REVIEW: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by: Ehren Kruger
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Frances McDormand, and John Malkovich

There isn’t a negative comment that Michael Bay hasn’t heard.  One of the most critically despised and commercially successful filmmakers in history, he has become a lightning rod for the sorry state of modern Hollywood.

Many critics are bitter because his movies render them utterly useless.  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was one of the worst reviewed films in years and also one of the highest grossing.  He injects levels of mind-numbing shock and awe into almost every scene that isn’t establishing the almost non-existent plot in almost all of the movies and Transformers: Dark of the Moon is no exception.

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Five movie characters who are older than they appear

This post is inspired by a recent cameo in X-Men: First Class that confirms for the film series what followers of the comic  have known for a while: Wolverine is older than Professor Xavier.  We thought it’d be fun to take a closer look at characters in movies that are much older than they actually look.

Wolverine (X-Men)- You wouldn’t think Hugh Jackman would be older than Patrick Stewart, but in the superhero universe anything is possible.  As Wolverine, he slices and dices through countless enemies (in a very PG-13 way, of course).  It’ll  come in handy when he needs to wait in line to sign up for Social Security.

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REVIEW: Secretariat


Secretariat
Directed by: Randall Wallace
Written by: Mike Rich (screenplay), William Nack (book)
Starring: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh, and Margo Martindale

Apparently Seabiscuit and The Blind Side weren’t enough.  According to Disney, we needed at least one more historically sugar-coated “impossible true story.”  Something savory for the whole family, with perfectly timed and safe one-liners and plot points that the company has had on repeat since it started doing live action movies.

Of course, when this company has a lack of creativity and innovation, they simply write a check.  This gives them access to the best filmmaking tools at their disposal to make this pile of garbage.  The race footage in Secretariat is amazingly well-done and even a little bit exhilarating.  It’s too bad once the horses stop, the movie does too.

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REVIEW: Red

Red
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Written by: Jon Hoeber & Erich Hoeber (screenplay), Warren Ellis & Cully Hammer (graphic novel)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Mary Louise-Parker, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren

How do you confront aging?  Many don’t, avoiding the fact that they’re retired with hobbies, community service, or a condo in Florida.  The aging agents of Red charge straight ahead with guns blazing.

If this movie were to be described in one way, it would have to be an adolescent revenge fantasy aimed at Baby Boomers.  It’s for every mid-life-crisis-stricken adrenaline junkie who wants to make the whipper-snappers pay for looking at them like they’re unhip.  Of course, since this is a big-budget Hollywood action film with A-list names, there’s something everyone will enjoy, even if none of it is anything new or even good.

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REVIEW: Jonah Hex

Jonah Hex
Directed by: Jim Hayward
Written by: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor (screenplay)
Starring: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, and Michael Fassbender

We must face it: the comic book adaptation is here to stay.  You can bet your (kick-) ass that any character that’s ever been drawn to a page to tell a story along with words will eventually get its Hollywood due.  So step right up for Jonah Hex, yet another unknown adaptation from an allegedly brilliant source material.

Hex begins compellingly different than most of its counterparts.  We begin almost immediately at our title character’s (Josh Brolin) moment of dire straits.  Rather than have that Utopian, dull first few scenes with bright colors, giggling children, and adoring spouse, we see arch nemesis (Jon Malkovich) light them all on fire.  One thing that can be said of Jonah Hex, if not much else, is that it doesn’t bull-shit you with its pretentious morality.  The script may try to hint at a soul within our weary anti-hero, but Brolin quells it rather quickly.

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Being John Malkovich

Being John Malkovich
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Written by: Charlie Kaufman
Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, and John Malkovich

For fans of the work of Charlie Kaufman, a predisposition to a realm of absurdity is often acquired after watching one of his screenplays unfold.  Approach any of his works with the intention that you will be taken somewhere new, and that that place will be filled with wonder, terror, and more honesty than reality could ever contain.

In Being John Malkovich, Kaufman has crafted his magnum opus.  Inside the expansive confines of his world lie countless punchlines, absurdities and insights, most of which deal with the nature of identity.  This is a world filled only with people who go for what they want, because those who don’t don’t matter.  It’s extremes like these that guide the often childish characters through the narrative and ultimately to a conclusion that offers no simple answers.

It begins with a puppeteer named Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) realizing his dream is impossible in his own body.  He decides to apply this childish pastime onto something in the corporate world.  He gets hired as a file clerk (because of his fast fingers) on the 7 1/2 floor of a gigantic office building.  While working there, he falls immediately in love with Maxine (Catherine Keener), an attractive, manipulative, and greedy woman who leads him on, and then ultimately cuts him loose.  This is until he discovers the portal.

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