Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third installment in the Transformers trilogy is much better than the second movie. In fact they glance over so much of Revenge of the Fallen that it’s like the movie never happened. Seeing as how Fallen was not a good movie, it might be best to forget its existence. Megan Fox is mentioned maybe twice in the new movie and her absence explained as a break up. The racistly stereotypical ghetto twins are passed over as if to erase them from the franchise. Beyond the holes in the thru line this movie actually followed a story and the fight scenes were kept to a tolerable length that don’t cause seizures and confusion like the second film.
The movie was good, not as good as the first, but a strong film for the genre. A few elements were added that I was not expecting. Civilians are actually shown being killed, and the transformers have a lot more fluids spewing from them like spit, and blood – or is that transmission fluid? Once again many of the characters that have been in the other movies have few, if any, speaking lines. Ratchet and Sideswipe barely speak and Barricade is only seen during a panning shot of one of the fight scenes.
I didn’t see the movie in 3D, but the 2D version was worth a look. I hear that the 3D was done well and not an afterthought like it has been in so many movies lately. If you are a Transformers fan or like action movies that have a plot go see this one. If you have yet to see the second one, don’t bother. Let that one sit in purgatory to think about how bad it was.
July 3rd was the 25th anniversary of Back To The Future being released in theaters …my how time flies! Across the twitterverse a photo of the Delorean’s time circuit panel with today’s date surfaced claiming things like “although they didn’t travel to it, you can see today’s date programmed into the circuit panel.” I have a feeling the photos being posted are either from someone who had 5 minutes of time to waste in Photoshop, or a screenshot from someone’s iphone. I tried to find an actual clip from the movie showing today’s date on the circuit panel so I could post it in one of those “hey, that’s nostalgically cool” moments, but no such luck.
Instead let’s just sit back and enjoy some BTTF remix action (it’s the best I could find):
So I might be a little behind in my movie going expeditions, but I finally saw 9 this weekend. The movie was done very well. Character development has gotten very good over the last few years, and this movie is a prime example of that. The movie centers on anthropomorphosised burlap sacks who fight against a machine that destroyed humanity. Each of the 9 hero characters had a well-defined, if not stereotypical personality, though not all of them had much airtime. The villain cast of characters included a bionic cat, a cobra-esque burlap snake, and a soul-sucking machine.
The movie is set in a post apocalyptic time where machines have snuffed out human existence. The overall aesthetic of the film is reminiscent of World War I with elements of World War II era technology. I assume the city is loosely based on Paris, France, as the Cathedral of Notre Dame appears to have been used as the bases for one of the buildings. Regardless the imagery is amazing, and I liked the ambiguity of the back-story – you learn more about what happened to the human world and how as the hero character does.
I enjoyed the move. I felt the character development was strong, the story weaved in back-story and key plot ideas at it unfolded, and the imagery was spectacular. If you get a chance to see this in the theater I would recommend it, if not get it on Blu-Ray with the special features.
District 9 is a movie that unexpectedly brings together some of the best features of several movie genres. The premise of the movie is that 20+ years ago an alien spacecraft came to rest just above Johannesburg, South Africa. “It hovers above the city for three months without any contact; eventually humans take the initiative and cut into the ship. They discover a large group of aliens who are malnourished and sick.” Eventually these aliens, nicknamed “prawns” by the local human population, are forced to reside in a government controlled area-cum-slum named District 9. Multi-National United, a private company, takes control of the operation when it is decided to move the prawns to a new area, named District 10, 240 Km from Johannesburg.
The film is shot in a documentary style employing several camera techniques including: helicopter views, security cameras, first-person-shooter, and, of course, extensive shoulder mounted camera work. The image movement is kept well under control through most scenes, so there is no Blair Witch type of motion sickness. The only lock-off/tripod shots are those of interviews shown at the beginning and ending of the movie.
Like vintage sci-fi films, the audience forms an emotional connection with the monster, or aliens in this case. Sharlto Copley, who played the protagonist – Wikus Van De Merwe, actually adlibbed all his lines, a feat that may not have been done since Robert Altman’s 1970 movie, MASH (it won an Oscar for Best Writing – the script was barely used), which probably added to the uneasiness and awkward fluidity of Copley’s performance, and helped sell the documentary feel of the film. The CG of the aliens was done very nicely, but the alien mechanized battle suit reminded me too much of the ED-209 from Robocop.
Overall, I think the movie was very well done. The majority of the actors are either unknown, or have worked mostly in television instead of film. The camera positioning and technique helped to define the movie as a sci-fi mockumentary, and the storyline is laid out better than most action films. I can’t wait to get the DVD release and watch the special features.
Inglourious Basterds has to be one of Quentin Tarantino’s best films. Contrary to Tarantino’s trademark style this movie runs chronologically, allowing for less concentration on the part of the viewer. Overall it seems that he has matured in his film making and brought together a beautiful piece of cinema. Not to say I haven’t enjoyed most of his films, Kill Bill aside, but this one was much stronger and did not need the time travel that was necessary in his past films to show every conceivable perspective through each character’s eyes.
The true star of the movie was not the well-known cast members like Brad Pitt, Mike Myers – who has a guest appearance, or BJ Novak – of The Office fame, but rather Colonel Hans Landa played by Christoph Waltz. Waltz, who currently lives in London and is fluent in German, English and French, displayed a fantastic performance. In many scenes he had a John Malkovich like delivery, but his range throughout the movie is very impressive.
Over the course of the movie Tarantino’s twisted sense of humor is shown quite often in the fashion we have come to expect from his work on films like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. He also pays homage to past movies like his insertion of a brief clip from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1936 movie Sabotage, among other works.
The movie was well written, shot, edited, and the cast was perfectly chosen. I believe it is the strongest film Tarantino has put out to date – don’t just take my word for it, German film critics are even praising it. If you have the chance to see it, do.
Transformers Revenge of the Fallen is a pretty movie. It has all the special effects and MTV-esque edited fight scenes you have come to expect. Storyline – not so much.
I enjoyed the first movie, the plot was there, the action was well done, etc. This installment had some enjoyable humor, and some aesthetically pleasing scenes. The fight scenes were cut so fast that half the time I didn’t know who was who. Some of the transformers (Autobots & Decepticons) from the first movie – Ratchet, Ironhide, etc – had barely enough lines between them to qualify for a SAG card. The movie is long and seems to be a victim of the new trend in Hollywood that they spent too much money in post-production to edit out scenes that add nothing to the movie.
Overall it was decent, I had no emotional connection to any of the characters, and feel like they combined Black Hawk Down and Transformers a little too much in this one. The first one was much better.