On DVD & Blu-Ray: September 26, 2017


Twenty minutes into the fifth Michael Bay directed Transformers film, this one subtitled The Last Knight, Optimus Prime comes face to face with a robot God named Quintessa (as voiced by Gemma Chan) if that gives one any indication as to how insane these movies have truly become. No? Not good enough? How about the fact Anthony Hopkins' character (or the fact Anthony Hopkins is in a Transformers movie) has a Transformer butler that the film acknowledges is more or less a rip-off of C-3PO? Not far enough? Let's go ahead and make the robot butler a sociopath of sorts, shall we? Point being, there is no seeming cohesion between any parts of the many layers that make up The Last Knight as well as most of its predecessors. Personally, I walk into a new Transformers film with the expectation of being bombarded by sound, image, and story and am more or less pleased if I can walk away saying I understood the main point of the plot and was, at the very least, entertained. Of course, without such expectations one could view these things as complete messes, as mind-numbing fun, or fall somewhere in between where it's easy to recognize the idiocy of the picture, but acknowledge the merit in big, colorful, summer blockbuster filmmaking. Many will make jokes, but Bay is one of the more unique directors working today by virtue of the fact he consistently operates on such a scale that it's almost inconceivable he could craft something that wasn't inherently bloated; every aspect of his process and his product has to be big and this latest endeavor is no different. While Age of Extinction felt like something of a breaking point in terms of the director going so far into his wheelhouse that he couldn't possibly possess any more tricks we are still here three years later and Bay, along with returning cast members Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, and Stanley Tucci, have somehow managed to at least match if not best their previous Bayhem effort. Transformers: The Last Knight is scattered, plot-heavy, overly complicated, and generally non-sensical to the point of genuine hilarity, but there is still a craft to it all and the fact Bay can somehow orchestrate these massive characters, set-pieces, and story into something resembling a movie while at the same time maintaining a visual aesthetic that is bar none one of the best you'll see on the big screen today is truly impressive and deserves at least a little bit of credit. Full review here. D+

The best kinds of thrillers and horror films don’t have to rely on the big bad antagonist that is chasing our heroes around for actual scares, but rather they build up the tension and expel the terror through the situations they create given the circumstances no doubt involving a big bad killer or evil spirit chasing our heroes. Over the past two years we’ve received two very different, but startlingly effective shark movies that utilize this technique really well and fortunately 47 Meters Down is one of those with last summer’s The Shallows being the other. To go one step further, I’d say 47 Meters Down is the better of the two. At a lean eighty-nine minutes writer/director Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door) doesn’t waste time setting things up, getting into the action, and most importantly-he doesn’t muffle that action or story with supplemental material. Instead, he executes his and the characters primary objective as successfully as one could hope in this day and age and he does so by keeping things simple. Within five minutes of the film beginning we know why our two lead characters, sisters Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt), are vacationing together, we understand the dynamic that has existed between them in the past, and we quickly come to note their motivations for seeking out the thrills that inevitably lead them to their unfortunate predicament deep within the ocean. There is no messing around, there is hardly even any submerging us in the environment that is the coast of Spain because this isn’t the environment Roberts wants us to get comfortable with-in fact, he doesn’t want us to get comfortable at all. This brings us back around to the opening sentence which comes up only to say that the sharks are actually the least of Lisa and Kate’s worries here. Both Roberts and co-writer Ernest Riera are well-versed in utilizing the natural horrors that come with being plunged nearly 155 feet into the ocean waters and it is in such a scenario that 47 Meters Down continues to build upon the number of hurdles our characters must face if there is any chance of survival; only reminding us of the sharks when we think we can’t handle another thing hurting those chances of survival. In short, it’s kind of brilliant. Full review here. B-