Baseball movies. Everybody loves them. I mean everybody. Even Summer Catch has its own fans. So take a well-read book by Michael Lewis of Blind Side fame, add the ageless Brad Pitt and the rest is easy. Thankfully, the adaptation by Bennett Miller isn’t as by-the-numbers as that. There is no forced romantic subplot to mull over, no downtrodden veteran giving it one last go, no rookie on the ropes trying to get a grip in America’s pastime. Read the rest of this entry »
The only flaw to Contagion - if it is a flaw in the eyes of director Steven Soderbergh – is that there is very little audience connection to the characters. The film is framed as if we are looking down and instead of seeing people, watching growth inside of a petri dish. And it fits to some degree because Contagion acts not as a story, but a cold, lab-engineered, sterilized cautionary reminder of human behavior. Read the rest of this entry »
It can’t be worse. Can it? After the writer’s strike shortened the story plotting window for most summer blockbuster, Michael Bay‘s last crack at Robots in Disguise suffered the most. It may have looked more polished than his previous effort, but the lackluster story and dialogue brought down the flick significantly. Thankfully, the third film of the series salvages its predecessors.
Sam’s (Shia LaBeouf) life has changed considerably since we last saw him. Gone from his life are the days of college as well as his high-school sweetheart Mikaela. He has been thrust into one of the worst economies in recent memory – cue John Malkovich as the worst boss imaginable – and the thrill of running with the Autobots is also missing. Fortunately, he has the love of a good woman (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who is given exactly as much to do as Megan Fox was; nothing.) so all is well.
After the last battle between Autobots and Decepticons the world seems to be at relative peace. Optimus and co. are always keeping an eye on the figurative sea for lurking danger. The safety of Earth has always depended on mutual cooperation between the government and the Autobots. As it turns out our government has been keeping secrets and they could soon come back to haunt us. Despite what we have been lead to believe our first official contact with the Transformers was not in 2007. It was in 1969, after the first moon landing. The ship crash on the Moon was the last bit of supplies sent from Sentinel Prime to aid the losing Autobots on Cybertron. Not so coincidentally John F. Kennedy promises to put a man on the moon shortly thereafter. Optimus, now under the order of the U.S. Military is not pleased in the slightest. He, unlike the new head Mearing (Frances McDormand) knows what is in store for Earth, and it is far worse than anything Megatron could concoct.
Overall most of the original complaints against the franchise have never been quieted. Sam and his human counterparts have plenty to do, but they seldom manage to make the audience care whether they live or die. We came to see the robots fighting anything else is superfluous. To scripter Ehren Kruger’s credit the Jim Crow relics Skid and Mudflap are both missing in action. It is not explained but, frankly, I’m glad they’re dead.
Industrial Lights and Magic really outdid themselves this time. The carnage in Dark of the Moon is cranked up to eleven and Lucas’s effects house does not fail to live up to expectations. Residents of Chicago might be tempted to look outside of the theatre and make sure that the city is in fact still there. The last act of Transformers: Dark of the Moon is intense. And when the final battle plays out in all of its technical glory it almost makes it worth sitting through Sam’s irritating parents, John Turturro as the way over-the-top Agent Simmons, and Skid & Mudflap in all of their gold-tooth specter in the previous films. Almost. No final battle scene could ever make up for that.
How Does This Compare to Michael Bay’s Other Movies?
Is ‘Dark Side of the Moon‘ Bay’s best Transformers flick? Yes, but only because the final battle scene goes all out in a way that only Michael Bay can. The sheer visceral thrill of watching a city torn apart as Earth’s last battle carries on makes up for the other rather disappointing domestic aspects of the film.
Ultimately, this is one of Bay’s better works and is behind only The Rock on his filmography. Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon ranks #495 out of #826 on my Flickchart.
Being in the Green Lantern Corps. is a lot like being a U.S. Marshal. You are allocated a certain degree of autonomy and discretion. Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), however, does not have any of these advantages. A local who happened upon an alien with a dying wish, he finds himself introduced to a world vastly different from his own. As he is the first human Green Lantern, he has to be mentored by a seven foot tall bird named Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush is on a roll isn’t he?), he can’t figure out his ring’s oath, and his trainer, Sinestro (Mark Strong) is an ass.
Your mind is the scene of the crime.
So reads the tagline for Inception, the new film from writer/director Christopher Nolan that just dares you to try and summarize it in a few sentences. I’m not sure it’s possible. Here’s a shot at something that barely scratches the surface: Star Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, a man who specializes in entering people’s dreams and stealing their ideas. When he is hired to do the opposite–place a new idea in a man’s mind–he and his team get far more than they bargained for.
Such a simplistic description of such a complex movie. I am in awe of Nolan’s film, and it’s going to rank extremely high on my Flickchart; so high, that I’m almost shocked.