STID Carol / FF6 Letty

It’s more or less impossible to reboot a massively popular franchise for the big screen without drawing the ire of a few fans, but one major criticsm plaguing Star Trek Into Darkness in recent days has nothing to do with J.J. Abrams‘ Klingon redesign or use of parallel timelines. Midway through the film, there’s a brief scene in which the character Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) strips down to her underwear for no apparent reason. Some fans called filmmakers out for being sexist, and so far writer Damon Lindelof has stepped up to offer his apologies.

The minor controversy was fresh in my mind when I went to go see Fast & Furious 6, which, as you’d expect, outdoes Star Trek Into Darkness‘ tiny sliver of cheesecake on every level. All of the female stars of Fast & Furious 6 are conventionally attractive to begin with, and none shy away from wearing form-fitting outfits or showing off a bit of cleavage. Additionally, scantily clad female extras are used in several sequences as little more than set decoration. And yet I walked away from Fast & Furious 6 thinking that director Justin Lin and his crew could teach the Star Trek team a thing or two about portraying female characters on screen.

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Star Trek Into Darkness - Benedict Cumberbatch

By now, you’ve probably heard about the controversy over Star Trek Into Darkness‘ infamous Carol Marcus underwear scene. The moment has attracted enough criticism that writer Damon Lindelof has apologized for it on Twitter. Now director J.J. Abrams has stepped up to offer his own take on the matter.

Disgruntled fans looking for an apology will be disappointed by Abrams’ response; while the filmmaker admits that the scene he didn’t “quite edit the scene in the right way,” he falls short of actually saying he’s sorry. He does, however, attempt to even the score by offering a peek at a deleted scene featuring Benedict Cumberbatch‘s character in the shower. Hit the jump to watch it.

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Devindra weighs in on The Place Beyond the Pines, Joanna praises Orphan Black, and Dave describes what a film festival q&a meltdown looks like.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993.
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Star Trek Into Darkness - John Harrison

When the subjects are good, no amount of time is sufficient to do an interview. That goes double when you’re speaking with two producers of one of the summer’s closely scrutinized films: Star Trek Into Darkness. Preparing to speak to producer Bryan Burk and producer/co-writer Damon Lindelof, I prepared two dozen questions for a ten-minute interview. I asked three.

Thankfully, the answers were illuminating. Mainly, we talked about the process that the pair went through to decide on the film’s villain, along with director J.J. Abrams and co-writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The pros and cons of the choice; how Star Trek: The Next Generation influenced that decision; and how the reveal changed the selling of the movie all came up. Finally, I asked Burk would repeat that process for his next film, Star Wars Episode VII. Read More »

Cumberbatch Into Darkness

Stardate December 10, 2012. A group of journalists are invited to Bad Robot in Santa Monica, CA to learn a little bit more about J.J. AbramsStar Trek Into Darkness. At this time everyone was still unclear who, exactly, Benedict Cumberbatch was playing in the film. Rumors about his character were relentless. To cut the question off at the pass, Abrams himself led everyone into a screening room to show some footage. He explained this was footage no one would see again for several months, we shouldn’t tell anyone we saw it, but it would clear some things up.

With Star Trek Into Darkness now in theaters, it’s time to talk about that footage because what we saw and what’s now playing are very, very different. This change exemplifies not only the lengths Abrams went to preserve the theatrical film experience, but it opens up the discussion for exactly why secrecy was so important. Read More »

star-trek-zachary-quinto

After much anticipation, Star Trek Into Darkness is finally out this weekend. Peter and Germain have weighed in with their mostly-positive takes, and you guys have also chimed in with your thoughts. I personally enjoyed watching the movie from beginning to end, and got a kick out of seeing these characters come to life once more, as played by the immensely talented cast. It’s a non-stop thrill-ride, a riveting experience that may leave you scratching your head at certain points, but never leaves you bored.

About those head-scratchers: yeah, this movie definitely made pretty bizarre decisions, several of which continued to nag at me days after I’d seen it, even though my overall memories of the film were ones of fondness. So, in the grand tradition, you’ll find some of my issues after the jump. As always, feel free to respond with your own and/or correct me in the comments.

MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS FOLLOW. 
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Star Trek Into Darkness - Spock and Kirk

It’s in theaters now, and all the secrets are out in the open. Star Trek Into Darkness, the second Trek film from J.J. Abrams, has been locked (mostly) in the producer/director’s “mystery box” for over a year. For hardcore fans, at least, the secrecy around the precise nature of the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch has been a big part of the marketing allure, but the energy Abrams and his cast brought to their first outing on the Enterprise has been enough to make a huge audience curious about their encore.

And in the end, the irony is that, while there was a type of secret to preserve with respect to the character, in the end he plays a weird role in the plot. (There’s a certain kinship to Iron Man 3 in that respect.)

Abrams has said that he wanted to make Star Trek for people who aren’t Star Trek fans, and in that respect he might have succeeded. Into Darkness has a few well-executed setpieces, and loads of the same winning cast presence that made the first Abrams Trek a success. But does it work? Does the film’s wide divergence from many well-established Trek characteristics fly, and does it even really matter who Cumberbatch is playing? Weigh in below, where full spoilers are in force. Read More »

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Sequels are a tricky thing. In the best cases, they transcend the original work by adding emotional depth and context, elevating the entire story arc. In the worst cases, they’re a carbon copy of the original with perhaps a bigger “wow” factor. Star Trek Into Darkness, like many sequels, falls into the middle ground. It expands and broadens the scope of the original while duplicating most of the elements that were already in place from the 2009 film.

To follow his first Trek revival, director J.J. Abrams has made a much more visually impressive and exciting action film, and one worthy of the Star Trek franchise. It simply lacks the inspiration that made his first film so special.

After the jump, read the rest of this review and see a video blog with some differing opinions. Read More »

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