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J.J. Abrams | EclipseMagazine | Page 6
Synopsis: Teleportation. Mind control. Invisibility. Astral projection. Mutation. Reanimation. Phenomena that exist on the Fringe of science unleash their strange powers in this thrilling series, co-created by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias), combining the grit of the police procedural with the excitement of the unknown. The story revolves around three unlikely colleagues: a beautiful young FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), Walter Bishop (John Noble) a brilliant scientist who has spent the last 17 years in a mental institution and the scientist’s sardonic son peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) who together investigate a series of bizarre deaths and disasters known as “the pattern”. Someone is using our world as an experimental lab. And all clues lead to Massive Dynamic, a shadowy global corporation CEOed by Bishop’s former lab partner, Dr. William Bell (veteran scif actor Leonard Nimoy), that may be more powerful than any nation.
This summer’s Star Trek Movie is coming to Blu-ray and DVD, November 17, 2009. The STAR TREK DVD and Blu-ray will boast out-of-this-world special features to take viewers even further into the new universe of the rousing space adventure. The two-disc DVD and three-disc Blu-ray include in-depth explorations of the reimagining of the franchise, the phenomenal cast, the spectacularly real action sequences, the powerful score and the captivating aliens, commentary by J.J. Abrams, the writers and producers, a gag reel and a digital copy of the film. Additionally, the discs feature compelling deleted scenes that reveal a side story involving Nero with a first-ever look at Abrams’ version of the infamous warrior Klingons.
The STAR TREK Blu-ray boldly ventures beyond the final frontier with over three hours of sensational bonus footage including branching pods that allow for enhanced exploration, more fascinating features on the starships, planets, props, costumes and sound of STAR TREK, as well as a Starfleet Vessel Simulator and access to the latest NASA news about real-life space exploration via BD-Live.
Company of Angels (CoA), which was co-founded in 1959 by actor Leonard Nimoy, one of the renowned stars of Star Trek, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as Los Angeles’ oldest non profit professional theater now headquartered at the historic Alexandria Hotel in downtown LA.
CoA is readying to celebrate this milestone in the history of Los Angeles Theater – with a prestigious Charity Awards Gala slated for October 17, 2009 which will honor actor Leonard Nimoy for his role as a founding member as well as veteran actor Robert Ellenstein. The Award Gala is produced by actress Marlene Forte who sits on the board of CoA as Artistic Director. Marlene Forte was recently seen on the big screen beaming people away as the first Latina Chief Transporter in JJ Abrams’ blockbuster film “Star Trek”.
The award -The Leonard Nimoy Angel – named after actor Leonard Nimoy, is an award bestowed on individuals and/or organizations that have made significant contributions to theater in Los Angeles, and to Company of Angels, in particular.
“I’m looking forward to celebrating Company of Angels’ 50th Anniversary Award Ceremony and Gala.” Nimoy says of this special event in which he is proud to be a part of.
Always dedicated to the exploration of a diversity of perspectives, COA is uniquely multi-cultural with members reflecting the various ethnic groups that make up the City of Angels. As the first repertory company in LA, it was originally incorporated by legendary entertainment attorney Bertram Fields and included actors Richard Chamberlain and Vic Morrow – it also had veteran actor Robert Ellenstein as its first artistic director. Other notable current members include actress Marlene Forte (JJ Abrams Star Trek), Armando Molina, Justin Hueng and acclaimed playwright Oliver Mayer (Blade to the Heat).
Check out the official website to learn more about The Company of Angels
When J.J. Abrams (creator of Lost) announced that he’d be taking up the reigns of the famed Star Trek franchise with a reboot showcasing the original characters, there was a universal mix from future audiences made up of about 50% excitement and 50% trepidation. If you were in the worried category, let me put your fears to rest. Star Trek is amazing.
I should start with this- the 2009 Star Trek film does not demand in any way that you know anything about the previous films or the universe in general. That being said, if you are familiar with the characters, their quirks and a little bit about their history (specifically plot points and dialogue from the second movie, Wrath of Khan), this experience is going to be all the more gratifying and fun.
The eleventh Star Trek film, simply entitled Star Trek, is a genuine experience. Saying that they got it right is like saying that the sky is blue. Star Trek is the best Trek film – but that’s only half the story. It is a blockbuster in all the right ways: fascinating characters; robust action sequences; a relatable villain; stuff that gets blowed up real good [and yet, not gratuitously], and even some romance [between two of the least likely characters – one of the film’s bigger risks…].
Director J.J. Abrams and writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci have produced a film that is set up in such a way that it does not need to navigate through forty-plus years of continuity – a film that can [and does] take chances. Instead of having to worry that any situation might rile Trekkers by flagrantly violating Trek continuity, Star Trek shuffles the deck with a unique twist on time travel paradoxes that allow fresh adventures within the positive core of creator Gene Roddenberry’s original concept. That it is “real” cannot be denied. It has the blessing of the Roddenberry family and Leonard Nimoy – and if Spock says it’s Trek, then it’s Trek. Plus, there’s no Big Red Reset Button [though there is the traditional red-shirted casualty-in-waiting…].
J.J. Abrams is a man who I’ve always thought was way overrated – I’ve hated just about everything that he’s been involved in including Alias, Felicity, Mission Impossible III and that god awful Cloverfield. I’m also not a Trekkie, I’ll watch Star Trek the original series on occasion and Voyager whenever it’s on but I hated the Picard crew with a passion. So for these reasons and more I wasn’t really feeling the new Star Trek prequel movie. I wanted to be the one who comes out hating this movie, but I can’t. Abrams has knocked this one completely out of the park. This is an almost flawless movie. The acting, plot, pacing, cinematography, SFX is almost perfect.
Beyond the reasons listed above I thought all the trailers for this movie were, “Meh” and the casting really awful. But a funny thing happens as you watch, it soaks in that I was completely wrong, this cast is absolutely perfect and spot on. I started to have double vision, I could easily imagine these people 20 or 30 years older with their big stomachs and years of experience being together as a crew. I always say how much I hate prequels, but it’s time to say that when done well they can be a lot of fun. It’s just very rare that it’s done well. Prequels should be more than just “how the big things came to be,” they should be about the characters themselves and the little moments, things and character “ticks” that fans of any given show come to love.
Marlene Forte is living proof that success stories can happen to those who put their hearts, minds and fortitude into making them happen. Forte, a Cuban American immigrant, former teenaged mom and self-made business entrepreneur who spent six solid successful years as a video store owner, has turned herself into the female version of a Quentin Tarantino, with an encyclopedic knowledge of films, directors and actors. Both her impressive acting portfolio and her one of a kind story have positioned her as a creative voice and force certainly to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry.
With her current TV role as Rosie Hernandez in Tyler Perry’s TBS Sitcom ‘House of Payne’ and her upcoming big screen part in ‘Star Trek XI’, Marlene is living proof that it’s never too late to follow your calling, and her fiery Latin heritage doesn’t even begin to capture the extent of her resilience!
Forte is one of those rare talents whose dedication continues to set a standard in Hollywood. With each character and role she takes on, Marlene Forte is refining a formula of proving Hollywood wrong by continually breaking through Hollywood’s stereotypes and carving a niche for the Latino community and tearing down the walls of “ethnic minorities”.
I’ve just seen the two-hour premiere of season five of Lost [ABC Wednesdays, 8/7C, beginning on Jan. 21st]. You think it was strange and wild and exhilarating before? Just wait until you see what’s next!
Although my agreement with ABC is that I can’t give away plot points, I can, perhaps, give clues. I can tell you that Vincent’s back – and that Sawyer plays a more prominent role. I can tell you that things have changed between Benjamin Linus [Michael Emerson] and Sayid [Naveen Andrews]; that Hurley [Jorge Garcia] has reached his limit on lying – and that Sayid’s life may depend on him; I can tell you that a potential legal problem may change Kate’s [Evangeline Lilly] and Aaron’s lives, and that Charlotte [Rebecca Mader] may not be well. And speaking of Hurley, remember Dave? And Charlie’s enigmatic appearance at the mental institution [“I’m dead. And I’m here”]? I can safely say that Hurley sees dead people.
There are lots more clues that I could give you in that vein, but when the events to which they allude happen, all that’ll happen is that some answers will be given [like why Hurley finally reaches his limit with The Lie] and more will be asked [like what’s happening to the people who were left on the island]. Even the titles of the two parts of this season’s premiere have titles [Because You Left & The Lie] that are carefully gauged to give hints that spawn unexpected answers and set the stage for more [and possibly bigger] questions. As is always the case with Lost, context is everything.
Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof co-wrote Because You Left and Stephen Williams’s direction keeps up a pace that matches that of last season’s three-hour finale. Revelations are given in quick bursts and emotional moments in almost a state suspension – but no scene lasts for more a few moments. The Lie, written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and directed by Jack Bender, keeps up that pace, for the most part but lingers a bit more over the key emotional sequences, giving them more heft as the give and take of answers and questions mounts.
I have to say that I enjoyed the season five premiere episodes as much as the three-part season four finale. Everyone we care about gets a choice moment or two and the plot forges onward. The rollercoaster ride that is Lost is definitely maintaining the quality level it regained last season.
The innovative Cloverfield, which brought a whole new, personal style to monster movies, fares even better on DVD than it did in the theater. That’s because the film was shot as if by a guy who happened to have a camcorder with him when the monster appeared in Manhattan. Of course, even on the small screen, Cloverfield remains a truly intense experience, with its visual references to 9/11, its monster lice, and its very “old gods” looking beastie.
Cloverfield is unique as monster movies go in that it takes much more time to establish its characters than the average genre effort. This is because we have to know these people before we are plunged into the action with them. Since the only view of the action we get is from the point of view of the guy with the camera, we only catch glimpses of the monster – but are right there when one character gets mauled by one of the lice. The attempt to rescue someone we’ve seen only briefly on a bit of recording and for a few minutes at a party only makes sense if we know these people.
Overall, Cloverfield is a pretty special achievement in the monster movie genre, with its almost constant intensity and the intimacy of being right there with “The Man on the Street” as it were. The FX are amazing – and although we never quite see the whole monster at any one time, we see enough bits to be able to figure out its appearance.
Features include: Audio Commentary with Director Matt Reeves; Deleted Scenes; Document 01.18.08: The Making of Cloverfield; Cloverfield Visual effects; I Saw IT! It’s Huge! It’s Alive!; Clover Fun; Deleted Scenes; Alternate Endings, and www.cloverfieldfiles.com.
It’s a good thing that Cloverfield is only eighty minutes long [not including closing credits] – otherwise I might not have been able to leave the theatre afterward! As it was, I felt like I had been through an actual wringer when the lights came up.