TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON *** (2011)
When the war on Cybertron between the Autobots and Decepticons appears lost to the Autobots, their leader, Sentinel Prime (voiced by Leonard Nimoy), attempts to launch the Ark from their planet, containing technology that could have saved his kind. Attacked by Starscream, it crashes on Earth’s moon in 1961. President John F. Kennedy makes his famous promise to the nation to put a man on the moon. The 1969 NASA moon landing is actually an investigation of the wrecked spacecraft. As Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) goes into adulthood, the Autobots are busy as they learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft on the Moon and must race against the Decepticons to find it and learn its secrets, which could turn the tide into the apocalyptic final battle. Anybody who liked the first Transformers movie and despised the sequel will indeed like this movie. It’s the best Transformers movie yet, it’s what I was hoping Revenge Of The Fallen would be, it’s a good movie. However, the film does have its’ flaws but they aren’t as sporadic as in the last two films. But before we get to those, let’s get to the good things about the film. The best thing about the movie is that the 3D and special effects are fucking awesome. These are some of the best 3D effects I’ve seen since How To Train Your Dragon and maybe since Avatar. Also, there’s consistency in this movie that follows what was established in the cartoon of the 80s and they also don’t use stupid jokes and ridiculously pointless innuendo. They don’t have a Prime being killed by someone who’s not a Prime, they don’t use John Turturro in an embarrassing scene where he’s getting pissed on or having him in his underwear, and they don’t have robots with giant mechanical balls climbing the pyramids of Egypt. I also liked the way they managed to combine the moon landing and this storyline and make it seem plausible. Also, they did a good job finding a John F. Kennedy lookalike, way better than what they did with George Bush in the first movie. Finally, the cast actually contributes here. Shia LeBeouf isn’t doing his similar schtick, he’s not screaming “No no no NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO” in the film, he’s actually contributing here. It’s always nice to see Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson in the film as well and I also liked how John Turturro contributed in the film. I also enjoyed the new additions to the film, especially Patrick Dempsey, while I don’t think he was fantastic, I’m glad to see him do something that’s not so stereotypical like that piece of shit Grey’s Anatomy show. John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, and Alan Tudyk are also really good but I felt they weren’t being used enough. I would have loved to see more of Jeong in the film because he’s always fun to watch. Frances McDormand was the only one who got on my nerve throughout the film. She’s the most obnoxious character in the film. I also didn’t like the new girl they added to the film, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, sure she’s hot but she doesn’t contribute. She’s just there to be sexy and that’s it. At least Megan Fox actually did something to help out in the first two films, Huntington-Whiteley doesn’t do a thing but look sexy. Now onto some of the bad things in the movie, Sam’s parents got on my nerves in the film. I mean, okay, they were only in the film for a little bit of time this time, they still got on my nerves so much I wanted to scream out “SHUT THE FUCK UP.” But the biggest flaw of the film, it’s too long. That’s my biggest problem with a lot of summer movies these days. Your movie doesn’t have to be more than two and a half hours because your movie is going to lag and that’s what happens here. I mean, sure, the last act of the film is a lot of fun and great to watch but at some point near the end, I was getting so tired to the point where I wanted to say “Wrap it up already, this is too long.” I don’t know why summer movies need to be more than 2 and a half hours long these days, like the Sex & The City movies, do we need to see 2 and a half hours of the most selfish women in the world? I don’t think so. Despite those criticisms, I can easily say that Dark Of The Moon is a hell of a lot of fun. Sure, it has its’ flaws but this is easily the best Transformers movie yet. The characters contribute more to the action, the action kicks ass, the 3D effects are spectacular, it’s everything I was hoping Revenge Of The Fallen was going to be. And unlike what I did with the last film where I changed my rating after watching it on DVD, I can easily say with confidence that I really liked this movie.
TRUE GRIT **** (2010)
Based on the 1969 John Wayne movie and novel by Charlie Portis, True Grit revolves around a 14 year old girl named Maddie Ross (newcomer Hailee Steinfeld) seeking revenge for the death of her father by Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). To get revenge for her father, she seeks out Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and Texas Ranger La Beouf (Matt Damon) to assist her in getting revenge. I have never seen the 1969 movie with John Wayne even though I have tried to over the years. Even though this remake is probably not as good as the original, I really had a good time with this movie. I’ve actually liked a lot of the modern westerns that have come out in the last two decades like Unforgiven, Maverick, Assassination Of Jesse James, and 3:10 To Yuma and this one is another great one out of the bunch. The standout stars of the film are Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld, who do a terrific job in their roles. I especially enjoy Bridges as Rooster Cogburn and I think he could get another Oscar for that role. Haille Steinfeld also has a chance to get an Oscar nomination who also did a great job. Josh Brolin and Matt Damon are just okay in the film for the roles they are in. The shooting sequences in the film are well done and the end of the film is really good. True Grit starts off slow but picks up when Rooster Cogburn enters the scene and has two of the best performances I’ve seen this year by Bridges and Steinfeld. True Grit is the best movie I’ve seen by the Coen brothers since The Big Lebowski and No Country For Old Men.