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Rating History

Green Lantern
Green Lantern (2011)
5 years ago via Flixster

Good points... 1. It stuck fairly consistently with the mythos of the origin and Planet OA; 2. Ryan Reynolds did decently as Hal Jordan (though he fits more with the Kyle Rayner/Guy Gardner type than Jordan) -- but I wish he was more serious; though non-GL fans couldn't care less about this; 3. Blake Lively was eye candy; super hot, but not much else; 4. Green Lanterns Tomar Re, Kilowog and Abin Sur were damn good but didn't have enough screen time to be significant; 5. Mark Strong's Sinestro was excellent! 6. Hector Hammond was well portrayed by Peter Saarsgard (though it lacked a proper finish) 7. Good supporting cast from Tim Robbins (Sen. Hammond) to Angela Bassett (Amanda Waller); 8. Green Lantern's costume was wicked; 9. Visual/CGI effects were pretty good

Bad Points... > It tried to fit too much into one movie, moving back and forth from Earth and outer space/OA, thus there was no proper flow... (like when there was a build up of momentum, things go slow or boring; or from serious to funny without proper pacing); too many stories were crammed into one movie > Humor was misplaced at times (good peg is Thor which had it in the flow rather than contrived/forced) > Parallax looked comical; scary at times but only a couple of times > Like Iron Man 2, I wish the fight scenes were so much more; they spent too much on the set-up that the fights were short and could have been so much more and elaborate. > Some scenes and even some characters were not necessary (Hal's best friend, even some scenes with Blake's Carol Ferris were not needed); they should have added more action instead

Summary, visual effects, actors, GL base story good. But the way the writers and director put things together were a mixture of various plots and subplots crazy glued into one movie for pure entertainment. Kids will enjoy it, but adults likely will not. This is a summer of superheroes, with 3 down and one more to go (well, technically 5 with Transformers if you're thinking comic book stories), so it's quite impossible not to compare them to each other.

The director is known to direct good flicks like Goldeneye and Casino Royale (two good movies), but I wish he did more; studied more, had split up more stories to be more single- minded and not work on a cluttered material.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Too much comic relief undermines the dramatic impact of director Michael Bay's visually impressive sequel "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." If you skipped the original live-action "Transformers," you may not understand the stakes in the sequel or the situation. The original concluded with the treacherous Decepticon jet Transformer streaking off into the sky, guaranteeing the survival of the villains. Original "Transformer" scenarists Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are joined on this installment by "Reindeer Games" writer Ehren Kruger and they bring back the evil Decepticons for a rematch with the virtuous Autobots.

Clocking in at an hour and 49 minutes, Bay's epic length sequel features machine-like entities shape-shifting from various vehicles into gigantic robots with deadly appendages that discharge explosive broadsides whenever they unleash their titanic fury. The problem is Bay neglects the narrative for these massive transformations. When the Hasbro creations aren't changing from innocent machines into destructive robots, Bay and his scribes are slinging visual and verbal jokes as fast as you can blink. In other words, "Transformers: The Revenge of the Fallen" lacks suspense until the last quarter hour when the flesh & blood performers inject some emotional gravity into this superficial smackdown between good and evil alien robots.

"Transformers: The Revenge of the Fallen" opens with a prologue in 17,000 B.C. when mankind initially runs afoul of the alien robots, before Bay jumps ahead to the 21st century when mankind and the Autobots have formed an alliance. U.S. Army Major Lennox (Josh Duhamel of "Turistas") and Sgt. Epps (Tyrese Gibson of "2 Fast 2 Furious"), command an elite squad codenamed NEST that consists of Autobots collaborating with U.S. and British soldiers to smoke out rogue Decepticons hiding anywhere in the world. The opening Shanghai sequence where NEST routs a gargantuan unicycle that wrecks more havoc than Godzilla ever visited on Tokyo gets things started off on the right track. The unicycle warns our heroes that the worst is about to befall them in the form of a monstrous entity named 'The Fallen.'

The sequel focuses on a thousand year old object called 'the matrix of knowledge' that provides loads of power to whoever acquires it. The scene shifts from Shanghai to the Witwicky homestead in California where Sam (Shia LaBeouf of "Disturbia") announces his plans to attend a prestigious Ivy League university and try to live the life of a normal twentysomething. Sam informs Bumblebee, the yellow Camaro that morphs into a monstrous robot, that he cannot accompany him. Freshmen aren't allowed to have cars on campus. Incredibly, Sam is leaving his super hottie girlfriend, Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox), who looks sexier than ever. After Sam's parents, Ron Witwicky (Kevin Dunn) and Judy (Julie White), get our hero situated in his dorm, they head off to Europe for a vacation. Sam and Mikaela are having their first relationship struggle. She wants him to utter the L-word "love" but he is content only to tell her that he "adores" her and they plan to maintain their relationship coast-to-coast via the Internet.

As Sam is unpacking, a shard of the Allspark falls out of his clothing from the first movie and weird things start to happen. Remember, the AllSpark was a mystical cube that contained the key to the Transformers' existence and was thought destroyed in the original movie. Optimus Prime shows up soon afterward and explains trouble is brewing and Sam has a role to play in its resolution, but our hero refuses to participate.

Of course, what Sam wants and what Sam ends up doing are two entirely different matters. In one of his classes, he scans an astronomy book from cover to cover and accuses Einstein of being wrong. Furiously, Sam starts scribbling enigmatic symbols. Later, the Decepticons return in force, steal parts of the AllSpark, excavate Megatron from the bottom of the ocean floor, sink half the U.S. Navy, and set out to destroy not only the Autobots but also the Earth. The Decepticons' primary target is Sam and they perform a full body scan to obtain vital information.

"Transformers" boasts some spectacular scenes. For example, a robot versus robot mêlée around Egypt's Giza Necropolis, with the evil Devastator, a remarkably mammoth mechanoid, absorbing several construction vehicles so it can scramble atop the peak of a pyramid, is truly a sight to behold. Again, Bay and his scribes cannot inhibit their humor and they show two huge wrecking balls dangling like genitalia between its massive thighs. The scene where the Decepticons resurrect Megatron from the bottom of the ocean is exhilarating to watch. The last thing that you should be thinking about is the nincompoop who decided not to melt Megatron done into a pile of metal so nothing like this could happen. Unfortunately, had they done so it is likely that there would not have been a sequel.

Mind you, "Transformers: The Revenge of the Fallen" qualifies as a big, dumb, noisy action-paced sci-fi saga that doesn't make any sense and revels in its larger-than-life idiocy. Humans take a backseat to the fracas between the mechanoids until the final moments when only Sam can save the day. Unfortunately, the humor gets entirely out of hand. Sam's college roommate follows him around the globe and spends more time screaming in terror rather than fighting. Agent Simmons (John Turturro) is back acting just as flaky as ever, too. The Ghetto twin Autobots are as obnoxious as Jar Jar Binks was in the "Star Wars" prequel. The gags and the pranks displace the drama. The language is often rude and verges on the obscene. The surprises are few and far between. Without enumerating them, we are asked to believe that essential characters can die and never be revived. Anybody who believes for an instant that the Decepticons will vanquish the Autobots is clearly delusional, though it would have been a nice cliffhanger touch on Bay's part to stage an ending similar to "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back."

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Transformers: Dark of the Moon managed to shoot itself in the foot before it was even released and it wasn't just one happy accident out on the job. It got to the point where it seemed like they took a semi-automatic pistol and unloaded an entire round of bullets into this metaphorical foot. Between Megan Fox getting fired, Shia LaBeouf claiming that the film has "a lot of human death," that this was their "best film to date," and that "you don't breathe" during the action-packed last hour of the movie, and apparently Steven Spielberg claiming this is the best use of 3D to date even trumping Avatar, Dark of the Moon had a lot of hype to live up to and a lot to make up for after the travesty that was Revenge of the Fallen. While it does fall victim to a few famous Bay-isms a handful of times, Transformers: Dark of the Moon will still be the movie king of the summer.

When it comes to the writing, this is probably the best written Transformers film to date. Jokes actually feel like they're almost humorous while irritating characters don't receive much screen time. In the very least, it's at least a definite improvement over Revenge of the Fallen in that aspect. Some of the dialogue is really atrocious. At the beginning of the movie, we have this rather stunning scene of Cybertron at war that bleeds into the moon landing of 1969. The whole thing is put together surprisingly well as actual footage and movie magic almost make Sentinel Prime and The Ark crashing on the moon feel genuine. That sucks you in rather effortlessly, but it's ruined after we jump to a scene with Carly(Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) waking up Sam (Shia LaBeouf) talking about a lucky bunny. There was news of Michael Bay claiming he may not work with Shia LaBeouf again since he's become like a cranky, old man on set and that seems to translate on screen. Sam is pretty whiny this time around and complains a lot. Him yelling so much in Dark of the Moon is actually pretty entertaining, but that's probably because he mixes it up a bit and doesn't just shout, "OPTIMUS!" over and over again for two and a half hours.

The special effects in this movie are pretty much unparalleled compared to anything else you've seen before. There are certain scenes that seem like Michael Bay returned to an idea from one of the previous two movies to do it again this time around and do it bigger and with better camera positioning; almost as if he was like, "THIS is what I meant for it to look like." The prime example is the freeway scene where the decepticons are trying to get to Sentinel Prime. There seems to be this "epic" freeway sequence in most Michael Bay movies; Bad Boys II, The Island, and at least one of the last two Transformers movies. This one seems to take it to the next level though. The slow-motion effect continually used throughout the movie will blow your mind as it gives you a moment to digest this explosive spectacle you've just witnessed. The movie is worth seeing for the last hour alone. That's where the insanity kicks into high gear. The last hour is as captivating as Shia LaBeouf claimed it would be mostly because it's just nonstop giant robot destructive mayhem that entire time, which is pretty much the only thing you want to see in a movie like this.

Dark of the Moon may be a bit darker than you're expecting if you haven't kept up with all the news revolving around the movie. New characters that are introduced die, main characters die, and there is a countless number of humans that die. The movie makes a statement; this is the biggest threat they have or ever will face. With Bay and LaBeouf exiting the franchise, we can only speculate that this was meant as finality. Other than the obvious gripes about a Michael Bay movie, some things might not sit well with you. The most obvious one being how wishy washy Sentinel Prime is. Is he a good guy? Is he a bad guy? Does Sentinel Prime even know which side he's on? A quick sidenote, Star Trek fans pay close attention to Sentinel Prime's dialogue. It also felt like Optimus spent a good hour tied up away from the action. So he killed off the villain in the last movie in three minutes and spent a good portion of this movie just hanging around. Megatron is easily manipulated and the Nascar autobot additions are pretty pointless. There are times throughout the movie where you can pretty much figure out who's going to die and who's going to make it. What the decepticons will gain through this whole thing isn't exactly made clear either. The rebirth of Cybertron would probably be nice, but Megatron seemed perfectly content on making Earth his new kingdom in the past two movies. Turns out he just had this whole thing on the backburner this whole time?

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is easily the best written movie of the Transformers franchise and features some of the most mindblowing special effects to hit a 3D movie screen. While it is an upgrade over Revenge of the Fallen, it isn't as entertaining as the first movie. Dark of the Moon falls victim to lame dialogue and weak story points at times, but it will more than likely go unnoticed by the average moviegoer as the last hour tries to compensate any weaknesses the movie may have with extravagant and extremely impressive special effects littered amongst destructive and catastrophic chaos. Dark of the Moon hasn't set out to make new fans, but it will excite and satisfy the people who already are.

Cowboys & Aliens
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The answer to the obvious question hovering around Jon Favreau's latest action blockbuster is yes, "Cowboys & Aliens" is as ridiculous as the title sounds. Yet blame doesn't quite belong on Favreau's shoulders or that of star Daniel Craig or the rest of the cast; rather, the failure of this alien-infested Western results from the domino effect of the countless studios and producers who put their faith (and money) in a concept rather than a story.

To be fair, I know nothing of the Platinum Studios comic by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, but it couldn't have been all that good if all the hottest screenwriters in Hollywood couldn't whip together a plot worth a damn. The duos behind "Iron Man" and "Star Trek" along with "Lost" writer Damon Lindelof all took cracks at the screenplay and an earlier treatment from another pair of "it" writers who wrote next month's "Conan the Barbarian" was discarded. Frankly, criticism of "Cowboys & Aliens" all stems from a story with lackluster characters equipped with cliché motivations. Despite some cool aliens, the action doesn't offer anything unique enough to counter that we've no reason to care.

Craig stars as Jake Lonergan, a stoic outlaw in Arizona sometime in the late 19th Century who wakes up with no memory and some metal device on his wrist. When he arrives in the town of Absolution, the sheriff discovers he's wanted and attempts to ship him off for a reward. That's when the aliens attack, bombing the town and roping up locals before flying off into the night. Lonergan's bracelet activates as a weapon and suddenly he's the only one capable of defeating these things. He joins a rescue party led by a grumpy Civil War vet named Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and they all set off to find out what happened to their loved ones.

The script introduces characters willy-nilly and provides little satisfactory explanation for anything that happens. The story paints Lonergan as a quiet badass, but one who has flashes of some woman he loved. Because his past slowly unravels with nothing revelatory to show for it as the film wears on, it's tough to care much or even see him as capable of romantic feelings. Regardless, a woman named Ella (Olivia Wilde) keeps approaching him with questions he doesn't have the answers to and she evolves into a love interest for nothing but the sake of it. Sam Rockwell has little to no bearing on the film other than serving an example of an otherwise peaceful man who will do whatever it takes to get his wife back. He's a waste in the role. As for Ford, he just gets on screen and acts grumpy and impatient. We've seen everyone on board do so much better. Did these folks not read the script? Probably not considering the number of drafts alone.

Worst of all, the script thinks we will care; after all, this is "Cowboys & Frickin' Aliens!" In the final sequence, suddenly all these supporting characters have little moments together out of seemingly thin air. What are supposed to be moments in the story tying up relationship subplots between characters end up as reminders that these relationships and subplots even existed in the first place. Consequently, the film's pivotal moments result not in hearts beating, but eyes rolling.

In fairness, Favreau shows his adeptness from an action perspective once again in this film. The movie looks good if nothing else with strong visual effects and a strong concept team behind the aliens and related technology. The genre experiment generally works from a tonal perspective, an obstacle that certainly stood in Favreau's path. The film feels like a Western and one in which aliens could feasibly exist, so no problems due to identity crisis.

Yet the film never provides a single reason to justify why it had to be a story about cowboys and aliens. In that sense, the movie results in nothing more than several studios and producers thinking we'd simply be interested in a fusion of a shoot-em-up Western with an alien invasion. All involved failed to ask the one critical question when making a film based on a concept: "is there a good story here?" No, there's not. Despite every ounce of you wanting to find a reason to care about what happens, none arrives. As such, "Cowboys & Aliens" offers watchable but lifeless entertainment.

Transformers
Transformers (2007)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

This movie is ACTION. I say this first because if you think this movie will be anything more than this, you will be disappointed on some level (as I was). Frame for frame this movie screams Michael Bay.

Now that's out of the way, there's a lot of stuff here that works and a lot that doesn't. It's a good thing that the robots do work. Seeing autobots and decepticons in glorious photo-realistic CGI is enough to wring out any childhood fantasy from anybody (not just boys from the 80s). Watching these robots move is to realize a revelation to what is possible with modern movie effects. Whether it's transforming on the move, bashing the living daylights out of each other, or just standing and talking, these guys alone make the movie work. And unlike the other blockbusters that have came out this year, these effects have a sense of weight that adds so much to the visual satisfaction.

As for everything else, well... that's when things start to go downhill. In typical epic fashion, this movie contains a sprawling cast. Along with this however, are a large number of writing and acting issues. With such a large number of underdeveloped characters, names are pretty much luxury. Also, most of the human related humor gags miss badly, which makes it hurt more considering a lot of the characters were unnecessary. Jon Voight's Secretary of Defense character completely baffles me, which makes me think that audiences responded positively to the President in Independence Day doing aerial dogfights. Any positives from the supporting cast (including the strange yet entertaining overacting of John Turturro) are outweighed by the large set of negatives.

However, the cast has got it where it counts. Shia Lebeouf plays an important part in selling the reality of the robots as the lead character Sam, and also carries an easy likability factor. Megan Fox's acting does a reasonable job bringing some interest to her character to beyond her looks. The voice cast also does an overall superb job. Peter Cullen IS Prime, and although his dialogue does border on the ridiculous, he always has a sense of gravity to his lines. Hugo Weaving also does an equally commendable job as Megatron (His booming entrance will forever be embedded into the minds of little kids everywhere). The rest of the transformers don't say much, which is a shame because I wanted to see so much more interplay between them (The taunts that Optimus and Megatron yell as their fighting is great stuff).

Another major gripe I have is Bay's ADD editing. Although it does keep the movie constantly moving, it creates some issues with continuity and distracts from some of the action (probably the biggest crime committed in the movie).

I could go on and on about the good things (Bumblebee, Frenzy) and the bad things (Anthony Anderson and his family, forgotten Barricade) and the downright weird things (Dubya's cameo, Sam's friend climbing in a tree). Overall, the film delivers where it really matters. Although I was disappointed, the amount of potential for the sequel (which just got greenlighted) just gets me giddy (is it too much to ask for a tighter script and better acting?)