Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Movies’

Star Trek Beyond goes where many movies have gone before, still gives you a good time (But I want more)

July 21, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 2 Comments →

My ancient Star Trek paperbacks, which the cats attempted to use as scratching posts

Star Trek Beyond is brisk and efficient, with impressive set pieces and the comedy partnership of Spock (Zachary Quinto) and McCoy (Karl Urban). All that was missing was Bones saying, “He’s dead, Jim.” The big action scenes could be clearer—the geography is muddled, the lighting murky—and the evolution of the villain Krall be explained better (How did he start draining his victims?), but the writers have homed in on the essence of Star Trek: scientific thinking employed with humanity, Spock + Kirk. Also I approve of a universe in which the Beastie Boys is classical music. And appreciate the lovely tribute to Leonard Nimoy even if I’ve forgotten how there came to be two Spocks, and how the writers paid tribute to the living George Takei by revealing that Mr. Sulu is gay. I will miss Anton Yelchin.

I understand that given the cost of making special effects movies, the filmmakers have to make the product accessible to the widest audience possible. What I’m missing is the compelling, brain-bending science-fiction I took for granted when I was watching the reruns of the original Gene Rodenberry series in the late 1970s. The effects were laughable, the sets tore during the fight scenes, William Shatner was pure Roquefort, the make-up was hilarious, but the stories!

The current writers are hard-put to create storylines that boldly go where no movie has gone before, so why not do a bit of time-travel and retool some of the classic Star Trek stories? City on the Edge of Forever, Amok Time, Mirror Mirror, even The Trouble With Tribbles. They need not be slavish remakes, but tweaked, expanded, reworked. That episode where Kirk split into his good and bad halves—Chris Pine would kill in it. Amok Time, where Spock goes into heat (Vulcans do) and fights to the death for a mate—Quinto would be brilliant.

Star trek TOS 2×01 by 3_14us

The new Ghostbusters survives the sliming

July 19, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies 4 Comments →


Why are people furious over the very concept of a Ghostbusters movie starring women? Since the Ghostbusters remake was announced there has been a concerted campaign to make the project fail. What, only guys can design and aim proton packs? Ghostbusters starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones is amiable, amusing, and hilarious in parts. The funniest bits are in direct response to the irrational online hatred: Kristen Wiig reading a comment on YouTube (Never do that), Bill Murray (the original cast all have cameos, inc Annie Potts at the hotel reception and Sigourney Weaver in the end credits) wondering why women would want to catch ghosts, and best of all, Chris Hemsworth as Kevin the receptionist. Because men aren’t the only people who can be scientists, and women aren’t the only people who can be hot and brainless.


Nicholas Hoult is playing J.D. Salinger

July 10, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies No Comments →


in Rebel in the Rye, a biopic directed by Jonathan from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

1. Hate the title.
2. Nicholas is too good-looking, but it’s a movie.
3. J.D. Salinger would certainly not approve, but he’s dead.
4. Didn’t see the earlier documentary.
5. Have the biography it’s based on, haven’t read it.
6. So no one can make a movie of Salinger’s books, but his life is up for grabs.
7. I would still watch it in order to complain about it, and also because Hoult was terrific in Mad Max Fury Road, turning his cannon fodder character into the emotional center of the movie.

The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Pecs

July 02, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies 3 Comments →


It takes an event of seismic importance to make my sister leave work “early”—in quotes because she prepared for it by putting in 13 hours at the office the previous day. The event is Alexander Skarsgaard in The Legend of Tarzan, the upteenth retelling of Tarzan.

I have been watching Tarzan in one form or another all my life, beginning with the ancient Tarzan reruns starring Johnny Weismuller which aired Sundays on Channel 13, then the version staring Christopher Lambert whose forehead proclaimed him Greystoke, Lord of the Neanderthals, all the way to the Starzan parodies in which the late Rene Requiestas played Cheeta-eh (ganda lalake). As far as I am concerned there is no reason to film Tarzan ever again, unless it is to show us a spectacularly ripped handsome man swinging from vines in a loincloth. Skarsgaard fulfills most of the criteria: he has IMAX-sized shoulders and pectorals, is a Nordic god and swings from vines. . .but wait! He’s wearing khaki pants. Stretch khaki pants which never rip despite his exertions, including wrestling a great ape.

In this movie the villains are King Leopold and the Belgians, who run up a tremendous debt while ruling the Congo and try to pay for it by selling the Congolese into slavery and raping their diamond mines. Tarzan is now John Clayton III, Earl of Greystoke, married to the feisty American Jane (Margot Robbie). Their love story, along with Tarzan’s origins, unfolds in flashbacks. Leopold’s stooge Rom (Christoph Waltz) promises to deliver Tarzan to the angry tribal chieftain Djimon Honsou, who hates Tarzan for some reason, but not because he’s a white man who presumes to lord over the African jungle. No matter how you frame the story it’s still going to be about a white man who comes to save the Africans and the damsel in distress. The movie knows this, which is why Samuel L. Jackson turns up as Tarzan’s new ally Dr. George Washington Williams. Samuel L. Jackson isn’t fooling us: ever since Pulp Fiction, he’s been playing Jules. Here he gets to make funny comments along the lines of “There are snakes in the motherfucking trees.”

The movie is entertaining, but perhaps not in the way the filmmakers envisioned it to be. The vine-swinging scenes are exciting but there’s not enough of them, and the acting skills of the apes are not up to Andy Serkis level. Then the movie rushes to the end and the two big action set pieces feel like an afterthought. Director David Yates is going for the sense of wonder at nature’s magnificence etc, but all I could think of was, “Will I miss anything if I run to the snack bar for some chips?”

I’m not going to stop you from watching this Tarzan, but there’s very little you can get from it that you can’t get from a video of Alex running shirtless.

What have you done?! This is what we think of Brexit.

June 25, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Movies 15 Comments →

Remembering the lovely Anton Yelchin

June 22, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies 6 Comments →

from Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
by William Wordsworth

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.