NEW SHOW | STAR TREK: DISCOVERY

STARRING: Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh, Jason Isaacs

Today was the Netflix release of Star Trek: Discovery, the newest Star Trek series since Enterprise in 2005.

This series revolves around the Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), an intelligent and head strong young human woman who has been raised by Vulcans after her family were killed by Klingons. When their ship – USS Shenzhou – captained by Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) comes across an unknown object floating around in space; Commander Burnham volunteers to go and see what it is.

What she discovers – see what I did there – is the presence of Klingons who in this setting haven’t been seen in over a century. The first two episodes are then a battle of wills between Burnham and Captain Georgiou who differ on how to deal with the possible threat of the warrior race.

This all sets up for an exciting opening episode but for me, I was lost for a while in how much Burnham annoyed me! It’s the same annoyance that one feels for Mr Spock and his supreme intelligence and sense of superiority. However, because I was so annoyed by her only went to prove how well she’d embodied the characteristics of Vulcans.

The appearance of another familiar race – the Klingons – is done well as they feature heavily in the episodes as does their language. Their guttural language reminds me a lot of Dothraki but that’s neither here nor there; I’m sure George R.R. Martin got his inspiration from somewhere! Their leader’s drive for unification amongst their race against what they view as a common enemy is definitely relevant to current events. Whether this was intentional remains to be seen but it doesn’t go unnoticed, especially within the inclusion of such a diverse cast.

An African- American woman as the protagonist of a sci-fi series is virtually unheard of but can definitely work. Martin-Green does well enough in the role for me to continue watching it.

My only negative with the show is the effects. While it is set roughly ten years prior to the original Star Trek series – I’m talking Captain Kirk original here people – it looks slightly dated. I realise this may be keeping in line with the original but watching with 2017 eyes makes me a bit picky. I’m used to Apple HD level viewing; felt like I was watching through SnapChat on an Android 😉

Either way, I’ll be watching this and see if it brings any surprises along the way.

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ALIEN: COVENANT – REVIEW

Starring: Michael Fassbender
Director: Ridley Scott
Running Time: 122mins
Cert: 15

Some of you may remember my review of Prometheus; the much anticipated prequel to the Alien franchise and the disaster i thought that was.

Alien: Covenant is no exception.

While this film actually wraps up any loose ends as to how the Xenomorphs were created and why; it was still let down by the acting and the lack of real action. The ultimate revelation at the end of the film is definitely insightful and a little shocking; but this was let down by everything else that went on before.

In short, Ridley Scott basically re made Alien with more unknown characters and a monster that because this being prequel of course; a monster we had already seen. The shock factor of the Xenomorph was lost in many ways because we’re not particularly scared of it anymore. Sure, its still shocking and gory but the ‘fear of the unknown’ of the original films is lost because now you’re just anticipating when the facehugger is going to come out of the egg or when the extra mouth is going to pop out of the black adult alien.

Sadly, it was all very cliche and it didnt even have characters that you could sympathise with or relate to in this outing. For people who are meant to be scientists and prepared for medical emergencies or ship malfunctions etc. once something bad happened; they all seemed to fall apart very quickly. Within an hour; half the crew were dead and you either didnt really care or thought it was their own fault.

The one saving grace of the film is of course, Michael Fassbender. The one star in the film; of course not counting Guy Pierce in the opening credits and James Franco in a throwback of a home movie. His portrayal of the androids David and Walter are amazing. His movements, his speech; his lust for art and culture while in David form is fantastic and more so very believable.

I anticipated his scenes as they created a sense of foreboding that had you on the edge of your seat. Not physically of course but more so in anticipating what he was going to and when; where everyone else was pretty predictable.

The film gets points for nostalgia purposes but generally, its really…plain. Theres nothing to gloriously praise or even criticise. Its just kind of…there.

Alien: Covenant is out May 12th.

 

DEAR WHITE PEOPLE – REVIEW

DWP

Review

 

Starring: Tessa Thompson, Tyler James Williams, Dennis Haysbert, Brandon Bell, Teyonah Parris
Director: Justin Simien
Running time: 108mins
Cert: R

Dear White People has had an interesting journey  from across the pond after its debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, but, after a long battle between production bodies and the BFI, Dear White People has now been granted distribution in the UK and will be released in a number of cinemas across the country. I attended the UK premiere at the Prince Charles Cinema on Wednesday.

Dear White People  is a satirical comedy-drama that focuses on the intertwining lives of four African-American students at the prestigious and predominantly white, Winchester University.
Here, we meet the protagonist of the film, Sam White (Tessa Thompson); the socially and culturally conscious, rebellious and highly intelligent mixed-race girl who fights against the apparent racism at Winchester. She has a radio show entitled Dear White People where she attempts to highlight all the ways in which they don’t understand the culture of black people and the struggles they go through. She has self published a book entitled Ebony and Ivy which dictates certain levels of blackness, and all while having a secret affair with her white class tutor!

DWP is funny, thought provoking and eye opening to the various stereotypes that are not only given by other races but given to ourselves.

Within the movie we meet the Rebel (Thompson), who is afro-centric and pro black despite being “only half black” and seems to demonstrate the need to over compensate for this. There is the Poster Child (Bell), who’s father pressures him to overachieve so not to fit into stereotypes that whites may give him. The fact that a “black man trying to fit in the white mans world” IS in fact a stereotype, doesnt seem to bother the father. The Token black kid (Williams) who is just around to prove a social group have an ethnic presence and the Diva (Parris); the dark skin girl with the weave and blue contact lenses who only dates white guys to escape her less than respectable upbringing.

All of these characters can ring true in various social settings and i admittedly saw elements of myself in some of them. However, the film does highlight many other truths of black and white culture and what we deem acceptable behind closed doors. Do White people harbor the need to call us niggers at any given moment if they see a group of black people doing something “black”? I would like to think not, but DWP brings new light and humour (so not to be too controversial) to the idea white people inherently look down on black people but then want to relish in all things black, except to actually be it.

The climax of the film, in which a “black face” party begins on campus, though funny to an extent of how other cultures see us; its testament to that same fact. Black culture is ghetto culture and thats how they view us. The question stands however, that if these are the only things we portray or what is put out in the media, how do we expect other cultures to think/look differently at us?

Of course for any race to turn up to a black face party covered in shoe polish or nutella and calling themselves Shaniqua is a derogative in any sense but understand there is a line between disrespecting black culture and being Miley Cyrus. She did not come up with Twerking and shes not even doing it right!

Either way, this review has turned into more of a rant lol but it still stands that Dear White People is provocative and insightful in its title and content and its depiction of racism in America. Of all places in the world, it seems to be most rife in the states but do not attempt to be fooled that as Brits we are not fighting the same battles. Its just perhaps not showcased and exploited as violently and graphically as police brutality and blatant waving of Confederate flags.

Dear White People is out now!

WHAT TO WATCH!! – MOVIES

What To Watch

 

– Today is Friday so that means its movie release day! A few new films have popped up today so here is a quick list of them and what its about if you were unsure! – 

 

STARRED UP
Cast: Jack O’Connell, Rupert Friend, Ben Mendelsohn
Director: David Mackenzie
Cert: 18

Jack O’Connell is set to give a career shaping performance in this prison drama about violent teen Eric Love who finds himself in the difficult transition from a young offender’s institute to adult prison. Despite help from prison therapist (Rupert Friend), he also helped by an inmate who just happens to be his dad (Ben Mendelsohn).

ABOUT LAST NIGHT
Cast: Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant
Director: Steve Pink
Cert: 15

The second of Kevin Hart’s films to hit UK screens this year and this time he is accompanied by his Think Like A Man co stars Regina Hall and Michael Ealy. A modern version of the classic romantic comedy starring Rob Lowe and Demi Moore in 1986, about two people getting into their first committed relationship. Paired up with the more comical relationship of Hart and Hall hopefully brings more laughs in then Ride Along.

A LONG WAY DOWN
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Rosamund Pike, Aaron Paul
Director: Pascal Chaumeil
Cert: 15

A once beloved TV personality who is now, shall we say a little bit passed it, is on top of a London skyscraper on New Year’s Ever and ready to jump. However, he’s soon joined by single mother Maureen (Collette), sassy teen Jess (Poots), and musician turned pizza-delivery boy JJ (Paul). They decide, instead of jumping tomake a pact and stay alive and stay together until Valentine’s Day at least…

LABOR DAY
Cast: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith
Dir. Jason Reitman, US, 2013, 111 mins
Certificate: 12A     Distributor: Paramount

Labor Day” centers on 13-year-old Henry Wheeler is 13 years old and struggling to be the man of the house while caring for his reclusive mother Adele and live a normal teenage life. While on a back-to-school shopping trip, Henry and his mother meet Frank Chambers, a man both intimidating and  in need of some help, who they agree to take home but later find out is an escaped convict resulting in the longest Labor Day weekend of their lives…