Month: August 2006


08.31.2006 Remastering Star Trek: TOS FX, Music Enhanced Star Trek journeys to the 21st century as the Original Series returns to broadcast syndication for the first time in 16 years with brand-new digitally remastered episodes to celebrate its 40th anniversary. CBS Paramount Domestic Television has officially announced that they are releasing digitally remastered episodes of Star Trek, with all new special effects and music, to celebrate the groundbreaking series’ 40th anniversary, according to John Nogawski, president of CBS Paramount Domestic Television. The Star Trek episodes will begin airing on the more than 200 stations that own the rights to the weekend broadcast syndication window starting September 16. (As always, please check your local listings for station and dates.) The plan is for all 79 episodes of the Original Series to be remastered, with the first batch of episodes chosen from a list of Star Trek fans’ favorite shows. With the running order to be determined, it’s unlikely to follow the classic air-date order or production order format familiar to fans. “Star Trek redefined science-fiction and constantly pushed the envelope with concepts that were ahead of their time,” Nogawski said. “By giving the series a digital upgrade using the best technology available today, it will continue to be a leader in cutting-edge television programming as we introduce the series to a new generation of viewers.” The most noticeable change will...

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Grilled Yak

Got an email from Adam Levbarg today. He’s still travelling in Asia (has been since Feb.) and he tells me he has eaten grilled yak. (He didn’t get into whether it was good or not.) Anyhow, he’s been as far north as Korea, as far west as Tibet and south along Thailand and Taiwan. This photo was taken in Cambodia, where he apparantly was abducted by a motorcycle gang. Maybe this is only funny if you know...

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My Favorite Spy (1951), Norman Z. McLeod, B

Bob Hope is Peanuts White, a struggling vaudevillian who just happens to be the exact double of an international spy. The government recruits him to impersonate the spy in Morocco and, whaddya know, hilarity ensues. This starts off as an absolute scream and then, as is usually the case with these types of films, the laughs start to get fewer and fewer as the movie gets bogged down in plot. A fabulous ending, though, as Hope is injected with “truth syrum” which (for some reason) inspires him to break into song and deliver a loving ode to vaudeville. It is a full five minute avalanche of schtick as Hope manically delivers puns, pratfalls, impersonations, magic tricks and dopey dance moves. A marvelous, gleeful set piece. All told, McLeod knows how to keep this sort of picture moving (he directed some of Hope’s better ones, as well as some early Marx Bros films.) Anyone who doesn’t at least like the first half of this is a...

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California Split (1974), Robert Altman, A-

Elliot Gould & George Segal go nuts in a Casavettes-lite romp through the festering bowels of low-rent gambling. A hardy fuck you to the Oceans Eleven nonsense — these men are depraved and sick. But this is no after school special (just as “Sideways” was no advert for AA.) A somewhat stream of consciousness plot from poker room to race track to the crash pad of two prostitutes who are off somewhere living their own movie, finally on a seniors-filled bus to Reno. A fabulous, hilarious and grim film. The end doesn’t pack the punch it wants to (or the rest of the film deserves) but anyone who’s ever gone off and done anything stupid with their best friend will love this...

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Court Martial, TOS 1

I cannot tell a lie: this episode kinda blows. It has some good elements — seeing a little bit of life on the Starbase is pretty cool. And the lawyer (the guy from “The Killing”!) is entertaining. But this episode is just friggin’ predictable. And so slapped together at the end. Kirk actually gives voice-over (not a Captain’s log) to fill in for all the cut scenes. And characters just vanish. One actually says “I have to go” much like Poochie did. Yeeeesh. They musta been facing a serious deadline. And I hardly mentioned the “white noise remover” that McCoy waves over people’s hearts to shut them up (but does nothing about their breathing.) The prop — a plain microphone — is the lamest thing we’ve seen in a Trek episode since that bottle of Windex Kodos uses in “Conscious of the King.” Well. . .the beginning of this episode is...

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Tomorrow Is Yesterday, TOS 1

1/2 This is kind’ve a dopey episode, I’ll admit, but it is great fun to watch. The Enterprise is whipped around by a “black star” (the term “black hole” did not exist in 1966!) and, whaddya know, they are back in time. And — oops! — spotted by a very Kirk-like Air Force captain. So now they gotta destroy the evidence *and* get home. And no matter what they do, they keep making matters worse. If you don’t mind seeing Kirk & co. acting like the Keystone Kops, this episode is for you. (And that the computer has been programmed to be “more like a woman” doesn’t help matters either.) Alas, the last segment ties all the lose ends waaaaay to quickly (basically Spock runs around giving everyone a Vulcan Nerve Pinch and Scotty “makes a calculation”) but don’t hold it against this episode too much. This was something of a mindfuck for its...

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Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.

He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.

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