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Posts Tagged ‘Megan Fox’

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
  —  Arthur C. Clarke
Transformers: The Last Knight  —  movie review
T:TLK (2017) is another push by Hasbro to sell its action figures to kids using mass-media marketing i.e. a Sci-Fi / Special Effects extravaganza.  This episode is the fifth in the series.  The movie has Mark Wahlberg in a T:4 role reprisal as Cade Yeager,  Anthony Hopkins is introduced as Yoda, I mean as Sir Edmund Burton – the last in a line of knights from the Round Table, Josh Duhamel (who has appeared in all of the “T” movies) again as Lt. Col. Lennox,  Laura Haddock as Vivian Wembley – the last descendent of Merlin the Magician – and Cade’s new love interest, and Isabela Moner as Izabella – who has no real role in the movie – just a young girl who is supposed to have a flair for fixing machines (like broken “T’s”).  The movie was very poorly reviewed and received: both professionally (15%) and by the general audience (46%).  When more than half of your paying viewers don’t give the movie a good rating, the series is in “it” deep.
So, what did I think?  Actors: I like Wahlberg in the role.  I thought he was decent in T:4 and he is even better in this sequel.  No, he’s not a great actor and, no, this isn’t a great role.  But, I like him in it.  He brings the right amount of comedy, physicality and easy-going charm which suits the role.  I would add, though, that Mark is starting to show his age and really needs to get into some more mature acting roles sooner rather than later.  Hopkins is meant to bring a certain amount of gravitas to the film.  He does, and humor too.  Duhamel has had the same role since the beginning and it’s basically “fit, military looking male of appropriate age”.  He’s been there, done that, and got the T-shirt.  Haddock is basically a Megan Fox (“T1” and “T2”) look-alike without having to pay for Megan.  Having said that, Haddock is better in the role.  Not that the bar was set very high by Fox, but Haddock has a few funny lines and a few disdainful glances which she manages to pull off.  I’ve not seen her in anything else (I haven’t yet looked her up), but again, she was okay.  Moner rounds out the major actors with screen time and, as near as I can tell, is only present to try to convey a “family” theme which runs through all of the prior “T” films.  I guess the writers felt one-way calls between Cade and his daughter (who is away at college), didn’t get the message across enough.  Deep down though, I have a feeling Moner’s role is a shallow attempt to get young female “SMART’s” to buy “T” toys.
Plot: Wow!  So much, so wrong…  It’s hard to know where to begin.  I won’t bother.  The movie doesn’t make sense.  The movie doesn’t really follow prior continuity and doesn’t really have continuity within itself.  Worst of all, the movie tries to squeeze in so much it “feels” long.  I don’t know if there is a much more damming comment you can give an action movie than: “It feels long…”
Special Effects:  Nothing really jumped out at me as “new” or “wow”.  That doesn’t mean the f/x weren’t any good.  They were.  It really is just more of the same.  Chases, explosions, lots of ammunition, folks tossed around, etc; but nobody (human) really gets injured or killed – except for a few of the spare “T’s” in the movie.
Final recommendation:  This is NOT the worst “T” movie.  It is actually quite watchable as long as you are approaching it in the spirit it’s intended: chases, explosions, lots of ammunition, folks tossed around, etc; but nobody (human) really gets injured or killed AND a light sprinkling of humor every 10-15 minutes.  (Okay, someone is gonna say: “What about Hopkins?”  Yes, his character dies, but even that is handled gracefully with a good-bye from his butler.)  If you’ve spent 8+ hours of your life watching the other four “T” movies in this series, another 2+ hours watching this one is probably not going to hurt too bad.  I give it a moderate recommendation based only on watchability and humor.  A final note: this is clearly a lead in to at least one more sequel.  If director Michael Bay doesn’t step up his game and get better writers, hopefully, the next will be the last, cause while this isn’t the worst in the series, it’s not a very good movie – stand-alone or in the series.
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On This Day In:
2016 Rare Competition
2015 Now Where Did I Put That Thing?
2014 Reckoning
Orange October (VIII) – Giants Win Game 1 Of 2014 World Series!!
2013 Trying To Capture Serenity
2012 Above The Vaulted Sky
2011 Active Learning

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – movie review
TMNJ (2014) is a mixed, live action / computer generated / science fiction / action / comedy film based on the characters of the same name which I assume was released aimed at the pre-teen market and / or adults needing to feel nostalgic.  It is a reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film series from the 1990’s (and cartoon TV series from the 1980’s).   The film stars Megan Fox, Will Arnett, and William Fichtner as the main live actors.  The Turtles are computer generated with voice-overs.
Full disclosure:  I am coming to this party late.  I have never seen a single episode from the series or any of the prior movies.  Consequently, my review is only of this movie – well, with the popular culture facts I was aware of.
So, there is a rat (“Splinter”) who raises four genetically modified turtles in the sewers of New York City.  The rat teaches them the martial art of Ninjitsu.  The four turtles are named after four famous Renaissance artists: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael.  I’m not sure why.  The only explanation was the genetic experiment they were party to was called “The Renaissance Project”.   Anyway, the turtles are raised to fight crime – mainly the “Foot Clan” which is led by another martial arts expert named “Shredder” (who has a vague resemblance to “Edward Scissorhands” in an Iron-Man suit).  I gather that if you are familiar with either the TV show or the prior movies all of this is standard background.
Basically, the movie is action, one-liners, action, special effects, pause for family overcomes all message, more action, more special effects, and end with credits.  I think the movie was supposed to be more comedic, but Fox and Arnett couldn’t carry it off and their bits fell flat.
Was the movie any good?  Acting?  Special effects and action?  Yes.  No.  And, pretty good.
Good!?  Really?   Yes.  The movie was actually enjoyable.  It wasn’t great or original or anything like that, but it was modestly fun and I’d watch it again.  Acting?  Fair to poor.  Fichtner was acceptable (barely), Fox is attractive enough, but can’t really act, and Arnett is just plain bad (awful).  To be honest, aside from the CGI Turtles, Splinter and Shredder are the two best “actors / characters” in the movie.  The Turtles “make” the movie and either you can get into them or you can’t.  I did, so I enjoyed the movie.  All humans (actors) are just along for the ride.
Special effects and action?  Like I said, pretty good.  Enough to keep my attention and enjoy the film.  There’s a lot to quibble about, but that’s mostly the plot and actors and not the FXs.
Final recommendation: moderate for a normal person who’s into comic-book action movies.  I think “highly recommended” for the pre-teen target audience.  Reasonable action and special effects, together with the teen-age banter between the Turtles make this an enjoyable film.
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On This Day In:
2014 Book Return
2013 Keep Writing Your Truths
Perilous Times For The U.S. Military
2012 The Victor
2011 Forging Away At My Deadlines
2010 Try This With Your Shoes…

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Back at work now for a week after my thirty days off for vacation.  Hil, Sarah and I flew to Liverpool, U.K. to visit her family for three weeks (Sarah has stayed an extra two weeks and will be back soon).  We flew out of Oakland, to Portland, on to Amsterdam, and then into John Lennon / Liverpool International Airport (aka Speke Airport).  The return trip was via Seattle instead of Portland.  All the flights were surprising comfortable and there were no problems at all.  The most interesting thing was we took a turboprop on the initial leg of the trip (from Oakland to Portland).  This was only the third time I’ve ever flown in a propeller aircraft and it was the first time it was quiet.  I would say it was quieter than a jet – particularly on the takeoff and landing.  I was expecting to have to shout to Hil, but we could speak at normal volumes.
We had a wonderful time visiting with family and old friends and I felt particularly relaxed by the whole experience.  We stayed close to Liverpool and just enjoyed getting re-acquainted with the jewel at the mouth of the Mersey.  The weather was surprising agreeable – in fact, I would say the first four days we were there it was “hot” (in the low 80s).  Very pleasant for us coming from Concord, CA (in the 90s).  I was hoping for more rain.  We did get some, but it was mostly intermittent and not a bother at all.  “Just enough to keep the dust down,” is how it’s described in Scouser.
Books
I took a number of books along with me, hoping to be motivated enough to get through them.  I wasn’t.  I made the “mistake” of purchasing a Sudoku book at the airport and ended up wasting many hours in simple entertainment.  I find the pattern matching in Sudoku to be extremely relaxing even though it seems to also involve a great deal of mental concentration.  Anyway, the three books I did complete were: The Art Of Pitching, written by Tom Seaver (1984©) with Lee Lowenfish, “Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons“, written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., (1976©), and “A Christian’s Pocket Guide To Islam“, written by Patrick Sookhdeo (2001©).
If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you probably are aware of my re-kindled interest in baseball (in general) and the San Francisco Giants (in particular).  Hil and I have watch most of the games this season and I would estimate we’d seen some of all but three games – up until we left for our vacation.  Anticipating I was going to be suffering from baseball withdrawal, I took along Tom Seaver’s book to ease my suffering.  The book is an excellent guide to learning about the mechanics of pitching and I would highly recommend it for a junior level baseball coach or 10 to 12 year old who dreams of becoming a high school, college, or Big League pitcher.  For me, there were many insights into the mechanics, but not a lot on the strategy of pitching to a specific hitter or work a game.  Seaver does spend the last chapter going pitch by pitch through a game (he wins it), but it was somehow lacking in what I was hoping for.  I’m not sure what I was looking for, but this didn’t quite “get it” for me.  Anyway, it did help me get through the three weeks without watching a game and I do highly recommend this short volume to anyone interested in the mechanical side of pitching and picture preparation.
Many years ago, I read a few of Kurt Vonnegut’s books.  The one which struck me the most was “Slaughter House Five“, but I enjoyed the couple I read and I bought several more intending to complete more of his works.  Well, life got in the way and I’ve never gotten around to them.  I found a few of his quotes on another blog I subscribe to (and copied them to my own), but they tickled my fancy about getting back to the ones I’ve not read.  “Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons” is one of those unread works.  This is actually a terrific little book about science fiction, life, war, peace and honesty.   I highly recommend it!!  One story on Biafra was particularly touching; another (a SciFi story) on prolonged life was particularly frightening.  As I said – highly recommended.  And now I really do want to read several of his other works which have been sitting on my shelf for thirty odd years…
The third book I completed, “Pocket Guide To Islam“, was a very thin book I found at Hil’s mum’s place.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect reading it.  It seems to be written by a Christian minister who has spent some time studying Islam.  I would say the book captures the basic story, philosophy, historical facts of the religion, but I don’t feel the book conveys the depth of feeling or nuanced interpretation of a Muslim.  Of course, not being Muslim myself, I may be completely incorrect, but my direct experience with Indian, Egyptian, Iranian and Arabic Muslims is not in complete agreement with some of the minor facts in the book and therefore I find it difficult to accept the whole of the work.  Still, I do feel the author seems to be coming from a willingness to accept conversion to Christianity by Muslims.  I’m just not sure the author says anything which would help a Christian convert a Muslim, even if the Muslim were personally willing to listen to an attempt at conversion.
Movies
Including one movie I saw after I got home from Liverpool, I’ve seen fourteen new movies during my thirty days off.  They include: The Adjustment Bureau, The Eagle, The Green Hornet, A Law Abiding Citizen, Grand Torino, Transformers 3, Defiance, Invictus, True Grit (the new version), Harry Potter – Deathly Hallows part 2, Battle: Los Angeles, The Lincoln Lawyer, Country Strong, and Captain America (in 3D and normal the following day).  Wow!!  (That’s some sittin’ around on your duff – even for me!)
The Adjustment Bureau: another good, solid performance by Matt Damon.  Is life pre-ordained or is there free will?  See the movie and then you decide…  Highly recommended as an adult, thinking movie.
The Eagle: a surprising entertaining movie about Romans in England (Scotland, actually, but why nit-pick).  Reminiscent of the first battle scene in Gladiator (which I also enjoyed), but this is the longer, drawn out version.  Not great, but a solid “man’s” movie.
The Green Hornet: mostly a dud.  Very disappointing.  I’ve never seen Seth Rogen in anything before and this movie will go a long way in making sure I make NO effort to see him again soon.  Reminiscent of the Adam West Batman TV series, but I don’t think they were going for the high camp that made the TV series tolerable (sometimes very funny).  Save two hours of your life and do something else besides watching this.  You’ve been warned…
A Law Abiding Citizen: if you liked The Usual Suspects, you’ll probably like this movie.  I enjoyed them both for what they are – good, solid, adult, storytelling.  Perhaps too much implied violence for the young or squeamish, but otherwise, solid entertainment!
Grand Torino: Wow!!  I don’t remember the last time I laughed so much watching a serious movie.  Clint Eastwood at his best!!  Shades of Archie Bunker from “All In The Family“.  A serious movie about racism, hope, coming of age – AND it is laugh out loud funny because it’s so well written and acted.
Transformers 3:  Not as good as T1 or T2, but still pretty good summer entertainment.  If you want to see robots kicking each other around, this is it!  The down side is you have to sit through about 45 minutes of blah, blah, blah about the hero (Shia Labeouf) and why Megan Fox isn’t in the movie.  Next time, just say, “the part of Megan Fox will be played by…” and get on with the robots fighting.  Another thing: you don’t HAVE to include every character from every earlier movie.  Still, I’ll pick it up when it comes out in DVD for X-mas (cause I’m that kind of guy).  I saw this opening weekend, in 3D.  I’m not sure it added much to the movie.  Again, I’m left unimpressed with 3D technology…
Defiance:  an interesting movie about some Russian Jews who resisted the Nazis during WWII.  Based on a true story, it’s not a documentary and it’s not “entertaining”.  Worth seeing and interesting.  Stars Daniel Craig of James Bond fame.  Okay acting – moderate recommendation.
Invictus:  I was expecting a rugby version of Rocky, but instead this was a major bio of support for Nelson Mandela with Rocky thrown in for good measure.  If you like leadership movies and or sports movies about underdogs who win, this is for you.  I highly recommend it (on both counts)!!  Oh, yeah, Matt Damon stars (again).  He is rapidly compiling a significant body of work.
True Grit (the new version) – pretty much follows the original John Wayne classic and then disappoints (me) at the end.  It’s a more realistic ending, but who cares – it’s not a four-poster.  I’d watch them both if I were you and then let me know which you think is better.  This version has Jeff Bridges playing John Wayne (I mean Rooster Cogburn) and it’s a good solid performance.  Oh, yeah, there’s Matt Damon again…  Recommended, but definitely see the first version too.
Harry Potter – Deathly Hallows part 2: a good, solid movie and ending to the series.  I am not a devotee to the books, but I felt it was fairly close.  Interestingly, they did not make the same mistake as Transformers 3, they assume you saw the other movies or read the books, cover the transition into the part two movie in about ten minutes tops and get on with the rest of the story.  I saw this on opening day with Sarah, in Liverpool, in 3D.  For some reason, the things not immediately focused on were blurry.  I’m not sure if this was meant to increase the feel of the 3D or not, but I did not find 3D added much to the movie.  I will definitely pick this up on DVD (in 2D).  Highly recommended if you’ve seen any of the other earlier movies…
Battle: Los Angeles: this was probably the surprise movie of the bunch for me.  I did NOT expect anything from the movie except the pleasure of (once again) seeing Los Angeles get destroyed.  Unfortunately, LA gets saved, but at least it gets thoroughly trashed before it gets saved and the movie is a good action movie.  It’s gung-ho, Marines, oo-rah, but who cares…  It stars Aaron Eckhart (who I first noticed and loved in The Core) and he makes a surprisingly good Marine sergeant.  It’s definitely over the top for the military and the Marines and I loved it.  Great summer entertainment.  Highly recommended.  Oo-rah!!
The Lincoln Lawyer:  a smart law / lawyer movie.  Who would have thunk it?  Stars Matthew McConaughey as a lawyer who does much of his work from a mini-office in a classic Lincoln towncar (oh, I get the title now).  Of course, he’s also out to do the right thing and help the down-trodden – just like ol’ Honest Abe (oh, I get the title now).  Not as interesting as A Law Abiding Citizen (above), but another entertaining adult movie.  Recommended, but not quite highly recommended.
Country Strong: first let’s get the facts out of the way – 1) I listen to country music (a lot), and 2) I think Gwyneth Paltrow is a beautiful and talented actress.  Still, the movie didn’t reach me.  The songs were not that good and the performances (of the songs) were not that good either.  I just didn’t believe Paltrow was a star or the up and coming male singer was up and coming.  I also just didn’t buy into the story of the producer / husband, either.  I know there’s a lot of that in all forms of the music industry – I just didn’t buy it.  This movie came highly recommended by my daughter (Rebecca), but I think she misjudged me on it.  It was okay, but I would not really recommend it and I’m glad I didn’t pay to see it (it was on the flight home).
Captain America:  This was a first for me…  I saw the movie twice – on consecutive days – first in 3D and then in normal 2D.  I was supposed to see it with my son, James, over the weekend, but I went up to visit my brother, Sean, and he wanted to go see it with his son.  So the three of us went to his local movie house.  I really enjoyed the movie!  Of course, it’s VERY over the top on patriotism and rah-rah America, but it’s about World War II and Captain America.  If you can’t get past that, why did you plan to go see the movie?  Chris Evans is much more believable in this role than he was as the Human Torch in the two Fantastic Four movies.  I think it’s because Evans really does play the role seriously (completely unlike Seth Rogen in The Green Hornet).  I also feel Hugo Weaving made a great Red Skull (the bad guy).  I noticed the same blurring of out of primary focus characters in the 3D version (the same effect I saw in HP-Hallows Part 2).  I did not notice the blurring in the 2D version, so again, I’m thinking it’s something the director is trying to do to add depth to the movie or it’s the result of something funky in 3D movie technique.  It doesn’t work for me.
While I’ve stated several times I am not a big 3D fan, I must admit when I watched both versions in close proximity, I missed the 3D effect.  Somehow, my mind remembered and I was expecting it, and I noticed not getting it in the 2D version.  I doubt this will ever happen again, because I doubt I’ll pay to see two version so close together – but it was an interesting sensory experience.
Well, if you’ve made it this far, congratulations!  You get a No-prize and a promise I’ll try not to do another marathon blog like this for a while.
I’ve got more to say about our trip to Liverpool and photos – but that’s for another day/blog.
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