Sunday, 31 July 2011

F1, the BBC and Sky.

It's been in discussion for a few weeks now. The F1 viewing figures are at a ten-year high so why wouldn't they want a slice of the pie? Sky cash in a lot on things which have been done well by other channels and then just shove tonnes of money towards it to outbid the others. It's a form of financial bullying. It's like Chelsea and Man City in the Premier League; they have the funding to just offer extortionate amount of money to the teams and the players with wages in insane excess. Sky just bitch slapped the BBC in the face with their wads of cash then took their cash cow.

Now, I'll either have to miss half the season next year or shell out £30 a month just to catch up on the other races. At least the race'll be ad-free but the only problem I have with that is the build-up will be advertisement central. I can see Sky turning into American TV and adding sponsored replays and random pop-ups like the world's worst website. The screen will be cluttered.

There's no denying that Sky do great coverage of other sports. In fact, they make Soccer Saturday entertaining and before you know it, you've wasted four or five hours away watching the word "GOAL" come up three times a minute. I don't know who they'll hire to do the coverage though because the BBC have the best presenters and commentators. Jake Humphrey is a great host who's knowledgeable and very likeable; Martin Brundle is a great commentator who does very entertaining and informative features and grid walks and so on. The BBC dedicate themselves to HD coverage with their features, interviews and their professional explanations to ease you into the sport. I started watching in 2009 and thanks to their coverage, they've taught me all the necessary information and more. I feel like a mechanical engineer now.

Another annoying thing about this is that, come September, I'll have to pay for my TV license but I don't watch the BBC. In fact, I don't watch anything on the BBC really and I don't listen to the BBC radio stations and the only thing I really do is browse their sport and news websites. I'll be paying £145 to read one article every month. It hardly seems worth it, especially on top of that £30 a month for Sky Sports which I might have to pay for myself. That's £360 a year on top of £145 which means £505 a year just to watch the F1 and to read something every once in a while. Bargain...

It seems that Bernie Eccleston has gotten greedy. I've always liked him and his honesty but he honestly can't believe that having the F1 on Sky will get more viewers. Everyone has the BBC and Sky Sports is a monthly luxury which less people do have. So, for Bernie to say that more people will watch it on Sky means he thinks Sky has more customers than a terrestrial channel? No, because people I know that don't watch the F1 have watched some races this year (the Canadian GP mostly) and enjoyed it. Why? Because it was on the BBC. The BBC brought in a lot more viewers because it goes out to everyone who owns a TV. The BBC has brought the F1 back to dizzying heights and brought it to record highs after the monstrosity that was the ITV coverage. In fact, the BBC made me interested in watching the F1 because I had no real interest before hand.

I'm going to make a point to boycott Sky and I hope others join me in it. Every time the BBC show a race, I'll purposefully watch that instead but they'll still have my money if I sign up for Sky Sports again. Another possibility is that I wait for the extended highlights by the BBC of the Sky Sports race. That's not as fun though. I'll have to also avoid social networking sites and my brother. It doesn't feel worth it. Boycott Sky may not be the best idea but if we banded together to rally behind the brilliant HD and terrestrial coverage of the BBC, we might make a difference. It's just getting greedy now.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger.

Captain America: The First Avenger poster.

As I complained about Sky and their inability to allow Anytime+ to work I managed to book two free tickets to a day early screening of Captain America. It seems they tried to sweeten me up just to leave me bitter by signing the F1. Rupert Murdoch is just wants to piss people off - and make a lot of money probably. And to every parent that takes their child to the cinema and allows them to talk loudly: Tell them to shut up!

Plot: After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America's ideals.

Marvel have been using very left-field directors for their Avenger films and origin stories. Iron Man used Jon Favreau, Thor used Shakespeare director Kenneth Branagh (who might not return for Thor 2), The Avengers film uses Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity and wrote the screenplay for Toy Story) and Joe Johnston for Captain America. Joe Johnston has directed Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Jumanji, Jurassic Park III and The Wolfman. Not the greatest of films so expectations shouldn't really be high but it's all worked out so far. Especially in this "superhero summer". Can this keep the same quality as the other films?

In short, yes. It's as good as Thor and Iron Man. In fact, even its attempt at humour is actually funny most of the time. We start with Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) invading a town in Norway (a bit poorly timed) to achieve a mischievous blue cube - which we saw at the end post-credit scene in Thor. Johann Schmidt leads HYDRA and they're the real threat of WW2, not Hitler and the Nazis. He even pinches and edits their salute with "HEIL HYDRA!" We, then, join a much shorter and much skinnier Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) who wants to sign up to fight in WW2. The only problem is that no one will let him because they claim it'll be suicide. He's resilient and applies with false information in five different cities. It all changes when he's overheard by Dr. Erksine (the very funny Stanley Tucci) and asks if he'd be interested in a scientific experiment. Rogers obliges because he wants to get into the action.

Cast: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones and Hayley Atwell

This is when he enters a training camp with other potential candidates of the project. Tommy Lee Jones's Colonel Chester Phillips dislikes the wheezing "90 pound asthmatic" and doesn't see him as an ideal candidate. He describes Hoggs - a man previously punched in the face by Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell), the love interest, for making a move and being sexist - as a "perfect soldier" but that's exactly the problem: He's not a valiant, selfless leader. After throwing a dummy grenade, he realises that Rogers is the perfect candidate.

A brief basic lesson from Hollywood on how sci-fi and futuristic technology "works" and we've turned skinny yet valiant underdog into a tall, lean/built/cut (take your pick) machine that is ready to defeat the real threat of WW2: HYDRA. Unfortunately, amongst all this morphing, we've met Howard Stark (played by the AWFUL Dominic Cooper) and his accent keeps changing from a Texan accent to an Italian New-Yorker accent and so on. But let's not dwell on the painfully bad Dominic Cooper. After this experiment, Steve Rogers assumes his pseudonym Captain America to inspire the people of America about the war but not actually fighting it. He claims is only options are that or to be a lab rat but Agent Carter convinces him otherwise and that's when he becomes heroic. He battles his way through a warehouse to find his best friend, Bucky (Sebastian Stan). Then he actually becomes the super solider that the Colonel fought to create.

The best part about Captain America is that it isn't overly patriotic. With a name like Captain America, you'd expect it to be cheesy patriotism and nationalism and fighting everyone who opposes the American dream. Instead, it's just a man who assumes the colours of the American flag after motivating the Americans about the war. Gladly, that's it. It's all about America's pursuit of Johann Schmidt and the destruction of HYDRA before HYDRA destroys everything. I do agree with Red Skull's view of "no flags" and "no countries" but his execution isn't the best.

What I love is that, like X-Men: First Class, this hasn't tried to adapt the origin story to modern times but instead embraced the comics original origin. Setting this in the 1940s was a risk and must have been incredibly difficult to make it believable but the set-designs are immaculate and this is another case that proves set-design is better than CGI. If Alien and Aliens can have believable sets in 1979 and 1986 then why do we feel the need to poorly fake it?

Another positive thing about Captain America's origin is that it has Chris Evans not playing Chris Evans and actually giving him depth. Captain America isn't cocky like most of Evans's past characters have been in The Losers, Push and The Fantastic Four. We have him actually acting to something that isn't his type cast and doing it really well. He becomes Captain America and you don't even think of his egotistical turns in the past.

Unfortunately, not everything in Captain America is all rosy. For example, the romance. It's clunky and made obvious that it'll happen but it just picks up and takes off at random moment. The "romantic" and sentimental codeword "dance" is used all the way through. It's not given full screen-time and I think most of it was probably left on the cutting room floor.

Another post-credit sequence is here just like the other Avenger films. This has a very brief interaction between the captain and Nick Fury and then a teaser trailer for The Avengers.

It's got a great cast - with the exception of Dominic Cooper - like all the other Avenger films. It entertains throughout with great CGI and great set-designs. It really uses everything to fully immerse you. Between the action scenes, the clunky romance, Tommy Lee Jones's one-liners and Hugo Weaving's great villain, there's a great film with a great storyline; you just have to ignore the romantic sub-plot and prepare for the cheesiness of the '40s. Now, we've got to wait until next summer to see the follow-up to this superhero summer with The Avengers. Let's hope Joss Whedon makes it eclipse the origin stories and predecessors.

★★★★

Monday, 25 July 2011

Horrible Bosses.

Horrible Bosses poster.

It's odd to think that this is hasn't been made into a film before. We've all had these sadistic thoughts; about how our lives would be easier without that knob who's in charge. That's the idea of this film - off the guy in charge who's making your life miserable. In this day and age with fingerprints, DNA, motive and too much CSI on the TV, it's a bit hard to actually get away with it.

Cast: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx. Directed by Seth Gordon.

Nick Hendricks's (Jason Bateman) boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), works him to death, berates him for being two minutes late, tricks him into having a drink at eight in the morning and dangles a promotion in front of his face. Instead of giving it to the worthy Nick, he gives it to himself (only 85% of the wage though - self-sacrifice and all that). He claims it was a way to motivate him and that if Nick leaves, he'll make sure he never works in the industry again.

Dale Arbus's (Charlie Day) boss, Dr. Julia Harris D.D.S (the outstanding Jennifer Aniston), is a nymphomaniac who is constantly harassing Dale and pressuring him into having sex with her. At one point, she knocks him out and takes incriminating photo and half-rapes him ("you weren't even hard!"). Unfortunately, Dale is on the sex offender list for peeing in a children's playground in the middle of the night and Julia is the only dentist who's willing to hire him.

Plot: Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.

Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) loves his boss (Donald Sutherland) and loves his job. What he doesn't love is his boss's cocaine addicted son, Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell). In an unfortunate incidence, Kurt's beloved Jack Pellit dies from a heart attack leaving the cocaine-addicted mentalist in charge. Kurt's cushy job is now insanely awkward as he's asked to fire a fat person and a disabled man.

They joke around in a bar with a few drinks about how their lives would be easier without their bosses then they realise that they'd be doing "justifiable homicide" and come to the conclusion that they should hire professional help. The first professional who is hired to do the "wetwork" (Ioan Gruffudd) is a different professional so they have to look again. They go to the area with the most car-jackings and shout their business in a bar and end up enlisting an awesomely named Motherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx).

Dean "Motherfucker" Jones is their murder consultant and gives them the idea to kill each others bosses so they'll be swapping murders - a basis in Strangers on a Train and Throw Momma From the Train, which are both mentioned as if to avoid people claiming they "stole" the idea. This leads to recon which leads to planning which means joke after joke after joke with hijink after hijink. There are hilarious moments and moments that make you smile but not all of them are truly remarkable.

Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Matthew McConaughey, Dax Shepard, Ashton Kutcher, Paul Rudd, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeff Bridges, and Tom Cruise were all rumored for roles at some point.

For example, Charlie Day's voice starts to grate after half of the film so maybe he should stick to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as it's only half an hour long - that could be too much though. His grating voice could be the worst thing about this film and although he's funny at first and his character is quite funny, you can't quite get over that voice.

Jennifer Aniston may steal the entire film with the an entirely new role that shows she can change her character, can be versatile and still remain liked. Her sexual suggestions are all brilliant. Another good change is Colin Farrell's Tom Cruise like make-under with his combover and beer belly. He makes some hilarious jokes but he's pretty short-lived and not given enough time. Kevin Spacey is ever reliable and gives you laughs and real acting as massively cruel and hated boss.

This star-filled cast makes you laugh out loud and you come out entertained but it seems like a short film even though its running time is average (ninety-eight minutes) but it could have been a lot funnier and maybe have a better storyline. You'll be entertained but you might be left wanting something a little more memorable considering it's one of the original comedies of the year.

★★★

Ulterior motives.

Yesterday (the 23rd of July), I took Haz's three year-old sister to the park so she could go down slides and run around and be a happy little toddler. While we were there she made friends with a six year-old little girl called Louise. She ran around with her happily enough because Louise wanted to help little Jazmin get up and down from stuff because Jazmin is pretty small for her age. At one point, Jazmin ran to this fireman's pole and asked me to come over and help her slide down it so I did. Then, Louise came running over and asked the same thing so I obliged and helped her slide down just to make sure she didn't fall off or hurt herself.

This turned into a game for these two and they did it for a while. I noticed that the mother of this child - who made a snide comment under her breath when me and Haz walked past because we didn't thank her for moving her pram out of the way of something that Jazmin was on (common sense to not put it there in the first place but whatever) - turned to watch me to and kept an eye on me. I suppose it's understandable to be a little paranoid when the media is telling you all of this. Then, she called Louise over (I didn't notice since I was helping Jazmin) and when she came back she said to me "my mammy says I have to do it on my own." Her mother told her this because every good deed has to have an ulterior motive when, really, I just wanted to make sure no one hurt themselves. Pretty much, I was accused of having some other reason for wanting to help her down when all I did was say yes because she asked me to. I'm sure she would have said something had I said no so it's a lose-lose situation.

It's a shame to see that now everything you do is for some demented and twisted reason. Everything has to have a disgusting reason. There's no being a nice person any more. This is true for a lot of men because statistics are against us really so the judgements are understandable in a sense. If Haz had been doing it, would she have said the same thing? Was it that she thought I was going to kidnap her little girl? Was it just because I didn't say thank you for her moving her moveable object? I don't care about her really, she seemed like a horrible person with her glares, her muttering and her general listlessness when it came to her children. But then again, am I any better because I'm making a snap judgement right there? She judged me so I judged her. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" but maybe we're already blind to good deeds?

Paranoia seems to be infecting us all. I must admit that I'm very paranoid in public and I'm wary in case someone tries to steal my wallet and/or phone. In fact, most of the time I lock my doors in my car in case someone tries to steal my car from me. Knowledge seems to be empowering us but also scaring us senseless. It's a mad world that we live in and this weekend has proved that. Is it possible that the film Surrogates might actually become true?

Everything is associated with something terrible. You help someone pick something up then you're stealing from them. You're nice to a child and you're a paedophile or a kidnapper. You accidentally walk into someone and you're picking a fight. You smile at someone and you're a pervert. You offer to help in any way shape or form then you want someone back. This is the new-age of paranoia now. The bad thing is, we can all justify this paranoia because of what we hear about on the news or from acquaintances. It's such a shame but it feels like a necessary precaution. In age where we're all networked via the internet and connected to one another, it seems that you can't make any real friendships from scratch on the street any more. It's probably more socially conventional to start it online.

Then, starting it online has its drawbacks. Online relationships have always been threatened thanks to the perverted few that took the internet as a way to be a predator so we're paranoid on there too. It just seems like all of our attempts are futile and that we may as well just all become hermits because the world is too dangerous. When it becomes technologically possible, I can see people actually becoming hermits and remaining home because it's the safer option. Existence will be dull and there'll be no real relationships; you won't know the person behind the machine. It's time to prepare for the anti-social era - it looks like its already begun.

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Tree of Life.



I'd just like to extend a gigantic middle finger to the final Harry Potter, Vue cinemas and the Odeon for not showing this film. Travelling to Cardiff was a fun day out but an inconvenience nonetheless. Although I did get to enjoy Cineworld and it's much better screens than Vue. Actually, it was a sort of blessing in disguise because this is a film looking for extreme artistic merit and an early Oscar nomination for its cinematography. In fact, it should win it. I read a review which said that if you took a screencap at any moment, it would be like a gorgeous and professional photograph and I concur. Terrence Malick is truly beautiful with his camera work, his colours, his depth, his composition, his everything. It's visually astounding.

Plot: The story centres around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.

The story centres around a middle-aged Jack who is recollecting his childhood from thinking about the death of his younger brother. It focusses on his relationships with his paradox-esque parents and the loss of innocence. It never specifies how he dies or who dies but that one of the brother dies at the young age of nineteen. This means that Jack as a crisis of faith and - in his middle-age - thinks about the the creation of life, the meaning of life and what is the best way to live life. It's also a philosophical take on when a child starts losing their naivety.

The film starts in the 1960s-ish with the mother, Mrs O'Brien (Jessica Chastain), receiving the terrible news that one of her sons has died. We then see Jack (Sean Penn) as an architect in present day, thinking about the loss of his brother which triggers other thoughts. This then starts from the start - but not the start of the story; the literal start of everything. This is a scene that includes the creation of the universe, volcanoes spewing lava to create the land, waves crashing, the beginning of biological life and even dinosaurs. The CGI is near perfect and is visually appealing. In fact, the lighting, composition and depth of the images that you see are perfect. It is visual brilliance and magnificent to see - it's incredibly difficult to explain the beauty of it but it is pretty much irrelevant. It's an interesting idea and it's very well done but it is just pointless to the storyline and tells nothing of the story, nor is it even clear that Jack is actually thinking this; it just happens. It just came across as pretentious - the whispering narrative of random philosophical questions didn't help this case either. We are insignificant yet complex in an infinite universe.

Cast: Brad Pitt, Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler, Tye Sheridan Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain. Directed by Terrence Malick.

After the creation of the world comes the creation of the O'Brien family. Starting with the eldest son, Jack. It shows the playful and graceful relationship he develops with his mother and it also shows the distance between him and his father (Brad Pitt). Then, as they grow up, it shows the conflict and how the parents are a contradiction. Their mother tries to teach them grace and to be delicate, caring and forgiving while their father teaches them to be tenacious, strict and to not let their aspirations and dreams escape like his dream of being a musician did. It's this contradiction that leads to young Jack's (Hunter McCracken) complicated relationship with his father.

Nothing really happens in the film bar fluid shots and smooth transitions from scene to scene and at points, nothing occurs. Just like nothing truly happens in your childhood yet it sticks with you. The true power comes from how powerfully you can relate to it. The relationships, the mundaneness of your childhood, the mistakes, the redemption, the angst, the confusion, the jealousy and every emotion that you ever feel in your life. As it flows, you get whispered narrative from Jack (young and middle-aged), Mrs O'Brien and Mr O'Brien but the moments I enjoyed the most were the moments where there was real dialogue, a real scene and a real memory. They seemed heartfelt, realistic and hard for Jack to bear. There's a moment where Mr O'Brien asks if the family isn't good enough for Jack because he wanted company. Obviously, that's wrong considering Jack's close relationships with his two brothers, R.L. (Laramie Eppler - Brad Pitt's lovechild, he must be!) and Steve (Tye Sheridan).

The five editors of the film worked on it for three years, editing around 600,000 metres of film...wow. Source: Total Film.

His father believes in the idea of money and believes it's important. He is strict with the boys and offers stern guidelines so they can be successful when they're older. Brad Pitt plays it excellently as he is easily believable as strict but still maintains his likeability. He tells his children that he only does this because he loves them. He offers a hot and cold relationship where he shows seconds of affection with hugs and kisses but pushes them away at a safe distance so they know not to get comfortable with it. While the mother maintains the role of endless affection. Of course this is all subjective and all from the memories of Jack. Memories which he could have twisted and tampered with so we only have the biased view of a middle-aged man who has a complicated relationship with his father.

The origin of this film goes back to the late 1970s, when after Days of Heaven director Terrence Malick was working on a project named "Q", that would explore the origins of life on earth. He abandoned the project, but this film contains elements from it.

After the long childhood memories, we're dragged back to present day with a depressed Sean Penn who can't control his emotions. He even phones his father to apologise for something he said. Then, we're taken to the desert while Jack walks around looking for answers to his life questions and his faith troubles. He follows his younger self around this desert, through random doorways until he's led to a beach. This is where there's a sort of reunion of the family members from his childhood memories and all the characters we met along the way. It seems like an afterlife-esque reunion where everyone just walks and talks with each other.

The only true problems are the narrative and the pretentiousness of the film. The storytelling isn't very clear nor is it consistent and nor is anything relative but then again, maybe that's a metaphor for life and how everything isn't relative but it's still there. It's very subjective and highly relies on you to sit and think and ponder our existence and the meaning of each and every shot. Is that too much to expect of an audience? Lately, it probably is and that's why I feel so ashamed and sorry for the people who left the screening because they didn't understand the importance nor did they appreciate the artistic abilities of this creation. The whispy narrative and the generic "why?" questions don't raise much but the pictures evoke more. It's for those who don't just want to be entertained but want to be educated, have a real connection to the film or want to see things differently. It's got more to think about than Transformers 3 anyway. I'd recommend seeing it in the cinema because it's all in the details and the cinema can give you the clarity needed. At least watch it on Blu-Ray and not DVD. There's so much to say and I will watch it again.

★★★★(★)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon poster.

I know it's a sin for a cinephile and/or critic to not hate Michael Bay but I don't. Yes, he uses big budgets. Yes, he appeals to the eyes only. Yes, he appeals to philistines and morons everywhere but he's good at what he does. For example, I love the Bad Boys films. I think they're really funny and full of great action scenes and they have their right in any DVD collection of anyone who enjoys films. It's a genre as much as any other because not everything has to be hard hitting theatre. Although the first Transformers was good, the sequel (now sequels) haven't lived up to the first.

Plot: The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.

The worst thing about the second was the incoherence and the attempt at humour. The added screen time of Sam's mother was just painful and cringe worthy (but not in the good cringe worthy way). The tiny robot who humps Megan Fox's legs and changes sides. The flatmate who isn't funny nor worthwhile to watch. The RC twins who were - at the end of the day - racist stereotypes. That along with the fact the storyline was incoherent, flawless lines like "this is top secret - do not tell my mother", Megan Fox's white trousers that couldn't get dirty in the desert and they slapped every geography teacher in the face with their setting.

It felt like he'd evolve the roles of the second to more painfully unfunny and when I heard the news that the little robot had a friend, I was almost devastated. The truth is though, this wasn't that bad. It was much better than the second. Although it did nearly make my bladder explode with a running time of almost three hours, I found myself enjoyed throughout - mostly anyway. Except for almost every Rosie Huntington-Whiteley scene because she made Megan Fox look like a multi-Oscar winner in comparison.

It's the same storyline, and that's a problem. In the three films, the same thing happens really. There's a small bad guy, then an army of bad guys, they look like they might win but then Optimus Prime saves the day. That is the Transformers formula and although the first one was original in a sense, these others are carbon copies but with bigger spectacles and with some sub-plots and horrible attempts at character development. If they used the second film as a cliff hanger, with the Decepticons ruling Earth, then the follow-up would be a much more interesting story and possibly more anticipated.

"There's a reason we never went back." A tagline which could possibly be credited as plagiarised from the upcoming Apollo 18 film is the main storyline. We knew something was on the moon so the Americans raced the Russians to the moon to see what was on there. They discovered a Cybertronian spacecraft which had crash landed after leaving Cybertron with precious cargo. This cargo was a collection of pillars which could be used as a teleportation device. This would bring armies to a certain spot instantly which is a huge military advantage and the Decepticons want this so they can finally control Earth.

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Alan Tudyk and Tyrese Gibson. Directed by Michael Bay.

Your first scene of the new love interest, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), is of her in underwear and a long shirt which isn't long enough to cover her arse. You can tell Bay has directed a Victoria's Secret advert before and that's her part of the deal in this film really. Megan Fox left a void, a very sexy, hot void which needed to be filled and who's better than an underwear model? The camera practically air humps her in every shot, ogling her every curve and I'd be game for that usually but Rosie has annoyingly big lips, a flat Na'Vi like nose and terrible acting abilities. Maybe I'm being too harsh on FHM's sexiest woman of the year but I just personally don't see it.

John Malkovich interviews Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) who is jobless after successfully graduating college and is a minor role in this film. His career is taking a turn with this and R.E.D. Now these are agonising scenes. With John Malkovich fake tanned up to the max and being pretty abused as an actor, it's hard to like these scenes. Especially the unfunny scenes involving Ken Jeong of Mr. Chow fame playing inappropiate Mr. Chow without the accent and the profanity. These scenes don't make you laugh, they don't even raise smiles; they just want you to hurry the scenes along so you don't have to listen to this awkwardness. There's a new person (Frances McDormand's Mearing) in charge of the Autobots who doesn't trust them again and doesn't believe that they should be here, which is the same as the first three.

Enter a new threat, a new transformer and a slight twist in the story. It's like a zinger, not a twist. After the set-up scenes, the film does get more interesting and then the action can commence. That's all Transformers films are are action and that's what you want. You want a spectacle. You want to be entertained. You don't go in expecting some hard-hitting emotional rollercoaster. You want explosions, guns and robots massacring each other.

There are some welcome changes and some welcome characters in this new adventure. For example, Patrick Dempsey's turn as Dylan - Carly's boss - is interesting and well acted. The best addition of them all though is Alan Tudyk's Dutch. He is actually funny. He's the man that made Serenity a whole lot funnier and Dodgeball a whole lot weirder (he was the pirate).

Shia LeBeuof has apparently turned down roles in The Social Network, 127 Hours, The Bourne Legacy and The Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The first two films produced three Oscars and seven Golden Globes as well as other accolades. Also, the other two are set to be huge blockbusters. Yet, he did Wall Street 2, Eagle Eye and Disturbia. Source: Details and Total Film.

You have to respect the team behind the CGI and the vision that goes into these films. There were numerous impressive moments with the CGI and the way things fit and fall and fight. Especially in 3D, it was just intricately detailed and was Super-HD like all other 3D films. All in all, it was much better than the second but shy of the third. Maybe a reboot is what is needed with the inevitable fourth (Jason Statham is rumoured to take the helm of them). Maybe they should stay loyal to the cartoons a bit more and bring Unicron in it to resurrect Megatron and create Galvatron. The story of the next has to be different otherwise they'll have no chance of extending the franchise further really.

★★★