Star Trek Into Darkness (J.J. Abrams, 2013)

To boldly borrow where the last film also went for inspiration (spoiler notice)

'Star Trek Into Darkness' is probably the best film name I've heard in a while. Just purely from a word-appreciation viewpoint: wow. What a find. It's instantly clear this is a sequel, yet there's also a meaning beyond simply saying something like 'Superman Returns'. Never before has the actual Trek of Star Trek been used so convincingly (if used at all), and still poetically, since Darkness is not a physical place to journey towards, but a metaphor. So, what darkness is this that we're going to be venturing into?

Star Trek (J.J. Abrams, 2009)

To boldly go where no Trek should ever have gone

Star Trek: a collection of television series and films about exploring space. Diplomacy. The delicacy of dealing with alien species. Pondering the moral choices in life. Hard, speculative science fiction. This latest film, a reboot, is not about these things, but about running around and strangling people.

Coffee and Cigarettes (Jim Jarmusch, 2003)

 Have a vignette with your cake and tea

The correct way to watch Coffee and Cigarettes is in chunks, maybe four or five of them. The film is a collection of shorts Jim Jarmusch wrote and directed over the course of many decades, all of them tableside conversations between well-known musicians and actors. Sometimes playing themselves, sometimes not. Most of them are charming in their own right, but view them all in one go and it gets a little tiresome. The black and white meet-ups are like finger food. Take a few at a time, enjoy them, then watch another the next day.

The Great Dictator (Charles Chaplin, 1940)

A comedy to wake up the world

Having seen my fair share of Laurel & Hardy, I thought I knew the extent of the humor of the great slapstick artists from the black and white movie era. Worse, I believed comedy in general was an evolving art, one that got sharper and wittier as time moves to modern eras. The progression of standup comics and Dutch cabaret performers over the decades seemed to confirm it. Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator has taught me a lesson, however, one I intend to profit by.

The Weather Man (Gore Verbinski, 2005)

It’s wind, man, it blows everywhere

David Spritz’s marriage ended in fights, his two kids are messed up and people on the street throw fast food on him. He’s a weather man, you see; he gets paid way too royally for too little work. How cruel is the common man’s jealousy. All the other stuff is David’s own fault, though.