Posts Tagged With: movie review

Please Pass the Melon-baller… – A Review of Transformers 3

… I need it to remove my eyes.

I have never hated a movie more. There. I said it. Except now that I said it I’m not entirely sure it’s true. I don’t generally HATE movies. I dislike them sometimes, I think some are an enormous waste of time but it’s rare that I actually HATE a movie. It’s just not worth the effort. As of the moment of this writing I can only think of 3 movies off the top of my head that have kindled a rage in me the likes of which might astound biblical plagues, Mongolian warlords, or alien scourges. Those movies are: Titanic, Pearl Harbor and now Transformers 3. Were I a horrible soviet era tyrant copies of those three movies and everyone responsible for them would be purged and sent to Siberia. Or sent to Siberia and then Purged. or maybe I would simply have them put in a city square and have people hurl grapefruit and insults at them. That would do it. I clearly wouldn’t make a very good Soviet era dictator.

Now, Titanic and Pearl Harbor – as you may have noticed – are different. They are execrable. But their sin is primarily because they ginned up a stupid story where the actual historical story was infinitely more interesting and dramatic. They’re saying: I COULD watch Casablanca but Pamela Anderson’s Barb Wire is on. Sure. I will admit that there are folks (probably teenaged boy’s in the early 90’s) who would take Barb Wire over Casablanca but these people are insufferably stupid. I was a teenaged boy in the early 90’s. I should know. If you want the worlds most obtrusively hackneyed love story heaped on some of the most compelling factual drama you can go that route and watch either movie. Just don’t comment below and please find a different site to read.

Transformers 3 is different. Where Titanic and Pearl Harbor got filthy drunk and stumbled into awfulness, Transformers courts awfulness like a one toothed meth addict scrounging for the last resin caked spoon in the house. It’s terribleness is awesome to behold. It dwarfs Battlefield Earth and Plan 9 From Outer Space and stands proud: daring others to surpass it. It makes the viewer question themselves, their sanity, their grip on life. Dark, twisted, Lovecraftian nightmares from the deep will put this on their Netflix and quietly retire their aspirations for world domination and subjugation unless they suddenly turn the moral corner into charity and opt for domination just to preserve the artistic integrity and heritage of the planet.

This is in clear violation of my own policies I know. I just can’t help myself. So maybe a revision of the policy should be: I will not review anything I don’t like except in cases where the virulent hatred of something has so infected me that I can’t help myself.

I won’t waste my breath on particulars. You needn’t worry about spoilers. How could i spoil something that is so rancid and rank that it passed spoiled a millennia ago? I can only say that in the opening 20 minutes of this piece of garbage we are reintroduced to Sam Witwicky – the single most unlikable, unsympathetic character ever snorted from the nostril of any writer ever. Witwicky, as played by Shia Le – oh screw it. I don’t even want to spell it correctly – is an obnoxious, arrogant, illiterate, whining, sniveling, entitled, uninteresting zombified chipmunk. He chatter’s out dialog like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. Like its toxic waste. And it is. Everything he utters for the first portion of the movie just makes you want to punch him in the throat and you can’t imagine why any other character in the movie who shares screen time with him doesn’t do just that. Frances McDormand, an actress i love and respect, has the character to do it and she doesn’t. Josh Duhamel (I liked him in Vegas) could and he doesn’t. Even his walking collagen laced Barbie girlfriend (a prerequisite in any Bay film) has more character and chutzpah than him and SHE doesn’t do it. Hell, I would go for the supposedly noble but idiotically vapid Optimus Prime to squash the little turd like the annoying insect he is but Prime ‘likes’ him. WHY?????????? THERE’S NOTHING TO LIKE FOR GOD”S SAKE. Steaming piles of Chernobyl Bear Poop have more personality and character than Witwicky. JAR JAR BINKS is more likable. There I said it. Phew. I feel better.

And now that I’ve said it I feel obliged to admit that I didn’t finish watching it. I know. People are going to say: how can you review something if you didn’t sit through the whole thing. Honestly. It was self-preservation. In the first half hour we have Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, John Turturro, making complete asses of themselves. Malkovich does what he can but it’s not his movie. Which is a shame really. Between his character (written as a prototypical american boss with prototypical OCD and control issues) and McDormand (written as a ball busting stereotypical government bureaucrat) we may have actually had a fun movie. Turturro has been a lost soul in all of these movies, unfortunately. Nothing you can say about it except that somehow Bay manages to squash a decent actor into another sniveling waste of a character with no function and seeking some purpose.

But we don’t stop there. Nope. When executive producers sat down at the poker table with Bay they couldn’t reckon that he was ‘All in’ on every hand. We have a cameo from Buzz Aldrin allegedly lending legitimacy (and thereby eroding America’s accomplishments in space) to this incredibly moronic plot. Then we have Alan Tudyk. Ahh… Ugh. That one hurts. I’m still stung by the last images of Alan Tudyk’s Wash, impaled on a spear after safely landing the Serenity. But here he’s a former assassin turned bodyguard straight out of an ancient SNL ‘Sprockets’ segment. And then we have the voice of Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime. It’s almost as if the producers of this epic piece of sci-fi sewage cobbled together as many respected talents in Sci Fi Acting as they could and held a gun to their head while filming. I’m still trying to tabulate the amount of respect lost for anyone involved in this mess.

Transformers clearly cost a fortune. If you superglued all of the dollars pissed away on these films you could walk to Mars on a ribbon of green. You could sew them together and make money suits for everyone in the world ten times over. You could use the paper to allow 3 year olds to write better screenplays than this. What you get for this fortune, unfortunately, is a clinic on what is wrong with the world. In that it’s practically poetic and would be admirable if it weren’t so unironic. It intends, and succeeds, in making a crap load of money all the while eroding our sense of the spectacular or even entertainment. If this is what we pay to watch just where is the nearest cliff to jump off of?

It is now on instant streaming from Netflix, presumably so that Netflix can help create the taste by which it is to be enjoyed. To all the boys aged 13 – 18 who are taken up and were relieved of the shrapnel in their pockets to watch this garbage: go play a video game. It’s actually better for you in terms of moral and intellectual development than watching this. better yet read a book. ANY book.

 

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Rise of the WHaaa???? A review

So let’s just out with it as quick and painlessly as possible so all of you die hard, ‘Nolan can do no wrong’ folks can skulk off to mutter amongst yourselves. I didn’t like it. I didn’t hate it. I more failed to like it than approached liking it. So there it is. In a nutshell. If you disagree vehemently and think that i’m insane or some pot smoking, know nothing turd, fine. I can live with that. Lord knows i’ve lived with worse.

I guess i want to know what happened? But then i shouldn’t scratch my head too hard. I really like Nolan’s work. I mean really. In terms of directors out there he’s got to be my 7th or eighth favorite of the ones that i can actually name. Okay. I’m lying. He’s more like 16th or something. I like his films but i always feel like he could take them a little further than they end up going. I know, i know. He directed Inception and it was AWESOME!!!! Notice the use of capital letters and multiple exclamation marks. That would be me, being facetious. I didn’t love Inception either and felt that that could go a little further than it ended up going. But that’s exactly what i mean. Inception is mind blowingly amazing. So here’s one of those moments where i think i can say both. It’s amazing. And it’s disappointing because i feel like – as amazing as it was – it could have been even more amazing and i felt like Nolan had some gas left over in that tank but never bothered to push it.

The same thing with the third batman, though in this case i have to say it felt more like he started out in a fully tanked up hybrid on a marathon journey coast to coast and then decided to stop at the local bookstore and pick up a travel book instead. I suppose i’m not making much sense.

I’m deliberately leaving out the actual names of the movies, cuz – frankly – who cares except the die hard fans. Anyway. I was pleasantly surprised by the first of the Batman reboots. It had the audacity to completely alter the character into something we had actually seen before but just not quite in that way. In Batman Begins we see Batman/Bruce Wayne as Ridley Scott’s Alien – something that inspires chilling fear in the heart of any schmuck who thinks doing ill is a quick way forward. It was a fresh approach for the cinematic character of Batman – if not the character himself, who has been through that iteration in the pages of comic books before.

But in Batman 2 Shit Got Real (to boil down the entire plot of Bad Boys 2 into a one liner) It was, in my humble opinion, practically perfection. Of all of Nolan’s films i admire this one the most. The interplay between Batman and the Joker and the exploration of their psyches moves that thing forward in beautiful ways that rightly were hailed and feted throughout the land. It was, at it’s heart, a movie about psychologies – very driven personalities that were completely at odds with each other. I could go into rhapsodies about the Joker’s Iagoesque destruction, and the Batman’s lurching realization that they are perfectly suited to each other. It becomes a twisted romance in it’s own way. The Batman may protest this in the final reels of the film but there are a few glimpses that he knows this all too well. Petty criminals just won’t do for the Bat. What’s the point of saving the city if your adversary is little more than a twit with a gun? No. He need’s the Joker and the Joker needs him. And it’s beautiful.

And then there’s Batman the third.

I know. Critics have been going nuts about how brilliantly timely it all is. But since when has being ‘timely’ been the thing we’re looking for from cinema? I thought the benchmark was timelessness? In that regard i’m afraid the new batman will be mouldering away in the curiosity archives ten years from now. Yes it has it’s timely nods to the occupy movement (writ large and idiotically), but it also jerks along it’s timeline in a series of whiplash inducing jump cuts to the point where you may lose track of where you are in the three hour cinematic montage. And really that’s what it is. It shifts so quickly that you don’t have time to engage in the philosophic nuance that Nolan seems to want to lead you to. ‘

Batman trots out a few new Day Saving gadgets much like James Bond films of days gone by – their use guaranteed by staging and their foibles highlighted in neon so that even the stupidest film goer can’t fail to realize when the new gadget will be used and what, exactly, ought to be expected from it. He trots out some new Allies:  Selina Kyle (who, in playing Catwoman to the over the top hilt, becomes the most interesting character in the film even if it is some of the most cringe inducing over acting since… well… Halle Berry’s regrettable turn) Officer Blake – played by Joseph Gordon Levitt – who seems destined for Robin-hood or maybe Nightwing-man. And these new additions divide our attention from the mostly ailing Bat. They give us something new to look at and think about while we’re wondering what happened to our dark avenger that makes him seem like a slightly younger version of one of the Grumpy Old Men. Blake and Kyle are the real centerpieces of the movie. Or at least they should be. They have the most to say about the position the Bat holds in the world as the symbol he has self consciously created.  And realizing that i wish – i really do – that Nolan had focused more on them during the screenwriting process as i feel like that would have made the denouement of the Batman trilogy much more interesting. What would the Batman have looked like – what would the perspective have been – if we watched the whole thing more from their point of view – one a career criminal and the other a dedicated cop? Personally i think it would have looked more like the moving, engaging film it clearly wanted to be but wasn’t.

As it was it was a sometimes exceptionally pretty snoozer – full of an excess of sound and fury and signifying only an exhaustion of imagination. Nolan is a terrific director. Don’t get me wrong. I wonder how much of his vision got turned over in the producer’s office because i often feel that his creativity with his subject matter points to something greater. I really hope that the next time he has a finished script he give’s it one more time on the draft table before jumping in. I think, i know he’s got it because we’ve seen it in The Dark Knight, but it isn’t in evidence here.

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