Super 8

Super 8 is cracking entertainment – tense, stylish, snappy and extremely loud. Produced by Spielberg and directed by JJ Abrams, it’s a cinematic mash-up, pitching the kids from Stand by Me onto the set of Cloverfield. Set in small town Ohio in the early seventies, a group of nerdy kids shooting their own zombie movie witness a horrific train crash. Then, in the aftermath, as deadpan military folk start picking through the debris, things start disappearing from town – metal, dogs, the sheriff – and the kids realize they’ve captured something pretty astounding in the lens of their Super 8 camera.

Super 8 actually filmed in Weirton, West Virginia, and the State’s film office (hello Pam) has done a bang-up job of pulling together a behind-the-scenes site about the filming on location, with official pics, interviews with the crew, and photos showing the transformation of Weirton back to 1973.

So: setting aside the schmaltz of the dead-mom-estranged-dad-lonely-kid scenario, the movie is just about pitch perfect throughout and the kids, yes even the Fanning, yes perhaps especially the Fanning, are really great. It’s probably my must-see movie of the year.

Star Trek

Having just watched X-Men Origins, I was wary of the latest incarnation of Star Trek. Would it be Star Trek Origins – plodding, joyless and worthy, all the a-ha tick boxes checked?? The answer – a resounding NO. JJ Abrams Star Trek completely rocks.

An evil, renegade Romulan named Nero (an unrecognisable Eric Bana) is bent on destroying all the planets in the federation – including Earth. Young Kirk and Spock – and Uhuru and Checkov and Sulu – fresh from the Starfleet Academy, set out to save the world. Even Scotty shows up about 80 minutes into the picture (and almost steals the show.)

Yes, there are a few minor irritants (would your ship’s pilot be your first choice to send on a hand-to-hand combat mission?) but these instances are quickly forgotten because generally the movie’s a complete supersonic blast; rapid fire story telling, great action scenes, mind-blowing CGI, and a team of actors who clearly feel right at home in their old clothes. I was never a massive Trekky, but I actually think I could become one…….

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