Critics Consensus: Transformers: Age of Extinction Is Loud, Long, and Lackluster

Plus, Snowpiercer is Certified Fresh, and They Came Together is messy but clever.

This week at the movies, the only wide release in theaters is the fourth installment of Michael Bay's giant robot franchise, Transformers: Age of Extinction, starring Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz. What do the critics have to say?

Transformers: Age of Extinction

18%

While the previous three installments of the Transformers franchise weren't particularly well reviewed, they grossed in excess of $2.5 billion, so it's not surprising that Michael Bay would return to the well to give audiences more of the same. And "more" is exactly what he delivers in Transformers: Age of Extinction, which critics say is an unrelenting barrage of loud, effects-driven action and unnecessary plot developments. Stepping into the lead role is Mark Wahlberg as Texan robotics expert Cade Yeager, who unwittingly comes into possession of a dormant Optimus Prime just as a secretive CIA task force is ramping up efforts to hunt down all rogue Transformers. When it becomes clear the government is colluding with a shady tech firm, Optimus rallies the remaining Autobots to storm their headquarters and uncover a larger conspiracy. The pundits say Transformers: Age of Extinction's effects are visually impressive, but its absurd, overstuffed narrative and excess of chaotic action place it at the very bottom of the franchise. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Mark Wahlberg's 10 Best Movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • UK import Archipelago, starring Tom Hiddleston in a drama about a family trip that gets out of hand when old tensions rise to the surface, is at 95 percent.
  • Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer, starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton in a dystopian sci-fi thriller about a mutiny aboard a train that perpetually circles the globe, is Certified Fresh at 91 percent. (Also, check this week's 24 Frames for a look at other Certified Fresh Sci-Fi Movies.)
  • The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, a documentary about the political activism and lawsuit leading to the suicide of Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz, is at 90 percent.
  • German import Nothing Bad Can Happen, a based-on-true-events psychological thriller about a young Christian punk rocker put through a series of cruel tests by the dysfunctional family that cares for him, is at 75 percent.
  • Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, a documentary about the trial of infamous gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, is at 72 percent.
  • David Wain's They Came Together, starring Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler in a romantic comedy skewering rom-com conventions, is at 71 percent.
  • John Carney's Begin Again, starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo in a dramedy about a pair of musicians who move to New York and begin drifting apart, is at 66 percent.
  • Norwegian import Jackpot, a crime thriller about a man who wakes up among eight corpses and attempts to explain himself to police, is at 63 percent.
  • Yves Saint Laurent, a biopic of the influential French fashion designer, is at 44 percent.
  • Postman Pat: The Movie, an animated film based on the British children's TV series, is at 44 percent.

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