REVIEW: 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

CAST

John Goodman (Red State)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
John Gallagher Jr. (Hush)
Douglas M. Griffin (12 Years A Slave)
Suzanne Cryer (Two Guys and a Girl)
Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Sumalee Montano (Nashville)

Following an argument with her fiancé Ben, Michelle leaves New Orleans and drives through rural Louisiana. Late at night, she turns on the radio only to hear that there were continuous blackouts in major cities. Distracted by a call from Ben, Michelle gets into an accident and is rendered unconscious. She wakes up in a concrete room chained to a wall in her underwear, and is approached by a man named Howard, who explains that an attack of unknown origin has taken place and that he brought her to his bunker after finding her on the side of the road. Michelle meets Emmett, another survivor who witnessed the attack and fled to Howard’s bunker. During dinner, an unconvinced Michelle steals Howard’s keys and tries to escape, but discovers Leslie, a woman suffering from severe skin lesions, begging to get into the bunker. When the desperate woman bangs her head against the bunker’s reinforced door in an attempt to get in, Michelle realizes Howard was right and stays.

As time passes, the trio begins adapting to living underground, and Howard tells Michelle about his daughter Megan, of whom he lost custody. But Michelle and Emmett eventually detect inconsistencies in his story, ultimately discovering that the picture of “Megan” Howard showed Michelle is actually that of Brittany, a high-school classmate of Emmett’s younger sister who went missing two years before. Upon finding another photo of Howard and a glum Brittany in the bunker, Michelle and Emmett realize that Howard abducted and murdered Brittany. Realizing that Howard is dangerous, they begin to plan an escape and fashion a makeshift biohazard suit, but Howard discovers that they are planning something. In defense of Michelle, Emmett accepts the blame and claims he was creating a weapon in order to steal Howard’s gun, wanting Michelle to respect him the same way she respected Howard. After seemingly accepting the apology from Emmett, Howard summarily murders him with a revolver. Michelle works to complete the biohazard suit but is again discovered by Howard, who realizes her true intentions of leaving. Exposed, Michelle makes her escape attempt and is cornered by Howard, but dumps a vat of perchloric acid on him, severely burning him and inadvertently starting an electrical fire. She climbs through the air ducts despite the burnt Howard’s protests that “You can’t run from them”, puts on the suit, and escapes outside, where she realizes the air is not toxic.

A techno-organic extraterrestrial craft appears in the distance; the bunker then explodes from the fire, killing Howard in the process and drawing the craft’s attention. Michelle is attacked by the craft and by a creature on the ground. The craft releases toxic gas, forcing her to take shelter in Howard’s truck, which is then picked up by the craft as it attempts to consume her. However, Michelle assembles a Molotov cocktail and throws it into the craft, which is destroyed. Michelle drives away in Leslie’s car and hears a radio broadcast about successful human resistance efforts. Survivors are directed to evacuate north of Baton Rouge, while those able to aid in the fight are directed to Houston; reaching a crossroads, she heads for Houston while two other alien ships can be seen in the air when lightning strikes the night sky.


10 Cloverfield Lane is a tense, claustrophobic thriller with believable actors planning believable characters, making this unbelievable situation real and leg-achingly delicious.

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REVIEW: PIXAR SHORTS – MIKE’S NEW CAR

CAST

Billy Crystal (City Slickers)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)

Mike's New Car (2002)Mike is obsessed with his new six-wheel drive car, and insists on showing it off to Sulley. Unfortunately for Mike, anything that can go wrong does go wrong. Sulley plays with the adjustable power seat until an annoyed Mike asks him to stop. Mike starts the engine and hears the seatbelt reminder tone sound off. Although Sulley manages to get his seatbelt on easily, Mike finds his seatbelt stuck and accidentally locks himself out of the car while trying to unstick it. Mike tells Sulley to push a button, but confused by the massive amount of buttons on the dashboard; he pushes a button that opens the hood. When Mike goes over to close it, he is unable to reach it. Sulley helps Mike close the hood but accidentally closes on Mike’s fingers, which causes Mike to scream. Sulley helps Mike get free but ends up trapping him in the engine compartment.Mike's New Car (2002)Sulley opens the hood, Mike manages to escape, re-enters the car, and is exasperated by the continuous seatbelt reminder tone. Mike manages to put his seat-belt on, but the windshield wipers get turned on, much to his frustration. As Sulley tries to help, Mike tells him not to touch anything and decides to do it himself. Mike pushes a button that launches the entire car into chaotic malfunction, including Latin conga music playing loudly on the car’s stereo system. Mike finally ends the chaos by pulling the key out of the ignition, but then Sulley accidentally breaks the rearview mirror in an attempt to realign it. Mike gets angry, forces Sulley out of the car, and speeds away, wrecking the car completely. Sulley mutters, “Huh, that’s weird, the airbag didn’t go off.” Right on cue, the airbag inflates, and its force sends Mike flying back up the street. Sulley catches Mike, who mourns for his old car before agreeing to walk to work while the credits roll.Mike's New Car (2002)I saw this film recently in the DVD of Pixar animated shorts and while it was very pleasant and funny, I was rather shocked to find out it was nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Short Subject–which it lost to the better short film THE CHUBBCHUBBS! Now this isn’t knocking MIKE’S NEW CAR–it’s well executed and fun. However, it just isn’t special enough to be considered much other than perhaps a DVD extra.

REVIEW: ATOMIC BLONDE

CAST

Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
James McAvoy (Split)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Til Schweiger (King Arthur)
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes)
Sofia Boutella (Star Trek Beyond)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Roland Møller (Darkland)
Daniel Bernhardt (Precious Cargo)
James Faulkner (Game of Thrones)
Bill Skarsgård (It)
Sam Hargrave (The King of Fighters)

In 1989, before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, MI6 agent James Gascoigne is shot and killed by KGB agent Yuri Bakhtin, who steals the List, a piece of microfilm concealed in a wristwatch that contains a list of every intelligence agent (on both sides) active in Berlin. Ten days later, Lorraine Broughton, a top-level spy for MI6, is brought in to be interrogated by MI6 executive Eric Gray and CIA agent Emmett Kurzfeld about her mission to Berlin.The day after Gascoigne’s death, Lorraine is dispatched to Berlin to recover the List and is told to trust no one and keep an eye out for KGB’s Satchel, a double agent who has been a stain on MI6 for years. When she arrives in Berlin, she is immediately ambushed by KGB agents who deliver her a message from KGB officer Aleksander Bremovych, but she is able to escape and meet up with her contact, David Percival. After failing to find any immediate leads, Lorraine searches Gascoigne’s apartment and discovers a picture of him and Percival. In the interrogation she tells us Percival had told her he never met Gascoigne and that she got ambushed by the West Berlin police while searching the apartment. She tells us only Percival knew she was going to the apartment, and that she suspected Percival’s motives. When Lorraine visits a restaurant she learned of from the KGB agents that greeted her when she arrived in Berlin she encounters Bremoviych but is “saved” by Delphine Lasalle, a naive French agent, and enters into a romantic relationship with her.Percival, having tailed Lorraine, is curious about a watchmaker she visited. He spots Bakhtin entering the shop. Bakhtin tells the watchmaker he has a watch full of secrets he will sell to the highest bidder. Emmett Kurzfeld meets up with Lorraine and reminds her how important it is to find the List, he hands her a newspaper. Lorraine calls a number she finds in the newspaper and is informed Satchel is compromised. Percival lures Bakthin to an alley, kills him and takes the List. When he examines the List he realizes who Satchel is. Lorraine, who does not know Percival has the List, finds out that a Stasi officer codenamed Spyglass, who gave the List to Gascoigne, memorized the List. Lorraine and Percival make plans to escort him across the border to West Berlin. Percival meets with Bremovych, who suspects Percival has the List but is offered the second best thing: information on KGB’s beloved Satchel. Lasalle photographs the meeting between Bremovych and Percival. Because Percival tips off Bremovych’s men, he and Lorraine are ambushed in East Berlin and Percival ends up shooting Spyglass because he can’t risk Lorraine, or the KGB, getting a hold of the List through Spyglass.Despite Lorraine’s best efforts Spyglass is killed. Lorraine makes it back to West Berlin and realizes Percival has planted a bug in her coat. She tells Lasalle who calls Percival and threatens him. Percival goes to Lasalle’s apartment and kills her both to hide his dirty secrets but also because he can’t be sure she’s not working with Lorraine. When Lorraine arrives too late to save her, she discovers the photographs taken by Lasalle. As Percival burns his safehouse and attempts to flee, Lorraine tracks him down, kills him, and takes the List.Returning to the MI6 debriefing, Lorraine finds out Percival had called Eric Gray and told him he had the List and that he was very close to Satchel. Upset she wasn’t told about it she then presents photographs as well as spliced audio recordings painting Percival as the double agent Satchel, and denies knowing the List’s current whereabouts, forcing the agency to close the case. Three days later, she meets with Bremovych in Paris, revealing herself to be Satchel. Bremovych tells her he knows she’s a traitor, Percival told him. Lorraine kills his henchmen, and before killing him reveals she was manipulating events from the very beginning. Later in Paris she meets with Kurzfeld, revealing herself to be an American triple agent planted by the CIA, before returning with him and the List to Langley.
Atomic Blonde is one of the coolest movies of the year. This movie was action packed the whole way through. If you are wanting a rush in the movies this is the movie for you to see.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: FUTURAMA – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

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MAIN CAST
Billy West (Pixels)
Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy)
John DiMaggio (Adventure Time)
Tress MacNeille (the Simpsons)
Maurice Lamarche (Frozen)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
David Herman (Angel)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Frank Welker (Transformers)

XMAS STORY

GUEST CAST
John Goodman (Red State)
Conan O’Brien (The Simpsons)
While on a ski trip, Fry begins to feel nostalgic for 31th century Christmases. To cheer him up, the rest of the Planet Express staff decide to decorate for what is now called Xmas, which includes cutting down an Xmas tree (which are now palm trees, since pine trees are extinct). Fry decides to venture into the city to buy Leela a present as she has not felt happy about Xmas since she was an orphan. The others warn him to be back before sundown, or else he will be killed by a murderous robotic Santa Claus. In the year 2801, The Friendly Robot Company developed a robotic version of St. Nick himself to determine who has been naughty and who has been nice. Unfortunately, due to a programming error, the jolly robotic saint soon turned into a mad murderer when his standards were set too high. Thus, he will kill anyone who has been naughty, which, by his standards is essentially everybody. Meanwhile, Bender befriends several homeless robots and goes on a robbery spree.
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Fry buys Leela a parrot, which escapes. Leela heads out to rescue Fry before Robot Santa arrives. After pursuing the parrot to the top of a tall building, Fry is saved from plunging to his death by Leela. Unfortunately, Fry and Leela’s safety is short-lived, as sundown finally comes and the robotic Santa Claus makes his appearance and attacks the two friends.Fry and Leela take refuge in the Planet Express building after being saved by Bender and his homeless robot friends, but Santa breaks in through the chimney and claims that they “all have been very naughty” (except for Doctor Zoidberg). Thanks to some quick thinking by Doctor Zoidberg, Santa is forced back into the chimney, where an explosion sends him and his mechanical reindeer tumbling into the stratosphere. Everybody celebrates by singing “Santa Claus Is Gunning You Down”. However, Santa promises: “I’ll be back when you least expect it: NEXT XMAS!”.
A classic holiday episode with a difference having Robot Santa think everybody is naughty and hunting them down. Seeing the crew scared of him is hilarious, thou is was funny to see that Zoidberg being the only that was good (according to Robot Santa).

A TALE OF TWO SANTAS

GUEST CAST
Coolie (Daredevil)
It is Xmas again, and everyone is locking down for the arrival of Robot Santa. The Professor sends the crew to deliver children’s letters directly to Santa at his fortress on Neptune. After reading some of the letters, begging Santa not to wreak havoc on the writers, Fry decides it’s time to bring Christmas back to the way it was in the past. They land at Jolly Junction, Neptune, and enlist the aid of a pair of Neptunians in sneaking into the fortress.
The crew confronts Santa, and Leela presents him with what she believes to be a logical paradox intended to destroy him. Unfortunately, Santa proves immune to paradox, and he takes off after them with a missile launcher. The crew escapes the fortress, and is about to leave in the ship, but Santa grabs the engine and prevents the ship from taking off. The heat from the engine melts the ice under Santa’s feet, and he sinks in the ice, which refreezes around him. With Santa frozen in ice, Bender takes over, and toy-making resumes in Jolly Junction. Bender heads to New New York, where he gets a less than welcome reception from citizens expecting Santa. While taking a beer break, Bender is arrested and put on trial for Santa’s crimes against humanity. Bender is found guilty and sentenced to execution by magnetic dismemberment.
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Fry and Leela rush back to Neptune to bring in the real Santa to prove Bender’s innocence. They carve Santa out in a large block of ice, but the ice melts due to pollution from the toy factory, and Santa is freed. Fry and Leela escape in the ship, but Santa rides on the ship back to Earth. The Planet Express crew tries one last attempt to save Bender, with all of them pretending to be Santa and Zoidberg pretending to be Jesus. Their effort fails, and the execution device is activated. Moments later, the real Robot Santa bursts through the wall. He rescues Bender and the two go on a proper Xmas rampage. As the Planet Express crew huddle in fear of their lives, Fry concludes he has somewhat succeeded in bringing back the old spirit of Christmas, even if it is fear that is bringing people together instead of love. At the end of the spree of destruction, Santa tells Bender that if he tries a stunt like that again, he will kill him, and pushes Bender off the sleigh amid the burning buildings.
Another great Christmas episode, it also serves as a sequel to the first xmas episode. bender trying to be Santa made for a great episode it’s a shame they could not get John Goodman back to do the voice of Robot Santa.

THE FUTURAMA HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR

GUEST CAST
Coolie (Daredevil)
Dawnn Lewis (Monsters University)
Al Gore
Xmas
Robot Santa attacks the Planet Express building on Xmas Eve, explaining in song how the holiday should be celebrated. The crew are inspired to revive the pine tree, which went extinct in the 2200s with seeds from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. However, the seeds have been contaminated by a biological weapons repository neighboring the vault, causing pine trees to grow and spread at a rapid rate until they cover the entire Earth. Though the trees seem beneficial at first, returning the planet to a lush, wildlife-filled state, their uncontrolled growth produces too much oxygen in the atmosphere, which ignites and burns Earth to a cinder when Bender lights a celebratory cigar. Robot Santa states that everyone is dead and happily tells the viewers to stay tuned for more holiday hilarity.
Robanukah
Bender criticizes the crew for not celebrating his made-up robot holiday Robanukah from “Fear of a Bot Planet” and sings a song explaining it, detailing a tradition in which fembots must wrestle in petroleum oil for six and a half weeks. He is shocked to discover that they only have enough oil for four and a half weeks of wrestling and forces the crew to drill deep into the Earth with the Planet Express ship to find more petroleum, which is virtually nonexistent on the surface. As they approach the center of the Earth, the immense pressure crushes the ship and kills everyone except Bender, who decides to take a nap. 500 million years later, Bender wakes up and discovers that the heat and pressure over the years have turned his friends’ bodies into petroleum oil. He returns to the now dilapidated Planet Express building and is surprised to find the two fembots still wrestling with the sufficient amount of oil, declaring it to be a Robanukah miracle. Bender wishes everyone a Happy Robanukah and states that there is more hilarity to come.
Kwanzaa
The crew visit Hermes and his family for Kwanzaa, learning more about the holiday through a song by Kwanzaa-bot. Hermes’ wife LaBarbara learns that she does not have the traditional beeswax candles required for Kwanzaa and sends Hermes to get some. However, the crew discover there is no beeswax in the world due to a colony collapse disorder caused by an infestation of blood-sucking mites. They decide to return to the space beehive (from “The Sting”) to retrieve the wax, discovering the space bee colony to be in disarray caused by the same mites. Hermes uses the Kwanzaa tenets to spread goodwill between the space bee drones, restoring harmony and killing the mites. However, this also returns the bees to their natural organization and they attack the crew, encasing them in beeswax “candles” for their larvae to feed on.
Finale
A curtain descends and Al Gore appears to close the segment. Al Gore reminds the viewer that the characters will return in 2011 featuring himself as a major character called Captain Lance Starman. He then reiterates the jingle for “Gunderson’s Unshelled Nuts” as Amy dances in a Gunderson’s Unshelled Nuts costume.
The final Futurama Christmas episode isn’t as entertaining as the previous two, its split in to parts to tell the story of different holidays and how the crew celebrates them. It’s a shame no more specials were made after this.

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT

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CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Ted)
Josh Duhamel (Paradise Lost)
Gemma Chan (Humans)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
John Turturro (Barton Fink)
Laura Haddock (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Isabela Moner (Soldado)
Jerrod Carmichael (Bad Neighbors 2)
Santiago Cabrera (Heroes)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Liam Garrigan (24: Live Another Day)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Gil Birmingham (Twilight)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
Erik Aadahl (Godzilla)
Jim Carter (Dinotopia)
Omar Sy (Jurassic World)
John Goodman (Red State)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Tom Kenny (The Powerpuff Girls)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk empire)
Steven Barr (Fall From Grace)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Jess Harnell (Animaniacs)

In 484 AD, King Arthur and his knights struggle in a battle against the Saxons. Meanwhile, Merlin begs for help from the Knights of Iacon, a group of twelve Transformers who have hidden on Earth. They give Merlin an alien staff and combine themselves into a huge robotic dragon named Dragonstorm to help Arthur triumph over the Saxons, but not before warning Merlin that a great evil will one day come for the staff.In the present, five years after the Hong Kong battle, the Transformers are declared outlaws by all governments on Earth, to which the Transformer Reaction Force (TRF) is formed from the fallen Cemetery Wind to eradicate the alien robots, despite more Transformers continuously arriving on Earth. All the while, enormous metallic horns begin to rise from different parts of the world. In a part of war-torn Chicago, a group of children find a ship with a knight inside before being caught by a TRF drone. Izabella, a survivor of the Battle of Chicago, saves the children along with her Transformers companions Sqweeks and Canopy. The drone mistakes Canopy for a Decepticon and kills him before Bumblebee and Cade Yeager (who are also being hunted by the TRF) arrive and help the children, Izabella, and Sqweeks escape from the drones. Cade finds the knight in the ship, who attaches a talisman to his arm. The Decepticon Barricade observes this act and reports the discovery to Megatron. After a brief standoff with the TRF, Cade returns to his junkyard in South Dakota (with Izabella and Sqweeks hitching a ride with him) where the remaining Autobots are hiding from the TRF, including Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, Crosshairs, Wheelie, Grimlock, Slug, Daytrader, Trench, and three Mini-Dinobots.TRF member and former Autobot ally William Lennox brokers a deal between the TRF and Megatron so he can find Cade and recover the talisman. In exchange, Megatron demands the release of a squad of Decepticons, including Nitro Zeus, Dreadbot, Mohawk, and Onslaught (Megatron tries to get Berserker, but they won’t let him because he is far too dangerous). Meanwhile, in deep space, Optimus Prime crash-lands on Cybertron, discovering that it is heading directly for Earth. He encounters Quintessa, the self-proclaimed creator of the Transformers, who brainwashes Optimus and renames him “Nemesis Prime”. Quintessa charges him with recovering the staff from the Knights who stole it from her.Earth, she reveals, is actually Cybertron’s ancient enemy Unicron and she intends to drain its life force using the staff, so that Cybertron can be restored. Back on Earth, Megatron and the TRF locate Cade, his coworker Jimmy, Izabella, Sqweeks, and the Autobots, thanks to a tracker planted on Bumblebee during the standoff. They flee to an abandoned town where they discover Bumblebee’s tracking device. In the ensuing battle, Dreadbot, Onslaught, Mohawk, and several TRF soldiers are killed by Grimlock, Slug, Crosshairs, Drift, and Bumblebee. As a result, Megatron, Nitro Zeus, and Barricade are forced to retreat. While fighting off a unit of TRF drones, Cade is approached by Cogman, a Transformer envoy who takes him and Bumblebee to England to meet his master, Sir Edmund Burton.

There, Burton arranges a meeting between Cade and Viviane Wembly, an Oxford professor, who had just been kidnapped by the Autobot Hot Rod under Burton’s orders. Burton introduces himself as the last living member of the “Witwiccan” order, an ancient brotherhood dedicated to guarding the secret history of Transformers on Earth. He reveals that Cade’s talisman indicates that he is the Last Knight of Iacon. He also reveals that Viviane is Merlin’s last descendant and that she must find and use his staff to prevent the impending destruction of Earth by Cybertron. MI6 and the TRF arrive at Burton’s mansion, forcing the group to flee.After escaping from MI6, the TRF, and Barricade, Cade, Viviane, Bumblebee, and Cogman follow the clues left by Viviane’s father and take the museum submarine HMS Alliance (after Burton shuts down the attraction and evicts the tourists) into the sea to find the Cybertronian Knights’ sunken ship while the TRF pursue them with submarines of their own. Burton meets with the Prime Minister to engage the military at Stonehenge, which he deduces is the access point to Unicron. In the ship, Cade and Viviane discover the tomb of Merlin and the staff. Viviane activates the staff, which causes the ship to rise towards the surface. The TRF confronts the group and attempts to take the staff from them before Nemesis Prime intervenes and forces them to hand over the staff. Bumblebee chases after Optimus and the two Autobots fight each other at the top of the ship. Before Optimus can kill Bumblebee, the mute Autobot finally speaks, freeing Optimus from Quintessa’s control. Suddenly, Megatron, revealed to be conspiring with Quintessa, arrives to steal the staff and flees while the Knights attack Optimus for his presumed betrayal. Cade stops the Knights with the talisman, which transforms into King Arthur’s sword Excalibur. The Knights yield to Cade as the Last Knight of Iacon, and Yeager urges Optimus to fight for Earth once more.As Cybertron anchors itself to Earth, Megatron, Nitro Zeus, and Barricade deliver the staff to Quintessa, who begins draining the life force of Earth from Unicron. Burton and the British military intervene, and Megatron shoots Burton, who dies with Cogman at his side. The Autobots arrive to join the fight with the TRF, Cade, Viviane, Izabella, and Sqweeks, landing on Cybertron and battling against Megatron and Quintessa’s minions, the Infernocons. Vanquishing their foes with help from the Knights as Dragonstorm, the Autobots reach the chamber where the staff and Quintessa are. Optimus defeats Megatron by kicking him through the Ignition Chamber’s wall, sending him flying to Earth, while Bumblebee kills Nitro Zeus. Together, Optimus and Bumblebee seemingly kill Quintessa. Viviane removes the staff, stopping Cybertron’s destruction of Earth but leaving both worlds connected. Optimus declares that humans and Transformers must now work together to rebuild their worlds and sends a message calling any surviving Autobots to come home.In a mid-credits scene, scientists inspect one of Unicron’s horns in a desert. Quintessa, who has survived and is disguised as a human, arrives and offers them a way to destroy Unicron.The transformers movies are known for being hated. Me I personally think these movies are just fun. That’s why we watch them, not for an outstanding Oscar worthy film. I know I am in the minority that I love Age of extinction. So I was pretty excited to see this film. I was not disappointed.

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION

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CAST

Mark Wahlberg (Ted)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Kelsey Grammer (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel)
Jack Reynor (Macbeth)
Titus Welliver (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Sophia Myles (Outlander)
Li Bingbing (Resident Evil: Retribution)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
James Bachman (Paddington)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
John Goodman (Red State)
Ken Watanabe (Godzilla)
Robert Foxworth (Beyond The Stars)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Erika Fong (Power Rangers Samurai)
Richard Riehle (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Cleo King (The Hangover)

Sixty five million years ago, an alien race known as the “Creators” used devices called Seeds to terraform planet Earth, effectively wiping out the dinosaurs and covering it with an alloy called Transformium. In the present day, geologist Darcy Tirrel excavates the Transformium for K.S.I. Industries, which uses it to build man-made artificial Transformer drones.Five years after The Battle of Chicago, the humans have begun to view the Transformers as a threat, leading the U.S government to terminate all human-Autobot joint programs. Although the public believes that the Autobots have been granted sanctuary, they are being hunted by a rogue, vengeful and xenophobic CIA black ops division known as Cemetery Wind, led by opportunistic government official Harold Attinger, who believes that all Transformers should be exterminated regardless of their faction. They are aided by Lockdown, a Cybertronian bounty hunter working for the Creators, promising to give Attinger a Seed if his division manages to capture Optimus Prime. Cemetery Wind locates Ratchet in Mexico City and Lockdown kills him when he refuses to give up the whereabouts of Optimus Prime.Optimus, damaged in Mexico City and disguised as a rundown semi-truck, is discovered in an abandoned theater by Cade Yeager, a financially struggling Texan inventor, and brings him back to the farm. While his teenage daughter Tessa and business partner Lucas Flannery encourage him to turn Optimus over to the authorities after realizing what he really is, Cade instead fixes Optimus, hoping to understand his technology and unexpectedly revives him. Still skeptical of Optimus and worried about Cade’s safety, Lucas calls Cemetery Wind, who attacks and destroys the farm, but Optimus and Tessa’s boyfriend, Irish rally car driver Shane Dyson, come to the family’s aid.While on the run from Cemetery Wind and Lockdown, Lucas is killed by one of Lockdown’s grenades. After escaping from their attackers, they take refuge in an abandoned gas station. Later, Optimus scans a passing truck and turns into a Western Star 5700 Phantom Custom truck with the original red and blue paint with flames. Afterwards, Optimus summons the surviving Autobots – Bumblebee, Hound, Drift, and Crosshairs – who have come to distrust humans due to Cemetery Wind constantly hunting them down. Using a CIA drone which he stole during the home invasion, Cade discovers K.S.I.’s involvement in the attacks on the Autobots. Bumblebee later assumes an alternate form after scanning a passing car, while Optimus vows to personally kill Attinger for his actions against his brethren.Infiltrating K.S.I.’s headquarters in Chicago, Cade discovers the remains of Autobots and Decepticons are being melted down to make the drones. Joshua Joyce, the ambitious company CEO, is in league with Attinger to revolutionize global defenses and improve human society using the Seed. He has captured Brains and is using him and Megatron’s head to create prototype Transformer soldiers Galvatron and Stinger. In a fit of rage, the Autobots storm the building where they rescue Brains and destroy the laboratory, but they soon leave after Joshua announces that they are no longer needed. Attinger forces Joshua to deploy Galvatron and Stinger to attack the Autobots. During the battle, Galvatron’s behavior becomes slightly erratic when he starts destroying vehicles. As Galvatron battles Optimus, it frees itself from control and speaks to Optimus. Lockdown then arrives and abducts Optimus while Galvatron and Stinger retreat; Tessa is inadvertently captured alongside Optimus in the midst of the chaos, leaving Cade and Shane devastated.While Lockdown’s large prison spacecraft hovers over Chicago to hand over the Seed, Cade, Shane, and the Autobots use this opportunity to sneak on board and rescue Optimus and Tessa. They hijack a smaller ship, containing a number of other Autobots called the Dinobots, just before Lockdown leaves Earth. The Autobots reveal to Cade that “Galvatron” is in fact Megatron, who had transferred his consciousness into the Galvatron drone after K.S.I. officials had accidentally revived him. They realize that Galvatron is plotting to use the Seed and the K.S.I. drones to conquer the world, by detonating the Seed in Hong Kong. K.S.I.plans to use the Seed in the remote Mongolian desert to create vast amounts of usable Transformium. Cade informs Joshua of Megatron’s presence, causing him to have a change of heart and agreeing to hand over the Seed with help from Darcy and his Chinese business associate Su Yueming. Meanwhile, Lockdown discovers that Optimus has escaped and stole a part of his ship, forcing him to return to Earth to retrieve them. Back at the facility, Joshua gets into a disagreement with Attinger when the former becomes aware of the latter’s nefarious activities, whilst Attinger gradually deduces Joshua’s plot to betray him. Galvatron unexpectedly reactivates himself and promptly takes control of the K.S.I. drones, and a battle follows in Hong Kong’s streets between Cade’s group, the Autobots, Cemetery Wind, Galvatron, and his drones. During the fight, Optimus gains the alliance of the Dinobots, who become essential to the Autobots’ victory while Bumblebee kills Stinger.Lockdown returns to capture Optimus and the Dinobots, using a large magnet in his ship that picks up and drops metal objects, causing destruction to the city. After disabling the magnet, Optimus fights Lockdown at an abandoned factory. In the ensuing duel, Optimus kills Attinger (who still deems all Cybertronians aside from Lockdown as a threat) to save Cade, and avenging the deaths of his fellow Autobots. However, this allows Lockdown to pin Optimus down by impaling his chest with his own sword, damaging his spark. Cade, Bumblebee, Tessa, and Shane fight Lockdown, with Cade ending up fighting him one-on-one while Tessa and Shane use a tow truck to free Optimus, who kills Lockdown before using one of his grenades to finish off the remaining drones. Galvatron, the only surviving Decepticon, retreats with Lockdown’s ship, vowing to return. Optimus tells the Autobots to protect the Yeagers (with Joshua offering to help the Yeagers build a new home) and lets the Dinobots go, before flying away into space with the Seed, sending a message to the Creators that he is coming for them.Tucci is always funny in tense situations, and comedian T.J. Miller gets some laughs as Cade’s borderline annoying best friend. Wahlberg is different he gives a committed performance here, and makes the dialogue believable. I like that Bay and company made Cade a single dad, and Peltz’s Tessa is surprisingly not annoying. The first hour, set at the Yeager homestead in Texas, is my favorite. I enjoyed watching Cade and Tessa meet Optimus and flee from Cemetery Wind. Scenes on Lockdown’s imposing prison ship are also good.  This was intended to be the first film in a new trilogy,with transformers 5 already in the pipeline. The last scene opens the transformers cinematic universe, leaving it open for the fifth to explore further the transformer mythology.

REVIEW: THE CAMPAIGN

CAST

Will Ferrell (Anchorman)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
Jason Sudeikis (Son of Zorn)
Katherine LaNasa (Two and a Half Men)
Dylan McDermott (Party Monster)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters)
Brian Cox (Manhunter)
John Goodman (Red State)
Sarah Baker (Tammy)
Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)

Democratic Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) of North Carolina’s fictional 14th District is running for his fifth term unopposed. His campaign is damaged by the revelation of his affair with one of his supporters, when Cam accidentally leaves a sexually explicit voice message on a local family’s answering machine.The corrupt businessman brothers Glenn and Wade Motch (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) use this opportunity to convince Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), tourism director for the town of Hammond and son of one of their associates, Raymond Huggins, to run against Cam on the Republican ticket, as part of a plan to profit from dealings with a Chinese company. Cam at first underestimates Marty and humiliates him by playing a video biography highlighting potentially embarrassing aspects of Marty’s life. The Motch brothers then hire Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott) to be Marty’s campaign manager. Tim reinvents Marty as a successful entrepreneur and family man. Marty’s popularity rises due to his effective campaign while Cam’s is further damaged when he accidentally punches a baby when intending to hit Marty. Cam later runs a campaign portraying Marty as an Al Qaeda terrorist, and Marty exposes Cam as a fake Christian by asking him to recite the Lord’s Prayer, which he fails to do. Cam attempts to restore his religious image by visiting a church of snake handlers, but he gets bitten by a snake. A video of the bite is leaked into the Internet and goes viral, increasing Cam’s popularity.When Cam’s son plans to slander his competition for class president, Cam realizes he has set a bad example and visits Marty to make peace. While drunk, Cam tells Marty that he originally became a politician to help people, citing that as class president he had a dangerous, rusty slide removed from the playground. After Cam leaves, Wattley convinces Marty to call the police and report Cam for driving while drunk. Cam is arrested and his campaign is again damaged. Marty later airs a TV ad of Cam’s son addressing Marty as “dad”. Cam gets revenge on Marty by seducing his neglected wife Mitzi and recording the act. The released sex tape humiliates the Huggins family and causes Cam’s campaign manager, Mitch, to abandon him. Marty retaliates by shooting Cam in the leg on a hunting trip, increasing his own popularity.As the election nears, Marty meets with the Motch brothers and learns of their plans to sell Hammond to their Chinese business partner and turn the town into a factory complex. Marty realizes he has been used and rejects the brothers’ support, leading them to defect to Cam’s side. Marty meanwhile reconciles with his family. On election day, Cam’s victory appears certain until Marty exposes the Motch brothers’ intent and promises to preserve Hammond if elected. Cam still wins and remains congressman due to rigged voting machines owned by the Motch brothers. While Cam gloats, Marty shows his large scars to Cam and reveals that he looked up to Cam in school for getting rid of the dangerous slide. Realizing he has strayed from his true objectives as a politician, Cam withdraws from the election and Marty wins by default. Cam earns back Mitch’s respect, and Marty later appoints him his chief of staff.Six months later, Marty and Cam expose the Motch brothers, who are called to appear before Congress. The brothers point out that everything they did is legal under Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, but they are arrested for their association with Wattley, who is actually an international fugitive.The movie is a marvellous satire on the American political system. It does a job on the effect of money in politics, the mindset of the social conservatives, the fluff answers to questions in debates, the focus on getting re-elected over personal beliefs, and especially the lack of any rules in politics. There are veiled analogies to John Edwards and especially to the Koch brothers, who are famous for giving millions of dollars to Republicans. The guest commentators include Wolf Blitzer from CNN and Chris Matthews from MSNBC from the center and right. I am guessing that Fox News commentators chose not to participate. I highly recommend it.