Movie Review: TRANSFORMERS The Last Knight

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Transformers The Last Knight

Paramount Pictures
2017
PG-13

“One hundred billion trillion planets in the cosmos. You want to know, don’t you, why they keep coming here?”

  • The Last Knight shatters the core myths of the Transformers franchise, and redefines what it means to be a hero. Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past. In the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager, Bumblebee, an English Lord, and an Oxford professor. There comes a moment in everyone’s life when we are called upon to make a difference. In Transformers: The Last Knight, the hunted will become heroes, heroes will become villains. Only one world will survive: theirs, or ours.

Oh, Sir Anthony Hopkins. Why? Why did you feel the need to be in this movie? Certainly, it wasn’t to lend a bit of legitimacy to an otherwise floundering and bloated franchise? Because Kelsey Grammer has already done that in the previous movie. *sigh* I digress. Let’s get to this, shall we?

So, after the great and disappointing spectacle that was Age Of Extinction, Michael Bay said he was done with doing any more Transformers movies. Presumably because he was off to ruin other 80s properties like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And that seemed to be that. No more Transformer movies to threaten our sanity and make us sad. But then, after Paramount decided to go ahead and do another Transformers sequel, it wasn’t long before Bay went back on his promise and jumped on directing the fifth installment. This time around, it looked like the movie was taking a look at the transforming alien robots’ influence throughout Earth’s history. Or something. I was too busy shaking my head in sad disbelief when I first saw the theatrical trailer. Also, Anthony Hopkins was in this, for some reason.

The film begins in Ye Olden Days–484 AD, to be exact–where King Arthur and his knights are upping the irons against the Saxons*, and seem to be losing until Merlin convinces some local Transformers called the Knights of Iacon to help them win the war. So they give Merlin a cool mechanical staff, group-transform into a dragon, and help out, but not before giving Merlin the standard Ominous Maguffin Prophecy about the staff. Fast forward to the year Present Day, and Optimus Prime has arrived on Cybertron, where he meets his alleged creator named Quintessa, who blames Optimus for the destruction of Cybertron and then brainwashes him to be EVIL! So they’re gonna go back to Earth and get the McGuffin Staff to drain the Earth of it’s energy and make Cybertron great again! Meanwhile, back on Earth, Transformers are still persona non grata (except in Cuba, for some reason), and Marky Mark Cade Yeager is helping the refugee Transformers to evade the Gov’ment. They come across a scrappy young scavenger named Izabella (because Cade’s daughter isn’t in this one, and they needed a replacement) and her two Transformer companions in the war-torn Chicago, then a dying Autobot knight gives Cade a mecha-talisman McGuffin, and next thing you know he and his Funky Bunch are being pursued by the Gov’ment who has enlisted the help of Megatron and some Decepticons ready for toy manufacturing. In the meantime, giant horns have begun poking out of the earth at certain places, because it turns out that the Earth is actually (dum-dum-duuuuuuum) the ancient enemy of Cybertron, Unicron! Because…reasons. A little part of my childhood just died, there. Anyway, Cade and an Oxford professor are brought together to the castle of Sir Edmund Burton (played by Anthony Hopkins himself), who exposition dumps the entire history of the Transformers helping out the humans throughout the centuries, their existence hidden by a secret society called the Order of Witwiccans (*groooooaaaan*), of which he is the last living member (of course), and that the talisman will help lead to finding the McGuffin Staff, but only the descendant of Merlin himself can weild it, which is fortunate then that the Oxford professor just happens to be that descendant. So then, they go off to find the staff, Evil Optimus arrives with Cybertron in tow, the Knights of Iacon awaken again to join the fight, all looks lost, Cade turns out to be the descendant of King Arthur or something (because of course he would be), Evil Optimus is turned good again through the power of love and friendship, the good guys win but not without massive losses, and a mid-credit scene threatens another Transformers movie. The End.

If it seems like I yammered on for forever, it’s because Transformers: The Last Knight yammered on forever. And just like the other four movies in this franchise, someone wrote the script, and someone approved of the script. It’s all fine and good, except that the leaps of logic and plot contrivances were such that my brain almost shut down at least three times. And yet, these movies still make oodles of money. So there’s gonna be a sequel. And no, Bumblebee doesn’t count because it was more of a spin-off movie, and also IT WAS A GOOD MOVIE. The Last Knight is merely another hot mess. Pass.

[*=this has been a Metalhead Joke(TM)…for further clarification, please reference your nearest Metalhead at your earliest convenience ~ Uncle NecRo]

Movie Review: GODZILLA King Of The Monsters

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godzilla king of the monsters
Warner Bros. / Toho
2019
PG-13

“They’re everywhere. Battling for dominance. Arrival alpha to Godzilla.”

  • Members of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species–thought to be mere myths–rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.

Five years, and we finally got a sequel to the 2014 second attempt for America to make a good Godzilla movie. Mind you, this seems to be a part of a larger “Monster Universe” that included King Kong: Skull Island back in 2017. And now, after watching Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, I once again find myself hungry for more giant monster goodness.

Of course, like with any Godzilla movie, this one really works best when the monsters are throwing down, rampaging and causing the destruction we all paid to see. And here, we get plenty–Godzilla, along with Toho classics Mothra, King Gedorah and Rodan, along with brief cameo appearances by other giant beasties that I certainly hope to see go up against Godzilla in future installments. And King Kong is definitely one of the cameos here, and is slated to go up against Godzilla in the next movie in the Monster Universe. But, I digress, before I completely geek out all over everyone.

For the most part, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (not to be confused with the re-edited American title of the very first Godzilla from 1956) makes for a fun, mindless summer popcorn flick with plenty of ‘splosions and big monster fights and destruction. For the most part. See, like the other Godzilla movies (it’s not just the 1998 and 2014 American versions, either), all the fun stuff we came to see is interrupted periodically to focus on these boring human drama bits that, sure, I can understand why you would want to put something like that in these movies. They’re stand-ins for the, what do you call ’em, the people watching the movie…surrogate something-somethings. Of course, the underlining theme in this is that it’s the humans who are the real monsters, and it’s an eco-terrorist organization wanting to use the titans (as they refer to the giant beasties) to cleanse the world of humanity and begin anew as it always was meant to be. You know, that old gem of an intelligence insult.

Anyway, if you can get past the human focused part of the story, Gozilla: King Of The Monsters is some fantastic giant monster-whompin’ fun. Recommended for a rental.

Movie Review: STARGATE Continuum

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stargate continuum
MGM Home Entertainment
2008
NR

“Have you ever tried to find the bathroom in a pyramid?”

  • While SG-1 attends the execution of Ba’al, the last of the Goa’uld System Lords, Teal’c and Vala inexplicably disappear into thin air. Carter, Daniel, and Mitchell race back to a world where history has been changed: the Stargate program has been erased from the timeline. The remaining SG:1 members must find the Stargate and set things right before the world is enslaved by the Go’auld.

The second of the direct-to-video sequel movies to the Sci-Fi favorite Stargate: SG1, this one involves time travel, that favorite go-to plot device employed in rather good science fiction. Of the two, I believe I like Continuum over Ark Of Truth…but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, here.

The story of Continuum brings back the SG-1 crew from the last season of the show, as well as fan-favorite Richard Dean Anderson and my personal favorite from the earlier seasons, the late Don S. Davis, in a story that involves that pesky Goa’uld system lord Ba’al managing to go back in time and killing the crew of the Achillies, the ship that carried the Stargate to America back in 1939. This means now the Stargate program never happened, Teal’c and Vala never existed in this timeline, and somehow Samantha Carter, Daniel Jackson and Cameron Mitchell retained their memories into this tangent universe. They somehow convince General Landry that they’re not raving lunatics (probably due to the fact that this reality’s Carter died previously in a space shuttle accident, and Mitchell doesn’t exist at all due to it being his grandfather being one of the the people who perished on the Achilles), but are denied permission to change the timeline, and ordered to lead separate lives with no contact between any of them. Then about a year later, Ba’al’s posse shows up at Earth, along with Vala–the Qetesh symbiote still residing insider her–and his First Prime Teal’c to totes take over the Earth, much to the chagrin of the other System Lords. So now SG:1 is reassembled to get the Antartic Stargate working, but things happen that prevent them to do that, so now they have to team up with the Russians, who had retrieved the Achilles’ Stargate, who agree to become friends with benefits, but then Qetesh-Vala and Teal’c show up, things go boom, and it looks kind of bleak with everyone dying, but then Mitchell manages to time-machine back in time and set everything right again. Hooray. And The End.

Oh, I loves me a good convoluted time machine story. A nice slice of “What If?” to dig into, here. Mainly, what if the Stargate was somehow lost, and the Stargate program never happened, and then the System Lords finally show up. What kind of wackiness would ensue? Also, what kind of paradoxes can we nit-pick?

As I mentioned earlier, Stargate: Continuum is my favorite of the two direct-to-video movies produced by MGM in leu of giving us more episodes of the show. Pity they didn’t produce more featuring the SG:1 cast. Regardless, Continuum works as a rather satisfying send-off to the cast and crew that kept us entertained all these years. Very much recommended to check out. Now, if only we can get some closure with both Atlantis and Universe…

Movie Review: RETURN TO HORROR HOTEL

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return to horror hotel
Indie Rights
2019
NR

  • Anthology of twisted tales spanning horror/sci-fi/suspense. Giant attacking bed bugs, a magical charm turns girls into beauty queens, a WWII sailor who hasn’t aged, and the terrorizing severed hand of dead magician Harry Houdini.

So, here we are again, taking a second dip into the collected shorts gleaned from the Horror Hotel web series, Return To Horror Hotel. Look, I understand that I’m obligated to watch the sequel to one of the more painful horror anthologies I’ve had the displeasure of watching; if you know me, you understand that I have something of an almost irresistible urge to watch the sequel to any movie I’ve seen, regardless of how awful and/or painful it might have been. It’s the same thing with books and television shows. I may need to seek professional help.

Anyway, in Return To Horror Hotel, we’re once again reminded of the definition of “misnomer” as we visit the seedy motel in the middle of nowhere with four shorts: “Sleep Tight”, where a couple of young kids check in with the World’s Worst Aunt and have to spend the night staying safe from giant bed bugs that were mutated by the blood of a steroid using body builder. “Guillotine” has a beauty pageant contestant with a personality that would make Cardi B look like Mother Teresa trade her car for a pendant made from a piece of wood from the guillotine used on Marie Antoinette that supposedly makes the wearer irresistibly beautiful. “No Time For Love” finds a young woman delivering a book to a reclusive World War II Naval vet who seems to have not aged a day since taking up residence in the motel. And finally, “Houdini’s Hand” ends things with a couple of petty thieves who have stolen the titular hand, said to give whoever possesses the mummified hand the ability to get into any locked location, and of course they soon discover they got more than they bargained for, especially when the original owner demands that they return the item.

I have to admit that, unlike the first Horror Hotel movie, there is actually a bright spot hidden within here: “No Time For Love”, which actually plays things relatively straight, resulting in an actual thought-provoking and effective Twilight Zone-style short. Mind you, the premise seems to have been borrowed from the 1992 movie Forever Young, but still–a seed of potential, this one. Give it the ol’ spit-n-polish in the production and acting, and we have something memorable.

As far as the other three go, however, Return To Horror Hotel is more of the same kind of bad acting, bad scripting, bad production and ultra campiness that made watching the first Horror Hotel so painful. “Sleep Tight” was far too busy for its own good, and when the child actors are the least annoying things in your short, that really says something about the acting quality. Also, how come we never got more of that motel manager? I want more of him, please. Him and his ever-present bucket of chicken. Here’s your unofficial mascot/host of the series, guys. Anyway, “Guillotine” was just annoying, and apart from a few unintentional chuckles I got from “Houdini’s Hand”, that one was rather forgettable.

Overall: Return To Horror Hotel is another disappointing check-in. You can find much better horror anthology flicks out there. Pass this one up.

Movies+Beer: DOCTOR SLEEP

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James is joined by Brian in watching an early morning showing of Doctor Sleep, the sequel to 1980’s The Shining. Listen in as they chat about it at Sean O’Casey’s, and stick around as Brian rants a bit about the upcoming Star Wars movie in December…

::END TRANSMISSION::

Movies+Beer: ZOMBIELAND 2 Doubletap

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zombieland 2

Ten years after the first Zombieland hit theaters, we finally get the sequel they’ve been threatening to make. Join James and Exalted Geeks Brian, Sarah, Everett, Jessie and Jacob as we discuss what is basically America’s answer to Shaun Of The Dead, and whether double tapping the franchise was a good thing, or if they should have left the corpse lay…

Movies+Beer: IT CHAPTER 2

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it chapter 2
James is joined by long-time heterosexual lifemate Brian in watching the anticipated second chapter in the recent movie adaptation of Stephen King’s IT. How does it hold up to the first chapter? Does it blow away the miniseries from 1990? Will the Husker fans be cheering too loudly? Tune in and find out…
::END TRANSMISSION::

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