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Why Does Transformers Need John Malkovich and Frances McDormand?

Francis McDormand and John Malkovich have been cast in Transformers 3. Both are fantastic actors. In fairness, Malkovich has fairly low standards when it comes to choosing his movies – he was linked to Spider-Man 4 as the Vulture before it all fell apart and managed to be the best thing about Con Air (okay, second best – but Steve Buscemi is just awesome anyway) – but McDormand is an actress known for being relatively choosy about her roles. She isn’t exactly matinee idol fare. But, as I read the story, I couldn’t help wondering: why does Michael Bay even need actors for Transformers?

Who needs actors when you have explosions?

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Are the Razzies Out of Touch?

People are probably still analysing and analysing the Oscar nominees announced yesterday. I’m still formulating my opinion on the bunch – generally it’s a safe selection, but a reasonable safe selection – I thought I’d take a look at the other great annual awards ceremony. No, not the Olympics. No, not the Golden Globes. No, not even the Winter Olympics. The Golden Raspberry Awards – or Razzies, as they are affectionately known – are announced at this time of year, typically stealing a tiny percentage of the Oscars’ thunder. This year they announced the day before and gave us an eclectic line-up. For those unfamiliar with the Razzies, the idea is celebrate the worst that exists in film. However, part of me wonders if the Razzies have escaped the scrutiny that has long been a part of analysing their bigger brother: are the Razzies out of touch with the common movie-goer?

They've even got a cool little statue thing going on!

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Summer 2009 in Review…

So, how was it for you? 

Long after the movies of summer are gone...

Long after the movies of summer are gone...

 

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Marbles: The Movie! – The Poster!

… aka, I love you even more, Roger Ebert!

That man really hates Transformers 2 – in case you didn’t read his response to those critics of critics. Or maybe it was the announcement of a Viewfinder and an Asteroids movie within the same week that led him to publish a list of his most-anticipated toyetic movies in the years to come. It is awesome and totally worth a look at the link. Anyway, one of his ideas was so fiendishly brilliant I couldn’t resist doing a draft mock-up of the poster…

I give you Marbles: The Movie, with Ebert plot summary below…

Alternative Tagline: "Get some balls"

Alternative Tagline: "Get some balls"

Marbles! Secret of the Universe! Nicolas Cage plays an astrophysicist at MIT who intercepts the feed from the Hubble Space Telescope and determines that the stars in the sky are in fact giant, brilliantly-glowing marbles. Enhancing the digital information, he discovers a giant thumb and forefinger in the abyss beyond space. They hold an aggie.

I Love You, Roger Ebert…

There’s a lot of trash talk out there about Roger Ebert. Is he going soft in his old age? Is he wrong to ‘go easy’ on really terrible films? I don’t know and I don’t care, because the man is some sort of legend. Sure, I may disagree with his opinion from time (I don’t buy his argument against 3D, for example, and there are quite a few movies on which he and I diverge), but I always find his comments insightful, well considered and respectful. That’s something a lot of film critics these days who seem to use their reviews to make pith putdowns and blithe one-liners could learn from – and I am looking at you, David Edelstein. Still, he ain’t a man to pull his punches, and that’s another reason I love him so dearly. His latest attack was on those who dared deem Transformers 2 a good movie – or even defend it as “as good as it could have been”. The article can be read here and is well worth a look for anyone interested in the man or his artform, or even movies in general.

Some man for one man...

Some man for one man...

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Who Critiques the Critics?

The ability of Transformers 2 to succeed so massively even with the godawful reviews that it is receiving has prompted yet another introspective look at the role that critics do, should and must play in the movie business. It’s a bout the right time of year – last year David Edelstein’s bitchy tirade against a certain blockbuster received such a vigorous lambasting that the author himself had to post an article in defense of his review, prompting other commentators to ask if the critics are out of touch with the public. I didn’t do film studies or go to journalism school. I didn’t do a term-long module on the role of the critic in the arts. Sure, it might sound like a simple enough role – you critique, it’s all there in the verb – but should you try to tell people if they’ll like the movie, or simply whether you did? If you know you hold a minority opinion, should you make some sort of concession to that? I don’t know, but the question interests me greatly.

The film critic in his default position...

The film critic in its default position...

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Whatever Happened to Blockbusters with Brains? I’d Settle for Heart…

The early reviews for Transformers 2 are in, and the Irish public seem to have more-or-less unanimously spoken (based solely on my own personal experience and those around me). It’s a mindless, stupid, soulless action movie that seems to propel itself forward not by the strength of its plot or by any particular arc, but merely by the force of its explosions. It manages to be dumber than the first film, which (in fairness to it) benefited slightly from a quirky sense of humour. As I sit here an dwell upon the pretty depressing reality that this may be the second biggest hit of the summer – never underestimate Harry Potter – I need to get my mind off that thought. Blockbusters weren’t always this stupid and loud and pointless, were they?

Meet Devastator, he's got the cajones to be a big summer baddy. I wish I were making that up...

Meet Devastator, he's got the cajones to be a big summer baddy. I wish I were making that up...

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