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Ten Film Favorites From 2010

Happy New Year! And with that, it means another year has ended, and the first round of opportunities to see 2010 movies has ended, making it a great moment to reflect back on my favorite cinematic experiences from the past year. The obvious highlight, for a great many people, and certainly for me, was Inception. But there was more chewy goodness out there as well…

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Legend of the Galactic Heroes

“In every age
In every place
The deeds of men
Remain the same.”

It’s the distant future, mankind has long since conquered space and set up shop on other planets, reducing the Earth to a distant memory. However, man has not been able to quench his thirst for war and conquest. For centuries, two superpowers, the Free Planets Alliance and the Galactic Empire, have been battling each other for universal domination.

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Deconstructing Lost

I’ve been watching TV shows created or co-created by J.J. Abrams for the last decade now, beginning with ‘Alias’ and now continuing through ‘Fringe.’ Undeniably, his biggest success to date has been ‘Lost,’ which at first glance doesn’t seem to have a whole lot in common with the other two shows I’ve just mentioned. There’s a key difference, and it begins right in the pilot. Common lore has it that Abrams intended for Jack Shephard to die. With that crucial difference, ‘Lost’ was given a significant nudge in its own direction, and so in that spirit, I’m going to take another look at the series while it’s still fresh in everyone’s memories.

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Fan Companion – Star Trek (2009)

And so it happened that Star Trek finally had to do what it had long avoided, had in fact, done everything to avoid, including the virtually unprecedented move of sticking with the same actors in their original roles for near-three decades, and pretty much two decades that amounted to four additional casts. After all that, the popular culture could stand nothing more from the franchise, nothing more, that is, than the reboot. And so, in the summer of 2009, that’s exactly what finally happened.

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Fan Companion – Star Trek Nemesis

The fourth and final ‘Next Generation’ film was released in 2002 and made a very tiny amount at the box office, the least of the ten entries in the Star Trek movie series to that date, relegating the franchise to a cultural afterthought, a somewhat strange fate for a cast that had once had the potential to push it to new heights.

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Fan Companion – Star Trek: Insurrection

December 1998 fell in the middle of the final season of ‘Deep Space Nine,’ the fifth of ‘Voyager,’ and apparently far from much interest in a new Star Trek movie. Despite the considerable success of ‘First Contact’ two years earlier, ‘Insurrection’ arrived to minimal interest, and a very different tone from its predecessor, ensuring that even those who had gotten into the concept of ‘Next Generation’ feature films would find this one easy to overlook.

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Fan Companion – Star Trek: First Contact

As it has been since 1996, ‘First Contact’ is my favorite Star Trek film. (Here’s the official order, for those who like to keep score: 1)‘First Contact,’ 2) ‘Star Trek,’ 3) ‘The Motion Picture,’ 4) ‘Nemesis,’ 5) ‘Generations,’ 6) ‘The Search for Spock,’ 7) ‘The Voyage Home,’ 8) ‘The Wrath of Khan,’ 9) ‘Insurrection,’ 10) ‘The Undiscovered Country,’ and 11) ‘The Final Frontier.’) Of the whole series to date, it’s the one that most succeeds in simply being a film. I get chills watching it.

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Fan Companion – Star Trek Generations

Three years after ‘The Undiscovered Country’ and just a few months after “All Good Things…” concluded their TV adventures, the ‘Next Generation’ crew ascended to the big screen in what was deemed by Paramount an inevitability. To assist in the transition was Captain Kirk, who would at last share time with his successor, Jean-Luc Picard. It was to be the biggest moment yet in franchise lore.

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Fringe 3×1 “Olivia” review

Contains spoilers through “Olivia,” originally broadcast 9/23/10.

At this point, I’ve got to feel a little gratified, because show I like has managed to make it to a third season. Granted, I know that a lot of shows like that have lasted as long, a little longer, and I still feel a little cheated, for one reason or another, but with ‘Fringe,’ something strange and wonderful has happened. All the potential I saw in the beginning, gradually, critics and audiences have come to embrace as well. The world is beginning to understand that this thing is fascinating. The third season looks like it’s only going to grow more fascinating still.

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