Shittin’ on the dreck of a Bay

Director Michael Bay has said in interviews that his latest film “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon” was his indirect apology to fans after the car crash that was “Transformers: Rise of the Fallen.”

He was quoted as saying of his latest: “I think our 3D works really well with the robots, the size, the girth, the weight of it… it’s spectacular.”

It seems Mr. Bay maybe confusing the words “spectacular” with “spectacle.” Continue reading

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Jim Carrey’s pecker

Predictable, perfunctory, with perhaps a penchant for poop-centric puns, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” still prevails as a perfectly passable picture for preadolescents.

For those familiar with the 1938 source material, the film adaptation of “Popper’s Penguins” take some liberty with the story, but does not sully its legacy, albeit for the aforementioned potty humor. It’s also one of the more subdued live-action comedic performances from its lead, Jim Carrey, which works in its favor.
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‘Green Lantern’: Van Milder

Familiarity breeds contempt. Perhaps that is the rationale behind the critical drubbing “The Green Lantern,” has received upon release. Since 2000, there have been 36 films based on comic books (about six more were created exclusively for the screen). And “Latern” is the fourth of five to be released this year alone (hell, it’s not even the first “Green” superhero in 2011. That distinction goes to January’s god-awful “Green Hornet.” ).

Comics are an easy template for filmmakers, as they already have a tale, a storyboard and a built-in audience. They have the potential for great summer diversions (“Iron Man”) or even overall excellence (“The Dark Knight”). But, as the saying goes in one particular comic-to-film translation, “with great power comes great responsibility.” The missteps have been too numerous to count (“Catwoman,” “Ghost Rider” and “Jonah Hex” immediately rush to mind), and the core audience can be particularly unforgiving, so filmmakers should approach the genre with caution.
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Nostalgia with flair (and flares)

For the non-geek filmgoer, the term “lens flare” will mean absolutely nothing. But they will know it when they see it.

It’s a photographic technique that causes light to flatten and streak out into a horizon-like pattern that fills the screen. Director (and producer of “Super 8”) Steven Spielberg used them religiously in his earlier films of the ’70s and ’80s, as seen in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “E.T.,” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” among others.

“Super 8’s” director, J.J. Abrams, relied on them in his “Star Trek” reboot, but it wasn’t until this latest film that I realized how nostalgic that little cinematic trick made me. Continue reading

‘Hangover 2’: Hair of the dog

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I had considered possibly resubmitting my initial review for “The Hangover” for its sequel, since that is all the writers of the latest film had done. But then I realized everything I found fresh and funny the first go-round had gone a bit stale in this second serving.

Plus, I don’t think the Cape Gazette would have paid me for it again for the same article. Continue reading

‘Panda’: All gut, and glory

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Despite a darker tone, Po’s fists of furry fury are just as engaging in “Kung Fu Panda 2,” a solid product from DreamWorks Animation, which has been milking its cash cow… or ogre, rather, churning out increasingly inferior “Shrek” sequels.

DreamWorks nailed it last year with one of the year’s best animated films, “How to Teain Your Dragon.” But in the sequel department, its subsequent “Shrek” and “Madagascar” films dropped precipitously in quality. Continue reading

An amusing, if long, engagement

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Like so many other films in producer/director Judd Apatow’s oeuvre, “Bridesmaids” features astute comedy that springs from a well of genuine human emotion.

And, like other Apatow-branded flicks, it overstays its welcome by about 30 minutes.

He only serves as producer here (Paul Feig is director), but his fingerprints are all over “Bridesmaids,” for better and for worse.

Kristen Wiig (who shares writing credit) stars as Annie, a 30-something single gal whose chipper exterior hides a life in sharp decline: her baking business went belly up, her romantic life is clogged with a creep (played by a wonderfully vain Jon Hamm), her creepy roommates want her out, and she’s just learned that her best pal, Lillian (played by Maya Rudolph), is getting hitched. Continue reading

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