Thursday, May 30, 2013

All flash and no substance, but who cares? Entertaining and feel-good movie!

The closer you look, the less you see. A particular catchphrase uttered and repeated by different characters throughout the movie Now You See Me. An apt description for this movie would be: The closer you look, the less there is. I am not saying it is a bad thing. I'm just calling it as I see it.

The story goes: Four street magicians are approached by a mysterious hooded figure. A year later, they have banded together and calling themselves The Four Horseman, headline an act in Las Vegas wherein they proceeded to shower the audience with millions of Euros stolen purportedly in real time from a bank in France. This sets the FBI and Interpol on their tails as the group attempts to pull similar stunts in New Orleans and New York.

Jesse Eisenberg plays Daniel Atlas, the leader of the Four Horsemen. Here Einsenberg basically reprises his role as Mark Zuckerberg from The Social Network, if Zuckerberg were ever inclined to become a magician. Woody Harrison here plays a scene-stealing mentalist Merritt Osbourne. The lovely Isla Fisher plays sex-vixen escape artist Henley Reeves. Dave Franco (younger brother of James Franco) plays Jack Wilder, whose role is basically a version of Matt Damon's character Linus Caldwell from the Ocean series; a young musician who is overeager for his turn to lead; he even gets his own action hero moment in the third act of the movie with some great fight scenes and even a car chase that, who knows, might just land him a (Matt Damon) Jason Bourne-like role in the near future.

Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman reunite here from their Dark Knight Trilogy Days, the former playing swarmy millionaire Arthur Tressler who sponsors the Four Horsemen and the latter as former magician turned magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley who reveals the secrets behind a magician's tricks. These two are superb as always, even in a scene where they confront each other with a silly interplay involving a voodoo doll.

Mark Ruffalo as FBI agent Dylan Rhode and Melanie Laurent as Interpol agent round up the rest of the principle cast as the lead investigators in charge of the case to apprehend the Four Horsemen and bring them to justice. Ruffalo does curmudgeon and baffled really well while the talented Laurent (from Inglorious Basterds) here is unfortunately made to spout several silly lines throughout the film such as asking Ruffalo to "take a leap of faith", all the while spotting a perfectly straight face. The contrived romance between these two characters unfortunately remains one of the weak points of the movie as it never feels truly believable and merely tacked to fulfill the "romance" part of the film.

The plot has superficial overtones of the Occupy Wall Street movement; in one act, the magicians empty the bank account of a crooked multimillionaire and then proceed to distribute the wealth amongst the magicians' audience, who receive their unexpected largess with utter delight. The real movie audience similarly takes great delight in rooting for these Robin Hood-like- characters as they successfully outwit the law every step of the way.

For me, the best parts of the movie were seeing the outlandish magician acts being performed and then later on finding out how they were accomplished via Bradley's reveal. I also vastly enjoyed the brilliant performances turned in by all four of the Horsemen cast, even if their back stories are never sufficiently or fully revealed to the audience's satisfaction.

Although expository clues interspersed throughout the movie heavily hints that the motives behind the heists, masterminded by the mysterious hooded figure and carried out by the Four Horsemen, are less than magnanimous, the final reveal and plot twist at the end of the movie does leave you reeling a bit and going "Huh" since you would never have actually saw that coming. Still, the revelation, no matter how preposterous, does tie up the whole movie into one somewhat neat pretty package. So what if the neat pretty package is nice to look at but has nothing more than fluffy animal balloons stuffed in it? My friend and I came out of the movie thoroughly entertained by this feel-good movie. I mean, how often do you, as one of the 99%, get to see a movie where the 1-percenters receive their comeuppance, especially by a conservative Hollywood industry that even very obviously denigrates the Occupy Movement in the 2012 The Dark Knight Rises?

I have to say that even coming with what little substance that the movie has, I enjoyed this film far more than I did summer blockbuster tentpoles Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness, with even consummate actors like Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain in Star Trek Into Darkness unable to lift these movies from their ridiculous plot-hole-ridden storylines. It is not to say that Now You See Me does not have plot holes of its own; it does, but unlike Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness, this movie moves so breezily along that you don't really notice them, which is more than I can say for the glaring plot holes practically shouting at me while I was watching the former two films.

So go see Now You See Me if you want to have a rollicking good time at the movies this summer.

3 and a half stars out of 5 stars for me.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hardly Epic, But Well Worth Watching Nonetheless

OK, I'll admit I came into the movie with more than my fair share of trepidation. 61%, says the Tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes, with the main complaint being that "its narrative themes are all too familiar." Watching Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3 had, courtesy of their horrible plots, left a sour taste in my mouth. I wasn't too keen on watching a movie with yet another vapid storyline. But then I watched a couple of the Epic trailers and couldn't help thinking: "Oh but it looks so pretty!", sounding for all the world like a crow being drawn inexorably to sparkly things or a moth being drawn to a flame. Alright then, I have been forewarned. The narrative is going to be unoriginal, I am just going to watch the movie just for its visual eye candy, or retinal crack, as I like to call it.

I was not disappointed. In fact, I was more than pleasantly surprised. The visuals are simply stunning to look at. And the storyline, while unoriginal, was better than expected. It seems as though the movie's five scriptwriters simply decided to blend together elements from movies like Ferngully, Avatar, The Borrowers, Alice in Wonderland and The Secret World of Arrietty and hoped for the best. The result is, astonishingly, a not-bad confection. The plot chugs merrily along for most of the movie and although it does begin to get a bit drawn out by the third act, it is easy to forgive the slight falter because you are just simply mesmerized by the gorgeous world-building.

One thing though that quite irked me was a phrase that at one point, seemed to be bandied around by everyone, even the villain. "Many leaves, one tree" utters another character yet again and I couldn't help rolling my eyes at such a contrived philosophical blather. I guess an animated movie geared towards children needs to have some sort of positive message for its young audience, even if it's a clumsy catchphrase espousing the ethos and importance of teamwork.

The voicework is quite decent though not outstanding. Beyonce voices Tara the queen, and here she sounds playful and like she is about to burst into song at any moment, which thankfully she doesn't. Colin Farrell as Leafman leader Ronin, Amanda Seyfried as M.K. our human female heroine and Josh Hutcherson as her love interest Nod round out the rest of the main cast, with the wonderful Christoph Waltz voicing the role of the evil leader of the Boggins, the Leafman's perennial nemesis. Humor here is provided by a slug and a snail (voiced by Aziz Ansari and Chris O'Dowd respectively) and it is gratifying to see that they are not just token black voices (Ansari is Indian and O'Dowd is white). Sassy one-liners abound throughout the film, but these are uttered with more sincerity and less snark, which make them sound far less grating than the annoying zingers abounding summer blockbusters Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3.

Overall I found the movie visually and even plot-superior to Skydance studio's previous outing, Rio, which scored a slightly higher rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 72%. Rio 2 will be out in 2014, which I will probably watch but have no particular anticipation for. I hope Epic will do well enough in box office receipts to warrant a sequel; I would do so love to clap eyes on its lovely and colorful visual palette again once more.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars for me.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Review of Iron Man 3: The Suit's On, But Nobody's Home

Having read two Star Trek Into Darkness reviews that dissed the movie in favor of Iron Man 3, I was really excited to go see the latter. I had enjoyed watching Star Trek Into Darkness, even with its gossamer-thin plot, and so was looking forward to having a good time at the cinema with Iron Man 3 since I trusted the words of the two reviewers who insisted that Iron Man 3 was far superior to Star Trek Into Darkness. Boy was I in for a bitter disappointment. If anything, the plot of Iron Man 3 was even more haphazard and had plot holes even bigger than Star Trek Into Darkness, which is saying a lot.

At least the villains in Star Trek Into Darkness had credible motives for committing heinous acts. In Iron Man 3, the villains cartoonishly don't. They commit acts of terror simply because it is currently fashionable for summer blockbuster villains to do so. And that left a really sour taste in my mouth. Look, I am not asking for deep political insights from a popcorn movie, but if the scriptwriters want to insert an element of terrorism in the story, they should have seen it through and not just tag it on because it is at the moment the "in" thing to do.

The rest of Iron Man 3, like its titular character, is similarly in shambles. Iron Man 3 takes place after the events in The Avengers, in which Tony Stark almost died trying to save the city of New York. Stark now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He is unable to sleep and spends most nights tinkering on new versions of his Iron Man suit. Just hearing the words "New York" sends him into panicked anxiety attacks. While I do like to see my superheroes show some human vulnerability, the fact is that in the case of Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man, his sheer cockiness is what I fell in love with, not this nervous train wreck. (I'm not trying to discount the fact that PTSD can happen to anyone or the seriousness of PTSD, but I really didn't pay for a movie ticket just to see my favorite superhero reduced to a quivering heap each time he hears the name of a city)

Speaking of wrecks, the new Iron Man suits are also a mess. I do not expect total continuity in between movies, but I guess between The Avengers and Iron Man 3, it seems that Stark has decided to outsource the manufacturing of his suits to a shoddy workshop in China, because they seem to have a tendency to totally disintegrate at the slightest impact. Not that it seems to matter much, because Stark hardly spends anytime donning a suit anyway. Instead he is mostly controlling them remotely or running around for most of the movie simply winging it without them. What is the point of having a movie called Iron Man if our hero is hardly going to be donning an Iron Man suit in the first place? Several times throughout the movie I was sorely tempted to mutter that the studio should simply have changed the title of the movie to Tony Stark.

Robert Downey Jr. does the best with what he is given, but at times the inept storyline succeeds in swallowing him whole. Ben Kingsley does a hammy performance as the Mandarin, and Guy Pearce excels as a sinister though very one-dimensional Aldrich Killian. Don Cheadle returns as decent sidekick Colonel Rhodes, while Jon Favreau, director of the first two Iron Man movies, reprises his role as Happy, whose function this time is not so much comic fodder but simply to prod the plot along. The lovely Rebecca Hall joins the cast as Dr. Maya Hansen, a former lover of Stark (if you can, check out her BAFTA-nominated turn as the mercurial Sylvia Tjetjens opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC2's 2012 TV series Parade's End) but it is Gwyneth Paltrow who really shines this time as a Pepper Potts who by movie's end, finally gets to shed her damsel in distress role to kick some real ass.

Not all the movie is bad though. Some of the action scenes are really well thought-out; the scene where Iron Man attempts to saves 14 passengers in mid-air despite his suit's capability to carry only 4 people is particulary inspired. Also, the third act at one point almost lifts the movie out from the doldrums before unfortunately loses steam midway and sinks back into its hackneyed plot. Similarly, the witty one-liners, which work well for the most part, gets a bit too much near the end; in scenes which are supposed to be emotional, these one-liners are jarringly and gratingly out of place, turning what are supposed to be dramatic moments into moments of utter banality.

My verdict? If you are able to catch just one summer blockbuster that is out in cinemas right now, I'd suggest you go with Star Trek Into Darkness instead. If you are still planning to go see Iron Man 3 though, be sure to stay for the after-credits scene. 2 out of 5 stars for me.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Khanberbatch Transcribed

Transcript of Benedict Cumberbatch's John Harrison/Khan speaking scenes

Scene 1: London

John Harrison: I can save her.

Thomas Harewood: What did you say?

John Harrison: Your daughter. I can save her.

Thomas Harewood: Who are you?

Scene 2: Kronos

Spock: Stand down.

John Harrison: How many torpedoes?

Spock: Stand down!

John Harrison: The torpedoes. The weapons you threatened me with in your message. How many are there?

Spock: 72

John Harrison: I surrender.

James Kirk: On behalf of Christopher Pike, my friend, I accept your surrender. (proceeds to beat John Harrison up)

Uhuru: Captain!

John Harrison. Captain.

James Kirk: Cuff him.

Scene 3 (Prison cell on the Enterprise)

Bones: Put your arm through the hole. I'm going to take a blood sample.

John Harrison: Why aren't we moving, Captain? An unexpected malfunction, perhaps on your warp core? Leaving you stranding on the edge of Klingon space?

Bones: How the hell do you know that?

James Kirk: Bones.

John Harrison: I think you'd would find my insight valuable, Captain. Ignore me, and you will get everyone on this ship killed.

James Kirk: Let me explain what's happening here. You are a criminal. I watched you murder innocent men and women. I was authorized to end you. And the only reason why you are still alive is because I'm allowing it. So shut your mouth.

John Harrison: Oh, Captain, are you going to punch me again over and over until your arm weakens. Clearly you want to. So tell me. Why did you allow me to live?

James Kirk: We all make mistakes.

John Harrison: (makes negating noise) I surrendered to you because despite your attempt to convince me otherwise you seem to have a conscience, Mr Kirk. If you did not, it would be impossible for me to convince you of the truth. 23174611. Coordinates not far from Earth. If you want to know why I did what I did, go and take a look.

James Kirk: Give me one reason why I should listen to you.

John Harrison: I can give you 72. And they're on board your ship, Captain. They have been all along. I suggest you open one up.

Scene 4 (Prison cell on Enterprise)

James Kirk: Why is there a man in that torpedo?

John Harrison: There are men and women in all those torpedoes, Captain. I put them there.

James Kirk: Who the hell are you?

John Harrison: A remnant of a time long past. Genetically engineered to be superior so as to lead others to peace in a world at war. We were condemned as criminals. Forced into exile. For centuries we slept, hoping when we awoke, things would be different. But as a result of the destruction of Vulcan, your Starfleet began to aggressively search distant quadrants of space. My ship was found adrift. I alone was revived.

Kirk: I looked up John Harrison. Until a year ago, he didn't exist.

John Harrison: John Harrison was a fiction created the moment I was awoken by your Admiral Marcus to help him advance his cause. A smokescreen to conceal my true identity. My name is Khan.

James Kirk: Why would a Starfleet Admiral ask a 300-year-old frozen man for help?

Khan: Because I am better.

James Kirk: At what?

Khan: Everything. Alexander Marcus needed to respond to an uncivilized threat in a civilized time, and for that, he needed a warrior's mind. My mind. To design weapons and warships.

Spock: You are suggesting that the Admiral violated every regulation he vowed to uphold simply because he wanted to exploit your intellect?

Khan: He wanted to exploit my savagery. Intellect alone is useless in a fight, Mr Spock. You, you can't even break a rule, how would you be expected to break bone? Marcus used me to design weapons. To help him realize his vision of a militarized Starfleet. He sent you to use those weapons. To fire my torpedoes on an unsuspecting planet. And then he purposefully crippled your ship in enemy space, leading to one inevitable outcome. The Klingons would come searching for whoever was responsible and you would have no chance to escape. Marcus would finally have the war he talked about, the war he always wanted.

James Kirk: No, no. I watched you open fire in a room full of unarmed Starfleet officers. You killed them in cold blood.

Khan: Marcus took my crew from me.

James Kirk: You are a murderer.

Khan: He used my friends to control me. I tried to smuggle them to safety by concealing them in the very weapons I had designed. But I was discovered. I had no choice but to escape alone. But when I did, I had every reason to suspect that Marcus had killed every single one of the people I hold most dear. So I responded in kind. My crew is my family, Kirk. Is there anything you would not do for your family?

Hikaru Sulu. Proximity alert, sir. There's a ship at warp heading right for us.

James Kirk: Klingons?

Khan: At warp? No Kirk, we both know who it is.

Scene 5: Medical Bay

James Kirk: Tell me everything you know about that ship.

Khan: Dreadnought class. Two times the size, three times the speed. Advanced weaponry. Modified for a minimal crew. Unlike most Federation vessels it's built solely for combat.

James Kirk: I will do everything I can to make you answer for what you did. But right now I need your help.

Khan: In exchange for what?

James Kirk: You said you'd do anything for your crew. I can guarantee their safety.

Khan: Captain, you can't even guarantee the safety of your own crew.

Scene 6: Enterprise Hallway

James Kirk: (to Scotty) We're coming over there. As soon as we've moved the Enterprise into position as we speak.

Scotty: To this ship? How?

Khan: There's a cargo door; hangar seven, access point 101A. You need to find the manual override to open that airlock.

Scene 7: Launch pad

Khan: Did you find the manual overrirde?

James Kirk: (speaks over Khan) The manual override, Scotty?

Scotty: It's not easy. Give me two seconds, ya mad bastard! Okay, okay. I'm set to open the door.

James Kirk: You ready?

Khan: Are you?

Scene 8: Space

Spock: Khan, use evasion action. There is debris directly ahead.

Khan: I see it.

Scene 9: Still in Space

Khan: My display is still functioning. I see you Kirk. You're two hundred meters ahead of me at my one o'clock. Come to your left at two degrees and follow me.

Scene 10: Aboard the Vengeance

Khan: They'll know we're here. I know the best way to the bridge.

James Kirk: They're locked to stun.

Khan: Theirs won't be.

James Kirk: Try not to get shot.

Scotty: They're gonna have full power and we're walking.

Khan: The turbolifts are easily trapped and Marcus would have us in a cage. This path we're taking runs adjacent to the engine room. They know they won't be able to use their weapons here without destabilizing the warp core, which gives us the advantage.

Scotty: Where'd you find this guy?

James Kirk: It's a long story.

Scotty: I don't mean to tempt fate here, but where is everybody?

Khan: The ship was designed to be run by a minimal crew. One if necessary.

Scotty: One?...(fight breaks out)...Where's Khan?...Where is he?

James Kirk: Shit.

Khan: This way.

Scene 11: Aboard the bridge of the Vengeance

Khan: You should have let me sleep. (Crushes the skull of Admiral Marcus)

Scene 12: Still aboard the bridge of the Vengeance

Khan: I'm going to make this very simple for you. Your crew for my crew.

Spock: You've betrayed us.

Khan: (mockingly) Oh, you're smart, Mr Spock.

James Kirk: Spock. Don't--

Khan: Mr Spock, give me my crew.

Spock: What will you do when you get them?

Khan: Continue the work we were doing before we were banished.

Spock: Which as I understand it involves the mass genocide of anyone you find to be less than superior.

Khan: Shall I destroy you, Mr Spock? Or will you give me what I want?

Spock: We have no transporter capabilities.

Khan: Fortunately mine are perfectly functional. Drop your shields.

Spock: If I do so, I have no guarantee you will not destroy the Enterprise.

Khan: Well let's play this out logically then Mr Spock. Firstly, I will kill your captain to demonstrate my resolve. Then if yours hold, I will have no choice but to kill you and your entire crew.

Spock: If you destroy our ship, you will also destroy your own people.

Khan: Your crew requires oxygen to survive. Mine does not. I will target your life-support systems located behind the aft nacelle. And after every single person on board your ship suffocates, I will walk over your cold corpses to recover my crew. Now, shall we begin?

Spock: Lower shields.

Khan: A wise choice, Mr Spock. I see all 72 torpedoes are still in their tubes. If they are not mine, Commander, I will know it.

Spock: Vulcans do not lie. The torpedoes are yours.

Khan: Thank you, Mr Spock.

Spock: I have fulfilled your terms. Now fulfill mine.

Khan: Well, Kirk. It seems apt to return you to your crew. After all, no ship should go down without her captain.

Scene 13: On board the heavily damaged Vengeance

Khan: No. No!

Scene 14: On board the falling Vengeance

Khan: Set destination. Starfleet headquarters.

Vengeance: Engines compromised. Cannot guarantee key destination. Confirm order.

Khan: Confirmed.

End of Khan's speaking scenes in the movie.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch: Behind the Scenes of Star Trek Into Darkness


How I Trekked To The Ends of the Earth To "Cumberbatch" A Friend

This morning I received a link to a blog post written by my friend all the way in Australia about how she got cumberbatched with a little nudging from me, living on the other end of the earth in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is an utterly demented and bloody brilliant post. I'd just thought I'd share it. For reasons unknown, she refers to me as CC in her blog post. Here it is:

The Descent Into Darkness

Day -41

The date was 10 April. It was an ordinary day, I was six weeks away from my thesis deadline and working on it as usual. So far I had watched two episodes of Sherlock Holmes (CC's note: It's just called Sherlock actually), and I didn't like the way they portrayed the character too much, and the second episode was quite bland, which put me off watching the last of the first season. Benedict Cumberbatch did catch my attention, but lost it again in all the chaos of experiments and data involved in my thesis. I never thought about the show again after watching it in March or so.

I had so little warning at all of what was to come.

Sometime early in the day I received a facebook post from a friend (hereafter named CC) halfway around the world, in San Francisco: "Gal, you gotta watch BBC's Sherlock so I can have someone to moon over Benedict Cumberbatch with. :P"

I did not suspect anything at all, such an innocuous-looking thing. I managed to reply at the end of the day, telling her I did like Cumberbatch, but not the series, and how I couldn't wait for Star Trek Into Darkness to come out.

"You should try and download his portrayal of the Creature and Victor Frankenstein in his 2011 play Frankenstein...Pathetically enough I have been spending the last few weeks watching his stuff...he's great in Amazing Grace and I think you would like that movie too even without him in it. How could you resist not watching the whole of season 1 and 2 of Sherlock? And what is it that you don't like about the portrayal? The "highly functioning sociopath" slightly Asperger's portrayal?" (Emphasis mine)

Therein lay the first warning signs. This lady was perhaps a little too... thorough... in going over an actor's previous work. But I was completely oblivious to it all. I was in scatterbrained-scientist mode, after all, trying to finish a thesis so that I can get a degree. I should have been more aware, hindsight tells me now.

Just that one, simple message. Little did I know of what would eventually come out of it.

Day -34

I only managed to reply her a week later. Told her what I didn't like about the series. Meanwhile she had posted several links on my facebook page of Benedict Cumberbatch impersonating Alan Rickman. It occurred to me then that he would make a good Snape... A young Snape... A young, handsome Snape that fit so well the image I already had in my mind, from the books and countless fanfiction. And so the seeds of madness were sown. (CC's note: Incidentally, Benedict Cumberbatch does voice Snape in an episode of The Simpsons)

Some background, I loved Professor Severus Snape as a teenager. He was so moody and intelligent and unpleasant, yet so honourable underneath. I like unpleasant people. I think that could be a bane in my romantic life in the future. Hm...

"Yeah I's messed up...never been so obsessed with any actor obsession with Orlando Bloom or Brad Pitt never even came close (CC's note: Orlando Bloom, while handsome, can't really act very well, while Brad is both Hollywood star good-looking and can actually act. As for Cumberbatch, I introduce him to people who are unfamiliar with his work as the male version of Meryl Streep for his brilliant chameleonic acting) ...Come on and watch the whole two seasons so we can moon over him together...I can guarantee you'll love him more after watching the rest...I didn't like the [second episode] all that much...and the amazing thing is that I am not really obsessed with his looks...but with his superb acting...he's such a sublime actor...and he comes across as really charming with a really dry sense of British humor in the Sherlock commentary and in Q and A's for his other stuff. Very intelligent too...Hahaha you should try to find a video of him playing the Creature in Danny Boyle's Frankenstein's awesome...argh the only person I know who has watched it is a British guy and I can't moon over Cumberbatch with a guy...:/ I need you...I was there with you when you mooned over Zaplod Beeblebox and the king in your Sim can you be with me as I moon over him? Pretty pretty please? It's pathetic, and I am kinda embarrassed to be admitting it to you, but this last week I was supposed to studying for my mid term...I did try but I ended up spending most of my time mooning over him and watch his stuff/reading his interviews online. Needless to say, I had no idea how to do my Mid-term and am definitely sure to fail. :/ " (Emphasis mine again) (CC's note: If anyone actually care to know, I actually ended up earning an A grade in Financial Accounting, an A grade in Macroeconomics and a B grade in Microeconomics, so I really wouldn't say that a case of Benaddiction is actually debilitating to one's academic studies)

It was out now, CC had so obviously and completely descended into madness and she was trying to drag me down with her. She wrote it out so succinctly and clearly, "Look at me! I am mad! I cannot stop thinking of Tall British Guy in Magnificent Trench Coat! Stay away from me if you intend to finish your degree!" (CC's note: I did not write that to her. I think what she was trying to say was that it was as though I was writing that to her.)

And what did I do? I let everything pass me by. I completely did not notice it. Now, I don't like to think of myself as stupid or obtuse, but after reading the above message again I have no choice but to accept the fact that I must be after all. All I knew how to do was continue blundering around trying to write a thesis in geochemistry, and bemusedly telling her to chill out! stop the obsession! Stop watching him! Just find another actor to obsess about!... Oh what a fool I was.

Day -32

A couple of days pass. She suddenly remembers that it was me who had introduced the Sherlock series to her, and decides to blame me. She had actually asked me, last year, for suggestions on science fiction shows to watch, and had already been thinking about the series before she asked me. So no, I shan't take the blame for that one. We converse, with her gushing on about Cumberbatch, and me going on about stress and writing. We were probably having two different conversations, and I was too sleep-deprived to notice. I was misinformed on the release of Star Trek in Australia; she told me it would be September here, four months away. I was livid at having to wait four months after the rest of the world to watch Star Trek (it's Star Trek! They should make it a basic human right!), but meh... It wasn't the looming disaster compared to my unwritten thesis. And all I wanted to see was Spock in the film, and maybe Chris Pine. I had seen a little of Benedict Cumberbatch in the trailers, but I felt he was overacting in some places, and I wasn't that much of a fan. I wanted Spock. There was a scene in the first movie after he realised that he was indeed emotionally affected by the destruction of his planet, and he walks with his head down yet shoulders thrown back, and he looked so emotionless, yet vulnerable. I fell in love with Spock during that short walk.

The friend, meanwhile, was watching the 2009 film to "prep" for the current one. Okay. I could interpret that as more evidence of madness, or just too much time on her hands. She tries to speculate what would be in the coming movie, and I refused to let her reveal spoilers to me. Interspersed throughout all this was links and comments about Cumberbatch's role, and his work in other areas. At the end of the conversation I quipped, "haha, you're becoming an addict!" As usual I let it all whoosh over my head.

Day -28

She tells me the film has already premiered in Australia. She knows what happened, would I like her to tell me? No? Well what about this other program that Benedict Cumberbatch voices? I try to deflect her by telling her to watch another very British film. It didn't work.

Day -16

Good gods CC is definitely recording her madness now. She has blogged about Cumberbatch's works. "I figured I needed to rationalize my obsession somehow". She sends me the link to it, and to a show which I completely ignored (No spoilers for Star Trek! I won't take any chances!)

Day -7

14 May 2013 - Star Trek has been out for five days. It completely passes me by. I got a facebook post in the morning from CC asking how long Cumberbatch's role was, and if he was underused. She was going to watch it tomorrow night. Well, I had completely no idea! But this was Tuesday, with cheap tickets! The best day to watch the movie! I was extremely conflicted. I wanted so much to watch it that day, but I had so much left to do... And yet, I would willingly fail my thesis for Spock. She told me Zachary Quinto was gay. I did not go to the cinemas after all. (CC's note: I did not meant Zachary Quinto was gay in any homophobic sense, but rather as trivia since she seemed to admire Spock so much. And so do I (both actor and Spock) It was really brave of Quinto to come out, especially since he is a very public figure)

Day -4

CC has written a review of the movie, and posts the link to her blog on my facebook. I did not look at it, fearing spoilers.

Day -3

My doom is drawing nearer, the ominous signs are everywhere... And yet I had about the same awareness of it as I did when I was four years old: none at all. She reminds me to go watch it, I stubbornly cling to my thesis. Ah, the thesis. Such a significant document, filled with ideas of scientists over decades, and going to be finished off with new ideas of my own, paving the way for my entry into the scientific community. At least, that's how I like to think of it. Despite the lofty ideals, it would not save me.

Day -1

Monday. It is beginning.

I get another reminder to watch the movie. I resist again, clinging to the idea of my dear, precious thesis. CC has free tickets to watch Star Trek again, and I exclaimed that she would be able to watch Spock for free! She dismisses Spock completely, and gushes about Cumberbatch instead. I try, and fail, to defend dear old Spock. He's so smart! But she only had eyes for Cumberbatch.

Well, two can play at this game. I start criticising his looks - he looked weird to me, with a too-large nose that made his features look deformed. This would come back to haunt me later. Completely unexpectedly, she agrees with me. He's been described to look like a weird alien, she says. (Makes him look more like a psychopath in Sherlock Holmes!) (CC's note: Once again, it's just called Sherlock, and for the record, I don't think he looks like a weird alien. I just know other people who feel that way) But it's his acting she loves, it's sublime, and again she starts plying more shows at me. But I have no time to watch them! I finally countered, horrified by the huge list I have in my facebook inbox. Oh gods, I don't even have time to have a life right now. She ignores me and somehow we end up talking about his voice. I was first struck by it in the Star Trek trailers (and would never have noticed it if someone hadn't pointed it out - more proof that I probably don't deserve my degree), and I liked it. Meh, it was a good voice, nothing to really gush about - until she sent me to listen to his recitation of Ode to a Nightingale. I was in the office in the afternoon, and it gave me shivers. I turned it off after a few seconds, because it was distracting me too much, to put it mildly.

She suggests more titles to me, and I had the sudden realisation that I should have weeks ago. "So that's what you have been doing all this time? Just listening to his voice? No wonder you haven't been studying." Not only did she not deny it, she ends up dismissing one of her current assignments. Oh well, love will get her through... (CC's note: I never profess to fancy myself in love with Cumberbatch. What I am in love with is his work) I suggested she use his voice to help her sleep, and it turned out that she had already tried that. (CC's note: When I first listened to Cumberbatch's narration of Ode to a Nightingale, I couldn't stop yawning even though it was nowhere near my bedtime, so I thought I'll try listening to it to help me sleep. It did work, but for some reason I felt really silly doing it and stopped after two nights) Well, I'm definitely going to try that for my insomnia. Even if I don't end up sleeping I'll still end up with happy daydreams.

At this point it seems like her obsession has lessened somewhat, after getting her fix from Star Trek. But she continues plying me with radio shows, and facts about him, and reminding me to watch the film so that we can both gush about our respective Trekkie. Even now some part of my brain was beginning to have some inkling of what was to come, what I was about to get myself into... But the rest of my brain chose to be oblivious to it. "Oh god if you've just started an obsession in me with his voice I'm gonna hate you." "I'm not sure if I should continue indulging your obsession... It's not healthy... Or if I should even join it."

It was all written in the stones, what happened to her, and what would happen to me if I continued down this path. I am so blind.

Day 0 Tuesday, movie day

Well... It was Star Trek. I had to watch Star Trek no matter what. I had a meeting with my advisors at 10 am, and planned to go watch the screening at 1.30 pm in order to "recover" from that session. But I still had doubts about going.

"its only 2 hours 2 hours then u can go back to your normal life come on u find his voice sexy dun u"

And that sealed it. "Just two hours, then I can go back to my normal life." Oh what naivety.

I later postponed my outing to 4.30 pm just to show people I was working. I was, after all, going to watch a movie one week before my thesis was due. After noon it turned out that the other students in my office were going to watch Star Trek in the evening, too. So I postponed my outing again, to 8.30 pm, with them.

-3.5 hours

The others were already out of the office, and I couldn't find the guys I was supposed to get a lift from. I pondered watching it another day instead... The thesis was just sitting right in front of me, trying to save me from myself... And I ignored it. I ignored my thesis and took the bus to the cinema where I met my fellow office-mates, and I would watch Star Trek.

I should try to be wiser.

-2 hours

The movie begins.

0 hours

My fate has been sealed, even though I don't know it yet. All I knew was I loved the movie tremendously. I hardly even remembered to look at Spock; Cumberbatch was just so gripping. He was all that was impressed upon me that night, although I did love that scene where Spock cried. After finding out Khan's identity I realised I had missed some of the emotion that he probably showed earlier on in the show. So I would have to re-watch the movie sometime. And the tear that he shed when talking about his fellow beings, and his expressions, were wonderful as well. I had disliked his overacting in the trailers, but in the film it just seemed to fit perfectly. Khan, with his deep voice and superintelligence and his slight vulnerability for his "family"... *Starts coo-ing <3

There, evidence of brain melting. I think the reason I didn't notice it too much at the time was because of his viciousness in some scenes, and those were quite scary. I still can't believe how fast I dropped Spock. They are both smart, but Khan is vicious. And marvelously good at being a human. Not a particularly kind or empathetic one, but I did mention that I liked mean people. :/ Sorry Spock. I would still love to coo over you, but Benedict Cumberbatch takes precedent if he's present. (I definitely don't want to cuddle up to Khan.)

+0.5 hours

It is nearly midnight, and I am back at the office, for another overnight stint of thesis. I let CC know how good I thought it was, and "oh gods i think a new obsession is starting". (Finally, I'm starting to show some insight for once. But too late.)

I quite (sic) facebook after that for the rest of the night, only to come back the next morning to find her putting up more stuff and more gushings. She ended:

"hahaha im going to stop now or u are going to really really hate me lol"

Oh yes, very amusing, friend.

+11 hours

Next morning she realises she may have put up too much, and apologises (Gee, ya think!?). I have been ignoring the links anyway, no time for such trivial pursuits! My brain and my time is dedicated only to science! We continue to gush about Cumberbatch's performance. I think this was the catalyst for all the later troubles.

+20 hours

It was evening, I had spent the night before in the office without sleep, I had been up too long and I was tired. I was randomly surfing the net and my fingers (and eyes) were sneaky; I had googled Cumberbatch and learned about a couple of his ex-girlfriends before I was aware of what I was doing. He was single, hm...

Dear friend posted up this slightly panicked message from me on her facebook page. She was proud that she had "cumberbatched" me. "oh shit i just found myself googling cumberbatch and generally stalking him i'm going to go ahead and blame you"

You have no idea what you've just started... (And do read that in Khan's sinister voice.)

+24 hours

I am at home. The idea of Benedict Cumberbatch being single has been mulling in my mind on the way home. The idea of a single Benedict Cumberbatch, who looks like Professor Severus Snape, whom I have been in love with for years, starts to take on a different form in my mind...

I send off a desperate email to CC, asking her what she had done. She sent me off to bed reciting the Ode that he had recited. I went to bed with single Benedict Cumberbatch in my head, who had by now morphed into Snape and taken over him. Oh, dear...

It took me about two hours to fall asleep.

+34.5 hours

Early morning, CC sent me a message apologising for the timing of things, but NOT for "cumberbatching" me. She did not know when my thesis was due. I let her know it was due in eight days, and I do not have time to indulge in such a fantasy. In fact, on the bus ride that morning I suddenly remembered he was an actor. Just an actor - not Snape, or Khan, or Sherlock, or any other of those brilliant guys he played. Just an actor, and actors can be dumb, and I don't like dumb people. Also, all my previous infatuations have been imaginary men, so I can't fall in love with an actor in real life, right? Right?? (Please? Right??)

+37 hours

My darling friend sends me a youtube link to a deleted shower scene, of Cumberbatch, with really hard chest muscles. Good gods he wants babies, too. I should have realised then that she probably wasn't going to stop this link-sending behaviour, which had started forty days ago with her obsession. I tell her she wasn't helping; she somehow gets me to admit that I love his brain, and have completely forgotten about what he looks like. I ask her to send me something in which he shows his stupidity, that would be the only thing that could end this once and for all. But no, he just has to be intelligent in real life as well, bloody hell. That failing, I decided to try to do something with my thesis again. She continues to bombard me with links, and to watch the Graham show.

+41.5 hours

I take one of too many breaks from the thesis, and head to youtube to watch the Graham Norton show. This is my first video of him outside a show, my first time watching him not acting. I wish someone would've reached through time and yanked me back away from the computer. Too bad, I am on my own, and my doom was sealed at birth (through a deficiency in brain cells).

It is my first time watching a Graham Norton show. I do not know who Graham Norton is, so I google him, then realised that I did not care. On with the show. Chris Pine looks normal out of set, but I don't like it when guys are too hairy. Benedict Cumberbatch looks impressive, as always. Doesn't matter, I'm just watching this to see how stupid he can be. He tells his neutron cream story, and... nothing. He's... oblivious?

I was impressed (and made slightly more infatuated) by his reluctance to call his fans what they named themselves (CC is, incidentally, short for Cumber Collective. You're welcome). Shows a high level of regard and respect for people, and courtesy and decency. These are, by the way, things that I did NOT want to find out about Benedict Cumberbatch. I was... reluctantly impressed. Then he ran up to hug the girl from Germany, and my mind couldn't take it, I had to pause the video.

Why did he run up to hug the girl? What was he doing? Is he... Oh gods, is he... Nice?! Benedict Cumberbatch is a nice guy?! How dare he be nice when I was trying so hard to stop liking him?? I went back to the thesis. I ignored the video for several hours.

+44 hours

It has become clear that I am actively ignoring the video, and in doing so I am actively ignoring my thesis as well. In order to progress with the thesis I am going to have to finish the video... He hugs the other girls as well, which was wonderful... And then he does his sinister voice, and it just shows again how nice and obliging of a man he is, and wrong I have been to try to use this video to stop thinking about him. When it ended I re-watched the earlier parts, and fell in love all over again.

And the video ends; what's next?! Oh look, a google play interview with Benedict Cumberbatch! It's just 16 minutes, it won't take long. I listen to him go into a longer monologue of the neutron cream, and I am uncomfortably reminded of myself when I try to tell stories. I can never keep details out, because I want as much context as I can for the story. Context is important in stories. And Cumberbatch gives lots of context. I hope he never grows out of this habit.

The interview ends, and I spot "the truth about Benedict Cumberbatch" by Simon Pegg and Alice Eve - sounds intriguing. I loved Simon's description of him as a retard, it really helped if I saw him that way. Then Alice Eve had to go and talk about his want for a family, and children, and how he will be a good and devoted father. Oh, he would be so perfect with babies and I want his babies...

I go off to let CC know what she has done. I am going mad. I cannot stop watching his videos. I can't stop reading about him. "i love the way he can't tell a story at all! he has to bring in every single detail hahahahaha haHAHAHA oh gods help me i'm going mad"

Darling friend responds with more anecdotes of how nice he is and stories of fan interactions. Completely misses the point. Now I have to watch the Japan mob, and read the story, and oh poor Cumberbatch, I hope you're not too scarred by this incident, please don't lose the charming niceness you have now! And then I realise what I am thinking, and am horrified at what I have become. I am showing concern for a man half the world away and whose only attractive trait is that he has a talent for acting. This is so much worse than a crush on Snape because he is actually real, and I can keep finding out more things about him and I can keep fantasizing. CC ignores my very obvious and steady spiral into madness. She sends over more links! She tells me he learned to play the guitar with very few lessons! (CC's note: it's actually the violin I was referring to) God damn Benedict Cumberbatch why did you have to do that?!

For the rest of the night I alternate between finding out a new reason why I am so hopelessly infatuated and messaging her (only for her to agree and send EVEN MORE links on why he is so awesome), and remembering some adorable trait that he had. I spent the night in the office. I spent less than two hours on my thesis. 50 hours after I watched that evil, poisonous film my brain has melted and it has run off to join the tons of other fangirls standing around cheering him. I cannot do any work because Cumberbatch is in my brain and refuses to let all other pieces of information in.

It was less than nine hours from being a tolerable admiration of an actor to full blown hopeless brainless obsession all because of that bloody Graham Norton video. And good gods it refuses to stop, my brain refuses to stop wanting him. It wants him to come down to Australia so that I can have my very own Benedict Cumberbatch. I try to let CC know again, and again she sends more links, feeding the madness deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. It doesn't stop, yet Benedict Cumberbatch won't come to stop it, so it won't stop...

I am reminded of her earlier message: "'s messed up..."

It is, and I have no idea what the frakk is going on, and how this one man has so much power to cause it. But apparently CC only wants to interview him (CC's note: in the capacity of a wannabe journalist; I have an associate degree in journalism), she doesn't have to fight strange hormonal urges that also wants babies.

The hormones seem to have dissipated now, and as long as I keep off all other articles about him and stop watching youtube videos of him until after my thesis I'll hopefully be able to get an undergraduate degree.

I have no idea why I just spent four hours typing this out.

(CC's note: The hyperlinks interspersed throughout the article have been added by me for additional context)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch's Deleted Shower Scene in Star Trek Into Darkness

Khan's Shower of evil

Conan O' Brien: “He's not enjoying that shower very much."

J.J.Abrams: “That was a shower of evil.”

When Josh Horowitz asked writer Damon Lindelof in an e-mail interview about why Alice Eve was in her underwear at one point, he said that he was not telling because "uh... MYSTERY". But when he was asked about Benedict Cumberbatch's shower scene that was purportedly cut, he went: "As for the shirtless scene... we scripted it, but I don't think it ever got shot. You know why? Because getting actors to take their clothes off is DEMEANING AND HORRIBLE Oh. Right. Sorry."

I think it was at this point that Damon Lindelof realized the double standard he was applying to an actor and an actress, and he subsequently apologized on Twitter.

Now J.J.Abrams is trying to show that he and the writers also thought about pandering to fangirls by actually having shot a Benedict Cumberbatch shower scene. But the main point here is that they did realize that this scene was not necessary to the film and cut it, all the while choosing to still include Alice Eve's underwear scene.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Khanberbatch: An analysis of Benedict Cumberbatch's performance in Star Trek Into Darkness

Needless to say, there's spoilers galore in this post.

He first appears looking all nice and totally decent when he offers to help a man save his dying daughter. "Who are you?" the desperate man asks. Cue dramatic music. Here J.J.Abrams is continuing all the pre-release hype of just who Cumberbatch's character is by teasing us with only short tantalizing glimpses of him throughout the first half of the movie.

Next, we see him concentrate on drawing blood from himself into a tube and placing the tube into a container and adding a ring on top before sealing it. For some reason this scene throws me back to seeing Cumberbatch as Sherlock, what with him constantly mucking about with his chemical experiments and constant microscope gazing.

The next scene, we see Cumberbatch look impassively on as the man whose daughter has now been saved enters the London building housing Section 31 to bomb himself and the rest of the building into smithereens. Cumberbatch does impassive gazing very well.

Next up, a still photo of him being shown to all the Starfleet commanders who have convened a meeting on what to do with Cumberbatch's character (now given the name of John Harrison) who has declared a one-man war against Starfleet. Captain James Tiberius Kirk (played by blond blue-eyed Chris Pine) zooms in on a image of at the scene of the crime. Cumberbatch here is looking all furrowed in concentration, in the midst of making off with a bag of something.

Before you know it, the Starfleet commanders are being fired upon by a small flying helicopter-like plane. We don't get to see who is piloting the plane until the last possible moment. Kirk successfully sabotages the plane and sends it crashing. Protagonist and antagonist clap eyes on each other for the first time. Harrison gazes impassively at Kirk while light beams slowly engulfs him and teleports him to Kronos, homeland of the Klingons. He materializes crouching down, stands up, zips up his hoodie and then dramatically exits the screen to the right. We don't get to see him again for quite a while, but when he does, it is when he makes his first real concrete entrance into the movie.

Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhuru (Zoe Saldana) takes a small ship onto Kronos to try and capture Harrison. They are spotted by Klingon scouts. Negotiations between Uhuru and the Klingons fall flat and just as Uhuru is about to be killed by a Klingon, mystery hooded man arrives to save the day and proceeds to take down the whole squadron of Klingons almost single-handed. He explodes into action here, shooting at Klingons with blinding speed and unerring accuracy while using his big gun physically to whack them out of the way as well.

Klingons almost entirely wiped out. He takes the time to remove his hood, zooms in on Kirk and gang, leaps off his perch, hurls a knife at Klingon, wipes floor with remaining two Klingons, grabs a gun and aims it at Kirk and company. "How many torpedoes?" he asks. Spock, with a gun in his hand, tells Harrison to stand down. Harrison effortlessly shoots Spock's gun out his hand and continues his line of questioning. "The torpedoes. The weapons you threaten me with in your message. How many are there?" 72, he's told. We see Abrams' lens flare envelop his face and some hidden emotion pass fleetingly through his facel "I surrender." he drops his gun. Kirk accepts his surrender and then proceeds to try and beat the hell out of Harrison. The beating seems to take more out of Kirk than it does Harrison, who simply looks impassively on as he is pummeled by Kirk. Did I mention that he does a lot of impressively impassive gazing in this film? Uhuru screams at the captain to stop, and Harrison, voice loaded with derisive scorn, mildly rebukes: "Captain."

After taking a beating, from which he appears no worse for the wear, Harrison is cuffed and taken aboard the Enterprise, where he is escorted by a group of Redshirts.

Kirk gets Spock to take a sample of Harrison's blood, and Harrison begins to sow doubts in the mind of Kirk and gang. Here Harrison's movement is deliberate, calm and very controlled, and even though he is supposed to be the prisoner it feels as though he has the upper hand. "Why aren't we moving, captain?" he asks laconically, turning to glance over at Kirk as his blood is being drawn. He goes on to insinuate that Admiral Marcus, who agreed to let Kirk go on this mission, fully intended to use Kirk and the Enterprise to start a war against the Klingons by getting him to fire 72 torpedoes at a Klingon planet and also sabotaged the Enterprise so that the whole crew would be stranded there and thus instigate a war with the Klingons.

Kirk is somewhat rattled by what Harrison says but chooses to walk away. Harrison tells Kirk that ignoring him could mean his entire crew's demise. Kirk goes back to confront Harrison in this scene.

The best praise I can describe for the consummate acting that Cumberbatch demonstrates in this short scene is to tell you about David Letterman's reaction to the same clip. About two weeks ago, Cumberbatch had appeared in what was quite an awkward appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman to promote Star Trek Into Darkness. Letterman was completely clueless about who Cumberbatch was (he couldn't pronounce Cumberbatch's name right the first time he mentioned it, asked questions like "Is this your first major motion picture?") but at the end of the show, after the clip of Cumberbatch's character interacting with Kirk was shown, it was like cold water had been doused on Letterman and he woke up. Letterman went: "Oh buddy. Man! offense to the rest of the cast, but you don't really need much more than you." You can see the GIFs here.

In this short scene, Harrison was first mocking of Kirk and then vulnerably needing Kirk to believe him a second later. His ability to completely switch facades at the blink of an eye and still be utterly convincing is just simply remarkable. Cumberbatch does mention in an interview that: "There’s a lot of motivation and reasoning behind what he does and he has a moral core. He just has a method which is pretty brutal and our democratic world; one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.It was a beautiful thing to play, this sliding scale of someone who could be trustworthy and understandable. Also someone who could be out and out on a mission of revenge trying to bring about what he sees as justice and the change in the order of authority." I think Cumberbatch manages to bring that across brilliantly in this film. For someone who is not very nice, to put it mildly, Cumeberbatch's version of Khan still comes across as an oddly sympathetic character. I don't think there are that many actors who would be able to pull it off as successfully as he did.

So Harrison challenges Kirk to open up one of the torpedoes, Kirk does so and finds a 300-year-old cryogenically frozen human being hidden inside, so he goes back to confront Harrison.

"Who the hell are you?" asks Kirk. Harrison looks introspective as he tells both Kirk and Spock about him "being a remnant of a time long past. Genetically engineered to be superior so as to lead others in a world at war..." When Kirk continues to question Harrison's identity, Harrison reveals that his real name is Khan and here he looks menacingly at Kirk. "Why would a Starfleet Admiral ask a 300-year old frozen man for help?" asked the bemused Kirk. "Because I am better." "At what?" "Everything". Said with just a hint of arrogance but mostly in a matter-of-fact way. Now it is Spock's turn to voice his disbelief that Marcus would break so many rules to exploit Khan's intellect. Here Khan's voice practically drips with condescension as he verbally spars against both Kirk and Spock. "Intellect alone is useless in a fight, Mr Spock. You, you can't even break a rule, how would you be expected to break bone?" he mocks Spock, voice laced with contempt. Notice how his mouth sardonically curves up when he is mocking Spock; he clearly enjoys doing so. One almost feels that Khan is like a cat taunting his prey, despite being caged.

Kirk calls him out for his murder of innocent Starfleet personnel at Starfleet's headquarters. Khan justifies his actions by telling Kirk that his crew, "his family" was being held hostage so that he would have to do the admiral's bidding. Khan explained that he attempted to smuggle his crew by hiding them in the very weapons he built, but when he is discovered, he is left with no choice but to flee, all the while thinking that the admiral had killed all his people in retaliation. Khan says he thus responded in kind, killing the people in Section 31 and nearly the entire Starfleet command. His eyes are shiny with tears as he relates all this and finally a tear falls. "My crew is my family, Kirk. Is there anything you would not do for your family?" he asks Kirk, his voice now lanced with pain. This scene was apparently leaked online and you can watch part of it here. Look. Here is a guy who coldly goes around killing innocent people. And yet when he tells you his story, you can't help feel sympathy for him. What consummate acting. The way that he swivels his head as he sees Kirk heading back to the bridge is like that of a silent deadly serpent just waiting for the right time to strike.

Admiral Marcus shows up in a mean spaceship, demands that Kirk gives Khan up. Kirk refuses. Marcus attacks the Enterprise, rendering it incapable of moving or retaliating. Kirk decides to ask Khan for help in infiltrating Marcus's ship. Khan asks: In exchange for what?" "You said you'd do anything for your crew. I can guarantee their safety." "Captain, you can't even guarantee the safety of your crew." Khan retorts in his funereal baritone voice. Even though Khan is a room, cuffed and surrounded by armed Starfleet guards, you get the feeling that they are the ones feeling uneasy, not him.

Kirk enlists Khan's help in infiltrating the ship. Immediately we see the dynamics of the relationship between Kirk and Khan change. No longer are they jailer and prisoner, but uneasy allies. Even though Kirk is supposed to be the one leading the mission, Khan seems to be the one taking charge. When Scotty informs Kirk that the entrance is very wee, Kirk says that it will be alright because he has done it before, causing Khan to give him a somewhat scornful look. Khan's look alone is able to make the brash overconfident Kirk sound like an unsure child as he tries and then gives up trying to recount what he ha previously done on Vulcan. Khan wastes no time in asking Scotty if he had found the manual override, causing Kirk, who is beginning to feel that he is slowly losing control of the situation, to speak over Khan and repeat the inquiry to Scotty. Khan also takes the lead in crouching down in preparation for the launch, causing an uncomfortable Kirk to follow suit and crouch down beside him. "Are you ready?" asks Kirk? "Are you?" replies Khan coolly.

Kirk and Khan launches off the ship. Much focus is on Kirk who immediately goes off course in his attempt to avoid debris. Spock warns Khan about some debris ahead of him. Khan replies: "I see it." He performs a series of evasive maneuvers and successfully dodges a whole bunch of debris but ends up being conked by a huge piece of debris. The Enterprise loses his signal and are unable to track him in all the debris. It seems as though Kirk is left to try and infiltrate the ship on his own, but pretty soon he ends up losing the display on his headgear, without which it would be impossible to successfully reach the hanger deck door of Marcus's ship. Just when all is thought to be lost, Khan reappears and since his display is still working, manages to help guide Kirk into safety. Scotty manages to open the hangar door in the nick of time, and when the door closes Kirk and Khan end up rolling across the entire length of the hangar before stopping in front of Scotty.

While Kirk and Scotty are busy exchanging pleasantries, Khan wastes no time in telling them that Marcus would know that they were there and that he knew the best way to the bridge. Kirk hands him a gun set to stun, prompting Khan to quip that "theirs won't be" to which Kirk helpfully tells him to "try not to get shot". Khan looks mildly exasperated at this but proceeds to lead the way.

Next scene, Scotty is bemused as to why the ship seems so deserted. Khan gives a minute-a-mile explanation and lo and behold, Marcus's minions appear. Khan once again explodes into action and takes down the first one while Kirk and Scotty back up and look on in some awe before they have to deal with minions of their own. Khan dispatches three of Marcus's minions without even breaking a sweat, glances at both Kirk and Scotty struggling in their respective fights, and apparently leaves. When Kirk and Scotty finally overcome Marcus's minions, Khan is nowhere to be seen.

Kirk and Scotty are both extremely worried as they go around looking for him. Out of the blue, Khan reappears. "This way." he says, not before removing the stun gun from his belt in one fluid motion. Once Khan is out of earshot, Kirk orders Scotty "drop Khan the moment we reach the bridge." "What, Khan? I thought he was supposed to be helping us." exclaims the baffled Scotty. "I am pretty sure we are helping him," is Kirk's reply.

Once again a trio, Scotty asks Khan about the ship and once again Khan proceeds to answer in his rapid-fire way while typing something on a computer console. The three of them then proceeds to the bridge warily, checking at every intersection for more of Marcus's minions before finally entering the bridge proper. The three of them successfully stuns everyone on the bridge with the exception of Marcus and his daughter. Kirk gives an imperceptible nod of his head and Scotty stuns Khan. Khan falls to the floor with a thud, all the world seeming like he is out cold. When Kirk begins confronting Marcus, we see that this is not the case, as Khan's eyes minutely opens in a silver of a slit. When Kirk gets a bit distracted while looking at Carol, Khan makes his move and once again explodes in a flurry of action. He knocks over the inept Scotty who was supposed to be guarding him, leaps over and tackles Kirk to the ground. Khan furiously pummels Kirk, throws him across the room. Carol rushes to Kirk's sides, tries to reason with Khan, but Khan just contemptuously throws her to the ground and proceeds to shatter her leg with a vicious kick. Without skipping a beat, he rounds on Marcus and crushes the poor man's skull. "You should have let me sleep," he snarls. Khan is just simply utterly savage here. It seems that even Cumberbatch himself was taken aback about how savage he came across as, and he mentions this in an interview: "I think with any characterization there's a point where you empathize, no matter how much of a deviance his or her actions may be from your understanding of humanity. You have to empathize, and that can go for the people who perform despicable acts. Having said that, when I sit in my own audience now—which is a very weird thing to do for an actor on any given day, especially with a film this big, in an IMAX theater, in New York—I was terrified by what I was doing. I don't have kids but I'm quite glad at this stage that I don't have to go, "Just look away, dad's not like that."

Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, Scotty is getting worried about Kirk. Next thing you know, the Enterprise is broadcast with a live feed of Khan holding Kirk at gunpoint. "I am going to make this simple for you. Your crew for my crew.""You've betrayed us," Spock says with mock disbelief. "Oh you are smart, Mr Spock," Khan mocks. "Spock, don't-" Kirk manages to gasp out before Khan head butts him with the gun. "Give me my crew," Khan tells Spock. He stops emanating evilness for a bit here and just looks really earnest to get his crew back. Spock tells him that he has no guarantee that Khan will abide with his side of the bargain and here Khan's menace immediately returns. And boy is he gleefully evil and relishes being so too. "Well, let's play this out logically then, Mr Spock. Firstly, I will kill your captain to demonstrate my resolve, then if yours holds I will have no choice but to kill you and your entire crew." Here his mouth once again curves up sardonically at the end, leaving no doubt as to the fact that he would really enjoy carrying out this mass murder. Spock argues that "If you destroy our ship, you will also destroy your own people.", to which Khan replies coolly: "Your crew requires oxygen to survive, mine does not. I will target your life support systems located behind the aft nacelle. And after every single person aboard your ship suffocates, I will walk over your cold corpses to recover my people. Now, shall we begin?"

The seemingly defeated Spock tells Sulu to lower the shields, and the now triumphant Khan asks Spock some cursory questions to try and validate that all 72 torpedoes are his before beaming them all aboard the Vengeance. Spock now asks Khan to uphold his end of the bargain. Khan is all too willing to do so, because as he says: "No ship should go down without its captain." This Khan has a sense of humor. He actually beams Kirk, Scotty and Carol into the glass cell of the Enterprise where he himself was briefly incarcerated. Khan then proceeds to attempt to blow the Enterprise into smithereens, but not before all 72 torpedoes, now on the Vengeance, blows up on him, a ploy of Spock come to fruition. Khan is thrown forward as explosions continue to rack the Vengeance. "Nooooooooooo!!!" he shouts, full of anger and anguish at the thought of his entire crew being obliterated. Unbeknownst to him though, Spock had actually had his people removed from the torpedoes prior to all this.

Both Enteprise and Vengeance hurtle towards Earth, the Vengeance nearly crashing into the Enterprise at one point. A now livid Khan orders the Vengeance to set course for Starfleet Headquarters; he is now in full Vengeance mode and wants to take out as much of Starfleet as he could, kamikaze style. The Vengeance crashes, bowling over a whole bunch of buildings including some Starfleet buildings too it seems. To the incredulity of Sulu, Khan survives the crash and proceeds to leap 30 meters down to safety. While the rest of the public are left stunned by the carnage caused, a now injured Khan pauses to steal a coat before walking away from the scene of the crime.

Spock, who has just witnessed Kirk die to save the Enterprise, gets beamed down to San Francisco armed with a gun set to kill. Khan sees him and proceeds to run almost pell mell through the crowd, not caring who he knocks out of the way. He leaps up stairs, jumps through a glass door and frantically continues to run, all the while being chased not-too-far behind by Spock. Khan finally sees a way to lose his pursuer and leaps onto a flying garbage truck and turns to look back. Spock makes an impossible leap and manages to clamber onto the garbage truck. Khan kicks the gun out of Spock's hand, grabs Spock and proceeds throw him against the flying truck. As the truck traverses the sky of San Francisco, Khan and Spock continue to engage in their fistfight. At one point, Spock manages to get a Vulcan nerve pinch on Khan's left shoulder. Khan is brought down to his knees, his face contorted with pain, but with great effort he manages to break Spock's grip and proceeds to pummel Spock.

We next see him trying to crush Spock's skull, but Spock nerve pinches him in the face, and Khan instead knees him and jumps off the garbage truck into another garbage truck. Spock follows, and Khan proceeds to continue beating the crap out of Spock. Just as he is about to crush the skull of a weakened Spock, Uhuru gets beamed down to the garbage truck and proceeds to stun the hell out of Khan. Now with his adversary severely incapacitated, Spock breaks Khan's right arm and then attempts to punch the life of him. He is only stopped by Uhuru's exhortations that Kirk needs Khan alive (for Khan's magical blood to bring Kirk back to life). Spock pauses, and then gives Khan one final punch, knocking an already very stunned Khan out.

The next time we see Khan, he has been sealed in a cryotube and placed alongside his other frozen crew member in some sort of secured room. Will we see Cumberbatch's Khan again? When asked about the potential return of Cumberbatch’s character, Star Trek writer Damon Lindelof told Bleeding Cool: "To answer that question would be to determine whether or not he actually survives this movie, but if he survives this movie, I think that we would be incredibly stupid to not use him again." Let's keep our fingers crossed now, shall we? Hopefully if he returns, we'll see more of him since we no longer have to go through the hoopla about his real identity and that he will no longer have to share villain duty with someone else.

Star Trek: Wrath of Khanberbatch in 2016 anyone?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Praise for Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek Into Darkness

It is easy to see why Cumberbatch has developed a dedicated following from his work as the title character on the British series “Sherlock.” He’s a walking spectacle. If I was an actor with an ego, I would not want to share screen time with this man. Unless you’re there to be comic relief, Cumberbatch is going to make you look like a dinner theater actor.

-ABC News

But make no mistake, this is the Benedict Cumberbatch show and he delivers an intense and frightening performance that is sure to resonate as one of the most memorable villains in recent film history. Cumberbatch commands attention from the characters and audience in every scene he is in.

But the casting coup here is Benedict Cumberbatch, who exudes steely resolve and silken savagery as a villain on the cusp of becoming a legendary nemesis. Familiar to fans of another reboot — “Sherlock” — as well as tony historical productions such as “War Horse” and “Atonement,” here Cumberbatch claims a deserved place front and center in a big, brash popcorn movie. As gratifying as it is to watch Kirk, Spock and their colleagues develop the camaraderie that would so optimistically anticipate a multicultural world, “Star Trek Into Darkness” derives its ballast, and most of its menacing pleasure, from Cumberbatch, who takes tantalizing ownership of a role with near-limitless future prospects for evil mayhem.

-Washington Post

The big find here is Cumberbatch, who joins Ricardo Montalban, Christopher Plummer and Alice Krige in a fairly limited roster of great "Trek" villains. With his rumbling voice and stony stare, the star of Britain's detective update "Sherlock" is fearsome and relentless, a one-man army who truly seems like more than a match for poor Enterprise, all on his own.

-Christian Science Monitor

He'd be John Harrison, and the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) plays him in a tour de force to reckon with.

-Rolling Stone Magazine

Once again, a British actor with stage-trained gravitas is given the villain role. This time it’s Benedict Cumberbatch, the bow-lipped star of Sherlock and the recent BBC series Parade’s End. He stands extremely still, like a reptile ready to strike, and proves a disturbingly calm adversary for the short-fused Kirk. “Captain,” he says, in a funereal baritone that drips with pained condescension. Cumberbatch says it so wonderfully, in fact, that the script provides him with a chance to say “Captain” exactly the same way a second time.

-The Globe and Mail

Mr. Cumberbatch, pale and intense, has become the object of a global fan cult, and it’s easy to see why. Whether playing a hero (as in “Sherlock”) or a villain, he fuses Byronic charisma with an impatient, imperious intelligence that seems to raise the ambient I.Q. whenever he’s on screen.

-New York Times

But the masterstroke of Into Darkness is the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch, the BBC’s new Sherlock Holmes, as the new galaxy-threatening super villain. He’s disaffected and dangerous former Starfleet ace John Harrison, a terrorist whose true agenda is slowly revealed but whose callous disregard for human life is chilling.

The big find here is Cumberbatch, who joins Ricardo Montalban, Christopher Plummer and Alice Krige in a fairly limited roster of great ‘‘Trek’’ villains. With his rumbling voice and stony stare, the star of Britain’s detective update ‘‘Sherlock’’ is fearsome and relentless, a one-man army who truly seems like more than a match for poor Enterprise, all on his own.

-Boston Globe

It’s compulsory for blockbuster villains to be British of course, and Cumberbatch runs with an imperial theatrical haughtiness rather than trying to bury it. His bad guy is distinctly human, if a little two-dimensional, and he succeeds in showing real ice running through his veins and bringing some weight to a cast that generally offers more geniality than gravitas.

-Time Out London

Cumberbatch raises the anxiety level and performance standard whenever he’s onscreen. As the latest Sherlock Holmes on BBC, he has embodied a supersmart hero of the 1890s. Here he is the supersmart villain of the 1990s, teleported to the 23rd century. With high cheekbones and the penetrating stare of a superior automaton — or maybe just a posh Englishman looking pityingly on the other, mostly American actors — Cumberbatch infuses Into Darkness with a creepy class. Everyone else has to make do by looking fabulous.

-Time Magazine

Performances are fine, with Benedict Cumberbatch the real standout. The character may be a mess, but Cumberbatch delivers his clunky lines with exquisite iciness and menace. The British thesp has such a charismatic big screen presence that you can't wait to see him soar with better material like he often does on "Sherlock".

-Dark Horizons

As the supervillain, in closeup, Cumberbatch really does give it the full Blue Steel. It's more like Indigo Steel, or Topaz Steel. As he faces off with Kirk, he does a lot of impassive and charismatic gazing, indicative of infinitesimally amused unconcern. With that expression of his, he is in danger of becoming the Joseph Fiennes of his generation.

-Guardian (UK)

Cumberbatch, meanwhile, makes for one of the best blockbuster villains in recent memory. While baby-faced in profile, Harrison is hawkishly fierce when coming at Kirk straight-on. He’s more than a match for the Enterprise’s tenacious captain, an element this brawny movie savors.

-New York Daily News

It hardly matters, because whatever Cumberbatch is playing, he’s wonderful to watch, infusing the movie with the kind of exotic grandeur Eric Bana’s wan Romulan henchman (arguably the weakest link in the 2009 film) largely lacked.


The movie however, is the Benedict Cumberbatch coming out party. He so effortlessly captures all of this characters’ calculating ruthlessness while also having no problem gaining audiences’ sympathies, at times seeming not too far off from Kirk. Any time he’s on screen, you can’t help but be drawn to the (sometimes even wordless) charisma on display.

-Buzz Feed

No one, in any case, gets to outperform Benedict Cumberbatch's mysterious interplanetary villain "John Harrison". A sort of space ninja de luxe, this vengeful renegade first blows up the Starfleet's archive, then strafes its high command, and later has the temerity to hide out in a Klingon stronghold, where he singlehandedly bests a whole contingent of the furrowed-browed ones. He's so classy, in fact, that he gets imprisoned in one of those glass cells where they put only the really brainy, top-level evil-doers: your Magnetos and Hannibal Lecters. Cumberbatch gets to wear an even more spectacular coat than he does as the BBC Sherlock Holmes – baggier, more billowing and with a hood. As for his voice, it's so sepulchrally resonant that it could have been synthesised from the combined timbres of Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Alan Rickman holding an elocution contest down a well. And he flares a mean nostril, to boot.

-The Independent

Friday, May 17, 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch's Interview with David Letterman: A Study in Awkwardness

It is a never a good sign when your TV host can't even pronounce your name properly.

At the end the Jack Hannah segment on the Late Show with David Letterman that aired last week, David Letterman was on track to introduce the next guest who would appear at the end of the show.

"We'll right back with Benedict Cumber...(long befuddled pause)...batch."

Definitely not a good sign.

Meeting a reporter from Vulture (one of weekly magazine New York's online blog) the next afternoon after the show aired, Cumberbatch had this to say she expressed surprise that "there weren’t the usual efforts to wring a laugh from his name...given Letterman’s cluelessness" about who Cumberbatch was.

“Well, since he couldn’t even say it,” says the actor. “At one point, before I came on, he announced me as ‘Benedict Cumber… ,’ and his voice sort of trailed off. My friends said, ‘What the fuck was that? It was like his batteries ran out.’ But that’s the sort of thing that’s been happening here, where I’m not as well known,” he continues. “It’s strange to be 36 and still explaining the weirdness of my name.”

Things promptly went downhill when Cumberbatch finally appeared on the show and the questions began.

Letterman's first question: "Are you fairly new to making major motion pictures?"

What? He is asking Cumberbatch, who has acted in the Bafta and Academy-nominated Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Steven Spielberg's War Horse, and Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy this question?

Credit to Cumberbatch, who replied with aplomb: "This major? Yes. Very very new to making this major film picture type thing. No, I mean I was in War Horse, which was quite a big film, but with not as big a role so I am very very excited."

Letterman then goes on to say that he doesn't know how old Cumberbatch is, to which Cumberbatch replied that he is still a kid at heart. At this point, I am beginning to lose hope that the interview won't go further south. How can you not even know your interviewee's age? Second bloody rule of journalism, the first being the ability to spell and pronounce your interviewee's name right, is to get your interviewee's age right. Letterman failed on both counts obviously.

Letterman then went on to ask Cumberbatch about his first memories of auditioning, to which Cumberbatch gave a humorous account of how he auditioned for the role of James Bond for a computer game, how he "started to throw myself around the room and dive over sofas and do lots of kind of PPK poses."

These two questions together sound rather condescending; something akin to "Oh Star Trek Into Darkness is your first big break, isn't it? And how was it like auditioning before you got your first big break?"

Moving on. Next, Letterman wanted Cumberbatch to tell him what was going on with those "Otters Who Look Like Benedict Cumberbatch" tumblr images.

Wow. That shtick is old. Old old. Couldn't Letterman's team of researchers have come up with something more recent or up-to-date?...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness Boldly Goes Nowhere

Do not let the title fool you; Star Trek Into Darkness is no dark brew, but rather a light frothy concoction with a wafer-thin plot conjured up by not one, not two, but three scriptwriters, who all seem rather Lost on how to pen a good Star Trek story.

Star Trek Into Darkness is by no means a bad movie; it is entertaining, the special effects are simply gorgeous to look at, replete with director J.J. Abrams' trademark lens flare, but the script is terribly weak and filled with plot holes the size of meteoric craters. Think painfully weak tea that is brewed by steeping and re-steeping the same old tea leaves. Why, if Abrams and his writers went through all the trouble to reboot the series and create a whole alternate universe in Star Trek (2009), do they choose to limp back into the past and basically go for a remake of an older Star Trek film?

It is paradoxical how the scriptwriters were able to write a movie that is so reverential to the original Star Trek series and yet and so missing the whole spirit of Star Trek. Easter eggs abound in the film with every earnest intention to pay fan-service to the Trekkies, yet the story is as unlike a Star Trek film as can be. My movie companion, who was a fan of the original TV series, moaned that the plot was all too predictable and then mournfully declared that what she just saw was not a Star Trek movie at all, but rather a movie about teenagers fighting, albeit in a galactic arena. And she is not alone in her assessment. Time Magazine's Richard Corliss complained that "with the emphasis on its hero’s adolescent anger, the movie turns this venerable science-fiction series — one that prided itself on addressing complex issues in a nuanced and mature fashion — into its own kids’ version: Star Trek Tiny Toons. At times, the viewer is almost prodded to mutter, 'Grow up!'"

Within the story is some social commentary on the United States' use of drones in the War on Terror and how America treats its suspected terrorists; one of the film's darkest scene involves a character who, despite having surrendered, still has the crap beaten out of him. However, the critique is barely skin-deep and hardly penetrates beyond the surface, seemingly present so as to allow audience members the opportunity to pat their backs when they recognize the political allegory and not much more.

A Star Trek film is only as good as its villain. I hate to say this, but even with the mesmerizing Benedict Cumberbatch as the utterly savage and yet still sympathetic John Harrison, which feels like a revelation after Eric Bana's insipid angry tantrum-throwing Romulan Nero in the previous movie, I like the first movie better. One of the major problems is that Harrison's true identity has been unnecessarily steeped in secrecy. While Abram's customary cloak and daggery style may serve him in lesser-known films like Cloverfield and Super 8, here the effect is crippling. Rather than using the time to flash out Cumberbatch's character, Abrams instead chooses to spend the first half of the movie focusing on the Enterprise crew's efforts to try and dispel the smokescreen behind who Harrison really is, with the tepid result that Cumberbatch's character ends up being severely under-utilized.

A bright spot in the movie is the continuing bromance between Chris Pine's Captain Kirk and Zachary Quinto's Spock, who share a real palpable chemistry onscreen. Other characters who were given time to shine in the first movie are unceremoniously shafted here. Karl Urban's Dr. Bones is reduced to quipping sarcastic one-liners while Simon Pegg's Scotty most serves as the movie's main comic relief. John Cho's Hikaru Sulu and Anton Yelchin's Chekov are given little to do, and while Zoe Saldana's Uhura gets to wield a gun and speak Klingon in this installment, her presence here seems to be to function mostly as Spock's exasperated and nagging girlfriend. New addition Alice Eve as Carol Wallace feels like a bit of miscast (for some unfathomable reason, her British accent sounds out of place alongside the rest of the Enterprise crew. And the scene where she strips down to her undies, as depicted in the trailers? Totally gratuitous and completely unnecessary.), while Peter Weller unfortunately strays a little too far to camp in his portrayal of Admiral Marcus.

Would I recommend seeing the movie? Yes. The movie is indeed entertaining and works quite well as a standard summer popcorn blockbuster movie. In other words, try not to think too much about the clumsy and clunky plot. Just take a seat on the captain's chair and enjoy this 133-minute space ride. Oh, and be sure to leave your brain at the door.

3 and a half stars out of 5 stars for me.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Way, Way Back is the Way Forward in This Coming-of-Age Movie

Last week I got a pair of free tickets to see this movie The Way, Way Back, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival early this year and is due to be released in U.S. movie theaters on July 5. The cast was what first drew me to seeing this film:

As you can see from the movie poster, the cast includes the likes of Steve Carrell, Toni Colette, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph and Amanda Peet.

When my friend and I got to the screening, we were told that our phones would be confiscated for the duration of the movie. Worried that her sparkly iPhone would be lost among the myriad of other iPhones collected, we both dutifully made our way back to the parking garage to dump our phones into the trunk/boot of her car. By the time we got back, all the good seats were taken and we ended up in the first two rows. I am not sure if it affected how I felt about the movie, but I hope not.

I won't go much into the details of the story here, but I found the plot pretty contrived and the script rather hokey. I don't usually have many laugh-out-loud moments whenever I go see a movie, but the movie actually manage to startle a few out of me, so overall I'd say the movie was somewhat worth watching.

As for the cast, Liam James is alright as the 14-year old Duncan, but it is unfortunate that Steve Carrell's character Trent never manages to rise above that of a very one-dimensional philandering jerk. while Toni Colette does a decent job channeling Duncan's exasperated mother Pam, it is Sam Rockwell's character Owen who steals almost all the scenes he is in, even when the lines he has to spew in the film aren't all that great.

If you enjoyed the 2009 movie Adventureland starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, a similar coming-of-age story set along the confines of a summer stint job in an amusement park, and am interested to see another movie like it, I'd say go for it. Otherwise, you would do better to check out the summer blockbuster movies that will be out the same time this movie is. 3 out of 5 stars for me.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness Google Play Interview: The Ever Loquacious Benedict Cumberbatch

His ability to ramble on and on and go completely and utterly off tangent is just simply phenomenal. As a former journalism major, I'd say he can be a dream or a nightmare to interview depending on how you go about writing up your interviews. Must be incredibly challenging to try and condense all that material he gushes at you into whatever limited print space your editor allots you.

Still, better a garrulous interviewee than a taciturn one, I should think.

Oh, and this is how Times journalist Caitlin Moran describes him as an interviewee subject in her latest interview with him, What’s not to love about "Benedict Cumberbatch?:

"Here’s what it’s like interviewing Benedict Cumberbatch: a bit like interviewing a waterfall. It won’t really answer any of your questions, but it’s fabulous to watch. It’s not that it’s trying to ignore or avoid your questions – God, no. It is endlessly, eagerly forthcoming, and shows a touching courtesy towards the whole notion of being interviewed."

Hmm, like interviewing a waterfall huh. Quite an apt metaphor I'd say, seeing as he seems to speak only in paragraphs.