TV Review – Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation Part 1

When Star Trek was canceled by NBC in the late 1960s, it seemed like its revival was an inevitability. As early as 1972, there were discussions about a film, and by 1977, it was decided to make a revival television series starring the original cast. Another change in mind led to the Star Trek film series that kicked off in 1980 and led to Wrath of Khan and the following pictures. The popularity of the Star Trek movies led Paramount pictures to plan for a new series with creator Gene Rodenberry coming on board after seeing some disappointing early ideas. By September 1987, Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered in syndication. The show would go for a longer run than its predecessor and gain a fanbase that rivaled the original series.

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Movie Review – The King of Comedy

The King of Comedy (1982)
Written by Paul D. Zimmerman
Directed by Martin Scorsese

The King of Comedy came out in the wake of Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull. It features no gratuitous sex or nudity, little profanity, and not one drop of blood (well DeNiro does get a small scratch on his hand in the opening scene). It is a Scorsese film with a PG rating. When it was initially released, the film was a total failure. People went in expecting laughs with a title like The King of Comedy, but instead from an uncomfortable and cringe-inducing character study about the demented nature of fame. Todd Phillips cites this as one of the primary influences on his recent movie Joker, but it’s relatively clear he couldn’t reproduce the script that makes The King of Comedy one of Scorsese’s best.

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Movie Review – Wings of Desire

Wings of Desire (1987)
Written by Wim Wenders, Peter Handke, & Richard Reitinger
Directed by Wim Wenders

In the late 1980s, the city of Berlin was divided, split down the center by the construction of the Berlin Wall by the Soviets in 1961. This wall served as a physical representation of the ideological rift that existed in the world during the Cold War. While Wings of Desire is not about this wall, it is ever-present in the background, a reminder that West Berlin was once part of a whole and in 1987 a fragment. Our first scene puts the audience above the city, through the eyes of the angel, that is the film’s protagonist. We see the complexity and beauty of this place through the perspective of one who loves it and the people dearly.

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Short Film Showcase #3

The Wrong Trousers (1993, directed by Nick Park)

The Wrong Trousers isn’t the first outing of the stop motion characters Wallace & Gromit or even the first short to won Nick Park an Academy Award. That honor belongs to A Grand Day Out, also a great short film. However, The Wrong Trousers was incredibly commercially successful for a short in an era where that form of a movie just doesn’t get much attention or distribution any longer. Park never tries to elevate the themes of his story beyond just pure fun and a well-told tale of a dog, his owner, and an evil penguin.

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My Favorite Stephen King Movies

There are a LOT of bad Stephen King movies out there. The Tommyknockers. Dreamcatcher. Maximum Overdrive. Sleepwalkers. Thinner. I’d argue there are more lousy King adaptations than good ones. But his work resonates with audiences so profoundly that I suspect the films will keep coming for far beyond his and our lifetimes. Here are my personal favorites of movies made based on his work with some thoughts about them.

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Movie Review – Stand By Me

Stand By Me (1986)
Written by Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon
Directed by Rob Reiner

Stephen King’s name is mostly associated with horror, rightfully so, as that’s the genre he primarily works in. However, he’s written some realistic dramatic fiction that has resonated with readers as much as his horror books. The Body was one of four novellas in the collection Different Season, published in 1982 as a way for King to present some of his non-horror work. Included in this book alongside The Body was Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, and The Breathing Method. The last novella is set to become a film in 2020, meaning that the entirety of Different Seasons will be adapted at that point. The Body has a complex structure, being told as the memories of an adult, but with chapters about characters separate from the narrator’s point of view present information he likely never knew. There are also short stories written by the narrator in the middle of The Body, presented as if they have been published later in his life.

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Movie Review – The Souvenir

The Souvenir (2019)
Written & Directed by Joanna Hogg

She meets him during a party. He works for the foreign office, is older, and exudes that overwhelming sense of mystery and sophistication. They stumble through the first steps of a thing they haven’t entirely defined yet. She’s caught up in developing her first feature film, a story about a declining English city. He’s always bounding about for work. Then his secret comes out, divulged by a dinner guest and every single thing in her life goes spiraling. This is a semi-autobiographical film from Joanna Hogg which follows the character of Julie in the early 1980s as she sinks into the quicksand of a destructive relationship.

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