Film roundup

Where is everyone else on this blog? Anyway, I was in Europe and fell far behind on all the movies that have come out. That’s kind of what this over saturated summer makes you feel like with so many back-to-back films lined up in a row. In fact, I’ve only seen four films since I left to Europe on July 13th, so that’s like 6 or 7 weeks. Here’s what I saw:

Bourne Ultimatum: I actually had a slightly negative impression of Bourne Identity because I saw the entire plot as pretty much action-based, so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself actually caring about the characters in this back-end to the trilogy. I found the whole plot very relevant and relatable to much about the War on Terror and our current state of politics, and another highlight was the use of aerial photography. The line, “Do you even know why you’re shooting at me” that Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne says to one of the CIA-ordered snipers is one that will stuck with me for a while.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry: I’m kind of a sucker for fish-out-of-water comedies because I practically grew up on those kinds of films in the ’90s, so I did end up liking this film, even though I’m usually weary about seeing an Adam Sandler film (Click was, by far, the worst movie I saw last year). I was surprised how well thought-out the plot was because it seems like when Adam Sandler writes these films, he devotes about 10% of his time to thinking about the plot and 90% of his time to thinking ways to inject the maximum amount of bathroom humor and fat jokes possible. It will be interesting to see how GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) reacts to this film when they have their annual awards considering the film both capitalizes on gay stereotypes and sends a moralistic message against them.

Invasion: The second horror/thriller movie I’ve seen this summer (I also regrettably saw 1408), this film was helped out most by actors who treated the material as if it weren’t so laughably implausible. It’s based on a famous 1956 movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and the movie is true to the spirit of those older sci-fi films that came from a time when filmmakers didn’t really know much about science at all.

Transformers: I ended up stumbling upon this movie inadvertently (I was waiting for another movie to start and wandered into the Transformers theater) and I was fortunate to discover THE event picture of the summer even if it was eight weeks past its release and there was no one left who hadn’t seen it that I could proclaim it’s greatness to. Produced by Stephen Spielberg and directed by Michael Bay, I’m happy to report that between the clash of these two creative visionaries (or should I say one creative visionary and a guy whose primary interest as a movie director is making things explode), that the end result is a movie that’s far more Spielberg than it is Bay. Transformers plays out along the lines of Spielberg’s “Things are best seen from a children’s point of view” theme that is most closely associated with E.T. Along the lines of this E.T. analogy, massive credit goes to the casting department for using Shia LeBouf in the “Drew Barrymore” role, because he is largely the reason the film works so well. Charismatic, a little vulnerable, and witty, Shia LeBouf balances the heavy mythology with lighthearted fun reminiscent of Han Solo’s role in Star Wars. I think it’s also a good bet that like Harrison Ford, Shia LeBouf will enjoy a rich and long-lived career.

While coming off as the second coming of E.T., the film also has a touch of Roland Emmerich films like The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day where the impossible task of trying to portray an entire planet as it deals with a global attack is portrayed through a cross-section of people whose story lines weave closer together as the plot progresses and there were plenty of interesting characters from Jon Voight’s airhead Secretary of defense (a little reminiscent of Rumsfeld but a slightly better listener) to Jon Turturro as a special agent to Rachel Taylor as a sexy intelligent computer programmer to Megan Fox as a very compelling girl-next-door type who commands the protagonist’s interest.

Of course, with Michael Bay as the director, the action gets a little excessive (especially in the final battle scene), but ultimately, the film is all about character and that’s what makes it memorable


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