“Transformers: Age Of Extinction”

Worst. Franchise. Ever.

The main difference between this “Transformers” movie from the previous 3: the human players are different. This 3-D’er is louder , longer, and , if you can believe, even worse than the Shia Labeouf predecessors . We’re talking more than 2-and-a-half hours long.


The climactic battle scene last over an hour. I wish I had timed it. I got so bored during the endless final battle, I started counting product placements: Red Bull; Budweiser: Vogue; Victoria’s Secret; and Hong Kong Tourism. I’m sure I missed a few. I think there was more concern for product placement than plot.

Mark Wahlberg gets to play protective dad to Nicola Peltz , a Tara Reid lookalike who stars on “Bates Motel”. Kelsey Grammer is the CIA director, who just happens to be on the scene during the epic battle. Talk about micro-managing!!! Stanley Tucci has the most fun and the best lines , which isn’t saying much because the dialogue is beyond bad.

Michael Bay’s treatment of women is appalling. One scene is a direct steal from the Robert Palmer video “Addicted To Love”- tight black dresses and all. I expected them to break out in song.

Bay’s motto seems to be Bigger!!! Longer!!!! Louder!!! Hmm. Sounds like a porn . Come to think of it , this movie IS popcorn movie porn. “Transformers: Age Of Extinction”??? If only . But extinction is not in this franchise’s future . I hear two more are on the way. Next time, I’m bringing the earplugs.

½ star

“Begin Again”

If you loved “Once” – you gotta see this one.

Now THIS is what a movie musical should be. And Keira Knightley sings!!! Really!!!!

“Once” creator John Carney does it again: creating a perfect pitch musical rom-com that both delights and surprises. Keira Knightley stars as an uncompromising indie singer-songwriter who’s been recently dumped by her longtime boyfriend who has become a superstar (played very effectively by first-time actor Adam Levine.) At her rock bottom, fate brings into her universe a washed-up record label exec (a spot-on Mark Ruffalo) who discovers her at an bar in New York City’s East Village. He’s not only been dumped by his wife (Catherine Keener, who makes every role look effortless) , he’s just been fired from the record label he co-founded.

This is not your typical love story. It doesn’t go where you expect. In fact, it’s mostly a love letter to music – the healing power of music. The songs are great and played out naturally in the course of the story. It’s also a love letter to the East Village. Very authentic.

The supporting players are all awesome: Oscar-nominated “True Grit” star Hailee Steinfeld plays Ruffalo’s daughter. Tony-award winning James Corden is absolutely lovable as Knightley’s busker/ bff. The artist formerly known as Mos Def , Yasiin Bey, is tremendous as the record labe; chief and Ceelo Green has fun in his film debut.

It’s also a look at a very changing music biz.

I have to say, this is one of my favorites of the year.

4 stars