Tag Archives: Anthony Hopkins

“Transformers: The Last Knight”

LOUISA: 1.5 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

“Transformers: The Last Knight” reminded me of something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on and it wasn’t until I left the theater that the perfect analogy popped into my head. This fifth installment in the Hasbro toy brand franchise is sort of like when you have a really bad case of food poisoning. You start vomiting uncontrollably and think you’re finally done when — surprise — you find yourself running to puke yet again. It’s a never ending stream of upchuck until you’ve expelled the last bits of unpleasantness from your system and it’s finally over, leaving you feeling as good as new.

That pretty much sums up this stupid, flashy, regurgitated summer blockbuster.

If you are already a big fan of this loud, dumb film franchise then you’re going to see this one too and you’re probably going to love it. It’s not quite as bad as some of the other “Transformers” sequels, so that’s at least one positive thing I have to say.

I’m not one of those “high art” snobby film critics either. I actually like Michael Bay and think he’s talented when it comes to great looking visuals (see “Bad Boys II” if you ever doubt the man is a good director), and the earlier parts of this film are quite enjoyable. It’s when the thing deteriorates into a lazy mess of a robot cartoon that it becomes a rambling, puzzling lesson in total and complete incoherence.

It’s sad because the spectacular opening sequence, featuring a battle complete with King Arthur, the wizard Merlin (Stanley Tucci), and a giant dragon, is a considerable hook that’s extremely well done. It actually made me raise the bar a little bit solely based on its enjoyable extravagance. The film doesn’t really veer off into la la land until about halfway through its grueling two and a half hour run time, when it starts to fester and drags on and on and on. If you’re among the strongest willed moviegoers who are voluntarily able to stick with it until the very end, you’ll need to get some fresh air after sitting for what feels like much, much longer.

The movie works when it ties in a good, old fashioned adventure quest plot (a’la “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “National Treasure”) involving a loony member of a secret society (Anthony Hopkins) and an heir of Merlin (Laura Haddock) instead of the modern day jumble of angry army men (led by Josh Duhamel), our strapping hero mechanic Cade (Mark Wahlberg), and tough alien-fighting teen orphan Izabella (Isabela Moner). I wish Bay had stuck to this adventure theme direction for the story because it is fun and somehow oddly worked within the alien transforming vehicle world and most of all, it actually made sense. Human interaction is far better than phony looking animated robot fights, fiery explosions, nonstop yelling, and shooting.

Dialogue isn’t one of the film’s strengths either, with seven (yes, SEVEN!!) credited “screenwriters” choosing to dumb down the most simplistic of phrases into awkwardly contrived platitudes or laughably wooden statements of the obvious. How these projects manage to attract talent with true acting cred like Wahlberg, Hopkins, and John Turturro is beyond me. Oh, wait a second: it’s all about the Benjamins.

The special effects are first class (too bad the editing and direction of the CGI bits are so chaotic that they blur together and become much more tedious than exhilarating) and deserve a better showcase than this mayhem allows. And I have great news for those of you who love explosions: as is Bay’s trademark, this movie is loaded with so many detonations that if I had to venture a guess, I’d say there are at least two big fireballs for every minute of film.

I’ll leave you with some words of cinematic wisdom: see “Transformers: The Last Knight” if you must, but remember that your ticket purchase will encourage Hollywood to churn out more rubbish exactly like it.

“Collide”

LOUISA: 2 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

I want to slap the person who decided Felicity Jones should be a movie star. She is, without question, one of the most annoying and overrated actors working today. And once again she is miscast as a bleached-blonde American love interest in “Collide,” a movie that I guarantee you’ve never heard of and one that you could watch and not remember having seen a month later. It’s not wholly awful, it’s far from unwatchable, but it’s completely forgettable.

This amounts to little more than a low rent action movie with a repetitive, unoriginal plot. You’ll get plenty of deja vu that you’ve seen this movie before — and you’ve most definitely seen a better version of the same film before. It’s a classic heist story with zero originality or spunk. Casey (Nicholas Hoult) gets involved with some very bad people after he robs a truck belonging to a drug trafficker and mob boss (Anthony Hopkins). When his girlfriend Juliette (Jones) is threatened and in danger, he calls on his former drug smuggling boss (Ben Kingsley) for help protecting her. Yawn.

The film is an obvious wannabe homage to the classic movie “True Romance,” with more than a few borrowed ideas and lines. It comes across as a cheap imitator at times (Jones wears a blonde Alabama -style wig, there are certain scenes framed in the exact same style, and there’s even some similar dialogue). This movie serves as a pertinent reminder to never copy a true cinematic original (or risk the fallout of an unfavorable comparison).

As a car enthusiast, I wanted to enjoy many of the car chase scenes but because of the way the action pieces were choppily edited, I couldn’t tell what the heck was going on. When you have gorgeous, sleek cars speed racing through the German Autobahn with fantastic and skilled stunt driving, slow the camera down so I can enjoy and appreciate the action. This is just one of the many failures of this poorly directed film.

Another major distraction is the bizarre, head-scratching, cartoonish performance from Kinglsey and the unusually hammy turn from Hopkins (both not exactly miscast as two unlikely rival gangsters, but both over the top in their portrayals). Jones displays the worst American accent you have ever heard in your life (but it’s important to the plot that her character is American and not British). Hoult is as bland as ever, and their whirlwind romance so unbelievable that you’ll question the main character’s motivation in the first place.

The first 30 minutes of “Collide” are so bad, with the director (Eran Creevy) trying so desperately to make an “artsy” style film, that it’s painful to sit through (I actually contemplated walking out). I’m glad I decided to stay because while the film isn’t memorable, it’s not really that terrible. It is, however, a textbook example of a junk movie that studios choose to dump into theaters to fill the dead zone of February.