All posts tagged: Star Trek

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The Popdose Interview: William Shatner

William Shatner is one of the greatest Canadian exports of all time, a full-fledged North American treasure. He is also a man who is unafraid to stay on topic, so if you’d like to get him to open up, it’s best to stick to things predominantly to matters related to current projects. Popdose was offered the opportunity to spend 10 minutes on the phone with the individual some call the Shatman, and we snapped it up giddily, but don’t dive in with expectations of an in-depth interview about his life and times. In truth, the most in-depth we got in our conversation came when discussing how much we both enjoy the adrenaline rush of getting a good story during an interview. Still, we did talk about his latest documentary project, The Captains Close Up (a.k.a the reason we were chatting in the first place), what other docs he’s got in the pipeline, what musician he’s collaborating with on his next album, and if there’s a chance we might actually get to see him acting again …

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The Great Summer Movies: KHAAAAAAAAN

There’s an old man on a spaceship. He’s cheated death, tricked his way out of death, and patted himself on the back for his ingenuity. He never loses. He’s facing down a madman with a vendetta against him, and he’s literally racing against time. He wins, of course, and just as he settles into his default air of smug self-satisfaction, he looks to his right. An empty chair. A missing friend. “Jim, you’d better get down here.” At first glance, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan doesn’t feel much like a Trek movie. It feels more like one of the original series’ “bottle shows” where all the action had to take place on standing sets so that they could afford to build Vulcan in a sound stage for next week. There’s not much exploration of strange new worlds, and no new life forms or civilizations. The proceedings feel epic anyway, because like all great Trek, Wrath isn’t really about sci-fi mumbo jumbo at all; it’s about theme and character. Beyond William Shatner’s nascent paunch …

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10 Movies…That Are Fifth-Quels (To Prepare You For Another Fifth Movie in a Franchise, ‘Scary Movie 5’

Most movie series don’t make it to five films. Either the filmmakers run out of ideas, or the studio reboots the characters. The latest “fifth-quel” is Scary Movie 5, which, since it’s in a franchise that just parodies whatever horror movies and cultural moments came along since the last one came out, doesn’t have to concern itself with such matters. Here are some movies that kept the gravy train going—formula and tired plotlines be damned! Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994) The Death Wish series reflected and defined the ‘70s as a grimy, violent, seedy place, where there were brutally violent bad guys just asking to get shot by the stone-faced, equally brutally violent good guys — and it actually lasted into the ‘90s. Once more, Paul Kersey is a magnet for thugs as a woman he loves gets brutalized and he has to write some wrongs and vigilante the shit out of some shit. Starring a 73-year-old Charles Bronson. The Dead Pool (1988) The iconic Dirty Harry film series reflected and defined the …

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Popdose at Kirkus Reviews: 2012 Round-Up!

In any given year, more books cross my path than I could ever possibly read, let alone review. As this particular year winds down, I want to devote a column to the books that land on my desk and never leave; I never get around to writing about them, but I hang onto them just the same — sometimes for personal enjoyment, sometimes with horrified fascination. So here, a highly selective list of the best — and the weirdest — of the orphans, cast-offs and also-rans that lit up my 2012 while you weren’t looking. Biggest Boat Missed: Jerry Scheff’s memoir Way Down. Scheff was the longtime bass player for Elvis Presley’s TCB Band, and logged hundreds of studio sessions for a Who’s Who of pop artists: Johnny Mathis, the Doors, Elvis Costello, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, and the proverbial many more. Way Down blends autobiography, road stories, and a deep musicality in a wry, wise voice, for one of the most purely enjoyable celebrity books I’ve ever read. The issue was timeliness. Much as …

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Boxed In: The Top Music Reissues of 2012

Every year, while lording over an impressive amount of music catalogue news and views at my site, The Second Disc, I think the same thing at the end of every year: this is it. This is the year the reissue/remaster/repackage trend gets too outsized for the marketplace. Once again, I am wrong. Are major and indie labels getting smarter and more ambitious about what to re-release and how to release it? Are aging hipsters and Gen-Xers, with their considerable gobs of disposable income, more apt to re-buy the same seminal albums they grew up with, plus a bonus disc of rarities and outtakes? Yes and yes – and yet, none of those are solely why catalogue music is more robust than ever. 2012 has seen a lot of catalogue titles that seem too big for the modern music business. Thanks to sites like U.K. blog SuperDeluxeEdition, value-added packaging and other flights of consumer fancy are more fetishized over now than when I first took serious notice of the trend. But what most deluxe packaging sometimes hides is …

Revival House: “I Have Been and Always Shall Be Your Friend”

This week’s Revival House is going to be a little different; in the TV world it would be called a “very special episode.” I was thinking how funny it is that the experience of enjoying a movie can be influenced by the circumstances of the screening — most importantly, who we see the movie with. Like my friend Zant, who made my experience of seeing WarGames very memorable by screaming “This is the ultimate movie!!!!” during the final sequence. Or when I saw Alien (1979) at the Solano Drive-In with my friend Eric and his mom. At some point late in the film, when things were getting fairly intense on-screen, a conversation took place between them that went something like this: Eric’s mom: What’s she doing? Eric: Going after the cat. Eric’s mom: FUCK THE CAT!! And then there’s my friend Alex Baker, who always made seeing a new Star Trek movie very special for me. Although we didn’t see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) together when it came out, we’ve watched …

DVD Review: “Catlow”

I’ve never been a true fan of the Western genre. As a matter of fact, I can count the number of Westerns I like enough to own on DVD and still have a finger or two left over to use. Having just watched Catlow, recently released on DVD, I’ve just lost one more counting finger. Originally released in cinemas back in 1971, Catlow, starring the mighty Yul Brynner (The King and I, Westworld) in the title role, is one seriously fun, craftily written, expertly directed, rousingly good ol’ time. Based on the novel by Louis L’Amour, the film begins with Marshall Ben Cowan (the late Richard Crenna) beset upon by Indians as he attempts to track down and arrest the outlaw cattle rustler Catlow. Cowan is injured by the Indians, but is unexpectedly rescued by Catlow and his men. The two share a special bond, having fought in the Civil War, and are friends of a type, neither man truly wanting to bring the other to any harm. This is proven straightaway, when in a discussion on how best …

The Bigger Picture: In Defense of McG: Or, Why I’m Not a Movie Critic

When our esteemed editor and retired slow jam artist Jeff Giles first asked me to contribute to this site, he wanted me to contribute as a movie critic. I believe what he wanted was a “Chuck Klosterman of movies.” Certainly all of my friends would have thought me a perfect fit, but I told Jeff I’d rather do something a little different. Popdose currently has two fine critics in Robert Cashill and Lance Berry. These are two gentlemen whose opinions I respect and enjoy. Many times, however, I find myself in serious disagreements with them. I don’t consider myself a critic, though I have agreed to do the occasional DVD review here. Though I argue with my friends incessantly about film, to the point where they are often surprised when I actually like a movie, I don’t want people to think of me as a critic. Often my opinions stem more from feeling than actual critical thought, which may or may not be a good thing. Say the name “McG” out loud. Sounds pretty stupid, …

21st Century Digital Boy: Hulu, “Star Trek,” “Idol” Loss, and “Jon & Kate”

Jon & Kate Plus … Date?: Can’t help but start with the worst first. If there’s one thing that’s certain in the world of entertainment, it’s the love of a good old-fashioned scandal. Only this time, really not that surprising or scandalous — it’s just too bad. Pure as baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet, the reality TV version of Eight Is Enough, the Gosselins from TLC’s Jon & Kate Plus 8, are now embroiled in a “cheating” hullabaloo of sorts. For those not yet in the loop on this one, husband Jon was apparently caught partying late with a woman who wasn’t his wife and (shock!) that’s set off a firestorm of public opinion. It was a bad judgment call that’s awakened all the perfect parents out in TV land, all of whom now feel free to psychoanalyze the real human beings in this delicate situation. The Gosselins’ site doesn’t say much, but the blog Gosselins Without Pity (ouch!) is hot to trot (natch) about this story. The bottom line? Look, having eight kids so …

DVD Review: “Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder”

Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (2009, 20th Century Fox) purchase this DVD (Amazon) Anyone even remotely familiar with science fiction knows that the Star Trek films suffered from a quality curse. It seemed that every odd-numbered film (especially Star Trek V) was absolutely horrible, while the even-numbered movies (in particular Star Trek II) were great. It wasn’t until the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation began making their own films that the curse was broken, albeit in the worst way: Each of their films (especially Star Trek: Insurrection, which makes Trek V look like Apocalypse Now) –with the exception of First Contact–was exponentially worse than that which came before. All of this is a roundabout way of stating that the original direct-to-DVD episodes of Futurama have become the equivalent of reverse Trek: The odd-numbered episodes are good, while the even-numbered episodes suck. Unfortunately, the latest (and potentially last) installment, Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder, is unlucky number four. As viewers of the last installment, Futurama: Bender’s Game will recall, that episode ended …