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?

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

I’m not one of those opening day movie goers.  Not because I don’t want to, I just don’t really like the crowds but a few of my friends have been wanting to see this as much as I’ve wanted to so one of them used his coupons and booked us some seats at the VIP cinema.  Its a pretty luxurious cinema experience limited to adults only and you can eat with a little table, more comfy seats for a more expensive price.  Either way, we all got some food, our drinks and sat back to what we shortly before the movie started learned an almost 3 hour movie.  All I hoped in my mind when it started was the the dinobots would kick some ass.

I don’t usually post revews on the weekend but I just wanted to enjoy being the first few to catch a movie on opening weekend. Lets check it out! 😉

Transformers Age of ExtinctionDirector: Michael Bay

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz, Kelsey Grammar, Jack Reynor, Sophia Myles, Bingbing Li

Picking up after the last epic battle in Chicago, the world is stricken with fear with the robots in general and the government has decided to not be in line with any robots regardless of which side they stand.  As they pick up their pieces, in Texas, Cade Yaeger (Mark Wahlberg) and his teenage daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz) try to live their lives struggling to pay their bills and keep afloat financially. Thats when he finds a broken truck which turns out to be a damaged Optimus Prime.  He decides to try to fix him while the black ops (I think) tracks them and wants to neutralize Optimus.  With Tess’s secret boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor), they struggle to escape while helping the Autobots reunite and find out who is trying to destroy them.

Transformers Age of Extinction

Referring back to my opening paragraph, it seems that I had very low expectations.  The fact is after the garbage presented in Transformers 2 & 3, I wasn’t too confident about how this one would turn out. However, I had hopes because one, Shia LaBeouf wasn’t part of this anymore and it was replaced with the much more competent Mark Wahlberg and there was dinobots.  Plus, with Michael Bay, there is a certain level of dumb, over the top, CGI-y, explosions and action going on.  Pretty much defines an action movie that is simply enjoyable without having to think much.

Transformers Age of Extinction

As I’m writing this out, I just got out of the movie less than 4 hours ago.  Transformers was everything that I expected it to be and maybe it even gave me hopes of it keeping that quality for following movies.  Sure, there was some cheesy and rather laughable moments that kind of gave me a few shake my head and face-palm moments, like for example, the slow motion low angle shooting the agents coming in with their jackets flapping in the wind or deliberately making Tessa and her short shorts walking slow pace.  Not to mention, the movie was ridiculously long and at about 90 minutes in, I almost felt like it was losing steam.  However, it did come back with some more action as usual.

Transformers Age of Extinction

Lets just say that Michael Bay keeps his signature Michael Bay stuff and this movie is more in line with the enjoyment level I had for the first one and might even have surpassed it.  One of those reasons goes to Mark Wahlberg.  I like Wahlberg a lot.  Seriously, the man is very many.  Like he has a very likable appearance and his acting is pretty good.  I’ve enjoyed a lot of the movies that he has been in and no, I haven’t seen The Happening so I can’t comment. I felt like he brought a lot more than anything that Shia Lebeouf could offer in the previous instalments.  Plus, Wahlberg is diversified as an actor.  He can bring a bit of humor and do good in action and that really is needed in this role.

Transformers Age of Extinction

I’m going to go straight out and say that the cast really impressed me.  I love Stanley Tucci and the man is kick ass funny and just great.  I haven’t dived much into his character but he does have a pretty key role as he ends up stuck with Cade and group as they escape from their many dangers.  Along with that, we have Kelsey Grammar as the second line bad guy.  I kind of found his character annoying but that makes sense seeing as that was the role he was given.  I spent the whole movie trying to figure out where I saw Nicola Peltz and realized as the IMDB page was loading that she was in Bates Motel.  I’m not exactly sure that I like her as an actress or I just didn’t really like it always giving the girls a stupid roles and lines, although I do like her more than Megan Fox. Plus, there’s a smaller role for Sophia Myles who is the main girl in the series Moonlight (that I love although it only had one season).

Transformers Age of Extinction

On the other side of things, in the trailers you see it anyways, which was also a highlight for me is bringing in the whole Hong Kong scene.  For one, there was a few cameos from known actors in the Hong Kong and China entertainment. Then, my friend and I had a bet before of who can identify which buildings were real and which were CGI. While we are talking about this, Bingbing Li has a little role in this one.  I had to add a picture of her just because I believe Mikey@Screenkicker told me he has a thing for Asian girls so here’s a picture for him. She is better than Ziyi Zhang 😉 Plus, she’s an actress that I’m slowly liking more and more.

transformers-age-of-extinction-li-bingbing

If you haven’t liked the previous Transformers, I’m going to say that you probably won’t like this one either and I’d say to just back away from it.  You get exactly what you’d expect from a Michael Bay movie and thats an over the top summer blockbuster which is a tad dumb, and over the top with action and explosion. The only difference that gives it a little edge is that it doesn’t take itself seriously and for that, I can sit down and watch this and have a great laugh.  Plus, I really dig this cast and the Chinese actor cameos. Mark Wahlberg brings something fresh to the whole equation and the dinobots kicked serious butt even if they weren’t there for too long.  The Transformers themselves made the movie great as well.

I had a lot of fun with this one.  Its not a masterpiece and I hope that you don’t walk in expecting it to be.  How I feel for this one pretty much measures up to why and how I love silly movies like Resident Evil Retribution and The Expendables.  There’s going to be lots of criticisms about this one.  I’m pretty sure about that but hey, what counts in the end to have fun and I definitely did 🙂

Have you seen Transformers 4? Do you intend to? What are your thoughts on Mark Wahlberg?

The Departed (2006)

A round of applause please! I made it through The Departed finally! I figured it was the stylish way to end off the Infernal Affairs trilogy review and finally get this crossed off my to-do list.

Lets check it out!

the departed posterDirector: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin

An undercover state cop who has infiltrated an Irish gang and a mole in the police force working for the same mob race to track down and identify each other before being exposed to the enemy, after both sides realize their outfit has a rat.-IMDB

The Departed is inspired by Infernals Affairs in case you didn’t know before. Directed by Martin Scorsese, it has a style that cannot be replaced or doubted. I’ve always been a fan of his despite sometimes really not liking the length especially in gang/crime movies. The Departed really could have benefit from being shorter. The first half was so slow. I literally wanted to cry because it felt like it would never end. And then the halfway point hit and the majority of the events were almost identical to Infernal Affairs.  I’m not saying thats a bad thing but I guess because I found the original to be genius, this one didn’t have as much of an impact.Does that make sense?

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However, like Infernal Affairs, it has a very strong cast. I may not be very knowledgable about Matt Damon but I have always liked Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson. They both did well. I still think Leonardo did better than Matt in some ways. The best has to go to Jack Nicholson in his role as the bad guy, the leaderof the Irish gang. He had this outrageous unpredictable nature and that gave immense life to the movie. I couldn’t really picture another actor taking up that role in having such an impact. Another actor that I loved was Mark Wahlberg. He was completely an asshole but it worked well to give the movie some conflict and friction.

the departed vera farmiga

These movies are all about the boys but the difference is in the love story behind this. In this one, it just has one lady, but who wants to compete with the lovely Vera Farmiga? She really can act in any role. Her character brought in nice balance especially because she was kind of like the intermediary between the undercover and mole. Her one character replacing the two separate ones gave The Departed a nice little twist that I thought worked very well.

the departed mark matt

Casting and cinematography are definitely not my issues with this. My issue is really the story itself. I can get that background check would lead to Leonardo’s character being discovered and his getting kicked out. But although its not an obvious connection, Matt’s was really visible ever since he was a kid. How was it not apparent? Maybe its just me being nitpicky but I felt on some levels this was just a little too over the top for my liking.

I really don’t have much to say anymore. Overall, The Departed was an okay remake of its original. It had an awesome cast that brought life to a stretched out story. Although it did give it a new twist to it, I’m still debating if I really liked the ending. I know I’m the minority who doesn’t think this was absolutely great but thats okay. We can’t agree with everything 😉

What did you think of The Departed?

Pain & Gain (2013)

Life has been a huge crazy ride in the last two weeks.  One of the many reasons a lot of plans have been sidetracked but I will get to the theatres one of these days.  I will, in the meantime, I had wanted to watch Mud but I couldn’t take something that seemed so serious and the boyfriend chose Pain and Gain.  We’re both huge The Rock (excuse me, Dwayne Johnson) fans . Let’s check it out!

pain and gain posterDirector: Michael Bay

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, Bar Paly, Rebel Wilson, Michael Rispoli

Daniel Lugo is a bodybuilder and personal trainer who believes that his life deserves more and he is willing to make things happen.  With the help of two other bodybuilders who work at the same gym together, Adrian Doorbal and Paul Doyle, they put together a scheme to kidnap and steal from a rich man, Victor Kershaw.  However, the plan gets out of hand and unexpected turnouts happen.  As they try to put things back to normal, everything gets even worse.  This all comes from one man’s desire to pursue the American Dream.

So, I’m sure after watching this one, being non-American and all, I’m not totally sure if I believe this actually happened, but hey, apparently it did.  I’m not going to go doubt it. Thinking this was a not believable actual story was about the only part where my boyfriend and I agreed with for this one.  Maybe he should have written this because he’d have more positive things to say.

pain and gain guys

I’m not exactly sure if a lot of you love this movie but I’ve read some positive reviews.  I’m not saying I hate this movie.  Its really not all that bad.  I mean, I guessing the all around praise that Michael Bay actually made a movie with like one mini explosion in the past x amount of years.  Point is, maybe more explosions would’ve made me more interested (just maybe).  As much as a lot of people say Transformers was trash, I had fun with the first one.  I almost wanted to buy a ticket to see it a second time at the theatres but I don’t do that because I don’t have that much money to do repeat viewings on movies.  Which is actually rare as I look at his directorial effort and realize thats the only one I’ve liked and seen from him.  So I guess his winning chances with me was limited for this one.  Either way, back to Pain & Gain, as ridiculous as this story was, that was the part that had me interested.  The biggest problem is that this movie could’ve chopped off say at least 30 minutes and I’d probably have appreciated it more.

pain and gain rich guy

The characters portrayal are actually the second thing that my boyfriend and I agreed with and thats where the absurdity comes in because the three bodybuilders/personal trainers are done in a pretty stupid way.  Most of the stuff they do and every part of their plan makes them look dumb to the max, you know, all muscle and no brains.  Yeah, sounds mean but seriously, thats the image I was getting.  The plan only partially worked because they were lucky for a part and then it was kind of obvious that it would fall apart. So, with that said, hats off to Mark Wahlberg for making a convincingly stupid Daniel Lugo with a ongoing pursuit and hopes for his American Dream to come true.  The Rock is always funny to watch in a facepalming, eye-rolling way and “seriously?” They were alright.

pain and gain ed harris

As for the dude they kidnapped, Victor Kershaw played by this dude that I remember seeing here and there playing annoying characters, this time around, he hasn’t changed.  Or maybe I have him confused with someone else but hmm, somehow I haven’t checked out his stuff on IMDB.  Its ok.  Same goes for Rebel Wilson.  Not such a huge fan.  Now, lets jump straight ahead and talk about an actor I totally adore (for his talent) Ed Harris.  He’s awesome in this as well.

Okay, I have nothing to say more about this one.  Its not horrible but oh so very long.  After an hour, it just started getting painful to sit through.  If you enjoy Mark Wahlberg and/or The Rock, maybe you might want to sit through this one.  I’m not going to recommend or not.  You decide for yourself 😉 I can’t decide if I’d willingly sit through this a second time just yet.

What did you think of Pain & Gain? Was it a disappointment? Do you like the “no explosion” side of Michael Bay?

Date Night (2010)

I don’t have a lot of my  own movies that I’ve ripped the digital copy on my computer however, I chose this flick to test it out a while back.  So, on last Saturday morning, when I wanted something quick to accompany my breakfast, I switched this on and finished it later on the afternoon.

date night posterDirector: Shawn Levy

Cast: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, Jimmi Simpson, Common, William Fichtner

A New Jersey couple Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire Foster (Tina Fey) has lost their flare in their marriage and go about their life driven by daily routine.  Right from the start, we know that Claire doesn’t trust Phil with a lot of chores because he forgets certain details.  Every week there is one night they schedule for date night where they go to the same restaurant, order the same food and talk about the same things.  Every part of their life is scheduled.  When one of their friends decide to separate and live life better instead of being friends in their own house, they start getting worried about their own relationship.  On the next week of Date Night, they decide to change things up, dress up and go into New York City to a fancy restaurant and enjoy themselves and bring back the spark.  At the restaurant Claw, they realize that they are too late and there are no tables available, thats when Phil decides to take the reservations of the Triplehorns, who were no show.  In the middle of their meal, they get order by two men, Armstrong (Jimmi Simpson) and Collins (Common) and thats when they learned that these guys are looking for something that were stolen by the actual Triplehorns.  Being mistaken in their identity, they end up running all over town, asking for help from a previous client of Claire, Holbrooke Grant (Mark Wahlberg) and realizing that this goes deeper not only into the gang, the police but also the red hot political figure DA Crenshaw (William Fichtner).  Date Night turns out to not only have changed it up but to be life-threatening and all the Fosters want is to get home to their children.

One of the most hilarious segment where I topple over with laughter every time!

One of the most hilarious segment where I topple over with laughter every time!

I really enjoyed this flick and I always turn it on when I need a good laugh, especially since its a pretty hilarious.  There are some parts, I just topple over with uncontrollable laughter.  What do I like so much about the movie? Maybe its not the plot itself, but as much as the story is pretty straightforward, Steve Carell and Tina Fey together are phenomenal.  They are a blend of awesome comedy.  Their expressions, reactions and dialogue just carry the movie along so well.  This is the first movie I’ve ever seen of Tina Fey and man, she’s won herself another fan in me.

date night 1

Another factor of awesomeness if that its an action comedy full of ridiculous things that happen.  Ridiculous in a super good way as in its just funny and hilarious moments one after the next.  On top of that, they had a little cameo with James Franco and Mila Kunis who play the actual Triplehorns and Mark Wahlberg who plays the hot muscular (and shirtless) ex-client of Claire’s.  There’s a short appearance of Mark Ruffalo and Kristin Wiig as the soon to be divorced couple and Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester as the babysitter.  Its loaded with a lot of cool cast.

date night with mark wahlberg

There is lots of shooting and guns, panic and yelling, a hot car totaled mixed with some intense, exciting and laugh out loud moments.  I think that sounds like a pretty awesome formula for an action comedy, don’t you? I always mention this when I look at comedy, its very personal and that’s why even as I was checking up on the scores, there’s always a mix of people who find it funny or not.  Its just a personal preference.  I’m into Steve Carell’s humor and apparently Tina Fey’s as well so this works for me.  Because of that, I notice but manage to overlook any other flaws that it might have.

Have you seen this? Are you fan of Steve Carell and/or Tina Fey? What movies from them would you recommend for either of them? Have you read Tina Fey’s book Bossypants?