Transformers: The Last Knight – Review

I saw this film last night and since then I’ve been trying to work out what to say about it. I’ve been searching for some remote ounce of quality, some substance, something I liked about it, there isn’t anything. This movie is a terrible mess.

Transformers: The Last Knight picks up after 2014’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, Optimus Prime has left Earth to look for Cybertron and the Humans have decided to hunt down and kill or imprison all of the Transformers. Mark Wahlberg’s character, Cade Yeager lives with the remaining Autobots in a Junkyard. Organisations and individuals on Earth via satellites or just gut instinct know that the end of the world is coming.

From other films, we know that Transformers have been here since no doubt the beginning of time. This story primarily revolves around an ancient staff that was given to Merlin in the middle ages. This staff can destroy Earth and in turn, rebuild Cybertron. That’s the basis of the film and almost everything else that litters this two-and-a-half hour film is unnecessary.

I don’t know where to begin with this to be honest. The script should have been shredded as soon as it was printed. The dialogue is very bad, the Transformers constantly bicker with each other about senseless garbage, the humans are so often yelling at each other, again, about nothing. When the film quietens down, it’s either blatant exposition or garbage. At one point Cade (Mark Whalberg), tunes out some of Anthony Hopkins’ character’s dialogue. Almost every line delivered felt like the actors were reading directly off a script, with no emotion or emotion. Regardless of all this nothingness, the characters keep talking.

There are many story beats and elements in the film that did not need to be there. Let’s begin with Optimus Prime, you’ve probably seen the trailers and know that Optimus Prime has been brainwashed and goes bad – a main feature of the trailer. This was almost completely unnecessary to the film. Optimus Prime, despite being on every poster and featuring in every trailer, isn’t in the film much at all. More elements that were completely irrelevant to the plot include;

  • The young girl, Izabella (played by Isabela Moner, original character name – right?).
  • Almost all of the Autobots (that’s right, this Transformers movie is not about Transformers).
  • A weird flashback to WWII that lasts for all of maybe 2 minutes.
  • A Suicide Squad-esque scene where a few Decepticons are introduced with freeze-frames and title cards as Megatron lists his team.
  • Callbacks to previous Transformers films, a space ship on the Moon, the giant hole in one of the Pyramids of Giza and an awful way to bring Sam Witwicky and the Witwicky (previously known as Witwiccan) family going all the way back to Merlin (Get it? Wizard – Wiccan?).
  • Every ham-fisted attempt at comedy, sex jokes that fall flat, the annoyingly chatty little transformers that interject with a pointless quip and the amount the Transformers are needlessly crass or profane – as if the only thing the writers know about kids is that they find a robot saying ‘shit’ a lot funny.
  • and so many more…

The visual effects were good and pretty standard for a Transformers film. The only issue that the effects suffer is during fight scenes it can sometimes be difficult to determine which Transformer is fighting. But good visual effects can not save a movie with literally nothing else going for it. There was one thing that stuck out to me more than anything (though it did help distract me some times from what ever trash was going on), the aspect ratio. This movie was filmed in about three different aspect ratios, and these different aspect ratios change not between scenes, but between shots. The change in aspect ratios will change the amount of picture you see and the size of the letter-boxing or the black lines you see at the top and the bottom. One person will be filmed talking in IMAX and the reverse shot will be in standard ratio… and this happens in every scene – action scenes, dialogue scenes – EVERY SCENE. I don’t know how some film professional, weather they’re a producer or editor or something and think, “maybe they wont notice”.

Usually I cover other things in reviews like acting and direction or sound but there is everything in those areas are average and are very common to Transformers films. There’s standard Michael Bay direction, some military shots that weren’t too bad, but that’s what Bay does somewhat well and just like the visual effects, does not save this film. The sound brings the usual warp-y, chks and wubs you come to expect and a wide range of garbled ‘dialogue’ (which I would prefer to call noise) from the Transformers. The acting is forgettable and not worth talking about.

We will no doubt see more of these pieces of absolute garbage as there is a standalone Bumblebee movie coming out next year and an as yet untitled ‘Transformers 6’ in 2019. They shoe-horned in extra Bumblebee and a painfully blatant scene setting up the villain for the sixth film, so yeah they’re serious. Adding to the fact, this film will make a lot of money, all Transformers movies make crazy amounts at the Box Office because people everywhere go see it. I can’t even switch off in a movie like this, like I can with some others.

I very much want to give this a ‘ugh’ out of 5. There was nothing that could get this movie out of the dumpster it found itself in. From the first stupid line delivered by a drunken Merlin (yes, there is so much I haven’t mentioned) to the set ups for the next few films in the main story line to the shifting of the aspect ratios, this film was a sporadic mess.

Transformers: The Last Knight: Below Well Below Average

Advertisements

In Time – Review

Who wants to live forever? What if living forever came at a cost? Like, someone else’s life?

Thats the issue facing Justin Timberlake’s Will Salace in New Zealand born writer-director, Andrew Niccol’s In Time.

In time starts out like many sci-fi films, an almost blatant set up of the world the film is set in. In this dystopian future, time is litterally money, spend it wisely or watch as it runs out before your eyes. On top of that, in what i’m assuming is a ploy to have a cast of young, attractive actors, you stop aging at 25. Thats when your 1 year clock starts.

Justin Timberlake is Will, a 28 year old who lives in the ghetto with his yummy mummy played by Olivia Wilde. He and his best friend, Borel, Johnny Galeki (Leonard from the Big Bang Theory), work every day in order to get enough time to make it to the next… With a little on the side for the bar in Borel’s case. The major threat in the Ghetto is not the police (known here as Timekeepers), it is the mobsters known as Minutemen (yes, they really worked hard on names), led by Fortis, played by a ridiculously old looking Alex Pettyfer. Amanda Seyfried plays Sylvia Weis, daughter of one of the big wigs in New Greenwich (again, these names must have been so hard to come up with), Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser). The only other character worth talking about is the head Timekeeper who is investigating a suicide that is thought to be a murder, committed by Will… Cillian (I can’t believe he doesn’t have a bag on his head) Murphy, who plays the highlight of the film as Timekeeper Raymond Leon.

Niccol is obviously a big fan of the dystopian, having written and directed Gattaca and S1m0ne, and in In Time he looks at the classic Metropolistion* concept of those down below serving those up above. The film also looks at themes of greed and selflessness and how they can become the exact opposite of what was intended. JT’s character realises that he can give all the time in the world but the higher-ups can never truly lose. His take on the value of time is an interesting one and it got me hooked when I first heard about the concept. The acting was average with as I said before, Cillian Murphy being the stand out for me. I question Sylvia’s character motives as she quickly shifts from the rich and well off to the Bonnie to Will’s Clyde. And yes, there is a resonating Bonnie and Clyde reference throughout the whole movie and Amanda Seyfried looks sexy with a gun.

With some funny one-liners and some nice sort of action In Time is a good fun movie… don’t go to see it if you want a super meaningful movie but if your up for a bit of ‘on the run fun’… in a similar vein as The Island, this is definitely a movie worth going to see.

In Time: Average

*Metropolistion – Reminiscent of the German Expressionism great, Metropolis… A New Word.

X-Men: First Class – Review

X-Men returns in this prequel that could be the best film in the franchise… Directed by Brit, Matthew Vaughn (known for directing Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Kick-Ass) and starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon, this movie takes a look at the early days of Professor X and Magneto… It’s another X-Men Origins story but this one shits all over Wolverine!

First Class opens in 1944 with Erik Lehnsherr, a young boy whose parents were taken away and killed during the Holocaust. His powers were enhanced by Schmidt when he killed Erik’s mother in front of his eyes. Also during 1944 in New York, a young Charles Xavier meets Raven a ten year old shapeshifter, the young Mystique. Years later, Erik has honed his powers and is going around seeking vengeance against former soldiers of the Nazi Party. Meanwhile Charles, a graduate at Oxford University, and Raven, a waitress live together while Xavier finishes his thesis on Mutation and becomes a proper Professor. In the US, a man by the name of Sebastian Shaw, who hasn’t aged since he was a soldier during the Second World War… named Schmidt… is gearing up to start World War Three by positioning nuclear missiles in Turkey and Cuba, aimed at the Soviets and the US respectively. With the help of the CIA, Charles along with Erik and Raven seek and recruit fellow mutants to try to stop Shaw in his plot to rid the world of humans and advance the Mutant Race.

The film has received very positive reviews despite the disappointing box office results. Matthew Vaughn, has done very well making this movie and he has put himself in a position as a great Superhero Filmmaker. Good points of X-Men: First Class include the montages, first when Charles and Erik are recruiting (including a brilliant cameo from Hugh Jackman, Wolverine) and secondly when Charles trains his First Class at his old mansion, the site for Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, these two montages were beautifully done the latter featuring very effective split screen techniques. Down sides include as with almost all superhero movies is the part where they come up with their superhero names (seriously, look at almost every movie, that part is always shit) other than that I can’t fault the first instalment in what Fox foresee as a possible trilogy. It was humorous at points and it’s good humour, not crappy american humour… because it’s directed by a Brit. Intellectual and Action-Packed, X-Men: First Class is and will be the Best Superhero movie of the year!

X-Men: First Class: Above Average

(500) Days Of Summer – Review

One of my favourite movies of all time… nuff said. This movie has two fantastic actors who play two very good characters. (500) Days Of Summer is not a love story, it is so much better. Tom, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Summer, Zooey Deschanel lives cross when Summer starts working at the greeting card office that Tom works for, that’s day one… the following 500 days are shown out of order but in a way that is easy to understand what is going on. This is a refreshing take on the conventional romance movies in which it is usually the girl who believes in happily ever after and then in the end it happens. (500) Days Of Summer is different.

Directed by Marc Webb (now working on The Amazing Spider-Man) this movie has beautiful scenes and shots as they are strung together by a fantastic soundtrack with songs by The Temper Trap, Regina Spektor, Hall & Oates and many more. The film has funny moments as well as ones that tug the heart strings a little. All in all (I know this post is short but it just means you have to see this film) this movie is one for everyone.

(500) Days of Summer: Average

 

Machete – Review

Grindhouse returns in Robert Rodriguez’s exploitation extravaganza, Machete.

Machete Cortez (the totally bad-ass Danny Trejo) is an ex-federale who was betrayed by his own police force chief. His wife and daughter are murdered during a set-up raid. Machete is thought to be killed. Three years later Machete now lives across the boarder in Texas as an illegal immigrant working the day to day jobs of a Mexican in America. He is caught up in a web of chaos when he is hired to kill the state senator, John McLaughlin (played by Robert De Niro). Jessica Alba plays a mexican born department of immigration agent who investigates a boarder crossing operation known as ‘The Network’. ‘The Network’ is run by Luz – a.k.a the infamous “She” (Michelle Rodriguez) who works in a taco trailer as a front for her operations with ‘The Network’. The man who hired Machete and got the ball rolling into this total bullet and blood-fest is Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey), whose model/socialite, drug-doing daughter (Lindsay Lohan (didn’t have to act all that much for this character, did she?)) also plays a roll in the war. Cheech Marin plays Padre, the preist seen in the trailer with one of the most awesome lines in the film “I took a vow of peace… and now you want me to kill all these men? I’ll see what I can do”. Steven Segal rounds off the main cast as the drug-lord, Rogelio Torrez.

You will laugh at how over the top some of the scenes and some of the weapons used in this movie. Rodriguez’s style of filmmaking is second to none. His “low budget” movies, I believe top some movies that spend millions more. He is a god at making things out of nothing. I also recommend for any filmmakers out there to check out his 10-minute film school segments that you can find on his dvd’s or on youtube.

Machete: Below Average

Griff The Invisible – Review

Griff (Ryan Kwanten) is an office worker by day and a superhero by night. He has a very hi-tech set up in his apartment where he monitors the his suburb and fights off any wrongdoers and attackers. He has a Superman/Clark Kent sort of alter ego-ality (yes its now a word) where regular Griff is picked on at work and is very shy and incredibly awkward, while when he wears his suit he is the other extreme, he is strong and brave, he is Griff The Invisible (though the name is never revealed, he toys around with a few name ideas). His brother, Tim (Patrick Brammall) has moved from Adelaide to help out the troubled Griff. In the process he meets Melody (Maeve Dermody) and the two begin dating. But when Melody meets Griff she is immediately attracted to him and upon realising who he ‘really’ is she wishes to help him and become his sidekick. Unfortunately things take a turn for the worse and Griff has to look at himself and see if it’s time to grow up.

This movie is such a good and cute film. The character of Griff is so awkward you can’t help but fall in love with him. The tale is whimsical and charming, the acting is decent and usual for an Australian film. Unfortunately I have a bone to pick with others who have reviewed this film. It’s clear to me, through reviews, that some Australians are far too critical of this industry and have rated this movie poorly while it’s others from other countries that find it a very good movie. People are critical of the acting in these films but as I have noticed, people don’t like seeing themselves in film, Aussie films these days are almost mirror images of who we are and how we act. In fact I think they are very good representations of our way of life and encourage the Australian Film Industry to continue. Ryan Kwanten is a very successful actor in the states and has returned, in his breaks on True Blood, to do local films like Red Hill and Griff, again I applaud this move. This movie overall is sweet and is definitely one to see with your partner.

Griff The Invisible: Below Average

The Loved Ones – Review

Aussie Horror at it’s best!

Now I am not a huge fan of the sadistic horror films but I had to see this one because it was Australian and it got a lot of good reception. The Loved Ones is about Brent (Xavier Samuel), a high school kid who six months prior to the end of school dance is involved in a car accident that kills his father. Brent’s girlfriend, Holly (Victoria Thaine) seemed to be his girlfriend at the time of the accident and at the time of the main story (although it’s not clear), she is very pretty and seems to be the perfect girl for a tortured soul like Brent. Enter Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy), the social outcast at school she asks Brent to the dance, he declines, saying he’s going with Holly. Lola gets angry and her psychopathic father (John Brumpton) kidnaps Brent and sets up the school dance from hell for his little “princess” and her new ‘toy’. Things go bad to worse when it turns out that the sadistic apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as Lola and her father brutally torture Brent and attempt to turn him into a lobotomised prisoner just like the ones she keeps under her trapdoor.

This film seems to tread an incredibly fine line as to what is entertainment and what is just down right insane. Never have I seen a seventeen(ish) year old girl be so deranged and demented. That being said Robin McLeavy is fantastic as Lola Stone and has been recognised by folks in the US for her acting ability (lets hope it’s acting, cause she scares the shit out of me!). The film was a financial flop taking in a small amount on the first weekend. But it has received very strong reviews from the many festivals it has screened at.

If you love immensely gory, incredibly insane, and (for want of a better phrase) completely fucked-up movie… this one is for you. If however you are weakhearted and the idea of hammering knives into peoples feet and power-drilling in to someones head makes you want to throw-up… perhaps watch something else.

The Loved Ones: Above Average

Wasted on the Young – Review

Wasted on the Young is an Australian film from first time feature director Ben C. Lucas.

Wasted on the Young is a film that begins with a jumpy timeline, centring around the fateful party where Xandrie (Adelaide Clemens) is drugged and raped, while showing before, for example the meeting of Xandrie and the protagonist, Darren (Oliver Ackland) and after the party, where Xandrie wakes up traumatised on the beach. The rest of the film deals with the events that follow that night. In the end everyone is involved because as Xandrie says, “If you see something and do nothing, you’re not a witness… you’re an accomplice.” All hell breaks loose when Zack (Darren’s step-brother) (Alex Russell) believes he’s gotten away with what he did to Xandrie on the night of the party and decides to throw another party to keep his “loyal followers” entertained. Darren has other plans and seeks “justice” for the crimes Zack committed.

This movie has a heightened sense of reality, there are no adults present (with the exception of a teacher’s voice on one occasion) and so it gives you a feeling that there are only these young people in this world, almost a Lord of the Flies feeling. They rule and justice and punishment is handed down their way. It can be looked at as a reflection of the issues plaguing youth these days and in a world without adults, who knows, this could be the way things would be handled. The acting in Wasted on the Young is very strong, Adelaide Clemens handled her difficult role of Xandrie incredibly well. The character of Darren reminds me a lot of the character of Simon in the british tv series Misfits and Oliver Ackland struck a cord with me, he could resonate this rage-ful helplessness that really connected with me. The whole young unknown cast did a fantastic job of making this “parallel world” come to life.

Wasted on the Young’s techniques are what sets this apart from other Aussie films, is high-contrast, and exclusive and selective shots contribute to this feeling that something is wrong with this world, you can tell that it’s not quite real. The director, Ben C. Lucas has this film planned and executed perfectly. It really made me think if this was the world we live in today, would this be the end result, is life truly Wasted on the Young?

Wasted on the Young: Above Average

Swimfan – Review

Swimfan tells the story of Ben Cronin (played by Jesse Bradford) an ex-drug addict who has found his life again by swimming, he now has the perfect life, perfect girlfriend, etc. But that gets turned upside down when Maddison Bell (Erika Christensen) comes to town. Ben and Maddison hook up and get it on nautical style in the school pool. Ben tries to forget the night at the pool and return to  his relationship with his girlfriend Amy, but Maddison has other plans. She comes on a little strong, going to his house, leaving things in his locker, and interfering in his life until, ultimately people start dying.

This psycho-thriller (emphasis on the Psycho) is aimed at an older teenage market and can be seen as a little intense. This is one of my favourite films of all time. One of the reasons for this is that the actors in this film are relatively unknown and its refreshing to see a cast like this be in such a fantastic film. As someone who swum in primary school and high school the swimming element in this film and other films get to me… See The Covenant & Wasted on the Young… and like those other films Swimfan has a very blue atmosphere which adds to the darkness of the storyline. Overall a visually and narratively appealing film.

Swimfan: Above Average

Superheroes To Save Us From The Apocalypse

With the supposed Apocalypse coming at the end of 2012 the superhero films are coming out hard and fast with this year and next year looking to be bigger and better than previous years.

2011-

Green Hornet – Hopefully not a sign of things to come as far as the next two years in Superhero films go.

May, June and July (around the American Summer Break) seem to be this year’s Super Months. Thor, featuring Australian, Chris Hemsworth is set to be released around Late April – Early May. It’s the story of Marvel’s least original superhero, the Norse god of Thunder Thor and his exile to earth. Next on the bill, in June is X-Men: First Class. This film is about the first generation of mutants – Professor X, before he was a professor, Magneto, before he was a total evil badass… and many more. Modelled after the new Star Trek film, the producers want to take the series in a new direction with a fresh young cast. This film is seen as the first film in a new trilogy in the franchise.

To DC’s only release this year, The Green Lantern. Ryan Renolds plays Hal Jordan, one of the first characters in the comic books to don the ring and fight for the Green Lantern Corps. The movie is seems to have a Iron Man sort of feel to it and from the trailer it’s difficult to say how this movie will go. Hopefully it will do well and one day DC might follow Marvel’s suit and create a Justice League movie.

Wrapping up the summer of super is Captain America: The First Avenger, the film is a chronicling of the first Avenger, from his rise out of the super soldier program to his status as “America’s Greatest Superhero”. Chris Evans plays the scrawny come super, Steve Rogers. While Hugo Weaving plays the evil Nazi, Red Skull.

2012-

Casting has been announced for the new Nolan produced Superman film with Diane Lane joining the cast as Martha Kent. Earlier this year Henry Cavill was cast as Superman for the film. The casting of Cavill made me think that maybe Christopher Nolan wants the world’s super heroes to be british? Batman played by Christian Bale and now Superman standing up for Truth, Justice and The Way of the Queen. That aside the director of the reboot tentatively titled “Superman: Man Of Steel” is Zack Snyder. This mix of Nolan and Snyder could be a strong one! – Superman: Man Of Steel is set to be released the end of next year. Another Nolan addition to the ranks is The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final instalment in the rebooted Batman series. Christian Bale returns as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Anne Hathaway is slated to play Selena Kyle (Catwoman) and Tom Hardy to play Bane. Could Batman’s back be broken in this film by the deadly Bane? All I know is it’s Batman and it’s back… Nolan Style. Prepare for epicness! – The Dark Knight Rises is expected to be released July 20, 2012.

Marvel returns in 2012 with 3 movies so far… a Ghost Rider sequel, the Spider-Man Reboot: “The Amazing Spider-Man” and the ultimate superhero team up movie… The Avengers.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance will star Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider again. It’s been several years since making a deal with the Devil and Johnny Blaze (Cage), living in self-imposed isolation, finds himself as the only person who can help save 10-year-old Danny – and ultimately the world – thanks to his unwanted and uncontrollable power – he has the ability to transform into the hell-on-wheels monster known as the Ghost Rider. Andrew Garfield, famous for playing the co-founder of Facebook in The Social Network returns to the screen in 2012 as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man, the reboot of the series that ended only a few years ago. Marc Webb, the director of (500) Days Of Summer, has signed on as the aptly named director of this film. The Lizard and Van Atter, the Proto-Goblin are billed as the villains of the film.

The ultimate cross over sequal, The Avengers is Marvel’s flagship movie for 2010-2012 with almost all their films tying in to this movie. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow & Nick Fury are all planned as cast in this movie directed by the one, the only… JOSS WHEDON! The ultimate comic-y fanboy has signed on to direct what will hopefully be an epic film of epic proportions!

The next two years are going to be incredibly super if all the movies work out… the are a few at the moment I’m not too sure about at the moment but we’ll see how they go. Who knows maybe 2013/2014 will be just as good… although the only Super-Film planned at the moment is Iron Man 3 :/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.