Year Released: 2009
Directed by: Michael Bay
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, a bunch of polygons
Production Company: DreamWorks Entertainment
Release Date: June 24, 2009
“Transformers Revenge of the Fallen” appeals to the MTV generation in more one way. For the rest of us with longer attention spans, we’re bound to notice the lack of character development, the fundamental story telling flaws, and the visual and auditory assault on the senses that Michael Bay loves to stuff down our throats. Transformers as you might know is the love child of Japanese big robots with the Gung-Ho of Americanism chock full of child loving goodness, broadcast Saturday mornings to children all across North America. The problem with this premise used to be “how can we make giant robots LOOK cool?” Thankfully the geniuses at ILM made the mega monstrosities come to life in 5 storey fashion, but the story falls flatter than Shia LaBeouf’s personality. We have Michael Bay to thank for all this noise, and when I say Noise, I mean it. Sitting in a darkened theatre whilst giant mecha’s duel it out certainly can be grating – 2 and a 1/2 hours worth was plenty for me.
You can’t blame Steven Spielberg for this one, he has the executive producer rights, but his name, his image is nowhere seen close to or on this product at all. Like every other Michael Bay movie, the action is frenetic, choppy, and bright without any sort of shyness when it comes to being full bore on insane. And just like any other Bay-hem film, the action is tough to track; the enemies and good guys mix it up so frequently you can’t keep track of who is kicking whose butt. Other nuances, such as the average lifespan of a shot must be less a second, watching Sam (Shia LaBeouf’s) and Mikhela (Smoking Hot Megan Fox) say their respective good-byes to each other had so many tracking shots I nearly got motion sickness.
|Bumblebee: missing a pair of converse high tops and a sweet kentucky waterfall|
It’s simply mindless, it spends more time trying to build on non-existent back stories and continually going back to characters that don’t add to the overall plot, or contribute anything further than being racist stereotypes that Bay finds amusing. I’m of course talking about Skids and MudFlap, the Autobot twins annoying their way in each scene, showing up only to be more bothersome and irksome than actually adding to the storyline. Personally, the movie could have done without them. A,s I mentioned before, new characters are hastily introduced and just as quickly killed off without even any proper introductions. I wish I could have said the same about Sam’s parents, as their little escapade at Sam’s University was blown out of proportion and borderlines on fantasy of ‘what drugs can do to you’.
The one saving grace was and should always be the Transformers themselves, the stars of the show, who comfortably have more speaking lines than the last, and compared to the mindless banter of the humans is by far more welcome. Some approximated render times are far more fictitious in the age of Quad Core Computing, yet the finished product is something to awe. Especially worth watching in high definition television.
|The Gundam happily crunched the racism-bots where they stood.|
There’s been a lot of Michael Bay bashing over this movie, some I can understand, while others I’m little more lenient to dissuade. Mainly the naysayers that are advocating that he should stop making films altogether. Now, I’m a fair guy, and I like explosions, and The Rock was actually pretty good, even after a few viewings. People want him to stop because he’s inflicting more pain on the movie going-public than he should be. I for one think all that is absolute crap. Because, complain all you want, you have to admit the guy is a mega cash cow with regards to any movie he’s directing. Some small faction might not like his in your face, shoot-for-the-edit style of film making, but he’s pulling in the revenue to generate more mindless action vehicles.
And to prove a tired point, wouldn’t your 8 year old self want to reveal in watching gigantic mechanized Godzilla’s slugging it out on the big screen?
4.5 out of 10.0
Year Released: 2009
Directed by: Stephen Somers
Starring: Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Incredibly Hot Sienna Miller, Rachel Nichols
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: August 7, 2009
I remember when Stephen Somers burst onto the scene with The Mummy. Here was a franchise that hadn’t been touched in long time, and was a classic movie monster. At the time, I was blown away, digital effects were gaining ground, and the story was solid. Pretty good material for its time. G.I.Joe on the other hand is based on the popular American cartoon television series that more Gung, than Ho. It glorified guys with big guns and promoted American Values such as reading (“Knowing is half the battle”) and other forgettable things that I can’t seem to muster up right now.
Take those elements, and the child like wonder of Somers who is able to treat the source material in the same way many 10 year-olds did. The end product is something that is both insulting to the intelligence, and completely non-sense. What a complete waste of money. The only reason I wanted to see this was for Dennis Quaid, and he’s quickly stepping into the realm of B-movie actor in quad leaps after watching G.I.Joe.
|I kinda wish I paid more attention to the “Travelling Pants” movies…|
As a paying movie-goer, we have to suspend our belief every once in a while, and take what is given to us. I simply cannot accept what happened here, all the dialogue is cookie cutter thin, and the characters are stock representations of their plastic toy counterparts, with as much appeal behind a blister pack. The plot makes no sense the special effects were bargain basement. If Stephen Somers set out to make his movies as uninteresting, and un-entertaining as possible, by Joe, I think he’s hit the perfect note here.
I’m never sure what to expect with a Wayon Brother cast into an action role. You either get “White Chicks” or some variation of the Halloween mash’em ups. With that mind, they’re usually into gross out humor with B-List actors. Well, there’s no gross out humor here, but there’s plenty of B-lister’s on stage strutting their stuff in the hopes an A-list action director comes calling with a casting sheet. Even Dennis Quaid seems to be hamming it up with his serious, gruff, plastic-type mannerism that comes off as cartoonish, and to think he’s got the most serious role. C’mon Dennis, you’ve done so many good films, why choose this one to screw with your karma?
Style takes a backseat to substance here folks, and this is the end product so many of us were waiting for, and now will forever be stuck with. It’s a reminder, that in a time of technological wonders, we can have high expectations, yet have them dashed in a moment. For that, I firmly place the blame on George Lucas for forgetting to write scripts to his prequel movies. For shame people, for shame.
|Bet you had to look twice, didn’t you?|
The comedy should add to the exciting things on screen, but the comedy here comes completely from the visual effects department. There simply is no consistency when jumping from scene to scene; the backgrounds are straight out the cartoon, complete with brightly colored palettes and bad lightning techniques. Marlon simply shows up the green screen set with his attitude. And at least he’s sporting a character, the rest are either too busy brooding or trying to remember their simple dialogue they’re all played off as foolish and silly. At least Snake Eyes had the good grace to take an oath of silence and let his physicality take the main presence over the rest of the amped up cast.
2009 was a dismal summer of movies, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, one of the most anticipated sequels of the year fizzled, the Terminator prequel/sequel received more attention behind the scenes with Bale’s rant than in the box office, and it just doesn’t seem to add up. Perhaps money doesn’t make a good product (too many cases in point here). G.I.Joe just fails me at every level. At least Transformers believed in itself enough to try to sell me on the idea. The sales pitch falls flat in G.I.Joe, it was more DOA than COD, and that’s from a guy who had to watch a rental.
2.0 out of 10
I keep hearing about Tiger this, and Tiger that, how many people he’s slept with, how many times he’s cheated on his super hot wife. Well, I’m sick of it. This being the age of information isn’t necessarily the age of intelligence or relevance. Sometimes I stop to ponder how many of us are able to separate the difference between what is important, and what is complete and utter wastes of time. Tiger Woods supposedly slept with over 14 women. I get that. But look at the bigger picture, did he cheat at golf? Absolutely not. So why is this such big news? Because we’re so damn fascinated with celebrities- too fascinated as a matter of fact. This is the age where morons like Heidi and Spencer Pratt are famous for being rich and white. Are we that gullible to think that the rich are so much better than us? That we place the wealthy on a pedestal, and because of the size of their bank accounts we hold them in such high moral regards? People are after all, human. And the human condition dictates that we make mistakes. Tiger made a few mistakes, and now the media is all over him with steroid allegations and talks about his wife leaving him and taking the kids.
Just take a step back, folks. Just think, does it really matter why Woods was unfaithful? Jokes will be churned out, but is this really essay quality material that we should all be blogging about?
That last sentence sealed the ironic tomb on this article.
Year Released: 2009
Directed by: Harold Ramis
Starring: Jack Black, Michael Cera, Hank Azaria, David Cross, Possibily Jesus
Production Company: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Release Date: June 19, 2009
Year One is a reminder never to take our religion too seriously. It also reminds us that Jack Black plays the same damn character in every movie. Thanks to Michael Cera’s awkward teenager role lifted directly from his Arrested Development days, the two manage to squeeze out some laughs, but the movie never really gains any momentum.
|Hey! Did you catch Bill Hader?|
Zed (Black), and Oh (Cera) are Hunters and Gatherers (respectively) for their small village. Zed is a failure at his job, and Oh simply wants to obey his carnal lusts for Eema (Juno Temple), yet fawns for her at a distance. Zed one day, has the bright idea to eat from the tree forbidden tree of knowledge. With his mind awakened, he and Oh are promptly exiled from the village. Zed in his slow, somber retreat accidental torches the village, burning it to the ground, causing his ex-tribe members to be imprisoned by the guards of Sodom. Zed and Oh travel the lands with Zed’s new-found knowledge in search of Zed’s destiny. You need to think less Life of Brian, and more Superbad; the script certainly has an impromptu feel, yet doesn’t distract too much from the main themes.
Jack Black has worked a long time in Hollywood, and for some reason he keeps getting plum roles where he gets to show up, shout some obscenities and never develop a real character. Michael Cera keeps getting jobs on his teen character, speaking to his chest more often than putting his forward emotions on screen. It certainly works in his favor, as Oh is more at home given intricate moments of inflection such as “I saved a life with my love making”. At least these guys looked like they were having fun filming, with a subject like religion he tongue-in-cheek humor bodes well with both personalities.
|Golden Shower just took on a whole new meaning.|
Year One at times felt more B-Movie quality, which was supposed to be played off as campy. Most of the humor comes from physical comedy, even observations (lady armpit hair, women’s eyeliner) or the circumcision loving Abraham (played by Hank Azaria). It also seemed a little foolish to have yet another aimless comedic duo start out wandering from forest to desert, only to find their true calling. Call me crazy, but is Hollywood really pandering that much to the generation that’s still spinning it’s tires?
The genre can withstand shtick, should it be awesomely funny as “Life of Brian”, or more ho-hum as “Year One” puts it. On the scale, “Year One” land between mediocrity and an eyebrow raise.
Year Released: 2009
Directed by: Judd Apatow
Starring: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Eric Bana, Leslie Mann, Aziz Ansari
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Release Date: July 31, 2009
Judd Apatow always brings in the laughs, Funny People is no different.
George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is the mega rich, mega funny and mega shallow movie star that climbed the rings of comedy to become king. George is distanced from everyone and everything due to his enormous wealthy, and when he’s diagnosed with an interminable disease finds he’s at a loss for human contact. Reaching out, he finds Ira (Seth Rogen) an up and coming comedian who works days in a deli and struggles to find his niche in stand up. The two find each other, and both seemed destined to give each other what they sorely need: George needs someone to confide in, and Ira needs his big break.
|“Let’s eat turkey in a big brown shoe!”|
Apatow stands out in the comedy category for one reason: he weighs down his comedy with some real meat. There’s too many romantic comedies that skip over real issue and contain so much filler and uninteresting characters we bypass them and they end up in the bargain DVD bin. Funny People, stands out as one that’s willing to give us more meaning, and be more about the people, than it is the funny.
Adam Sandler has been bringing his A game the last few movies. I was getting a little bored with his Happy Madison days, and the sophomoric, elegant side he’s been showing with Rein Over Me and Punch Drunk Love (old reference, I know) is starting to show some shine.
|“I gotta tellya Eric, ‘Troy’ was terrible”|
An interesting balance is always struck with Seth Rogen; he’s naturally funny and the lines he spouts out with his commanding voice are well timed and on-spot. His comedy fodder seems to get bigger with each picture. I have mixed expectations of his up and coming Green Hornet movie myself. For now, I’ll revel in his funny nature.
Funny People manages to hit some high notes and keeps us entertained all the way through. Apatow gets better with each film, this one by far is his most mature to date.
8.0 out of 10