Transformers: Age of Extinction is a relentless assault on the senses that somehow still managed to bore me to tears. It’s a 2 hour and 40 minute film that features giant robots riding enormous robot dinosaurs killing bad giant robots, yet is devoid of any meaningful thrills or excitement. Filled with explosions, flying glass, a laughably incoherent plot, and paper-thin characters who behave completely nonsensically, this movie dares you to try and look away from its mess, then punches you in the throat with its runtime as your body urges you to head for the exit.
But maybe that’s okay. Because Transformers: Age of Extinction is still going to make a billion dollars worldwide. It’s the most Michael Bay film that Michael Bay ever Bay’ed. This film is the logical culmination of film as commerce. Let’s explore why.
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Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow is out in theaters now and it’s one of my favorite films of the year (see Germain’s review here). But if you were like me and many other film critics, you might’ve found that ending to be a wee bit lacking on a variety of fronts.
Let’s talk about why Edge of Tomorrow had a terrible ending for an otherwise great film. SPOILERS follow.
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Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past is my favorite film of the summer so far. (See Russ’s review here.) Singer’s return to the X-Men universe deftly combines two disparate timelines and delivers spectacular action set pieces, plus it has the emotional heft to make that action mean something. It’s an achievement on par with Whedon accomplished with The Avengers, and it breathes new life back into a franchise that seemed to be on the wane.
One of the appeals of a film like this is that it can pay off at least some of the character development and plot work from the films that have come before. But when I tried to connect the dots between past X-Men films and this one, a few of the plot details really left me scratching my head. I try to break down five of these after the jump. The following contains spoilers for all X-Men-related films prior to Days of Future Past, and some very basic plot details for Days of Future Past. Read More »
Late Thursday night, 20th Century Fox dropped some potentially massive news. They gave release dates to about six new movies, including sequels to The Wolverine and the yet-to-film Fantastic Four reboot. Among the films was also a “Mystery Marvel Movie” on July 13, 2018 and a “Untitled Ridley Scott” film on March 4, 2016. Below, we’ll give you a few options of what each of those might be. Read More »
After much anticipation, Star Trek Into Darkness is finally out this weekend. Peter and Germain have weighed in with their mostly-positive takes, and you guys have also chimed in with your thoughts. I personally enjoyed watching the movie from beginning to end, and got a kick out of seeing these characters come to life once more, as played by the immensely talented cast. It’s a non-stop thrill-ride, a riveting experience that may leave you scratching your head at certain points, but never leaves you bored.
About those head-scratchers: yeah, this movie definitely made pretty bizarre decisions, several of which continued to nag at me days after I’d seen it, even though my overall memories of the film were ones of fondness. So, in the grand tradition, you’ll find some of my issues after the jump. As always, feel free to respond with your own and/or correct me in the comments.
MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS FOLLOW.
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I saw Iron Man 3 this past week, and I enjoyed the film well enough. Shane Black injects some pretty hilarious moments into the franchise and the action beats were more impressive than those in the second film.
But this film is as dumb as a bag of door knobs. It does not rise above the level of popcorn entertainment, and I don’t get film critics who can overlook its myriad of issues. So in the grand tradition of needlessly nitpicking things to death, after the jump you’ll find some of my issues with the film. Feel free to let me know in the comments whether you agree with any of them, as I’m sure you already will. Thanks to Matt Singer for his inspiration (and some of his copy!) in writing this piece.
Massive spoilers for Iron Man 3 follow.
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Amid all the rumors and speculation about what Disney and Lucasfilm will be doing with the Star Wars franchise, there’s one simple idea that hasn’t often been brought up. This idea doesn’t involve spinning off characters from the original trilogy nor does it involve continuing the story after the original trilogy. No, this is an idea that takes place before all that. An idea that, in today’s Hollywood and knowing the history of Star Wars, seems much less crazy than it initially sounds.
Remake the prequels.
It’s a thought previously relegated to fan forums and blogs, yet it’s becoming more plausible than ever. Not any time soon, but eventually. Right now, Star Wars fans have plenty to look forward to with J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII, Episodes VIII and IX should we get to them and any number of spin-offs or character one-shots. But down the road, maybe 15 years, when a Star Wars movie a year has become as expected as Christmas, I think people will be ready. And it could elevate the franchise to new heights. Read More »
J.J. Abrams is directing Star Wars Episode VII. If you’re like me, you’re going to have to let that one sink in for a bit. My first thought is happiness. Abrams is a huge fan of the franchise and a proven great director with a flare for the Spielbergian. My second thought is confusion. Not that Abrams is doing it after saying he wouldn’t, just that one man would be brave enough to tackle two monster franchises, first Star Trek and now Star Wars. Whenever anyone asked me if I wanted Abrams to direct Episode VII I always said, “We’ve already seen J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars film. It’s called Star Trek.”
But that got me thinking. Abrams has been very vocal that his Trek was influenced by Wars. The narrative is thematically very similar to A New Hope. So with a second Trek film out later this year, you’d have to imagine there has to be something specifically different to make him do a third space movie with “Star” in the title, right? What could that be? Read More »
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Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 by David Chen
[The following article contains spoilers for Zero Dark Thirty]
In the past month or so, it feels as though two opposing camps have been battling it out over Zero Dark Thirty: the film critics who laud it as one of the best films of the year, and commentators who believe that it in some way endorses torture or depicts it as effective. The latter group have also given time and effort to slamming the film (for example, by articulating that it “kind of sucked.”). These opinions especially have inflamed film critics in a variety of ways; Scott Mendelson (a writer who I deeply respect and admire) recently wrote on the “moral outrage” that has resulted from Bigelow getting snubbed for a Best Director Oscar nomination due to the growing controversy over her film.
I think both parties have a point.
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Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2012 by David Chen
I was delighted to finally have the chance to catch Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables last night and despite a few significant missteps (e.g. Russell Crowe as Javert), I found it totally brilliant and engrossing. Nonetheless, I’ve been reading a bunch of criticism on the internet about Hooper’s directorial decisions, most pointedly regarding the look and sound of the film.
In Anthony Lane’s slam of the film in the New Yorker, Lane writes, “The actors were recorded live as they belted out the big numbers, and Hathaway, in particular, takes full advantage, turning in precisely the sort of performance, down to the last sniff, that she would be the first to lampoon on ‘Saturday Night Live.'” Over at The Atlantic, Christopher Orr writes, “The second or third time we watch a face fill the screen with notes tender or tragic, the effect is genuinely arresting. The 22nd or 23rd time…” Critics all over are having a ball blasting the unconventional directorial decisions made in the film. As someone who loved the movie, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on some of these decisions.
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