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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cindy Prascik's Review of Transformers: The Last Knight

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for Transformers: The Last Knight.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing that hasn't been revealed already by trailers and clips.
Humans have set themselves against all Transformers, making outlaws of anyone who continues to be their allies, but Earthlings are forced to reconsider that position when the planet is threatened.
The latest Transformers movie is taking a critical beating, not unlike those that came before it. It's pretty much exactly as advertised, however, so anyone with reasonable expectations shouldn't be disappointed.
Since I actually liked the movie, let's get the negatives out of the way first, beginning with the obvious: a two-and-a-half hour runtime. Ninety minutes, an hour and forty-five at most, would have made The Last Knight a great summer popcorn flick, but even the biggest, best effects and action wear thin at two and a half hours, nevermind the muddled backstory does nothing to earn such an excessive runtime. Then there's the "humor." With only the genuinely amusing bits, the film would have been plenty light enough, but instead it constantly oversells juvenile, annoying one-liners. That's the bad news. The good news is there's actually a great deal of good news. Transformers is all about huge effects and, as such, is one of my very favorite franchises to revisit on the big screen. This outing is no exception, with visuals that are massive-times-ten and sound that shakes the floor. Cool action sequences never seem to drag on, despite the bloated whole, and when the jokes hit the mark, the movie is actually very funny. In what he's declared his final Transformers outing, Mark Wahlberg remains more watchable that Shia LeBeouf ever was, and Anthony Hopkins appears to be having the time of his life, never demeaning the material despite the fact it's clearly beneath him. For my money, it should be easy for anyone to have at least as much fun with this movie as Anthony Hopkins does.
Transformers: The Last Knight clocks in at a whopping 149 minutes and is rated PG13 for "violence and intense sequences of sci-fi action, language, and some innuendo."
Transformers: The Last Knight is big, dopey fun that fills a summer weekend quite nicely. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Transformers: The Last Knight gets six.
Fangirl points: Mitch Pileggi! Steve Buscemi! SANTIAGO CABRERA! *heart-eyes emoji* 
Until next time...


Humans are at war with the Transformers, and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving the future lies buried in the secrets of the past and the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Now, it's up to the unlikely alliance of Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), Bumblebee, an English lord (Anthony Hopkins) and an Oxford professor (Laura Haddock) to save the world.
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Stanley Tucci

Release Date: Jun 21, 2017

Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of sci-fi action, language, and some innuendo


I’ve always been forgiving of Michael Bay’s live action series because the cartoon will always be a fond part of my childhood.  I’ve always found plenty to like in movies even if they’ve been far from perfect.  I’d actually enjoyed the last installment because Bay finally seemed to figure out that it helps the series if you give the Transformers some personality and make them the center piece.  I’d hoped it was something that’d be continued in The Last Knight.  Sadly, Bay decides to put the Transformers in the background, Optimus Prime barely has 30 minutes of screentime, leaving us with Mark Wahlberg and Laura Haddock’s pillowly lips.  The plot is an overly complex mess that seems to find the most complicated way to do everything.  There are a bevy of new human characters including a plucky child, played by Isabela Moner, who’s introduced and forgotten for the majority of the film only to be reintroduced in the final act.  The saving grace of it all is Anthony Hopkins who’s clearly enjoying himself in the unrelenting madness going on around him.  Hopkins and his robot butler provide the majority of the laughs and enjoyment in the film.  The biggest issue is simply making a movie called Transformers and leaving the titular robots on the sideline while haphazardly throwing famous characters from Transformers lore around like undercooked pasta.  It’s a real shame because the series could be a fun sci-fi series if it could stay focused on its actual stars, the robots. 


Saturday, June 17, 2017


Five best friends (Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Zoë Kravitz) from college reunite 10 years later for a wild bachelorette weekend in Miami. Their hard partying takes a hilariously dark turn when they accidentally kill a male stripper. Amid the craziness of trying to cover it up, they're ultimately brought closer together when it matters most.

Director: Lucia Aniello

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Ty Burrell, 

Demi Moore

Release Date: Jun 09, 2017

R for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and brief bloody images

Runtime: 1 hr. 41 min.

Release Date: Jun 16, 2017

Genres: Comedy


Rough Night is a raucous comedy with a free and loose feel to it with a solid cast.  Writer director Lucia Aniello directs an efficient comedy with only a handful of noticeable dead spots.  The story isn’t ground breaking by stretch of the imagination but the cast keeps it fun for the better part of the film.  Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon and Zoe Kravitz make for a fun comedic combination.  Kate McKinnon creates another memorably weird character that steals most of the scenes she’s in.  Johansson is a tad bit under utilized as the “straight man” in the piece.  Ty Burrell and Demi Moore have fun supporting roles that probably could have been played for a few more laughs if the script had given them a little more to do.  Similarly, Paul W. Downs boyfriend character and his bachelor party seemed like it was ripe for more laughs even though his story thread provided some inspired sequences.  There are a few sequences near the end of the film that slow the story down.  They try to give the story a bit of emotional depth which ends up feeling tacked on.  The story doesn’t really need it, its mindless guilty fun that delivers what it set out to do.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Cindy Prascik's Review of The Mummy

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the opening act in Universal's new Dark Universe, The Mummy.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you haven't seen already in trailers and advertising.
Tom Cruise unleashes an ancient curse...on his box office, apparently.
Well, friends, by now I'm sure you've heard that The Mummy is terrible. A Facebook friend and fellow movie reviewer--not generally one who just parrots the opinions of "real" critics--called it the worst movie he'd ever seen, and many headlines have proclaimed it, at the very least, the worst picture Tom Cruise has ever made. I'm here to argue that, while the Mummy is not Oscar material, nor is it rocket science, it is a perfectly passable way to spend a couple hours at the cinema.
It goes without saying The Mummy's chief positive is Cruise, who always seems to be having the time of his life, no matter how good or bad the project. His character is nothing new, a morally ambiguous rogue pressganged into heroics by circumstance, but Cruise is so delightful it matters not how many times you've seen it before. The Mummy's leading ladies, Annabelle Wallis and Sofia Boutella, are solid enough as cookie-cutter characters, but it's Russell Crowe who steals the show in...erm...let's just say a "dual" role. The Mummy boasts decent effects, fun action sequences, a few nice jump scares, and it's quite amusing when it wants to be. It's also smart enough not to wear out its welcome. While The Mummy is certainly no unforgettable piece of cinematic brilliance, it does a fine job kicking off Universal's new Dark Universe, and I look forward to watching that play out (though I do wish it still included Luke Evans. *sigh*).
The Mummy clocks in at 110 minutes, and is rated PG13 for "violence, action and scary images, and some suggestive content and partial nudity."
If you're especially skittish about spiders or rats, or so deeply in love with Brendan Fraser you simply can't abide the prospect of this reimagining, maybe take a pass on The Mummy; otherwise, if you're in the market for some fun summer brain candy, you'll likely find it a good time...and suffice to say reports of Tom Cruise's career demise have been greatly exaggerated. Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Mummy gets six.
Until next time... 

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