“Transformers: The Last Knight” Review

Michael Bay’s fifth round of relentless robot carnage is as noisy, incoherent and insulting as this franchise ever was. From its very first shot of fireballs hurling over the Paramount Pictures logo to the final speech of Optimus Prime that contradicts any shred of heroism or morality in the rest of the picture, its a consistent mess of terrible filmmaking. Believe me, I didn’t enter this picture with the intention of hating it. To be fair, this picture didn’t offend me as much as the previous Transformers film, Age of Extinction (2014). There’s no older gentlemen lusting after a teenage girl, keeping a laminated copy of Juliet’s Law in his pocket at all times to excuse his actions. There’s much less product placement, reserving the obligatory Budweiser shot for one bottle taken out of a fridge. I can see a little, but not a lot, of the action going on where I just barely have an idea of who is attacking who. The plot doesn’t seem as overly convoluted this time. There’s even a surprising element of female empowerment for young girls, a rarity of any Bay production. These minor improvements, however, do little to improve a movie where there is very little to care about.

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“Cars 3” Review

The further this Cars franchise goes, the more creepy and bizarre questions arise, going unanswered. What happens when the cars of this world die? Are they buried in concrete, scrapped in a junkyard or harvested for parts at a hospital? Are there hospitals in this world of cars? Yes, these are all very stupid questions to be asking about a rather silly and simple story about sentient racing cars, but I expect more from Pixar. They’re a studio that usually puts a lot of effort into building their worlds so that I don’t find myself asking how fish talk and why a rat controls a human.
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“Wonder Woman” Review

Wonder Woman is more of a superhero movie than a movie with superheroes in it. Warner Brothers’ previous DC Comics “superhero” movies seemed to deal with wavering themes, much too heavy for the likes of capes and cowls. Considering how obsessed Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice became with the idea of gods to the point of crucifying Superman, I wasn’t looking forward to a DC movie about actual gods. Thankfully, director Patty Jenkins knew what she was doing to make a Wonder Woman movie work. She knew you couldn’t take a superhero film too seriously when a tiara-wearing Amazon warrior tries to stop the God of War and his evil sidekick Doctor Poison.
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“Baywatch” Review

Baywatch was the most trashy of 1990s television that started out as a suggestive lifeguard drama and spun itself into the craziest of spin-offs where characters solved ghost mysteries at night. No, seriously, look up Baywatch Nights – it’s real. The show at least started of knowing it what it wanted to be with daring rescue drama and plenty of slow-motion shots of Pamela Anderson’s boobs bouncing and David Hasselhoff’s hairy chest glistening. That’s more than I can say for this big screen adaptation that can’t decide what movie it wants to be. Is it a R-rated puke-fest of a comedy or a hard-nosed adventure of daring feats? Is it an intense story of water rescues or a silly caper of foiling a drug scheme? It is all these and none of them – the jack of all cliches and fool of them all.
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“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” Review

This is it. This is the black hole of cliche comedy that every road trip movie swirls around, but rarely dares to enter. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul doesn’t just kamikaze into this abyss of laziness; it does so with almost suicidal tendencies. There is no desire here to be original or clever, relying more on the gross humor and slapstick gags that should have been retired decades ago. I can only fathom the filmmakers figured that today’s kids would be too young to have seen the old pee-in-the-bottle gag from Dumb and Dumber and too simple to not find anything foul about poop, vomit and urine.
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“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” Review

Guy Ritchie firmly establishes from the first few scenes that this won’t be the same old tale of King Arthur. Within the first minute, there’s already an attack on a kingdom by evil wizards leading a pack of gargantuan elephants that could trample castles. A king jumps into battle with his magical Merlin sword, decapitating his enemies with magic fury in his eyes. The king’s jealous brother (Jude Law) wants that power and is willing to strike a deal of blood with a female octopus monster to make it happen. And there’s a giant wielding a flaming scythe that savagely brutalizes anyone in his path. For as over-the-top as such sights are in Richie’s wild vision of the classic character, it could stand to be a little more crazy, a little more creative and a lot more Ritchie.
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“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” Review

The best and worst thing that can be said of the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy is that it’s more of the same. If you liked the last movie, you’ll be delighted to hear that Vol. 2 is just as abundant with crass, crude, cute and kicking 70s tunes. Not only are these elements present, but they’ve been doubled and smushed into 138 minutes. More subplots, more characters, more music, more slow-motion shots, more end-credit scenes and more than enough starship battles to make Star Wars blush. It’s rather surprising that, for as much fun as this movie transfers over from the previous film, it forgets to add the originality that made it stand out so well against the competition of other superhero movies.
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“Buster’s Mal Heart” Review

Buster’s Mal Heart is three films that struggle to connect towards each other in their nonlinear progression. The first is that of a man trying to escape the daily grind and live off the grid with his family. The second is that of the same man living off the grid, but still mooching off the vacations homes of the woods he roams. The third is the same man once again so off the grid on the ocean his mind has left the human world. The central character is as much searching for meaning in his dark adventures as I was, hoping that all this madness and darkness would build to something more than just an esoteric afterthought.
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“Sandy Wexler” Review

I suppose I should be grateful that the third film of Adam Sandler’s Netflix contract was not as terrible as it could have been. He disgusted me to no end with cringe-worthy Native Americans satire and scatological scenes of horse droppings in The Ridiculous Six. He shocked me with how sexist, homophobic and downright mean he could be in The Do-Over, in addition to nearly making me vomit from the grossest three-way I’ve ever witnessed on film. The best I can say about Sandy Wexler is that it didn’t make me recoil from being grossed out or feeling uncomfortable. It did give me a massive headache for Sandler’s ear-splitting titular character though. Progress?

Actually, calling Sandy Wexler a character might not be accurate. To embody the role of a consistent liar of a talent agent, Sandler throws on dorky clothes and speaks in his most nasally of Jewish stereotype voices. It’s that familiar nails-on-the-chalkboard voice that veteran movie critics know quite well of Sandler’s work. Surprisingly, he doesn’t say anything that offensive about his religion or others. There’s also no scene where we get to hear him wail while he has violent diarrhea or an awkward orgasm. The lack of crudeness and offensiveness allows the audience to appreciate just how unbearable this character is even when trying to be a nice guy.

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“Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent” Review

I’d never heard of Jeremiah Tower before this documentary, but there are plenty of talking heads present in The Last Magnificent to correct this. After the aged Tower himself starts looking back on his life in philosophical quotes, cooking greats Martha Stewart and Wolfgang Puck talk about Tower as though he was the godfather of giving chefs a face outside of the kitchen. For a man that specialized in American cuisine, that’s quite the title. So how come I’d never heard of him until this movie?

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