Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), a man who is the head of an anti-poaching unit, finds out his beloved albino silverback gorilla friend George has been infected with a mysterious experiment that turns him into a giant, aggressive beast.

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Fifty Shades Freed

Fifty Shades Freed

The latest, and hopefully last, film in the Fifty Shades film series, "Fifty Shades Freed" has officially arrived. The film follows a newlywed couple of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele-Grey played by Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson respectively as they must deal with the sins of their past.

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Review: The Martian

maxresdefault-16-600x338 The lights go down, the screen goes black, and the next thing viewers see is a group of astronauts already on Mars, a catastrophe about to occur. From the very beginning The Martian is entertaining but empty, devoid of consequence or empathy but still a fun ride despite itself.

Matt Damon stars as Mark Watney, a botanist turned astronaut left behind by his team on Mars. With minimal supplies and a hell of a lot of gumption, he struggles to survive on a planet empty of the things humans need to live, until a rescue can be attempted. Watney is up to the challenge, and luckily ends up getting help from both the NASA team on Earth and his own crew members to develop a plan for survival and, eventually, escape.

The situation seems dire… but not for the viewer. Damon has a lot of fun in the role of a sarcastic space genius, and that might be part of the problem. You rarely feel like Watney is in any sort of danger, and the chance he might not make it home isn’t even a consideration. He doesn’t have any ties on Earth that are ever mentioned to worry about, and everyone around him thinks he’s, well, kind of an ass. There aren’t any reasons to root against the character, but there aren’t many reasons to root for him, either. And when we leave the action on Mars, scenes with the supporting characters on Earth and the returning spaceship slow the story down to a crawl. Some of the actors are well utilized (Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor) and some are there just to take up space (Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena) and at least one serves a little more than a Deus Ex Machina (Donald Glover.) Of course it takes more than one man to get home from Mars, and I liked some of the brainstorming scenes that take place as the earthlings scramble to figure out how to bring Watney home. But there is no denying that it slows down the pace of the film and needlessly extends the run time.

This is also a movie that prides itself on the realism of its science, and doing so creates another speed bump for the film. In the final third of the run time the science starts getting a little wacky, and finally rockets all the way up to Road Runner territory. For a movie determined to present a realistic approach to science and space travel, the last 20 minutes veer straight into action movie territory, with science saving the day Bruce Willis in Armageddon-style. I would’ve preferred they kept the escape a little more believable at it’s conclusion.

Despite its fumbles, The Martian is a solid film that’s funny and occasionally smart and worth your hard-earned dollars. It doesn’t reinvent the genre, but it’s an entertaining movie that’s well shot and well directed. As we move towards the end of the cinematic year, that’s more than I usually hope for.

[easyreview title= "Review of The Martian" cat1title="Jack's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="4.0" overall= false]

Review: Sicario

Sicario-Trailer-2-Starring-Emily-Blunt-and-Benicio-Del-Toro Sicario. It means "hitman". This is what we are told at the beginning of this gorgeous film. Do you like gripping suspense and thrills? Do you love beautiful cinematography that remembers film making truly is an art form? Do you need a bit of odd pacing and loud music that sounds like a mix of scores from a horror film and a Godzilla flick? Well this is the movie for you!

Sicario is a film that follows DEA agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) along with her partner Reggie Wayne (Daniel Kaluuya) as we first see them deal with what is unfortunately a very familiar scene in their lives as they execute a hostage rescue where they find more than they were expecting. These missions bring her to the attention of Matt Gravin (Josh Brolin) and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), two mysterious advisers for the DEA. There is a plan to do more than just clean up the mess of the Mexican cartels. What unfolds as we watch is that plan.

I dare not say any more as that way spoilers lie but just know that we get a ton of great performances from the cast here. While these guys are great (especially when we see a wet willy used as a torture method) what got me sucked in was how gorgeous the cinematography is throughout. First it's the overhead shots of the desert. However you soon find yourself viewing from some unique angles of this story. It's hard to describe as it was a very unique mix and very artsy angles that only served to add to the story being told. I loved every bit of it. This truly added to the level of suspense as many times you just weren't sure what was going to go wrong but you KNEW it would go wrong.

I can easily recommend this movie to anyone that loves a good crime drama/suspense thriller. Just be ready for it to be VERY graphic. But that doesn't mean it's perfect.

The first major issue is the pacing. At times it feels very slow. This works great during the first two acts but during the third act things seem to drag when we know what's about to happen. It's not awful but it is noticeable. Trim a few minutes and we're good.

The second issue is the overwrought music. I kind of liked it at first as it drove home the feeling dread that this film deserved (I found this movie scarier than any horror film but then I don't find horror scary). However it gets to be a bit much in a good theater. It really does feel like the demon version of Godzilla is about to walk on screen at any moment. Just chill, guys. We get it.

My last issue doesn't change the story telling at all but it's obnoxious. Go to IMDB and look up this movie. First you'll see that Sicario is a popular name for movies but ignore that. Go to the cast list and top billed is Emily Blunt as she is the cipher through which we experience the majority of this film. Now scroll down tot he next actress. You're gonna go down fifteen names. The next billed female actress is the wife of a guy. She has a few lines but no name. There was one of actress. She had no lines, no name and was on screen for a couple of minutes. I personally find this to just be obnoxious as hell.

Anywho, I really enjoyed this movie, even with those few flaws. If you dig this genre do not miss this. Just try not to sit near the speakers.

[easyreview title= "Review of Sicario" cat1title="Rob's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="4.0" overall= false]

Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron

avengers-age-of-ultron-concept-computer-wallpaper-pictures-jpg Three years ago we got the culmination of so much with the release of The Avengers. Bringing together a group of unlikely characters from individual movies and slamming them together into one epic finale; and boy did it work. Fast forward to today and we are embarking on a similar path, but the stakes are a lot higher for many reasons. Can Avengers: Age of Ultron deliver on the promise of more teamwork, world building, and copious amounts of fun? The answer is a resounding yes and with plenty to spare. Avengers: Age of Ultron meets those challenges and creates some news and hurdles them as well. Director Joss Whedon leads an ensemble cast of superheroes through a film that pushes everyone to be better. Whedon, who cut his teeth in television, has come a long way from serialized vampire vs teen girl shows. However, leaning on his roots of juggling large casts has proven to be his greatest asset. Its nice to have the director of these films be the writer as well because we can compare them directly to one another. In this case, we can see Whedon’s writing and direction have gone from good to pretty damn great. Creating more cinematic shots of these inherently ultra-cinematic moments makes the film feel more grand and works for the spectacle that we have come to expect. Whedon has said that the making of this film almost killed him, but it seemed the stress was worth it. He has pushed his writing and direction to the limit and we benefit from that tremendously.

The film picks up pretty much from the bonus scene at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Relax, if you didn’t stay in your theater seats for the extra you will not be lost. We are immediately introduced to Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) as possible foils for The Avengers. They are “enhanced” and present a completely new set of challenges for our heroes. The entire team that we know from The Avengers: Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) are all back in action from the onset of the film. We get an understanding that the team has been leading missions from Avengers Tower (formerly Stark Tower). The teamwork aspect of the film is a very real change. We see the crew play off of each other and are more assembled than ever before, well in most aspect. Due to his extreme hubris, Tony Stark decides that he will build an artificial intelligence named Ultron without consulting with the team. Tony sees this as a way to be a peace keeping force in the world to end the era of The Avengers. Things like this tend to go wrong, and so it is the same here. Ultron is “born” and immediately decids that he needs to destroy The Avengers for the sake of mankind.

The film goes the ways in which you might expect, sans one thing. The film takes an amazing tonal shift at one point and really gives the most character development we’ve seen in a comic book based film in quite some time. Drawing the audiences into a scenario of actually caring for and about something. While I am sure less mature viewers will deride this as the “boring parts.” What Whedon is able to create is a space for us to know the characters deeper. Its a wonderful bit of film making and makes the impact of events that much deeper.

The performances by all the principal actors is much the same as we’ve seen before. All very solid with Robert Downey Jr. leading the charge as the most seasoned actor. Chris Evans’s Captain America has really come into his own since his last solo film. He has truly embodied the character. The real stand out without a doubt is James Spader’s Ultron. While not a human character, the role of Ultron was motion captured from Spader himself. We get all the great mannerism of the man and it works so well. His voice gives a bit extra “superiority” complex to the character. Spader’s amazing performance shifts from the inquisitive to the mad in seconds, the emotional spectrum makes for a villain who is worth the team’s time and effort. Combined with Joss Whedon fantastic writing, Spader has a massive sandbox to play in and you won’t soon forget his impact in this ever expanding universe. Ultimately, Avengers: Age of Ultron is what we want in these films. Its a perfect balance between fun, action, and depth. A true step up from the first Avengers film in every single way.

[easyreview title= "Review of Avengers: Age of Ultron" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="4.5" overall= false]

Review: Hot Tub Time Machine 2

httm2_header2 I stumbled across the first Hot Tub Time Machine in that it had a stupid title which stirred no interest in me but my girlfriend and I wanted to watch something. It was on and we sat down not really paying attention at first but rather quickly we saw it was flippin’ hilarious. Out of the blue we had a fantastic comedy shoved down our throats and it was a great ride from beginning to end. So how do you top that in the sequel? Turns out you don’t. You try really hard to recapture the magic but you end up falling a bit short of the goal.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is obviously the sequel to the surprise 2010 hit that I just spoke of. In it we have Craig Robinson, Clark Duke and Rob Corddry reprise their roles from the original. Missing from that cast is John Cussack who apparently declined to be in this film. Replacing him in the role of his son is Adam Scott of Parks & Rec fame. The cast gels very well with some natural chemistry among them that helps sell the funnier moments of the film.

Now to envision this movie simply think of it as Back to the Future 2 mixed with The Hangover. Much like the classic Michael J. Fox vehicle this film involves heading to future to fix something that is terribly wrong. I can’t say what without spoiling the film but needless to say this isn’t where they wanted to be in the first place.

From there hijinks ensue as the characters discover their future fates and meet up with Adam Scott’s character as their guide through the not so distant future that has been shaped by their own actions. There are many funny moments in this scenario. There are also many moments that fall flat or are simply awkward and one scene that was just odd and a bit uncomfortable in how long it lasted.

My overall feelings on this movie are a tad mixed. I wouldn’t recommend rushing out to see it. Maybe a cheap matinee if you must however I think waiting for Netflix is a better idea. It will only be a laugh riot if you are a stoner. Otherwise you’ll get some good laughs in and walk away… whelmed.

[easyreview title= "Review of Hot Tub Time Machine 2" cat1title="Rob's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="3.0" overall= false]

Review: Blackhat

Blackhat Michael Mann’s latest international computer hacking adventure, Blackhat, pits Chris Hemsworth against an unknown enemy who doesn’t seem to be rooted in the traditional trappings of cyberterrorism. Teaming both Chinese and American investigative agencies, Mann takes us on an global ride using computer hacking as the backdrop for a modern day cat and mouse film. The film is shot in Michael Mann’s signature style that we have know so very well from such classics as The Insider, Collateral, and certainly Heat. However, there is nothing classic about Blackhat. The title references the term used for computer hackers who work outside the law for their own personal gain, conversely a whitehat would be a hacker who works within the law perhaps to secure a system against break-ins from blackhats. With this knowledge the film takes one very large assumption of the audience and it largely buries the film early on. Blackhat purports that watching people do actual hacking is somehow interesting; spoilers...its not. There use to be the complaint that computer interactions in movies was so outlandish compared to the real thing. However, this film is a textbook example of why there needs to be a middle ground.

The film begins with an explosion at a Chinese nuclear power plant. This catastrophe is orchestrated by our movie’s villain who remains unseen until the near end of the film. His motives for doing so are unclear at this point but he is certainly responsible. The lead investigator of the explosion, Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang), discovers that the detonation was triggered using a remote program and he is off to solve the crime. He also involves his sister, Lien Chen (Wei Tang) who is working for the same Chinese investigative bureau. Together they head to the United States to work with the FBI to solve the mystery of this hacker. Their liaison is Carol Barrett (Viola Davis)  who is leery of working with the Chinese to begin with, so there is some early on tension there. However, it soon fades and everyone is friends; pointless contention. When Chen suggests, more so demands, that they get the help of imprisoned hacker Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) the story begins to take shape. Hathaway is brought aboard and the newly formed team begin their investigation. It is at this point the movie falls completely apart.

The first hour and half of this movie are completely boring. There is scene after scene of anticlimactic nonsense. Mann has a vision, but just can’t seem to make it engaging on any level. There are relationships formed that seem to just happen with no sort of run up. Our heroes run back and forth from country to country with nothing really driving the narrative forward. For a cat and mouse film, there is very little cat and the mouse is boring me to tears. Mann’s shooting style, which I normally love, is absolutely abysmal here. Slow and then fast panning just made everything look like mush on screen. He never kept the camera still for more than 30 seconds (high estimate). Over time, Mann’s films have begun to slip and this one slips and falls right off the edge.

There are a few action sequences that were representative of the Michael Mann of old and those looked great purely from a visual perspective. However, they made little to no sense in the way they were being executed. Normally, Mann goes for almost hyper-realism here. This time we had a large amount of one shot kills that was something closer to a comic book movie; it just felt off.

In the end, the bad guy gets his comeuppance and the heroes prevail. Chris Hemsworth’s Nicholas Hathaway ranged from incredibly bland to overly melodramatic. As a person who is suppose to be a hacker he is just not believable. He still looks largely like he stepped off the set of Thor. Wei Tang is fine as the investigator/love interest but her relationship with Hathaway was not flushed out and felt ham-fisted when it was shown. Their interaction was plastic and lacked any level of depth. As a movie that hit theaters just after the first of the year I should have known this was going to be the case, but Blackhat somehow managed to surpass my rather low expectations. I hope to see Michael Mann learn from this film, and get back to his roots.

[easyreview title= "Review of Blackhat" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="0.5" overall= false]

Review: Dear White People

DWPSam Biting satirical racial films are rare these days in the so called post-racial-America that was spearheaded by the Obama presidency. Justin Simien’s debut film that he wrote, produced, and directed is a testament that America’s issues with race are far from over, but that’s not as much of the focus as one might glean from the title of the film alone. Dear White People is far more of a journey of self discovery in the modern age. Four Black students discovering who they truly are in midst of racial animosity, confusion, and eventual maturity. Dear White People focuses on four Black kids at an Ivy League college. The four have very different trajectories that they set out on and where they land is not as obvious as it might appear. Playing within the lines of what it means to be Black in America during a time of seemingly the highest amount of racial understanding can sometimes be the hardest time; lines get crossed by the unknowing, and by the uncaring. Samantha White (Tessa Thompson), often addressed as Sam, is the bi-racial young woman who runs a local radio show on campus entitled 'Dear White People.' Its obviously controversial due to Sam’s affinity to call out White people’s micro and macro aggressions. She makes statements such as “Dear White, dating a black person to piss of your parents is a form of racism.” Obviously, Sam is easily one of the most militant of the Black students on campus. She refuses to compromise her blackness in any way.

The second, and likely most relatable character is Lionel Higgins (Tyler James Williams). A journalism student who is tasked to do a character piece on Sam, but suffers from a level of being an outsider that makes him familiar to the audience in one way or another. Lionel just can’t seem to fit in anywhere. He bounces from house to house trying to find a place to land, literally and figuratively. He is afflicted with the notion of being not black enough for the Black kids, and too Black for the white kids; sounds like how Barack Obama was describe by many during the 2008 campaign. Sadly this is a very common Black experience for college students in the age of information. Where cultures are more widely colliding, seemingly in a good way, how do we stay true to our own culture? A question that Dear White People proposes, but doesn’t need to answer because it let’s the audience figure it out for themselves. Lionel’s journey is that of self discovery in this cultural middle ground.

Next is Colandrea Conners, often referred to as CoCo, (Teyonah Parris) an extremely bright young woman who is the very definition of craven. She works as a lens into two distressing aspects of Black culture, but she is explored incredibly well. CoCo while majoring in Economics at this Ivy League college has aspirations of much more; sadly that is reality television stardom. She meets with a producer about it and learns that controversy is the way to truly make it. She sets out on that path to extremely damaging consequences. Her desire for fame is a very common thing, not unlike wanting sports/music stardom over education. The other aspect of CoCo is her self-hatred. She makes every attempt to distance herself and reject her Blackness. She covers her hair, apologizes for her skin tone, and rejects men of her own race out of hand. She sees herself as progressive but in reality she is likely the most damaged. Her arc is that of discovery from the point of learning to love yourself and continue on the path she began when she enrolled in college.

Last but certainly not least is Troy (Brandon P. Bell) who is the son of the Dean of Students, played by Dennis Haysbert. Troy is the most popular, good looking, and charming man on campus. He is dating the President of the college’s daughter and the world is his oyster if he wants it. However, Troy lives between two worlds much like Lionel. Struggling between being the passable Black guy that puts White people at ease at the behest of his father, and being his own man. Living in the middle is torturous for Troy and it works to make him a generally miserable person to those around him. His father wants him to fulfill a dream that was never his, but can Troy walk away from it and go his own way? While trying to be his own man, Troy becomes the ultimate code switcher and lap dog for the son of the President of the college. There is something truly sad about Troy’s character and likely eerily familiar to many Black Americans. How do you break the expectations of the previous generation while respecting what they have accomplished?

Dear White People has a provocative title that will lend to ridiculous comments from people who will never see it. However, in the end the film should probably be called Dear Black People. Its plays as an excellent view of what four Black kids face in their college years. These experiences are not uncommon and can even happen to Whites as well. However, the unique Black American experience is what makes the four personal journeys that much more fascinating. The characters run parallel to one another, but in the end cross paths in a way that shouldn’t be spoiled here. Many complain that Black American cinema is not prominent or sophisticated enough, but Justin Simien’s Dear White People not only disproves this but goes one step farther. He manages to make a film that is inclusive to people who would likely pass it by due to its title alone. When I saw the film the theater was nearly 50/50 Black and White, that bodes well for these future generations.

The dialogue was on par with what you might expect in a film like this. Young college kids doing their best speechifying impressions, and it works so well. Tessa Thompson truly stands out a the provocateur of the film, while Tyler James Williams's Lionel is the true break out. It's nice to see young black actors not fulfilling stereotypes to further or in some cases jump start their careers. At times Dear White People might be harsh and in your face, but in the end its a movie that EVERYONE should see regardless of race or ethnicity.

[easyreview title= "Review of Dear White People" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="4.5" overall= false]

Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

DawnOfApes This summer has been plagued with some rather disappointing blockbuster films. Godzilla and Trans-goddamn-formers 4 come to mind as we look at older properties brought to the big screen this summer. Thank goodness we have a film such as this to give us a much needed break from some of the other terrible movies we’ve been suffering through. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes lives up to the hype it is currently receiving. This is a gripping character piece which focuses on someone we care for the most. The film also asks you to decide what is truly worth fighting for; It is a story of survival. Yet when you fight to survive… whom do you fight against? Set ten years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes we find the now extremely intelligent apes thriving in their forest home. Hunting and gathering, raising families and living in peace with themselves. We even get a peek at an ape school. They communicate mainly through sign language but will use spoken words when the situation demands it. These apes aren’t just CGI set pieces either. These are living and breathing characters with heart and soul. You care for them, worry about them and, when certain events happen, you can even hate them. This film truly sells the entire notion of these apes as a people with needs and wants. The aren’t monsters or spectacle. They are people.

Speaking of people, the apes believe mankind has wiped itself out by now as they haven’t seen them in years. This notion is struck down as two hunters discover a man wandering the woods… and he’s not alone. This is the beginning of the crux of our story. The humans have a city they now live in yet they need something that is in the ape territory. The humans are entirely unaware of the intelligent apes in the woods and when they speak they are caught entirely off guard. Worlds are rocked on both sides but the humans still want to acquire something in the apes' territory, so the conflict continues. The apes want nothing to do with the humans… and worlds collide.

Now we are already humans ourselves so it’s easy to empathize with the human characters as the thing they want is very logical. They want to survive. They NEED to survive. All of this is to say that the humans in the film aren’t inherently evil. The apes, as much as we come to feel for them, also are not inherently good. The trailers promise a war and you get one. The causes of this war are far from simple and comes down to human nature on both sides. Apes believe themselves to be above humans but we soon see that they are really no different from us.

The writing in this movie is rock solid. Dialogue and character arcs flow smoothly without massive hiccups or obvious questions with no answers. Characters truly come to life in front of us… and those apes. Pure CG and the only time it looked iffy was at the sight of a baby ape. Everything else was spot on. WETA Workshop continues to show that it truly is the best in the business when it comes to realistic CGI. They create some truly stunning and epic visuals to go along with this amazing story.

If you enjoyed Rise you will love the Dawn. If you haven’t seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes I implore you to do so now and then haul ass to the theater to see this new film that ups the ante to deliver a great follow up to a fantastic tale.

[easyreview title= "Review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" cat1title="Rob's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="5.0" overall= false]

Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction

Optimus-Prime-Transformers-4-header Ok, guys. Up front I am the biggest Transformers fan on staff. Though I’m not one of those people that says they are a huge fan but goes on about how dumb Beast Wars is and can’t actually name all the Dinobots. I love Beast Wars because the writing turned into something amazing. I know all the names and I know that die cast metal is a bad thing because it makes toys break. I have friends in the industry that currently or have in the past designed the toys you see on the shelves. In fact, shameless plug, I was just featured in LA Weekly for my appearance at Botcon selling my custom figures. So yeah, I’m a giant Transformers nerd. All that said I kinda really hate this movie. Did I enjoy the random action? Sure, of course I did. I laughed at some jokes and cheered a bit when awesome things happened. But between those moments we were stuck with a movie that was two effing hours and fortyfive damn minutes long. All of that time was wasted as there was no reasonable sense of story telling or any real explanations of rather important things.

So what is this movie about? Who cares, really? You have Mark Wahlberg as an inventor/joke that has a 17 year old daughter that is played up as the eye candy… which is creepy, right? But she’s also a stick with no features to display other than having tiny shorts so I guess they get away with that. In fact as a straight man I would have to say her boyfriend was the more attractive one and since he was on screen most of the time I guess that makes up for that… or something. Ugh, I’m trying to talk about the human characters but it’s difficult, guys. At no point do you honestly care about them. One dies pretty early on and you don’t really care. Markie Mark won’t let his daughter date AT ALL and it’s obnoxious and you just kinda dislike him. The inventor angle is eventually forgotten and you have even less reason to care about him. But oh! Kelsey Grammer is the bad guy with weird motivations that get down right nonexistent by the end of the film. Seriously, I have no idea what his deal was after a couple of hours when all his plans were gone and he was just running around being a douche.

Alright look, there’s very very little plot in this movie so I’ve not going to discuss any of it so as to not spoil it for anyone crazy enough to go see it after I’ve written this. So let me talk about what I did like for a moment.

The robots are all very distinct. No more complaints about not telling robots apart. Very distinct body shapes and colors make it clear who is who throughout the film. All of the Autobots also have very distinct personalities. Good, right? Well… I'll touch on that in a second. Anywho, the action scenes look fun and loud as usual. There are some jokes I laughed and some things I laughed at that weren’t jokes. There was a lack of US military which was a welcome break. Also a lack of terrible humor that Bay is known for with these movies. In that regard it is the least embarrassing of the franchise. Oh, and Hound. He was John Goodman having fun with a voice over role and it showed. Everyone will leave this movie loving Hound. Though fans may say he fits Bulkhead a lot better but that picking nits.

What did I hate? Well the effects were randomly not good. I saw it in 3D and I did so because the last film was very good in 3D. With this we had oddly flat explosions, really fake looking robots and that pixel-forming effect in the trailer looked SUPER fake. That effect was almost neat but it was never used to really accomplish anything and the way it worked was by rebuilding the form like a wire frame in the video game and each polygon would be filled in. Thank god only the bad guys did this. Not that it mattered because you RARELY saw the Autobots actually transform. In fact most of the time they just showed up in which ever form they needed.

In reference to transforming, the autobot Drift, the Bugatti, was also a helicopter. This was never explained nor did we ever actually see him change to or from his Bugatti mode. That car was simply there sometimes when he wasn’t. We also never hear his name out loud though it appears on the screen. This leads me to the lack of real characterization. Drift is a former Decepticon. You would never know this because it’s never even hinted at in the film. You also might not know he’s a Bugatti as you only actually see the helicopter transformation. Now the Autobots do have distinct personalities but they are almost all versions of “dickhead”. It’s not really fun to watch them be assholes to everyone around them including each other. Optimus has a tendency to yell, “I will kill you!” at everyone. Even humans. Hell, Hound randomly kills a creature for spitting at him and calls it, “Bitch.” Very off putting. And Bumblebee may as well just talk now. The radio sounds are now just actors speaking for him. It makes no damn sense.

Speaking of making no sense the plot was… crap. The first 20 minutes felt very schizo with scenes jumping between plot threads that never mesh into a plot that feels like anything more than threads. Though, once again, the Earth is the center of all alien activity and we have yet another origin for the Transformers kinda. Oh, and Knights. The villain, Lockdown, captures things and locks them in his ship. He wants Optimus. Why? Turns out Optimus is a Knight. What does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine as it is never explained. He’s put in a cell upside down in a room with other Knights being treated the same way. The Knights never speak. Ever. Eventually this room, which is on an escape pod, is taken by the Autobots and kept for a while. The Knights are left hanging… until Optimus needs them for something and frees them and makes them work for him under penalty of death. They transform and run around kicking ass. The Knights never speak, we barely see them in robot mode and in the end they are never even given so much as names let alone a reason for why they exist. Have you figured out that the Knights are the Dinobots shown in the trailers? They are never called that. Hell, they stop calling them Knights as soon as they are freed. Optimus makes a comment about, “The legends are true,” and they move on. Giant monsters fighting just because.

This movie sucks. Almost three hours long and they couldn’t bother to effing explain ANYTHING!!! It looks pretty most of the time and it made me chuckle but for the most part I was just bored and by the end I was annoyed because the trailers are almost entirely made from the last 30 minutes of the mess. Did I mention it was LOOOOOOOONG. No reason for that, folks. There was a scene with an elevator door that remained open on its own for at least five minutes. Why did this happen? How do you make a movie this long using a property with a very extensive bit of lore to dip into and still somehow come out with this hollow pile of CG and explosions that have no real reason to exist?!

If you go to the movies this weekend go see something else. Edge of Tomorrow or 22 Jump Street. Good movies await you. Transformers: Age of Extinction is not one of them.

PS: I just checked out a bit of Revenge of the Fallen. It's still a piece of garbage but at least it isn't boring and had a good score that could keep you semi invested. So yeah... TF4 is by far the worst. Even worse than the one that didn't have a script.

[easyreview title= "Review of Transformers: Age of Extinction" cat1title="Rob's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="1.5" overall= false]