31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: SCREAM 3

CAST

Neve Campbell (Wild Things)
Courteney Cox (Masters of The Universe)
David Arquette (Eight Legged Freaks)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
Liev Schreiber (The Fifth Wave)
Kelly Rutherford (Gossip Girl)
Heather Matarazzo (The Princvess Diaries)
Beth Toussaint (Red Eye)
Richamond Arquette (Zodiac)
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers 3)
Scott Foley (Felicity)
Lance Henriksen (Aliens)
Jenny McCarthy (Two and a Half Men)
Emily Mortimer (Hugo)
Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Roger Jackson (The Powerpuff Girls)
Kevin Smith (Mallrats)
Jason Mewes (Dogma)

Jenny-McCarthy-Scream-3Three years after the events of the previous film, Cotton Weary, now living in Los Angeles and the host of a nationally syndicated television show, 100% Cotton, is called by Ghostface, who demands the whereabouts of Sidney Prescott, who has gone into hiding ever since the Windsor College murders. Cotton refuses to cooperate, and when Ghostface comes to his home, Cotton and his girlfriend Christine are murdered.S3Detective Mark Kincaid contacts Gale Weathers to discuss the murders, prompting her to travel to Hollywood, where she finds Dewey Riley working as an adviser on the set of Stab 3, the third film in the film within a film series based on the Ghostface murders. Using a voice changer as a ruse, Ghostface kills Stab 3 actress Sarah Darling. Meanwhile, Sidney is now living in seclusion as a crisis counselor for an abused women’s hotline, as she is fearful that another killer may strike. Having discovered Sidney’s number, the killer begins taunting her by phone, forcing her out of hiding and drawing her to Hollywood. As the remaining Stab 3 cast, along with Dewey and Gale, gather at the home of Jennifer Jolie, Ghostface murders her bodyguard and uses a gas leak to cause an explosion, killing fellow actor Tom Prinze in the process. Martha Meeks, the sister of Sidney’s deceased friend Randy, visits Sidney and the others to drop off a videotape that Randy had made before his death, posthumously warning them that the rules of a horror film franchise in the third and final film do not apply to anyone, and that any of them, including the main character (Sidney), could die.scream-3-campbellDewey, Gale, Jennifer, and the remaining Stab 3 actors, Angelina and Tyson, attend a birthday party for Stab 3’s director Roman Bridger, where Ghostface strikes. Gale discovers Roman’s seemingly dead body in the basement. Angelina, refusing to stick with Gale and Jennifer, wanders off alone before she is murdered. Tyson attempts to fight Ghostface but the killer manages to wound him before throwing him off a balcony to his death. Jennifer tries to escape through a secret passage, but Ghostface kills her. The killer then orders Sidney to the mansion to save Gale and Dewey, who are being held hostage. When she arrives, Ghostface forces Sidney to remove her firearm and lures her inside, as Gale and Dewey are bound and gagged with duct tape. As Sidney is untying Gale and Dewey, Ghostface appears, though Sidney gains the upper hand using a second hidden gun to fight off Ghostface. Detective Kincaid shows up but is knocked unconscious by Ghostface.scream-DI-3Sidney flees and hides in a secret screening room where she encounters Ghostface. He reveals himself as Roman, having faked his death and survived being shot due to a bulletproof vest. Roman admits to being Sidney’s half-brother, born to their mother Maureen Prescott when she was an actress in Hollywood. Years ago, he had unsuccessfully tried reuniting with her. Bitter over the rejection, Roman would film all the men she philandered with. He showed Billy Loomis the footage of his father with Maureen, which motivated him to kill her (thus setting off the events in Scream and Scream 2). However, when he discovered how much fame Sidney had attracted due to those events, Roman snapped and lured Sidney out of hiding.Roman then tells Sidney of his plan to frame her for the murders, before killing Stab producer John Milton. Sidney angrily tells Roman that he is responsible for all of the events that have occurred. A fight ensues between Sidney and Roman, ending when Roman shoots Sidney in the chest, seemingly killing her. While preparing for Gale and Dewey to arrive, Sidney disappears, giving her the upper hand to stab Roman in the back. As he slowly dies, Sidney shows him that she too was wearing a bulletproof vest. She then plunges Roman’s knife into his chest, apparently killing him. Dewey and Gale arrive before Roman recovers, only for Dewey to finally kill him. Sometime after, Dewey proposes to Gale, who accepts. Sidney arrives back at her home and is invited to join Dewey, Gale, and Detective Kincaid to watch a movie. As she goes to join the others, a door behind her opens, but she walks away leaving it as is, finally confident that the murders have ended and she is now safe.The suspense of the film is quite good and the audience is continually left guessing who the murderer might be. The killing scenes are at times graphic but will often leave viewers on the edge of their seats. Wes Craven unquestionably proves his mettle as a master of horror and suspense and does a good job of crowning off the trilogy with a good film. While many other horror franchises, including Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street have gone on to boast a series of eight or more films, Craven deserves a great amount of credit for making the film into a trilogy and settling there. This film does have a number of parallels with “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare,” the first horror film in the genre to truly deconstruct the genre from within, but even for those who have seen “New Nightmare,” Scream 3 is still a very enjoyable film

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REVIEW: MADE OF HONOUR

CAST

Patrick Demsey (Transformers 3)
Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Kevin McKidd (Dog Soldiers)
Kathleen Quinlan (Apollo 13)
Sydney Pollack (Eyes Wide Shut)
Chris Messina (Cake)
Kadeem Hardison (Biker Boyz)
Richmond Arquette (Fight Club)
Busy Philipps (He’s Just Not That Into You)
Whitney Cummings (The Wedding Ringer)
Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory)
Kelly Carlson (Nip/Tuck)
Beau Garrett (Tron: Legacy)

On Halloween night, 1998, at Cornell University, Tom Bailey, Jr. (Patrick Dempsey), in costume as Bill Clinton, slips into bed with his pre-arranged date, Monica. It turns out to be the wrong woman, Monica’s roommate Hannah (Michelle Monaghan), and Tom likes her because she is so honest and does not fling herself at him. Ten years later, Hannah and Tom are best friends. Tom is very wealthy because of his creation of the “coffee collar” and gets a dime every time it is used. Tom is with a different girl every week, while Hannah focuses on her career in an art museum. He is very content with his life, suspecting that Hannah is too.After Tom takes Hannah to his father’s (Sydney Pollack) sixth wedding, Hannah tells Tom she must go to Scotland for work. While she’s gone, Tom discovers that without her, being with another woman week after week is not very fulfilling. He realizes that he loves Hannah and decides to tell her his feelings when she gets back. Upon returning, Hannah surprisingly announces she is engaged to a wealthy Scot named Colin (Kevin McKidd). Hannah asks Tom to be her maid of honor for her wedding. After discussing it with his friends, Tom decides to be her maid of honor, only to spend time with her and try to convince her she does not even know Colin, as well as making her realize that he loves her and she should be marrying him.After arriving in Scotland at Eilean Donan Castle for the wedding, Tom realizes he is running out of time to stop Hannah. He meets all of Colin’s family and must perform in a variant of the Highland Games, in which the groom must compete to prove himself worthy of his bride. Tom is also in the competition with Colin but loses in the last round. Tom takes Hannah out for a walk, hoping to tell her how he feels. The other bridesmaids interrupt for Hannah’s bachelorette party. On her Hen Night, Hannah parades around a pub and sells her kisses for change. As she goes around, Hannah then kisses Tom. Though it just started as a peck on the cheek, it turns into a passionate kiss.That night, Hannah confronts Tom to ask about the kiss. When she gets to his room, her drunk cousin is there, trying to have sex with him. Hannah leaves and Tom runs after her. He knocks on her door, pleading for her to let him in. She refuses and asks about the kiss. He tells her he knew he, not Colin, was the one for her. She refuses to say that she thinks so too and instead tells Tom that she still expects to marry Colin the next day. Tom cannot go through with watching Hannah and Colin get married so he decides to go home.When questioned about his sudden departure shortly before the wedding is to take place, Hannah informs Colin that Tom is just afraid of losing her. On the way home, Tom realizes that he must stop the wedding and goes back on horseback. Just when the priest asks for objections, Tom is sent flying off his horse and through the chapel doors. Seeing her best friend on the floor, Hannah rushes to him. As he struggles to stand up, he tells her that he loves her more than anything and that she should marry him. They then share a kiss. Hannah tells Colin that she is very sorry and that he is the perfect guy, just not the perfect guy for her. Colin’s grandmother then tells Colin, in Scots, to “deck” Tom, which he does without hesitation. Hannah and Tom eventually get married. Melissa catches the bouquet and then links arms with Tom’s dad, to which he says “Number 6?” and his lawyer says “7”. Hannah and Tom go on their honeymoon. Tom turns on the light just to see if he has got the right girl and Hannah replies “You do”. The two kiss and as Hannah turns off the light, Tom says “Oh, Monica” and Hannah replies “Oh, Bill.”For the most part Made of Honor is by the numbers romantic comedy. Sydney Pollack provides welcome comic relief and staid fatherly advice. Kathleen Quilan is great in the supporting role of Hannah’s mother Joan. Too bad she doesn’t have a bigger role. But she has a moving moment with Monaghan as Mom talks about Hannah’s late father. Made of Honor  is enjoyable for what it is: cookie cutter romantic comedy. We can suspend our disbelief, because Dempsey and Monaghan are great together.

REVIEW: SWEET HOME ALABAMA

CAST

Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line)
Josh Lucas (Hulk)
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers 3)
Ethan Embry (Can’t Hardly Wait)
Mary Kay Place (The Big Chill)
Fred Ward (Chain Reaction)
Candice Bergen (Boston Legal)
Jean Smart (The Accountant)
Dakota Fanning (Man on Fire)
Melanie Lynsky (Heavenly Creatures)
Courtney Gains (Children of The Corn)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (24)
Rhona Mitra (Underwolrd 3)
Kevin Sussman (Ugly Betty)
Sean Bridgers (Nell)

The film opens on a stormy Alabama beach with two children, Melanie Smooter and Jake Perry. Jake has brought Melanie out to show her the glass sculptures that result when sand is struck by lightning. They discuss their future together, with Jake asserting they will be married one day. In the present day, Melanie has changed her last name to Carmichael, a rich local family, to hide her poor Southern roots. She is a successful up-and-coming fashion designer in New York City. After becoming engaged to Andrew, Melanie goes home alone to Alabama to tell her parents. In reality she is going to procure a divorce from her estranged husband Jake. Andrew’s mother, the Mayor of New York, expresses doubt that Melanie is good enough for her son, whom she is grooming to eventually run for President of the United States. In Alabama, Melanie asks Jake why he has returned the divorce papers unsigned for the last seven years, but he orders her out of his house, eventually calling the sheriff (another childhood friend) to intervene. When Melanie’s father brings her home from the station she announces her engagement. Hoping to spur Jake to sign the papers, Melanie empties out his checking account, after learning that her name is still on it. Jake says he will sign the papers in the morning, lamenting “nobody finds their soulmate when they’re ten years old”. Following Jake to a local bar, Melanie gets drunk and embarrasses herself in front of her childhood friends, expressing disgust at their lifestyle, confessing that Jake got her pregnant as teens and outing a mutual friend, Bobby Ray Carmichael. When Melanie wakes up the next morning, the divorce papers are lying on her bed, finally signed by Jake.Melanie visits the Carmichael plantation to apologize to Bobby Ray, where she is cornered by a private detective sent to dig up dirt for the mayor. Realizing her predicament, Bobby Ray pretends to be her cousin, backing up her pretense that this is her childhood home. Melanie soon reconciles with her other friends, and learns that Jake followed her to New York City to win her back—intimidated by the size of Manhattan, he returned home determined to make something of himself first. Melanie now realizes why Jake never signed the divorce papers. Andrew arrives at the Carmichael Plantation to surprise Melanie. Jake takes him to a Civil War reenactment, where Melanie is with her father. On the way, knowing who Andrew is, Jake regales him with the story of “Felony” Melanie Smooter, a young girl who once tied dynamite to a cat’s tail and then was arrested after it ran into the bank. When Andrew sees Melanie at the battlefield, she tells him Jake is her ex-husband. When her father introduces himself as Earl Smooter, Andrew realizes that Melanie has lied to him about who she really is and leaves. Andrew soon appears at Melanie’s parents’ house, having gotten over the shock and admitting he still wants to marry her, here in Alabama.Once Melanie’s friends from New York arrive, they browse at a glazier whose wares they all have admired in New York, only to realize it is Jake.

Melanie’s lawyer interrupts the wedding ceremony, bringing the divorce papers that Melanie herself has missed signing. Melanie hesitates, realizing her love for Jake. She wishes Andrew luck in finding a good woman. Andrew, distressed but showing no ill-feelings, wishes her well in return. His mother explodes, berating Andrew for risking his promising political career and verbally attacking Melanie. She then insults the town and Melanie’s mother, for which Melanie punches her in the jaw, to the cheers of the crowd. Melanie, in her wedding gown in the rain, finds Jake planting metal rods in the beach to draw lighting to create more sand sculptures. She tells him they are still married, and asks why he didn’t tell her he came to New York. They repeat the conversation from when they were children about why they want to be married. As Jake and Melanie kiss, sheriff Wade “arrests” them and takes them to the bar owned by Jake’s mother, where their friends and family are waiting. The pair finally get their long-awaited first dance as husband and wife, to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”. A mid-credits sequence shows that they have a daughter, Melanie continues to thrive as a designer and Jake opens a “Deep South Glass” franchise in New York.The concept and plot is very smart, when the tone is told with humour even in situations that are serious. In fact, if the movie hadn’t had humor, it would of fallen apart. The humor is lifting the story to a little more than just good. It is so fun, so full of genial and amusing characters, excellent acting and an excellent ending.

REVIEW: ENCHANTED

CAST

Amy Adams (Man of Steel)
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers 3)
James Marsden (Westworld)
Timothy Spall (Harry Potter)
Idina Menzel (Frozen)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Julie Andrews (The Princess Diaries)
Rachel Covey (Duane Hopwood)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Tonya Pinkins (Gotham)
Michaela Conlin (Bones)

In the animated fairy tale kingdom of Andalasia, the evil Queen Narissa schemes to protect her claim to the throne, which she will lose once her stepson, Prince Edward, finds his true love and marries her. She enlists her loyal henchman Nathaniel to keep Edward distracted. Giselle, a young woman, dreams of meeting a prince and experiencing a “happy ever after”. Edward hears Giselle singing and sets off to find her. Nathaniel sets free a captured troll to kill Giselle, but Edward rescues her in time. When they meet, they instantly fall in love and plan to get married the following day.
Narissa, disguised as an old hag, intercepts Giselle on her way to the wedding and pushes her into a well, and she is magically transformed into a 3D live version of herself and transported to a manhole in New York City’s Times Square. Giselle quickly becomes lost. Meanwhile, Robert, a divorce lawyer, prepares to propose to his longtime girlfriend Nancy, much to the dismay of his daughter Morgan. Robert and Morgan encounter Giselle on their way home, and Robert begrudgingly allows Giselle to stay the night at their apartment at the insistence of Morgan, who instantly trusts Giselle.
Pip, Giselle’s best chipmunk friend from Andalasia, had witnessed Giselle’s exile and alerted Edward thereafter, and both embark on a rescue mission to the city, where they too are turned into 3D versions, but Pip is instead in the form of a real chipmunk – therefore losing the ability to speak. Narissa sends Nathaniel to follow and impede Edward. In a restaurant, Narissa appears to Nathaniel in a soup pot and gives him three poisoned apples to murder Giselle. Pip eavesdrops but is unable to communicate with Edward, as animals cannot speak outside of Andalasia. Nathaniel keeps Pip silenced by imprisoning him in various containers. Meanwhile, after Giselle summons vermin to clean Robert’s apartment, Nancy arrives to take Morgan to school. She meets Giselle and then angrily leaves assuming Robert was unfaithful. Robert is initially upset but spends the day with Giselle, knowing she is vulnerable in the city. Giselle questions Robert about his relationship with Nancy and helps the pair reconcile by sending Nancy an invitation to the “King and Queen’s Costume Ball” at the Woolworth Building. She also begins to win Robert over with her sunny disposition and optimism, even inadvertently helping one of his clients reconcile with his wife.
After searching throughout the city, Edward finally locates Giselle at Robert’s apartment. While Edward is eager to take Giselle home to Andalasia and marry, she insists that they should first go on a date to get to know each other, still conflicted about her feelings. Giselle promises to return to Andalasia after ending their date at the ball, which Robert and Nancy also attend. Narissa, who has been spying from Andalasia, decides to follow and kill Giselle herself after Nathaniel failed to poison her twice. Robert and Giselle share a dance with each other, with both Edward and Nancy noticing their obvious attraction to each other. Giselle and Edward then prepare to leave, but Giselle feels sorrow at leaving Robert behind. Narissa appears as the old hag and offers the last poisoned apple to Giselle, promising “sweet dreams and happy endings.” Giselle takes a bite and falls to the floor unconscious.
Narissa attempts to escape with Giselle’s body but is stopped by Edward. Nathaniel, realizing Narissa was using him and never loved him, reveals her plot. Robert realizes that true love’s kiss (something Giselle often discussed) is the only force powerful enough to break the apple’s spell. After Edward’s kiss fails to wake Giselle, he prompts Robert to do so instead. Robert kisses her just as the clock strikes twelve, Giselle awakens and the whole crowd cheers, with everyone else believing that the situation is a staged event for the ball. Narissa, however, furiously transforms into a giant blue dragon and takes Robert hostage, prompting much panic throughout the crowd. Giselle takes Edward’s sword and pursues Narissa to the top of the building. Pip, who was freed by Edward, helps Giselle successfully defeat Narissa, who falls off of the building to the ground and explodes into magic glitter on impact.
A happy new life unfolds for everyone, showing Edward and Nancy – now animated – marrying in Andalasia; Giselle running a successful fashion business and forming a happy family with Robert and Morgan; while Nathaniel and Pip each become successful authors about their personal experiences in the real world, leaving everyone with their own “happily ever after”.There was also enough humor to keep the older viewers entertained from hilarious allusions to popular fairy tales and even some “adult” themes insinuated, while still keeping the film Disney clean. Overall I completely enjoyed this movie and recommend it to all families.

 

REVIEW: VALENTINE’S DAY

CAST

Jessica Alba (Machete)
Bradley Cooper (Serena)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers 3)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Eric Dane (X-Men 3)
Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Anne Hathaway (Interstellar)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Queen Latifah (Bringing Down The House)
Taylor Lautner (Twilight)
George Lopez (The Smurfs)
Shirley McLaine (Bewitched)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Taylor Swift (New Girl)
Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate About You)
Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
Kirsten Schaal (Bob’s Burgers)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Rance Howard (A Beautiful Mind)

The film follows a group of related characters and their struggles with love on Valentine’s Day.

Florist Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher) wakes up and proposes to his girlfriend Morley Clarkson (Jessica Alba), who accepts. However, Reed’s closest friends, Alfonso Rodriguez (George Lopez) and Julia Fitzpatrick (Jennifer Garner), aren’t surprised when Morley suddenly changes her mind and leaves Reed a few hours later.

On a flight to Los Angeles, Kate Hazeltine (Julia Roberts), a captain in the U.S. Army on a one-day leave, befriends Holden Wilson (Bradley Cooper). Kate is travelling a long distance to get back home only for a short time, and Holden states that she must really be in love to do so. When the plane lands and Kate has to wait hours for the taxi, Holden offers his limousine to allow her to be there on time.

Julia, an elementary school teacher, has fallen in love with Dr. Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey), but does not know that he is married to Pamela (Katherine LaNasa). Harrison tells her that he needs to go to San Francisco for a business trip: on his way, he stops by at Reed’s flowershop and orders two flower bouquets – asking for discretion. Wanting to surprise him and despite Reed’s warnings, Julia flies to San Francisco, convinced that Reed was wrong. Julia finds out that he is married and finds him at a local restaurant. Dressed as a waitress, Julia makes a scene at the restaurant, making Pamela suspicious.

One of Julia’s students, Edison (Bryce Robinson), orders flowers from Reed, to be sent to his teacher. Julia suggests to Edison to give the flowers to a girl named Rani in his class who has a crush on him after telling Edison the meaning of love.

Edison’s babysitter Grace Smart (Emma Roberts) is planning to lose her virginity to her boyfriend Alex Franklin (Carter Jenkins). The planned encounter goes awry when Grace’s mother discovers a naked Alex in Grace’s room, rehearsing a song he wrote for Grace.

Edison’s grandparents, Edgar (Héctor Elizondo) and Estelle Paddington (Shirley MacLaine) are facing the troubles of a long marriage. Estelle admits to Edgar about an affair she had with one of his business partners long ago. Although she is deeply sorry, Edgar is very upset.

Grace’s high school friends, Willy Harrington (Taylor Lautner) and Felicia Miller (Taylor Swift), are experiencing the freshness of new love, and have agreed to wait to have sex.

Sean Jackson (Eric Dane), a closeted gay professional football player, is contemplating the end of his career with his publicist Kara Monahan (Jessica Biel) and his agent Paula Thomas (Queen Latifah). Kara is organizing her annual “I Hate Valentine’s Day” party, but soon becomes interested in sports reporter Kelvin Moore (Jamie Foxx), who was ordered to do a Valentine’s Day report by his boss Susan Moralez (Kathy Bates), and who shares Kara’s hatred of the holiday.

Substituting for Paula’s absent secretary is one of the firm’s receptionists, Liz Curran (Anne Hathaway), who dates mail-room clerk Jason Morris (Topher Grace). Jason is shocked when Liz turns out to be moonlighting as a phone sex operator. Liz explains that she is only doing this because she has a $100,000 student loan to pay off. Jason is upset, but eventually reconciles with her after seeing Edgar forgive Estelle.

Sean finally comes out on national television, and Holden, Sean’s lover, goes back to him. Kate arrives home late at night to greet not her supposed boyfriend but her son Edison. Willy drops Felicia off at home after a date and they kiss. Kelvin and Kara hang out at Kelvin’s news station where they later kiss. Alfonso dines with his wife, and Grace and Alex agree to wait to have sex. Edgar and Estelle reconcile and redo their marriage vows, Harrison’s wife has left him because of his infidelity and Morley tries to call Reed, who is instead starting a new relationship with Julia. Paula receives a call from one of Liz’s masochistic clients and takes delight in expressing her dominance and sadism.

Big star cast with lots of intertwined storylines going on with a lovely little twist at the end. A proper feel good movie thatt ticks all the right boxes for Valentine’s Day.

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS 1-4

CAST

Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Megan Fox (New Girl)
Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas)
Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Rachael Taylor (The Darkest Hour)
Anthony Anderson (The Departed)
Jon Voight (Mission Impossible)
John Turturro (Barton Fink)
Michael O’Neill (Secondhand Lions)
Kevin Dunn (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Julie White (Monsters Vs Aliens)
Zack Ward (Bloodrayne 2)
Travis Van winkle (Meet The Spartans)
Bernie Mac (Bad Santa)
Tom Lenk (Angel)
J.P. Manoux (Birds of Prey)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Peter Cullen (Transformers Prime)
Mark Ryan (Black Sails)
Darius McCrary (15 Minutes)
Robert Foxworth (Omen II)
Jess Harnell (Wall-e)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Colton Haynes (Arrow)

Searching the galaxy for a troublesome energy cube, the Autobots, lead by Optimus Prime (voiced robustly by legend Peter Cullen), have arrived on Earth. Teaming up with a teenager named Sam (Shia LeBeouf) and innocent bystander Mikeala (Megan Fox), the Autobots set out to complete their mission; but when government agents interfere (led by John Turturro and Jon Voight, with soldiers played by Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson), it awakens the wrath of the Decepticons, who free their leader Megatron (Hugo Weaving) from his ice prison and put Earth in their crosshairs as they challenge Prime for control of the all-powerful cube.

Granted, these aren’t your granddaddy’s Transformers. Souped up to resemble high-tech living robots while fighting and the latest in automobile trends in car form, Bay and the producers have mucked around considerably with the look of the Autobots and Decepticons, putting the infamous flames on Optimus Prime and turning Megatron into an alien jet. Supporters of the all-holy “G1” have every right to scoff, but “Transformers” has a wonderful way of making these ludicrous alterations fit into the bigger, slicker picture, pressing down hard on the extraterrestrial angle of our visitors. It’s only a matter of moments before you buy these reinvented incarnations of popular characters and another few seconds before you start to root for their victory and defeat.

Running at 140 minutes, Transformers never runs out of juice.

 

 

CAST

Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Megan Fox (New Girl)
Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas)
Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious)
John Turturro (Barton Fink)
Ramon Rodriguez (Need For Speed)
Kevin Dunn (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Julie White (Monsters Vs Aliens)
Isabel Lucas (Red Dawn)
America Olivo (Bitch Slap)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Peter Cullen (Transformers Prime)
Mark Ryan (Black Sails)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Robert Foxworth (Omen II)
Jess Harnell (Wall-e)
Tony Todd (Wishmaster)
Frank Walker (The Simpsons)
Tom Kenny (The Batman)
Michael York (Logans Run)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)

A sequel to the 2007 movie that brings us back to the main characters from that. Two years have passed for then. Sam is off to college and is getting along nicely with girlfriend Mikaela. He’s also trying to distance himself from the whole alien robots whom he got involved with in the first film. The good guy Autobots are helping the military destroy the evil deceptions. But the latter have a whole new plan that involves a figure from their history. As that kicks into action, nobody is safe, and it’s time for Sam and Mikaela to help save the world again.

This builds things up to a much greater scale than the first film, and it brings in a lot more of the robots, both good and bad ones. This is the right decision but there’s so many new characters, few of whom get anything other than cursory introductions, that those who don’t know the transformers characters from other media might be a bit confused. There were times when I thought a scorecard would have helped. Some have rather silly voices and some are used for comic relief, but these ones do at the same time have a fair amount of character as a result, so they work.

The plot also being move involved means you do have to work at it, a little more than you might expect from a piece of escapist entertainment. And yet, whilst it’s not as focused as the first film, it does come up with a big action battle climax.  As humans and alien robots alike battle evil forces and strive to do the right thing and are quite prepared to put their lives on the line, it’s not hard to find yourself rooting for them all the way.

CAST

Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas)
Tyrese Gibson (Fast 2 Furious)
John Turturro (Barton Fink)
Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy)
Frances McDormand (Burn After Reading)
John Malkovich (Red)
Kevin Dunn (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Julie White (Monsters Vs Aliens)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Scott Krinsky (Chuck)
Peter Cullen (Transformers Prime)
Mark Ryan (Black Sails)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek)
Jess Harnell (Wall-e)
Robert Foxworth (Omen II)
James Remar (Flashforward)
George Coe (The Entity)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Tom Kenny (The Batman)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)

The story,  involves a Transformer named Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy), who crashed on the moon in the 1960s and is re-awakened by Optimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen) in the present day. This sets in motion a chain of events that build to a Transformer war, with Megatron (voice of Hugo Weaving) on one side, and Optimus on the other, with the fate of the human race dangling in the middle.

Eventually, we are returned to Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), the protagonist from the last two films, and his girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). Sam is irritated that after his participation in the battle between Autobots and Decepticons, he’s been out of college for a few months and still doesn’t have a job with the military, or with anyone at all, for that matter. LaBeouf makes these scenes work. Carly’s boss, Dylan (Patrick Dempsey), ribs Sam by referring to a car as “trying to evoke the curves of a woman,” while both Dylan and the camera stare lecherously at Carly.

Ultimately, Bay’s primary success here is casting. In addition to Dempsey (pleasingly cynical), Dark of the Moon boasts an elaborate roster of recognizable, exceptional professionals, like John Malkovich (ridiculous), Frances McDormand (deadly serious), Ken Jeong (psychotic), and Alan Tudyk (over-the-top), who give the film color around its big silly edges. McDormand in particular adds a level of gravitas to the first half of the movie that really greases the wheels, and even though she’s relegated to the far back in the last third, she shares her time with returning player John Turturro, with whom she has amusing chemistry. Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Dunn, and Julie White also return.

Everything else is action, action, action. This time, Bay is better with his action geography and choreography, illustrating fights from a distance and turning down the dust clouds a little bit. The 3D often helps, adding a dizzying sense of height to moments such as several characters leaping out onto the side of a tilting glass building, or troops in gliding suits diving out of falling helicopters and soaring an improbable distance across the city.

 

 

CAST

Mark Wahlberg (The Lovely Bones)
Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games)
Kelsey Grammer (X-Men 3)
Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel)
Jack Reynor (Macbeth)
Titus Welliver (Lost)
Sophia Myles (Underworld)
Bingbing Li (The Message)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Erika Fong (Power Rangers Samurai)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Peter Cullen (Transformers Prime)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins)
Robert Foxworth (Omen II)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Mark Ryan (Black Sails)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
John Goodman (Red State)

After the monstrous success of his first Transformers trilogy, Hollywood outlaw Michael Bay parted ways with star Shia Labeouf and began a new chapter in his franchise. Mark Wahlberg joins the cast and gives an agreeable performance.

The United States Government no longer supports the Autobot/military alliance, and a shady CIA unit dubbed Cemetery Wind is responsible for hunting down the Decepticons hiding on Earth. Blue-blood inventor Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) struggles to support his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) without a steady paycheck, but discovers a rundown semi-truck cab in an abandoned theater that turns out to be a heavily damaged Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen). Optimus reveals that the CIA is using Deception bounty hunter Lockdown to kill the Autobots, and helps Cade and Tessa escape a Cemetery Wind ambush. They rejoin Autobots Bumblebee, Hound, Drift and Crosshairs, and discover that multinational corporation KSI has recreated Transformium, the unstable metal found in Transformers. This leads KSI head Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) to create his own warriors from Deception leftovers, including deadly Galvatron.


As expected, Bay creates a film on a bigger scale than his last outing, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The practical sets and action sequences are absolutely immense, and Bay again shoots heavily in Detroit, which doubles for Hong Kong.

These films have always been pretty funny, and, while Kruger’s writing will not be winning any awards, it has improved from the Mudflap/Skids jive-talking nonsense of Revenge of the Fallen. Tucci is always funny in tense situations, and comedian T.J. Miller gets some laughs as Cade’s borderline annoying best friend. Wahlberg is a 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.