Starring: Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood, Alex Sharpe, Tom Burke
Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru is one of the celebrated director’s greatest films, a towering, humanistic achievement in a filmography that’s full of them. So why give yourself the tall task of remaking that film in an English context? To the credit of Living, Kurosawa’s film can be easily translated into virtually any time period or culture. And proper British society in the 1950s shares many of the work-first mentality that was reflected in the 1952 version.
There may not be a strong thematic thread evident through each of these installments, but they’re perhaps the strangest collective bunch of the show so far. One deals with an incredibly straightforward premise, and the other’s plot is so memorable and complex that I mostly knew of it from the spoof that Futurama produced.
Starring: Finn Wolfhard, Julianne Moore, Alisha Boe, Billy Bryk, Jay O. Sanders
Jesse Eisenberg’s first step behind the camera debuted almost exactly a year ago at the last Sundance Film Festival to an online audience after the festival went completely virtual due to the pandemic. There are films that manage to transcend the indie festival’s stereotypical quirks – films like Whiplash or Judas and the Black Messiah – and there are those that seem almost designed with the idea of airing there. Ultimately, When You Finish Saving the World feels more like the latter. It’s a decent dual character study that could have been better, more nuanced, than the final product.
Let’s talk about pacing. So far it’s been the least enjoyable aspect of Star Trek by a long shot, though I don’t exactly place the blame at the feet of Roddenberry or any of the creative team. I would imagine that virtually every hour-long program of its era had similar issues, but I’ve felt it during some of these episodes so far, and the most during both of these episodes. Every episode has been 50 minutes, and of course the show had to find ways to stretch the storylines to fit that requirement. But sometimes the show will occasionally hit patterns where it will repeat itself without much plot development to speak of.
You don’t need me to tell you that the 60s were a decade of political and social upheaval, a rejection of society’s norms that saw a radical change to daily life for many Americans. One of those areas of change was in women’s rights, going from a place of subservience to independence. Part of Star Trek’s enduring appeal is in its ability to mine stories based on the events of the day and place them in a sci-fi context, and this week’s episodes contain the most overt examples of this phenomenon.
Sometimes it’s refreshing to sit down for a movie and know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Watch any of the trailers for M3GAN and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what kind of film it is. A synthetic blend of Child’s Play and Ex Machina (yes, really), M3GAN will provide enough laughs and chills to get you through the doldrums of January releases but doesn’t deviate from that predetermined algorithm.
Before I started watching Star Trek I envisioned a show that would deal with aliens and new, exotic worlds on a weekly basis. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Instead, the show has mostly dealt with existential conundrums within its sci-fi trappings. Of course, the grounded concepts are probably the result of the show’s limited budget – this is a network TV show in the 60s, after all. The results have been mostly great so far, but it’s tempered my expectations going forward.
Last year’s slate of films was one to be excited for as we emerged from the pandemic, with upcoming films from establishment names like Spielberg, Chazelle, McDonagh, Park, Cameron, Luhrmann, and more. But it also yielded plenty of great unheralded films from upcoming filmmakers that will put them on the radars of film lovers going forward. 2023 is looking to be an even bigger year for movies, with headline films from Christopher Nolan, Greta Gerwig, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, M. Night Shyamalan, Taika Waititi, David Fincher, Wes Anderson, and Ari Aster (plus many more).