‘Star Trek Beyond’
(PG-13; 120 minutes; Paramount): “Star Trek Beyond” is one of those “Trek” tales where the crew gets stranded on a distant planet during a dangerous rescue mission. The Enterprise is brought down by the destructive Krall (Idris Elba), who is hell bent on making humanity stronger through struggle. As in most of these movies, the villain isn’t really the point. There’s a bad guy, and he wants a little thingy that will help him end the world.
“Star Trek” has been and always will be about the crew of the Enterprise, and their unique chemistry as individuals that makes them stronger as a group. Smartly, they’re split up into unlikely pairs initially – turns out Bones (Karl Urban) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) are the perfect odd couple, one’s folksiness not quite clicking with the other’s extreme logic, and Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is stranded with little bro Chekhov (Anton Yelchin). Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Sulu (John Cho) are taken prisoner, while Scotty makes a new friend in the fierce Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), who escaped the evil Krall and is looking to get off this planet by any means necessary.
The film clips along quickly, with tremendously efficient exposition that builds out the character motivations but is never bogged down by mythology. “Beyond” is a brighter than 2013’s “Into Darkness,” a vast improvement, and it’s everything you want a post-modern “Trek” movie to be: funny, poppy, self-referential – and with Captain Kirk punching bad guys in rubber masks, of course.
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Contains sequences of sci-fi action and violence. Tribune News Service
(R; 101 minutes; Block Entertainment): “Bad Moms” pretends to be a raunchy, R-rated bad-girl comedy, but it’s actually about as tough as sugar-sprinkled rice pudding.
Amy (Mila Kunis) is a mother of two who’s overwhelmed by her life, juggling parenthood, marriage and career. Shunned by a trio of perfect moms at her children’s school (Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo, playing it like the “Mean Girls” posse two decades later), Amy befriends fellow stressed-out moms Kiki (Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn). They try hard to be bad moms – drinking in bars, wreaking havoc at the supermarket, bringing purchased doughnuts to a bake sale – but they aren’t. Because they really, really love their kids – and are, at heart, great moms.
The message of “Bad Moms” is that being a mother today is impossible – note that the Mean Mom posse, in almost the same breath, shames Amy for working and Kiki for staying home with her kids. But it’s a hammer brought down with a light, goofy touch, with a gleefully charming central trio that I enjoyed hanging out with.
Despite its name, this is a fluffy cupcake of a movie – and sometimes, a cupcake is just what you want.
Contains sexual material, full frontal nudity, language throughout, and drug and alcohol content. Seattle Times
(R; 110 minutes; Dear Rivers): The documentary “Gleason” tells the story of Steve Gleason, the former New Orleans Saints football player diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2011.
Three years after retiring from the NFL, Gleason, then 34, received back-to-back bombshells: Within weeks of a diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease, he learned that his wife Michel was pregnant. Concerned that he may never be able to have a conversation with his son, Gleason began to record a video diary in order to share as much of himself as possible while he was still able to speak. This footage makes up the heart of the film, which director Clay Tweel has shaped into a narrative about the strength of the human spirit when confronted with the frailties of the body.
Gleason’s generosity in revealing himself – not only to his son, but to the viewer – occasionally feels like exploitation. The movie essentially allows us to watch its subject slowly die, as Gleason loses more and more control of his muscles.
This uncomfortably intimate film doesn’t spare the viewer from the difficulties experienced by Gleason and his family. As Gleason struggles to maintain his religious faith during this crisis, his father Mike questions his son’s beliefs. We also see Gleason’s marriage buffeted by the stress of his illness.
Yet Gleason’s determination to find meaning in his suffering is inspiring.
“Gleason” portrays great strength and great suffering in equal measure, lending vivid credence to tired platitudes about what it means to live life to the fullest.
Contains strong language, partial nudity and graphic depiction of intimate caregiving. Washington Post
Also out Nov. 1
- “Nine Lives”
- “The Sea of Trees”
- “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders”
- “Christmas Eve”
- “Hell on Wheels: The Complete Series”
- “My Blind Brother”
- “Outlander: Season 2”
- “The Librarians: Season 1”