To begin with, the REEL star of the show are unmistakably, the robotic CGI effects.
And these are executed in astonishing splendor amid a ear-splitting soundtrack.
Welcome back, “TRANSFORMERS 3″ a.k.a. “TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON” helmed by ace director MICHAEL BAY.
One name says it all.
This one tops the other two.
You can’t beat the heart-pounding actions that are enhanced to enthrall.
They instill palpitating excitement, storm fast and furious, loud and explosive, a visual feast for your eager eyes …..
and they metaphorically sear the screen apart with faster-than-you-would-have-expected grimness, grit and gruesomeness.
SHIA LaBEOUF, the cute impish actor returns in his role as Sam Witwicky in “TRANSFORMERS: Dark of the Moon”.
He is licking the wounds from the departure of his old flame MEGAN FOX from the film series
and before you can say “Hey Presto!” he now pursues a new love interest in voluptuous new actress ROSIE HUNTINGTON-WHITELEY.
A baffling occurrence from the Earth’s past erupts into the present day.
The Earth is now threatened with a formidable force that the sum of all the heroic Transformers alone would be insufficient to save the human populace from extinction.
Action auteur MICHAEL BAY delivers his goods successfully again in his final chapter of the trilogy.
His previous two “TRANSFORMERS” films had reaped their fair harvest of both happy and scathing reviews.
You can’t please everybody because great minds do not think alike.
So is this chapter 3 any good?
The marriage of the computer-animated robots and their real-world environment is here again as the core subject, larger than life.
Such as the presence of actual, 30-foot-high, mutating robots walking among us.
As with the previous two movies, the plot of the film still focuses on Earth as a deadly battle ground as war ensues between the two races of alien robots – the good Autbots and the evil Decepticons.
There’s a secret investigation of actual moon landings and the finding of the Ark.
Based on the Hasbro toy line and the popular ’80s cartoon, “TRANSFORMERS” revolves around giant alien robots that can change into any kind of machinery.
The good guys – known as Autobots – are lead by Optimus Prime, who can transform into a blue and red semi-truck, and the bad robots – known as Decepticons – follow orders from Megatron, who can shape-shift into a powerful jet.
MICHAEL BAY’s trademark of the lush visual extravagance and SFX are all here in this a little over 2 hour long solid entertainment.
You’ll be blown by this fantastical adventure that will transport you beyond the realm of your aesthetic mind.
Everybody is talking about TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON.
Welcome aboard the “MONTE CARLO” helmed by director THOMAS BEZUCHA.
This flighty film will breeze you through the most exciting ,exotic spots in Paris and Monte Carlo without having you leave the comfort your seat.
Just strap on your safety belt and soak in the fun.
You’ll be treated to a giddy-eyed fairy tale targeting at palpitating adolescent hearts beckoning everyone that it’s great to be young (don’t we all know this?) and that spring is in the air.
Without so much of a whiff and a twirl, you are whisked away to an intoxicating world of enchanting locales with a dash of eye candy for company.
Not bad, eh?
It all starts with a case of mistaken identity.
Consider these squabbling pretty maids-in-a-row: Grace (SELENA GOMEZ) and stepsister Meg (LEIGHTON MEESTER) with best pal Emma (KATIE CASSIDY).
They snicker and bicker and get on each other’s nerves, yet they go on a journey together.
A little bitchiness to start off with – for an initial uplift.
These 20-something sweet babes saved hard enough for a dream vacation in Paris.
However, things are not what they seem to be when they find that they are caught in a boring guided tour where expectations fall below par.
Then by a stroke of chance, luck spins an unexpected surprise.
In the lobby of a plush hotel, Grace is mistaken for a spoiled British heiress called Cordelia (also played by SELENA GOMEZ.)
And lo and behold!
The sordid world suddenly brightens up like fireworks ….
and they find themselves lured into a lavish paradise of bohemian lifestyle,
where they can feast, party and indulge like rich socialites.
You can jolly well throw in an extra dash of whirlwind romances with handsome beaus for a good measure.
However good things just don’t last.
After a tumultuous series of trials and errors that lead to a riotous finale, the three gals discover conscience and the true calling of sisterhood and what genuine friendship is all about, having gone through the rough patches together.
MONTE CARLO stars Disney comely star SELENA GOMEZ with Gossip Girls’ LEIGHTON MEESTER and KATIE CASSIDY.
Maybe an unusual potpourri mix, but there’s an apparent likable chemistry amongst the three young stars.
Their banters may be funny and schoolgirlish, but they hold our attentions and have us rooting for them.
It will be fair to say that there’s a good sprinkle of class and some style in the movie.
A “sunshine-after-the-rain” movie, this feature aims to tap a broader mass market despite the youthful appeal playing the primary sector.
It is a fun-fun-fun, wondrous and “feel good” holiday romance type shot against an acceptable landscape of tourist scenic locations.
The director-of-photography JONATHAN BROWN could have been more lavish in his capture of popular tourist attractions.
Do go and grab a piece of this action and let the good times roll!
Along comes another stab at the house haunting parable.
You tell me.
By now, this kind of theme is well-worn, cliched, diluted and plundered umpteen times before, by film producers from all corners of the globe who smell gold in providing the commercial chills.
Everyone relishes a good scare now and then, so what’s the heck.
The recent “INSIDIOUS” film is one clear example of a house haunting.
A family settles into a new home.
And the screams come aplenty as an undead spirit spews vehemence when her “nest” is rudely ruffled. Everyone in the household is hollering his lungs out, all but the father who remains skeptical.
Does this one sound familiar?
The angry spirit vows payback and what follows are the splatters of blood and gore you can witness from similar films – but this one comes in a Thai packaging.
In “LADDALAND”, the film director takes you to CHIANGMAI – the heart of THAILAND, land of dramatic contrasts to spin his tale.
Fans swear that Thai horror films provide the best chills in shocking the ballers out of anyone, even with the bleakest, nondescript plots.
Is this a stereo-type sweeping statement?
Let’s see if LADDALAND is the case, as with this almost 2-hour dramatization.
This THAI feature dissects the slow descent of a young family whose harmony is disintegrating layer by layer when the father Thee (SAHARAT S.) displays symptoms of a depressive disorder.
Everything Thee does go inexplicably wrong in a haunted township called LADDALAND.
Thee hailed from Bangkok but he relocates his sweet family of wife Parn (PIYATHIDA W.), daughter Nan and son Nat to Chiangmai for a better life of serenity.
One wonders how he can afford to live a comfortable life as well as purchasing a landed property on a 60,000 baht- salary. Did the scriptwriter make a calculative mistake, dear?
Parn and son may be thrilled by the new house and township but the rebellious daughter is peeved about resettling in a brand new environment.
Barely a few weeks of settling in the new abode, bizarre things start happening.
A young Burmese maid is found mutilated and murdered and stored in an old refrigerator in a dilapidated house abandoned by a foreigner.
No valid reasons are given for her murder, so it’s a red herring planted here for the sake of inventing a spooky presence.
Out of the blue, an ugly menacing cat meows and lurks creepily to bring forth the chills, and you actually witness a scene of feline torture, where the animal is wedged between the door and squeezed violently to death by the deranged father. Bloody hell.
Life becomes chaotic after this.
The rest of the members of the family are terrified by a constant series of demonic events and want out, but Thee turns a deaf ear about returning to Bangkok.
He has a good reason to stay on – as his life savings are depleted. He had already bought the house and paid the initial installments and is totally broke.
As luck would have it, he lost his job. Financial pressures assail him, and latent signs of uncontrollable rage are starting to show in his demeanor, telling us he’s heading for a meltdown.
From then on, the psychological mania takes over the reins.
LADDALAND is the second feature directed by SOPHON SAKDAPISIT who previously co-wrote the horror thrillers SHUTTER and ALONE.
He made his debut with the haunted-film flick COMING SOON and LADDALAND is his latest project.
More than just another “seeing nobody does not mean there is nobody” thriller, LADDALAND is a probing picture of family dysfunction and shattered lives.
Aiming as a bizarre horror, it is a hauntingly compelling feature with a jarring musical score to ham on the shock factor.
“When everything wrong FEELS right” is the premise of this film.
Having lost mental control, Thee’s repressed instincts “where his fear is his actual reality” resurface with a force and violence that no one could have predicted.
It is less a horror film story and more a fractured conscience parable.
LADDLAND lashes a harsh lesson on how much crap a man can really take when disastrous circumstances keep spiraling downwards, and when he is pushed to his emotional limits.
This movie plods slowly but surely, but let’s give it a chance.
Just bate your breath and the pace may soon quicken.
And if your patience ever allow, it will soon strap you atop a “gallop” and race you to one solid build-up.
MALCOLM VENVILLE the film director gamely sets this pace
and he carefully weaves a story of mundane people eking a cheerless living.
The mood-and-tone is a contorted mix of both art house and commercial which you either love or loathe.
This Reviewer decides he is edged somewhere in between.
The mood can be grim and abysmal.
Yet despite the outer layer of apparent despair, you can spot a sprinkle of logic about life’s harsh realities, that not everyone can be born lucky.
KEANU REEVES is in the lead role as ordinary Henry, a down-on-his-luck man who works graveyard shifts as a toll-booth operator in a little known town.
His future is bleak and he is clueless as to where life is leading him next.
He regulates the routine of sleeping, waking up, taking his lunch, kissing his wife goodbye and thence returning in the evening for his dinner.
Naturally there ain’t any spark in his loveless marriage.
And this is just the beginning.
Little wonder that he is easily tricked into participating in a bank robbery.
He is caught, thrown into prison yet he refuses to “squeal” on his fellow robbers.
Suspend your disbelief mode here, please because in life, nobody is that insipid and selfless.
In due course his exasperated wife (JUDY GREER) dumps him for another man.
In prison, Henry bonds with an older albeit experienced cell mate Max (JAMES CAAN), a con man who is later to become his partner-in-crime. Having been incarcerated for a crime that he is innocent, Henry decides now that he is ready to commit it for real.
He persuades Max into appealing with the parole board to quit prison to help him rob a local bank (the same one who puts him behind bars).
This scheme involves digging and tunneling underground from a local theater connected to the basement of the bank.
To avoid unwarranted attention, Henry cleverly opts to become part of the cast for “Cherry Orchard” so that he can access the dressing room conveniently, where the tunnel exits.
In an unexpected twist, Henry falls in love with the lead actress, Julie (VERA FARMIGA), and puts the bank heist in jeopardy.
So will the bank heist succeed?
In the acting department, KEANU REEVES is in his usual element, playing the absolute guy with the one dimensional gaze who recites his lines with gusto.
You may rail him for not improving on his acting chops, but his name will always conjure a certain kind of allure to film makers.
You bet he’ll certainly return again to star in some kind of summer blockbuster when many others just dim in the twilight.
We rarely see JAMES CAAN these days. He is a delight to watch since his GODFATHER’s days and he definitely steals the thunder from REEVES.
VERA FARMIGA invigorates the film as the feisty love interest of Henry.
Did I enjoy this movie when most don’t?
“HENRY’S CRIME” reeks like a melancholic piece of poetry in motion.
Maybe it is one guilty pleasure that I dare tread where most others won’t.
It’s just that everyone has his own song to sing and to each his own.