Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Finally back to the theatres! It has been a while.

With work taking up a ton of time and then my general lack of desire to write long form reviews, I’ve been shying away from the theatres. However, I promised my friend that I’d go see Transformers: The Last Knight with him so during my week of staycation, we went on Tuesday evening. I really need to go back and review the entire franchise. As of now,  I only have Age of Extinction reviewed here. I’m on record to enjoy this franchise for the most part, although 2 and 3 are slightly blurry and I can’t decide which I liked less. The Last Knight’s trailers looked really fantastic and it had me hyped up to see it again. Honestly, I don’t expect much for these movies. Its very mindless entertainment with explosions and robots and action-packed thrills. If it checks all those boxes, I’ll be pretty happy.

Let’s check it out!

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Transformers: The Last Knight

Director: Michael Bay

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Isabela Moner, Santiago Cabrera

Autobots and Decepticons are at war, with humans on the sidelines. Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. – IMDB

I feel like reviewing Transformers franchise is like talking about the Fast and Furious franchise or Resident Evil franchise, you either are on board or not with the style and tone. However, I’d like to say that Transformers: The Last Knight’s trailer did feel a lot more epic than the previous movies. While others had issues with Age of Extinction, I personally couldn’t hate on it because I had a really fun time at the theatres watching it. You can read the review HERE.

 

Transformers: The Last Knight brings us into a world that is in shambles as Transformers keep dropping in and wreaking havoc. Mark Wahlberg continues his path in this franchise as Cade Yaeger as he takes care of the Autobots still remaining as Optimus Prime is no longer with them. No one really knows whats going on but the Decepticons attacking Earth has broken many families. While the Transformers, regardless of Autobots or Decepticons, have been classified as dangerous and a special unit has been put together to keep them under control. One of the reasons why Cade Yaeger needs to be in hiding with his robotic friends when they have a fourteen year old girl orphaned from one of the attacks , Izabella (played by Isabela Moner) ends up joining them. Before all this starts, the movie starts in an odd fashion as the Transformers are brought into the Knights of the Roundtable and King Arthur and Merlin all get brought into the story as the origins of where the first time Transformers were part of human history. Now how does those events link to the current situation? That is what the movie is focused on. A rather simple and pretty disjointed story that gets made into a three hour movie, however, the characters are pretty fun as they have some of the normal banter exchanges, an expected (yet unexpected) romance and of course, lots of explosions and action-packed moments. Add in the Dinobots from the last movie and some baby dinobots and this movie pretty much made it into my heart.

Transformers

Perhaps that is what I love about Transformers in general, the cool cars and the whole transforming thing. The action is sometimes a little odd and there was a part where it did kind of feel a little dragged out, which is normal for a three hour movie, however, I do like Mark Wahlberg in this franchise. I actually enjoy his presence quite a bit. It was also great to see Anthony Hopkins also enter here as the Earl of Folger and talk a little more about the back story and how Sam Witwicky from the first three movies got pulled into this as well. A nice link, maybe unnecessary, but I thought it added a little more to the story. We also saw the return of Josh Duhamel in the army.  I do like him as well. There are some extreme suspension of imagination but then, Transformers are something of a fantasy/alien so I guess it could happen. I mean, Cade Yaeger walks in the midair, hopping from drone to drone in one part of the escape, like it was some easy stepping stones on a river or stream or something. It doesn’t get more entertaining to watch than that. However, it is also this stuff that I eat up.  They add in a lovely lady who pretty much gets kidnapped and clueless about the whole Transformers thing called Vivian, played by Laura Haddock.

Transformers: The Last Knight

What is pretty cool is that the scale of the movie has truly grown in this one. As they truly embrace the sea, sky and land aspects of the action and fighting. There are alien planets making appearance and the mastermind deceiver, Quintessa who shows up in space as she pulls some tricks to put Optimus Prime under her spell. That part doesn’t get fleshed out as much as it should, however, I don’t know how much more all the ideas they have can get fleshed out because the movie is already over three hours and that is incredibly lengthy. On that note, I love the Transformers design and the cars they get to morph into and stuff. Its really fantastic. I was totally on board with Dinobots and then I loved the baby dinobots but man, a dragon – bot or whatever you call it. That is incredibly epic.

Transformers: The Last Knight

Overall, Transformers: The Last Knight won’t be hard to follow if you just hopped in right now because the story is pretty thin. You just really need a very basic knowledge. But then, I’d like to know if anyone would just jump in to watch this one. This one has a pretty thin storyline as well however, it does try to give it more of a backstory so that we get why the world has been plagued with the Transformers dropping in on them non-stop. The story may be a little disjointed and nothing really gets the attention it needs as we flip from the army to Cade Yaeger to Vivian to Anthony Hopkins to Megatron and Quintessa. There isn’t really a moment to digest everything and piece it together. However, something about The Last Knight grabbing a piece of history and putting it together with the Transformers and why this is all happening along with the new and old Autobots and Dinobots and dragonbots all are so fun to watch. The action sequences are thrilling and entertaining and the characters and their banters are also a lot of fun. Sure, its not going to win any awards but this was a fun, mindless fun at the theatres. To be honest, if I had to compare this one and Age of Extinction, I actually think this one did was better than the last one.

 

As a closing note, if movie makers do read this (and I doubt it), could you please stop making long movies that end with water or underwater scenes? Just please. I try to ration my hydration levels but man, it gets tough after 2.5 hours to control my desire to go to the washroom when there is some long drippy underwater scene. I keep thinking that a ton of long movies do that, and I just wanted to add it in while I remembered to. Just a random thought.

Have you seen Transformers: The Last Knight? What do you think of the Transformers franchise?

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Opinion Battles Year 3 Round 2 Favourite Oscar Winning Performance from an Actor in Leading or Supporting Role

This year’s Round 2 of Opinion Battles is all about our Favorite Oscar-winning Performance from an Actor in a Leading or Supporting Role. Just in time for the awards season, right? With the announcement of the 2017 nominees for the Academy Awards, we’re talking about the right stuff. I’m not exactly a huge follower of Academy Awards, Maybe when I was younger, then took a big break and only got back into it because of the blog, so as I looked at the names, one role stood out to me and that’s Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs! There are some great choices here!

Head on over and check it out! See which you like and drop a vote!

Movie Reviews 101

Opinion Battles Year 3 Round 2new-logo

Favourite Oscar Winning Performance from an Actor in Leading or Supporting Role

The Oscars are around the corner and we all know that people either love or hate the Oscars committee decisions. We have had the best or the best winning Oscars but today we are looking at what we think is the favourite Oscar Winning performance.

If you want to take part in the next round of Opinion Battles we are going to be answer the question of What is your Favourite Film from 2015? To enter send your choices to moviereviews101@yahoo.co.ukby 5th February 2017.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Christopher Waltz – Col Hans Landa – Inglorious Basterdswaltz

Col Hans Landa is one of the best characters ever created by Quentin Tarantino, he is pure evil known as the ‘Jew Killer’ for his ruthless ability to track down any Jews…

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Thor:The Dark World (2013)

I’ve been saying to go see a movie in theatres for so long and finally, the other day (last Friday), my friends and I went to go see Thor: The Dark World.  Honestly, I think I was super hyped up about it mostly because of Table 9 Mutant at Cinema Parrot Disco’s adoration of Chris Hemsworth.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the first one so as much as the trailer looked fantastic, I still had a few reservations. Lets see how I actually felt!

thor the dark world posterDirector: Alan Taylor

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Jaimie Alexander, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard

Thousands of years ago (I think), the Dark Elves lead by Malekith wanted to purge the world into darkness.  Asgard’s leader then, the current King’s (Anthony Hopkins) grandfather destroyed the evil and sent the powerful source of energy,Aether to a hidden location so that no one could find it.  however Malekith and a few of his army survived and escaped, ready to be awaken when the Aether summoned them again.  Back to the present, its been 2 years since Thor (Chris Hemsworth) had left Jane (Natalie Portman).  While Jane waits for him, Thor has been trying to bring peace to the nine realms.  However, Jane and her assistant Darcy follows an anomaly and Jane ends up entering another space and find the Aether that enters her body. To protect her, Thor brings her back to Asgard and this leads to some serious consequences.  Thor has to make decisions to save Asgard, protect Jane and choose whether to trust Loki as he asks for his assistance.

thor 2 chris hemsworth

I don’t think I revealed too much. I feel like I’m just basically recapping the trailers released.  Thor: The Dark World is a pretty awesome treat, at least in comparison to the first one.  I love Chris Hemsworth and goodness, its HOT! but doesn’t help that I thought Thor was not all that great and I was yawning a lot.  This one was really good.  It felt a bit long for just a little while but did pick itself up rather quickly afterwards.  Visually, Asgard is beautiful.  The costumes were beautiful and everything was done so nice.  The story was pretty solid and the characters were all fantastic.

thor 2 loki

I know many of you will give me crap but I loved Avengers but what I felt fell short was Loki as the bad guy.  So unconvincing.  Most of you thought he was fantastic, I didn’t.  Now, Loki in this one, so convincing.  I loved him to absolute bits as the gray area dude.  Is he bad? Is he good? Has he changed? And c’mon, that ending ruled.  Most of you that saw it (and I know all of you did, since my inbox had about 50+ reviews of that movie on the first 2 weeks or something if not more), so you know what I mean.  And then that final sequence, I was like OMG! *ahem* I’m all over the place but point is, I loved Loki.  Now,  I’m excited to see him more!

thor 2 kat dennings natalie portman

I’m not afraid to admit my girl crushes but Natalie Portman is not one of them.  Maybe I need watch Black Swan since I haven’t yet, but as Jane, she’s a bit meh. However, I seriously love Kat Dennings.  Everything I’ve seen her in makes me laugh out loud.  She’s fun to watch.  I probably should start watching 2 Broke Girls (or whatever its called). Okay, aside from them, how awesome is Rene Russo as the queen? She is pretty awesome even though her screen time isn’t that much.

thor 2 malekith

On the terms of our main baddie, Malekith, played by  Christopher Eccleston. I really don’t have a lot of attachment to this character.  He wasn’t bad, ok? I’m going to get that straight.  I was pretty impressed with The Dark World in general.  It was fun, had lots of action and nice stuff to see and all the cast did a pretty decent job.  Plus, there was more Anthony Hopkins than in the previous one and I like him.  Malekith was alright.  I actually can’t remember much of him in the movie.  Is that a bad thing?

Overall, Thor: The Dark World was enjoyable and entertaining.  It had great action and the story was nice, maybe just a tad long but it picked itself up well.  Also, other than loving the very awesome Chris Hemsworth as Thor, I also really bought Loki’s role this time around.  I think it possibly had one of my favorite endings this year.  This was a pretty fun one and I’d definitely recommend it! 🙂

Which Thor do you like more: the first or this one? How much do you like Loki? What did you think of Malekith?

Part 2: Thrillers

Now that we’ve warmed up with the nice family oriented Halloween flicks, we’re getting ready to hit the hardcore stuff.  Of course, before we go all out and jump into a week of sleepless nights, I’ll hit us off with some thrillers (all kinds except horror).  Just a bit scary at times, dark at time, messed up at times…you know what I mean, right? I love thrillers so it was really a toss-up on what I could put in here.  Why do I like it more than others? Because of the suspense in most of them, there’s always something to try and figure out.  Whats around the corner? Will there be a twist? A good thriller will let you buy into it, let it lead you on and bring you some occasional scare.  I did manage to get my hands on two new movies that this Thriller Marathon will include.

Here’s 8 THRILLERS to bring up the intensity till next week when we hit the intense horror segment.

1) DISTURBIA (2007)

Director: D.J. Caruso

Cast: Shia Leboeuf, Sarah Roemer, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse

Plot summary: Kale Brecht (Shia Leboeuf) gets home arrest for punching his Spanish teacher in class for the summer.  Kale’s mother (Carrie-Anne Moss) cuts off all his internet and TV leaving him with nothing to do.  As a result, he starts spying on the neighbors.  When the news starts talking about missing women, who were later found dead, he starts suspecting one of his neighbors, Robert Turner (David Morse).  With his best friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) and his new neighbor, Ashley (Sarah Roemer), they start spying and following Turner.

I was surprised actually that this movie was good.  I got it because it was a thriller (and it was on special).  Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Shia Leboeuf.  The only movie I enjoyed him in was Transformers, but thats just because I enjoyed that movie a lot.  I checked the director’s background.  D.J. Caruso did Taking Lives before Disturbia. I was alright with that movie.  Taking Lives was also a surprisingly good thriller. One I had debated to put on this list actually.  Just for information sake, D.J. Caruso did Eagle Eye and I am Number Four afterwards.  Eagle Eye was alright, but man, I am Number Four…I’m speechless.  That movie was crap.  Maybe I’ll review it one day after I read the source material.  Anyways, all I can say, this was a fine piece of work by D.J. Caruso after I saw what his later movies were.  This movie is a mix of humor, a bit of teen romance, and suspense.  The deal with thrillers is that you are willing to buy into it every time you rewatch it.  I bought into it every time I saw this. This movie is pretty fun thriller and its a great way to start off my thrillers portion.

2) THE OTHERS (2001)

Directed by: Alejandro Amenabar

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Eccleston

Plot: This movie starts in 1945 Channel Islands in a big family house.  Grace (Nicole Kidman) is a mother of two photosensitive children, Anne and Nicholas.  She is confined to the house under strict rules to protect her children.  Her husband (Christopher Eccleston) has gone off to war a few years back and is not determined whether he is alive or not.  We also get joined by 3 servants that come to help her take care of the house: Mrs. Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), Mr. Tuttle (Erik Skyes) and Lydia.  Suddenly, mysterious things start happening in the house.  Her daughter claims that she’s been seeing others in the house.  The house seems to be invaded by others.

This is a really suspenseful movie.  Its full of startling moments and your mind will keep thinking of what would happen next.  Nicole Kidman is superb as always and does great a playing a distressed and panicked yet protective mother.  Fionnula Flanagan is just amazing.  Her acting was captivating to watch and so very believable.  This is a mystery thriller that carries you deep into the plot and wondering whats around the next corner.  Keeps us wondering what is going on in the house and whether it is haunted.

3) SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)

Director: Jonathan Demme

Cast: Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins

Plot: A young FBI agent in training Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is sent to interrogate an imprisoned psychopath/psychiatrist, Hannibal”the Cannibal” Lecter, in hopes of helping solve the serial killings by a man nicknamed Buffalo Bill.  Dr. Lecter decides to help Starling in exchange for her sharing her own story at the same time.

This movie is the first thriller I ever saw.  It was deep and disturbing in so many ways.  I finally bought this one the other day and added it into this marathon.  It may not pack in a lot of startling sudden scares but the chilling role of Dr. Lecter and the serial killings itself is enough to make it impact the audience mentally.  There really is nothing more I can express than the fact that its the first thriller I ever saw, its also one of my favorites.  After seeing this, I now I have the desire to watch Red Dragon and Hannibal, both equally great thrillers.  No one can portray a cannibal and psychopath as well as Anthony Hopkins ever will.

4) SHUTTER ISLAND (2010)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo diCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley

Plot: U.S. Marshal Edward (aka Teddy) Daniels (Leonardo diCaprio) get assigned with a new partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) to investigate after a woman, both prisoner and mental patient, disappears mysteriously from her room with no trace on Shutter Island.  This is an island where it is a maximum security prison ward for highly dangerous mentally unstable felons.  We soon learn that Teddy himself has wanted to go there to investigate something else for his own personal reasons.  It is here that the story unfolds.

This is a new one that I picked up the other day at HMV because it was on special and well, I’m a big Leonardo diCaprio.  This is an awesome thriller.  I haven’t seen one this good in a really long time.  I’m a huge fan of all the actors and I think Leonardo diCaprio is at the top of his game here.  Of course, it helps that he’s partnered with Martin Scorsese, a really wonderful actor.  This one made my boyfriend and I  ask a lot of  “What’s next?” around every corner and after everything that happened.  We were guessing and thinking about every next moment that could happen.  It was some thrill ride, I tell you.  One you definitely shouldn’t miss!

5) ORPHAN (2009)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman

Plot: A couple, Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) loses an unborn child and decides to adopt a 9 year old girl, Esther.  Esther is originally from Russia and her last family had died in a fire where she barely made it out alive.  Kate and John both think that Esther is smart, kind and well-mannered at first sight and she gets along with their two children, Max and Daniel.  Slowly, there seems to be “something wrong with Esther”.  Unusual things start happening around her.

This movie is really chilling thriller.  I’m serious, I haven’t been scared and startled and disturbed in a while.  I had to spend an hour after the movie to watch some comedy to relax my mind.  Its just really awesome.  It packs in a lot of “Oh, shit” moment.  I haven’t seen anything else by this director but man, he does really well.  This story is believable and the girl who plays Esther is amazing.  The little girl that plays Max, who is deaf, is also the little girl in Resident Evil: Retribution playing Becky.  If you haven’t seen this one, out of my whole list, I think you definitely should check this one out.  It’ll pack in some startling experience.

6) PAPRIKA (2006)

Director: Satoshi Kon

Plot: “This is your brain on anime”.  Thats generally what it is I guess.  Paprika is a girl who can enter into your dreams through a device created called DC Mini.  This device can record and let you rewatch the dreams you’ve had.  When the device is stolen from the Institute of Psychiatric Research, the three scientists that invented it try to search for it with the help of Paprika.  The thief is causing a lot of chaos by entering into people’s minds and thoughts while they are awake and distract them with dreams of their own or others.

Last week was for animation but this anime is deep and definitely NOT for children.  For one, its rated R.  Well, why it fits here its because its categorized as an animated thriller.  It was some thrill alright.  I was confused and deep in thought while watching this one.  The essence in this may be partially in the animation but I think what captivates us is the story itself and the mystery behind it.  I guess its a bit like Inception actually.  Its pretty well laid out as a story and you will be wondering about how things will unfold.  I’m definitely going to give this one a second run to better understand what was going on in entirety.  The whole concept between light and darkness, the merge between reality and dreams.

7) BURIED (2010)

Director: Rodrigo Cortes

Cast: Ryan Reynolds

Plot: A trucker in Iraq wakes up to find himself buried underground with only a lighter and a cell phone.  He then fights to learn what has got him in that position and figure out a way to get out before its too late.

That is as simple as I can go with this movie without ruining it for anyone that hasn’t seen it yet.  I personally got this movie because I saw the trailer and thought it was awesome, before that I hadn’t even known its existence.  So yes, Ryan Reynolds is amazing in this one man show.  The other person he interacts with is on the phone.  It reflected really well the urgency and gripping turns in the story.  I really loved this movie (most of the time). It was quite the enjoyable movie experience.  I always appreciated movies where its just one man show movies (first one I saw was probably Phone booth).

8) SIXTH SENSE (1999)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette

Plot: A child psychologist, Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) takes on the task of helping a young boy, Cole Sear, who claims that he can see dead people. These dead people are those who don’t know that they have died and continues to haunt him.  Cole’s mom (Toni Collette) desperately wants to help rid his son of his problems.

I’m ending this with a bang.  After all, according to that poster its the #1 Thriller of All Time.  This thriller was crazy awesome. I think it was the best movie which we everyone knows has the best twist ending ever.  I never saw it coming ever.  I was also younger when I first saw this movie.  Deal with movies with twist, is its rewatchability has to be that the actual movie plot has something you can take from it or else, you can’t watch it again.  This movie packs in some good acting and fantastic plot. It was the movie that put Night Shyamalan on the map (lets not discuss what happened afterwards), but this movie was great. It gave us deep emotions and some nice scares. I’m pretty the majority of you have seen this, but if you haven’t, you have to!

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT!

After watching this whole line-up, I’m sure that you all notice that its actually not really too scary.  I really didn’t have time to watch more and/or make another list.  I don’t think it needs much more though.  I forgot to grab Se7en off my boyfriend’s collection at his place, if not, I’d definitely add that in.  I also wanted to put in Butterfly Effect, but I had lent it out.  Those were the original last 2 that was to complete the list.  Overall, the current list already have pretty good films.  Some do pack in some scary moments and others balance with a bit more thinking, a bit more profound ideas to ponder a bit on maybe.

For all of you that want to pack in some fright, I got my boyfriend to help me out with the next one.  So, it should definitely be intense.   I’ll explain to you all why I need this extra help next week.  In the meantime, we will work out a way to choose the best horror movies in our collective movie collections. Next list will be top 10 Intense Horror.  Hopefully you’ll come back to check it out!

As for this list, any that you disagree with? Didn’t enjoy as much as I did? Would you put anything extra? I love watching thrillers and would love to get some suggestions for ones that I haven’t seen.