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Star Trek: Into Darkness

Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoë Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch | PG-13 |


Far be it from me to suggest that Jim Kirk (Pine) is cocky, but his ego is so big it has its own moons. Of course that’s bound to happen when you’re a Starfleet hotshot whose bedroom is a strange new world where every woman has been before. So if Into Darkness is Kirk’s comeuppance, well, he had it coming. Fortunately the film never gets too heavy with its humbling, delivering a fun adrenaline rush that’s perfect for summer.

Into Darkness launches into the action with Kirk and Bones (Karl Urban) trying to outrun the locals on a primitive planet, while Spock (Quinto) takes the hot seat inside an erupting volcano. That little escapade gets them in trouble with the brass, testing Kirk and Spock’s still-evolving friendship, a subplot that drives much of the film’s heart and humor.

Far more pressing is the capture of Starfleet turncoat John Harrison (Cumberbatch), a baddie with loads of secrets who makes Kirk question his own mettle and ethics. Cumberbatch brings a nice steely coldness to the film that will be familiar to fans of his TV show Sherlock, but truly, all of the actors are game, with a script that gives each a moment to shine. And yes, there are a few plot holes that may nag at you later, but you’ll hardly notice while you’re having a great time.

The English Teacher

Julianne Moore, Nathan Lane, Greg Kinnear | Unrated |


Maybe it’s a personal failing, but I still can’t see how humiliating smart, capable women is supposed to be funny. Take Linda Sinclair (Moore). She’s a bit lost in books, perhaps, but then she is an English teacher. When her former student Jason (Michael Angarano) shows her a play he’s written, Linda is so supportive that she offers to stage it at the high school. That’s where things go all kinds of wrong – mainly for Linda. The film (available on demand) has her behave tastelessly, resulting in what seems like the whole town’s getting out their pitchforks. The ugliness all but upstages Moore’s performance, though Nathan Lane still amuses as a pretentious drama teacher.