Monday, May 24, 2010

Liveblogging: Transformers

0:00. I've previously blogged about this movie, but decided to revisit its awfulness in a little more detail.

:55. The first identifying title shows the opening scene is set in Qatar, then helpfully specifies that Qatar is set in the Middle East.

1:10. We meet a group of U.S. soldiers in a helicopter. There's a tough black guy, a guy from the Bayou who talks about how tasty alligator meat is, and then, amazingly, a guy from Bawstan who tawks about how great Fenway park is. I'm not saying these characters are cliches, but I'm surprised the helicopter is not also occupied by a cop who doesn't play by the rules, a thief who needs to pull off one last job and a plucky, adorable newsboy with a suspicious cough.

2:32.07. Soldier Josh Duhamel chats with his wife via laptop. When she informs him that their infant daughter just laughed for the first time, he is thrilled, then asks, "Are you sure it wasn't just a fart?" Side note: Never, ever marry someone who can't tell these functions apart. Or at least don't tell them any jokes.

3:10.00. A helicopter lands at the military base, then turns into a big hurkin' robot that stomps through the base.

4:42.12. We meet Sam Witwicky, a high-school junior in California played by Shia LaBeouf. His great-grandfather was an explorer and LeBeouf is trying to sell some of his old explorer stuff, including his eyeglasses, to his classmates via a show-and-tell session.

5:10.13. LaBeouf's teacher tells him his presentation earned a "solid B+" and director Michael Bay actually adds a special-effects whooshing sound to convey LaBeouf's disappointment. Subtle. Maybe later, Bay will accompany LaBeouf's ogling of costar Megan Fox with a pair of animated eyes that pop out of his head and an AWOOOOGGGGAAA.

6:00.32. LaBeouf buys a magic yellow car that seems to have a mind of its own.

6:10.10. The movie's setting shifts to Washington, D.C. Jon Voight tells a group of super-nerdy hackers about the attack in Quatar, but doesn't tell them Quatar is located in the Middle East. How will they know where the attack was?

7:38.21. LaBeouf blusters charmingly while driving home his long-time crush, Megan Fox, whose facial expressions range from 'petulant' to 'slightly less petulant.' Also his car seems to have a mind of its own.

1o:21. Incidentally, these time stamps I'm using have nothing to do with how much time has actually elapsed. Sorry.

11:44.41. There's a boom box sitting beneath a seat on Air Force One, which immediately transforms into a slinky, slithery robot with glowing blue eyes that then scampers through the cabin, because who would notice a small, sentient robot with glowing eyes on the plane with the highest security on earth? Oh, and way to be current by disguising yourself as a boom box. What's next, a robot disguised as a Jordache jacket?

12:12.76. The scampering robot hacks into government files about LaBeouf's explorer grandfather.

13:01. The robot is caught in the act, so Air Force One is grounded. Despite the fact that Air Force One, and several Secret Service agents have been attacked, there is so little security watching the plane that the robot escapes by scampering across the open tarmac, past several guards and into a police car.

15:47. LaBeouf's car takes itself for a drive, but he's able to catch up with it on his ... bicycle? He briefly sees it transform before the cops show up.

17:30. LaBeouf is interviewed by several police officers. Apparently cops in California have oodles of time to dedicate to teenagers who are accused of ... stealing their own car? Wait, what's happening here?

19:10. Duhamel and the cliche commandos are still wandering through the desert and occasionally fighting transformers. Because apparently, the U.S. military didn't bother to search the surrounding area after a major attack on one of their military installations.

22:08. Duhamel and his team find a phone, then call in an air strike on a big scorpion-like transformer that is attacking them. After the transformer is destroyed, Jon Voight orders the team debriefed. Wait, you think the guys who witnessed an attack by a piece of technology never before seen on the face of the earth should be interviewed? No wonder you're the Secretary of Defense.

24:15. Anthony Anderson turns up as a buffoonish black man who yells at his grandmother to "drink her prune juice," ... but he's also a computer genius. Michael Bay is busting stereotypes left and right.

24:36. Anderson's helping a government computer expert. She's been in several scenes before, and has an Australian accent of varying degrees of intensity. Right now it's set on "Paul Hogan impersonator."

28:75.72. The FBI busts down Anderson's door. When they force him to the carpet, he yells that his (sassy) grandmother doesn't like anyone on the couch, especially "po-lice." I'm embarrassed to be watching this.

30:00. LaBeouf is chased through a warehouse by a police-car transformer that is seeking his explorer grandfather's glasses. When he sprints out of the warehouse, he runs into Fox and hurriedly explains that he's being chased by a monster. When the monster - which, by the way, is about 15 feet tall and has glowing red eyes - emerges from the warehouse, LeBeouf tells Fox, "Here it comes!" THANKS FOR CLEARING THAT UP DUDE.

30:01. Let me get this straight: The evil transformers have determined that LaBeouf's grandfather's glasses are very important in their plans for universal domination. But, despite the fact that they can (a) travel through space, (b) transform themselves from robots into common-looking vehicles, and (c) hack into the most advanced computer systems in the world, they still need to chase LaBeouf and threaten him into telling them where the glasses are? That's dumb. I mean, I realize this is a movie about giant robots fighting each other, but have some self-respect, screenwriters.

31:50. LaBeouf and Fox hop into LaBeouf's car, which is a good-guy Transformer named Bumblebee. Incidentally, LaBeouf was initially attacked by the police-car transformer in the morning, but now it's night for some reason. Not only can his car transform - it can speed up time!

31:51. I wish I had a car that could speed up time, because maybe it could bring on the end of this movie.

33:07. LaBeouf, on Bumblebee: "It's a super-advanced robot. It's probably Japanese." I wish I had a time machine so I could go back to 1987, when that joke would have been funny.

35:44. Bumblebee talks by switching rapidly from radio station to radio station to piece together words to form sentences. That's actually pretty clever.

40:04. I would vote for the disembodied voice of Optimus Prime for president. Not a joke.

41:90. We get a flashback of LeBeouf's explorer grandfather discovering Megatron, the leader of the evil transformers, under the ice at the North Pole. Incidentally, I love the fact that the exploration party's dogs are able to smell Megatron's presence under the ice, despite the fact that he's made of metal and about 100 feet under the ice.

43:38. The Aussie computer expert and Anthony Anderson are grilled by FBI agents about illegally accessing the recordings of some of the Transformers' communications. Anderson calmly rebuts the FBI agents' points. Ha ha, just kidding! He screechingly blames it all on the Aussie.

46:72.10. There's a comic scene where multiple good-guy robots walk outside of LeBeouf's house, while trying not to attract attention, despite the fact there's no reason for them to be there and they could easily remain disguised as vehicles. I think this movie is making me dumber. For example, I just ordered a DVD set of "Two and a Half Men."

49:31.45. A smarmy government agent referred to aeBeouf's dog, a chihuahua, as "the Taco Bell dog." Was this screenplay written in 1999? If so, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a cameo by Jamiroquai.

1:01.00. Most of the main characters are brought together at Hoover Dam, where it's revealed that the government has been holding the leader of the bad transformers, as well as the powerful energy cube both sets of transformers are looking for. We see a montage of a bunch of evil transformers rolling to the dam, including, uh, a tank. I'm sure it'll arrive in 2016 or so.

1:03.84. The Aussie's accent is now set on "voice-over for Foster's commercial."

1:07.32. Giants robots are fighting each other. Now that's more like it.

1:10.00. A group of characters flees with the cube, and after they're attacked by the evil transformers it's determined that the best course of action would be for LaBeouf to run down the street really fast with the cube under his arm while all the members of the military stay behind to fight. Don't put him in a vehicle or give him an armed escort or anything, guys.

1:13.21. This climax is so interesting I check Facebook while it's still playing.

1:15.60. LaBeouf is supposed to put the cube in an opening in Optimus Prime's chest, which will destroy both Prime and the cube; instead he inserts it in the main evil transformer's chest, destroying both. How did he know that would work? Oh well.

1:16.99. Instead of keeping Megatron so they can study him or make sure he doesn't try to take over the universe, they drop him into the ocean where nobody will be able to keep tabs on him. Sometimes I think Earth deserves to be attacked by evil alien robots.

1:17.00. The conflict's over, so we get to see the characters' fates. Duhamel returns home to his wife and flatulent baby.

1:23.1. LaBeouf and Fox make out while lying on Bumblebee's hood. Um ... Eeeeww?


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Liveblogging: I Know What You Did Last Summer

0:00: I Know What You Did Last Summer, the tale of four teens hunted by a hook-wielding killer after they accidentally run over a pedestrian one night, has always seemed like an intriguing brew of schlocky "horror" and earnest young actors whom I could mock for not being awesome yet. Let's get started.

2:00: There's a guy who looks mournful sitting at the edge of a cliff. He's wearing overalls. Working theory: The overalls are making him mournful.

5:19: Sarah Michelle Gellar is a contestant in a summer beauty pageant. Meanwhile, her "friends" Ryan Phillippe and Freddy Prinze Jr. watch and comment on her boobs. Hey, just like bloggers! Jennifer Love Hewitt rounds out the group of friends.

5:43: The host asks Gellar a question, then immediately opens an envelope with the winner's name inside. If you already have the winner's name, why ask her the question 10 seconds beforehand? Great. Now I'm not going to believe anything that happens from here on out.

5:54: Gellar wins, prompting Phillippe to pump his fist and scream, "That's my girlfriend!" The director is clearly a master of subtle exposition.

6:06: The characters attend a beach party to celebrate Gellar's victory. Johnny Galecki from Roseanne shows up. You can tell he's going to be a suspect later because his stage directions evidently said, "Deliver every word as if you're Jack Nicholson in The Shining."

7:20: Galecki asks Hewitt out. She then pauses awkwardly, turns her head, and gives Gellar a What-Do-I-Do-Now glance with the nuance of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. If Galecki didn't want to kill you before, he probably does now, you freakin' nitwit.

8:42: The main characters retire to a more private beach, where Prinze tells the urban legend about a killer with a hook for a hand. It's also revealed that Phillippe is a star high-school quarterback, despite the fact that he looks like someone whose parents probably named him after their favorite brand of yacht.

13:52: Phillippe is drunk, but still wants to drive. Huh ... maybe he will be a good pro football player.

14:04: Prinze is driving Phillippe's car when they hit a person. This is what's called the 'inciting incident.'

18:50: The four main characters seem to be talking themselves into dumping the dead guy's body when a truck drives up from behind. Amazingly, Prinze and Phillippe decide that this would be an excellent job to pick up the body and begin carrying it across the road. Aw man, this movie was so close to being Weekend at Bernie's.

19:20: The truck's driver turns out to be Galecki, who, when he sees the damage to the car, says, "Daddy's gonna be maaaaaaaaaaad" then flashes an evil grin. He's also sharpening a knife and singing a creepy nursery rhyme to himself while wearing a hockey mask.

21:04. They've chosen to dump the body off a pier that's approximately three and a half feet long. The water's probably about eight inches deep. If Phillippe doesn't make the pros, I'm guessing he's not going to have 'criminal mastermind' to fall back on.

21:46. The dead body turns out to be not so dead and the guy grabs Gellar's princess crown before sinking to the deep. I hope later in the film, we get a scene with a hard-bitten cop saying, "We've narrowed it down to Sarah Michelle Gellar and Cinderella!"

24:10. It's a year later.

24:30. I had hoped Hewitt would deal with her guilt by taking constant showers with fellow female students, but instead she's gotten all pale with stringy hair and dark circles under her eyes. Also, she's going back to New Bridgeport. That's not the actual name of the town, but it looks like some place that should be called "New Bridgeport."

27:33. The town is called Southport. Wow I was pretty close.

27:46: Hewitt gets a handwritten note indicating that somebody Knows What She Did Last Summer.

29:49. There's a bitchy blonde girl who hates Hewitt and Gellar. COULD SHE BE THE KILLER? (Answer: No.)

30:46: The bitchy blonde girl works with Gellar, and as Gellar and Hewitt discuss the note, she eavesdrops with the same subtlety Galecki brought to his role. I'm surprised she doesn't hold a drinking glass up to a door to hear better.

31:46: Gellar is smoking and wearing her hair in a matronly style. Apparently she's going to hide herself from the killer by disguising herself as the matriarch on a soap opera.

32:04. Phillippe dismisses the note, saying, "How do you know what this is even about? You did a lot of things last summer." You were very wise to hitch your wagon to his star, ladies. Very wise indeed.

34:11. They think the letter came from Galecki, so Phillippe goes to his workplace and roughs him up, threatens him and comes pretty close to admitting what they did. I don't even have a joke - that's just stupid.

35:00. It's revealed that Phillippe has played college quarterback. Who for? DeVry?

37:47: The killer just offed Galecki,. That's a shame, because I'm pretty sure he was about to grow a long moustache just for twirling.

40:40. Someone steals Phillippe's car, then chases him down with it. Phillippe's character stays consistent by attempting to escape by running in a straight line in front of the car. Oh, then he's run over.

40:40: I watch Phillippe get run over by a car again.

40:40: I watch Phillippe get run over by a car again.

40:40: I eat some Cheez-Its.

40:40: I watch Phillippe get run over by a car again.

42:31: Wait, he's still alive and in the hospital? Aaaawwwwww man.

48:34: Hewitt and Gellar talk themselves into the home of the accident victim's family by pretending to have a stalled car, making up fake names for themselves on the spot and pretending to use the family's telephone. Best moment: Gellar pretending to use the phone, but not talking into the speaker despite the fact that the victim's sister is standing about five feet away. I get the feeling those two don't spend their down time by going to Mensa conventions.

49:40: The victim's sister fixes Gellar and Hewitt with a long, creepy stare as they drive off. Johnny Galecki has died but his acting style lives on.

53:43. Gellar, to Hewitt: "We used to be best friends." Hewitt: "We used to be a lot of things." Wait, what? What does that mean? Amateur astronomers? Aspiring rodeo clowns?

58:40: Something is rattling around in Hewitt's trunk. It's Galecki's body, crawling with crabs. Gross.

59:46: Now the body and crabs are gone. So wait, the killer followed Hewitt, waited for her to stop her car and look in the trunk, then ran up to the car, which was parked on a street in broad daylight, and removed a dead body and numerous live crabs, then cleaned the trunk and escaped before Hewitt could return? I like your style, hook-hand guy.

1:04.45: Gellar has to be in the town's 4th of July parade, so Phillippe protects her by sitting on the edge of the float while wearing a pair of khakis and a yellow polo shirt. If anyone tries to attack Gellar, Phillippe is going to challenge them to a pheasant-hunting contest.

1:06.04: Unsolicited advice to Jennifer Love Hewitt: If you ever travel to a creepy house and Leadbelly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" can be heard from inside, haul your ass out of there as fast as possible.

1:07:16 - 1:07:25: Best moment of the movie: Gellar, while perched on one of the parade floats, sees approximately 27 town residents who are wearing the same rain slicker and floppy hat the killer has been wearing, despite the fact that it is the middle of a summer day.

1:07.41. One of them menacingly raises a hook he has clenched in his fist. OK, that one may be the killer. Or he's a hook salesman, shopping his wares. They're often the victims of misunderstandings.

1:12.13: Phillippe's killed via hook. Abercrombie & Fitch's stock plunges.

1:15.44: Gellar, who is trapped in the back of a cop car, sees the killer approaching with a hook. She then kicks out a window, increasing her chances of death about 100 percent.

1:16.39: Gellar runs. The killer follows at what appears to be a leisurely walking pace. The distance between them does not change.

1:17.49: Gellar slams her palm on the door of the store in which she works. hoping to get her bitchy blonde co-worker to open the door. The co-worker pauses to grab a set of keys, because apparently the door locks from the inside with a key. Wait, what?

1:18.23: The bitchy blonde co-worker is killed via hook.

1:19.24: The store's mannequins are covered with plastic to prevent unsightly mannequin dust. Oh, wait, one of them is the killer.

1:22.38: I think Gellar just died. Hold on.

1:25.42: The killer is revealed. It's some guy, and Hewitt's stuck on a boat with him.

1:26:17: Hewitt runs to the deck of the boat, then swears when she sees that land is approximately 75 feet away. Despite growing up in an ocean-side town, she evidently could never swim that far.

1:30.57: Yup, Gellar's dead. But on the plus side, Hewitt had to strip down to a white tank top and crawl around in a bunch of ice for some reason. If they had called this movie Jennifer Love Hewitt Strips Down to a Tank Top and Crawls Around in a Bunch of Ice For Some Reason it would have raked in more cash than Avatar.

1:32.42: The killer dies in a Rube Goldberg-like way involving ropes and pulleys and hooks and a severed hand. This is exactly the kind of thing that would happen all the time if the Three Stooges became homicidal maniacs.

1:34.10: Funniest line of the night: The small-town sheriff sees the killer's hand, still clutching a hook, hanging from the ship's netting and says, "The body will turn up. They usually do." Yeah, it's just the standard situation where a hook-wielding maniac has his hand severed on a fishing boat, then plunges screaming into the ocean. I'm pretty sure that's a code 151 on the scanner.

1:34.30: One years later.

1:34.52: Hewitt's about to take a shower.

1:34:58: A new note distracts her from stepping into the shower. DAMNIT HOOK MAN THIS WAS YOUR GREATEST CRIME OF ALL!

1:35.00: There's a twist.

1:36.00: I look up Southport on Wikipedia and discover it's a real place.