Robots, Rats and La Ragazza con la valigia

I’m back from my miniature sabbatical and rested up. What did I do on my time off? I took a lot of walks with Mister President, hung out a lot in my new neighborhood with various friends, and managed to catch a movie or two, including one that was on my list.

Here’s my advice on seeing “Transformers”: if you find yourself falling asleep in the middle of its two-plus hours running time due to the movie’s crushingly dull story line, monotonously unrewarding visual pyrotechnics, and director Michael Bay’s apparent disinterest in characters, don’t fight the feeling. Instead, just do I what I did and let yourself nod off. You won’t miss a thing.

Bad Movies Are Good Business

The fact that this movie was just really boring doesn’t seem to have prevented it from doing tremendous box office in its opening days. I guess it’s nothing new to express bewilderment as to why so many sub-par movies manage to bring so many people through the theater doors, but this one really bewilders me. There can’t have been so many people who, like myself, were willing to pay for a movie ticket regardless of how bad the reviews were, could there have been? I guess so.

At least there are still some quality films that manage to find wide audiences. I’m genuinely heartened by the good notices and strong box office for “Ratatouille,” the second Pixar film from the reigning animation auteur of the 21st Century, Brad Bird. Based on the impeccability of his first two features — “The Iron Giant” and Pixar’s “The Incredibles” — alone, he deserves recognition as something of a national treasure. But “Ratatouille” may be his best picture yet.

Out of the Multiplex

Okay, enough popcorn ephemera; I’ve been indulging my attraction to sensation candy long enough. This week and next, I’m looking forward to seeing as many films as I can being shown in BAM’s “Signore & Signore: Leading Ladies of Italian Cinema” festival. Actually, a chance to see Claudia Cardinale on the big screen in “La Ragazza con la valigia” probably makes for better summer pyrotechnics than anything at the multiplex.

  1. I took my 10 yr old son to see Transformers. Yeah, the movie wasn’t great, but the experience was incredible. The excitement on his face was definitely worth it. His review was, “The BEST movie I’ve ever seen!” So, my recommendation is to take a kid and view it through their eyes.

  2. Yeah, I can’t wait for Transformers. At first, I was all excited to see a “grown up” version. Then I watched some of the cartoons, and realised they were cheesy ass. My childhood shattered, and I got all depressed about the movie.

    Then I watched them again and tried not to think about Akira, but to think about playing with Optimus and Soundwave in the back garden, and suddenly it clicked. I was practically cheering, and watching the movie trailer again, I’m stoked.

    Taking a kid is a good idea, but mine’s only 13 months… Guess I’ll just have to go with some old school friends 🙂

  3. Why did they let Michael Bay make Armageddon 2: Robotic Asteroids?

    And what happened to Starscream’s voice?

  4. rembret – I took my 8 year old son to see Transformers and afterwards he turned to me and exclaimed, “That was AWESOME!” That moment was easily worth the price of admission. Not to mention hearing him laugh and “whoa!” throughout the movie. It was a wonderful movie.

    Would I have enjoyed it if I had watched it by myself or with other adults? Not nearly as much, I’m guessing. But as it is, I thought it rocked.

  5. I’m hardly a Michael Bay fan (loathed Pearl Harbor), but I liked “Transformers.” Agreed, it dragged at times, but other aspects carried it, like the unexpected humor (loved the FBI bust scene). Only complaint was the blatant GM sponsorship. There are some much cooler vehicles on the road.

    For a complete change of pace from sensation candy, the other movie I really liked recently was “Once.” Refreshingly human characters in a love story that’s at once honest, awkward, and enchanting. Great music, too.

  6. my advice to anyone that hasn’t seen it – stay ’till you’ve heard player’s – ‘baby come back’, then get out of the theatre.

  7. I’m not an old-school Transformer’s fan, nor am I a Michael Bay fan, but I’d have to say that with my three young sons, we had a fun time. Yes, the lack of plot, and at points, the sheer cavernous plot holes, were apparent to any adult, the kids thoroughly enjoyed it, and that makes any parent happy.

    Ratatouille, however, is a work of art. As usual, Pixar, Mr. Bird, and the whole gang deliver the entire package. We’re heading back to the theater today to see it again.

  8. Just added Girl with Suitcase to my Netflix list. Thanks for the indirect recommendation.

    With so many great repertoire theaters in NYC why would you ever step foot in a multiplex???

  9. Reviewers who didn’t like this movie seem to only like movies that are sad, depressed, angry, serious. This is a roller-coaster ride and it’s a total blast, especially with a young son. A sugar-rush reality escape.
    This is the motion picture equivalent of pop music. It isn’t about golden voices – it’s about entertainment that’s fun.

    Shooting down a movie like this is like shooting down a great water park because of the lousy food. You’re missing the point.

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