April 2024


Chris Pine

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)

DIRECTOR: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein

CAST: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Rege-Jean Page, Hugh Grant, Daisy Head


I went into Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves mostly blind, not really sure of what to expect, and with no particular expectations, and came out pleasantly surprised. While it’s slight compared to epic fantasy like The Lord of the Rings (which, in fairness, it’s not trying to compete with), it’s a breezy enjoyable romp combining action, comedy, magic, and as the title suggests, dungeons and dragons.

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Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Wonder Woman 1984 Review: Sequel Floats On One Wing - The Returning Gal  Gadot - 2.5 Stars (Out Of 5)

DIRECTOR: Patty Jenkins

CAST: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, Kristen Wiig


Unpopular opinion time: while I acknowledged 2017’s Wonder Woman as the most solid movie to come out of the troubled DC Expanded Universe at the time (which was no great accomplishment when held up against the hot messes of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad), I wasn’t onboard the bandwagon showering it with rapturous praise, and felt it was a fairly standard-issue comic book superhero origin story. With Wonder Woman 1984, Patty Jenkins (returning to the director’s chair) has crafted a sequel that is bigger, brighter, and flashier than its predecessor, serving up flashy eighties glitz (as indicated by its title) and cheerfully campy superhero action wedded to a sometimes surprisingly heartfelt and thematically rich plotline that recaptures the earnestness and heroics first ingrained in pop culture by Richard Donner’s Superman (from which it borrows a page or two). Its tonal differences from its predecessor might gain it a mixed reception from the first film’s ardent fans, but it’s a welcome blast of fresh air and unabashedly old-fashioned comic book superhero heroics.

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Outlaw King (2018)

Trying to Do Too Much: Netflix's Outlaw King – Concerning History

DIRECTOR: David Mackenzie

CAST: Chris Pine, Florence Pugh, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Billy Howle, Tony Curran, Sam Spruell, Stephen Dillane, James Cosmo


Outlaw King, co-writer/producer/director David Mackenzie’s chronicle of the rebellious activities of Scottish national hero Robert the Bruce, could be seen as a sort of indirect follow-up to Braveheart (to be clear, this is not a “sequel” to Braveheart, merely dealing with a couple of the same characters around the same time period), and while it lacks the scope and compulsive narrative drive of Mel Gibson’s epic, it serves as an interesting, if lesser, companion piece.

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Wonder Woman (2017)

DIRECTOR: Patty Jenkins

CAST: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Lucy Davis, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Eugene Brave Rock, Elena Anaya, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen


For the troubled “DC Expanded Universe”, Wonder Woman is a sign that all may not be lost after the near-trainwrecks of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, but I’m not prepared to join the chorus singing its praises, and while it’s not a bad movie, I can’t help but wonder if the excitement is subconsciously influenced by how good it looks in comparison to its immediate predecessors.  As far as “origin stories” go, this falls somewhere in the middle; it’s easily a more competently-crafted film than BvS or Suicide Squad, but isn’t as memorable or innovative as the best of what either DC or Marvel has offered in recent years. Continue reading

Star Trek Beyond (2016)

beyondDIRECTOR: Justin Lin

CAST: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella, Idris Elba


Star Trek: Beyond, the third installment in the “new” Star Trek reboot series, with Justin Lin of the Fast & Furious series taking over from J.J. Abrams (who stepped back to merely producing while busy rebooting another sci-fi franchise with Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens), feels like a super-sized, feature-length episode of the original series (with a budget it could only have dreamed of, of course), but while there are more of Gene Rodenberry’s fingerprints on this one than its two immediate predecessors, the script by Doug Jung and Simon Pegg (the latter of whom, of course, also co-stars as Scotty) fails to go “beyond” as the title aspires toward.   Continue reading

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

CD10002_JackRyan_ShadowRecruit.jpgDIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh

CAST: Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh


Has any film character, apart from the continually recast James Bond, been rebooted as many times as Jack Ryan?  Originating in Tom Clancy’s Cold War international espionage novels and then played onscreen first by Alec Baldwin, then Harrison Ford, the CIA operative was rebooted as a fledgling new recruit—and transported into the present day—with 2002’s The Sum of All Fears, where he was played by Ben Affleck, and now he’s been rebooted all over again, with Shadow Recruit doing what Casino Royale did for James Bond and starting the character completely fresh with no connection to the previous films.  Clearly Kenneth Branagh and the studio is hoping for Shadow Recruit to be more successful at kickstarting a new Jack Ryan franchise than the previous attempt at a reboot, The Sum of All Fears, which spawned no sequels, but only time will tell.  Clancy fans might grumble about Ryan being removed from his Cold War origins, but taken on its own terms, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a smoothly diverting action thriller that represents a worthy fresh start for the long-running character. Continue reading

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

enterprise crashDIRECTOR: J.J. Abrams

CAST: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Peter Weller, Bruce Greenwood, Leonard Nimoy


Warning: While I will try to avoid outright “spoilers”, this review will discuss elements of the film’s plot.

Like Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, J.J. Abrams resurrected the floundering Star Trek film franchise with 2009’s simply-titled Star Trek, and now, after its critical and box office success, he has, by his own admission, sought to provide Star Trek’s answer to The Dark Knight, a sequel that is bigger, more epic, and goes to some darker, more surprising places. I’m not prepared to say he’s completely accomplished this task—Into Darkness pulls a punch where The Dark Knight had no such compunction—but what he has succeeded at is a second breakneck space high adventure that’s engaging and exciting, serves up plenty of action and tension, and is lighter on comedy and higher on drama. Continue reading

This Means War (2012)



Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Chelsea Handler, Til Schweiger, Angela Bassett, Rosemary Harris


This Means War is an adequate hour and a half of diversion for the bored and undemanding, but is as slickly studio-polished a slice of fluffy and forgettable mindless entertainment as can be found. Continue reading

Star Trek (2009)



Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Ben Cross, Winona Ryder, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Morrison, Faran Tahir, Leonard Nimoy


For the first feature film Star Trek entry since 2002’s much-maligned box office flop Star Trek: Nemesis (giving an ignominious send-off to the Next Gen crew led by Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard), J.J. Abrams (director of Cloverfield and creator of the Lost television series) and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (writers of 2007’s Transformers) have attempted to do much the same for Star Trek what Christopher Nolan did for Batman; mix things up and inject freshness in a way that the new film is not tied down to those that came before. While the simply-titled Star Trek is not quite as triumphant a success as The Dark Knight , in my opinion, Abrams and cast and crew have mostly succeeded at what they set out to do. Trekkies with open minds may find much to appreciate here, but be forewarned: this ain’t your Daddy’s Star Trek. Continue reading