Star Trek Into Darkness

Not rated yet!
Director
J.J. Abrams
Runtime
2 h 12 min
Release Date
5 May 2013
Genres
Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Overview
When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.
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Dave Cullen5
Computing Forever



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • 5 Major Criticisms of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek Films
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  • My Problems with Star Trek Prequels
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  • The Future of the Star Trek Franchise
    (”Star Trek Into Darkness” is briefly mentioned in this.)
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PJ Media Staff8
PJ Media



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • How Would You Rank the Star Trek Movies?
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Star Trek - The Motion Picture - Trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:A) in the commentsB) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. A very thoughtful email from Richard B. to get the discussion going:Hi Dave!When you said that you were going to start ranking the films, I said “YES!”.The interesting thing is that you have to use multiple groups to rank them:Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home    This would be the best of the original series. But it’s really the third film of a trilogyStar Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn      Just sheer fun that revitalized the series. Beside, Ricardo walked off with that movie.Star Trek III: The Search for Spock     Had to come up with a way to bring back Spock and besides, it helped Nimoy learn to direct a major motion picture, setting the stage for IV.I put Star Trek The Motion Picture equal to Star trek VI: The Undiscovered Country       Both were good for opening and closing the original series movies. (Besides, you had Jerry Goldsmith for music here. Say “Patton”? Another list for you, Best movie composers. Goldsmith was original while John Williams is derivative.)Star Trek V…….(I don’t even remember the title. Please be aware that I’ve seen every movie on opening night and that was the only time I saw this one. I keep the unopened DVD in my collection, but I won’t update to Blu-ray.)Next Group:Next Generation MoviesStar Trek: First Contact   Could be the best of all the movies. Good use of two simultaneous stories. Besides, I like how they brought in continuity from the Original series. (Goldsmith hits a grand slam with his soundtrack. It might the best of any movie.)Star Trek: Generations   I think this was actually a pretty good movie, aside from killing Kirk. (I hate the speed of light error.)Star Trek: InsurrectionStar Trek: Nemesis (I’ve seen both of these twice in the theater, just to “insure” that they make more.)Alternate Timeline Movies:Star Trek  A very good movie, great action, nice way to reimagine the series. (I did like the way they mentioned Admiral Archer.) (Why do they have the speed of light error again?)Star Trek Into Darkness  Another good movie, Cumberbatch did a good job of being the new Kahn.Well, that’s all I can think of.Thanks!What do you think?Also: what are some Star Trek and science fiction-themed lists and articles you'd like to see at PJ Lifestyle? Your thoughtful comments are appreciated. var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Star Trek Into Darkness Official Trailer #3 (2013) - JJ Abrams Movie HD', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/7/8/how-would-you-rank-the-star-trek-movies/ ]]>
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  • 7 Directions No Trek Has Gone Before
    Lifestyle Worf wants back into your living room. Michael Dorn, the veteran actor who portrayed Star Trek’s most beloved klingon in two series and five films, has been telling fans of his desire to bring the character back to television. Hollywood.com shares Dorn’s belief that Worf has more to give to the galaxy.Once I started thinking about it, it became obvious to me that I wanted to at least put it out there, which I have, and the response has been pretty amazing. We've been contacted by different individuals... about wanting to come on board and be part of this.I was on a movie not too long ago, where one of the producers was basically lobbying to be part of it. He was like, "Michael, I'd love to write it, if you haven't." So, at this point, my agents and my manager are looking at all the avenues and trying to figure out which is the best one.The itch to bring Trek back to the small screen has Rolling Stone clawing as well. A recent article calls for the re-launch of Star Trek: The Next Generation, arguably the most popular and successful series in the franchise. Author Andy Greene explains why the time is right:With Star Trek Into Darkness hitting DVD this month and a third film in the rebooted series roughly slated for 2016, it's pretty safe to say the Star Trek movie franchise is in the best shape it's been in years, possibly all the way back to the days of The Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home. Prior to these recent J.J. Abrams movies, there were never even two great Star Trek movies released back-to-back, and Paramount is obviously thrilled by the box office results.…Unfortunately, no Abrams-like figure came around to save the Star Trek TV franchise. It's been off the air ever since Star Trek: Enterprise got yanked in May of 2005 after just four seasons. Audiences never warmed to Scott Bakula's Captain Archer, and the idea of a show taking place 100 years before the original Star Trek was better in theory than actual practice.In the last eight years there hasn't even been any serious attempts to put Star Trek back on the air, and everyone seems entirely focused on the movies. This is a horrible mistake. At its core, Star Trek is a television series…Indeed, Trek thrives in its native format. However, Green’s call to revive The Next Generation sinks with the same nostalgic weight that Enterprise did. The fourth and final season of that last Trek series was actually quite good, but hit its pace too late to save the show. Viewers tend not to suffer through three seasons of meh waiting for a cast and crew to get their act together. A new show would have to make it so from the start.Trek should return to television. The time is right. However, it needs to arrive with a new perspective. It needs to progress. The Next Generation did not succeed by its emulation of the original series. It made its own mark, building on the original’s legacy and advancing in creative new directions.A new series would signal a new era of Trek – a next, next generation. And would need to set a new tone for a new time. To do that, it would have to go where no Trek has gone before. Here are 7 possible directions. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/9/19/7-directions-no-trek-has-gone-before/ previous Page 1 of 8 next   ]]>
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  • 'Little Blonde Lab Technician' Hard at Work
    (”Star Trek Into Darkness” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ed Driscoll GARY MITCHELL:  The first thing I ever heard was "watch out for Lt Kirk! In his class you either think or sink."JIM KIRK: I wasn't that bad was I?MITCHELL: If I hadn't aimed that little blonde lab technician at you...KIRK: You what? You... you planned that?MITCHELL: Well you wanted me to think, didn't you? I outlined her whole campaign for her.KIRK: I almost married her!-- From "Where No Man Has Gone Before," the second Star Trek pilot, starring Gary Lockwood and William Shatner (who turns 82 today) in the above roles.Huh, the new Star Trek movie might be worth seeing after all, based on the shot of actress Alice Eve as a young Carol Marcus (spoiler alert: the mother of Kirk's son) in the latest trailer: var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Star Trek Into Darkness Official International Trailer #1 (2013) - JJ Abrams Movie HD', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Larger image of Eve under the more button, appropriately enough:Sigorney Weaver's lawyers are no doubt calling Paramount to insist that she's got the registered trademark on stripping down to her underwear in times of interstellar crisis. Incidentally, according to Bleeding Cool.com, there's a URL hidden in the above shot:Today's latest Star Trek Into Darkness trailer rewards close observation. There's a shot of Alice Eve in her skimpies, and that image in particular rewards close scrutiny.As pointed out by Trek Movie, who I suspect had inside information, there's a URL hidden in that shot. It's in the image above. But you won't see it unless you stop gawping.Look to the right. Where it says "Low Clearance." Now look down. There's a bit.ly URL.And if you follow it, you end up at with this new poster.Clicking on it takes you to a photo of the film's latest poster, which is viewable here.On a more serious note, I can't say I enjoyed the first Star Trek reboot movie entirely. It seemed a bit like the movie version of Starship Troopers -- the chiseled, youthful metrosexual cast of Beverly Hills 90210 trapped in a science fiction film, rather that the confident midcentury postwar manly swagger of Shatner & Co. Somewhere, I think I read that Mike Stoklasa, the fellow who made those awesome 70-minute long YouTube deconstructions of the Star Wars prequels, said that the Star Trek reboot should be viewed as the best Star Wars prequel George Lucas never made. Perhaps the attitude to have going into the next film.There also seems to be a slight homage to Dr. Strangelove, based on the lighting ring above a circular conference table shown in this Daily Mail article. I'll have to check the CRM-114 to be certain. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2013/3/22/little-blonde-lab-technician-hard-at-work/ ]]>
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  • The Film Remains the Same
    (”Star Trek Into Darkness” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ed Driscoll var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Monty Python- Du00E9ju00E0 Vu', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); It's not just that 200-million dollar Hollywood blockbusters these days are limited to franchises such as superhero movies, James Bond and other action flicks, and sci-fi such as Star Trek, and when Disney starts cranking out the next round of sequels, Star Wars. But as Peter Suderman notes at Slate, within those already limited genres, their plotting is even more limited:If you’ve gone to the movies recently, you may have felt a strangely familiar feeling: You’ve seen this movie before. Not this exact movie, but some of these exact story beats: the hero dressed down by his mentor in the first 15 minutes (Star Trek Into Darkness, Battleship); the villain who gets caught on purpose (The Dark Knight, The Avengers, Skyfall, Star Trek Into Darkness); the moment of hopelessness and disarray a half-hour before the movie ends (Olympus Has Fallen, Oblivion, 21 Jump Street, Fast & Furious 6).It’s not déjà vu. Summer movies are often described as formulaic. But what few people know is that there is actually a formula—one that lays out, on a page-by-page basis, exactly what should happen when in a screenplay. It’s as if a mad scientist has discovered a secret process for making a perfect, or at least perfectly conventional, summer blockbuster.The formula didn’t come from a mad scientist. Instead it came from a screenplay guidebook, Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. In the book, author Blake Snyder, a successful spec screenwriter who became an influential screenplay guru, preaches a variant on the basic three-act structure that has dominated blockbuster filmmaking since the late 1970s.Read the whole thing. As far back as 44 years ago, Stanley Kubrick told an interviewer that "The problem with movies is that since the talkies, the film industry has historically been conservative and word-oriented. The three-act play has been the model. It's time to abandon the conventional view of the movie as an extension of the three-act play." I wonder what he would think of how rigid and sclerotic Hollywood structuring has become; check out the page that Suderman wrote to accompany his Slate article, laying out the formula in step-by-step fashion.Occasionally a film deviates from that structure, such as most of Kubrick's post-Strangelove efforts, and Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, with their circular plotting.  But as Suderman notes, when there's $200 mil or more on the line, Hollywood has a formula, and it's going to run it into the ground -- and it essentially has.Meanwhile, a very different director bemoans another Hollywood formula:"I hate 3-D," moaned Alfonso Cuarón yesterday at Comic-Con. "The black and whites, they suck. It takes away the color, and it takes away the resolution." So why did Cuarón shoot his next movie, the Sandra Bullock–starring space epic Gravity, in 3-D?Oooh, I know! I know! And so does Hollywood producer Lynda Obst, who touches upon 3D in her new book, Sleepless in Hollywood:At first 3D was thought to be the savior of the business, the technological breakthrough that would compensate for the DVD disaster. But it was overused, slapped on pictures that weren’t shot in 3D. Some insiders were investors, which complicated matters so much that at one point a famous mogul-investor suggested to Paramount and Scorsese that they release The Departed in 3D.It was such the rage that every movie that was being made in the wake of Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, the medium’s first two blockbusters, was going to be in 3D. But the onslaught of lousy conversions gave the process a black eye and exhausted the sophisticated young audience in the United States, and many very young kids in the domestic family audience rejected it as well.But in emerging markets, 3D is another story. In China and Russia, they Just Can’t Get Enough. The studios soon faced a puzzle in the wildly divergent appetites for 3D domestically and internationally. In the United States the appetite is diminishing from over-saturation; in the critical international audience, it is crack. Now it is necessary to make two versions of films, both 3D and 2D, so the 3D doesn’t keep the U.S. audience away.Perhaps because I hate putting cardboard glasses on top of my real glasses, personally, I truly loathe 3D, and always try to avoid it at the movies if at all possible. But then, I've tried to avoid a lot of Hollywood's current product, particularly since I've seen it all before: class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2013/7/19/the-film-remains-the-same/ ]]>
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  • 5 Reasons Why Man of Steel Is the Year's Best Popcorn Movie
    (”Star Trek Into Darkness” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Man of Steel - "Fate of Your Planet" Official Trailer [HD]', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Man of Steel may not measure up to the classic 1978 Superman, but it’s a refreshingly grownup film in a sea of the summer sillies. Here’s why it easily tops Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Oblivion, After Earth and the rest of the blockbuster slate so far.1. It’s a classic story told seriously, with no goofy elements.If comic-book movies run from Batman & Robin on one side to The Dark Knight on the other, Man of Steel, which essentially begins like Superman and morphs into Superman II,  is much closer to the psychological and foreboding end of the spectrum than the campy and ridiculous one. The Christ-like story of a godlike man sent to Earth as our savior is dressed up with impressive special effects on Krypton (where Kal-El’s father Jor-El, played by Russell Crowe, sends him to Earth as the planet expires beneath him) and again on this planet, where Superman moves with bullet-like speed in visceral, believable scenes shot like those in the found-footage film Chronicle. There are hardly any jokes in the film, and that’s a good thing. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/6/14/5-reasons-why-man-of-steel-is-the-years-best-popcorn-movie/ previous Page 1 of 5 next   ]]>
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  • Tomorrow's Leftwing Freakout Today
    (”Star Trek Into Darkness” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ed Driscoll If you'd like to get a jump on the next meltdown by the PC left, it will likely come sometime between now and November regarding the big-budget Hollywood adaption of Ender's Game, the novel by noted sci-writer Orson Scott Card. It's scheduled to be released by Lions Gate subsidiary Summit Entertainment in November, starring Harrison Ford and a facially-tattooed Ben Kingsley:The film is based on the 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card, an author with strong anti-gay marriage views. That has drawn the attention of gay rights groups including Geeks OUT, which created a petition urging people not to see the film, buy movie-related merchandise or in any way support the project.The group is organizing a series of "Skip Ender's Game" events in New York, Orlando, Seattle and other major U.S. cities to coincide with the movie's debut."By pledging to Skip Ender’s Game, we can send a clear and serious message to Card and those that do business with his brand of anti-gay activism -- whatever he’s selling, we’re not buying," Geeks OUT officials write. "The queer geek community will not subsidize his fear-mongering and religious bullying. We will not pay him to demean, insult, and oppress us."Ender's Game follows a gifted child (Butterfield) training to help humanity beat back the next alien invasion.Already, Wikipedia has a page devoted to the film with a "Controversy" subhead that notes:In March 2013, some LGBT and pro-gay marriage groups[who?] began to criticize the film, which gives a producer's credit to Orson Scott Card[citation needed], who is known for his opposition to same-sex marriage. Public relations exec Mark Umbach commented, "there is a huge LGBT audience for science fiction, and it's going to be hard for those fans to separate Card’s comments from his work."[35] The industry trade paper The Hollywood Reporter commented: "The new scrutiny of Card’s views could be a problem for the $110 million 'Ender’s Game' movie". [36][37]But is the fuss really warranted? Hollywood has a long history of adapting novels by authors who don't qualify as PC and reworking their efforts leftward to suit tinseltown's more delicate sensibilities. Dr. Richard Hornberger, who wrote the novel M*A*S*H under the pen name of Dr. Richard Hooker, was a conservative Republican who rooted for America to win the Korean War. His novel was about anti-idiotarians pushing back against the Army bureaucracy; Robert Altman and Larry Gelbart took Hornberger's characters and setting and plugged in the anti-war themes to the movie and TV versions respectively, to transform the Hollywood versions into then-fashionable bourgeois protests against America's fight with Communist North Vietnam.Julie Salamon's book The Devil's Candy brilliantly describes how the sting of Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities was almost completely washed way in Brian DePalma's bastardized hyper-PC 1990 film version, as the leftwing sensibilities of DePalma the Warner Bros executives clashed with Wolfe's unfiltered vision of New York's varied races vying for power and bloodsports in the Big Apple.More recent examples of leftwing Hollywood inverting an author's intent were mentioned by Brian Anderson of City Journal in 2005:Further reinforcing Hollywood’s leftish leanings are liberal interest groups that monitor script content for “offensive”—read: politically incorrect—content. This pressure can utterly transform a film project, as Tom Clancy will tell you. In his novel The Sum of All Fears, Muslim terrorists explode a nuke at the Super Bowl. When Clancy optioned the book and the film went into development, the Council on American Islamic Relations got to work. The 2002 film villains: white neo-Nazis, not Muslim fanatics. Some Hollywood production companies actually have outreach offices that contact advocacy groups ahead of production to vet potential film scripts. “Keep in mind [that] one of the reasons why the FBI or the government or business are the villains is because everyone else has a constituency,” former Motion Picture Association head Jack Valenti points out.The PC concerns, internalized in scriptwriters’ heads even before any advocate complains, can produce bizarre incoherence. Novelist and screenwriter Andrew Klavan’s True Crime is about an innocent white man on death row, railroaded because officials needed to prove that the death penalty isn’t racially biased. “The only one who figures this out is this politically incorrect journalist who can see through the B.S.,” Klavan relates. The gripping 1999 movie version, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood as journalist Steve Everett, transforms the innocent death-row inmate into a black man (played by Isaiah Washington). The movie works, even if it takes the anti-PC edge off Klavan’s novel.But the screenplay leaves in a sequence depicting a black woman confronting journalist Everett for caring only about injustices against whites and not blacks—even though the movie now revolves around the reporter’s relentless quest to exonerate a wrongly convicted African American. “That scene no longer makes any sense,” Klavan laughs. “The screenwriter apparently found the original politically inappropriate.”But Hollywood's numerous previous examples of sanding the rough edges off novels, no matter what their source, won't stop the PC left from protesting vigorously -- hopefully not violently -- when Card's novel hits the big screen in November. The author was already blacklisted this year by gay protest groups from writing a Superman comic book for DC, a division of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO.In contrast, the film version of Ender's Game is virtually complete (a trailer was shown before this summer's latest Star Trek movie) and will be released to recoup its reported $110 million budget. But as its Wikipedia page foreshadows, expect plenty of "Controversy" along the way -- and likely reverse Manchurian Candidate-style statements from the film's stars, as they'll be no doubt be pressed to distance themselves from the novelist's doubleplusungood thoughtcrimes. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2013/7/8/tomorrows-leftwing-freakout-today/ ]]>
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  • Hollywood 'Completely Broke.' But That's Good News, Right?
    (”Star Trek Into Darkness” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Lifestyle Big Hollywood links to an article by Lynda Obst, the producer of Contact, Sleepless in Seattle, and TV's Hot in Cleveland (among many other projects) in Salon, setting up her quotes by first noting that "For consumers, the decline of the DVD market has meant switching over to both Blu-ray and, more recently, streaming options for their viewing pleasure.  The end of the DVD format's dominance meant something much more, and far worse, for Hollywood." In Salon, Obst writes:“The DVD business represented fifty percent of their profits,” [20th Century Fox executive Peter Chernin] went on. “Fifty percent. The decline of that business means their entire profit could come down between forty and fifty percent for new movies.”For those of you like me who are not good at math, let me make Peter’s statement even simpler. If a studio’s margin of profit was only 10 percent in the Old Abnormal, now with the collapsing DVD market that profit margin was hovering around 6 percent. The loss of profit on those little silver discs had nearly halved our profit margin.This was, literally, a Great Contraction. Something drastic had happened to our industry, and this was it. Surely there were other factors: Young males were disappearing into video games; there were hundreds of home entertainment choices available for nesting families; the Net. But slicing a huge chunk of reliable profits right out of the bottom line forever?This was mind-boggling to me, and I’ve been in the business for thirty years. Peter continued as I absorbed the depths and roots of what I was starting to think of as the Great Contraction. “Which means if nothing else changed, they would all be losing money. That’s how serious the DVD downturn is. At best, it could cut their profit in half for new movies.”* * * * *“When did the collapse begin?”“The bad news started in 2008,” he said. “Bad 2009. Bad 2010. Bad 2011.”It was as if he were scolding those years. They were bad, very bad. I wouldn’t want to be those years.“The international market will still grow,” he said, “but the DVD sell-through business is not coming back again. Consumers will buy their movies on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon et al. before they will purchase a DVD.” What had been our profit margin has gone the way of the old media.But it was in 2010 that James Cameron told the Washington Post that DVDs were bad for the Gaia and other living things, and needed to be eliminated (while simultaneously having multiple versions of Avatar coming out that same year on DVD):It’s a consumer product like any consumer product. I think ultimately we’re going to bypass a physical medium and go directly to a download model and then it’s just bits moving in the system. And then the only impact to the environment is the power it takes to run the computers, run the devices. I think that we’re not there yet, but we’re moving that direction. Twentieth Century Fox has made a commitment to be carbon neutral by the end of 2010. Because of some of these practices that can’t be changed, the only way to do that is to buy carbon offsets. You know, which again, these are interim solutions. But at least it shows that there’s a consciousness that we have to be dealing with carbon pollution and sustainability. …And the following year, many in Hollywood went all-in with Occupy Wall Street, which was obsessed with the "obscene" profits made by gigantic multinational corporations. You know, like movie studios.Presumably, losing the cushion of DVD sales is part of the reason why Steven Spielberg recently told a USC audience that, as the Hollywood Reporter paraphrased, "an 'implosion' in the film industry is inevitable, whereby a half dozen or so $250 million movies flop at the box office and alter the industry forever."But it's not like Hollywood has much respect for the audience who pays the tickets to see those $250 million products during their initial run in theaters. Obst's article on the collapse of her industry appears in Salon, which isn't exactly sympathetic to Hollywood's core audience in flyover country, when its editor at large has a new book titled, What's the Matter with White People?: Finding Our Way in the Next America.Similarly, in 2008, the late Nora Ephron, who in the previous decade had written and directed the Obst-produced Sleepless in Seattle, wrote in the Huffington Post, "This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don’t mean people, I mean white men." Incidentally those people in Pennsylvania that Ephron was writing off as troglodytic racists were her fellow Democrats, who were about to decide between Obama and Hillary in the PA Democrat primary -- the same primary voters that Obama wrote off at the time as bitter, gun and God-obsessed clingers. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/6/17/hollywood-completely-broke-but-thats-good-news-right/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
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Plugged In3
Focus on the Family



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Star Trek Into Darkness
    DramaAction/AdventureSci-Fi/Fantasy We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewPrime Directive? We don't need no stinkin' Prime Directive. So sums up the attitude of one James Tiberius Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise. Rules? Pish. Regulations? Ha! Kirk goes with his gut—and his gut can't stomach Federation rulebooks. After being sent to an alien world to do a little clandestine observation, Kirk realizes that a primitive culture is in jeopardy of being extinguished via burbling volcano. So what does he do? He sends Spock down to extinguish the thing with some sort of nifty freez-o-bomb. The nerve. And when Spock finds himself trapped in the heart of the volcano, Kirk blows the Enterprise's cover and rescues his first officer (despite the Vulcan's vigorous protests). "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few!" the logical fellow insists, fountains of lava spouting all around him. No matter. Kirk has the audacity to save his pointy-eared friend. "So they saw us," Kirk shrugs. "What's the big deal?" The big deal (as any Star Trek fan knows) is that the Federation is forbidden from interfering with other cultures. It's really the first rule of starship captaincy. And Kirk's mentor, Capt. Christopher Pike, is not at all amused. "I gave you my ship because I saw greatness in you," he tells Kirk. "Now I see you don't have an ounce of humility." Kirk's promptly demoted to Pike's first officer and Spock is reassigned to another ship. But before everyone can go their separate ways, tragedy strikes. A terrorist known as John Harrison attacks the Federation where it hurts most—mowing down a number of its finest officers, including Pike. Harrison then flees to a deserted territory on a planet deep in hostile (read: Klingon) territory. "He's gone to the one place we just can't go," Scotty, the Enterprise's chief engineer, laments. Can't? Is that what you said, Scotty? Telling Kirk he can't do something is like dangling a piece of raw buffalo in front of a school of struggling vegetarian piranhas—particularly when Kirk has a mentor to avenge. He volunteers his services to Starfleet's admiral—believing himself the mongoose best suited to hunting down this awful snake. And the Admiral, somewhat surprisingly, gives him the green light—on the condition that he park the Enterprise outside Klingon territory and shoot Harrison from afar with a nifty array of photon torpedoes. No need to start a galactic war, right? No problem, Kirk says.Positive ElementsBut there is one problem with the admiral's plan, Spock points out: It's completely immoral. Federation officers don't just go around killing people (or at least people who aren't extras) without due process. Sure, the admiral gave a direct order—but in so doing, he violated some pretty important Federation precepts. And if a direct order violates what is right, Kirk would seem to have the moral authority to countermand said order and try to bring back Harrison alive. There is a whole lotta countermanding going on in Star Trek Into Darkness—and mostly for the best of reasons. It's done to save lives, to preserve peace and even to protect a galactic sense of justice. And the movie doesn't fall into the trap of summarily suggesting that such decisions are easy. Indeed, doing the right thing is often the hardest and most costly thing to do. But the good guys here—that is, the crew of the Enterprise—reliably do what must be done, be it following Starfleet regulations or a higher sense of rightness. And they do so at often great risk to themselves. Into Darkness shows us that in times of crisis we sometimes feel tempted to become the very things we fear. In moments of outrage and anger over violent atrocities, we seek revenge and blood, for instance. But it also reminds us that we're meant to walk a narrower path. Kirk learns this lesson as well as anyone. But we learn something about Kirk too: That when the chips are down, he'd do almost anything to safeguard his crew—the folks he calls family. Even if it means sacrificing himself in the process.Spiritual ContentStar Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was a humanist who believed technology and ingenuity were the keys to salvation, not God. And, on the surface, this Star Trek installment seems to embrace his attitudes. Overt religious references are mostly absent here … except when the Enterprise mysteriously regains power at a critical moment and one of the crew members exclaims that it's a miracle. "There are no such things," Spock says. [Spoiler Warning] Indeed, the Enterprise didn't get anything like a divine push. Rather, Kirk dashed into a room full of dangerous radiation to set the engine core aright—essentially a suicide mission. And Kirk does die just minutes later (only to be resurrected through the mirac—ahem, through advanced modern medical technology). The fact that Kirk sacrificed himself for the sake of others, died, and then rose again should not strike us as a miracle, much less an obvious Christ metaphor. No sirreee. We see evidence that that primitive civilization mentioned earlier starts fixating on the Enterprise as a sort of divine entity. Pike tells Kirk that he shouldn't use his blind luck as "an excuse to play God." Sexual ContentWe see Kirk in bed with two lithesome female aliens (at the same time), both of whom seem to be partly undressed. (Fabric covers their breasts, but we see bare shoulders and midriffs). He shows some interest in other females who cross his path, too, including Carol, a new science officer aboard the Enterprise. At one point she asks him not to look so she can change clothes. He does though, and sees (as do we) the woman in just her bra and panties. Spock and Uhura, the Enterprise's alpha couple, are having difficulties for much of this movie, but that doesn't stop the two from smooching. Bones throws some sarcastically suggestive come-ons at Carol. Two nightclubbing aliens kiss—touching their long, long tongues.Recommended ResourceA Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About SexKevin LemanEven the bravest parents feel timid about discussing sex with their 8- to 14-year-olds! This resource offers reassuring, humorous, real-life anecdotes along with reliable information to help you with this challenging task.Buy NowViolent ContentIt's fair to say that the casualty count of Into Darkness is far lower than that of its predecessor, 2009's Star Trek. Of course, we must keep in mind that in that remake director J.J. Abrams blew up an entire planet. This go-round he only has a massive starship plow through a major city, keeping fatalities down to, say, the five- or six-digit range. Into Darkness is a tale about terrorism to some extent. Harrison procures the help of a Federation employee to blow up a building, killing 42 people. He shoots up another building full of Starfleet officers, murdering or wounding several more. His destruction of what appears to be much of futuristic San Francisco is his version of 9/11 (only many times worse). And if that isn't enough, this genetically enhanced villain has the strength to crush a man's skull with his hands—an assassination technique he performs on one unlucky victim (offscreen, thankfully) and tries a couple of times on Spock. But even discounting Harrison's fearsome scythe, the movie is plenty violent. Photon torpedoes detonate to brain-frying effect. We see prolonged phaser fights and fisticuffs, leaving folks bloody and bruised. People are sucked out of spaceships through open airlocks and gaping gashes blasted through starship hulls. Heroes are threatened by lava, Klingon blades and space debris. They hang from dizzying heights and succumb to radiation poisoning. A young woman slaps her father. A leg is broken with a sickening snap. Spock wrenches a guy's arm. We see part of a smoldering body. The future, clearly, is not a more gentle, peaceful time.Crude or Profane LanguageThree and a half s-words punctuate flurries of other profanities, including "a‑‑" (said five or six times), "son of a b‑‑ch" (three or four), "b‑‑tard" (five or six), "d‑‑n" (a dozen), "h‑‑‑" (another dozen), and "p‑‑‑" and "bloody" (once each). God's name is misused close to half-a-dozen times.Drug and Alcohol ContentPike finds a despondent Kirk drinking at a bar. Kirk contacts Scotty in a nightclub where he and a friend are drinking, and Kirk asks him if he's drunk.Other Negative ElementsConclusion"You seem to have a conscience, Mr. Kirk," Harrison intones. But that conscience, we learn, can sometimes be manipulated. Star Trek Into Darkness is appropriately named, its title referring to more than just the inky blackness of space or even the near-diabolical acts of perhaps Star Trek's most fearsome assailant. It seems to also refer to the ethical fog we find here—the difficulty we all sometimes have in parsing right from wrong. Consider Harrison. He's a bad, bad man. We're told that he was once sentenced to death and somehow wriggled free. So to kill him now would be, in a way, simply carrying out that verdict. And yet, for many reasons, our heroes often hesitate to kill him—even though such restraint might cause them and the galaxy no end of harm. Is it "right" to let him live? Would it be "right" to kill him if it meant saving countless innocent lives? The right decision isn't always obvious. And even when it is, to do the right thing often exacts a cost. We're taught that here. As mentioned earlier, the crew of the Enterprise makes some pretty good decisions, and pay dearly for each and every one. Which is why my hat's off to 'em: It may be an old cliché to say that the end doesn't justify the means, but that tired tradition does not render it any less true. Sure, Kirk's a renegade—he always will be—but far more often than not in this particular tale, he's bucking the system because the system needs bucking. Not just because he's careless or calloused.  Parents will latch onto the film's themes of loyalty to family, and the sacrifices that sometimes go along with that. Others may pluck a more political message from the film—an oblique critique of the United States' long war on terror and some of the controversial means we've used to fight it. Christians thinking along spiritual lines may respond to the messages in this movie in even different ways than that, varying reactions which may be exactly what Abrams is stretching for amid the myriad explosions and fistfights. As I said, the questions at play here are not easy to answer, even with the help of the kind of divine guidance that's so noticeably absent in this new and dark universe Kirk so rashly and readily warps his way into.Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
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  • The Strict Science of Apocalyptic Blockbusters
    (”Star Trek Into Darkness” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    If you’ve been to a big-budget blockbuster at the multiplex recently—and by recently, I mean, oh, say, the last decade or two—you might have noticed some significant similarities between films when the heavy cinematic artillery swings into action. Namely, whether we’re dealing with science fiction, super heroes or fantasy, the scope of destruction is simply epic. Vast. Cataclysmic. Apocalyptic. There’s never nothing less at stake, it seems, than the very future of humanity. Cities are sure to be destroyed. (The only thing that might exempt this Friday’s Mad Max: Fury Road from the same metropolis-crushing treatment is that, in Mad Max’s world, all the cities have already been crushed.) In the first Avengers film back in 2012, for instance, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes square off against a horde of aliens known as the Chitauri. Oh, and that Norse god of mischief, Loki. Result? New York City takes it on the chin. Hard. And if the Avengers fail? Well, it’s lights out for the carbon-based bipeds we like to call humanity. Though the villain is different in the latest Avengers’ film (a megalomaniacal, homicidal robot instead of a megalomaniacal, homicidal alien), the scope of destruction is similar. Sure, the Avengers talk about wanting to limit civilian casualties. And, well, perhaps they do. A little. Meanwhile, three cities (one in Africa, one in Europe, one in Asia) get the full New York-style treatment. (I’m sure residents of the Big Apple were breathing a sigh of relief.) Even in a more serious movie like, say, like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, everything hangs in the balance should Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway fail in their quest to locate a new home for humanity. As visually spectacular as these ginormously expensive special effects sagas are, sometimes it all feels a little much. It can leave an apocalypse-weary filmgoer wondering, Does everything have to get blown up? The answer, according to screenwriter and producer and producer Damon Lindelof, is yes. Lindelof rose to prominence alongside J.J. Abrams as one of the main writers for ABC’s cult hit Lost. Among his other high-profile writing credits are Star Trek Into Darkness, Prometheus, World War Z and Cowboys & Aliens. Another Lindelof story, Tomorrowland, debuts next week. In an interview given to vulture.com two years ago, Lindelof talked about his two massive movies released that summer, Into Darkness and World War Z. And though two years is generally a mighty long time in pop culture, his comments about this apocalyptic, cinematic arms race are as relevant now as they were in the summer of 2013. “We live in a commercial world, where you’ve gotta come up with ‘trailer moments’ and make the thing feel big and impressive and satisfying, especially in that summer-movie-theater construct,” Lindelof said. “But ultimately I do feel—even as a purveyor of it—slightly turned off by this destruction porn that has emerged and become very bold-faced this past summer. And again, guilty as charged. It’s hard not to do it, especially because a movie, if properly executed, feels like it’s escalating.” Lindelof further notes that just saving one person—or even a single city—just doesn’t raise the emotional stakes high enough for the average 21st-century viewer. Once you spend more than $100 million on a movie, you have to save the world. And when you start there, and basically say, I have to construct a MacGuffin based on if they shut off this, or they close this portal, or they deactivate this bomb, or they come up with this cure, it will save the world—you are very limited in terms of how you execute that. And in many ways, you can become a slave to it and, again, I make no excuses, I’m just saying you kind of have to start there. In the old days, it was just as satisfying that all Superman has to do was basically save Lois from this earthquake in California. The stakes in that movie are that the San Andreas Fault line opens up and half of California is going to fall in the ocean. That felt big enough, but there is a sense of bigger, better, faster, seen it before, done that. He also added, “It’s almost impossible to, for example, not have a final set piece where the fate of the free world is at stake. You basically work your way backward and say, ‘Well, the Avengers aren’t going to save Guam, they’ve got to save the world.’ Did Star Trek Into Darkness need to have a gigantic starship crashing into San Francisco? I’ll never know. But it sure felt like it did.” Elsewhere in the lengthy article, Vulture writer Scott Brown noted: Hollywood’s gigantism, Lindelof points out, is practically algorithmic—and the effect tendrils all the way down to the storytelling level. When ever-larger sums are spent to make and market ever-fewer, ever-bigger movies, and those movies are aimed at Imax screens, then world—shattering comic-book I.P. and gigantic special effects are expected, with larger-than-life characters wielding those effects. No one necessarily asks for it; it just kind of happens. It’s what Lindelof calls Story Gravity, and dealing with it—whether that means resisting it or simply surfing it skillfully—is the great challenge of writing this new breed of tentpole blockbuster. The question used to be: How do we top ourselves? The new one seems to be: How do we stop ourselves? With Avengers: Age of Ultron well on its way to another billion-dollar-plus haul in just a couple of weeks in global theaters, this ever-escalating, bigger-is-always-better trend in blockbusters shows no signs of abating any time soon. ]]>
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John Hanlon1
John Hanlon Reviews



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Star Trek Into Darkness
    J.J. Abrams’ first Star Trek (2009) brought the beloved characters back to the big screen, more about where they delighted fans and critics alike. With its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, link a better villain emerges but is accompanied by an...
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Michael Medved1



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Star Trek Into Darkness
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Debbie Schlussel1
The New York Post



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Wknd Box Office: Star Trek Into Darkness, The Iceman, Erased, The Company You Keep
    Blog Posts Movie Reviews The Iceman“: I hated this movie. It’s cold, pointless killing-porn. It’s supposed to be the story of real-life mob hitman Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon), who died in federal prison, where he was sent for life, after getting caught. I like a good mob movie. This wasn’t one. It had no story, unless you count a guy killing people and sawing them up into pieces–in a very graphic way–a story. I don’t. I didn’t exactly enjoy the brutal killings up close, such as the murder of an innocent homeless man on a dare. Famous shoplifter Winona Ryder plays Kuklinski’s naive wife, who does not really know he’s a hitman for a living (nor do their two young daughters). But it’s not like we haven’t seen that in a million mob and gangster movies. There’s nothing new or novel here. In fact, it’s so hackneyed and retreaded that Ray Liotta is cast in the novel role of mobster. FOUR MARXES ]]>
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Kelly Jane Torrance2
The Weekly Standard



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)


Jay Dyer2
Esoteric Hollywood



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

⚠️ 𝐄𝐃𝐆𝐘 🔥 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐍𝐓 🔥 𝐖𝐀𝐑𝐍𝐈𝐍𝐆 🔥 (𝐍𝐒𝐅𝐖?) ⚠️

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  • Star Trek: Into Darkness –...


    By: Jay Dyer J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek: Into Darkness differs quite a bit from the original reboot with a much deeper, esoteric geo-political plot.  While Star Trek was much better rated, and in ways...

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  • Star Trek Beyond (Distinctions)...
    (”Star Trek Into Darkness” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    By: Jay Dyer The last Star Trek reboot saw Benedict Cumberbatch as Kahn, the berserk super soldier who was angry about the “Federation” doing some such nefarious thing to...

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Brett Stevens1
Amerika.org



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)


  • Death Metal Zombies
    Horrorscope Productions, 1995. 90 minutes.
    Unrated

    Those of the death metal persuasion tend to value content over surface. This idea emerges from the basic thought of metal: beauty in darkness through structure, social appearance be damned. As such, the death metal audience tends to ignore the differences that millions of dollars of production bring, and focus on the content of a movie.

    Death Metal Zombies is (mostly) such a movie. Its entertainment value matches that of films with much larger budget and media support. However, it is a bit of a mess. Filmed on video cameras in the exburbs of Houston, Texas it features continuity mistakes, sometimes amateurish camera work, and of course non-professional actors, so much so that the directors released an anniversary cut a decade later that halved the film length and re-arranged it to make more sense. This was clearly a project in which people learned their craft, and starts with the almost assuredly marijuana-inspired concept that a cassette tape can contain musical programming to turn people into zombies. However, we have all seen films with far dumber premises that made it out of major studios. Gone Girl, The Expendables, Avengers and Star Trek: Into Darkness come to mind as multimillion dollar tributes to idiocy.

    The basic idea of this film is that people in the dead-end middle class outer suburbs of a flat, humid and boring major city (which was nowhere on the news in 1995) have little to live for except death metal, and they find a way to hook up with a “special” tape from their favorite band, Living Corpse. This tape contains thirteen minutes of sonic programming that transform them into zombies who promptly return to their normal lives and act out the fantasies of death, gore and retribution that do not fit into the modern world. This review focuses on the original film, not the edit, which has its charm in that despite some filmmaking ineptitude and a possibly ill-advised metal-centric plot, it captures the lives of its filmmakers and actors and amplifies that experience to a supernatural level. It works perfectly in a post-modern sense as not the focal point of an evening, but a topic of commentary, where the real movie is more the conjecture about it and experience of criticizing it than what is on the screen.

    The above-average viewer will spend much of this film wondering what exactly is going on. The filmmakers burn through too much tape setting up scenes, and not enough showing action, which makes viewers wonder what to focus on. This is balanced by relatively strong action scenes with creative (and copious but not overblown) gore, quality violence and a genuinely menacing atmosphere. Were I some kind of film critic, I would loathe this because it insults every pretense of that profession, but as a lifelong media hater who finds most movies to be inane, I see this film as less inane although less technically gifted than your average Hollywood flick. In particular, characters are believable, situations are believable, and the plot — once you get past the somewhat handicapped device — moves forward enough to compel an urge to witness its conclusion.

    In addition, there is a death metal angle: Relapse Records allowed use of what looks like its full catalog, so bands as diverse as Incantation, Pyogenesis, Winter, Disembowelment and Brutality play in the background in scenes that are half-MTV and the rest a zombie film designed to be watched through a bong while chatting with friends. The music angle in both plot and background is not meant to be convincing, but enjoyable, and seeing familiar tropes from death metal bands in the characters, as well as having what was probably the only “real” chance death metal had at having videos back in the day is gratifying. There is no way to construe this film as competitive with professional efforts, but the grim fact is that it is arguably less dumb and more compelling than what the big studios dump arrogantly on our numbed brains.

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Devon Stack1
Black Pilled



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

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  • The Prime Directive
    (”Star Trek Into Darkness” is briefly mentioned in this.)
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The Federalist Staff2
The Federalist



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • How Star Trek Explains The Decline Of Liberalism
    (”Star Trek Into Darkness” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Leonard Nimoy’s death in February brought to a close his unusual career continually playing a single role for half a century. Between 1966, when the television show “Star Trek” premiered, and 2013, when the movie “Star Trek Into Darkness” hit the screens, Nimoy portrayed the franchise’s beloved first officer, Mr. Spock, in two TV series and eight films. As he acknowledged, the key to “Star Trek’s” longevity and cultural penetration was its seriousness of purpose, originally inspired by creator Gene Roddenberry’s science-fiction vision. Modeled on “Gulliver’s Travels,” the series was meant as an opportunity for social commentary, and it succeeded ingeniously, with episodes scripted by some of the era’s finest science-fiction writers. Yet the development of “Star Trek’s” moral and political tone over 50 years also traces the strange decline of American liberalism since the Kennedy era. Captain Kirk and the Cold War Roddenberry and his colleagues were World War II veterans, whose country was now fighting the Cold War against a Communist aggressor they regarded with horror. They considered the Western democracies the only force holding back worldwide totalitarian dictatorship. The best expression of their spirit was John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, with its proud promise to “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” This could have been declaimed by Captain James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner), of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise, who, as literature professor Paul Cantor observes in his essay “Shakespeare in the Original Klingon,” is “a Cold Warrior very much on the model of JFK.” In episodes like “The Omega Glory,” in which Kirk rapturously quotes the preamble to the Constitution, or “Friday’s Child,” where he struggles to outwit the Klingons (stand-ins for the Soviet menace) in negotiations over the resources of a planet modeled on Middle Eastern petroleum states, Kirk stands fixedly, even obstinately, for the principles of universal freedom and against collectivism, ignorance, and passivity. Kirk loves peace, but he recognizes that peace without freedom is not truly peace. In “Errand of Mercy,” the episode that first introduces the show’s most infamous villains, he cannot comprehend why the placid Organians are willing to let themselves be enslaved by the Klingon Empire. Their pacifism disgusts him. Kirk loves peace, but he recognizes that peace without freedom is not truly peace. This was not just a political point; it rested on a deeper philosophical commitment. In “Star Trek’s” humanist vision, totalitarianism was only one manifestation of the dehumanizing forces that deprive mankind (and aliens) of the opportunities and challenges in which their existence finds meaning. For Freedom of Choice In “Return of the Archons,” for example, Kirk and company infiltrate a theocratic world monitored and dominated by the god Landru. The natives are placid, but theirs is the mindless placidity of cattle. In the past, one explains, “there was war. Convulsions. The world was destroying itself. Landru…took us back, back to a simple time.” The people now live in ignorant, stagnant bliss. Landru has removed conflict by depriving them of responsibility, and with it their right to govern themselves. Landru has removed conflict by depriving them of responsibility, and with it their right to govern themselves. When Kirk discovers that Landru is actually an ancient computer left behind by an extinct race, he challenges it to justify its enslavement of the people. “The good,” it answers, is “harmonious continuation…peace, tranquility.” Kirk retorts: “What have you done to do justice to the full potential of every individual? Without freedom of choice, there is no creativity. Without creativity, there is no life.” He persuades Landru that coddling the people has stifled the souls it purported to defend, and the god-machine self-destructs. This theme is made more explicit in “The Apple,” perhaps the quintessential episode of the original Star Trek. Here Kirk unashamedly violates the “Prime Directive”—the rule forbidding starship captains from interfering with the cultures they contact—by ordering the Enterprise to destroy Vaal, another computer tyrant ruling over an idyllic planet. Like Landru, Vaal is an omniscient totalitarian, and he demands sacrifices. The natives, known only as “people of Vaal,” have no culture, no freedom, no science—they do not even know how to farm—and no children, as Vaal has forbidden sex along with all other individualistic impulses. This sets Kirk’s teeth on edge. There are objective goods and evils, and slavery is evil because it deprives life forms of their right to self-government and self-development. Kirk believes there must be deeper, universal principles underlying and limiting diversity, to prevent its degeneration into relativism and nihilism. What differentiates “The Apple” from “Archons” is Spock’s reaction. In the earlier episode, he joined Kirk in condemning Landru; now the half human/half Vulcan is reluctant to interfere with what he calls “a splendid example of reciprocity.” When chief medical officer Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley) protests, Spock accuses him of “applying human standards to non-human cultures.” To this cool relativism, McCoy replies, “There are certain absolutes, Mr. Spock, and one of them is the right of humanoids to a free and unchained environment, the right to have conditions which permit growth.” Kirk agrees with McCoy. Spock—who in later episodes invokes the Vulcan slogan celebrating “infinite diversity in infinite combinations”—is comfortable observing Vaal’s servants nonjudgmentally, like specimens behind glass. But Kirk believes there must be deeper, universal principles underlying and limiting diversity, to prevent its degeneration into relativism and nihilism. Spock’s Relative Hesitation This is an insight Kirk shares with Abraham Lincoln, who—as we learn in a later episode—is Kirk’s personal hero. When in 1858 Stephen Douglas claimed to be so committed to democracy that he did not care whether American states and territories adopted pro- or anti-slavery constitutions, Lincoln parodied his relativism as meaning “that if one man would enslave another, no third man should object.” Instead, Lincoln insisted, the basis of legitimate democracy was the principle of equality articulated in the Declaration of Independence. Without that frame firmly in place, democracy could claim no moral superiority to tyranny. Roddenberry’s generation emerged from World War II committed to a liberalism that believed in prosperity, technological progress, and universal humanity. Spock, by regarding this as a merely “human standard,” and defending Vaal’s suzerainty as “a system which seems to work,” falls into the same relativistic trap as Douglas. By contrast, as Paul Cantor notes, Kirk believes “that all rational beings are created equal,” and extends the Declaration’s proposition “literally throughout the universe.” Kirk orders the Enterprise to destroy Vaal. “You’ll learn to care for yourselves,” he tells the people. “You’ll learn to build for yourselves, think for yourselves, work for yourselves, and what you create is yours. That’s what we call freedom.” Spock’s hesitation here is an early glimmer of the relativism that would eventually engulf the “Star Trek” universe. Roddenberry’s generation emerged from World War II committed to a liberalism that believed in prosperity, technological progress, and the universal humanity they hoped the United Nations would champion. In the Kennedy years, this technocratic liberalism sought to apply science, the welfare state, and secular culture to raise the standard of living and foster individual happiness worldwide. Searching for an Impossible Eden Then came the rise of the New Left—a movement that saw the alleged evils of society as the consequence not merely of capitalism but of technology and reason itself. Civilization was not the perfection of nature or even a protection against nature, but an alienation from nature. Throw off its shackles, and man could reunite with the universe; unfairness would fall away, and peaceful coexistence would reign. The war in Vietnam and other crises helped foster a debunking culture that saw American principles of justice as a sham, as cynical rationalizations for American greed, racism, and imperialism. “Peaceful coexistence” was especially crucial. The war in Vietnam and other crises helped foster a debunking culture that saw American principles of justice as a sham, as cynical rationalizations for American greed, racism, and imperialism. The older generation of liberals—and their literary proxies, including Captain Kirk—hardly knew what to make of it, or of the “turn on, tune in, drop out” escapism that often accompanied it. The original Star Trek savagely parodied such Age of Aquarius romanticism in the episode “The Way to Eden,” in which the Enterprise encounters a group of space-age hippies searching for a legendary planet where all will be equal, without technology or modernity, living off the land. Almost all of Kirk’s crew regard these star-children as deluded, and their longing for prelapsarian harmony does turn out to be a deadly illusion: the Eden planet they find is literally poison—all the trees and even the grass are full of an acid that kills them almost the instant they arrive. Kirk is hardly surprised. All Edens, in his eyes, are illusions, and all illusions are dangerous. Spock is more indulgent. “There are many who are uncomfortable with what we have created,” he tells the captain, “the planned communities, the programming, the sterilized, artfully balanced atmospheres.” Spock insists he does not share their views, yet he secretly admires them, and devotes his considerable scientific skills to helping locate their paradise planet. Later, he tells one of the few survivors of the acid, “It is my sincere wish that you do not give up your search for Eden. I have no doubt but that you will find it, or make it yourselves.” The skeptical, spirited Kirk could never utter such words. Tale of Two Hamlets Kirk, it turns out, has personal reasons for his skepticism. In “The Conscience of the King,” we learn that he is something of a Holocaust survivor himself. When he was young, he and his parents barely escaped death at the hands of the dictator Kodos the Executioner, who slaughtered half the population of the colony on Tarsus IV. Having eluded capture, Kodos lived 20 years under an assumed name, making a living as a Shakespearean actor, until one of Kirk’s fellow survivors tracks him down. Now Kirk must decide whether the actor is really the killer. For Shakespeare, justice is less about the good prospering and the bad suffering than about a harmony between the world of facts in which we live and the world of words we inhabit. Aired in 1966, this episode is a commentary on the pursuit of Nazi war criminals, and it typifies the original Star Trek’s moral outlook. During the show’s three seasons, more than 20 former Nazis were tried for their roles in the Holocaust, including five who only two weeks after this episode aired were convicted for working at the Sobibór extermination camp. Intellectuals like Hannah Arendt were preoccupied with the moral and jurisprudential questions of Nazi-hunting. “Conscience” puts these dilemmas into an ambitiously Shakespearean frame. Like Hamlet, Kirk faces a crisis of certainty. “Logic is not enough,” he says, echoing Hamlet’s “What a rogue and peasant slave am I” soliloquy. “I’ve got to feel my way—make absolutely sure.” Yet one thing Kirk is already sure about is justice. Hamlet may curse that he was ever born to set things right, but he knows it is his duty. Likewise Kirk. When McCoy asks him what good it will do to punish Kodos after a lapse of two decades—“Do you play god, carry his head through the corridors in triumph? That won’t bring back the dead”—Kirk answers, “No. But they may rest easier.” For Shakespeare, justice is less about the good prospering and the bad suffering than about a harmony between the world of facts in which we live and the world of words we inhabit as beings endowed with speech. When the two fall out of sync—when Claudius’s crime knocks time “out of joint”—the result is only a perverse and temporary illusion. And Kirk is, again, not impressed by illusions. “Who are you to [judge]?” demands Kodos’s daughter. Kirk’s devastating reply: “Who do I have to be?” Inverting “Star Trek’s” Original Liberalism This clear-headedness had evaporated by December 1991, when the movie sequel “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” appeared, only months after Roddenberry’s death. The previous films had focused on questions of loyalty, friendship, and Spock’s need for feeling to leaven his logic, but this one, written in part by Nimoy, would be the first devoted expressly to political subjects. It comments on the waning of the Cold War by portraying the first steps toward peace with the Klingons. Yet the price of peace, it turns out, is not merely to forgive past crimes, but for the innocent peoples of the galaxy to take the guilt upon themselves. The price of peace, it turns out, is not merely to forgive past crimes, but for the innocent peoples of the galaxy to take the guilt upon themselves. “Star Trek VI” opens with a shocking betrayal: without informing his captain, Spock has volunteered the crew for a peace mission to the Klingons. Kirk rightly calls this “arrogant presumption,” yet the Vulcan is never expected to apologize. On the contrary, the film summarily silences Kirk’s objections. At a banquet aboard the Enterprise, he is asked whether he would be willing to surrender his career in exchange for an end to hostilities, and Spock swiftly intervenes. “I believe the captain feels that Starfleet’s mission has always been one of peace,” he says. Kirk tries to disagree, but is again interrupted. Later, he decides that “Spock was right.” His original skepticism toward the peace mission was only prejudice: “I was used to hating Klingons.” This represented an almost complete inversion of “Star Trek’s” original liberalism, and indeed of any rational scale of moral principles at all. At no point in the show’s history had Kirk or his colleagues treated the Klingons unjustly, whereas audiences for decades have watched the Klingons torment and subjugate the galaxy’s peaceful races. In “Errand of Mercy,” they attempt genocide to enslave the Organians. In “The Trouble with Tribbles,” they try to poison a planet’s entire food supply. The dungeon in which Kirk is imprisoned in this film is on a par with Stalin’s jails. Yet never does the Klingon leader, Gorkon, or any of his people, acknowledge—let alone apologize for—such injustices. Quite the contrary; his daughter tells a galactic conference, “We are a proud race. We are here because we want to go on being proud.” Within the context of the original “Star Trek,” such pride is morally insane. Kirk can hardly be blamed for withholding forgiveness, considering that the Klingons have never asked for it. Yet in service to Spock’s mission of elevating peace over right, the film portrays the Klingons not as thugs, but as misunderstood casualties of human bigotry. Kirk and his crew, says Gorkon’s daughter at the Enterprise banquet, represent a “homo sapiens-only club,” devoted to such chauvinistic values as “inalienable human rights.” “Why, the very name,” she quips, “is racist.” Gorkon’s pacific overtures are stymied by conspirators who assassinate him, and while pursuing the murderers, Kirk decides that he, too, is at fault—because he has not simply let bygones be bygones. Abashed, he confesses, “I couldn’t get past the death of my son”—a reference to an earlier film in which a Klingon crew stabs his son to death in an effort to extort the secret of a devastating weapon. Kirk can hardly be blamed for withholding forgiveness, considering that the Klingons have never asked for it. Yet “Star Trek VI” demands that Kirk let go of his grievances—and the galaxy’s—unasked, and accept that they will forever go unredressed. Justice is only a human cultural construct. There Is Nothing to Forgive The contrast with “Conscience of the King” is jarring. It even affects the many Shakespearean references that pepper both dramas. For the orthodox bard, repentance is always a precondition of forgiveness, and conscience is the inescapable enforcer of natural law. Kirk learns not only to suffer slings and arrows, but to cease calling it outrageous. Thus in “Conscience,” Shakespeare’s meditations illuminated Kirk’s thoughts on guilt and judgment. But in the film, the poet is quoted only to obfuscate. “Star Trek VI” even twists Shakespeare’s actual words. The “Undiscovered Country” of the title—to which Gorkon proposes a toast at the banquet—is not, as he claims, “the future,” but Hamlet’s metaphor for death. “‘To be or not to be,’ that is the question which preoccupies our people,” another Klingon tells Kirk. Yet where Hamlet sought the resolve to take up arms against a sea of troubles, Kirk learns not only to suffer slings and arrows, but to cease calling it outrageous. When he does, Gorkon’s daughter congratulates him for having “restored” her father’s “faith.” But Kirk is a victim of Klingon aggression—he needs no redemption. Roddenberry was so bothered by the film’s script that he angrily confronted director Nicholas Meyer at a meeting, futilely demanding changes. He and those who helped him create “Star Trek” knew that without a coherent moral code—ideas they considered universal, but which the film calls “racist”—one can never have genuine peace. “Star Trek VI” seemed to nod contentedly at the haunting thought Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn voiced in “The Gulag Archipelago”: “No, no one would have to answer.” Next-Generation Nihilism This moral weariness highlighted the moral disarray into which the franchise had fallen. By 1987, when the new Enterprise was being launched on the new series “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” the liberal landscape had changed. Time and again, the show featured false equivalency on a grand scale. The show premiered a year after feminist philosopher of science Sandra Harding referred to Newton’s “Principia” as a “rape manual,” and a year before Jesse Jackson led Stanford student protesters chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!” The Kennedy-esque anti-Communist in the White House was now Ronald Reagan, a former Democrat and union leader who thought the party had left him. “Next Generation’s” Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) was more committed to coexistence and non-intervention than to universal liberty and anti-totalitarianism. Following Spock’s lead, Picard would elevate the Prime Directive into a morally obtuse dogma and would seek ways to evade the responsibility of moral judgment. Time and again, the show featured false equivalency on a grand scale, coupled with the hands-off attitude that the Kirk of “The Apple” had dismissed as complicity with evil. Consider the episode “Redemption.” Picard has overseen the installation of Gowron as chief of the Klingon Empire, a decision that, although unorthodox, follows Klingon law. The empire, now humanity’s ally, had invited Picard to judge the leadership controversy, and the Enterprise’s Klingon crewman, Mr. Worf (Michael Dorn), has even resigned to join Gowron’s crew. But at just this moment, rivals to the throne revolt and attack Gowron’s ship in full view of the Enterprise. In “Star Trek VI,” Kirk nearly gave his life trying to prevent the assassination of the Klingon chancellor, but Picard, rather than defend the lawful leader of an ally against a revolt of which he had been forewarned—and which takes place in his presence—chooses to abandon Gowron, and his friend and shipmate Worf. He orders the Enterprise to withdraw, rather than be drawn into a battle his own actions helped precipitate. When it comes to the universe of real suffering, real need, and a real search for truth, he is content not to decide, not to take responsibility, and not to know. If that were not enough, Gowron—who manages to survive this fickleness—requests aid against the rebels, whom they all know to have been collaborating with the Romulans, deadly enemies of both the Klingons and humans. Yet Picard again refuses, citing the non-interference directive that Gowron has already waived by requesting assistance. Picard, the Klingons learn, is not a very valuable friend. What accounts for this incoherent foreign policy? Nothing less than Picard’s commitment to non-commitment. He represents a new, non-judgmental liberalism far shallower than that embraced in Roddenberry’s era. Where Kirk pursues justice, Picard avoids conflict. Just as Kirk’s devotion to universal principles goes deeper than politics, so does Picard’s sentimentalism. When it comes to the universe of real suffering, real need, and a real search for truth, he is content not to decide, not to take responsibility, and not to know. Full-Blown Insurrection If “The Apple,” was the perfect expression of the older “Star Trek,” the culminating moment in Next Generation is the 1998 feature film, “Insurrection.” It opens with Picard lamenting that he’s been relegated to boring diplomatic roles. “Can anyone remember when we used to be explorers?” he grumbles. But soon he learns better. The Enterprise crew is introduced to the Ba’ku people, who live in the kind of agrarian idyll that the space hippies had sought in “The Way to Eden.” Although filmed like a Crate & Barrel ad and scored with pastoral melodies, the Ba’kus’ village is shockingly primitive. They rake, plow, weed, and blacksmith by hand—not because they don’t know better, but because they reject modern devices: “This village is a sanctuary of life,” one of them, Sojef, tells Picard: Our technological abilities are not apparent because we have chosen not to employ them in our daily lives. We believe when you create a machine to do the work of a man, you take something away from the man. Anij: But at one time, we explored the galaxy just as you do… Picard: You have warp capability? Anij: Capability, yes. But where can warp drive take us, except away from here? The Ba’ku would have nauseated Captain Kirk. Here is a species that lives “The Apple” not as captives but as willing participants. They have given up growth for stagnation, which they have mistaken for life. Yet the audience is expected to admire this. From this meeting, Picard learns not to long for his days exploring strange new worlds. In a denouement ultimately cut from the film, Picard encounters Quark (Armin Shimerman), a member of the Ferengi, a race of greedy capitalists. Now that the Ba’ku are safe, Quark fantasizes about developing their home planet. Picard fends him off. “This world is about to become a Federation protectorate,” he says, “which will end any and all attempts at exploitation by people like you.” They have given up growth for stagnation, which they have mistaken for life. Let’s ignore the whiff of racism in the phrase “people like you”—when Quark asks “how five thousand time-share units…right there along the lake, would be ‘exploiting’ anyone,” it is a perfectly reasonable question. But Picard snidely laughs it off, and, turning to the Ba’ku, tells them that “The ‘mighty’ Federation could learn a few things from this village.” What, Kirk would have demanded, could the Federation possibly learn from this village? A village that has chosen not to explore, that has rejected modern agricultural methods, that has given up growth and life in exchange for an absurd fetishizing of manual labor—for the fundamentally childish notion that you “take something” from people when you create tools and techniques that feed the hungry and liberate people to explore the galaxy. Roddenberry’s generation of “Star Trek” writers would have thought Picard’s words hopelessly reactionary—to be precise, inhuman. But by the end of “Next Generation,” the liberalism that once preached technological progress and human reason has reversed its priorities and now regards “progress” as incipient colonization and a threat to diversity and the environment. From Principles to Physical Urges “Star Trek’s” latest iterations—the “reboot” films directed by J.J. Abrams—shrug at the franchise’s former philosophical depth. In 2009, Abrams admitted to an interviewer that he “didn’t get” “Star Trek.” “There was a captain, there was this first officer, they were talking a lot about adventures and not having them as much as I would’ve liked. Maybe I wasn’t smart enough.” His films accordingly eschew the series’ trademark dialogues about moral and political principles, and portray the young Kirk and crew as motivated largely by a maelstrom of lusts, fears, and resentments. J. J. Abram’s films portray the young Kirk and crew as motivated largely by a maelstrom of lusts, fears, and resentments. A prime symbol of this transformation is Khan, the villain who appeared first in the 1967 episode “Space Seed,” then in the second “Star Trek” film in 1982 (played both times by Ricardo Montalban), and most recently in Abrams’s 2013 “Star Trek Into Darkness” (in which he was portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch). Khan presents a serious challenge to the series’ liberal conception of equality because he is a genetically modified superman. As the late Harry V. Jaffa was fond of observing, Aristotle’s distinction between men, beasts, and gods “remains the framework of the thought of the Declaration of Independence,” according to which “any attempt of human beings to rule other human beings, as if the former were gods, and the latter beasts, is wrong.” But Khan actually is more than a man, which raises a serious problem for mankind’s right to liberty. In the original TV show’s episode, and somewhat against his grain, it is Spock who addresses the issue. When Kirk calls Khan “the best of the tyrants,” Spock is appalled: Spock: Gentlemen, this romanticism about a ruthless dictator is— Kirk: Mister Spock, we humans have a streak of barbarism in us. Appalling, but there, nevertheless. Scotty: There were no massacres under his rule. Spock: And as little freedom. Kirk finally explains, “We can be against him and admire him all at the same time,” which Spock characterizes as “illogical.” In the end, the crew refuses to submit to Khan’s assertion of a eugenic right to rule. Yet they also choose not to punish him even after he tries to kill Kirk and commandeer the Enterprise. Instead, they leave him and his followers on an unpopulated planet, where he can put his talents to work pioneering a new civilization. Fifteen years later, we learn in the film “Star Trek II” that the planet was devastated by a natural disaster soon afterwards, killing many of Khan’s followers. Obsessed with revenge, Khan manages to escape and, like a space-age Ahab, hunts the aging Kirk. Only by sacrificing his life does Spock save his shipmates. Government by Accident and Force By the time Khan reappears under Abrams’s direction, the fixed moral stars by which the franchise once steered have been almost entirely obscured. No longer the thoughtful, bold captain, the young Kirk (Chris Pine) is now all rashness and violence, taking and breaking everything around him. He confesses that he has no idea what he is doing. Abrams grounds Kirk’s authority not on practical wisdom or merit, but on a version of the swaggering pretension to inherent superiority that ‘Space Seed’ had repudiated. But these are not vices he outgrows. Instead, the other characters come to recognize these traits as proof of his entitlement to command. When, in Abrams’s first film, Kirk’s recklessness briefly costs him his ship, his reign is restored by the intercession of an older version of Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy, who journeys across the dimensions to counsel Kirk that it is still his “destiny” to lead. “[T]his is the one rule you cannot break,” Nimoy intones, without further explanation. Kirk proceeds to retake control of the Enterprise in brutal fashion. Abrams thus grounds Kirk’s authority not on practical wisdom or merit, which he expressly disclaims, but on a version of the swaggering pretension to inherent superiority that “Space Seed” had repudiated. The new Enterprise is governed more by what “The Federalist” calls “accident and force” than by “reflection and choice.” This creates a paradox when the crew encounters Khan in “Into Darkness.” Dispatched to arrest the perpetrator of a terrorist attack, Kirk learns it is Khan—“genetically engineered to be superior so as to lead others to peace in a world at war,” Khan explains—and that earth’s current military leadership were secretly employing him as a military strategist. “I am better,” Khan says, at “everything.” But this is how Kirk, too, is depicted—as destined to command just because he is “better.” “[I]f Khan and Kirk have the same motivation,” asked critic Abigail Nussbaum, “why is one of them the bad guy and the other the hero?” Ultimately, Khan is presented as evil not because he wars against equality and freedom, but because he isn’t one of us, while Kirk is—and because he loses, while Kirk wins. The film acknowledges the similarities between the two, and even enlists the audience’s sympathy for Khan’s terrorism—but it never answers this question, except in terms of personal loyalty and betrayal. In an effort at ratio ex machina, Nimoy is once again brought in as Spock, to tell the crew that Khan is “dangerous”—but even he gives the audience no reason to consider Khan a villain. Ultimately, Khan is presented as evil not because he wars against equality and freedom, but because he isn’t one of us, while Kirk is—and because he loses, while Kirk wins. This arbitrariness infects the film’s single effort to express an abstract principle: “Our first instinct is to seek revenge when those we love are taken,” says Kirk in the final scene. “But that’s not who we are.” We are not told why not, beyond this tribalistic assertion. But it is who Khan is, and he is better at everything. Doesn’t that make vengeance right? Having lost their principles, the show’s heroes cannot really explain, or understand, what differentiates them from their enemies, and so are rendered vulnerable to the very forces they once opposed. That Nimoy was recruited to bless this arrangement on behalf of “Star Trek’s” older generation is perverse. But that perversity is the natural consequence of the breakdown in the liberal principles that once guided the series. “Star Trek’s” romance with relativism gradually blotted them out until the franchise came to prize feeling over thought, image over substance, and immediate gratification over moral and political responsibility. What was once an expression of the Enlightenment faded “into darkness.” Over nearly 50 years, “Star Trek” tracked the devolution of liberalism from the philosophy of the New Frontier into a preference for non-judgmental diversity and reactionary hostility to innovation, and finally into an almost nihilistic collection of divergent urges. At its best, “Star Trek” talked about big ideas, in a big way. Its decline reflects a culture-wide change in how Americans have thought about the biggest idea of all: mankind’s place in the universe. This essay appears in the Summer 2015 issue of the Claremont Review of Books. ]]>
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The American Conservative Staff1
The American Conservative



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Star Wars and Politics
    (”Star Trek Into Darkness” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    foreign policy politics film Dan Drezner worries about how the next Star Wars film will address political themes: The new trailer suggests that the Imperial forces have not exactly disappeared, which means that the politics here probably will be about a Rebel Alliance facing growth pains as it tries to actually govern. Although the political scientist in me is intrigued by that narrative possibility , the sci-fi geek in me is petrified that these questions will bore the hell out of me while I’m watching — or, worse, enrage me, like Anakin Skywalker’s political pontificating. I should say first that I expect the upcoming Star Wars to suffer from all the many flaws that marred Abrams’ disaster of a second Star Trek film, not least of which was the very forced attempt to make the story “relevant” to contemporary debates about terrorism, drones, and related issues. I agree with Seth Masket that it is possible for a movie to address these themes successfully, but I have absolutely no confidence that Abrams knows how to do that. More generally, attempting to make a piece of pop culture “relevant” to contemporary politics can easily lead to the gross oversimplification of difficult problems, and a tentpole space opera is the wrong place to try doing these things anyway. A post-Empire Star Wars story could ideally have some interesting things to say about the inevitable disorder and upheaval that comes from the violent overthrow of an authoritarian state or the weaknesses and flaws of a very young democratic order that tries to replace it. Unfortunately, the amount of exposition needed to tell that part of the story would make any movie very long or very dull or both. So to the extent that Abrams chooses to indulge in making political arguments in these movies, I assume that they will be just as clumsy and heavy-handed as they were in Into Darkness. ]]>
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The Weekly Standard Staff1
The Weekly Standard



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Tuesday Morning Quarterback: It's Tax Breaks for College Football Trump Should Care About
    (”Star Trek Into Darkness” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    “Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country?” Donald Trump tweeted last week, using German-style capitalization. Trump may have been thinking of the NFL’s headquarters tax exemption which, applying to the league’s New York City operation, is a sweetheart deal that long has been a subject of tittering among wealthy New Yorkers. Pro football voluntarily surrendered that exemption in 2015, though not for any noble reason. Tax law sa
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Morgoth1
Morgoth's Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

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    Kyle Smith1
    National Review



    (Reviewers' Site/Bio)


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