News Column

DVD reviews: 'Star Trek Into Darkness' and 'We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks' [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

September 12, 2013


"Star Trek Into Darkness" (2013, PG-13, 132 min., $29.99) The summer blockbusters are beginning to make their way to video, and filmmaker J.J. Abrams' second stint with the "Star Trek" franchise is one of the first out of the gate. "Star Trek Into Darkness" is a dream for science-fiction fans who love their gigantic set pieces. It's a flashy work with plenty of action and most of the fun characters that were around for Abrams' 2009 reboot of the franchise. Looking a little deeper, though, Abrams' film is not without its problems. "Star Trek" fans won't have issues with the plot, but the casual Trekkie will have problems with story holes and a lack of character development. The newest adventure puts the crew of the USS Enterprise on a manhunt to find a mysterious figure who's leveled two attacks on Earth. As Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Pittsburgh native Zachary Quinto) and their crew head out to complete their mission, they find a criminal who has a long history with the Enterprise.

"We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks" (2013, R, 130 min., $19.98) As one of the best documentarians working today, Alex Gibney has captured some of the toughest issues in the news, including Enron, Eliot Spitzer, Jack Abramoff and the war in Iraq. His latest film delves into the world of Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Wikileaks. All the details are here, as Gibney leaves little unturned in a methodical documentary that refuses to take sides. Weighing in at 130 minutes, Gibney's picture could use some cuts, as it does suffer from a few bouts of boredom. Also, "We Steal Secrets" is a bit disjointed in its storytelling, jumping back and forth between Manning and Assange, two very different characters. These are minor issues, though, and Gibney adds another strong picture to a resume that already includes an Academy Award.

"Love is All You Need" (2012, R, 116 min., $30.99) Oscar-winning filmmaker Susanne Bier is behind this romantic film about a widower (Pierce Brosnan) and a woman (Trine Dyrholm) who has just been left by her husband. Their lives are brought together when they get to know each other at a family wedding in Italy.

"Parade's End" (2012, NR, 300 min., $39.98) This five-part HBO miniseries stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Rupert Everett and Miranda Richardson in a saga set over a century ago in England. Based on four novels by Ford Madox Ford, the story follows an English aristocrat who falls into a love triangle.

"War Witch" (2012, NR, 90 min., $26.95) A nominee for an Academy Award in the best foreign language category, director Kim Nguyen's film takes a look at the character of Komona, a teen kidnapped from her African village by rebels and forced to become a child soldier.

"Wish You Were Here" (2012, R, 89 min., $24.98) Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer star in this film about a group of Australian friends on a vacation in Cambodia. Things go bad when one of them goes missing, and it becomes clear one member of the group has an answer.

"Ping Pong" (2012, NR, 80 min., $29.95) Four geriatric ping pong players from around the world are under the microscope for this interesting documentary from Hugh Hartford that captures the competition at the World Over 80s Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia. A hit on its festival run, "Ping Pong" is an engaging documentary.

"Sisters & Brothers" (2011, R, 90 min., $22.98) One of the last things "Glee" star Cory Monteith did before his tragic death earlier this year, this picture from Carl Bessai takes a look at the relationships between brothers and sisters, and the challenge of being a good sibling. Tyler Labine, Amanda Crew and Dustin Milligan also star.


- "Homeland: The Complete Second Season"

- "The League: Season 4"

- "Blue Bloods: The Third Season"

- "Chicago Fire: Season One"

- "Supernatural: The Complete Eighth Season"

- "Star Trek: The Original Series -- Origins"

- "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 8"

-- Garrett Conti

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