Friday, June 27, 2014


Directed by: Michael Bay
"Written" by: Ehren Kruger
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Raynor, Bingbing Li, and Stanley Tucci.
Synopsis: Five years after the events of the last movie, the Autobots are being hunted down by the CIA.

Four movies with the same director, and it would seem that the routine is very obvious: take the previous movie and somehow add more explosions, robots, and more outlandish characters. As part of a new Transformers trilogy and a so-called "soft reboot," this movie both is more AND less eccentric than the previous movies but ultimately ends up falling short being a decent movie.

The movie begins five years after the events of TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, and it's a different world. Transformers (the why haven't been called that this entire franchise) are now a known entity in the world after the destruction of Chicago by Megatron and Sentinel Prime. Thanks to the large amount of robo-corpses, humans have now began to create their own robots, all the while the Autobots, despite officially being granted asylum, are currently being hunted down by a corrupt CIA director. Add the involvement of Cade Yeager (Wahlberg), his daughter Tessa, and her boyfriend, Shane Dyson, plus the bounty hunter, Lockdown, going after Optimus, and you have more than enough plot lines to keep you busy during the movie's run time.

Starting off with some of the best aspects of the movie. Visually, it is one of the more impressive CGI-filled movies. The way that the robots are designed with more flat surfaces and panelmakes iteasier to follow them on screen, plus their faces are much more emotive this time around, giving us the sense that these are. With newcomers Crosshairs, Drift, and Hound, even if their personalities are a little stereotypical, at least they have much more character than other robots in the previous movies. Of special note, John Goodman's performance as Hound is probably the best part of the movie. He plays it as a robotic and slightly less crazy Walter Sobchak, his character from THE BIG LEBOWSKI.

The movie falls apart in so many ways, but let's get to one of the most egregious aspects, the editing. For a little background, these movies have never been filmmaking masterpieces, but the expectation that they feel coherent shouldn't be too crazy. Back in 2009's REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, there's a famous scene when a group of character are in the Aerospace Museum in one scene and then end up in the desert. Well, this movie is filled with lots of those types of jarring cuts, and it leads to the movie feeling extremely messy. There's a scene where Bay cuts from one set of characters to the other, and between each cut, it feels like you're in a different part of the country and a different part of the day. Not only that, but it's very hard to get a sense of distance and time for the movie because the transitions between locations is all but non-existent. The timeline of the story feels completely disjointed, and it's actually hard to believe that we go from Texas, to Chicago, to Detroit, and to China

The human cast, while admittedly an improvement of the Shia LaBeef era, are decidedly one note or barely have much of a character at all. Cade Yeager (a very Texan name) is supposed to be an inventor and father, but 90% of his dialogue in the movie is all about him making remarks about how his daughter Tessa, should not date or even look at guys and even threatens her boyfriend, Shane Dyson. You know, for comedy! While Tessa herself was not sexualized to the point of Megan Fox, which is surprising, but there's way too much focus on her appearance or some creeper statutory rape laws pertaining to her. The most fun human character of the movie is Stanley Tucci's Joshua Joyce, who is the right mix of eccentric and panicky in a way that John Malkovich's character from the third movie wasn't.

From a dramatic standpoint, the movie just has zero tension. At this point, the struggle of the Autobots against their robotic enemies is so amazingly one sided, that you just hope to get through the large battles to get to the next scene. At the climactic battle, the Autobots are so powerful that they can be outnumbered 10 to 1 and still come out on top. Not only that, but as part of the franchise, it feels like Bay is trying to take elements of what worked previously and tries to mash them up together to make a better movie. Also, the Optimus from this movie seems to be culmination of the insane overtly violent and murderous persona he has developed from the last two movies. It's terrible imagery to see a heroic character getting so violent towards humans. Not only that, but his treatment of the Dinobots is beyond disturbing. He talks about giving him their freedom and then threatens them to "Defend my family or die" I'm not sure that this Optimus knows what freedom means.

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION can be justified as a passable movie thanks to its robot and designs, and the fact that the robots are given semblance of character. However, the underlying fact is that this movie is a filmmaking disaster that just tries to re-thread old territory and  trying to pass it off as new.

Netflix Instant: TV and Movie Picks- Documentary Edition

Let's face it. There's not much out this weekend in terms of movies. Yes, there is the latest installment of Transformers from Michael Bay, but if you're like me, I'm a little worn out from all the explosions and bad editing. Instead, I say stay in and enjoy some awesome documentaries I have picked for this week!

Improv Everywhere is a group whose mission is to bring smiles and joy to people through various "flash mob" type of activities. Whether it's not wearing pants on the subway or having 100 people freeze in a train station, this group is all about creating memories for people. This film shows how this group started off small but ended up making headlines around the world. 

World Cup has pretty much taken over all social media whether you like it or not. I'm not the biggest soccer fan, but I always enjoy a good sports story. The 30 for 30 series has never disappointed me, so I plan to check out some of these while futbol fever is still going on.

This was a film I've been wanting to check out for a long time. In this documentary, director Sarah Polley takes a look at her family history and discovers untold secrets that completely changes how she views her past. I've heard nothing but wonderful things about this film, and I'm eager to check this off my "missed films" list of last year. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Directed by: Katrin Gebbe
Written by: Katrin Gebbe
Starring: Julius Feldmeier, Sacha Alexander Gersack, Annika Kuhl, and Swantje Kohn
Synopsis: When a homeless teenager goes to live with a family, things turn increasingly violent.

Oak Cliff Film Festival's Charm

The 3rd Oak Cliff Film Festival wrapped last Sunday and with it, another set of films and a chance to appreciate the ever-bustling Oak Cliff region. As a recent transplant to the Deep Ellum/downtown area and with Oak Cliff being so close to me, it's a shame to admit that I have not explore Oak Cliff much apart from Spiral Diner and the Bishop Arts area (gotta get them Emporium pies, y'all). This being the first full festival we've covered, I just wanted to give a few of my random thoughts about festival itself.

Compared to other regional film festivals, this is a smaller affair, but one that does not feel cheap or amateur. What's great about this smaller size is that you don't have to spend a lot of time rushing from movie to movie to line up, and you can spend time talking other movie lovers over a couple of beers at the bar. Not only that, but there's a loose and chill vibe to the entire festival, so for example, you can have the director of a movie sit next to you and can chat with them right after.

The programming this year in particular was a huge highlight for me since it was filled not only with some very out-there movies in its schedule (MOOD INDIGO), but some repertory screenings which seemed to be the most popular ones. I personally got to experience STOP MAKING SENSE, the Johnathan Demme-directed Talking Heads concert movie in glorious 35mm. This was honestly my favorite screening of the festival. While I'm usually a black-and-white type when it comes to talking in theaters, the audience was just so enthralled by the performances of the band that everyone was clapping and whistling after each song ended just like a concert. Not only that, but I got to catch the beginning of the Oak Cliff bike ride that culminated in a rooftop screening atop Jefferson Tower Wild Canaries.

If there is one minor complaint and this is mostly due to the geography, but the Oak Cliff area itself presents a problem in that it's not easy to stick around one place if there are multiple screenings because the venues themselves are spread out. I went to the Bishop Arts Theater Center for one film, and I had to leave, find parking (which can be difficult around many of the featured restaurants), and then come back. But that's not the festival's fault as much as just part of the area that it's celebrating, and it should be! The Kessler Theater and the Bishop Arts Theater Center are both great venues that I'll be keeping an eye out for in the future.

Either way, this is a smaller festival that feels like a much bigger affair. The programming has become increasingly more original whereas before it might've played like a "best of" from the festival circuit, it seems to be carving out its own identity and that makes it exciting. Can't wait to see what they come up with next year!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

OCFF 2014 Review: LISTEN UP, PHILLIP- Jonesy's Take

Directed by Alex Ross Perry
Written by Alex Ross Perry
Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Elizabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, Krysten Ritter, and Eric Bogosian.
Synopsis: A young author is struggling with life when his second book is about to be published.

OCFF 2014 Review: MOOD INDIGO - Javi's Take


Directed by: Michel Gondry
Written by: Michel Gondry, Luc Bossi,  with story by Boris Vian
Starring: Romain Duris, Audrey Tatou, Omar Sy, Gad Elmaleh, Aissa Maiga
Starring: The visually stunning story of a man and his courtship of a woman and their subsequent marriage.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

OCFF 2014 Review: TO BE TAKEI- Jonesy's Take

Directed by Jennifer M. Kroot
Starring: George Takei
Synopsis: A documentary about the life of the pop culture icon. 

New TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Trailer Debunks An Internet Rumor

As the release of the new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movie approaches, the movie doesn't seem AS terrible as was previously expected. It still looks weird, but one of the more controversial issues with the movie has been proven false in this the new trailer. You can check out the trailer, courtesy of the TMNT Movies YouTube channel via Latino Review, after the break.

The Local Haps June 24th - June 30th

Here's your weekly look at the objectively best film events going on this week in Dallas.

Tuesday, June 24th
ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE: Continuing the Dynamic Duos theme of the month, the Action Pack will screen TOMMY BOY at 8:00pm as a Quote Along.

Wednesdays, June 25th
ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE: Some sportsball radio station will be presenting the Chevy Chase comedy FLETCH. There will be a ticket giveaway beforehand at the Glass Half Full.
TEXAS THEATRE: You never knew you wanted to know more about the man behind the famous natural personal hygiene company Burt's Bees, but after watching this documentary BURT'S BUZZ at 9:15pm, you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, June 26th
ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE: The gorgeous 35mm print of TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE will be screening at 7:00pm. Seriously, don't miss this one.

Friday, June 27th
ANGELIKA THEATER: The Steven Spielberg-centric Angelika After Hours Series will conclude with JAWS screening at 11:30pm. Also of note, one of our favorite movies of DIFF this year, WE ARE THE BEST! will begin its run here.
TEXAS THEATRE: Today is the first screening of the Aaron Paul-starring HELLION at 7:00pm. Friend of the blog, Chase Whale will be doing a Q&A with director Kat Chandler after the movie.

Saturday, June 28th
ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE: As part of the Saturday Morning Monster Matinee series,  THE WITCHES will screen at noon. I'll be honest, I'm not too familiar with the movie but given the trailer it looks like it'd be a fun time.

Sunday June 29th
ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE: One of the best satires of all time, BLAZING SADDLES will screen at noon. The great comedy troupe Master Pancake will be mocking SPACE JAM at 6:30pm and 9:30pm.

Monday June 30th
ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE: In what is arguably the best Keanu Reeves joint, there will be a  BILL AND TED'S DOUBLE FEATURE at 7:00pm which includes BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE and BILL AND TED'S JOURNEY.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Directed by: Jessica Oreck
Synopsis: A documentary exploring the fairy tales and their place in culture as it pertains to Eastern Europe. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

COHERENCE 2nd Viewing Movie Review - Javi's Take

Directed by: James Byrkit
Written by: James Byrkit
Starring: Emily Foxler, Nicholas Brendon, Maury Sterling, Elizabeth Gracen, Lorene Scafaria, Lauren Maher, Hugo Armstrong and Alex Manugian
Synopsis: A group of friends gets together for a dinner party when a comet passing by the earth starts to have some unexpected side effects.

This is a special review for the upcoming Oscilloscope Labs release, COHERENCE. I previously reviewed and love the movie back when I first saw it in Fantastic Fest 2013. That review will be appropriate for those that have not seen the movie and don't want to be spoiled. Given the nature of the movie and just how dense it is, this review will focus on my impression of seeing it a 2nd time where I know what will happen and can focus on the details. Needless to say, there will be spoilers, and this review takes into account that you have seen the movie all the way and know the character, but you can always check out my Fantastic Fest 2013 review

Friday, June 20, 2014

Netflix Instant: Movie & TV Picks

Hey guys, summer is about to be officially here, so how about watching some movies at home with the AC turned on full blast? Check out my picks for this week after the break.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


With the impending release of TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION next week, I figured it'd be a good time to post about TRANSFORMERS: THE PREMAKE by director Kevin Lee. It's a 25 minute short film available on YouTube that chronicles the crazy amount of video and documentation that people have uploaded to the internet about the making of TF: AOE. Without narration, it manages to be a very compelling look at the politics behind making such a huge world-spanning movie and how its production affects those that are in whatever country or town that the movie happens to be filming in. Additionally, it's a great look at how the creation of media begets more media in the form of these candid videos of the crew filming stunts or the Autobot vehicles. For a very interesting read, you can also go to Slate to read the filmmaker's thoughts, which are very cool to read.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Local Haps: June 17th - June 23rd

Welcome to another edition of The Local Haps! This week's once again full of some great film events, including the Oak Cliff Film Festival, an Edgar Wright series, and a cartoon block programmed by one of our very own! Check it out after the break.

Monday, June 16, 2014

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 Review- Jonesy's Take

Directed by Dean DeBlois
Written by Dean DeBlois
Starring:  Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Djimon Hounsou, and Kit Harrington
Synopsis: Hiccup and Toothless are back to help take down an evil dragon hunter.

Friday, June 13, 2014

22 JUMP STREET Review- Jonesy's Take

Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Written by Michael Bacall
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Peter Storemare, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell and Nick Offerman.
Synopsis: Our favorite undercover cops are back in college trying to bust another drug ring.

THE BOXTROLLS Looks To Be Another Laika Studios Gem

I'll be honest, I'm excited for this movie because it's a Laika Studio release. They did CORALINE and PARANORMAN which have both been absolute favorites during the year that they were released. Their art design is just so beautiful to look and the stories have a lot of heart and maturity for kid's movies. This trailer, courtesy of Yahoo Movies, is awesome to watch. Check it out after the break.

Netflix Instant: TV and Movie Picks

Guys, there's a lot of good movies out this weekend. But if you don't want to fight the crowds in theatres and you've already marathoned the second season of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, here are some titles for you to enjoy!

This was one of my favorites as a kid. It may not hold up as well as I remember, but it's a sweet little family comedy that has a special place in my heart. Also, whatever happened to Steve Guttenberg?

Remember when Charlie Sheen wasn't a tool? Well, maybe he always was one, but at least his personal life didn't get spewed in our faces everyday. This is a great comedy that my parents let me watch when I was waaaay too young. I recently rewatched it for the first time in years, and it surprisingly holds up. 

I'm a fan of anything Shakespeare, and this is a new adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. This one stars Hailee Steinfeld as Juliet, which is almost perfect casting and closer to Juliet's real age in the play. It's not a modernization of the play but uses traditional setting in Renaissance Verona. Even though this isn't my favorite of Shakespeare's works, it will be worth a viewing to see Steinfeld. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A WIFE ALONE Review- Jonesy's Take

Directed by Justin Reichman
Written by Andrew Brunton and Peter Friedman
Starring: Genevieve Hudson-Price, Ashley Springer, and Sean Patrick Reilly
Synopsis: A young woman hides a secret from her well-to-do husband and his corrupt mentor.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

THE LEGEND OF KORRA Season 3 Trailer Is Sooooooooo Good!

THE LEGEND OF KORRA is one of the most densely written and beautifully animated shows of the
last few years. It's a sequel to AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER from a few years ago, an equally excellent show following the adventures of the new Avatar, Korra, a hot-headed waterbender. The second season made a huge change to the status quo and the third season seems to be finally opening the story to the larger world. Thanks to the KorraNation Tumblr, check it out below.

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR Trailer Is More Of The Same And That's A Good Thing

Stylistically, I enjoyed the hell out of the first SIN CITY movie. It was nothing groundbreaking, but I was in college and it just vibed well with me. The fact that this sequel is still happening is crazy to me. The movie had a long production cycle and it seemed to be one of those movie that would just end up getting cancelled. But good news! Thanks to Dimension Horror, we have a new trailer for movie. Check it out after the break.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Local Haps: June 10th - June 16th

It's looking like we've got a busy week coming up today! Check out some of the best film-events in Dallas coming up after the break.

RIGOR MORTIS Review - Javi's Take

Directed by: Juno Mak   
Written by: Lai-yin Leung, Phillip Yung
Starring: Anthony Chan, Siu-Ho Chin, Kara Hui, Richard Ng, Hoi-Pang Lo, Hee Chang Paw
Synopsis: When a actor fails to commit suicide, he discovers that his new apartment is full of otherworldly creatures.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

WORDS AND PICTURES Review- Jonesy's Take

Directed by Fred Schepisi
Written by Gerald Di Pego
Starring: Clive Own and Juliette Binoche
Synopsis: Two teachers develop a budding relationship while battling their own problems and mentoring students at a private high school.

What is more powerful: words or pictures? There's countless arguments for each, and depending on the day, you could fall on either side of the argument. WORDS AND PICTURES attempts to have this discussion through the relationship of two teachers at a private high school.

Jack Marcus (Owen) is a semi-nonconventional English teacher who believes in the power and artistry of the English language. He then meets Dina Delsanto (Binoche), a famous artist who has lost a bit of her stride and takes a job as the new art teacher. The two have a flirty connection from the beginning, and soon create a words vs. pictures war with their students. All the while, they're battling their own personal demons and their growing connection.

The film's strengths lies within the diatribes Owen and Binoche are allowed to go on. They have such screen presence, and it is easy to get sucked in when they monologue about great painters, poets, and authors. The first half of the film is the strongest where we hear the sides of the 'war' and see the relationships between the teachers and the students. Owen ends up completely steals this film. He brings a gravitas to his character, and he's able to make any diatribe about words feel like you're watching a Shakespeare performance.

The later half takes a turn and almost becomes a cliche story. Both Jack and Dina's past troubles come to fruition and in turn, begins to affect their lives in various ways. Unfortunately, this half becomes a bit predictable where you can see the ending coming from a mile away. They try their hardest to transcend the script with their characters, but ultimately, it ends up being rather boring by the end. There was enough substance with the 'war' at school to make the movie somewhat interesting, and it would have been better to keep the focus on the students and teachers.

WORDS AND PICTURES tries hard to be a deep film that will spur discussions, but it gets bogged down by a simple plot structure. There were interesting ideas within the film and great performances, but it's not anything to rush out and see this weekend.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Netflix Instant: Movie & TV Picks - Javi's Birthday Picks Edition

As is customary for these birthday editions, I will be posting about my favorite movies  new or otherwise that are currently streaming on both Hulu and Netflix. Check them out below!

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Local Haps: June 3rd - June 9th

This week seems to be a little more full of awesome movie events! From an acclaimed director's first new movie in two decades to a childhood classic, there's a lot of movies to keep you busy this week.