Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) – 2/10 action movie review

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

A Texas inventor buys a fully busted truck that was inside a derelict cinema and pulls a missile out of it that allows it to turn back into Optimus Prime but an inter-galactic bounty hunter, Lockdown, is working with the CIA to capture Optimus Prime and so the glistening, muscular inventor / robotics engineer / elite hacker and his good-looking daughter / really, really good-looking daughter / rally co-driver go on the run with Prime and end up saving the world. And there will be robot dinosaurs. The end.

2/10

This is an atrocious film on almost every level except visual effects and Mark Wahlberg. It would be a challenge to find more than a few subsequent lines that are coherent let alone compelling characters, involving storylines or comprehensible action sequences. Somehow, Wahlberg rises above all that and remains a quality, likable presence despite what the movie bafflingly puts him through. I don’t know what kind of secret sauce ILM keep back for Michael Bay but however Bay photographs his plates and however ILM’s artists up their game for him results in some utterly remarkable visuals: convincing, photo-realistic and extremely good-looking. Between them they produce the best visual effects explosions in the business; you cannot tell which explosions are real and which are not. Now, it would be accurate to state that the movie didn’t need to be good in order to fulfil it’s purpose – make money – but there was also no need for it to be this derisory.

Content Summary

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, bad language, strong violence, sensuality

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Cast / crew

Director and Executive Producer: Michael Bay
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Producer: Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Producer: Tom DeSanto
Producer: Don Murphy
Producer: Ian Bryce
Mark Wahlberg: Cade Yeager
Stanley Tucci: Joshua Joyce
Kelsey Grammer: Harold Attinger
Nicola Peltz: Tessa Yeager
Jack Reynor: Shane Dyson
Sophia Myles: Darcy Tirrel
Li Bing Bing: Su Yueming
Titus Welliver: James Savoy
T.J. Miller: Lucas Flannery
Peter Cullen: Optimus Prime
Frank Welker: Galvatron
John Goodman: Hound
Ken Watanabe: Drift
Robert Foxworth: Ratchet
John DiMaggio: Crosshairs
Mark Ryan: Lockdown
Reno Wilson: Brains

Godzilla (2015) – 2/10 monster movie review

Godzilla (2014)

15 years after an incident at his nuclear power plant in Japan, not-at-all Japanese engineer Joe Brody insists that this was caused by something other than the official earthquake. Nobody ever noticed the bright lights or hundreds of workers at the accident site, so Joe is stunned when he breaks in to the danger area to retrieve some floppy disks and is taken to the top secret installation that has been built instead of the police station like he was the day before yesterday. Fortunately, everybody working at the super-secret base is as stupid as he is and they join forces to ride a tsunami of stupidity all the way back to San Francisco.

2/10

Relentlessly stupid monster movie which, for some baffling reason, thinks we didn’t really want to see a Godzilla fight (perhaps because they were misled by the success of Cloverfield, whose monster turns up here as the antagonists). Instead of a story we get to watch charisma vacuum Aaron Taylor-Johnson keep falling over and looking at things, usually while welling up. Ken Watanabe also looks terribly upset to be in this movie so he’s probably here as some kind of ransom demand. Godzilla’s closing move is good (I’ll give you a star for that) but there’s no shape or story to the non-battle preceding it and the visual effects have no impact; nobody cares when your 50th skyscraper gets smashed to pieces. What’s surprising is how closely this echoes Roland Emmerich’s widely, easily and deservedly criticised 1998 film. It has the same title sequence, same Godzilla underwater city approach and similarly-themed monster babies climax but it doesn’t have the fun, entertaining, spectacular Godzilla action sequences nor the expert build-up.

Content Summary

This movie contains mild unpleasant scenes

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Cast / crew

Director: Gareth Edwards
Aaron Taylor-Johnson: Ford Brody
Ken Watanabe: Dr. Ishiro Serizawa
Elizabeth Olsen: Elle Brody
Juliette Binoche: Sandra Brody
Sally Hawkins: Vivienne Graham
David Strathairn: Admiral William Stenz
Bryan Cranston: Joe Brody
Producer: Thomas Tull
Producer: Jon Jashni
Producer: Mary Parent
Producer: Brian Rogers
Story Writer: David Callaham
Screenplay Writer: Max Borenstein

Real Steel (2011) – 2/10 robot boxing movie review

AmazonBuy Real Steel at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director and Producer: Shawn Levy
Hugh Jackman: Charlie Kenton
Dakota Goyo: Max Kenton
Evangeline Lilly: Bailey Tallet
Anthony Mackie: Finn
Kevin Durand: Ricky
Hope Davis: Aunt Debra
Producer: Don Murphy
Producer: Susan Montford
Short Story Writer: Richard Matheson
Actor and Screenplay Writer Kingpin: John Gatins
Story Writer: Dan Gilroy
Story Writer: Jeremy Leven

Real Steel (2011)

Incompetent scumbag robot fighter Charlie Kenton sells custody of his child to replace a smashed robot but is forced to take the boy with him for a couple of months so that the couple that bought him can have a nice holiday. Charlie immediately gets his new robot smashed to pieces and so sets about stealing enough parts to repair him all the while heroically lambasting the boy for even existing then leaving him to get arrested in a scrapyard. Against all the odds, things only become less convincing from here.

2/10

This Rocky with robots overlooked something extremely important: Rocky was an amiable, loving, recognisable human being. Rocky here is split into three characters: Hugh Jackman, a kid and a robot. The robot isn’t anything; he should have become iconic but his design is bland and half-hearted and everyone lazily pronounces his name as Adom instead of Atom. Hugh Jackman and the kid are unpleasant, gigantically unconvincing and incoherently portrayed. It sometimes feels like the kid has the adult’s lines, the tone is all over the place, scenes don’t logically follow each other. This is also the first movie I’ve seen where Hugh Jackman’s performance is bad, partially because his tone, intensity and attitude (like everyone elses) vacillate wildly through what are supposed to be subsequent scenes. The slo-mo teary-eyed climax is audacious in its unearned arrogance. There is, however, a cool scene worth watching in the movie and, fortunately, it’s right at the beginning as Hugh Jackman’s robot fights a bull. Once that’s done, you can go home.

This movie contains extreme robot violence, strong human violence, sensuality

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Total Recall (2012) – 2/10 science fiction action movie review

Cast / crew
Director and Executive Producer: Len Wiseman
Writer (Story and Screenplay) Based on the Motion Picture “Total Recall”: Kurt Wimmer
Writer (Screenplay) Based on the Motion Picture “Total Recall”: Mark Bomback
Writer (Screen Story) Based on the Motion Picture “Total Recall”: Ronald Shusett
Writer (Screen Story) Based on the Motion Picture “Total Recall”: Dan O’Bannon
Writer (Screen Story) Based on the Motion Picture “Total Recall”: Jon Povill
Writer (Original Short Story) Inspired by “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”: Philip K. Dick
Producer: Neal H. Moritz
Producer: Toby Jaffe
Colin Farrell: Douglas Quaid / Hauser
Kate Beckinsale: Lori Quaid
Jessica Biel: Melina
Bryan Cranston: Cohaagen
Bokeem Woodbine: Harry
John Cho: McClane
Bill Nighy: Matthias
Writer (Original Screenplay) The Motion Picture “Total Recall”: Gary Goldman

Total Recall (2012)

Doug Quaid is a factory production line worker plagued by disturbing dreams of a heroic alter-ego who gets captured and fails to save the girl. Dream sellers Rekall offer a service where they implant memories of whatever you want but when Quaid goes and buys the Secret Agent dream, Rekall tell him he really is a secret agent and then a load of police burst in and shoot all the staff.

2/10

This is a remarkably uninteresting movie. It never gets your attention thanks, partially, by never giving you enough visual information to process and invest in each scene, especially the action scenes. The cast generally look impressively uninvested though it takes Kate Beckinsale the first few minutes before she gets bored. Some of Patrick Tatopoulos’ production design has imagination and ideas and nearly has some style but that’s the only artistic element of the film of note. Total Recall is instantly forgettable.

This movie contains sexual swear words, bad language, graphic violence, gory and unpleasant scenes, extraordinarily boring triple-breasted female nudity.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Green Lantern (2011) – 2/10 superhero movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer (Screenplay) Based upon characters appearing in comic books publisherd by DC Comics: Greg Berlanti
Writer (Screenplay) Based upon characters appearing in comic books publisherd by DC Comics: Michael Green
Writer (Screenplay) Based upon characters appearing in comic books publisherd by DC Comics: Marc Guggenheim
Writer (Screenplay) Based upon characters appearing in comic books publisherd by DC Comics: Michael Goldenberg
Writer (Story) Based upon characters appearing in comic books publisherd by DC Comics: Michael Green
Writer (Story) Based upon characters appearing in comic books publisherd by DC Comics: Marc Guggenheim
Producer: Donald DeLine
Producer: Greg Berlanti
Ryan Reynolds: Hal Jordan / Green Lantern
Blake Lively: Carol Ferris
Peter Sarsgaard: Hector Hammond
Mark Strong: Sinestro
Angela Bassett: Doctor Waller
Temuera Morrison: Abin Sur
Jay O. Sanders: Carl Ferris
Jon Tenney: Martin Jordan
Taika Waititi: Tom Kalmaku
Tim Robbins: Hammond

Green Lantern (2011)

Ace but immature fighter pilot Hal Jordan is chosen by the ring of a dying Green Lantern – a corps of inter-galactic beings tasked with safeguarding the universe – to be his successor. Jordan is the first human to be chosen but both he and other Green Lanterns feel that the ring must have made a mistake.

2/10

Impressively bland super-hero adventure which makes all the mistakes typical of the genre (no plot coherence, no convincing characters, no understandable motivation, no recognisable or rational human beings anywhere to be seen) but doesn’t have any of the benefits (imaginative, thrilling, spectacular action, heroic acts, evil being punched in the twirled moustache). The dismal, genuinely depressing, mid-credits epilogue takes an entire star off the rating thanks to undoing the only thing the movie did that was against expectation: that Mark Strong was not the villain. Obviously, it still takes an awful lot of money, effort and skill to make even a bad movie. You do wonder how much more effort it takes to make a good one.

This movie contains extremely unpleasant scenes, extreme fantasy violence.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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The Golden Compass (2007) 2/10 fantasy adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Chris Weitz
Writer (Screenplay): Chris Weitz
Writer (Original Book) Northern Lights: Philip Pullman
Producer: Deborah Forte
Producer: Bill Carraro
Nicole Kidman: Mrs Coulter
Dakota Blue Richards: Lyra
Sam Elliott: Lee Scoresby
Eva Green: Serafina Pekkala
Christopher Lee: First High Councilor
Tom Courtenay: Farder Coram
Derek Jacobi: Magisterial Emissary
Ian McKellen: The Voice of Iorek Byrnison
Ian McShane: The Voice of Ragnar Sturlusson
Freddie Highmore: The Voice of Pantalaimon
Kathy Bates: The Voice of Hester
Kristin Scott Thomas: The Voice of Stelmaria
Daniel Craig: Lord Asriel

Golden Compass, The (2007)

After been given a unique Alethiometer (a device which tells the truth) and told to keep it secret, Lyra finds herself the target of people who want the device for themselves. So, she whips it out at every opportunity and reads it using, not the symbols on its circumference and applying logic and insight, but by doing an pretty gold CG whoosh effect because audiences are idiots.

2/10

It’s really quite surprising just how unconvincing this fantasy adventure is. The operation of the Golden Compass and just about every plot point, conversation and character interaction doesn’t make sense. Then, at the end of the movie, you realise that it was supposed to be all about rescuing this boy and not about any of the things you thought it was about. It doesn’t help that the acting from unlikable lead Dakota Blue Richards is wooden and disdainful. The single extra star is for an unexpectedly awesome climax to Ian McKellen’s big fight scene (SPOILER he rips the lower jaw off Ian McShane – they’re bears, by the way).

This movie contains brief graphic fantasy violence, other fantasy violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009) – 2/10 animated supernatural drama movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer (Original Story): Charles Dickens
Jim Carrey: Scrooge, Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge as a Young Boy, Scrooge as a Teengage Boy, Scrooge as a Young Man, Scrooge as a Middle Aged Man, Ghost of Christmas Present, Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
Gary Oldman: Bob Cratchit, Marley, Tiny Tim
Colin Firth: Fred
Bob Hoskins: Fezziwig, Old Joe
Robin Wright Penn: Fan, Belle
Cary Elwes: Portly Gentleman #1, Dick Wilkins, Mad Fiddler, Guest #2, Business Man #1
Fionnula Flanagan: Mrs. Dilber
Producer: Steve Starkey
Producer: Robert Zemeckis
Producer: Jack Rapke
Writer (Screenplay): Robert Zemeckis

Christmas Carol, Disney’s A (2009)

Ebenezer Scrooge, a money lender, is notoriously cold of heart, tight of wallet and anti of social. One Christmas Eve, his former partner, Jacob Marley, dead now for seven years, haunts him and tells him that he will be visited by three spirits that night and, if he takes heed, he may avoid the terrible fate that awaits him.

2/10

All movie versions of A Christmas Carol share a serious story problem in that Scrooge’s change of heart happens without a convincing reason; especially in this secular age, being faced with one’s own mortality holds little power and Scrooge wasn’t bothered with the plight of children on the brink of death before. In addition to this problem of an unconvincing story, Zemeckis’ continued used of his unblinking CG freaks adds unconvincing animation and characters to make a movie that is impossible to swallow. There is a fascinating feature on the Blu-ray where Zemeckis shows you the filming of the real actors just so you can see how the animators or digital costume and make-up artists successfully remove the humanity, believability and soul out of the original performance capture. It’s a very expensive and time-consuming process and, I’m sad to say, we’ve clearly lost the depressingly deluded Zemeckis to it.

This movie contains mild bad language and scary supernatural scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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