Archive for John Turturro

TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE FALLEN :: ACTION :: 018

Posted in Action with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/16/2009 by joycereview


By the power of Grey Skull!

Hollywood steals my childhood toys and then sucks away 2 and a half hours of my life!

There is no real need in me to describe the plot to you, as it is clearly the most horrific hollywood pornification of a beloved cartoon/toy I have seen in my many years.  As a child born in 1978, I had the priviledge to play with “real” toys of the 1980’s.  They were the best.  Die-cast metal transformers, Go-Bots, and Voltron – action figures like He-Man, ThunderCats and G.I. Joe.  Imagine for once, my excitement when I notice a bulldozer, crane and cement truck in a scene.  The child in me gleamed a nerdy half-smile as I knew what was going to happen.  Or at least I thought I did.

Those behind the making this film can thank their lucky stars for signing Shia LaBeouf, because if it wasn’t for his girlish shrieks of realistic fright, and for basically carrying this movie on his shoulders, director Michael Bay would have had on his hands a one-bearclaw-review.

The other claw is awarded for living up to the promise of the poster:

More Robots. Bigger Explosions. And much more Megan Fox.

Bollocks! Never in my nightmares would I imagine that they’d CGI (computer-generated-imagery) one of my favorite toys into a shape-shifting pile of junkyard sick.  Where was my favorite Decepticon, Soundwave; whose voice and robotic-counterparts-o’-stealth always brought great amusement?  He might have been there, but it was hard (even for me) to decipher between any of the hunks of metal, especially as they fight Matrix-like on the screen.  Oh yeah… I see yellow… “that must be Bumblebee.  And was that a flash of red I saw?  Could that have been Optimus? I dunno.”

Sam Witwicky (Shai LaBeouf) gets accepted to Princeton University, which we are to believe is a huge “party school.”  And as we get a glimpse of his coed hall, the campus quad and Sam’s Astronomy class, the entire Uni is made up of none other than “The future poll-dancers of America.”  Young, slutty, females, media-based-attractive in every way, swinging their hips and making winky faces at the teacher – oh what a good way to corrupt our youth and give them a false impression of one of the country’s foremost Ivy League schools.  I’d love to see the look on the face of the kid that aspires for greatness, only to find that his dream school beholds no female of the Maxime-realm.

A note for future directors of action – make it strong and memorable, not relentless and confusing.  Audiences (myself included) will be forgiving if the hero miraculously weaves a field of gunfire, or even escapes a kungfu-fighting-orgy-of-robotic-mayhem, but the barrage of explosions [never even a shrapnel wound] must wears thin to anyone over the age of 13 [it’s PG-13 in the first place].  So, with the target audience of teens-to-35 year olds, we have far too much sexuality, lowbrow humor (humping dogs, even a leg-humping robot), crass ebonics, not-to-mention the idiotic, manipulative portrayal of our military forces.

“Hello.”

(voice on the phone) Here’s the latitude and longitude that I need your highly-classified weapon to hit.

“Who is this?”

(man on the phone).  There’s no time! If you don’t do it, they’re going to destroy the sun!

“Roger that. I’m on it.”

Boy! I can’t wait for Transformers 3.  Are they going to bring in the ever-so-popular(-in-my-day) Dinobots?  If so, they might earn an extra claw.  But they’ll have to earn it.  Those looking for good action movie sequels rent Aliens or Terminator 2, as quick, off-the-top-of-my-head suggestions.

The lines are open. What were your thoughts of this movie?

THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 :: ACTION :: 015

Posted in Action with tags , , , , , on 11/09/2009 by joycereview

5beartaking_of_pelham123Tony Scott had me at hello.  But here we are, halfway in our conversation and I want to say [as I look down at my watchless wrist], “Jeepers! Would you look at the time.  I’m late for a thing.”  Top Gun was the first R-rated movie that my parents let me see.  I got to see fighter jets and I was introduced to the french kiss.  Four years later, he even momentarily smoothed over my distain for Nascar racing when he made Days of Thunder.  At the age of 65, he’s still at the top of his game when it comes to blowing back our hair with sheer, unadulterated speed.  I always knew that I could turn to Tony Scott when I felt, “The need for speed”… and apparently he can even do it with trains.

The Taking of Pelham 123, is a remake of the 1974 film of the same name (alternate spelling; One Two Three) and features two of Hollywood’s premier actors, John Travolta and Denzel Washington.  Denzel plays Walter Garber, a MTA dispatcher assigned to Railway Control when train Pelham 123 is hijacked by a man calling himself Ryder (Travolta).  Ryder demands $10 million (in 100 dollar bills) within an hour, and tells Garber that he’ll kill a passanger each minute that they are late.

This film shows clearly that the making a movie is a team effort and can’t rest on the abilities of one Mr. Tony Scott.  He was, however, a very naughty boy in allowing such unneeded and unrealistic crash scenes.  You’d think that the NYPD would be much more careful in its transportation of $10 million greenbacks.  And I thought the streets were closed down?  New York’s “finest” still managed to crash 3 times, with the final wreck coming from an ambulance no doubt… that t-bones the speeding prowler and knocks it so hard that it can no longer conform to the rules of physics and gravity… they tumble, log-roll-fashion through the intersection, off a bridge, landing on an underpass to be met by on-coming traffic.  Ouch.

As much as I like Travolta and Washington, they weren’t right for this movie (at least this script).  Denzel can be a tremendous force if given the right role (ex. Glory), but here we get apple sauce when we asked for curly fries.  Travolta spends most of the movie acting tyrannical and forcefully authoritative.  But I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can sometimes tell (without even listening to them) if they are a true-blooded bad ass.   Travolta is Danny Zuko, Tony Manero, and Vincent Vega.  Now Harvey Keitel, or Samuel L. Jackson; either one of these would have made a much better Ryder.

Oh yeah, and when an Army Ranger has the guts to step in front of a madman with a gun, just to get shot, he should have the guts to try and take the gun from the lunatic’s hand, methinks.  All in all, good action and soundtrack… no depth or real substance.  Strongly mediocre.  Your thoughts?