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Pacific Rim Uprising is the best Transformers movie I’ve ever seen (movie review)

pacific rim uprising

Did you see Pacific Rim? I did. It was… you know, fine – I sound a lot more excited in the review then I am now. But that movie has Idris Elba. He makes everything okay. So I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down and sprinting to my local theater to see Pacific Rim Uprising, yet here we are and I can at least say that this movie will give you exactly what it promises: big robots fighting big monsters.

And unlike any of the Transformers movies, I can actually tell what’s happening and it’s not a confusing mess.

So now that we’ve got that out of the way, if you have any interest in giant monsters, you’ll probably like the second installment in the Pacific Rim series which I assume will go on until we’re all dead or the series becomes unprofitable. That’s not such a bad thing because these movies don’t really try to get heavy; they concentrate on doing what they do best: CGI grudge matches. This second installment does an even better job of keeping the talking parts to a minimum and making sure that they’re not excruciatingly painful. Good performances and somewhat interesting characters help – and I appreciate an attempt to do something interesting with a character – it sure goes a long way in getting this movie to the finish line.

If you’re the kind of person who wonders why inter-dimensional aliens can only transport themselves to our world through a rift they open at the bottom of the ocean and whether or not building giant robots to fight giant monsters would be the best uses of resources in a world ending event and why they can only be piloted by two people who are mentally linked, you should probably not watch these movies. They’re mostly for enjoying the spectacle, but unlike the sadistic Transformers movies, they don’t have contempt for the audience. They’re just fun, filled with wacky fights and decent character work by quality performers. It’s not the sort of movie you can debate or even talk about much, it just is, and what it is is good. I don’t think anyone will write about the Pacific Rim film series at any point when they look back on this period in cinematic history, but if you’re looking for a fun element of spectacle, you should check it out.

Transformers: Age of Extinction (movie review)

Why do I keep doing this to myself? Why do I keep watching these movies? Morbid curiosity, I guess. This time, I saw it for free on a plane, so that’s not much of a sacrifice on my part, and I guess this Transformers movie is better than the other ones, but that’s not saying much. Read the rest of this entry

I told my dog there was going to be a fifth Transformers movie – here's his reaction

“Hey Rocky, guess what?!? There’s going to be a fifth Transformers movie!”

All of the Transformers movies reviewed!

If you’re like me, then you feel that the Transformers franchise has nowhere to go but up.  Dare we, children of the 80s, hope that Transformers:  Age of Extinction is finally “the good one?”

After being burned three times in a row (and, in some respects, they keep getting worse), I can’t see putting myself through another one of these movies.  I saw the first one in the theater and saw the next two at home and while I have a hard time giving the Transformers people any more money than I have to, if I am going to see this movie, I may as well see it in the theater… right?

I dunno.

Anyway, click the movie title to read the full review, but here are my scores for the Transformers movies:

I gave the first Transformers a 3.5 out of 10, Revenge of the Fallen left me flat at 2 out of 10 and Dark of the Moon had nothing to do with Pink Floyd, so I gave it a 2.5 out of 5, which is absurd – it should be a 2.5 out of 10!  The biggest problem these movies have is how boring they are, and each one is more boring than the last.  If Age of Extinction doesn’t put me to sleep, it’ll be a vast improvement.  (Update:  it didn’t put me to sleep, so I gave it a 6 out of 10.)


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (movie review)

If my expectations for the first Transformers movie were low, then they were dragging on the ground for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Then I saw the movie and my mind was forever changed about action movies.
Read the rest of this entry

Transformers (movie review)

Well, it’s finally come to this: I’m going to review the Transformers movie. Not Transformers: The Movie, but instead, the 2007 Michael Bay directed live action feature. Before I get into this, I do want to mention two things: I went into this movie with super low expectations and I saw it in the theater. Read the rest of this entry

Transformers: Dark of the Moon movie review

stars-two-and-a-halftransformers-dark-of-the-moonI finally got around to seeing Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third (and I hope final) movie in the series.  Directed by Michael Bay and starring Shia LaBeouf, this movie…  well, for one thing, it’s really fucking long.  I don’t know any other way to say it.  It’s 154 minutes, and I’m sorry, this is an aciton movie with a thin plot but no real point, so… if there is a next time, gimme a break, OK?  So yeah, it’s long, but it’s also the best movie in this god awful series.

spoiler alert

The movie opens with a scene from the end of the war between the Decepticons and Autobots on Cybertron, which you would think would be neat, but they manage to blow it.  An escaping ship, piloted by Sentinel Prime (voiced by Lenard Nimoy – seriously), who was Optimus’ predecessor as leader of the Autobots, crashes on the moon and the race to see what’s up there inspires the space race.  Seriously.  President Kennedy is in this movie.  Anyway, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Buzz Aldrin (the real Buzz Aldrin has a cameo later in the film – seriously!), land on the moon, explore the ship, blah blah blah.  We finally get to the present and for some reason, we’re still supposed to care about Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf), even though as far as I can tell, his involvement in the first two movies seemed entirely coincidental.  Also, I hate hearing, saying or writing the name ‘Witwicky’ – let’s just change it to ‘Sam Wikipedia’ and get it over with, or not even give him a last name – what’s the difference?  We’re forced to sit through this boring subplot that despite his secret world saving missions with the Transformers and his useless bachelor’s degree, he can’t find a job, which his comic relief dad is pissed off about, although his comic relief mom is somewhat sympathetic.  Welcome to the club, pal…  I feel so bad for you in your luxury apartment with your smoking hot girlfriend…  well, sorta.  What’s wrong with your face?  Anyway, nice legs.


Specifically, your mouth.

Also, I just thought I’d point out that Shia means ‘sacred’ and ‘LeBeouf’ means beef – how awesome is that?  If I was him, I’d roll up on shorties and be all, “What up?  My boys call me Sacred Beef… and you will too.”  Just something to think about.

I find LaBeouf likable enough in his role – the dude’s funny, but the movie drags on and on, like a drunk grandmother on her wedding anniversary.  Anyway, he finally lands a job at John Malkovich’s company…  whatever, it doesn’t matter.  I have  no idea why Malkovich is in this movie – I guess he loves money.  I’m boring myself and recanting the plot and will have me sitting here for another 2000 words, and who needs that?

So here’s the quick version:  Sentinel Prime made a secret deal with Megatron to use some sort of worm hole technology to bring Seibertron (yeah, it’s not ‘Cybertron’) to Earth because the former is too dilapidated from the war to be habitable, and they’re going to use the humans as slave labor for…  something…  which makes sense, because when you’re 25 feet tall, it’s great having a workforce that checks in on average around 5 foot 9 inches, not mention the fact that they’re centuries behind you in technology.  Oh, and Sentinel Prime says something about “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” or maybe he says it the other way around in this movie… I can’t remember,but it was funny either way, Wrath of Khan style.  (I had to have a third drink to get through this movie, and I made all three of those whiskey and egg nogs mad strong.)  Anyhow, Optimus Prime doesn’t like their plan, so he beats ass and flies around with a jet pack, which kinda reminded me of the end of Robocop 3, except I found a way to care even less about the end of this movie than I did that one.

There’s not much else to say.  From time to time, stuff blows up, but the movie is boring.  The exposition is not completely painful, BUT THERE IS A SHIT LOAD OF IT, and the attempts at balancing the crazy action and exposition with comedy ultimately do a disservice to the movie as it just makes the damn thing take longer.  Maybe a better editor/writer/director team could have hacked a half hour out of this movie, but I don’t want to waste my time talking about a hack like Michael Bay and whoever he parties with is.  I can’t say it enough:  the movie is so fucking long; two and a half hours long!  With the exception of one car chase during which Bumble Bee transforms from car mode to… uhm… person mode and then back to car mode with Shia LeBeouf inside, then outside, then inside again, pretty much all of the cool parts are in this two and half minute trailer. I  honestly don’t know why I scored it so high, but I did watch the entire movie (although somewhat inebriated), so I guess that’s something.

My Rating: 2.5 out of 5

transformers dark of the moon bumblebee the best action movie ever!

The back cover might exaggerate.

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The Company Men movie review

First, watch the trailer for The Company Men:

Looks good, right? In fact, this is one of the most promising trailers I have seen in a while – although keep in mind I just saw the Transformers 3 trailer… just awful. (I hope NASA is as pissed off as I am.) But yes, it looks like there are all the elements of a good story here along with a promising cast, including Ben Affleck as the guy who lost his job, Tommy Lee Jones and as Chris Cooper his former coworkers, Craig T. Nelson as their boss, and Kevin Costner as Affleck’s brother in law, who is sporting a Boston accent – guess he heard I was ripping on him for not doing a British accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

spoiler alert



The problem with this movie is… well, it’s just not very good. If somebody pitched the idea of doing a movie about downsizing on a corporate level, it sounds like the stuff Oscars are made of, right? The problem here is I don’t believe this movie for a second. The characters are one dimensional and largely unsympathetic. I’m sorry, I love Tommy Lee Jones as much as anybody, but it’s pretty hard to believe that Maria Bello would have an affair with him – and what’s with the totally random shot of her rack? I love rack as much as anybody, but there was no need to include a shot of her rack while she was getting dressed. It felt like they were there shooting the movie and a producer called the director’s cell and said, “Hey, do me a favor: get some tits into this movie any way you can. Nothing says authentic drama like tits.” Its that kind of movie; you find yourself wondering, what the hell is happening here? Isn’t a million dollar home excessive for an executive that makes under $150k a year? I don’t understand the way Affleck’s character was written – it’s like they were thinking about doing the five stages of grief with him after he lost his job, but in the end, they decided, “Fuck it, lets just do denial, a little anger, and a dash of acceptance.” Why is Cooper’s character the flattest, least interesting character ever? His suicide isn’t a surprise; you’re waiting for it. In the first five minutes of the movie, his character promises to “take an AK47 to the place” if they fire him… The guy is literally throwing rocks at the office building after he gets fired… it’s the most inauthentic thing you’ll ever see on film. When Affleck gets a job working with Costner as a carpenter, you expect it to go somewhere, for Affleck to learn something besides his brother in law isn’t so bad after all. Or, maybe he’ll get good at carpentry. Or maybe that his Porsche and his country club membership weren’t so important after all. But no, that doesn’t happen. Meanwhile, Tommy Lee Jones leaves his wife after he gets fired… presumably because she bought a really expensive end table (like over $10k) in a previous scene… or because he’s having an affair… I don’t know. There just isn’t enough content in the movie to explain it. Then he decides to start his own company and he hires Affleck and they are pretty much back where they started before they got fired and the movie ends. There is no rivalry with the old company – I was thinking it might have been interesting to do a “you were doing business the wrong way, we’re doing it the right way and we’ll be more successful than you,” sort of angle, but it can’t because the movie is over. (And not a moment too soon, it’s a long 104 minutes.) The movie just always leaves you feeling… I don’t know, flat. You never feel what the movie intends for you to feel – when Cooper’s character dies, you don’t fee bad – he was a miserable man, you’re sort of glad he’s dead so you don’t have to listen to him complain anymore.

OK, I’m going to leave it there. The movie isn’t unwatchable, but on a whole, it just doesn’t work. The characters are crappy and the plot is kind of pointless. It’s an ensemble drama that wants to do character portraits, but it doesn’t devote hardly enough time to any of the characters, not even Affleck, who is the star of the damn movie. Nobody really learns anything, nobody changes… There are some good performances in here (sorry, Chris Cooper – I know they wrote you into a corner, but your sad-sack whining just wasn’t working here), but it’s not enough to save the movie. I am neither recommending nor endorsing this movie – its crappy, but if there are no other movies to see, it’s watchable. It’s like the Coors Light of movies.

My Rating: 3 out of 5

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