HIP Life: Movie Review by Aaron Hinds

Star Trek: Into Darkness (Or “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”)

Aaron Hinds

When I first saw the trailer for the sequel to the 2009*cit needed* blockbuster, I was intrigued. When I saw more of the movie, I was excited. When I saw and heard Benedict Cumberbatch, I squealed with delight (Fanboy doesn’t describe my feelings for that man) and instantly knew I needed to see this movie.

Now on the other side of my viewing of it, my feelings for it are different though not in a negative way. So to describe those feelings, I’m splitting my review in three parts- story, impact, and characters. Try to keep up.

Story- As my subtitle suggest, I have some minor issues with the movie. I might be nitpicking but hey, it’s my review.

Here’s my take- its the exact plot of the first movie. Kirk does something stupid, gets in trouble, somewhat redeems himself, pisses off crew members, gets into a dangerous situation, and must do something big to get past it. Heck even Scotty and Kirk have a similar situation like they did in the first movie!

That being said, this is not a Hangover Part II. It took the plot and made it So much better. The first one was good to begin with, really tested the characters and the fans. Heck I’m a fan of McCoy and Karl Urban because of the first one. Chris Pine took an iconic role and made it his own. Everyone else stepped into big shoes very well. This flick only expounded on that. A strong plot drove visuals that wowed and that’s what’s important. I give the story a B.

Impact- Now I’m not a die hard Trekkie, but I didn’t dislike the series either. In fact I enjoyed The Next Generation for numerous reasons. But as each series stands away from the other ones, JJ does the same. A good reboot will do that (see The Dark Knight trilogy) and his understanding of cinema helped the jump from the series/films. A lot have issues with the visuals, the lens flares and such. But as a whole, it stands very well. Heck even, William Shatner made a documentary about the Captains of Star Trek and Chris Pine was a part of it. As an impact-full beast, it drew more and more of the populous to the Trekkie way. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I was a Batman fan before the movies and they only strengthened my resolve. I feel the first movie did a good job of that. The second only expanded on that. If Trek-cons doesn’t grow because of these films, I’ll be surprised. JJ is exactly what the Trek-universe needed. Impact scores an A.

Characters- Wow. Where do I start? I’ll start with the least favorite and finish with my favorite character.

Please note because I say it’s my least favorite doesn’t mean it’s a bad character or anything like that. In fact, if they get mentioned- I liked them.
Alice Eve/Carol jumped into a role that I felt was both needed and unneeded at the same time. She served a nice purpose of balancing Kirk and the romance of Spock & Uruha. But even still she was still a bit forced. Like a hexagon peg into a round hole. (I understand the character existed before this movie and I actually really like Eve, but fitting in with the rest if the crew is where I draw this from.)

Zoe Saldana & Urban/Uruha and McCoy were as witty and needed as the last movie and both did an excellent job. They just got underplayed some.

Anton Yelnich/Chekov- Love ya baby, keep up the silly accent. Seriously though, having Chekov in the position he was made Anton dig back into the roots he can easy use.

Zachary Quinto/Spock has an understanding of the character that only Leonard Nimoy can compete with. Quinto pushes the character to limits that were established in the first movie, reminding that these people are in fact that- people. Viewers, like myself, forget that sometimes.
Simon Pegg- I love this man and his interpretation of Scotty is so simple and complex that I believe James Doohan (the original) would give a thumbs up. Pegg is not only cocky but he’s intelligent as well, which drives the character to be more the chief of engineering. Thank you JJ, thank you.

Chris Pine/Kirk has become more than a rebooted character. He’s completely a different character. Is it possible to have different ways to be cocky? Pine found a way in the first and by George, he was endearing. Now with this sequel, not only does he retain this, it makes the character grow! On screen! It’s like it was planned that way!

Benedict Cumberbatch/John Harrison- It’s going to be extremely hard to not spoil anything and talk about this performance but I’m going to do my best. Cumberbatch is a new breed of actor, the raw emotion he brings to every role he plays has the intensity of a 1000. Just look at his eyes, I know I did. All of the time. He just draws you there and holds you with that dark timbre of his voice. He commands each scene he’s in and I don’t want at any other way. Have I gone on enough about him? No? He kicked serious butt in his action scenes and gave a great foil to Pine and even Quinto. That enough? Yeah, I agree.

Overall for Characters I give a A. There was some other mentionable things but I need to stop while I’m ahead. (Okay, Sulu was pretty badass and John Cho did a great job.)

So all in all, a worthwhile movie that earns a B+ in my book. I think there was areas of weakness but nothing to derail the rest of the blockbuster.
So go, watch this, enjoy it, and do what I’m doing- hoping against hope that Star Wars part VII actually is good. (Please let there be nothing worse than Jar Jar!) You can do it JJ, just do it right.

Live long and Read on my friends.

Author Spotlight: Marlayna Glynn Brown

 Marlayna Glynn Brown is a nomadic mother of four, author, screenwriter, actress, producer, poet, yogi and photographer. Marlayna was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada but now lives wherever she lays her head.

Marlayna’s latest release, Forty-Something Phoenix: A Travel Memoir of Love and Rebirth, takes readers from Texas to Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Montenegro, Ukraine, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Belgium and finally The Netherlands in a search for self among the cultures of others.

Her other works include the wildly beloved memoir trilogy: Overlay – A Tale of One Girl’s Life in 1970s Las Vegas, City of Angeles and Big as All Hell and Half of Texas.

Her 2009 short film, People That do Something, is based upon a chapter from Overlay and can be viewed on Youtube.

Visit Marlayna at www.marlaynaglynnbrown.com.

1) Please tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your books.

The inspiration for my books is always about interactions with other people.  I feel everything to be learned happens via these interactions.  People are so fascinating.  I always wonder why they are the way they are, why they do the things they do?  I wonder how they are different from me and what I know? Combined with my travels, these questions lead to inspiration which manifests as my creative work.

2) What drives you to write?

Writing has always been a source of stress release for me.  Through the pen and the keyboard, I feel able to create possibilities that did not exist beforehand.  I also love the idea that through reading my stories I can create hope for others.  Since my tales are true, I volunteer to stand as an example to every neglected or abused child that one can absolutely improve their future and create the life they want to lead.  Receiving emails from readers is another motivating factor for me.  I love when readers thank me for telling their stories as children raised by alcoholics, or that they enjoy living vicariously through my travel stories.

3) What is something artistic you haven’t done before in your writing that you would like to try in the future?


While memoir is most definitely my genre, I whitewash some of my writing in order to appeal to mainstream.  I would actually like to be more brutally honest about my interactions.  I hesitate in painting too dark a picture of some for fear of hurting them.  I am starting a new book this summer about my travels with my recently deceased father’s ashes – and I am not going to change or withhold a single detail this time.  Don’t say you weren’t warned! (Laughing!)

 

Authors Talk!

Here are some more responses to the questions 1) Why do you write? and/or 2) Where do you find inspiration?

Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, says:

“I guess I just enjoy the process of writing. I was once asked, “Which do you like more—writing, or the idea of being a writer?” It was, and is, a very delicate and powerful question. If you enjoy the process of writing, you’ll eventually do well. But if you romanticize the idea of being a writer, you’re probably in it for the wrong reasons. In that case, keep your day job, buy a Vespa, and hang out at Starbucks and brood a lot. You can enjoy all of the affectations without the struggle.”

Livia J. Washburn, author of The Fresh Baked Mystery Series, says:

My inspiration for writing the Fresh Baked Mystery series was my mother, for the most part. She was an elementary school teacher and spent many years in her first grade classroom making sure her students had the best start on their education that she could give them. Several other of my relatives were teachers as well, so I’ve always been around that educational background and wanted to write something that had retired teachers as the main characters. And my mom was a great baker, too, so that certainly helped!”

Cheers,

Allie Coker-Schwimmer

Editor

 

Fiction by Mike Price

APATHY

by Michael Price

Yeah, that was me that peed on your feet this morning, but I don’t care. I really don’t because, see, I’m a dog. Kinda cute, perhaps, but not always the most sanitary beast, if you know what I mean.

Did I happen to mention that I don’t care? My memory is kinda bad because, like I said, I’m a dog.

My mother, that… she was such a pain in the ass. And nobody knows more about pain in the ass than me.

She figured she was doing me a favor by bringing me into this fucking world. Hell, it’s boring. Not a whole lot goin’ on around here. Just eat, sleep and… well, you know.

Oh, and by the way, you should probably get somebody to clean that up over there because, again… I just don’t care.

Ya know, in the back of my mind, it seems like at one point—like when I was a pup, maybe—that I used to care. But that was a long time ago and, ya know, with the memory thing the way it is…

You may want to consider moving your feet.

See? There…I cared.

Widely published in literary journals, Michael Price has been writing fiction for over 30 years. He earned his BA in Theater from the University of Minnesota in 1980 and performed his own one-man one-act play “No Change of Address” to considerable acclaim at the 2011 MN Fringe Festival. 

It’s summer! Time for some fiction that, literally, leaps off the page a little!

 

MIRANDA

BY JARED HULCE

I MET Miranda one evening during the unusually hot summer of 2006. A “brown-out” occurred and my apartment building was one of several that had its power temporarily disconnected. I went to “Tony’s” for dinner and drinks and pleasantly spent most of the evening there. Returning home late to brush my teeth by candlelight.

Miranda was in the company of friends seated at the bar. Most noticeably attached to Tyler, who is gay! He is apparently her roommate. A very amusing middle aged Irishman, but a Prospero he ain’t. Miranda laughs easily, displaying a perfect smile. The kind you see on models and actresses, especially in close-ups on TV commercials. She was provocatively clad in a very, very red flimsy semi-transparent top that you’d expect to see a soprano at the opera portraying Carmen wearing. The left side of it was dangling off-shoulder in a calculated dishabille manner, to reveal a little cleavage—(very little!) and a similarly colored red bra within. It was also short enough to display quite a bit of nicely tanned midriff.

Miranda had a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist. It was of an eye! With a couple of ornamental strokes. It reminded me of an ancient Egyptian symbol. What its stated purpose was meant to convey apart from its decorative value, I hesitated to inquire about. My personal opinion about tattoos is they’re quite unnecessary on pretty women. And if anything, I find them somewhat disfiguring. Not unlike scar tissue!

That evening I became a sort of honorary participant in her entourage. Although I had previously made the acquaintance of Tyler, this was the first time I’d seen him with Miranda. After a while Tyler got up to chat with a couple of other guys and a very attractive young woman named Jean whom I had been introduced to earlier. They had moved to the other end of the bar. At that interval three youths passing by outside peered through the window making signals to Miranda who happened to be staring at that moment from her perch at the end of the bar nearest the windows. She smiled her 1000-watt smile at their cavorting and it encouraged them to enter the restaurant. Three callow looking young men of such diverse appearance it would make any writer proud to have imagined. But they were for real! They all quickly gravitated, like moths to a flame, closely to the corner of the bar where she was seated. Miranda amused herself with this new situation while Tyler was temporarily preoccupied. And she teased this gruesome threesome with the sort of banter, which she was apparently very capable of handling.

Miranda cheerfully and skillfully deflected their obvious obsequiousness with the aplomb of d’Artagnan fencing with Athos, Porthos and Aramis! One of these Musketeers was tall, swarthy and had a lean and hungry (read horny!) look about him. Another was short and perhaps the better looking of the lot but also the most garrulous. The last one was tall also and leaning heavily on the bar, practically drooling. He possessed a nose that rivaled that of a toucan without the charming coloration. All three were thinking only with that tiny brain located within the singular male appendage that motivates young men to perpetually make fools of them. The poor schmucks can’t help it. This appendage has a mind of its own after all! I was a young schmuck once and remember all too well.

Eventually she became bored with them and began to wind down her repartee. She also looked tired. It was getting late. She politely discouraged their suggestions to go to another bar, finally calling over to Tyler to take her home. Larry, Moe and Curly left rather hesitantly and reluctantly. Their tails between their legs. (The double entendre is intentional). I couldn’t take my eyes off of her and overhearing the deft way she handled herself. I was seated only a couple of feet away at the next nearest barstool. Amazingly (or not!) I was completely invisible to the four actors in this little tableau vivant!

There’s a keen intelligence within her persona that might reveal a great deal more upon closer and longer acquaintance. I was a little disappointed when she asked me when my birthday was. I thought that hackneyed old astrological question had finally become passé by at least—1989! Despite that I sensed a depth of character beneath the operatic role-playing and insecure laughter, (usually in response to Tyler’s witty remarks), which may one day hopefully surface. Women are quite extraordinary at creating and/or re-inventing themselves. The better for keeping us lads under their thrall. I gave Miranda my card asking her if she’d be interested in communicating via e-mail. Assuring her that I was not a dirty old man. Earlier in the evening she described herself as interested in writing and made some attempts at it. But said she came up against that old bugaboo…writers block. I suggested e-mail correspondence, as a method of getting around that problem because engaging with someone else in e-mail exchanges is a good way to exercise one’s writing muscles. Often as not ideas bounce around and germinate from the habit of so doing. Many, if not most of the writers of the 19th century (and some in the 20th for that matter!) were voluminous letter writers. And yet they found time to write a shit-load of books and articles. Of course they didn’t have all the many distractions we do now. TV, Movies, Radio, Cell-Phones, etc. (Though they did hang out frequently at restaurants and pubs just as we do today). But they had cheap servants to do all their menial chores, like laundry and cleaning. Or their overworked wives did it! (I guess women writers must’ve had male servants and maids!)

Anyway, I digress, back to my present special character. Miranda. What more can I say about you? That you’re so very lovely. What with your curly long brown hair worn down your right shoulder. Your luminous dark eyes and that smile! Oh yes! That smile! It could even heat up Dracula’s arteries. This tale can only continue to develop if I can engage with you in intellectual intercourse. That is, intercourse, as described by one of its definitions in Webster’s, namely: 2: exchange esp. of thoughts or feelings: COMMUNION.

If I were, how shall I put it? Fortunate enough to have the sexual definition presented to me by Miranda, I would probably be overcome with delirium. Or a hallucinatory experience of some sort! (After all, I am as old as Paul McCartney now). However, I’m not dead yet! “…we are such stuff as dreams are made on…” To quote Prospero in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” wherein there is a character named Miranda, his daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Authors Talk!

Here are some more responses to the questions 1) Why do you write? and 2) Where do you find inspiration?

Alan Bradley, author of the Flavia de Luce novels such as The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, says, “I write because I cannot not.”

While Phillip Lopate, who writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including the 2013 title To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction, claims, “I write for many reasons: to stave off boredom, to see (in the spirit of an experiment) if I can make something shapely out of what starts out an inchoate mess, to try to understand what puzzles or frustrates me, by articulating my confusion and wonderment and hoping in the process to stumble upon an insight, to get my revenge on all those in my youth who thought I would never amount to anything (I’ll show them!), to communicate with the writers I love, living and dead, in a format they will understand, with the hope that they will view my efforts charitably, knowing what I was aiming for, if not achieving, to get a paycheck and help support my family, to see my name in print once again, to harness a talent, one of the few things in life I am good at, and to have my say.”

Mike Price

Enjoy this piece of fiction by Mike Price!

WITH SPEED TO LOSE

by Michael Price

All right, that’s it! Line up for sprints!”

The twelve to thirteen-year-old Iris Park Redskins whooped it up; seven-thirty, practice was almost over. They assembled themselves in a straight line at the edge of the backstop, as they had at the end of every cub football practice for the past three years; five sprints down to the warming house and back, probably some sort of inspiring message from Mr. Schumacher (Tim’s dad, long time coach of the team), maybe something from Jimmy Goodhue’s father, who helped out whenever he had the time, and perhaps a “great practice, you guys earned it” trip to the root beer stand, Jimmy hoped. He was dry, and a little more tired than usual.

Root beer floats for everybody after the game Thursday if anybody beats Jimmy!”

More teamwork generated whooping and clapping, artificially forced by all, was strictly a formality of sorts, a rah-rah, go-team-go bonding sort of formality; Jimmy smiled meekly. Coach Schumacher’s root beer float incentive

would not work, of course. Jimmy wasn’t that tired. But the rest of the boys didn’t care. Two years before, as fifth graders, despite their lack of experience and overall team body weight as first year cubbies, they had won twice as many games as they’d lost–which wasn’t too bad, all things considered. Last year they finished second in the league, losing a heartbreaking 21-20 thriller in the last few seconds of their final game to the always powerful Skyline Vikings, Jimmy scoring all three touchdowns from his tailback position but getting stopped short of the potentially game winning two-point conversion run by six inches. Now, as seventh graders, and in their final year of parkboard football, much of the team having had to diet to get down to the one-hundred-forty pound weight limit for the pre-season weigh-in (soon after which the boys’ weight rapidly returned–rapidly and with great interest, in every case), the Iris Redskins had utterly dominated the league, limiting their opponents to less than a touchdown per game and, offensively, scoring virtually at will, no matter what variety of radical defensive scheme the other team had devised to stop them–Jimmy in particular. Going into Thursday’s final game of the season, once again versus the mighty Vikings, Jimmy alone had averaged over three touchdowns per game but was by no means a one-man show. His friends had all grown bigger, stronger, smarter. As a team, they were very, very good.

After sprints and Mr. Schumacher’s pep talk Jimmy’s father related a tortoise-beats-hare anecdote from his own high school football career, many years prior, a tale in which he and his team regrettably had played the role of the hare, aimed at the eradication of any and all possible cockiness and overconfidence in the minds of Jimmy and his teammates. Brian Lundberg, the team’s center, left defensive tackle, and self appointed and team recognized comic reliever, as well as one of Jimmy’s best friends on the team, listened to the story and, even before Mr. Goodhue had the chance to finish, couldn’t contain a giggle.

Something funny, Brian?” asked Jimmy’s father.

No, no, it’s not that, Mr. Goodhue,” waved off the boy. “It’s just…don’t you think it would be a riot…I mean, it’d be kinda weird, I guess…”

What’s that?”

Brian turned to the rest of the team for support. “Well…I think it’d be really cool if…,” now looking directly at Jimmy’s father, “You raced Jimmy.”

The team exploded with genuine exuberance, laughing and clapping hysterically, maximally re-energized. “Yeah! Yeah! Do it! Do it! C’mon, Mr. Goodhue! Race him! Do it!”

Jimmy’s face turned blank. He was not conscious of the fact that he was shaking his head no. His father was doing the same, behind a knowing smile, muttering “Oh c’mon, guys,” “I don’t think so,” and “Gentlemen, gentlemen, let’s all just go home,” and the like, but the clamor escalated to the point where no was no longer a reasonable option–not without a minor riot–and the race was run.

Jimmy held a healthy lead when they reached the warming house but ran out of gas at the end, diving head-long past the backstop finish line, sprawled out in the grass, and laid there, motionless, entirely spent–about a foot behind his father.

The walk home after practice that night was indeed a rambunctious one for the Iris Park Redskins football team, filled with much animated and mirthful banter amongst the boys.

Wow! Who’d have thought? Jimmy Goodhue! Whupped by the old man! Of all people! Unbelievable!

Two nights later they would top off their perfect season by walloping the once feared Vikings 44-13, with their star tailback leading the way with four long touchdown runs. It was to be the end of a season that cub football legends are made of.

Jimmy walked home with his father in silence that evening, fighting back tears.

Widely published in literary journals, Michael Price has been writing fiction for over 30 years. He earned his BA in Theater from the University of Minnesota in 1980 and performed his own one-man one-act play “No Change of Address” to considerable acclaim at the 2011 MN Fringe Festival.