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Kubo And The Two Strings Review

Essential

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in many years. Not only does every moment of the movie look exquisite, but the story is smart, original and hugely entertaining. The themes it explores with a very light touch are rich and deep, provocative and engaging. And since there's so much to the movie, the comedy is that much sharper, the action that much more thrilling and the ultimate message that much more powerful.

Set in mythical Japan, the story centres on a cheeky young boy named Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson) who lost an eye when he was attacked as an infant by his grandfather (Ralph Fiennes) and two aunts (Rooney Mara times two). His father died in the struggle, but his mother got him out and raised him in a cave, making sure he never stayed outdoors after dark when his grandfather, the Moon King, could see him. A boy with boundless imagination, Kubo uses music and origami to entertain the villagers with the elaborately epic tale of his father's lifelong quest for three important pieces of armour. But one evening he stays out too late, and has to flee from his attacking aunts. Now his only companion is a sardonic monkey (Charlize Theron) and a forgetful warrior (Matthew McConaughey) who has been transformed into a big beetle. Together they decide to search for the armour so they can take on the Moon King once and for all.

This journey is the main body of the movie, encompassing comedy, adventure and some very scary moments. All of the story's twists and turns echo with the complexity of family and relationships, as Kubo tries to understand the things his parents could never tell him about himself. He also, of course, wants to better understand his own magical abilities, which are animated in breathtaking ways throughout the story. Perhaps accomplishing his father's quest will bring answers. And of course the real challenge for Kubo is to realise that everything he needs is right around him.

Continue reading: Kubo And The Two Strings Review

Simon Pegg Hasn't Fallen Out With George Takei Over Gay Sulu Character


Simon Pegg Star Trek John Cho George Takei

Star Trek script-writer Simon Pegg has defended the decision to portray the character of Hikaru Sulu as openly gay, and has insisted that he and George Takei – the actor who originally played Sulu – haven’t fallen out over the matter.

Speaking at the red carpet premiere in London of Star Trek Beyond on Tuesday (July 12th), Pegg addressed the matter which was revealed at the end of last week, where Takei, himself openly gay and a fervent LGBT rights campaigner, expressed disapproval at the decision to make Sulu, played by John Cho, an openly gay character, insisting that the film’s creators should have written in a new original character.

Simon PeggSimon Pegg at the premiere of 'Star Trek Beyond' in London

Continue reading: Simon Pegg Hasn't Fallen Out With George Takei Over Gay Sulu Character

Simon Pegg And George Takei Disagree Over Sulu Being Portrayed As Gay In 'Star Trek Beyond'


Simon Pegg George Takei Justin Lin John Cho

Star Trek Beyond co-writer Simon Pegg has said he “respectfully disagrees” with George Takei, after the actor called the news that Hikaru Sulu would be gay in the new movie “really unfortunate”. Takei, who is openly gay and played Sulu in the original series and movies, said that the franchise should have made a new character gay, instead of “twisting” Gene Roddenberry’s creation.

John Cho as Lieutenant Hikaru SuluJohn Cho as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu.

In a statement released to The Guardian Pegg said: “I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humour are an inspiration. However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him.”

Continue reading: Simon Pegg And George Takei Disagree Over Sulu Being Portrayed As Gay In 'Star Trek Beyond'

Hikaru Sulu To Be Portrayed As An Openly Gay Character In 'Star Trek Beyond'


John Cho Star Trek George Takei

One of Star Trek’s best-known characters, Hikaru Sulu, will be depicted as gay in the forthcoming blockbuster Star Trek Beyond.

American actor John Cho, who is reprising his role as the third officer and senior helmsman aboard the Enterprise for the second time having appeared in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, will this time be playing Sulu as an openly gay character with a same sex partner.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, the 44 year old South Korean-born actor said that the portrayal was intended as a tribute to Takei, who is himself openly gay.

Continue reading: Hikaru Sulu To Be Portrayed As An Openly Gay Character In 'Star Trek Beyond'

Academy Apologises For "Tone-Deaf" Asian Jokes During Telecast


Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences Chris Rock George Takei Ang Lee

The organisers of The Oscars have apologised for the “tone-deaf” portrayal of Asians in various jokes at this year’s ceremony, after a group of actors and filmmakers of Asian descent complained of being offended.

The Academy was embroiled in a vociferous diversity row in the run-up to the 2016 awards, which were held at the end of February, after all 20 acting nominees were white for the second year in a row. Though it subsequently pledged to double its number of women and minority members by the end of the decade, it has once again found itself at the centre of controversy.

Chris RockSome members of the Asian community were outraged at one of Chris Rock's jokes at the Oscars

Continue reading: Academy Apologises For "Tone-Deaf" Asian Jokes During Telecast

Michael K. Lee, Lea Salonga, George Takei, Katie Rose Clarke, Telly Leing, Scott Wise , Cast - First Look at the Broadway musical Allegiance at the Longacre Theatre. at Longacre Theatre, - New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 29th September 2015

Michael K. Lee, Lea Salonga, George Takei, Katie Rose Clarke, Telly Leing, Scott Wise and Cast
Lea Salonga and Michael K. Lee
Lea Salonga and Michael K. Lee
Lea Salonga and Michael K. Lee
Lea Salonga and Michael K. Lee
Lea Salonga and Michael K. Lee

George Takei - Star Trek legend George Takei gives a speech entitled "Embracing Change" talking about his faith, life, and obstacles he has overcome at the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood Church at The full name of the church is Unitarian Society of Ridgewood Church - Ridgewood, New Jersey, United States - Sunday 20th September 2015

George Takei
George Takei
George Takei
George Takei
George Takei
George Takei

George Takei - 2015 Tony Awards - Red Carpet Arrivals at Tony Awards - New York City, New York, United States - Sunday 7th June 2015

George Takei
George Takei
George Takei

George Takei and Brad Takei - HRC Los Angeles Gala Dinner 2015 at the JW Marriott Hotel at LA Live - Arrivals at JW Marriot LA Live - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 14th March 2015

George Takei and Brad Takei
George Takei and Brad Takei
George Takei and Brad Takei
George Takei and Brad Takei
George Takei and Brad Takei
George Takei and Brad Takei

Brad Altman and George Takei - Shots from the 45th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards which were held at the Hyatt Century City Plaza in Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 8th November 2014

Brad Altman and George Takei
Brad Altman and George Takei
Brad Altman and George Takei
Brad Altman and George Takei
Brad Altman and George Takei
Brad Altman and George Takei

George Takei and Wendy Burch - 45th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards at Hyatt Century City Plaza - Arrivals at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 8th November 2014

George Takei and Wendy Burch
George Takei and Brad Altman
George Takei and Brad Altman
George Takei and Brad Altman
George Takei and Brad Altman
George Takei and Brad Altman

The Geek TV Shows We're Not Afraid To Love


Adam Brody Game Of Thrones Chris O'Dowd Richard Ayoade Doctor Who Peter Capaldi George Takei Zachary Levi Mary McDonnell Judd Hirsch

Geeks: once the deeply awkward and much-maligned members of society- ridiculed by Jocks and long stereotyped on TV and film as socially inept weaklings with a love of bow ties, thick-rimmed glasses and high-waisted slacks. But oh how things have changed. Ever since Adam Brody’s intensely loveable Seth Cohen appeared on screens in the mid noughties as the lonely, quick-witted, Death Cab For Cutie loving geek on The O.C, the tables have been well and truly turned. ‘Geek Chic’ prevails, the once laughable clothing choices of society’s most brainy and introverted have been re-appropriated by the masses. Everyone is falling over themselves to replicate a look that twenty years ago would have posited the wearer of such garments as a human punch-bag for meat-headed bullies.

Adam Brody Attends Premiere Adam Brody has been credited with helping makes geeks cool through his O.C character Seth Cohen

In the world of TV, sci-fi shows such as Star Trek and Stargate are geek staples but the recent role reversal of geeks as the cultural vanguard posits fantastical shows that would have more likely been derided several years ago as universally acclaimed hits. Game Of Thrones is arguably the biggest TV show in the world whilst The Big Bang Theory, which maintains the long-held geek stereotypes has made veritable superstars of its cast. Here then, is a list of those geeky TV shows that we just can’t get enough of.

Continue reading: The Geek TV Shows We're Not Afraid To Love

Brad Altman, George Takei and guests - The 2014 Webby Awards at Cipriani Wall Street - Arrivals - New York City, New York, United States - Monday 19th May 2014

Brad Altman, George Takei and Guests
George Takei
George Takei

Video - George Takei Was Among Honourees At The 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards - Part 2


'Star Trek' star George Takei was a guest of honour at the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York which he attended alongside his husband Brad Takei and received the Vito Russo Award.

Continue: Video - George Takei Was Among Honourees At The 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards - Part 2

George Takei - 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards - Manhattan, New York, United States - Sunday 4th May 2014

George Takei
George Takei
George Takei
George Takei
Stafford Arima and George Takei
George Takei

George Takei and Elspeth Keller - Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Gala Dinner - Inside - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 22nd March 2014

George Takei and Elspeth Keller
George Takei and Guests
George Takei and Guest
George Takei and Guests
George Takei and Guest
George Takei and Elspeth Keller

George Takei - Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Gala Dinner - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 22nd March 2014

George Takei
George Takei
George Takei
George Takei
George Takei and Brad Altman
George Takei and Brad Altman

Friends In High Places Aid Songwriter Bonnie McKee's Bid For Pop Stardom


Bonnie McKee Katy Perry Macklemore Adam Lambert Carly Rae Jepsen George Takei

It looks like there’s a new pop star in the vicinity – or an aspiring one anyway. You may not have heard Bonnie McKee’s name before (in which case, you better get used to it), but the songwriter is the one behind major hits by Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Tayo Cruz, Britney Spears and many, many others. Now she’s thrown in her bid for a solo career in front of the mic. Appropriately, with its poppy tune, upbeat chords and summery vibe, the song sounds strongly reminiscent of a Katy Perry number or two – presumably, also written by McKee. If the poppy, synth-infused tune American Girl isn’t exactly to your liking, maybe the video will change your mind.

The video features McKee of course, but it also has more cameos than a Saturday Night Live episode. Starting with Katy Perry, we also get to see celebrities like Macklemore, Aram Lambert, Carly Rae Jepsen, Karmin, Nicole Scherzinger, Kiss, George Takei, Perez Hilton, etc. etc. – and that’s not even half the list. It also features McKee eating a red-white-and-blue popsicle, but that’s beside the point. This is probably one of the benefits of working in the music industry – lots and lots of friends available for help, should you ever feel like launching a musical career of your own.

Continue reading: Friends In High Places Aid Songwriter Bonnie McKee's Bid For Pop Stardom

Larry Crowne Review


OK
A painfully squishy centre completely undoes this rom-com, although it's difficult to know what might have made it less goofy. The diminished dual star-wattage of Hanks and Roberts just about makes it watchable.

After being sacked for his lack of a degree, Larry (Hanks) enrols in a community college. There isn't much else going on in his life, so he dives into his studies: Mercedes (Roberts) teaches speech, while Dr Matsutani (Takei) teaches economics. When Larry downsizes to a scooter to save money, he befriends the cool scooter-riding Talia (Mbatha-Raw), who gives him a style makeover. He also joins her biker gang, led by her boyfriend Gordo (Valderrama). Meanwhile, Mercedes is struggling with her marriage to Dean (Cranston). So maybe she and Larry can help each other outside the classroom as well.

Continue reading: Larry Crowne Review

Larry Crowne Trailer


Larry Crowne is one of the best employees at the local big-box store where he works and he's been named as 'store employee of the month' for the past 8 months, however when Larry meets with his bosses he receives some unwelcome news. In an effort to downsize the company Larry is laid off.

Continue: Larry Crowne Trailer

Star Trek: Season One Review


Extraordinary
Just like religion and the U.S. Constitution, science fiction has remained popular while losing much of its meaning. Sci fi has never been bigger than it is today, but unlike the fifties -- when even the lamest creature features carried "messages" about nuclear anxiety or the nobility of space exploration -- today's sci-fi movies and TV series don't have much to say. At best, they are action/drama series with intergalactic settings.

The hugely successful Star Trek franchise has been part of that transition. The franchise was last represented by a squadron of mediocre TV spinoffs (though a new Trek film is on the way) and has been eclipsed in popularity by Star Wars, so it's hard to remember that the original Star Trek TV series was a significant cultural force. At its best, it was also very good sci fi.

Continue reading: Star Trek: Season One Review

Star Trek: Season Three Review


Very Good
Everyone knows the sixties were a time of rapid social change, but just how rapid becomes obvious when re-watching the original Star Trek -- daring and original in some ways, retro in others. For better or worse, modern liberal idealism owes a lot to the naive, multi-ethnic utopian vision promulgated by Star Trek (and just like Starfleet's Prime Directive, liberal tolerance is honored mostly in the breach). And the first interracial kiss shown on TV was in season three. (Though it's not exactly an inspirational moment -- Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura are forced to kiss by evil aliens.)

But the original Trek also drew heavily on Cold War-era sci-fi series like The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone -- groundbreaking and experimental in their ideas, but with a traditional moral and dramatic approach. Their serious tone fit the fifties, that uneasy, schizoid time of cultural confidence, space exploration, and looming nuclear Armageddon. Star Trek's cautious presentation probably helped viewers to swallow its innovations, from flip-phone communicators and automatic doors to alien characters like Leonard Nimoy's Spock. The idea of a character motivated by "logic" instead of emotion is pretty silly (they're not opposites), but it was perfect for the liberationist sixties -- and it was a powerful gimmick that generated years' worth of story ideas. (In one of season three's last episodes, "All Our Yesterdays," Spock goes back in time, loses his civilized veneer, and develops a primordial passion for Mariette Hartley.)

Continue reading: Star Trek: Season Three Review

Star Trek: Season Three Review


Very Good
Everyone knows the sixties were a time of rapid social change, but just how rapid becomes obvious when re-watching the original Star Trek -- daring and original in some ways, retro in others. For better or worse, modern liberal idealism owes a lot to the naive, multi-ethnic utopian vision promulgated by Star Trek (and just like Starfleet's Prime Directive, liberal tolerance is honored mostly in the breach). And the first interracial kiss shown on TV was in season three. (Though it's not exactly an inspirational moment -- Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura are forced to kiss by evil aliens.)

But the original Trek also drew heavily on Cold War-era sci-fi series like The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone -- groundbreaking and experimental in their ideas, but with a traditional moral and dramatic approach. Their serious tone fit the fifties, that uneasy, schizoid time of cultural confidence, space exploration, and looming nuclear Armageddon. Star Trek's cautious presentation probably helped viewers to swallow its innovations, from flip-phone communicators and automatic doors to alien characters like Leonard Nimoy's Spock. The idea of a character motivated by "logic" instead of emotion is pretty silly (they're not opposites), but it was perfect for the liberationist sixties -- and it was a powerful gimmick that generated years' worth of story ideas. (In one of season three's last episodes, "All Our Yesterdays," Spock goes back in time, loses his civilized veneer, and develops a primordial passion for Mariette Hartley.)

Continue reading: Star Trek: Season Three Review

The Eavesdropper Review


Good
Points for originality, I'd say. First-time writer/director Andrew Bakalar (IMDB lists only two craft services -- catering -- credits for Alien Avengers and Humanoids from the Deep) turns in an interesting film out of what ought to be a direct-to-video experience. The Eavesdropper is high concept all the way: Government experiment turns a newly deaf patient (Lucy Jenner) into a superhearing machine. In fact, she can hear people's thoughts, which makes her an expert hostage negotiator and potentially awesome military intelligence operator. But it's also a bit tricky, because she can hear the motivations of the doctors who are poking and prodding her (including Star Trek alumni John de Lancie and George Takei).

Naturally there's a conspiracy here and a woman in jeopardy, and before the end our heroine will turn the tables on everyone, right? Yeah, and that's fine. Jenner is a solid actress -- reminiscent of another Trekker, Michelle Forbes -- and she does all that can be expected with a rather rote script. Supporting cast is on target, but the whole effect is rather muted. Too much time is spent meandering on tangents that never really pay off or, worse, that we just don't care about. The entire film is bookended with unnecessary backstory and future-story about the woman's life. It comes across a bit too much like padding.

Continue reading: The Eavesdropper Review

Star Trek: The Motion Picture Review


OK
The rule with Star Trek films is even-numbered films are good, odd-numbered are bad -- and the first film in the series is no exception. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released at a time when sci-fi movies were expected to be long, sluggish, arty epics like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Dune. To achieve the desired length and artiness, the producers of Star Trek: TMP hired director Robert Wise -- best known for overlong, dull classics like The Sound of Music -- and chose a script which was long on dialogue but short on action or character development. (Plot: Alien vessel is coming toward earth -- Kirk and co. must stop it. Zzzzzzz.)

Added to the mix is Persis Khambatta, a model-turned-actress who can't even act as well the veterans of the TV show, playing a bald female alien (a femalien). Finally, a third of the movie is wasted on special effects which do not compare favorably with other sci-fi movies (though see below for more on this). Draped over this mess is one of the best musical scores ever wasted on a movie, the work of Jerry Goldsmith (note that the main theme was salvaged and used for the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV show). All told, the movie is one of the few imitators of 2001: A Space Odyssey that achieves the same feeling of mystery and danger. Partly this is due to Goldsmith's excellent score; partly it is because the slow pacing and dark, gloomy sets succeed in conveying the slowness and suspense of space travel, as well as its emptiness.

Continue reading: Star Trek: The Motion Picture Review

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Review


Excellent
This is the one with the whales. That's right. The Romulans and Klingons are put aside for one episode in order to create an enemy from a faraway world, suggesting that humpback whales are not native to earth -- that they're an alien species that communicates with the whales of earth through some unknown method. When the space whales haven't heard from their earthbound pals (we're told they were driven to extinction centuries in the movie's past), they decide to pay a visit. The unintended consequence is the destruction of the power systems of everything in its path.

Solution: The Enterprise crew takes a trip back through time (in the stolen Klingon bird-of-prey from Star Trek III) to the 1980s (conveniently coinciding with the production time fram of the film) in order to snag a couple of whales and repopulate the future.

Continue reading: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Review

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock Review


Weak
In the name of the franchise, the U.S.S. Enterprise boldly goes in search of fallen comrade Spock, who may have been reborn and regenerated on the "Genesis Planet." Those who have seen Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan are familiar with the backstory. Brave Spock (Leonard Nimoy, who wanted to get out of the part) sacrificed himself to save his friends from radioactive destruction, with his sole justification being that "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few... or the one." As he died, his skin a mass of welts and burns, he gazed into Kirk's weeping face and gently confirmed that he was, and always shall be, his friend. The body was ceremoniously shot out into space and landed on the emerging planet. It was an operatic moment. Days later, the despondent Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) is still mourning the loss, and glumly presides over the ship as Starfleet performs their routine inspection.

Meanwhile... our favorite cranky doctor, "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley), is being driven mad by some force beyond his control -- somehow imagining that he is becoming Spock, or falling under the Vulcan influence.

Continue reading: Star Trek III: The Search For Spock Review

Trekkies Review


Excellent
Hilarious in the way that true stories only can be, Trekkies is a documentary that looks inside the lives of the world's most rabid fanatics: Star Trek fans. Nuttiness knows no bounds with these guys, who bid hundreds of dollars for a prosthesis used on the show, who make their own costumes, who travel across the country to go to the conventions, and who idolize the stars of Trek with a zeal otherwise unknown to man. At the same time, the amount of love these people share and the strong values the show has instilled in them make them not as pathetic as you'd think. A devilishly compelling story that makes you question when you're supposed to laugh. Not to be missed for any fan of sci-fi.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Review


Terrible
Though Star Trek: Nemesis is close on its heels, you will not find a worse Trek experience than Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

What makes it so bad? Could it be a scene with Spock in jet boots (no, those aren't ski boots!), racing to save Captain Kirk as he plummets to his death from El Capitan. A now gray-haired Uhura, doing a dance in the sand with palm fronds against the moons of an alien planet (meant as a distraction, it certainly works). Or is it the atrocious effects, the product of a limited budget and too many miniatures?

Continue reading: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Review

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan Review


Extraordinary
It is nearly gospel now among Trekkies that the second Star Trek sequel, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, is the undisputed best of the series, and will likely never meet its equal.

Inspired by classic literature like Moby Dick, Paradise Lost, and King Lear -- along with classic navy films -- Nicholas Meyer's major directorial debut is indeed the best of the series and it's a classic sci-fi flick on its own, outside the Trek mythology altogether.

Continue reading: Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan Review

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George Takei Movies

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Kubo And The Two Strings Trailer

Kubo And The Two Strings Trailer

Kubo is a young boy who lives with his mother. Kubo has always been influences...

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Do I Sound Gay? Trailer

Do I Sound Gay? Trailer

When it comes to homosexuality in men, there are plenty of stereotypes associated with it....

Tab Hunter: Confidential Trailer

Tab Hunter: Confidential Trailer

Tab Hunter was America's Boy Next Door in the 1950s, attracting a large female following...

Free Birds Movie Review

Free Birds Movie Review

An energetic sense of the absurd helps make this animated romp entertaining, even though the...

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Free Birds Trailer

Free Birds Trailer

When Reggie the Thanksgiving turkey fails to convince his incredibly stupid feathered friends that they...

Larry Crowne Movie Review

Larry Crowne Movie Review

A painfully squishy centre completely undoes this rom-com, although it's difficult to know what might...

Larry Crowne Trailer

Larry Crowne Trailer

Larry Crowne is one of the best employees at the local big-box store where he...

Star Trek: The Motion Picture Movie Review

Star Trek: The Motion Picture Movie Review

The rule with Star Trek films is even-numbered films are good, odd-numbered are bad --...

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