Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Tag Archives: Star Trek Into Darkness

Top 10 of 2013

Hey everybody!

So, as you all know, it’s the new year (or at least, it has been for the past three weeks), which also means that we have to say “buh bye” to the one that has just past; which, in this case, was the wonderful year of 2013. At first, it started-off a bit sketchy with some months that didn’t have much quality in it, but once the summer hit, things began to look up and by the end of the year, I was absolutely soaked, head-to-toe, in some very good, very awesome movies. Definitely a great year for my life, as well as for my life in movies (and yes, they are two separate things), and one that I will truly not, no matter how brain-cells I accidentally kill, ever forget.

But enough of my yacking! Here’s the list you’ve all been waiting for:

10. Star Trek Into Darkness

 Not a lot of people liked this, but I for one absolutely had as great of a time with this, as I did with the first four years ago. Not only were the emotions from the first enhanced here, but it actually felt like we were really working onto something big, adventurous and, especially with the inclusion of Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch himself, a hell of a lot more epic. Also, goes to show us that J.J. Abrams will be more than able to handle himself, as well as the Star Wars franchise. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t prove us wrong.

9. Inside Llewyn Davis


I know, I know, I know! Before any of you say anything about this being a bit of a “cheat”, I just want to let you know that I am fully aware that this was ranked as a “Matinee!!” for me, and yet, is still in my Top 10, as well as ranked-higher than a movie that scored a “Full Price!!” from me. But here’s the reason why: The more and more I think about this movie, the more I love it. No, not just because I have sweet, sweet memories of the time that star Oscar Isaac and yours truly had a grand old time a the Ritz Five, but because this is something that the Coen Brothers have ever done before, and yet, it works out so perfectly for them. It’s heart-warming, soft, funny, a tad sweet, small, and rather brutally honest in its depiction of how sometimes, it doesn’t matter whether or not you have the talent, nor the passion to do what it is that you want to do for the rest of your life, because sometimes, life just may not turn-out so well for you. That’s not just being a pessimist, that’s just being a realist and I am glad that the Coens tapped into this idea, no matter how light and playful the rest of the flick may be.

8. This is the End


Possibly, if not is, my favorite full-on comedy of the year. Maybe the fact that I am huge fan of just about everybody in this movie is why I loved it so much more than some others out there, but so be it if that is a fact! I had a great time feeling like I was hanging around with these guys, making jokes, acting dumb, doing strange things and best of all, trying to survive the end of the world. Not only was it hilarious-as-hell, but actually pretty damn entertaining when it got into the whole “action”-aspect of its story, without making it just an after-thought. Goes to show you that you can still have plenty of laughs and star-power for your big-budget, R-rated comedy, but you can also have everything else that makes a movie even more fun. Including the Backstreet Boys. Wow. How awesome was that? I mean, really?!?!

7. Captain Phillips 


By far the best thriller of the year. It’s no shock to the common-person that Paul Greengrass knows how to rack-up tension, but lord in heaven did this get my heart racing! Even though most out there did know what was going to happen at the end, it didn’t matter. Greengrass always found a way to add on something new to the story to give you an extra jolt or two, just for the heck of it, but it wasn’t done in a manipulative way (in a way that I didn’t respect Argo, but that’s a different discussion, for a different year). And also, even though he was wrongfully snubbed this year for Best Actor, Tom Hanks damn-well deserved it; not just for what he does throughout the movie, which is still great, but what he gives us to chew-on in those final minutes. Without spoiling it, he shows us sides to his acting-ability that, I for one, have never seen him utilize before and found a way to spin a beautiful, heart-warming moment, into something rather disturbing. Goes to show us that somebody who is considered “one of the best actors working today”, truly is just that.

6. Blackfish


Yet again, here’s another amazing work-of-art that was unjustly snubbed by the Oscars this year, but in a far different category, with even more controversy surrounding it. Everybody thinks that SeaWorld is this big, bright and beautiful place where the whales get to do fancy and neat little tricks with their loving-trainers joining in the fun as well. However, the painful truth that this documentary shines a light on is that what you see in front of your eyes, isn’t what’s usually happening behind the closed-curtains. In fact, these killer whales are being downright tortured from day one and it only continues to happen, even now as we speak. However, what makes this documentary such a novelty is that it does what all documentaries should do: Change a common-notion that the rest of society has. And with all of these bands and celebrities talking-out against the theme-park, it seems like an action may be taken. If not now, then definitely sometime in the near-future. Let’s just hope it happens before it’s not too late.

5. American Hustle


Though it definitely wasn’t a perfect movie, and O. Russell’s direction more than just simply “copied” Scrorsese’s sense-of-style, it was still one of the better, more entertaining-times I had at the movies this year. Mainly though, that’s attributed to the ensemble who all, even down to the smallest, most measly role, is pitch-perfect. Bale, Renner, Adams, and even a special cameo from a special person I won’t give away, are all great, but for me, the real stand-outs were Cooper and Lawrence. Hopefully both get the Oscars they’re more than just deserving of receiving, but that they continue to go down the path that they’re on, because they’re exciting talents to watch and see what happens next with them.

4. Blue Is The Warmest Color


All dirty jokes that you know that I am more than willing to deliver, aside, this movie is pretty freakin’ romantic. Not only does it capture what it’s like to experience new, and in ways, a “first love”, but to experience all of the exciting, new possibilities that come along with it. It’s all told and shown to us in a believable way that doesn’t leave much to imagination, but also doesn’t shy-away from giving us the brutal, raw and unrelenting feelings that come along with love, and how, for one second, you could feel like you’re on the top of the world, and then, the next second, feel like that said world is crashing down all around you. It’s heart-breaking to watch, but for anybody who has ever experienced the same thing in their life, it’s damn-near soul-crushing. Add on the fact that 20-year-old lead Adèle Exarchopoulos gives the best female performance of the year, but is also so believable as a young, blissful woman just wanting to experience love, life and everything else that comes along with it. Even the painful, sad things as well. Then again though, that’s life. You learn, you move on and you start all over again.

3. The Wolf of Wall Street


In case you’ve been living under a rock for, I don’t know, say the past month or so, there’s been an awful-lot made about this movie; most of which is deserved, but at the same time, doesn’t matter. Either way, it didn’t bother me as for each and every single moment of this near-three hour movie, I had an absolute great time. Marty Scorsese shows us why, even at age 71, should not be counted-out as one of the greatest directors of all-time, as he not only slows down for a single second, but throws just about every piece of coke, sex, drugs, hookers, sex, money, debauchery, greed, and more sex that he can even possibly think of. It’s entertaining to watch, and even though it is, sadly, all true-to-point, it also feels like Scorsese himself is still not fully on-board with these guys, despite what other critics have been saying. Also, it should be mentioned that, even though he won’t get it, Leo deserves, yet again, deserves an Oscar for what he does as Jordan Belfort. Not for just making this guy the least bit of a likable, charismatic character to watch, but for pulling-out all of the stops with this role and showing us, that even despite him acting and giving us great performances, year after year, that he’s still able to surprise us and show us his wide-range. Somebody just give him a damn Oscar already! I mean, seriously!?!?!?!

2. Her


Took me awhile to actually get a chance and see it, but gosh, was it ever so worth the wait! It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am a huge Spike Jonze fan, but just when I thought he couldn’t possibly surprise me anymore, he does just that. Though the premise of a man falling in love with his operating-system isn’t the most normal romance we’ve ever seen brought to screen, Jonze somehow finds a way to make it all believable, giving us a glimpse at two living, feeling and emoting beings that just want to live life, be loved and feel as if they have a reason to exist in this world. But through this relationship, and in the way that it develops over time into some very surprising places, Jonze is able to channel honest-to-God, insightful observations about what constitutes a romance and the motions that two people go through when they are in one. At times, it can be hilarious to watch, but at other times, it can be painfully sad. However, at the end of the day, it still feels like the type of romance that will have you looking deep on the inside, thinking of all the romances you’ve had in the past and how, regardless of whether or not they’ve been considered “eventful”, they’re still connections you’ve shared with a fellow human-being, and in ways, may have even shaped you to be the person you are today. Beautiful stuff right there, but it’s also very true. So get out there and continue making human-connections, you sad-sacks!

1. Before Midnight


It’s been quite some time since the last time we saw everybody’s favorite star-crossed, Jesse and Celine, together (Nine years, to be exact), and getting the chance to see them, finally, together once again, was something one film-lover needed to see. And while the circumstances of their being together was in fact surprising, it was even more shocking to see that time hasn’t really done much damage to either of these two. However, things do start to spin out of control and what is definitely one of my favorite scenes of the year, we are treated (or “punished”, depending on how you look at it) to what seems to be the one, romantic-getaway these two are finally getting to have with one another, that starts off beautiful and sweet at first, and then gets downright brutal, mean, sadistic and heart-thrashing. Many truths are unearthed, some brutal ones to say, and right in front of our eyes, we watch as one of cinema’s favorite screen-couples in the past two decades, actually seem like they may be over, and over FOR GOOD. I won’t dare to give away what ending Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy all go with, but it’s perfect in its ambiguous way. On the surface, things seem to be a-okay, but look closer, and you’ll see a huge amount of heartbreak, pain and agony just awaiting. That’s as much as I’ll say, as this definitely deserves to be seen. Aka, my favorite film of the year that was 2013.

Well, there you have it, folks! Hope you enjoyed yourselves and liked what I had to throw out at you! Sorry if some of it was a bit more than you probably expected, but it was all coming to me in one, fell-swoop, so you must sympathize. Anyway though, I would definitely like to say thanks to all of those loyal readers, commentators and supporters who have been here for me this past year. Who knows where I’d be without you guys, and if it weren’t for you, DTMMR would have been over a long, LONG time ago. Regardless, let’s make this next year even better, shall we?

Photo’s Credit to:


Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Khan or not, it’s still STAR TREK!!! So, shut up!!

The crew of the Enterprise is back! But this time, they are under the guidance of Captain Kirk (Chris Pine). Whether or not that’s a good thing, people believe in him and will go about his every word. However, his leadership is put to the test when the Fleet is wiped out by a mysterious enemy (Benedict Cumberbatch). Kirk and his crew don’t back down and instead, lead a manhunt to capture “a one man weapon of mass destruction”.

4 years ago, J.J. Abrams did something that no person in their right mind thought was possible: he made Star Trek cool. Yep, that’s exactly right: the dude who brought us Felicity, brought us the most-accessible, and by far, most entertaining Star Trek movie of the whole franchise. I know I may be making some mortal-enemies with that last statement there, but let the record state that I am not a big Trekkie, have watched the show on numerous occasions  and have seen about three or four films (at least what I can recall anyway). So yeah, I’m not the biggest Trekkie out there in the world, so yeah, maybe my opinion doesn’t matter in terms of what’s the best and what isn’t of the whole franchise, but do you know who’s opinion does matter? The regular, movie-going audience that got hooked with the last one, and can’t wait to see what this one has got going on, that’s who!

And I think it’s quite safe to say that they are going to have a great time with the latest check-up. Or, at least I hope, because I sure as hell know I did.

The odd aspect behind this whole movie it’s that Abrams doesn’t go balls-to-the-walls with changing anything up here. Instead, we get sort of the same formula for the first one, except a bit of a darker tone. However, I don’t want to really say it’s darker just because the stakes of human-life are a bit higher, but I definitely want to say it’s more “emotional” than the first one, which was more happy-go-lucky in the way that it didn’t want to bother people too much. Basically, this movie is just like the first, but do not take that as insult whatsoever, because I loved that about this movie.

I hate to say it, but Shatner never looked THIS stunning while holding a laser gun.

I hate to say it, but Shatner never looked THIS stunning while holding a phaser.

Abrams knows the type of movie he wants to make, and he knows that he’s got to have a little bit of everything for everyone. Yes, even those damn Trekkies get their shout-outs every once and awhile too, and it’s not just the obvious ones neither. There’s a shit-ton of action, some romance, a lot of humor, some sexiness, some drama, and a bunch of scenes that actually may scare you, just by how unexpected they are. But no matter where Abrams takes this movie, it always remains fun in the type of way that you almost feel like you can’t keep up with this movie. It’s sort of like when you’re running, and your friends show up next to you in their hot-ass ride and challenge you to a playful, but somewhat-serious running vs. driving race, and you continue to run your heart out, even though you know at the bottom of your slowly-dying heart you don’t have what it takes to beat the car, let alone even come close to catching up with it. You know what I mean? Kind of? Well, that’s what this flick reminded me of: running-up against my friend’s hot-ass ride.

Don’t get me wrong, neither, because that is nowhere near being a bad thing, especially during the beginning of what seems to be an already-promising Summer. Abrams always gives us something new to view, whether it be some beautiful visuals or something popping-out us in 3D, it doesn’t matter, because it’s always thrilling. In some cases, you could almost say that this movie has too much action, but to that, I’d probably say, “ehh.” The reason I’d say that is because you wouldn’t be wrong with that statement whatsoever, however, I’m the type of person who doesn’t mind their action done when it’s always electric, entertaining, tense, and can keep me as glued to the screen as I was here.

Seriously, even though I know everything’s going to be cool with each and every one of these characters, and whether or not they’re fates will be decided in a gloomy-way by the end, I was still on-the-edge-of-my-seat, just wondering what was going to happen next, to whom, and how the rest of the U.S.S. Enterprise was going to feel after all of the tears have been dropped. Okay, maybe that’s going a bit too far, but it was what I was feeling, while I sat all crumbled-up with my large-ass soda and popcorn. I was feeling comfy, cozy, and all easy inside, and then this movie came on and had to ruin everything for a simple man like myself. However, that’s not a negative either. I had fun with this movie, no matter what Abrams decided to throw at the screen and see what stuck, and it just goes to show you that this guy really does have the mastery and the craft to voice a new generation of Star Wars fans for many, many years to come.

Still though: what’s going to happen to his Star Trek franchise? Who knows? Only time will tell on that one, my friends.

"Don't worry, I have all this shit planned out."

“Don’t worry, I have all this shit planned out.”

Just like the first movie, this Star Trek entry may have the explosions, the cool-gadgets, the Klingons, and the fireworks to catch your pretty, little eyes, but in reality: it’s all about the characters and which ones mean the most to each other. Just in case you were questioning whether Spock and Kirk made up, hugged, and got over their differences, no need to worry; because they haven’t. Yup, they still bicker, argue, and trade quips against one another about choosing logicality-over-impulse and it’s as enthralling to watch as it was in the first movie. It never gets old, despite them having a fight about five or six times here, and you always wait to see what layer of this character is going to peeled-off next, so that the other can capitalize on the vulnerability of the other and show their strength. It’s not all serious though, it’s played for fun and games, but there’s something still really strong between these two that obviously keeps them on the same ground, united, and, well, “friends.” Believe it or not, these two are friends, and this movie shows that many-upon-many of times, all of which, are as compelling and heartwarming as the last. No, Kirk and Spock do not start making-out, but if they did, the reaction would have been filled with more claps than boos.

The two cats playing those iconic characters, respectively, Chris Pine and Zachary Qunto, are still amazing at what they do and show that they have fully grown into these characters with much ease and skill. Pine is as brass as he can get as Kirk, but still shows some ounces of humanity every once and awhile that has us feel like the kid is learning as time goes on, and the stakes continue to get higher for him, and his crew. Quinto is also great as Spock, showing just how smart and thought-provoking he can be with what he says, what he stands for, and what he stands against. Quinto has pretty much mastered the hell out of this role by now, and it’s no surprise that once things start getting a little hectic for Spock in the end, Quinto owns it and makes us feel like Spock will, and forever always be: a bad-ass. I mean, after all, I do own this t-shirt, so I think I know when the guy’s bad-ass and when he’s not. Rarely ever is he the latter.

As for the others along for the adventure, not all of them get as much screen-time as they did with the first movie, but still show each of the acquired-skills and how they all come into play with this story, at least once or twice just to remind us that they are there. Zoe Saldana is good as Uhura, as her and Spock’s relationship is once again, tested to see if they really are worth sticking around and getting all hyped-up over, or if they should just focus their attention on space, and shit like that. A bit obvious for a story like this to go down that route, but both stars handle it like professionals and easily make it a relationship worth caring about, even when danger stares both of them in the eyes, even without a blink. And yes, we all know that Alice Eve’s Carol will eventually play a bigger-role in the franchise sooner or later, but for right now, she’s just here for this and this alone. She’s good when she is called on to do something, but that’s very rare when she isn’t just posing in some misogynistic movie-scene. Not a huge feminist by any stretch of the meaning, but I do know when unneeded is exactly that, and that scene was. At least she’s hot, though.

"No need to fear, baby, I got this. Oh, I mean, uhm....don't worry female human-organism, I will conquer this predicament."

“No need to fear, baby, I got this. Oh, I mean, uhm….don’t worry female human-organism, I will conquer this predicament.”

Even though they don’t get as much adoration and love like they did in the first one, everybody else seems to get their one moment in the sun, and milk it for as long as they can. Simon Pegg is a bigger-part in this story, than he was in the last, and has a great time with the role, but isn’t his usual jokey-wokey self. Yes, Pegg’s definitely funny as Scotty, but the guy helps out a bit more with these plans that makes him less of a fool, and more a smarty-pants, that does smarty-things. Karl Urban is a laugh-out-loud riot as Bones, and shows why his comedic-timing is a thing to behold, even in the darkest of situations. I guess it’s still nice to see when the guy isn’t judging drug-addled crooks, the dude’s still got time to patch everyone up. John Cho gets to have his moment to play in the sun and sand as Sulu, but is mainly there to steer the ship when it needs that ripe-steering, and Anton Yelich is barely even here as Chekov, but I think that’s on-purpose for the whole fact that not many people really care for the dude. Chekov, I mean, not Yelchin. Although, I wouldn’t be too sure that the Trekkies don’t have it out for that guy either. Those mofo’s are crazy.

Most of the hooplah surrounding this movie isn’t about whether it’s good or not, or even better than the first; it’s mainly been all around if the main villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, will in fact be Khan or not. Without diving into any more about this character that may land me in some hot lava, I just want to say that the man is great with this role as he always seems to be one step ahead of everybody else on the Enterprise, and does whatever the hell he can to keep his name, his pride, and his destination clear in sight. The guy’s got some real scary eyes that demand your attention, and it works. You never quite feel like this dude’s going to get away with anything he plans, which in it’s own right, doesn’t make all that much sense to begin with, but you don’t care. All you know about this dude is that he’s a baddie, doing baddie things, and not so much as leaving a post-it for saying “sorry.” Yeah, I know, right? What a total dick!

Has to be Khan, right? I don’t know. I’ll leave that one to you, my friends.

Consensus: Regardless as to whether or not it fully fits in line with the die-hard Trekkies or not, Star Trek Into Darkness is one hell of a ride that’s jam-packed with thrills, emotion, humor, beautiful special-effects, and a feeling that this franchise can, and just might go anywhere and it will always be awesome. Let’s just hope that J-squared doesn’t get too wild ‘n out with Star Wars.

9 / 10 = Full Price!!

"Don't worry guys, in 2 more years, I will have totally forgotten about all of you."

“Don’t worry guys, in 2 more years, I will have totally forgotten about all of you. But anyway, while we’re at it, CHEEESE!!”