Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Film Review: "Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol" (2011)

The film’s tagline reads "No Plan. No Backup. No Choice." Which is what’s happening this time round for Ethan Hunt and his crew from IMF in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. This action spy film directed by Brad Bird. It is the fourth installment in the Mission: Impossible series. Ghost Protocol is set when the IMF is shut down when it's implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name.

The film stars Tom Cruise reprising his role as iconic agent Ethan Hunt with a cracking team that includes: Jeremy Renner as William Brandt, IMF Secretary's chief analyst and former IMF field agent, Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn, an IMF technical field agent, Paula Patton as Jane Carter, and Michael Nyqvist as Kurt Hendricks, a Swedish-born Russian nuclear strategist and the film's primary antagonist, Léa Seydoux as Sabine Moreau, a French assassin for hire and Tom Wilkinson as an IMF Secretary. The cast gave thrilling performances thank to the solid script and genius direction of Brad Bird (The Iron Giant (1999) The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007)). Cruise gave another thrilling performance as Hunt despite my minor reservation about his age and ability to top the last film. If there are any more future installments, let’s see how well he holds up. Renner gave an intense performance. Pegg gave a humorous performance. Like his role in Star Trek (2009), Pegg provided comical relief, despite the other characters having a little more humor than the last films, even in the most intense scenes. Patton gave a physically intense performance, she was able to bring so much in that particular department alone. Nyqvist gave a brilliant performance despite his role being much smaller than I imagined. This also goes to Seydoux and Wilkinson. Despite giving fantastic performances, they were unfortunately given very minor roles and were ultimately cut too short.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is a gratifyingly clever, booby-trapped thriller that has enough fun and imagination and dash to more than justify its existence. The film still presents the same business as usual, but it's the best kind of business as usual, and it finds everyone working in top form. Sure it's all poppycock, but it's done with such vim and vigor and both narrative and visual flair that you care not a jot, thanks to Bird’s genius direction. It has an inspired middle-hour pumped by some solid action. We now live in a post-Bourne, recalibrated-Bond universe, where Ethan Hunt looks as though he is on track to getting where these franchises are at. To conclude, if you want to see intelligent action and computer-generated sequences executed with breakneck speed and technical precision, then go see this film. I am getting to the point where I don't much care about whether or not this film will deliver, because it does. The plot in this film hangs together better than the other three films in the series.

Simon says Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol receives:

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Film Review: "Puss in Boots" (2011).

"My thirst for adventure will never be quenched!" And that's the heart of Puss in Boots. This computer-animated fantasy action comedy film directed by Chris Miller, written by Tom Wheeler and produced by DreamWorks Animation.Years before meeting Shrek and Donkey, the adorable but tricky Puss in Boots must clear his name from all charges making him a wanted fugitive. While trying to steal magic beans from the infamous criminals Jack and Jill, the hero crosses paths with his female match, Kitty Softpaws, who leads Puss to his old friend, but now enemy, Humpty Dumpty. Memories of friendship and betrayal enlarges Puss' doubt, but he eventually agrees to help the egg get the magic beans. Together, the three plan to steal the beans, get to the Giant's castle, nab the golden goose, and clear Puss' name.

Although the character of Puss in Boots originated in a European fairy tale in 1697, the film is a spin-off prequel to the Shrek franchise. It follows the character Puss in Boots on his adventures before his first appearance in Shrek 2 (2004). The film had been in development since 2004, when Shrek 2 was released. As a Shrek 2 spin-off, it was initially planned for release in 2008 as a direct-to-video film, then titled Puss in Boots: The Story of an Ogre Killer. By October 2006, the film was re-slated as a theatrical release due to market conditions, and due to DreamWorks Animation's realization that the Puss character deserved more. In September 2010, Guillermo del Toro signed on as executive producer. A conscious decision was made to make the world of Puss in Boots very different from that depicted in the Shrek films. In the latter, the backgrounds and stylizations are very fairy tale. Here, it has a distinctly Spanish feel with warmer, more orange colors.

It stars Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Seders. The cast gave entertaining performances, with each giving their own unique personalities. Banderas giving his suave Spanish charm. Hayek giving her seductive charm and Galifianakis giving his outrageous comedic flare. Despite this, it does not live up to the original personalities in the Shrek films.

Puss in Boots is fast and brightly colored enough to entertain small children, but too frantically silly to offer real filmgoing fun for the whole family. While there are plenty of madcap antics to fill a feature, all that manic energy ultimately proves to be somewhat exhilarating. Granted, it's no classic, but a sassy script and good-natured voice work from Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Zack Galifianakis should keep kids entertained. Frenetic and frequently funny, the movie represents the DreamWorks Animation franchise style – which boils down to self-aware, but naïve, talking animals who learn kid-friendly life lessons – at its most palatable. The lack of originality is offset by sheer silliness, including Classified and Skipper's Abbott and Costello-style argument over whether there's a long I in 'diversion.' The word fits the movie.

Simon says Puss in Boots receives:

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Film Review: "Contagion" (2011)

The film’s taglines such as "The world goes viral September 9" and "Nothing spreads like fear" sums perfectly what Contagion brings to a theatre near you. This Medical Disaster Thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh. Contagion follows the rapid progress of a lethal indirect contact transmission virus (Fomite Transmission) that kills within days. As the fast-moving pandemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than does the virus itself. As the virus spreads around the world, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart.

T. S. Elliot once wrote, "This is the way the world ends: not with a bang but a whimper," Soderbergh was motivated to make an "ultra-realistic" film about the public health and scientific response to a pandemic. The movie touches on a variety of themes, including the factors which drive mass panic and loss of social order, the scientific process for characterizing and containing a novel pathogen, balancing personal motives against professional responsibilities and rules in the face of an existential threat, the limitations and consequences of public health responses, and the pervasiveness of interpersonal connections which can serve as vectors to spread disease. Soderbergh acknowledged the salience of these post-apocalyptic themes is heightened by reactions to the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina. As filmmakers J. J. Abrams and Matt Reeves acknowledged the September 11 attacks in their disaster film Cloverfield (2008), where the film's central monstrous antagonist personified the September 11 attacks itself. The movie was intended to realistically convey the "intense" and "unnerving" social and scientific reactions to a pandemic.

Like an Irwin Allen disaster flick (The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974)), the film featured an A-list ensemble cast that included Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, and Bryan Cranston. Despite the cast giving strong performances, it was an engaging or even relatable. My good friend and colleague, Kelly Ryu, once told me that the film would have been more realistic if Soderbergh cast unknowns rather than well recognizable actors for the roles. Then the whole film would been more realistic, more terrifying, more well received and the film would have catapulted the unknowns to stardom. A film that did this so well was, once again, the monster-disaster epic Cloverfield, which all starred unknowns.

Contagion is splendid entertainment that will get you worried about whether they'll be able to contain that strange virus. The movie's craft makes the dread of a killer virus contagious: viewers may feel they have come down with a case of secondhand SARS or sympathetic monkeypox. Heedlessly derivative though it may be, the film what it sets out to do and then some -- scare us out of our wits, then get us to apply those wits to an uncommonly intelligent and provocative disaster flick. What also makes it effective, and sets it apart from other thrillers, is that it makes you care about the characters.

Simon says Contagion receives:

Saturday, 12 November 2011

SpecialFilm Review: NZSO Presents "Metropolis" (1927) Featuring Live Orchestra (2011)

Quotes such as "There can be no understanding between the hands and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator", are embedded into our minds forever and whenever it is mentioned, we think of Metropolis. This 1927 German Expressionist, Science-Fiction film directed by Fritz Lang. Seet in a futuristic urban dystopian city in the year 2026, it explores the social crisis between workers and owners inherent in capitalism, as expressed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class, who live in poor conditions but are the basic force for the city's work, and the upper class, which is mainly integrated by the city planners and their families, two persons from each class fall in love with each other. One of them is a working class prohet, a woman who gives hope to the city's workers. She predicts the coming of a savior, a savior who will mediate the differences between the social groups and give the city the start of new era. The other is the son of the city's mastermind. But the prophet is kidnapped by a crazy inventor, who wants to use her to make a robot work. The robot is given the same physical appearence the prophet has. Following orders from the crazy inventor, the robot creates a lot of problems for the working class. The son of the city's mastermind and the prophet will have to stop the robot and its crazy inventor for creating more problems for Metropolis, and achieve the goal of making Metropolis an harmonius place.

Metropolis was conceived by writer and collaborator Thea von Harbou during the Weimar Period in Germany. Originally it serialized as a novel in Illustriertes Blatt, for the purpose to sell it as a film up to its release, before ultimately released as a book and thus written as a screenplay. The novel in turn drew inspiration from H. G. Wells, Shelley and Villiers d'Isle Adam's works and other German dramas. Harbou and Lang collaborated on the screenplay derived from the novel, and several plot points and thematic elements — including most of the references to magic and occultism present in the novel — were dropped. The screenplay itself went through many re-writes, and at one point featured an ending where Freder would have flown to the stars; this plot element later became the basis for Lang's Woman in the Moon (1929). Principle photography for Metropolis was delayed again and again due to budgetary and economical factors. Filming ultimately began in May 1925 with a reported budget of five million Reichsmarks (U.S. $200 million today). Which made it the most expensive film at that time. Shooting took place at Babelsberg Studios outside of Berlin. Shooting lasted for seventeen months, and was finally completed in October 1926. Metropolis had its premiere at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo in Berlin on January 10th 1927, where the audience reacted to several of the film's most spectacular scenes with "spontaneous applause". But was ultimately met with mixed reviews from critics. Who were all willing to bet that in 20 years time that it would not become a major success. Lang even commented with his displeasure of the film "The main thesis was Mrs. Von Harbou's, but I am at least 50 percent responsible because I did it. I was not so politically minded in those days as I am now. You cannot make a social-conscious picture in which you say that the intermediary between the hand and the brain is the heart. I mean, that's a fairy tale – definitely. But I was very interested in machines. Anyway, I didn't like the picture – thought it was silly and stupid – then, when I saw the astronauts: what else are they but part of a machine? It's very hard to talk about pictures—should I say now that I like Metropolis because something I have seen in my imagination comes true, when I detested it after it was finished?"


Since its release, Metropolis has become one of the most influential films of all time. As it was the last German Expressionist film to come out of the hyperinflation period of the Weimar Republic. Inaddition, it has since become a cult classic and inspired films such as George Lucas' THX-1138 (1971) and Star Wars (1977), Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982), Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands (1990) and his Batman films (1989 and 1992), and Alex Proyas' The Crow (1994) and Dark City (1998). The character of the robot inspired the iconic design of C-3PO and the character of Edward Scissorhands, and the aesthetic of the cityscapes in the film inspired the various cities ranging from Blade Runner to Dark City. During the years since the first release, Metropolis existed as a bizarrely fragmented and mangled version of the original work. But in 2008, it was painstakingly restored with additional footage from the New Zealand Film Archive. The film's music was recreated by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Frank Strobel.


Metropolis is extraordinary with its congested-megalopolis sets and is a visionary sci-fi movie that has its own look that can't be ignored – it has its place in film history. Misunderstood when it first hit theaters, the influence of Fritz Lang's mysterious, sci-fi has deepened with time. A visually remarkable, achingly human sci-fi masterpiece. When I watched the film, with its live orchestral performance by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at the Auckland Town Hall, I felt that I had a sensational night at the movies, and the picture was only 84 years old. It proves still that it is a technical marvel. One of the great achievements of the silent era and German cinema, a work so audacious in its vision and so angry in its message that it is, if anything, more powerful today than when it was made. Each frame of this classic is drop-dead stunning. One of the last examples of the imaginative -- but often monstrous -- grandeur of the Golden Period of the German film, it is a spectacular example of Expressionist design.

Simon says Metropolis receives:

Monday, 31 October 2011

Film Review: "Spy Kids: All the Time in the World" (2011).

The movie's tagline reads "Saving the world is their idea of family time" and that's all there is to it with Spy Kids: All the Time in the World. This 4D science fiction fantasy action comedy adventure film directed by Robert Rodriguez and it is the fourth installment in the Spy Kids film series. It is a sequel to 2003's Game Over. A retired spy is called back into action, and to bond with her new step-children, she invites them along for the adventure to stop the evil Timekeeper from taking over the world.

Rodriguez was prompted by an incident on the set of Machete (2010) to start envisioning a fourth film in the Spy Kids series. Star Jessica Alba had her then-one year old baby Honor Marie and was dressed to appear on camera when her baby's diaper "exploded". Watching Alba change the diaper while trying not to get anything on her clothes prompted Rodriguez to think "What about a spy mom?" Production on the film was officially announced on September 25, 2009, six years after the release of Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, by Dimension Films. The script for the film was completed by Rodriguez in December 2009. The title for the film was officially revealed as Spy Kids: All the Time in the World on March 24, 2010 as well as an August 2011 release window, which was later updated to an August 19, 2011 release date. Filming began on October 27, 2010. It is the first of the series that uses "Aroma-scope" that allows people to smell odors and aromas from the film via scratch & sniff cards (reminiscent of the infamous 1960s Smell-O-Vision) last used theatrically in the 2003 animated film Rugrats Go Wild.

The film stars Jessica Alba, Joel McHale, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Rowan Blanchard, Mason Cook, Ricky Gervais, and Jeremy Piven in a dual role. The cast all gave uninspiring characters and just gave some of the silliest performances ever put to the silver screen. END... OF... STORY!

All the Time in the World will be found wanting if one is not taken in by the 3-D visuals. The 3-D process will hurt your eyes. It's murky and purple like a window smeared with grape jell-o. However, it helped mask what I deemed as an overall lack of a story. The plot is twig-thin and the parents' absurd adventure in the story makes Rodriguez's continuing theme of family ties seem much less resonant than in the other films. Kids will love it, but adults may find it flat. Watching in 3-D is annoying and watching in 2-D is pointless. Kind of a losing situation. It's a loser in any dimension. As if last one wasn't bad enough, Rodriguez gives us this latest instalment. Where Rodriguez falls short is when he relies on the computer generated special effects to make up for problems in the script. In the end, it's a movie so awful that those headaches spurred by the film's shoddy optics effects seem minor by comparison.

Simon says Spy Kids: All the Time in the World receives:

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Film Review: "In Time" (2011).

"The rich can live forever, the poor must earn for more time", this tagline describes the essence of In Time perfectly. This dystopian science fiction thriller film written, directed, and produced by Andrew Niccol and starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy that takes place in a society where people stop aging at 25 and each has a clock on their arm that counts down how long they have to live.

Before the film was titled In Time, the names Now and I'm.mortal were originally considered and were eventually used as working titles. In July 2010, it was reported that Amanda Seyfried had been offered a lead role. In July 2010, it was confirmed that Justin Timberlake had been offered a lead role. In August 2010, Cillian Murphy was confirmed to have joined the cast. In a movie about people who would stop aging at 25 years old, many of the actors, including Murphy and Timberlake, were in their late 20s and early 30s. Seyfried, however, really was 25 years old during filming. In addition, Timberlake is three years older than Olivia Wilde who plays his mother. In an interview with Kristopher Tapley of InContention.com Roger Deakins stated that he would be shooting the film in digital, which makes this the first film to be shot in digital by the veteran cinematographer. The use of future retro is one of many elements that the film seems to share with Niccol's earlier work, Gattaca (1997). The earlier work also features electrically powered vintage cars (notably a Rover P6 and again, a Citroën DS), as well as buildings of indeterminate age. Gattaca also deals with innate inequalities (though in its case genetic, rather than longevity) and the film's protagonist also seeks to cross the divide that his birthright is supposed to deny him. Similarly, he is pursued by law enforcement officers after being wrongly identified as having committed a murder.

The film stars Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Alex Pettyfer and Johnny Galecki. Not only did the cast bring nothing to the table in terms of communicating the director's themes and commentary, but they also had no personality or likability whatsoever to make us care about their conflicts, struggles and their fight to remain young forever. In addition, they are nothing more than eye candy for audience to swoon over.

In Time is chilly, elegant, and a little bloodless. Designer models inhabit a dystopia in a stylish SF thriller filled with recycled plot devices. The satire in the film lacks bite, and the plot isn't believable enough to feel relevant. It fails on all points of plot, characterisation, plausibility and realism. If you're expecting a scathing commentary on our youth obsessed times, then this film isn't it. If you're expecting a riveting entertainment, then the film isn't it either. Not only has the filmmaker who brought us Gattaca elected to address some extremely well worn themes, he evidently has little new to say about them.

Simon says In Time receives:

Monday, 24 October 2011

Film Review: "The Thing" (2011).

The film's tagline reads "It's not human. Yet." This is what it's all about in this untold prequel story of the horror classic The Thing. This science fiction horror film directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr, adapted by Eric Heisserer based on the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell. It is a prequel to the 1982 film of the same name by John Carpenter. At an Antarctica research site, the discovery of an alien craft buried deep in the ice leads to a confrontation between a team of Norwegian, led by Dr. Sander Halvorson, and American scientists, led by graduate student Kate Lloyd, to realize too late that it is still alive.

After creating the Dawn of the Dead (2004), producers Marc Abraham and Eric Newman began to look through the Universal Studios library to find new properties to work on. Upon finding John Carpenter's 1982 film The Thing, the two convinced Universal to create a prequel instead of a remake, as they felt that remaking Carpenter's film would be like "paint(ing) a moustache on the Mona Lisa". Eric Newman explained; "I'd be the first to say no one should ever try to do Jaws again and I certainly wouldn't want to see anyone remake The Exorcist... And we really felt the same way about The Thing. It's a great film. But once we realized there was a new story to tell, with the same characters and the same world, but from a very different point of view, we took it as a challenge. It's the story about the guys who are just ghosts in Carpenter's movie - they're already dead. But having Universal give us a chance to tell their story was irresistible." In early 2009, Variety reported the launch of a project to film a prequel—possibly following MacReady's brother during the events leading up to the opening moments of the 1982 film—with Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. as director and Ronald D. Moore as writer.

The film stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Eric Christian Olsen. The cast, though a relatively big ensemble, did not give performances worthy of the original. Winstead unfortunately, most of all, was resorted to a role that spent of her time talking and running. Lacking the qualities presented by Kurt Russell in the original.

The Thing is full of blood and gore, and over the top special effects. But not enough scares or a coherent backstory story to make for a successful prequel to the famous 1982 horror film classic. Cliche, boring and repedetive, the film is an unsavoury exercise in Hollywood's unoriginal market of Horror brands that one hopes never to see. The story's been played in cinema God knows how many times now. It just makes me absolutely sick to my stomach and soul. Much less of a straight forward prequel, and much more a remake of a remake. In conclusion, attention horror fans: Demand more original scares from Hollywood than this pro forma return to the well. Has horror cinema ever been this dull?

Simon says The Thing receives:

Friday, 21 October 2011

Film Review: "Johnny English: Reborn." (2011)

"'Johnny English. Five years ago he was our top agent.' 'Yeah. Took his eye off the ball in Mozambique.' 'Does it have to be him?' 'He's the only one our contact will talk to.' 'So where is he?'" Which is someone we didn’t expect to return, but he has in Johnny English: Reborn. This British Spy Comedy parody directed by Oliver Parker. The film is the sequel to Johnny English (2003). Five years after the previous film, Johnny English is called back to MI7 to undercover a group of international assassins known as 'Vortex', before they kill the Chinese premier and cause global chaos. However he is not alone. He is aided by his 'rookie' sidekick Tucker and his new love interest Kate Summers, MI7's behavioural psychologist.

The film stars Rowan Atkinson, reprising his role as the title character. As well as Rosamund Pike as Kate Sumner, MI7's behavioural psychologist and English's love interest, Daniel Kaluuya as Agent Colin Tucker, English's smart, youthful sidekick, Gillian Anderson as MI7 Head Pamela Thornton, codenamed as Pegasus, the new boss at MI7, and Dominic West as Simon Ambrose, the main antagonist. The cast may not have given the best performances but it was performances that were hilarious. Atkinson gave another hilarious performance after many other iconic performances such as Blackadder and Mr. Bean. Despite the jokes not being as fresh as his other comedies nor the first film. Atkinson's performance also reminded me of Don Adams' performance on the hit comedy TV series of Get Smart and Peter Sellers' bumbling character of Inspector Jacques Clouseau in The Pink Panther films. Pike gave a subtle performance as English’s love interest, however I felt that her chemistry with Atkinson did not spark. Kaluuya, like Atkinson, also gave a hilarious performance who always seems to correct Atkinson most of the time. Which compliments Atkinson’s performance. Anderson gave a more contrasted performance to Atkinson, despite leaving behind moments of very dry humor. West gave a suave performance as the film’s antagonist, however no matter how smooth he operates, he proved no real threat to Atkinson nor to the audience. By far, one of the least threatening villains ever.

Johnny English: Reborn is, like its predecessor, a tame spy spoof that elicits infrequent chuckles. A funny summer frolic. However, it doesn't so much try to send up other spy films as it tries to one-up its own predecessor in this second go-round. By the end, Spy recycles its own gags, not just ones from the first movie. It’s a rehash of the same story with new cast members and new takes on familiar jokes. While it lives up to the very definition of 'hit and miss', the parts that hit are very funny. You won't die laughing in the theater, but the filmmakers aren't asking you to, as they do in the frantic, adolescent comedies that dominate the market. It's a pleasure.

Simon says Johnny English: Reborn receives:

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Film Review: "Real Steel" (2011)

One of the film’s tagline reads "Champions aren't born. They're made." This sums up the premise of Real Steel. This Science Fiction film directed by Shawn Levy, based on the 1956 short story Steel by Richard Matheson and adapted by John Gatins. Set in the near future, where robot boxing is a top sport, a struggling promoter feels he's found a champion in a discarded robot named Atom. During his hopeful rise to the top, he discovers he has an 11-year-old son who wants to know his father.

The short story was originally adapted by Dan Gilroy and was purchased by DreamWorks for $850,000 between 2003 and 2005. The project was one of 17 that DreamWorks took from Paramount Pictures when they split in 2008. Director Peter Berg expressed interest in the project in mid-2009 but ultimately dropped out. Levy was attached to the project in September 2009, and Jackman was cast in November. In the same month, Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider at DreamWorks greenlit the project. Les Bohem and Jeremy Leven reworked Gilroy's screenplay, but in 2009 John Gatins worked on a new draft. When Levy joined the project, he worked with Gatins to revise the screenplay, spending a total of six weeks fine-tuning the script. With a budget of $110 million, filming began in June 2010 and ended in October. The animatronic robots were created by Legacy Effects, and the computer effects were done by Industrial Light & Magic.

The film stars Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo and Evangeline Lilly. The cast performance gave terrific performances. Jackman was outstanding as the charisma driven, stubborn Charlie Kenton. For the role Jackson said that his father "was a boxer in the army and he wanted to make performance look good for his dad." Well I can say if I was his father, I would be impressed. Goyo gave a terrific performance as Max Kenton. He had a magical quality which made him the film's central heart and made him get as much or more spotlight than his co-star. Finally Lilly gave a fantastic performance as Bailey Tallet, the kind, compassionate voice of reson and love interest for Jackman’s Charlie. Lilly and Jackman had a near perfect relationship and chemistry that made me believe that these two characters had been friends for a long time. This quality is rarely seen or even considered by two actors when portraying relationships.

Real Steel, though innovative with its stunning robot fight scenes, is nothing more than pure 2000s make believe. The film’s plot is gimmicky, heavy-handed and cliché, all because of the direction of Shawn Levy, the man responsible for bringing us some of the most tawdry movies of recent years, such as the ridiculously awful Cheaper by the Dozen (2003). He has an instinct for making serious emotions look tawdry. While the film may look good now, but it will fade like every other one of his movies and every "Hollywood" movies ever made.

Simon says Real Steel receives:

Monday, 10 October 2011

Film Review: "Footloose" (2011).

The film's tagline reads "There comes a time to cut loose", and everything does go loose in Footloose. This musical dance film directed by Craig Brewer. It is a remake of the 1984 film of the same name. The film follows a young man who moves from Boston to a small southern town and protests the town's ban against dancing.

In October 2008, Kenny Ortega was announced as director but left the project a year later after differences with Paramount and the production budget. Peter Sollett was also hired to write the script. Dylan Sellers, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan served as producer; Zadan having produced the original Footloose. In 2010, Craig Brewercame on to re-write the script after Crawford and Ortega left the project and also served as director. The writer of the original film, Dean Pitchford, also co-wrote the screenplay. In July 2007, Zac Efron was cast as Ren McCormack, but he left the project in March 2009. Two months later, it was reported that Chace Crawford would replace Efron, but he later had to back out due to scheduling conflicts. Thomas Dekker was a "top candidate" for the role but in June 2010, Entertainment Weekly reported that Kenny Wormald had secured the lead role as McCormack. Former Dancing with the Stars ballroom-dance professional Julianne Hough was cast as Ariel, Dennis Quaid as Reverend Shaw Moore, and Miles Teller as Willard Hewitt. In August 2010, Andie MacDowell joined the cast as Quaid's wife. During an interview on The Howard Stern Show, Kevin Bacon said he declined a cameo appearance in the film as he did not like the role he was offered. The role was playing Ren McCormack's deadbeat dad. Though Bacon passed on the role, he gave Brewer his blessing. Unlike the original, set in the fictional town of Bomont, Utah, the remake is set in fictional Bomont, Georgia. On a budget of $24 million, principal photographybegan in September 2010 in and around metro Atlanta, and wrapped two months later in November.

The film stars Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, Andie McDowell, Miles Teller and Kim Dickens. Despite not living up to the performances of the original cast, the cast in this film brought their own unique sensibilities to the roles that update them for a modern audience.

A lot of craft and slickness lurks beneath the modern sexy choreography in Footloose. The point, however, is not the plot but the energy. Without somebody like Kenny Wormald at the heart of the movie, it might fall flat, but everybody works at his level of edginess. This film is a little less innocent than what Herbert Ross would have made it. It is one of the most entertaining movie adaptation of a stage musical so far. The movie is a great big sloppy kiss of entertainment for audiences weary of explosions, CGI effects and sequels, sequels, sequels. However it's intermittently tasty, if a little too frantically eager to please. Despite its edginess, this version stays remarkably true to the spirit of the original.

Simon says Footloose receives:

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Film Review: "Final Destination 5" (2011).

The tagline of the film reads "Death has never been closer". And that couldn't get any clearer with Final Destination 5. This horror film directed by Steven Quale and written by Eric Heisserer It is the fifth installment of the Final Destination film series. In this latest installment, Sam and his friends manages to escape a ill-fated bridge, thanks to a premonition Sam obtained. However, when 2 of his friends died in a mysterious way, Sam must use his memories from the premonition to save his friends, before death hunts him down. 

Alan Horn, the head of Warner Bros., confirmed at ShoWest in March 2010 that Final Destination 5 was in works at ShoWest. Producer Craig Perry later added that the film would be shot in 3D. Eric Heisserer was announced as screenwriter in April 2010. The studio initially picked August 26, 2011, as the release date but later changed it to August 12, 2011. In June 2010, New Line Cinema announced that Steven Quale would direct. In August 2010, actor and musician Miles Fisher was the first to be cast in the film as Peter Friedkin. Three days after Fisher's casting, Arlen Escarpeta was cast in the film as Nathan. In late August 2010 Nicholas D'Agosto and Ellen Wroe were cast. One day later, Final Destination regular Tony Todd, from the first three installments, joined the film. In August 2010, David Koechner and P. J. Byrne were announced to have joined the cast. In September, Emma Bell was cast as the female lead; Molly. In mid-September both Jacqueline MacInnes Wood and Courtney B. Vance joined the main cast. Principal photography took place between September and December 2010. Producers stated that this installment would be darker and more suspenseful in the style of the original film.

It stars Nicholas D'Agosto, Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, Arlen Escarpeta, David Koechner, and Tony Todd. The cast gave overly melodramatic performances that were borderline comical throughout the film, especially when particular characters met their unfortunate and, in this case, predictable deaths.

With little of the ingenuity of previous installments, Final Destination 5 is a predictable, disposable horror fare. An absolute slap in the face to the fans who made the franchise a hit in the first place. The movie is a catastrophe in and of itself. Imagine a movie that features an endless cavalcade of people being eviscerated in the bloodiest and bone-snappiest of ways, yet which somehow manages to inspire the audience to envy the victims. There's absolutely no reason for the movie to exist other than the only one Hollywood studios really care about: a cynical cash grab. Like too many horror franchises, a premise that was once scary has evolved into something campy and self-aware. Selling bland fatalism to kids, it's the work of crooks and sadistic fiends. It showers you with gore while dumping a motor engine in your lap and poking you in the eye with a burnt stick. If you've seen one such movie, you've seen them all, and one is too much. If this is what horror fans want these days, then... be very, very afraid.

Simon says Final Destination 5 receives:

Monday, 19 September 2011

Film Review: "The Smurfs" (2011).

The film's tagline reads "Our World is About to Get Smurf'd" and that's exactly what happens in The SmurfsThis 3D live-action/computer-animated comedy film directed by Raja Gosnell; adapted by J. David Stem, David N. Weiss, Jay Schtick and David Ronn; loosely based on The Smurfs comic book series created by the Belgian comics artist Peyo and the 1980s animated TV series it spawned. It is the first CGI/live-action hybrid film produced by Sony Pictures Animationand in The Smurfs trilogy. The film tells the story of the Smurfs as they get lost in New York, and try to find a way to get back home before Gargamel catches them.

In 1997, producer Jordan Kerner sent the first "of a series of letters" to The Smurfs '​ licensing agent Lafig Belgium expressing interest in making a feature film. It was not until 2002 after a draft of Kerner's film adaptation of Charlotte's Web was read by Peyo's heirs, that they accepted Kerner's offer. Peyo's daughter Véronique Culliford and family had wanted to make a Smurfs film for years and said that Kerner was the first person to pitch a film that shared their "vision and enthusiasm". Kerner soon began developing the 3-D CGI feature film with Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. In 2006, Kerner said the film was planned to be a trilogy and would explain more of Gargamel's backstory. In June 2008, it was announced that Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation obtained the film rights from Lafig Belgium. Kerner said the current project started with Sony during a conversation with the chairman-CEO Michael Lynton, who grew up watching The Smurfs in the Netherlands. On a budget of $110 million, principal photography began in New York City in March 2010. In order to help the Smurfs' animators during post-production, cinematographer Phil Meheux and his team would light up a scene where the Smurfs would be digitally added using 7 and one half-inch tall models to stand in during set-up and rehearsals. ees who spent around 358,000 hours animating. Character designer Allen Battino, a long time Kerner collaborator, was brought in to redesign the characters for CGI.

The film stars Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays and Sofía Vergara, with Jonathan Winters and Katy Perry as the voices of Papa Smurf and Smubrfette. The cast gave less than stellar performances and have disappointed my Smurf spirit with their ridiculous antics and flat comical jokes.

Though Azaria is uncannily spot-on as Gargamel, The Smurfs is a tired live-action update, filled with lame jokes. It exists in a closed universe, and the rest of us are aliens. So if you're going to watch this movie, make sure to bring your Smurf pooper-scoopers with you. The film is entertainment more disposable than the animated series' half-hour cartoons ever were. Adults who remember the cartoon version may get caught up in what the Smurfs would call the 'Smurfstalgia'. As for adults who do not fondly recall the Smurfs cartoons are strongly advised to steer clear.

Simon says The Smurfs receives: 

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Film Review: "The Help" (2011).

"God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do. But it can start by telling the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free. And I got to thinking about all the people I know. And the things I seen and done. My boy Trelaw always said we gonna have a writer in the family one day. I guess it's gonna be me." This is at the heart of The Help. This period drama film directed and written by Tate Taylor, and adapted from Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel of the same name. The film is about a young white woman, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, and her relationship with two black maids, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson, during the Civil Rights era in 1963 Jackson, Mississippi. Skeeter is a journalist who decides to write a book from the point of view of the maids (referred to as "the help"), exposing the racism they are faced with as they work for white families.

In December 2009, Variety reported that Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan, and Mark Radcliffe would produce a film adaptation of The Help, under their production company 1492 Pictures. Tate Taylor, who optioned film rights to the book before its publication, was chosen to write and direct the film. The first casting news for the production came in March 2010, was reported that Stone was attached to play the role of Skeeter Phelan. Other actors were since cast, including Davis as Aibileen; Howard as Hilly Holbrook, Janney as Charlotte Phelan and Lowell as Stuart Whitworth. Mike Vogel plays the character Johnny Foote. Octavia Spencer portrays Minny. Filming began in July 2010 and extended through October. The town of Greenwood, Mississippi, was chosen to portray 1960s-era Jackson.

The film stars Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Ahna O'Reilly, Chris Lowell, Sissy Spacek, Mike Vogel, Cicely Tyson, LaChanze, Allison Janney, Mary Steenburgen, and Anna Camp. The cast gave brilliant performances. Vividly portraying the cruelty of white people, with the exception of a few, and the struggle and oppression of African-Americans. Kudos to Davis, Stone, Howard, Spencer and Chastain (the latter two especially). Spencer gave one of the most amazing performances in movie history. As well as for Chastain, for her second major film. These two stars are showing promising futures. Both Oscar-worthy performances for sure.

The Help is a sentimental tale that reveals great emotional truths in American history. It is triumphantly emotional and brave. The film is a plea for respect for African-Americans. It is an incredibly strong stand against the way white people treat African-Americans. It is an excellent film, and it is an attempt to deal with an issue that had been overlooked, and it wouldn't have been done if it hadn't been for Tate Taylor. And it's not like everyone says, that he ruined the book. That's absolutely not the case. Nobody was going to do the book. He made the book live again.

Simon says The Help receives:

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Film Review: "Cowboys & Aliens" (2011).

The movie's tagline "First contact. Last stand" makes Cowboys & Aliens an unusual movie. This science fiction Western film directed by Jon Favreau; written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus and Hawk Osby; based on a screen story by the latter two along with Steve Oedekerk; based on the 2006 graphic novel of the same name created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. The main plot revolves around an amnesiac outlaw, a wealthy cattleman, and a mysterious traveler who must ally to save a group of townspeople abducted by aliens.

The project began development in April 1997, when Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures bought film rights to a concept pitched by Rosenberg, former president at Malibu Comics, which he described as a graphic novel in development. After the graphic novel was published in 2006, development on the film was begun again, and Favreau signed on as director in September 2009. By April 2010, Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig were cast. Favreau had cast Craig and Ford in the film because they were actors who suited the action-adventure roles so the characters would be less seen as comedic. On a budget of $163 million, filming for Cowboys & Aliens began in June 2010, in New Mexico and California. Despite studio pressure to release the film in 3-D, Favreau chose to film traditionally and in anamorphic format (widescreen picture on standard 35 mm film) to further a "classic movie feel". Measures were taken to maintain a serious Western element despite the film's "inherently comic" title and premise. The film's aliens were designed to be "cool and captivating", with some details, such as a fungus that grows on their wounds, created to depict the creatures as frontiersmen facing adversity in an unfamiliar place.

The film stars Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Clancy Brown and Keith Carradine. The cast gave lacklustre performances that were borderline comical and silly. Craig and Ford unintentionally drew silly caricatures of themselves when they intended to deliver two new additions to the list of great action heroes. Wilde just seemed to be nothing but eye candy for the men in the audience, especially with that one scene. Her character lacked real personality and purpose even though she was the key to the whole film.

Cowboys & Aliens is a middling sci-fi / western crossover fodder, at best. As a kid, I would enjoy this movie much more than I would as an adult. Aliens and cowboys in a single movie. It seems contrived and dull. Pretty much the end of Favreau's career for serious filmmaking. It starts off really well, stalls a little toward the middle, goes bonkers for one really odd scene, and then derails completely at the end. In the end, it doesn't deliver all that much of what the title promises.

Simon says Cowboys & Aliens receives:

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Film Review: "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011).

"Whatever happens… you must promise me one thing. That you will stay who you are. Not a perfect soldier, but a good man." This is at the center of Captain America: The First Avenger. This superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America. It is the fifth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was directed by Joe Johnston, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Set predominantly during World War II, the film tells the story of Steve Rogers, a sickly man from Brooklyn who is transformed into super-soldier Captain America to aid in the war effort. Rogers must stop the Red Skull, Adolf Hitler's ruthless head of weaponry and the leader of an organization that intends to use an artifact called the "Tesseract" as an energy-source for world domination.

Captain America: The First Avenger began as a concept in 1997 and was scheduled for distribution by Artisan Entertainment. However, a lawsuit, not settled until September 2003, disrupted the project. In 2005, Marvel Studios received a loan from Merrill Lynch, and planned to finance and release it through Paramount Pictures. Directors Jon Favreau (Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010)) and Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk (2008)) were interested in directing the project before Johnston (The Rocketeer (1991)) was approached in 2008. The principal characters were cast between March and June 2010. Production began in June 2010, taking place in London, Manchester, Caerwent, and Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and Los Angeles.

The film stars Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Dominic Cooper and Stanley Tucci. The cast gave spectacular performances. Evans was magnificent as the iconic American hero and epitomized Justice and heroism in the most American sense. Jones, in his second superhero outing, first being Batman Forever (1995), gave an superb performance as Captain America’s general and ally. Weaving, like his other villain portrayals, gave a brilliant performance as Captain America’s most famous adversary, The Red Skull. He is just so good at playing villains, it is though it is what he is best at. Atwell gave an incredible performance as Agent Carter, Captain America’s partner and love interest. She brought confidence and sexiness to the role. Which made her as every bit appealing on screen. Stan gave a terrific performance as Steve Rodger’s best friend. Though his role was rather cut short. Cooper gave a brilliant performance as genius inventor Howard Stark, father of Tony Stark. He was able to meet the level of Downey. Laslty, Tucci gave a fine performance as Dr. Abraham Erskine, the scientist who created the Super Soldier Serum. He gave Captain America emotional depth as his voice of reason. And he pulled off a great German accent. However, I felt his role was cut too short.

Captain America: The First Avenger is one of the most deliriously funny, ingenious and stylish American superhero movies ever made. It is the ultimate Marvel action adventure–a film so funny and exciting it can be enjoyed any day of the week.

Simon says Captain America: The First Avenger receives:

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Film Review: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (2011).

The film’s tagline "Evolution Becomes Revolution" sums up the premise of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This science fiction film directed by Rupert Wyatt and written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. It is a reboot of the Planet of the Apes series. A substance, designed to help the brain repair itself, gives rise to a super-intelligent chimp who leads an ape uprising.

In 2006, screenwriter-producer Rick Jaffa was searching for a script idea. As Jaffa searched a newspaper articles clipping, one about pet chimpanzees that become troublesome to their owners and heartbroken for not adapting well to the human environment intrigued him. As Jaffa eventually realized it fit the Planet of the Apes series, he called his wife and screenwriting partner Amanda Silver to express his ideas of such a chimpanzee eventually starting the ape revolution, and then the couple started developing the character of Caesar. Jaffa and Silver then wrote a script and sold it to Fox. The script added other elements which the couple had researched, such as genetic engineering. Several tributes to specific scenes, characters, and cast and crew from the previous Apes film series were added in the script. In a 2009 interview, Wyatt said, "We've incorporated elements from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, in terms of how the apes begin to revolt, but this is primarily a prequel to the 1968 film...Caesar is a revolutionary figure who will be talked about by his fellow apes for centuries...This is just the first step in the evolution of the apes, and there's a lot more stories to tell after this. I imagine the next film will be about the all-out war between the apes and humans." Filming began in July 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Filming also happened in San Francisco, California and around Oahu, Hawaii. As the animals in film were meant to be actual apes instead of the anthropomorphic simians of the original franchise, the producers decided not to use actors in make-up or animal suits. After considering real apes, instead Weta Digital created the apes digitally in almost every case through performance capture. 

The film stars James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton and Andy Serkis. The cast gave amazing performances. But the true praise goes to its unlikely star – Caesar, played by Andy Serkis. He gave an amazing performance that genuinely allowed the audience to see the whole movie through his eyes and understand where he comes from and what are his motivations. He made this movie, without him there would be no movie. Full stop.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes summons up moments of great eloquence and power. It's not just the birth of Caesar we're seeing in this triumphant interpretation, it's also the dawning of the beginning of humanity’s end. Here's how any great franchise should start: with care, precision and delicately wrought atmosphere. It's a refreshing approach to the genre, even when revisiting years later, in an era inundated with science fiction movies where each tries to better the last's visual effects budget.

Simon says Rise of the Planet of the Apes receives:

Friday, 15 July 2011

Film Review: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" (2011).

The tagline of the film reads "It All Ends Here", and, sadly, it's really the end for Harry Potter with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. This fantasy film directed by David Yates; adapted by Steve Kloves; based on the novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. It is the second of two cinematic parts, as well as being the eighth and final instalment in the Harry Potter film series. It is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (2010). The story continues to follow Harry Potter's quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes in order to stop him once and for all.

This British-American film series, based on the novels by author J. K. Rowling, is now coming to a bitter-sweet end. Beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 2001 and culminating with Deathly Hallows – Part 2 this year. But how this unlikely phenomenon begin? Late in 1997, film producer David Heyman's London offices received a copy of the first book in what would become Rowling's series of seven Harry Potter novels. The book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was relegated to a low-priority bookshelf, where it was discovered by a secretary who read it and gave it to Heyman with a positive review. Consequently, Heyman, who had originally disliked "the rubbish title", read the book himself. Highly impressed by Rowling's work, he began the process that led to one of the most successful cinematic franchises of all time. Heyman's enthusiasm led to Rowling's 1999 sale of the film rights for the first four Harry Potter books to Warner Bros. for a reported £1 million (US$2,000,000). A demand Rowling made was that the principal cast be kept strictly British. Rowling was hesitant to sell the rights because she "didn't want to give them control over the rest of the story" by selling the rights to the characters, which would have enabled Warner Bros. to make non-author-written sequels. Then conversations began with potential directors, including Chris Columbus, Jonathan Demme, Terry Gilliam, Mike Newell, Alan Parker, Wolfgang Petersen, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Brad Silberling, and Peter Weir to helm the first instalment. It was then narrowed down to Columbus, Gilliam, Parker, and Silberling. Rowling's first choice was Terry Gilliam. However, on 28 March 2000 Columbus was appointed as director of the film, with Warner Bros. citing his work on other family films such as Home Alone (1990) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) as influences for their decision. Steve Kloves was selected to write the screenplay for the first film. He described adapting the book as "tough" since it did not "lend itself to adaptation as well as the next two books". In 2000, after a seven-month search, lead actor Daniel Radcliffe was discovered by producer David Heyman and writer Steve Kloves seated just behind them in a theatre. Also in 2000, the then unknown British actors Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were selected from thousands of auditioning children to play the roles of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, respectively. Their only previous acting experience was in school plays. Grint was eleven years old and Watson ten at the time they were cast. Filming of the series began at Leavesden Studios, Hertfordshire, England, in September 2000 and ended in December 2010, with post-production on the final film lasting until summer 2011. Leavesden Studios was the main base for filming the series. For much of the series, each novel was adapted into a singular film. However, for the seventh and final novel, Warner Bros. decided to split the Deathly Hallows, into two cinematic parts. The two parts were filmed back-to-back from early 2009 to summer 2010, with the completion of reshoots taking place on 21 December 2010; this marked the end of filming Harry Potter. Heyman stated that Deathly Hallows was "shot as one film" but released in two feature-length parts. All the films have been a success financially and critically, making the franchise one of the major Hollywood "tent-poles" akin to James Bond, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean. The series is noted by audiences for growing visually darker and more mature as each film was released. The franchise would become the 2nd highest grossing film franchise of all time behind only the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, with the eight films released grossing over $7.7 billion worldwide. Without adjusting for inflation, this is higher than the first 22 James Bond films and the six films in the Star Wars franchise. Chris Columbus's Philosopher's Stone became the highest-grossing Harry Potter film worldwide upon completing its theatrical run in 2002, while Alfonso Cuarón's Prisoner of Azkaban grossed the least.

The film stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. As well as Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange, Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, Warwick Davis as Filius Flitwick, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort, Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore, John Hurt as Mr Ollivander, Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, Kelly Macdonald as Helena Ravenclaw, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall, David Thewlis as Remus Lupin and Julie Walters as Molly Weasley. The cast gave the best performances of any instalment and probably the best performances of their careers. Especially to the three leads, they proved to be the right heroes and role models for these times filled with troubled youths.

With the unflinchingly grim Deathly Hallows - Part 2, the Harry Potter franchise comes to an exciting, poignant, and overall satisfying conclusion. It's scorchingly tense. The movie is genuinely powerful and this might be the most emotional blockbuster in recent memory, a film that starts out full of magic and goes on that promise, then to deliver a glimmer of hope in the final moments. It’s a bold statement about the unforgiving nature of war and death, unashamedly dreadful conflict between good and evil and the devastatingly human spirit in its emotional effect.

Simon says Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 receives:

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Film Review: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (2011).

"Years from now they're going to ask us: where were you when they took over the planet? We're gonna say: we stood by and watched." And that is exactly that AGAIN with Transformers: Dark of the MoonThis science fiction action film directed by Michael Bay, based on the Transformers toy line. It is the third installment of the live-action Transformers film series. It is a sequel to 2009's Revenge of the Fallen. This instalment follows the Autobots as they learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the moon, and their race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.

After the stink-bomb that was known as Revenge of the Fallen, screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who had worked on the two previous Transformers films, declined to return for the third film. So Revenge of the Fallen '​s co-writer Ehren Kruger became the sole screenwriter for Dark of the Moon. Kruger had frequent meetings with Industrial Light & Magic's visual effects producers, who suggested plot points such as the scenes in Chernobyl. In October 2009, Bay revealed that Dark of the Moon had already gone into pre-production, and its planned release was back to its originally intended date of July 1, 2011. Due to the revived interest in 3-D technology brought in by the success of Avatar (2009), talks between Paramount, ILM, and Bay had considered the possibility of the next Transformers film being filmed in 3-D, and testing was performed to bring the technology into Bay's work. Bay originally was not much interested in the format as he felt it did not fit his "aggressive style" of filmmaking, but he was convinced after talks with Avatar director James Cameron, who even offered the technical crew from that film.

The film stars Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey, Peter Cullen, Leonard Nimoy, Hugo Weaving, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Alan Tudyk and Ken Jeong. The performances given by the cast are some of the worst performances they have ever given. As well as being some of the most worthless performance given by them. End... of... story.

LaBeouf said regarding the last film; "We got lost. We tried to get bigger. It's what happens to sequels. It's like, how do you top the first one? You've got to go bigger... and I think you lost the anchor... You lost a bit of the relationships. Unless you have those relationships, then the movie doesn't matter. Then it's just a bunch of robots fighting each other." Boy that is also the case with Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It's another noisy, underplotted, and overlong special effects extravaganza that lacks a human touch. With the third installment in Michael Bay's blockbuster Transformers franchise, nothing is in disguise: Fans of loud, effects-driven action will find satisfaction, and all others need not apply. The longer this franchise goes on, the less interesting it becomes; it just wears you down. This series was never good, but it was once fun, or at least flashy. Now that its gears have gone rusty, it’s time for an Alien vs. Predator-style rethink.

Simon says Transformers: Dark of the Moon receives: