Notes from the Back Row 

More robot warfare, less sap

Shia LaBeouf is the kind of guy who speaks his mind and takes no shit. Apparently he once came over the counter at a late-night taco joint and beat down the teller for making inappropriate comments about his date, Megan Fox.

He also publically criticized the last Indiana Jones flick (saying Spielberg "dropped the ball") and Wall Street 2 (calling out Oliver Stone for not being hard enough). These are films he starred in but Shia LaBeouf, it appears, doesn't screw around, doesn't give a crap and isn't afraid to dust things up.

LaBeouf brings that honesty to Transformers: Dark of the Moon , now playing, and calls it "by far the best of the three Transformers films."

Which isn't saying much, especially since the last one totally sucked (other than Megan Fox). This time around director Michael Bay delivers more robot action and more huge-scale destruction with less human character crap to get in the way.

The story goes that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the first guys to walk on the moon in 1969, discover a crashed Autobot ship that contained a super-secret weapon that the Autobots and Decepticons are still fighting over. LaBeouf and his new hot girlfriend (Victoria's Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) are along for the ride and so is a big name supporting cast that includes John Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey, John Turturro, Frances McDormand and Ken Jeong ( The Hangover, Role Models) who turns up the wackiness and steals the show.

The humans are secondary though; this Transformers is about robots clobbering each other and destroying the landscape. It's fun, but Transformers 3 is way too long (two and a half hours) and it mostly watches like a sensory depravation chamber. Michael Bay does explosions better than anyone, however, and this time even tries to get subtextual with some commentary about how stupid it is that robots (and humans) keep fighting the same battles over and over throughout time.

Speaking of battles, you'd have to knock me unconscious to get me into Monte Carlo, opening Friday at the Village 8. It's about three young women living like royalty and finding romance in Paris, but in the end they discover the true value and magic of friendship. Hear that? That's the sound of me puking down the inside front of my shirt and walking around like that all day. Any dude caught walking into this one ought to be publically shamed worse than a Vancouver Rioter.

Speaking of idiots, Tom Hanks has directed a romantic comedy aimed at the older crowd, aka: people who still think Tom Hanks is cool.

Tom stars as Larry, a nice guy who loses his job and decides to ride a scooter to the local community college where he falls in love with his public speaking professor, Julia Roberts. Julia is drinking her way through a shitty marriage and isn't good old Tom just such a breath of fresh air? Blah blah blah, roll credits. This one sucks almost as much as Monte Carlo . Tom's character arc is bullshit and the whole thing is just sappy. Tom Hanks sucks.

Keeping the negative train rolling right along, the shittiest thing about getting old is not Tom Hanks movies, the back pain, the prostate exams or the ever-increasingly painful hangovers, it's having to watch Hollywood remake films you can totally still remember. I just saw the trailer for the new Footloose , dropping this fall. It's depressing. I hope summer starts soon.

 

 

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