The Episcopal Commission on Social Communication-CBCP

CINEMA (Catholic INitiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation) of The Episcopal Commission on Social Communication of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines presents movies viewed in the light of the gospel. . *** For inquiries, please EMAIL: cbcpcinema@gmail.com *** CALL or TEXT: (02) 664 5886 *** or WRITE TO: CINEMA, Episcopal Commission on Social Communication, CBCP Compound, 470 General Luna St. Intramuros, Manila *** Enjoy the reviews, and THANK YOU!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bridesmaids

CAST: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd, Matt Lucas, Jill Clayburgh, Rebel Wilson; DIRECTOR: Paul Feig; WRITER: Annie Mumolo; GENRE: Comedy; RUNNING TIME: 125 minutes.

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 2
CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 18 and above.

Some film critics claim Bridesmaids is a female version of Hangover 2, but that won’t be quite accurate since the only thing the two buddy-flicks share is the tendency to overdo the foul language and the sexuality elements in the story.  Even then, Bridesmaids pales in comparison to the sickening humor of Hangover 2; at least Bridesmaids shows the dynamics of friendship when competition sets in, whereas the latter’s plot revolves around the misdemeanors of friends who indulge in excesses for its own sake.  Director Paul Feig has made Bridesmaids fast-paced enough to keep the viewer awake and expecting comic one liners but it also has drama justified by Annie’s pathetic situation.  Character development is good, and acting is plausible.
Annie (Kristen Wiig) is a thirty-something on the road to self-destruction.  Depressed and broke since she gave up her cake shop, she now seems to flit from day to day without a clear goal in life.  Worse, she fools herself that she’s okay, even if she’s no more than a “f—k buddy” to a grubby looking guy (Jon Hamm) who won’t let her sleep over after sex.  Despite all that, her best friend, bride-to-be Lillian (Maya Rudolph), asks Annie to be her Maid of Honor.  Flattered and thrilled Annie accepts the honor and meets the other bridesmaids, newly wed Becca (Ellie Kemper) back from a honeymoon in Disneyland,  foul-mouthed and ill-mannered Megan (Melissa McCarthy),  a dissatisfied mother Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), and the rich, beautiful and perfect Helen (Rose Byrne).  As the wedding day comes near it appears that the wedding is not about the bride but about the rivalry between Lillian’s impeccable and ever-reliable friend Helen and Annie, her lifelong best friend and now Maid of Honor.  Seeing her BFF status threatened, Annie crumbles in spite of the offer of a stable future from caring cop Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd); she makes a mess of herself and the wedding plans, thus earning for herself the title “Maid of Dishonor”.
Is this comedy funny?  Is defecating on a bathroom sink funny?  Or doing it crumpled on the street while wearing a wedding dress (that’s not yet even paid for)?  Laughable perhaps but not funny.  But then maybe Bridesmaids is not just meant to be laughed at.  Somehow it’s got a heart.  Women may find it easy identifying with any of the characters in Bridesmaids, but if you’re for dignity in womanhood you wouldn’t want to be Annie—she who comes unglued, squanders herself on a swine and can’t see beyond her self-defeating woes.  Loyalty, compassion and understanding are shown in characters Lillian, Rhodes, Megan and Annie’s mother who see in Annie something worth nurturing and reviving.  In a particularly unnerving way Annie is told that she is her own problem and her own solution.  That is the core of Bridesmaids' message, and while the movies may only be fit for adults, the message is for women of all ages. 
 


Prom

CAST: Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell, Danielle Campbell,Yin Chang, Kylie Bunbury, Nicholas Braun, Jared KusnitzJonathan Keltz, De'Vaughn Nixon, Nolan Sotillo; DIRECTOR: Joe Nussbaum; WRITER: Katie Wech; GENRE: Comedy, Drama; RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes.

Technical Assessment: 3.5
Moral Assessment: 3
CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 14 and above.

SYNOPSIS: In Disney's "Prom" every couple has a story and no two are exactly alike. Several intersecting stories unfold at one high school as the big dance approaches. "Prom" portrays the precarious passage from high school to independence as some relationships unravel and others ignite. For Nova Prescott, it's a battle of wills as she finds herself drawn to the guy who gets in the way of her perfect prom. Fellow seniors Mei and Tyler harbor secrets, while others face all the insecurity and anticipation that surrounds one of high school's most seminal events. There are hundreds of nights in high school, but there's only one prom night. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Adventures of Pureza: Queen of the Riles

CAST: Milai Canteveros, Jason Francisco, Martin Del Rosario, Bianca Manalo, Bekimon, Nico Antonio, Joem Bascom, Ms, Gina Pareno; DIRECTOR: Soxie Topacio; PRODUCER: Star Cinema & Cine Screen; DISTRIBUTOR: Star Cinema; GENRE: Romantic Comedy; LOCATION: Manila; RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes.

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 14 and above.


Nakatira si Pura (Melai Cantiveros) sa gilid ng riles kasama ang itinuturing niyang nakababatang kapatid na si Ulam (Martin del Rosario). Lahat ng trabaho ay pinapasok ni Pura para maipantustos sa pangangailangan nilang magkapatid at lalo na para sa pag-aaral ni Ulam. Sa gitna ng kabi-kabilang mga raket ay pinakamataas na pangarap pa rin ni Pura ang maging isang modelo. Ang matalik na kaibigan naman ni Pura na si Ruben (Jason Francisco) ay nagta-trabaho bilang driver ng isang sindikato. Magpupumilit si Pura nang minsang utusan si Ruben ng sindikato na sunduin ang isang paparating na modelo galing Brazil. Sa di sinasadyang pangyayari ay mawawala sa kanilang paningin ang Brazilian model at manganganib ang kanilang buhay sa sindikato kung kaya’t susubukan ni Pura na humalili sa mga dapat sana’y gagampanan ng modelo tulad ng pagrampa, pag-pose sa pictorial at iba pa. Pero mas magiging simula pa lamang ito ng mga nakaambang panganib sa buhay ng magkaibigang Pura at Ruben.


Hindi malinaw ang takbo ng kuwento ng pelikula. Lumiko-liko ito sa maraming direksyon ngunit hindi pa rin nagkaroon ng malinaw na patutunguhan. Bagama’t nakasentro ang kuwento sa buhay ni Pura, sumasanga-sanga ito sa kung saan-saan. Resulta tuloy ay pawang sabog at peilkula at di nito gaanong naaliw ang manononood. Nasayang ang husay ng mga nagsiganap lalo na ang bida na si Cantiveros at Francisco. Nagkulang sa hagod ang mga esksena na pawang minadali lang lahat. Labas tuloy ay nagkulang sa pagiging komedya ang pelikula. Sa dami rin ng gusto nitong sabihin ay hindi pa rin siya nakarating sa nais nitong paroonan. Karamihan din sa mga sangkap ng patawa na ihalo sa pelikula ay gasgas na kundi man muling ibinabalik ang ‘toilet: humor.”

Ang bidang si Pura ay larawan ng isang uliran kapatid at kaibigan.  Bagama’t  sumasabog ang kuwento ng The Adventures of Pureza: Queen of the Riles ay maliwanag naman ang mensahe nito ukol sa paggawa ng kabutihan at pag-iwas sa gawaing masama. Sa kabila ng pagkapit ni Pura sa patalim sa panahon ng kagipitan, nakuha pa rin nitong ipaglaban ang mga kaibigan at isakripisyo ang kaligtasan ng kanyang buhay alang-alang sa kapatid at mga kaibigan. Yun nga lang, nakababahala ang ginawang pagsisinungaling ng ilang tauhan sa oras ng pangangailangan. Baka isipin ng mga mas nakababatang manonood na ang pagsisinungaling ay tama. Nariyan din ang nakababahalang paggamit ng pelikula ng sinaunang “toilet humor” na ginagawang kasangkapan sa pagpapatawa ang mga bagay na dapat sana’y sa pribadong pagkakataon lamang ginagawa at pinag-uusapan. Sa kabila nito, nariyan pa rin ang pamamayani ng pakikipag-kapwa-tao, pagkiling sa mabuti, paggawa ng kabutihan at pagmamalasakit sa kapwa maging kadugo man ito o hindi. At sa pagkakaroon nito ng bidang katulad ni Cantiveros, mabibigyan ng pag-asa ang maraming mga katulad niya na kadalasan ay agad nahuhusgahan dahil sa panlabas na anyo. Pwede rin palang maging bida sa pelikula kahit hindi mestiza at ang lahat ay may karapatang mangarap, umibig at ibigin. 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2)

CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes, Jamie Campbell Bower, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Alan Rickman; DIRECTOR: David Yates; WRITERS: J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves; GENRE: SciFi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure; RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes.

Technical Assessment: 4
Moral Assessment: 3.5
CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 14 and above.


Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) takes possession of the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand in the world that can render its wielder invincible.  Meanwhile, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint), determined to put down Voldemort, pursue their search for the remaining Horcruxes containing pieces of Voldemort’s soul—the destruction of which would lead to his death.  The trio learn that one of them is in a vault at the goblin bank, and to find the others they need to go to Hogwarts.  But the Deatheaters and the Dementors are hovering over the place; besides, master-of-treachery Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) is now Hogwarts headmaster.  In the somber atmosphere of Hogwarts which is now on lockdown, everybody is pinning their hopes on Harry Potter who has grown from terrified lad to a powerful, self-assured wizard. 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2) crowns the ten-year saga involving eight films helmed by four directors.  The series also made its leads Radcliffe, Watson and Grint among the youngest child star millionaires in film history.  The series seems to have evolved along with the maturing of its three young lead characters—with the childish Quidditch games gradually giving way to wizardry employed in earnest by the characters who have recognized their destiny as champions of good versus evil. The film provides a satisfying conclusion to the Harry Potter series that has thrilled audiences of all ages on a magical roller coaster ride and earned over six billion dollars from box office sales alone.


What is so potent about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2) is not so much the pyrotechnics (although the movie is far from short on that department) but the subtler ways through which the drama and the tension between good and evil are portrayed through an interweaving of magic and reality.  Sure there are spells and wands and goblins and giants plus one rabid dragon coming into play but when the smoke clears the glory of the human spirit shines.  Those who have read the book would know what we are alluding to, but those who have followed only the movie version may be in for startling revelations.
 
We do not mean to spill out spoilers but something must be said about this story that has taken a whole decade and almost 20 hours of screen time to tell.  For some it could present a lesson in rash judgment.  Just as CINEMA refrains from critiquing a film before we see it—that’s why what we write are called “reviews”: first we view the film, then re-view it with a more critical eye—we can also only assess the merits of an epic fantasy after it is sealed by its concluding episode.  When the first of this J. K. Rowling series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, came out in 2001, not a few observers thought it was but another potboiler glamorizing witchcraft and sorcery at the expense of young people’s perception of reality.  But the subsequent box-office success of the series points to a satisfied need in the viewer, something we dare not delve into in this review.  Whether it is a simple need to be entertained or one that seeks profound metaphysical answers, we can’t tell, but this concluding series begs to be viewed in the context of the whole epic narrative. 

It is nothing short of grace, quiet grace that falls like rain on parched earth, that comes upon us as we see the final minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  We see Harry, Hermione and Ron almost two decades after the battle at Deathly Hallows, but instead of wishing they were back on their flying brooms we heave a sigh of relief that they are where they are.  We realize these “kids” have become part of our life.  We have seen them grow into their roles through ten years of fantasy and adventure and now that they have come of age, we wish every good thing for them as though they were part of our family.  While we found amusement in their juvenile exploits we now experience amazement in their ordinariness.  Showing the three principals wearing wedding rings and pushing baby prams, this film roots for family life as the ultimate in human fulfillment. 


The single scene that ought to redeem J. K. Rowling’s opus in the eyes of its early critics and raise its moral value a notch higher is the one shot among Hogwart’s ruins, with Harry holding the Elder Wand which is rightfully his.  Ron says, “It’s the most powerful wand in the world, it makes you invincible… what do we do with it?”  Hermione turns to Ron and exclaims, “We?”  Harry doesn't say a word but does something in reply that stuns his two companions.  

When you see the movie and come to this scene, watch your thought to see what it reminds you of.  Surprise!
 
 


Monday, July 11, 2011

Amigo

CAST: Joel Torre, Garret Dillahunt, Yul Vazquez, D.J. Qualls, Rio Locsin, Dane DeHaan, Chris Cooper, Jemi Paretas, James Parks; DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER/EDITOR:  John Sayles; PRODUCER: Maggie Renzi; RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes.

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 3
CINEMA Rating:  For viewers age 13 and up with parental guidance.


Village Chief Rafael Dacanay a.k.a Amigo (Joel Torre) sends the remaining Spanish invaders to prison under the revolutionary government.  A the end of  Spanish occupation, a troop of American soldiers led by Lt Compton (Garret Dillahunt) under the command of his military superiors  occupies the remote rural village  in the Philippines .  Lt Compton collaborates with Rafael in the course of their stay in the village and calls him Amigo, a Spanish word means friend.  The Americans do not recognize the existing revolutionary government and therefore all supporters are considered rebels and subject to execution.  Rafael is aware of the movement of the rebels because his brother is one of the leaders.  Lt Compton suspects Rafael as an enemy and put him under surveillance.

Whilst the film Amigo is about war and American occupation in the Philippines in 1900, it was not likely to show the usual ground or air attacks rather isolated shootings that left dead bodies.  It depicts a remote village with strong religious practices in view of the long time presence of Spaniards.  The story focuses on the character of Rafael Dacanay or Amigo and his struggle to play his role as a friend to his constituents, the rebels and the Americans.  The character of Lt Compton is also given equal exposure in the film.  As a simple narrative the film uses variety of approaches such as mix of nationalities from the lead to the least characters, mix of languages, use of subtitles, sub-themes that include nationalism, love story, inter-cultural, religion and tradition. The director succeeded in putting them together and makes use of the sound effects and musical score for continuity.  The production design for 1900 setting is good although it appears to be too refined and tidy for a remote area.  The film has a good cinematography in conveying details such as the nipa hut construction in bayanihan scene. However, despite several interesting features of the film, the entire run of two hours can be dragging at some points and may invite viewers to sleep.  Overall, the film Amigo is one those low budgeted films that obviously exerted efforts to put up a good one.

What makes a good leader?  The film Amigo features three types of leader that are present at the same time in a remote village.  They are, a native village chief, an American soldier officer, and a revolutionary one.  First is the village chief who cares so much for his constituents aims for peace and unity.  He is highly principled and willing to sacrifice to protect those who need it. He fought silently till the end of this life.  Second is the American troop leader who leads by the rule, level-headed, not too bad but can disregard life when someone defies the rules.  Third one is the revolutionist  who defies oppression. He is passionate and aggressive in his fight for freedom.  He can also be violent and disrespectful of life.  Ironically, the rebel leader was even a former seminarian who attended religious formation. One common thing among the three leaders, none of them seeks discernment for wise decisions, all of them look only at themselves.  The film shows strong religious inclination among the village people especially the woman, however, the image of the priest in the film is obviously tainted by power and politics.  Whilst known historical names were mentioned several times and the American occupation really happened in the Philippines, the film does not necessarily present factual truth.

Temptation Island


CAST: Marian Rivera, Ruffa Mae Quinto, Heart Evangelista, Lovi Poe, Solenn Heussaff, John Lapus, Aljur Abrenia, Rom Rodriguez, Mikael Daez; DIRECTOR and WRITER: Chris Martinez;  PRODUCER: Regal Films; GENRE: Comedy; LOCATION: Philippines

Technical Assessment:  2 
Moral Assessment:  2
CINEMA Rating:  For viewers age 18 and above.


    Apat na dalaga mula sa iba’t ibang antas ng lipunan ang sumali sa paligsahang “Miss Manila Sunshine Supermodel Search”, sa iba’t iba ring mga dahilan: si Virginia P. (Heart Evangelista), isang estudyante sa kolehiyo na sumali lamang para makakawala sa kanyang pamilya; si Serafina F. (Lovi Poe), isang “spoiled socialite” sumali dahil banidosa siya; si Pura K., (Solenn Heussaff), dating anak mayaman nguni’t wala nang pera para tustusan ang engrandeng debut na pangarap niya; at   si Christine G. (Marian Rivera), na nagbabalak gamitin ang kanyang nobyo at kanyang katawan para maimpluwensiya ang huradong papanalunin siya.  Sa dinami-dami ng mga contestants, ang apat na ito ang naging mga finalists.
Kasalukuyang nasa isang cruise ship sila upang itanghal ang evening gown competition nang magkasunog at sumabog ang barko.  Sa madaling salita, lumubog ang barko ngunit nakalikas ang apat na dalaga, at nagkasama-sama sila sa isang islang mistulang disyerto, kasama rin ang baklang pageant coordinator na si Joshua (John Lapus) at ang kanyang boyfriend (Mikael Daez); ang waiter sa barko na si Umberto (Tom Rodriguez); si Alfredo (Aljur Abrenica), isang stowaway na pasahero ng barko; at isa pang babae, si Maria (Ruffa Mae Quinto) na yaya at laging kabuntot ng mayamang socialite na si Serfania F.    
Hindi gasinong nasubok ng pelikula ang husay ng mga pangunahing artista sa pagganap, gawa marahil ng kababawan ng istorya at katauhang nasasangkot.  Bagama’t may kuwento naman masasabi ang pelikula, hindi nito masunggaban ang atensiyon ng manonood pagka’t higit pang minahalaga nito ang mga kababawan ng mga tauhan kaysa sa takbo ng istorya.  Kahit may mga hidwaan at kumpitensya ang apat na dalagang contestants, halimbawa, hindi ito ang siniryoso ng pelikula, bagkus ay naging pokado ito sa “kabaklaan” ng mga modelo.
Maraming parte na pinahaba at tuloy naging nakakasawa o nakakaantok pagkat wala itong maihaing katuturan sa manonood man o sa takbo ng istorya.  May mga bahagi din namang nakakatawa, at halos lahat ng mga iyon ay dahil sa papel ni Quinto bilang “alila” ni Poe.  Naiba siya sa apat na reyna-reynahan pagkat hindi siya nakikipagtarayan, bagkus ay sunud-sunuran lamang ng among abusada.
Ilang puntos din ang salungat sa pagkamakatotohanan ng pelikula, kaya’t nasasabi naming hindi nito dinidibdib ang sarili niyang kuwento.  Halimbawa, ilang araw na sila sa isla, gutom, uhaw, babad sa init kung araw, at nginig naman sa ginaw sa gabi pagkat wala silang tulugang maayos—pero ang lilinis at ang gaganda pa rin nila, ang puputi pa rin at ni hindi man lamang namula nang bahagya samantalang dapat ay sunog na sila sa araw.
Di ba—para maging kapani-paniwala ang kuwento—dapat ay nangangalumata na sila sa pagod, burado na ang makeup, nanlilimahid na ang damit sa pawis (dahil walang liguan), gutom at uhaw na pagkat wala silang makain at mainom dito sa disyertong walang tumutubong halaman?  Teka—sa lawak ng disyertong iyon, wala kaming nakitang balon o sapa man lang, kaya saan sumalok ng tubig ang alilang si Maria para gumawa ng barokeng sofa na upuan ni Serafina?  Wala rin kaming nakitang halaman o punong kahoy, kaya saan din nanggaling ang mga tuyong dahon na ginawa nilang tent?  May abanikong anahaw pa si Joshua!  Atsaka nung kumain sila ng barbecue, saan sila namitas ng berdeng dahon na pinambalot sa karne, at saan din sila nakapulot ng parilyang pinag-ihawan?
Kung sabagay, katatawanan o comedy ang pelikula, kaya siguro ipinagpalagay na lang ng direktor at manunulat na si Chris Martinez na “mapapatawad” na ng mga manonood ang ganoong mga pagkukulang.  Ang mahalaga siguro sa kanila ay mapatawa nila ang audience. Pero kung gusto nitong magpatawa, bakit naman isinali pa ang isang napakaselang isyu na kung sa tunay na buhay ay sadyang magiging sanhi ng kabigatan ng loob at matinding hirap sa konsiyensiya sa taong daranas nito?
Gusto lang kaya talagang magpatawa ng pelikula, o hangad ba nitong punahin at pagtakhan ng manonood ang nangyayari sa tunay na buhay—ang pagiging obsessed ng mga makabagong babae sa pagkakaroon ng lalaking makakasiping sa ano mang kalagayan?  Isipin nyo na lang, kung kailan ang dapat manguna sa kanilang isipan ay ang kanilang buhay, nakukuha pa mag-agawan sa mga lalaki?  At nagsasamantala naman ang mga lalaki sa mga “uhaw” na babae?  May magpapakamatay pa dahil naagawan ng kasiping!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Monte Carlo

CAST: Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy, Corey Monteith, Andie MacDowell; DIRECTOR: Tom Bezucha; WRITERS: Ronald Bass, Jules Bass, Jez Butterworth, John Henry Butterworth, Kelly Bowe, Amy B Harris; GENRE: Comedy, Romance; RUNNING TIME: 109 minutes.

Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 14 and above.

SYNOPSIS: A young woman, her uptight step sister and her best friend use their savings for a long anticipated dream trip to Paris, which turns out to be a big disappointment. When they decide to take a break from their lousy tour and duck into the lobby of a five-star hotel, one of them is mistaken for a spoiled British heiress. Before they get the chance to reveal their true identities they are wrapped up in a whirlwind of paparazzi, private planes, couture gowns, storybook romances, and a vacation in Monte Carlo.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

CAST: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley,John Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey, Ken Jeong, John Turturro,Frances McDormand, Peter Cullen, Tyrese Gibson; DIRECTOR: Michael Bay; WRITER: Ehren Kruger; GENRE: Action/Adventure; RUNNING TIME: 154 minutes.

Technical Assessment: 2.5
Moral Assessment: 2.5
CINEMA Rating: For viewers age 14 and above.


In Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, the story goes that when the United States put the first man on the moon in 1969, it constituted the biggest cover up the world power has ever made.  The space mission was not for man to reach the moon, but for the astronauts to investigate “the Arc”, a space craft that crashed on the moon’s dark side and carried robots from a different solar system into ours.  These are the Decepticons—from the name alone you see they’re the bad guys.  They are to be battled by the Autobots—the good robots who are returning from having been exiled by President Obama.  The Autobots are to be on the side of men in the war to save the universe, and the feat, of course, requires human participation.  The requirement is filled by humans led by Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf), now unemployed but who is called upon to save the world again; and his girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley).

Foremost film critic Roger Ebert writing about Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon took the words out of our mouth when he said “it is a visually ugly film, with an incoherent plot, wooden characters and an inane dialog.”  We couldn’t have agreed more heartily.  Sitting through this potboiler for 2½ hours is pure agony.  If we had a choice we wouldn’t watch it even if our next meal depended on it.  Unable to piece together scene after scene of the patchwork that was masquerading as a plot, we were naturally distracted by a warped “sense of wonder”: we wondered how they designed the bad robots; we wondered how the collapsing building looked so real inside as Witwicky and girlfriend Carly rolled and slid to and fro among the office furniture without as much as suffering a bump; we wondered how the metal monster snaked its way through and around the building like an apple corer driven through a loaf of multigrain bread shedding crumbs in the process; we wondered why a respectable actor like John Malkovich would lend his name to such a silly production; we wondered why there had to be humans at all in the movie when it is simply a war between bad bots and good bots; in short, the movie fails to involve us—we would rather see its “in the making” version than the movie itself.  And then there’s this beyond-ridiculous scene where two robots are fighting each other with swords!  What the sshheck! Where robots are already a metal monstrosity, it would have been more infinitely interesting if director Michael Bay had made them fight with cavemen’s clubs instead, but swords?  Hello!  And speaking of metal upon metal, be warned that the noise level is assaultive—all that banging and clanging (for over 40 straight minutes at one point) is bound to split your eardrums if not suck out your brains altogether. 

The acting, what about?  Except for Malkovich, who in our books is at par with Jack Nicholsson, the actors, especially LeBeouf and Huntington-Whiteley, act as though they ate newsprint flakes for breakfast.  Bleah!  Disappointing, to say the least, considering the media hype preceding its opening day—this thing about Megan Fox being fired and replaced by a Victoria’s Secret model.  One thing about pretty faces—they seem unable to grasp that a movie camera demands that they project a character and not themselves.  In the case of Hungtington-Whiteley, many frames show her posing as though for a Vogue pictorial, plus tight jeans and stiletto heels—distracting to say the least, and definitely unforgiveable in an action-sci-fi flick. 

As for meat content,  Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon is one huge chunk of fat.  Deep-fried that translates to chicharon—too noisy to eat, and if overeaten can give you LBM.  You don’t really expect a plot hazier than the Milky Way to deliver something that substantial, even as you hope for some redeeming value in the end.  But if ever there is an attempt by Bay to do that, it probably just breezed through, ghostlike, as the viewer’s mental faculties are too drained and battered by the overwhelming CGI and protracted clanking combats.  The movie portrays alien robots and that snaky monster as formidable enemies that have the power to annihilate the human race (at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive in Chicago, anyway), while humans are denied even a semblance of dignity.  In the face of all that purposeless destruction, humans survive through luck, not pluck.  Think before you watch.  Admission is 200 bucks at most theaters.  If you can swing it, ask for a satisfaction-guaranteed-or-your-money-back option.  Warning: don’t start your kids believing this is entertainment.