FlixChatter Double Review –Transformers: Age of Extinction

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Ted’s Review

After a three year absent, the Transformers are back on the big screen. They still have to deal with annoying human characters, fight the bad Transformers and destroy every big city as much as they could.

The movie picked up about 5 years after the last one, we’re introduced to some new human characters Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz). Yeager is a failed inventor and he’s close to being broke and lose his farm. One day he found an old truck which happens to be Optimus Prime, he’s hiding from the government. Apparently after the events of the last movie, all of the Autobots are being hunted down by the CIA. The mission is being spearheaded by a high level CIA executive Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer). When Attinger finds out that Optimus Prime is hiding out at Yeager’s farm, he sends his operatives including its leader James Savoy (Titus Welliver) to bring Prime in. Of course things didn’t turn out well as they’d hoped and Yeager, his daughter and Optimus were able to get away from the agents. I was going to write more about the “plot” of the movie but let’s face it, no one go to see this movie for its plot, which by the way didn’t make a lick of sense. If you’re a fan of the previous three movies and enjoy all the explosions and robots fighting then you’re going to love this one. For anyone who can’t stand this franchise, I’d advise you to stay far away from it!

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Wahlberg stepped in as the new leading man this time and I didn’t think he was as annoying as Shia LaBeouf but he didn’t really add anything much to the movie. Since he’s done many action movies prior, the writers did write in scenes where he’s part of the action instead of just running and screaming like LaBeouf did in the previous movies. Young actress Nicola Peltz became the new eye candy in this one, when I say eye candy, I meant it literally. Bay pretty much focused the cameras on every part of her body, just like he did with the other pretty girls in the previous movies. Another young actor (Jack Reynor) showed up as her boyfriend and I think he’s supposed to play LaBeouf’s part because I found him quite annoying. Then later in the movie, Stanley Tucci showed up as this Steve Jobs type of a character. Grammer was pretty much your typical one dimensional villain, he’s bad, he’s greedy and he doesn’t about anyone but himself.

Now let’s talk about Michael Bay and his Bayhem. I don’t know if it’s possible but this movie might have had more climatic action scenes than any other movies I’ve ever seen. Bay kept blowing things up and robots smashing into one another for close to 3 hours! The man has no restrain and as long as people keeps paying to see this franchise, he’ll never stop. I remember a while back he said he’s done with the franchise but I guess the studio probably offered him money more than any average person would ever see in their lifetime.

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Now I do have a couple of good things to say about this movie. First, it’s the first movie to have been shot with the new IMAX 3D cameras and since I’m a big fan of IMAX, it’s nice to have seen it on the biggest screen. If you’re going to see it on IMAX, know that it will have aspect ratio switching. Second, the 3D effects were quite impressive, maybe one of the best I’ve seen. There were scenes where I felt like I was in the movie, Bay did a good job there with the 3D. Of course the 3D supposed to enhance the story and not be the story, so it gets tiresome about an hour into the movie.

The movie is expected to be the summer’s biggest hit and I have no doubt that it will be a big hit. If you’re a fan of the franchise then you’ll love it, but for me it’s another bloated piece of turd from a director who only cares about making money and not quality films.

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Ruth’s Review

Ok so this is not so much a straight-on review as my rant reaction to this movie [if you can even call it that]. I’ve only seen the first movie [only because I was at a friend’s party and everyone wanted to watch the Transformers movie], and frankly I had no interest in seeing any more from this franchise. The only reason I went to this press screening is because it was at the IMAX theater and this was supposedly the first film shot with IMAX 3D Digital Camera. Silly reason really, and definitely NOT a worthy one to waste three whole hours on (more if you include the bazillion trailers before the movie starts).

Pretty much the only thing one needs to know about the Transformers universe is this: the Autobots are the good alien robots and the Decepticons are the evil ones. The humans are disposable creatures, as interchangeable as the parts in a kid’s toolbox. So supposedly an epic battle had happened in the previous film that left the world in pieces, though you wouldn’t know that from looking at the shots of Chicago and Beijing as they look pretty much unscathed with all of the skyscrapers intact. For some reasons, the Autobots are now being hunted down by the CIA, whilst the top level CIA agent (Kelsey Grammer) happily makes deals with another group of alien robots as they agree to leave earth. Meanwhile, a lowly farmer inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) inadvertently discovered that a beat-up old truck is actually the leader of the Autobots, called Optimus Prime. So of course soon enough Yeager and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) become fugitives themselves as they want to keep Optimus from getting caught. That’s pretty much the gist of it.

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As if the obtuse storyline wasn’t enough, Michael Bay‘s execution and directing style makes this fourth installment so unbearable in every sense of the word. At 165-min long, it’s overstuffed yet hollow, loud and verbose with nothing to say. As the end credit rolled, my hubby and I just shook our head. Yes I know it’s not the first time Hollywood studios spent a mind-boggling $180 mil budget on such a stinker, but this one is especially horrid with barely any redeeming quality whatsoever. Now, I’m not saying I can’t enjoy a movie about monstrous alien robots. After all, I LOVE Pacific Rim, which I’ve rewatched several times and still entertained by it. Funny that the lead character’s name is Yeager sounds just like Pac Rim‘s robotic weapon Jaeger. If only this movie is even half as entertaining!

Bay’s Transformers franchise should go down in film history as the quintessential piece of garbage, as it represents the worst thing that one dreads from a Summer blockbuster… vapid, trite, overindulgent, overwrought, plus a dose of self-satisfied smug-ness. After all, Bay remains defiant, here’s his response to those who are critical of his *masterpiece*: “They love to hate, and I don’t care; let them hate … They’re still going to see the movie! [per mtv.com]. Wish he were wrong but he’s not. As I’m writing this, the movie has made over $40 mil in one DAY, on track for a $100+ mil weekend [sigh] It’s ironic that the title tagline is ‘age of extinction.’ Well, it seems that creativity in Hollywood is on the verge of extinction [if it isn’t already]. The best line of the movie comes early in the movie, inside a ruined vintage cinema, when an older man lamented how all movies these days are sequels and remakes. Was Bay poking fun at himself and what he represents? Highly unlikely, considering his comment above.

You know something is out of whack when during watching a movie, you’re thinking about why so many good actors sign on to this and wonder how much money they made for it. That is if you’re not busy counting how many product placements are scattered during the action scenes [hint: it’s too many to count]. Every actor here is utterly wasted, Wahlberg is not immune to bad movies [The Happening, anyone?] but I’m still baffled as to why he signed on to do this. You would think he’s got enough cash that he never need to do a project only for monetary reason. Talented young actors like Sophia Myles and Jack Reynor probably just want the exposure one could get from mainstream blockbusters, but it’s still painful to see them in something THIS bad. Let’s hope they pick better roles in the future. As for Peltz, she is an exact embodiment of a damsel-in-distress, yet another eye candy type for the purpose of Bay’s unabashed female objectifications. As Wahlberg’s character complained about her daughter’s skimpy outfit, Bay set up a shot from between her thighs as she stood with her short shorts that barely covered her behind. Peltz was only 18 during filming, Bay’s nearing 50. It’s really a new low even for Bay.

I don’t know what’s worse, the wooden acting or the clichéd dialog coming out of their mouths. Even Stanley Tucci who’s always watchable even in a bad movie made me cringe here. His character is a multi-billionaire Tony Stark-type inventor who has been making man-made robots from the remains of the evil alien robots Decepticons. For someone who’s supposedly a brilliant scientist, his character does the most idiotic things throughout. In the third act, the main characters resort to dragging an alien *seed* that can turn organic material into metal. You’d think they’d be more careful with something THAT lethal, but it’s as if they’re dragging a body bag. It’s like watching a slapstick comedy except that it’s neither funny nor entertaining.

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I better end my rant now as I’m running out of adjectives to describe this movie. This FilmInk reviewer sums up my sentiment perfectly: “Transformers: Age of Extinction has appalling dialogue, deplorable representations of women, un-self-aware action sequences, very little humour and racial stereotyping. In other words, it’s a Michael Bay movie.” Suffice to say, this is by far the worst movie I’ve seen in a long time, rivaled only by Die Hard 5 but even that one is still more watchable as it’s only about half as long. I actually had to make a new rating graphic for this one as I’ve never given a rating this low before. I don’t care what state-of-the-art equipment is used to make this or even how good the visual quality is. I actually took my 3D glasses off a few times just to give my tired eyes a break. It’s really a sensory overload in the worst possible way.

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Well, what do you think of the latest Transformers movie? 

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION interview with Jack Reynor and Nicola Peltz

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Hello everyone! Earlier this month, on June 8th to be exact, I got a chance to interview a couple of cast members from TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION: Nicola Peltz & Jack Reynor. It’s part of their press tour around the country and they showed clips from the movies as well as signed autographs for fans. Surely most of of you already know what the movie is about, after all it’s the fourth one in the franchise. I personally have only seen the first movie which was years ago, so I’m not exactly well-versed in the Transformers universe. So here’s what to expect in this latest movie:

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION begins after an epic battle left a great city torn, but with the world saved.  As humanity picks up the pieces, a shadowy group reveals itself in an attempt to control the direction of history…while an ancient, powerful new menace sets Earth in its crosshairs. With help from a new cast of humans (led by Mark Wahlberg), Optimus Prime and the Autobots rise to meet their most fearsome challenge yet.  In an incredible adventure, they are swept up in a war of good and evil, ultimately leading to a climactic battle across the world. 

 Trailer:


Thanks ALLIED for co-ordinating the interview roundup at Mall of America. There are seven interviewers in the roundtable so below are all the questions, I marked MY questions with an (*) in front of it.

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Here’s the transcript from the interview with Jack Reynor and Nicola Peltz:

Q (for Veronica): With a lot of the strong female leads in entertainment films these days, does your character continue the strand of [being] strong female character in this movie?

Nicola: Tessa is definitely… you know how in the beginning of the movie she lives a normal life day to day, and she’s suddenly thrust into this extraordinary situation where she has to fight for her life and get back with her family. But she’s definitely a tough girl, she lives in a farm. She definitely gets her butt kicked a lot… a lot, but she has her moment.

Jack: I think she’s probably more of a bad ass than a lot of the other franchises that are around right now, in all honesty. She’s not the sensitive wilting flower [Nicola: she’s no wilting flower]… more of a bad ass, I mean she’s going out with a race car driver so she better be [laughs]

Q: So what scene do each of you guys enjoy shooting the most?

Nicola: I don’t know if you guys saw the trailer but when we were running, Jack, Mark and I were running in slow motion and there’s this huge explosion…well that was real. We found out about it like four minutes before. We got on set and we had no idea. We saw all these explosives, twelve cameras and we’re like ‘What is going on?’ Michael does add random scenes so we’re very pleased. So he got on set and said: you have to run from here to here in 4.6 seconds and we had our practice runs and then he said, ‘Ok are you ready?’ And we’re like ‘Ok, yeah.’ And so we just did it and he said, ‘Well don’t mess it up ’cause we can only do it once.’ It was so exciting though, I mean your adrenaline was going crazy, it was really fun.

Q: To follow up on that… could you just talk about the different challenges about doing television or independent films versus doing a monumental blockbuster film like this one?

Jack: Well for me at least, independent films and films like this aren’t really that different in terms of my approach to my character and a performance. You still have to try your best to suspend your disbelief and draw on your imagination and your emotion and invoke certain thoughts for yourself to invest in your character. The real differences are that with a film of this kind of budget and scale is that there are so many more people around all the time. And the effects are so heavy and the wait time between shots are kind of substantially longer. So things like that are really different. Y’know people ask all the time how does it feel like to star opposite a giant imaginary robot, well I think it’s not so different from any other films you try to do. Like I said it’s about drawing from your imagination, so it’s an extension of that from the world of independent film and television.

And with Mark being on set, and Michael, and don’t get me wrong, Stanley [Tucci] and Kelsey [Grammer] as well, these are all veterans of the industry, they’ve all done a movie like this before. So for Nicola and I to be able to observe them in the environment, ehm making a blockbuster film has been an eye-opener for us and it’s taught us a lot on how to relate to the industry and how the industry relate to us. It’s very beneficial for us at our stage of our careers.

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Photo courtesy of sciencefiction.com

*Q (for Jack): Since you’ve done a bunch of independent films like What Richard Did and then this movie. You sort of touched on that a little bit but then you’re going to be doing Macbeth [Jack: I’ve finished Macbeth]. Is there anything that’s particularly memorable in filming this as opposed to those indie films?

Jack: Yeah again, it’s that crazy scale… rolling through f***in’ giant explosion y’know, crazy car chases. I mean driving rally cars having helicopters flying over my head. Cars with cranes chasing me and stuff like that. I shouldn’t be driving behind the wheel of a car like that, that’s mental. But yeah, it’s a really fun experience. It’s great. It’s a massive departure for me from the world of independent films so I enjoyed it, I relished the challenge, certainly.

Q: Transformers is a whole different animal from what the work you’ve done in the past. Have you found that your life changed now with the added exposure that comes with being in the Transformers 4 movie?

Nicola: My life? No, not at all. I still walk around and no one really cares. But then we just started this tour. We haven’t had the premiere yet which I’m super excited for but yeah, it’s been amazing.

Jack: Well on a personal level, for both of us on a personal level, things hasn’t changed an awful lot as of yet. In Ireland for me, a lot of people are really happy there’s an Irish guy as part of a massive franchise like this. We don’t have an Irish character in movies like this ever, this is kind of the first time we’ve actually seen an Irish character kind of in a large supporting role so that’s a real great thing. But professionally, on a professional level I think both of us have certainly noticed that we’re in a position that we can potentially finance the kind of projects that we want to make ourselves and we have a lot more freedom and leeway in what we want to do. And it’s afforded us a lot of opportunities in the industry and we both want to take full advantage of that. So that’s been a definite difference.

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Q (for Nicola): Transformers is known as more of a guy film. So what do you think will bring the female audience in.

Nicola: Well I grew up with six brothers so I’ve always been into more of the guy movies and action films, those are the kind of movies I’m excited to go see. But Tessa is really relatable to a lot of girls, I know I can relate to her. Her dad is overprotective, I know I can relate to that definitely with six brothers. She’s in a no-dating household so I get all of that. But she is definitely relatable to a lot of girls. She is a tough girl, I think a lot of girls would be into this. I know I am.

Q: I saw an interview with Mark Wahlberg, and he had said ‘Jack and Nicola’s life is going to change quite a bit when the movie comes out. And it’s something you could deal with so well or it’s going to be a problem.’ Specifically as a mentor and father figure, as you enter huge celebrity, can you tell us a bit what that meant to you and what his best advice was?

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Jack: Well the thing is, during filming at least, Mark really lead from the front. And just to be able to observe him in that environment is something that’s very beneficial to us. It helps us to develop a healthy work ethic in this industry.

[ed note: Jack and Nicola has quite a lot to say about working with Mark Wahlberg and their thoughts on fame and celebrity. I figure I’ll let you take a listen to it yourself so you can hear what both of them sound like. Jack still has a pretty thick Irish accent as he still resides in Dublin.]

Q: So going more into the story of the film. What’s at stake for each of your character. What does your character stand to lose if you fail?

Nicola: Our lives [laughs] Well like I said in the beginning of the movie you see them live their lives, how they’re all normal relatable people and they’re thrown into this crazy situation. So in the film my character got separated from my dad and being a 17-year-old girl it’s really scary. And for her to be in this crazy situation and not being with her dad is super intimidating and scary. So she’s definitely scared about her life and also not only worrying about herself but also worrying about her dad. Is my dad ok? Is my boyfriend ok? So yeah there’s a lot of that.

Jack: At the heart of my character. Well he’s a young Irish guy who lands in Texas and he has this incredible ability to race rally cars. It gives him confidence in himself and y’know gives him the ability to assume his position in that world and also in terms of his relationship with Nicola’s character. I think that throughout the course of the film, he’s trying to find his place, he’s trying to prove who he is, what he’s worth. At the same time, his relationship with Nicola’s character is something that helps her to become more independent and to grow and approach the adult world and to diverge her relationship with her dad in a healthy way. So that’s the purpose that my character serves.

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Q: So Transformers is like an extremely beloved series. Do you guys feel any pressure to live up to what has become of this franchise?

Nicola: Well we’re not replacing any character, so there’s no pressure to live up to something that we’re not replacing. But as me being a huge fan of Transformers and growing up with boys and being obsessed with it and I knew the whole story… I’m also a huge fan of Michael Bay and everyone involved in this film, so even being able to audition for this film and then to being able to be a part of it is so exciting for me. That’s all I was worried about. I’m just so excited to go on set and to work with such talented people.

And that’s a wrap! 😀
The interview was only 15-min long so that was the last question.


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Pardon the blurred photo. I was actually standing to the left of Jack in this photo but it was so blurry it’s best to just cut me off from the picture.

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Reynor recently wrapped filming on the human trafficking story Glassland, alongside Toni Collette in Dublin, Ireland. This is the second feature from Irish director Gerard Barrett. Reynor has recently begun filming the upcoming adaptation of Shakespeare’s MACBETH, directed by Justin Kurzel. He will be playing the role of Malcolm alongside Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender.

Last winter, Reynor garnered rave reviews for playing the titular character in the Irish independent film What Richard Did. Labeled as one of the best movies to come out of the Tribeca and Toronto Film Festivals, it is a story about a young boy who has to confront the question of who he is and who he wants to become. Reynor delivered a spectacular performance receiving glowing remarks from film critics around the globe. “Mr. Reynor’s portrayal of this man-child is an extraordinary screen performance…,” stated Stephen Holden of The New York Times. Leslie Felperin of Variety wrote “Promising young thesp Jack Reynor particularly impresses as the title character… The climactic scene between Peter and Richard is powerfully thesped, especially by Reynor.”

Proving his multifaceted talent, Reynor made his US film debut in the recently released Vince Vaughn comedy DELIVERY MAN (Dreamworks) which came out in theaters nationwide on November 22nd 2013. Reynor was born in Colorado, but grew up in Ireland.

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Later this summer Peltz will also star in Kevin Asch’s Affluenza which is set for limited release in July. The film is a coming of age story inspired by The Great Gatsby and is set amongst the upper class in the Long Island suburb of Great Neck during the weeks leading up to the financial meltdown of 2008.

On the small screen Peltz is currently reprising her role as Bradley Martin, a troubled high school student, in the second season of A&E’s critically acclaimed series Bates Motel. The series is a modern reimagining and prequel to the1960 Alfred Hitchcock cult classic Psycho, which focuses on the life of Norman Bates and his mother Norma portrayed by Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga.

In 2012, she starred alongside Melanie Lynskey and Campbell Scott in Eye of the Hurricane, a compelling family adventure about a small Everglades community struggling to put their lives back together in the wake of a devastating hurricane. In 2010, Peltz starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender opposite Dev Patel and Jackson Rathbone. The film was written, directed and produced by Shyamalan and was based on the first season of Nickelodeon’s animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Peltz made her feature film debut in 2006 in Deck the Halls with Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth.

A New York native, Nicola made her stage debut in 2007 opposite Jeff Daniels and Alison Pill in the Olivier Award-winning production of “Blackbird” at the Manhattan Theatre Club directed by Joe Mantello.
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 TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION in out in theaters this Friday, June 27


Hope you enjoy the interview! What are your thoughts on Transformers movies and/or the cast?