REVIEW: Bumblebee [2018]

I can fix you. I get the appeal to capitalize on nostalgia and credit to Hasbro and Paramount for doing exactly that with the original live-action Transformers film. They went for wall-to-wall explosions courtesy of Michael Bay, leaned into the male gaze with an out-of-the-lead’s-league love interest, and brought a sarcastic nerd to life who could probably be argued into filling the role of a proto-Gamer Gate type entitled prick. The goal was to excite twenty-year old men who played with the toys in their youth in the hopes they…

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REVIEW: Transformers: The Last Knight [2017]

“You’re running out of tomorrows” Fact: Transformers: The Last Knight is its franchise’s most entertaining entry. While I definitely felt ready to nod off during my original trilogy refresher course this week—and actually shut my eyes a couple times during Age of Extinction—this latest installment had me wide-eyed and interested throughout its 149-minutes (the series’ shortest runtime since its 144-minute original). Sometimes that interest was in the insane retrofitted King Arthur plotline padded by manageable excess, but mostly it was attuned to an unhinged and manic Anthony Hopkins having a…

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REVIEW: Transformers: Age of Extinction [2014]

“I know you have a conscience because you’re an inventor like me” There’s a problem when the first, expository-heavy hour of a three-hour Transformers action extravaganza shines above the rest. Michael Bay has looked upon this franchise from the start as an excuse to put explosions and destruction onscreen alongside cheesy and sometimes offensive comedy to satisfy the young children of parents (uninterested in shielding their ears from the oft swear word) that grew up in the 80s. He excelled at this mix with the first installment, casting the sarcastically…

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REVIEW: Pain & Gain [2013]

“I gotta get a pump” I like when actors not only play to their strengths, but also make a concerted effort to do so. Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson saw an opportunity to have fun playing a couple of bumbling amateur criminals—waiving their salaries along with director Michael Bay for backend deals—and had faith audiences would come to see them make light of their physiques and act the fools. Pain & Gain is a perfect venue for their somewhat limited skill sets as its true to life tale of greed…

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REVIEW: Battleship [2012]

“It’s the North Koreans—I’m tellin’ ya” Screenwriters Erich and Jon Hoeber actually made paying Hasbro a boatload of cash for their seemingly unnecessary board game property a relevant story point in their big budget, science fiction actioner Battleship. The fact they had to conjure up a humanoid alien race with reptilian characteristics and cloaking technology to keep gigantic flying nautical vessels off radar is beside the point. The American public loves extra-terrestrial invasions, thinks Andy Roddick’s wife Brooklyn Decker is hot, and can’t help getting revved up when their armed…

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Posterized Propaganda May 2012: Monkeys on a Typewriter

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. This month may be one of the least creative in terms of movie posters ever. Between the laziness, litany of character sheets, and over-used technique, I think I only actually…

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REVIEW: Transformers: Dark of the Moon [2011]

“You all read ‘Humpty Dumpty’” When Transformers came out in 2007, it was all the rage. Nostalgia, explosions, over-the-top summer blockbuster laughs, and even a smidgeon of heart were thrown into Michael Bay’s ultimate orgasm of action, sex, and metal. It was fun despite its corniness and therefore left a desire for a sequel, one where we knew all the major players and could watch their continuing saga. But 2009 came and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen underwhelmed. I still maintain that if liking one means liking the other because…

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REVIEW: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen [2009]

“What if we leave and you’re wrong?” My screening of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ended around 10:00pm. What do we see in the lobby as we exit the theatre? A line already forming for the midnight show less than two hours away, the premiere time slot to expose the world to the ancient Decepticon Fallen. Those kids were ready for a good time, hoping that the sequel lived up to the surprisingly effective first installment. If any of them had asked me as I walked by what I thought,…

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REVIEW: Star Trek [2009]

“You can whistle real loud” Time-traveling Romulans? Why has no one thought of that yet? Leave it to the crew behind the hit series “Lost” and its time-traveling physics in season five to breathe some fresh air into a franchise that has been out of theatres for seven years. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman showed they could do serious action with Mission: Impossible III, but the campiness of Transformers gave me trepidation that their reboot/prequel Star Trek might lose its way. However, with a guy like J.J. Abrams at the…

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REVIEW: Eagle Eye [2008]

“You’ve been activated” Eagle Eye seems to have had a very interesting conception. When checking the IMDB credits, you can see four names officially down as writers on the project, one that it appears has been in Steven Spielberg’s wheelhouse for quite some time, waiting patiently for technology to do it justice. However, all the buzz and press are praising wunderkinds Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman as the screenwriters. After watching the high-action, high-octane car chases and explosions, I am one to believe the duo behind Transformers are pulling the…

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REVIEW: Cloverfield [2008]

“Good luck tonight Travis” Cloverfield is a damn good time at the movies—something that one can’t say very often in January, the month usually utilized to dump films while Oscar-bait from the previous year gets released. Seeing the first teaser attached to Transformers in July literally gave me goosebumps at the potential for what it could be. I will admit that while the hype was high, the past couple months saw it wane. The gimmick started getting a tad stale and the tv spots began to ruin the momentum it…

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