Review : Transformers – The Last Knight

transformers-5-poster-stellbane-the-last-knight-995309

“Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.”

Transformer 5 or which ever one this is, is one of the most convoluted, frenetic, chaotic, and all over the place movies I’ve seen in a long time. The story takes so many twist and turns, and jumps and leaps around its story and the globe, and is a mind numbing task trying to keep them all together. The story itself I kind of understood, but it literally goes a mile a minute, and gives you no reason to fall in line with it. It also doesn’t give you any real reason to feel for the characters and care when they were in dangerous situations. I mean there is a plot in here somewhere, but I also genuinely couldn’t care less by like 30 mins into it. There are also a lot of moments when the movie most certainly pauses for either dramatic or comedic effect, and they pretty much all fell flat, with a silent cinema audience. There were also so many different characters crammed into every nook and cranny of this movie that you never had any time to breathe. The cgi and visual effects are most definitely up to par and then some, everything on screen really does look good, especially the cars when they were zipping around the place, but I must say, I really don’t think I’m a fan of the current character designs of the transformers themselves. Each movie they have gotten more and more anthropomorphic, and I think it really takes away from making the characters stand out more. All in all, Transformers 5 is really a bit of a cluster fuck, and for something so full of things always happening, its actually kind of boring.

Review Score : 3 out of 10

Understanding Rotten Tomatoes

Launched in 1998, Rotten Tomatoes has become one of the largest websites in the world in the space of movies and movie reviews. But even with its 20 years in the business, many of us still don’t fully understand how the site and its metrics work, which isn’t a great thing. Over the last few years especially, the ability of Rotten Tomatoes to add to or take away from movie’s box office revenue has only increased, and seems to keep doing so. This increase in the “power” the website has on the average movie fan, is one I think is both good and bad. It’s great that audiences see it as a tool, that empowers them to avoid Hollywood’s less than best works, while in turn giving those films they deem deserving of, that extra boost. This power however, can be used unfairly, and it is especially used that way when its numbers are played against many peoples ignorance of the way the site really works. So how does it really work, and what do the numbers really mean?

To start with, the most fundamental thing to be understood about the site, is that it is an aggregator for reviews, and does not itself review anything. What that means, is that the site itself collects reviews from reviewers that it approves, and brings all those reviews to one place that is easy to find for anyone who’d like to see what these critics have to say. All of these reviews can be found along with some audience reviews on every movie that they score.

The second thing we have to discuss is the “Tomatometer”, which is where the site gets its famous percentage “scores” of films, only its not actually a score. As we stated earlier, this is an aggregator site, and the Tomatometer score is just that, its and aggregate of all the reviews the site recognizes, which it then converts to a simple and easy to see percentage out of 100. The way the site does this is two fold. First it must judge every review as either “Fresh” or “Rotten”. For a score to be granted a fresh, it must simply register as 60% or higher on its scale (3 or higher out of 5, 6 our higher out of 10 and so on). Conversely, any review that score 59% or less, is granted a Rotten. Now, once all the reviews are categorized as either fresh of rotten, they are all tallied together, and the ratio of fresh to rotten reviews is represented as a percentage, which represents the numbers we have grown accustomed to attaching to a films worth. Lets take two films to example.  The recent Wonder Woman movie currently has a Tomatometer score of 92% and is considered Certified Fresh (this just means it received over a certain of scored reviews). Many people may think, that this score means, the movie is 92 out of 100 in terms of reviews or in quality, but that isn’t the case. If we look at the break down from the critics, we see that the movie has had 298 official scored reviews, of which, 274 were considered fresh, or over 60%, and only 24 where considered rotten, or under 60%. So we can get a better understanding, that that 92% means that 92 out of every 100 critics, had a positive review of this movie, but if we look at their averaged review score, the movie is rated at 7.5 out of 10 based on all the reviews they tallied. 92% and 75% are not insanely off of each other, but you can imagine the headlines if this movie’s Tomatometer score was 75%. Our second example is The Mummy, which currently has a 16% rating. With 215 reviews, 34 of which were fresh and 181 rotten, we get our 16 out of ever 100 critics gave this movie a less than positive review, however, if again we look at the average review score we get a 4.2 out of 10. 42% is more than double 16%, and it certainly looks a hell of a lot better than 16%, no matter if each is still a failed grade.

So I hope we can see that while the Tomatometer and Rotten Tomatoes on a whole is a great and powerful tool, that we can have a better understanding of how it works, and why sometimes we should be less concerned with simply attaching a Tomatometer rating to a movies quality, and thats for better and for worse. Did you know how the Tomatometer and Rotten Tomatoes worked before, or is this all new information to you? Comment and let me know what you think about their system and how much power they should or shouldn’t have on audience opinion of movies.

 

Cheers.

Review : The Mummy

c8tvyd8voaain_p

“An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.”

The Mummy, not to be confused with our beloved Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy from 1999. This Mummy is from 2017, and stars Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella in the titular role of “The Mummy” here. This movie also has the distinction of being the start (kind of) of the new Universal Studios “Dark Universe” of connected monster movies, that they plan to create using all the classic monster movie rites that they own. And in that vein, this movie does do well to set that universe up, and it does introduce many of the ideas and things that will return in the future. As a movie itself however, it isn’t as strong. The movie does have a good bit of action, and it is well done, especially during the none cgi stuff, which Tom Cruise of course is famous for. Sofia Boutella also does a pretty good job here, and she brought a real nice presence and a good physicality to the role also. She had to toe a line very often of sexy and scary, and she did a good job with that. Russell Crowe’s role here was also not bad, but it isn’t huge as its meant to really be a tease of the future more than anything else. All in all I do think that this movie has it moments, but overall it seems to fall kind of flat, and makes this movie much more interesting as a setup for the Dark Universe, than a new and compelling action, adventure movie.

Review Score : 6.5 out of 10

Review : Wonder Woman

wonder_woman_xlg

“Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.”

So just for full disclosure, I’ve had Wonder Woman’s theme as my phone ring tone, for like a year now, needless to say I have been nothing but super hyped waiting for this movie, and my expectations were super high. All that being said, this movie is pretty awesome. Gal Gadot, is honestly the greatest incarnation of the character we have ever gotten, and she brings everything to the role. She’s absolutely stunning, she brings the physicality, and she does excellent at playing both the strong, soft, and funny moments. However, she does have some help in here in a fantastically played secondary character in Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor. The two had a great chemistry and they played extremely well off of each other, especially in the softer more quiet moments in here. And even for all the great action in here, a lot of the best scene are honestly these soft, quiet, and subtle scenes between Chris and Gal (and some others with the other supporting cast). Like I said before though, the action in this movie is here, and its very well done. The film itself is also absolutely stunning when it needs and wants to be, doing a great job at juxtaposing the colour and vibrance of places like Themyscira, against the drab and dull world of man and of war. Wonder Woman is truly a film firing on all cylinders here, from acting, to action, and everything in-between. All in all, I think this movie will be a bit of a game changer, and come Monday, will likely be the most successful female directed and lead film we’ve ever seen. Go see it right now!

Review Score : 9 out of 10

Review : Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Men Tell No Tales

pirates-of-the-caribbean-5-poster

“Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.”

When the first Pirates movie came out in 2003, it was a real surprise, partly because it had a real magic to it, and in large part because of Johnny Depp’s turn as Captain Jack Sparrow. And its the character of Caption Jack Sparrow, that has been the driving force of the pirates series ever since. Fast forward to 2017, and there has been a change in our beloved Captain, and not a change I like. This movie in particular brings to character to his lowest low, and relegates him to much more of a bumbling drunk that gets by solely on luck, when before Jack certain had his way with rum, but he was also always the most clever person in the room. The plot of this movie is there, and it makes sense mostly, but it also seems a lot more convoluted that it needed to be, and it felt like most of it really didn’t matter. There are even some characters in here, that just honestly didn’t feel like they needed to be, more would it matter if you cut them out of the movie. Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar is a well done (looks wise) character, and he’s a lot of fun when he’s on screen and he certainly does bring a certain presence to the role. There are nice appearances from some of the original cast here also, but don’t look for them too much. All in all, Pirates 5 is a fun movie with some nice looking big set pieces, but it all feels a bit soulless.

Review Score : 5 out of 10

Review : Alien – Covenant

IMG_20170323_0950491

“The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.”

5 movies deep into the franchise that Ridley Scott himself started, comes the sixth and newest installment in Alien: Covenant. Taking the franchise back to basics in many ways, but keeping the perks of modern day film making, Covenant manages to return he chills and thrills of the more horror based movies that started this all off. This movie definitely has its suspense, tension, and terror going off on full blast. There is more here though, as the movie being a prequel, does a lot more to add and build upon the mythology of the aliens themselves and there coming to be. The real stand out here though, is Michael Fassbender. He plays two roles here, and he plays them perfectly right down to a T. His portrayal of the androids, or synthetics as they are known here in David and Walter, allowed for him to play essentially the same character, but worlds apart that allow them to be truly unique and identifiable. Of course this wouldn’t be an Alien movie without the titular Xenomorphs, and they are here, and they are frightening. We also get a few different variations on them, but we do get the most from the Giger monster we know and are scared as hell off. you do kind of need to have seen prometheus for this movie to make the most sense, and for you to get the full impact of the story, but if you don’t need to go super deep, you can see this movie by itself. All in all, if you’re looking for a deep and interesting look at the beggings of the Alien franchise, or if you just want to see a more than well done space horror, then look no further.

Review Score : 7 out of 10

Review : King Arthur – Legend of the sword

cn-_zfyuaaavvlw

“Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy – whether he likes it or not.”

Is this the best film adaptation of the King Arthur story and mythos? Yeah most probably,  its also bad ass and a whole lot of fun. Now to be clear, I don’t think this movie is for everyone, but it should be entertaining to more audience members than less. King Arthur: Legend of the sword brings Guy Ritchie’s signature and infamous style, to a story and genre that its never been mixed with before, and works most of the time, and the times it works are so much fun. It adds more than just Ritchie’s fast paced dialogue and cuts though, it takes the mythology and ramps it up to 11 and isn’t afraid of going there. Filled with a stellar cast that are all built to deliver the quick one liners and tight action sequences, and a real tension building and pulse pounding score, King Arthur knows when to be light and when it can get heavy. There is also I think something to be said for having an English directed and English acted movie, thats based on an english tale. It manages to lend the movie a feeling of legitimacy, even with 100 foot tall elephants. All in all, I think Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur is a real refreshing and original take on an old and known story. Especially if you’re a fan of Guy’s style, and I can honestly say Charlie Hunnam comes of really great in the role. (ps don’t know why the critics are being so hard on this movie right now)

Review Score : 8 out of 10