completly enjoyed watching Star Trek Beyond. Some people had doubts when JJ Abrams left and was replaced by Fast & Furious director Justin Lin but Lin is also a big Star Trek fan so it turns out the film was in good hands.

Beyond has some fantastic action scenes, with the destruction of the Enterprise being a highlight. The script by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung also gives some humour and nice one liners (and surprisingly Pegg doesn’t give them all to himself) while also splits the crew to give us some different dynamics then the other films gave us. I was glad to see “Bones” McCoy (Keith Urban) given more to do this time around and it was nice to see a more mature version of Kirk (Chris Pine), pondering his future and wondering who is the man he wants to be. Newcomer Jaylah (Sofia Boutella)also makes a nice addition to the team.

I must have been living under a rock because I did not hear about Sulu (John Cho) being gay until I saw the film. While there has been lots of controversy and opinions flying about over this, I personally think it’s great that in it’s 50th year Star Trek finally has an LGBT character, and giving Sulu a family gives him more of an emotional depth.

Anton Yelchin

Watching the film at times was quite sad though whenever Chekov (Anton Yelchin) appeared on screen. The 27 year old actor died earlier this year and the film is dedicated to him and Leonard Nimoy who passed away pre-production. It’s been confirmed that Chekov will not be recasted in any further films so this is the last will see of sweet, lovely, Checkov.

So it may not be boldly giving us somehting extreamly new, but Star Trek Beyond is an exciting popcorn movie.

Rating 4/5 – exciting and action packed as well as a loving tribute to Yelchin and Nimoy

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Man Up

Man Up

Romantic-comedy – a difficult genre to get right and with so many failed attempts over the years I almost dread hearing the words rom-com. However with talents like Simon Pegg and Lake Bell involved will this rom-com be worth the watch?

When Nancy (Lake Bell) gets mistaken by Jack (Simon Pegg) as his blind date, Nancy decides to take a risk and go with it. As the date goes on the two find themselves getting along really well. However as Jack thinks Nancy is someone else can this couple ever properly get together?

It’s a relief to say that does film manages to be both romantic and funny. Hallelujah! Theres been so many films that fail at one or both of these elements that it’s great that Man Up manages to seamlessly achieve the two. The script by Tess Morris has plenty of funny lines and set ups such as thirty something Nancy having to keep up the pretence that she’s a 24-year-old triathlete. Director Ben Palmer has directed movies like The Inbetweeners so he is able to make sure the movie is genuinely hilarious and not too cheesy.

Simon Pegg and Lake Bell work great together and you really root for the characters. Both the Jack and Nancy are believable flawed characters. Nancy is afraid of taking risks and Jack is bitter over his divorce. I also liked how Nancy called Jack out for being a 40-year-old trying to go on a date with a 24-year-old. The supporting cast may be a bit more two-dimensional but they play up to their roles well. Rory Kinnear is cringe-worthingly funny as a former school mate of Nancy who turns up at the wrong time, and Sharon Horgan also provides laughs at Nancy’s sister Elaine.

Whether you fancy watching this with your significant other or with a group of friends, Man-Up is a feel good comedy that will have you laughing the whole way through.

Rating 4/5 – a great movie full of fun jokes, hilarious set pieces and two wonderful leads

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Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

Your mission if you choose to accept it, is to watch the fifth in the Mission: Impossible franchise. But will it leaves me wishing the IMF was killed off?

The Impossible Missions Force is disbanded by the CIA just as Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) becomes convinced of the existence of the Syndicate an anti IMF intent on causing death and terror. With the help of Benji (Simon Pegg), Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Luther (Ving Rhames) Ethan tries to bring the Syndicate down. But with duplicitous Syndicate member Ilsa FaustĀ  (Rebecca Furguson) around will Ethan be able to save the day?

I’ve enjoyed the Mission Impossible series. It’s often ridiculous but fun and say what you like about Tom Cruise but he has pulled out some great stunts in the franchise. Rogue Nation is no different. Whether it’s hanging off the side of an aircraft or having to hold his breath for 3 minutes underwater Tom is up for it. This time around we also get a female love interest/femme fatale who can match Cruise’s in the athletic states with Furguson also doing a lot of her own impressive stunts. It’s also good that Ilsa is one of the better female characters of the series.

Yes the film is over the top, and overly complicated, and I’m not all the plot makes sense but the film knows what it’s audience wants. High octane thrills and plenty of action. It’s nice to see familiar faces Renner and Rhames back and I’m glad that Pegg’s Benji is back with an even bigger part this time. He provides a lot of the comic relief but everyone has their moments. Ethan’s fight at a Vienna opera house is both exciting and funny.

I found the Syndicate leader Sean Harris is bit underwhelming and seems to rely a lot on luck to get his plans to work. But minor quibbles aside Rogue Nation shows that there’s still life in the Mission: Impossible franchise yet. And judging by the early box office it seems we’ll be set for a sixth film soon.

Rating 4/5 – thrilling action and spectacles proves the mission is not over yet for this franchise

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The World’s End

So it’s here the third film in the Cornetto Trilogy (this one is mint by the way). Edgar Wright has a big job on his hand following the massive success of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. So will this film measure up?

The World’s End is about five friends who’ve grown apart since their teenage years. Gary (Simon Pegg) tries to reunite the gang (Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan) to complete their mammoth pub crawl from their youth which they failed to finish all twelve stops. Old tensions between the group and Gary start to resurface just as they realise the town from their childhood has something strange going on.

I made a big mistake before watching this film. I watched Hot Fuzz only a few hours earlier. Spurred on by the brilliance of that film I perhaps raised my expectations too high. The World’s End is not a bad film, but it’s not a classic like Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead.

I admire the film for allowing it to be different. There are darker, grown up themes throughout the film as Gary tries to relive his teenage glory days as things have never gotten better since those days. Gary is not a likeable character-and he’s not meant to be either. He’s selfish, manipulative and doesn’t think about what he’s saying. His character is more outlandish than the rest of the gang. It’s good to see Pegg in this type of role and I like the way they have switched around Pegg and Frost’s characters. Frost’s Andrew playing the straight man to Pegg’s obnoxious Gary.

It does seem to take its time getting to the laughs. Whereas Shaun and Hot Fuzz delivers plenty of laughs and quotable lines, The World’s End takes its time setting up the characters and their backstories as the meet up again. Which is fine, but the start is mostly laughter free as you’re waiting for the jokes to begin. This becomes a bit of a drag until the action arrives. When Gary and co realise what they are up against, then the film begins to up the pace and the laughs come more freely.

It’s a talented cast they’ve got together, fans of the previous films will recognise many faces. As the main gang, Pegg and Frost are good as always, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan round out the group perfectly. the five do convince as old friends who haven’t seen each other for a while and are a bit suspicious as to why Gary has arranged this. Considine in particular is strong as Steven, fighting Gary for love interest Sam played by Rosamund Pike. Pike does well in her role and is more of a rounded character then Liz in Shaun of the Dead. She perhaps is more underused towards the end but then this is a film, in essence about the main five friends and their relationship with each other,

There is much to enjoy in this film. The fight scenes are well executed and funny. I enjoyed the darker moments the film occasionally touch upon. And I thought the ending was great, not a cop-out like most films. However if you do see this film, do yourself a favour and not watch the other two Cornetto films hours beforehand. Otherwise you draw comparisons which the film can’t help but come up short. Try and see the film with a fresh mind on its own terms.

Rating 3.5/5-fun and different, but not up to the standard of previous instalments

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