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Space Oddity



Space might be the final frontier but there is some pretty awesome stuff on the Internet these days.

Over at Esquire magazine Stephen Marche recently penned a nice piece on how big summer blockbusters are purposefully made to appeal to as many people as possible, and are therefore, "incredibly useful as guides to the psychology of the American public."

It makes sense right? When you're looking to suck in everyone's money you play off what's inside the most peoples' heads. Sometimes it's 90 minutes of drugs-and-fart jokes (The Hangover 3 opens Wednesday night) and other times it's all about hanging your zillion dollar action flick on people's subconscious fear of machines and (of course) terrorism. (What? Iron Man 3 is actually a clever commentary about America using drones on its own citizens?)

Following that line of thinking, Star Trek Into Darkness opens this Friday, and you know things are bad when even the always-optimistic Star Trek franchise starts heading "into the darkness." Director J.J. Abrams (Lost, Cloverfield the last Star Trek) continues his dismantling/rebuilding of the Trekkie universe. The Indiana Jones-esque opening sequence positions Spock's logic (brain) against Kirk's gut (ego) with Uhura's legs trapped somewhere in the middle, just to keep things swanky and interesting (love triangles never go out of style, despite Twilight's best attempts.)

Star Trek Into Darkness includes all the hot contemporary subjects you've come to expect in a "smart" action movie: a traitor in the ranks, false flag terrorism, suicide bombers, warmongering and Klingons. That's not to say Abrams doesn't throw some quality action into the mix, and all of the actors shine, but for a movie with a Vulcan in it this one has some pretty massive leaps of narrative and logical faith. A lot of characters spend a lot of time explaining what is happening — Spock even has to phone his future self to make sure we all know just how bad the bad guy really is.

Star Trek Into Darkness is not a movie for nitpickers (movies where they "cure" death very rarely are) but if you are willing to buy in, it's not that bad. (Funny though how even a futuristic thriller like this still climaxes in one dude chasing another one around on foot.)

The Hangover 3 has not had any press screenings yet which is all the better for the third installment of a comedy — how much do you really want to give away when everyone already knows the characters and formula? The trailer looks pretty good although it will be interesting to see how much of this movie hangs on the "small funny-talking Asian guy" stereotype this franchise has already milked for over three hours and counting. The good news is they also have getting-hotter-with-age Heather Graham (Boogie Nights) and John Goodman (Barton Fink) as what looks like a bad guy version of Walter from the Big Lebowski. Regardless, Zach Galifinakis seems to be the star here and that cannot be bad. That guy is funnier than a baboon's nuts.

The download of the week is Hitchcock. Anthony Hopkins murders the title role with Helen Mirren stepping in as the genius woman behind the man. The plot centers around Hitchcock's struggles to make Psycho and keep his marriage together while also obsessing with his leading ladies. Scarlett Johansson steps into the Janet Leigh role perfectly and the whole thing, from the look of 1962 Hollywood to the film within the film within the mind of a master, is pitch-perfect.

Line of the year: "Please, call me Hitch, hold the cock."