Transformers: The Last Knight
The worst thing about being a Transformer in the Dark Ages was changing into a horse-drawn sports car. However, this sci-fi smash’ em up maintains that they actually morphed into mythical creatures.
With Optimus Prime missing and the military (Josh Duhamel) after them, Earth’s remaining Autobots are forced into hiding with their human protector Cade (Mark Wahlberg). It’s not until a robotic dragon knight from Arthurian times bestows Cade with a powerful talisman that the fugitives are able to fight back.
Meanwhile, the creator of the Transformers has returned to drain Earth’s quintessence using Merlin’s (Stanley Tucci) staff. While this fifth chapter features some iconic cameos from the eighties animated series, it’s not enough to make up for the convoluted plotline, the nauseating direction and the endless fisticuffs between warring heaps of jumbled scrap metal.
Incidentally, the only medieval mechanical devices Transformers could conceivably shift into would be chastity belts.
47 Meters Down
Sharks tend to avoid eating tourists in Mexico because of their high alcohol content. However, they’re making an exception for the sisters in this aquatic thriller. To get her sister Lisa (Mandy Moore) out of her break-up funk, Kate (Claire Holt) proposes they go diving with sharks on their vacation. Reassured by the captain (Matthew Modine) that the cage is safe, the inexperienced drivers take the plunge. When the wench towing the cage breaks, however, the girls plummet 47 meters to the seabed. Stranded and surrounded by sharks, the siblings struggle for their survival.
While the bad judgment of the two characters can be troubling at times, the way in which this white-knuckler is able to evoke so much terror from such a murky, banal setting as the ocean is enthralling, while the twist ending is ingenious.
However, don’t let this movie influence your opinion on Mexican made shark cages.
The toughest part of an all-female society is not having men around to blame your problems on. Thankfully, a scapegoat has just fallen from the sky in this action-adventure.
Fashioned from clay and raised on an Amazonian island, Diana (Gal Gadot) yearns to be a warrior like her aunt (Robin Wright), but is forbidden by her mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). When an American spy (Chris Pine) crash-lands on the isle with news the outside world is imperil, however, the naïve demigod must enter man’s world to save it from the God of War.
The first-ever live-action Wonder Woman movie in the female icon’s 75-year career, this beloved DC Comics heroine finally gets her due. Unfortunately, this excessively long and overhyped adaptation comes imbedded with abysmal CGI, puerile dialogue and shoddy acting.
Incidentally, if Amazons are to live amongst us then Victoria’s Secret will need to stock up on 1-cup bras.
The Big Sick
The best thing about being in a coma is that you don’t have to eat hospital food. Unfortunately, as this comedy points out, life also goes on while you sleep.
Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) is a Muslim stand-up comedian who starts dating a white heckler, Emily (Zoe Kazan), to the chagrin of his mother who is constantly arranging wives for him. When Emily is put into a medical induced coma early in their relationship, Kumail signs the forms. But when her parents (Holly Hunter, Ray Romano) show up, Kumail must convince them he is A) Emily’s boyfriend and B) Not a terrorist.
While it is an unconventional love story based on Kumail’s real-life experience, this Judd Apatow produced rom-com is long-winded and light on belly laughs that don’t involve Kumail’s religion or Westerners misconception of Islam.
As for the one thing that Muslim extremists and stand-up comedians have in common: Suicide.
If humans could instantly kill anyone they wanted then rush hour would be a mortuary. Thankfully, only one person in this horror movie can control the fate of others.
Light (Nat Wolff) is a wimpy teenager who discovers a magical book that will kill whoever’s name is written in it and will use whatever method is detailed by the author. This omnipotent power not only attracts his crush (Margaret Qualley) – who wants to help Light wipe out criminals around the world as the antihero Kira – but also the book’s demonic owner, the God of Death (Willem Dafoe).
Adapted from the popular Japanese manga, this whitewashed version only hangs its poor interpretation on the bones of the original. Ignoring the source material, the story still feels abridged. But at least the graphic death scenes aren’t muted.
Incidentally, things could get really ugly if an illiterate were to ever own this book.
Instead of wasting money on gauze, why don’t Mummies just wear full-body casts? Luckily, this action-horror movie reminds us that the undead aren’t that smart.
An ancient Egyptian princess (Sofia Boutella) renowned for murdering her family is resurrected in modern day England and tasked with finding a human host for the jackal headed god Set to possess. She selects a soldier (Tom Cruise) to become her master’s vessel. However, a clandestine monster-hunting society headed by Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe) has other plans for the princess and her god of destruction.
The latest reboot of the desert monarch that serves as the cornerstone for Universal’s shared Dark Universe, this muddled revival of the 1932 monster flirts with a few interesting ideas but ultimately unravels under the weight of its own exposition, franchise staging and bad CGI.
Incidentally, being possessed by a god means you can never call into work sick ever.
It Comes at Night
The scariest thing about an infectious outbreak is being quarantined with your family. Fortunately, the isolated brood in this psychological-horror has just received some unrelated visitors.
Held up in the backwoods since a contagion wiped out the cities, Paul (Joel Edgerton) has successfully protected his wife (Carmen Ejogo) and teenage son (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) from infection. He lets his guard down, however, when a young couple (Christopher Abbott, Riley Keough) with a child and livestock comes knocking on their door. But both families turn on each other when Paul starts to suspect that one of their guests may be infected.
Using close quartered confinement to drive home the paranoia, this atmospheric indie does the classic horror setting an injustice by not delivering the goods. The threat is weak, the tension is tepid, and the scares non-existent. Moreover, if you don’t want houseguests during an outbreak just say you have bedbugs.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
A super-hero who only wears underpants must be amazing at taking final exams. Surprisingly, the semi-nude saviour in this animated-comedy isn’t part of a recurring nightmare.
Created by George (Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch) to save the citizens of their homemade comic book while only wearing a cape and his underwear, Captain Underpants finds his secret identity in the boys’ real-life principal Krupp (Ed Helms).Hypnotized by the fourth-graders to believe that he is their prized protector, Krupp wavers between being the heroic captain and a maniacal administrator hell-bent on separating the best friends.
While it gets points for its various animation techniques, stellar voice-work and for embodying the silly spirit of the long-running children’s book series that it’s based on, unfortunately that same juvenile essence becomes childish very quickly, while the endless pop song montages simply nauseate. Also, if Captain Underpants doesn’t wipe properly he can easily become Captain Skidmarks.
Women only get speeding tickets if the cop doesn’t find their sobbing sufficient. Unfortunately for the women in this comedy, the waterworks won’t get them off murder.
For her bachelorette party, Jess’ (Scarlett Johansson) estranged friends from college (Kate McKinnon, Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Jillian Bell) take her to Miami for a weekend filled with booze, drugs and dancing. During the frivolity, however, they accidentally kill a male-stripper. Now they must dispose of his body before the cops arrive.
Things take a turn for the worst when the actual stripper they hired shows up. A raunchy girls’ trip that reduces its female leads down to obnoxious frat boy stereotypes, this feminist comedy foolishly believes a derivative script filled with limp dick jokes is empowering to women, or even funny for that matter.
Besides, real women on all-girls’ getaways spend their time texting their boyfriends to make sure they’re not cheating.
The upside to dogs in the army is that you can put them to sleep when they get PTSD. Fortunately, the furry GI in this biography has a friend to help him adjust.
Desperate for discipline and direction, Megan Leavey (Kate Mara) joins the Marines. Aimless even after basic training, she doesn’t find her calling until discovering the K-9 unit. Paired with a bomb-sniffing German Shepard, Megan’s shipped off to Iraq to detect IEDs. When one of those makeshift bombs ends her military career, Megan fights her superior for the right to adopt her injured partner.
A wholly realistic war profile, this straightforward retelling of Megan’s real-life struggles at home and abroad is a well-acted, finely crafted family drama that doesn’t over indulge in the usual canine schmaltz associated with animal-centric story lines.
Incidentally, IEDs would be harder for dogs to find if they weren’t made from tuna cans.
All Eyez on Me
After much inquiry we can safely conclude that Tupac Shakur was killed by his own hologram. However, this biography maintains that the rapper’s murder is unsolved.
Raised by a mother who was a member of the Black Panther Party, Tupac Shakur (Demetrius Shipp Jr.) grew up with a keen sense of social justice. He would later interpret those feelings of unrest through rap music. After a stint with Digital Underground, Tupac goes solo. Around the same time he starts acting and collaborating with Dr. Dre. Following a stint in prison, he signs with Death Row Records. One fatal night in September, however, changes everything.
More of a chorological account of his life than an in-depth analysis of his persona, this slapdash memoir does have a few good performances but overall fails to go behind the music. Regrettably, Tupac Shakur didn’t live long enough to see his white detractors co-opt Hip-Hop.
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