Posts Tagged ‘Mark Lenard’

The flawed but beautiful ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ successfully launched a pioneering TV show onto the silver screen

April 25, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
April 25, 2017

A strong case can be made that 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the most ambitious movie in the Trek franchise, as well as the one that holds truest to the science fiction tropes of peaceful exploration that were famously embodied by Gene Roddenberry’s original television series. And an equally strong case can be made that Star Trek: The Motion Picture is among the least watchable of all the Trek films, both on the franchise’s own terms as well as those of cinema in general.

(Reader beware: Mild spoilers ensure.)

Before I dive into either argument, a plot summary: An presmense and incredibly powerful energy field of unknown origin is flying toward Earth after having erased three Klingon battle cruisers without breaking sweat. Strangely, although Starfleet is headquartered on Earth, the organization has only one ship capable of intercepting this vast cloud, which we eventually learn calls itself V’ger. That vessel, naturally, is one U.S.S. Enterprise. She is fresh off a two and a half year long refit without having undergone a shakedown cruise, she’s assigned to an untested captain, and her crew is young and largely untried.

Enter one Admiral James Tiberius Kirk (the one and only William Shatner), who has (it is strongly implied) spent the interim period serving as chief of Starfleet operations. He persuades his boss (the unseen Admiral Nogura) to restore Enterprise to his command, usurping the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed Capt. Willard Decker (Stephen Collins). As the crew struggles to prepare the starship for its upcoming encounter, and as Kirk comes to grips with the challenges of the situation, the starship finds itself facing a powerful entity that regards humanity as an infestation. Life on Earth could be exterminated unless Kirk and his top officers — Decker, a cranky Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and an incredibly remote Spock (Leonard Nimoy) — find a way to work together and satisfy V’ger’s desire to unite with God.

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Eastwood survives lynching, but ‘Hang ’Em High’ leaves me cold

October 2, 2012

Many many (many many) years ago, when I was a student, my college had a film program called Sunday Night Flicks. (Films were also shown with varying frequency on Monday and Tuesday and Thursday nights, but be that as it may.) The movies were a mix of recent hits, usually light fare, and classics.

One of those classics was The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the seminal 1996 “Spaghetti Western” directed by Sergio Leone and memorably scored by Ennio Morricone. It was a gritty but humorous adventure film, and — for a few hours, at least — it kindled some interest in me about Westerns.

The star of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, of course, is the iconic actor Clint Eastwood. A celluloid immortal for his performances as a Western white hat and later as Dirty Harry, the violent San Francisco cop, Eastwood has also crafted an impressive career as a director, with 35 films to his credit. (He starred in many but not all of those movies.) Eastwood’s odd ad-libbed speech at this year’s Republican National Convention, of course, also secured the former California mayor a permanent footnote in the annals of American politics. 

But that’s a post for some other blog. In a recent canvass of second-hand bookstores, I came across a Clint Eastwood Western twofer DVD and snapped it up. The first of the films that I watched on the disc was a 1968 Eastwood picture I had never seen before, Hang ’Em High. (In truth, I’ve seen very few of his movies.)

Eastwood stars here as cowboy Jed Cooper, who has just driven a newly purchased herd of cattle across a river when he is accosted by a posse. They accuse him of killing the cattle’s rightful owner and rustling the herd; Cooper, a former lawman, protests his innocence. He produces a bill of sale and describes the man who sold him the herd. But the description doesn’t match that of the dead man, and the posse strings up Cooper. Read the rest of this entry »

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