Transformers

May 10, 2017

The Best of Armond White: (A Retrospective) Part Two

So apparently we need to “educate ourselves.” That was what Armond White told us to do after releasing Part One of our Four Part look at some of his reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. First of all, this is all supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. If you’ve listen to The Simplistic Reviews Podcast, you know how good we are at putting our tongues firmly in cheeks, any cheeks if you know what we mean…

And Second, if you think we are doing this to get a rise out of someone, we’re not. You might call bulls*it on that comment, but we are just taking the piss and having a little fun. If people get their feelings hurt, well, that’s all part of the game isn’t it.
Part Two is going to cover some of the films that were universally savaged all over Rotten Tomatoes, yet low and behold, Mr. White found some little rays of sunshine in them.
Dirty Grandpa (2016) 11% RT Score
Armond Say: The fun of sex is the entire point of the raunchy, goofy Dirty Grandpa. You have to be humorless (and sex-averse) to be offended by its deliberate naughtiness as so many critics have demonstrated.
Matt Says: White brings up a good point; sometimes a sex comedy is just a sex comedy. Why should people be upset about Zach Efron topless either?
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) 28% RT Score 
Armond Says: In this age of petty Marvels, most comic-book movies merely perpetrate fantasies of power, but Snyder, enacting his personal aesthetic, braves a film that examines those fantasies. He boldly challenges popular culture’s current decay.

Matt Says: I do agree that the polished and shiny look of Marvel films is wearing thin, even on myself, and the grittier and darker tone of the DCU can be alluring, but Batman v Superman still isn’t all the great.

Your Highness (2011) 27% RT Score 
Armond Says: By trashing fairytale propriety, Green and McBride personalize the genre enthusiasm of the Star Wars generation.

Matt Says:Taking a piss out of films like “The Princess Bride” and other adult-oriented fairy tales films, “Your Highness” isn’t as bad as many people say and you might say it’s unappreciated in our time and will become a cult classic in the next 10 years or so.


The Green Hornet (2011) 43% RT Score 

Armond Says: Rogen’s image and his attitude as co-screenwriter of The Green Hornet updates the bland superhero template using comic irreverence.

Matt Says: White is very forgiving of anything Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, and anyone from that film family tree. “Green Hornet” isn’t bad, it just so happened to be a film that no one cared about and no one asked for. An ego stroke for Rogen is anything.

Jonah Hex (2010) 12% RT Score 


Armond Says: It reexamines assumptions of good and evil-morality tale vs, trite entertainment-by confronting the hideous compromises people make with social conventions and their own desperation.

Matt Says: I guess there is something to be said about “Jonah Hex;” It’s a film…that was made by a studio and released nationwide based on a comic book character that is about as fringe as it gets.


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) 19% RT Score 

Armond Says: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is more proof [Bay] has a great eye for scale and a gift for visceral amazement.

Matt Says: There’s never been any doubt about Michael Bay as a filmmaker. However, people will always blame him for creating robots that couldn’t read and reinforcing stereotypes that are more than meets the eye. Oh, and ruining people’s childhoods as well from what I’ve been told.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) 37% RT Score 

Armond Says: Of all the summer’s big-budget action sequels, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is the least painful.

Matt Says: A backhanded compliment to say the least. Other big budget flicks from 2007 included: Spider-Man 3, Transformers, Ghost Rider….yeah, good point.


The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou 56% RT Score 

Armond Says: It’s part of that American eccentricity to obsess over growing up. Anderson’s obsession has genuine, daffy substance.

Matt Says: A 56% for “The Life Aquatic” is criminal, and I honestly don’t understand the subtle dislike for one of Wes Anderson’s more off-the-wall films.

Stay tuned soon for Part Three where we examine films where Mr. White and RT are on the same page when it comes to the bottom of the cinema barrel.
March 30, 2013

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (DJ’s Take)

BETTER

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.  I hate Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise.  I made many points as to why they are lowest common denominator fodder and a tried and true example of bad filmmaking alone.  But to be honest, I hated it mainly because it was a tactical strike to my nostalgia.  I am an 80s baby.  Transformers, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, TMNT, He-Man, Voltron, M.A.S.K., DuckTales, TaleSpinRescue Rangers, Silverhawks, Gobots, HeathcliffCenturions, Dino-RidersDanger Mouse, Count Duckula, and many more shows practically raised me.  Yes, looking back at them now, I can see they were cheesy.  However, I still love them because they spoke to me.  They spoke to a me that I wasn’t fully aware of at the time.  They filled in the gaps of love and companionship my family left me to fill when they were not around.  They developed my entertainment pallet.  They developed my right and wrong meter.  They are virtually time portals to my childhood.  And if they stayed that way I would be happy with that.  So, if you are going to remake them…if you’re going to bring them back to modern day…changing things…changing their DNA to shoehorn them into modern sensibilities…it literally hurts me.  Every instance of Michael Bay’s corruption of Transformers makes me feel like Marty McFly looking at that photograph of he and his family and watching himself slowly disappear.

I bring up Bay here because of the financial success of his Bayformers, other studios followed suit seeing as the almighty dollar is their guiding light.  Stephen Sommers (A director I can’t believe I used to like) fired another Trident missile into my memories when he brought G.I. Joe to the the big screen.  It was almost as if he was copying off of Bay’s test in school.  It was predictable, trite, comically bad entertainment.  My only hope was that like an ebola virus, the franchise would flare up and die out so fast, it wouldn’t be able to spread.  Then, it was announced that a sequel was on the horizon and it would be directed by the guy who did the Step Up films and Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never.  I felt like Dustin Hoffman in Outbreak.  However, after seeing G.I. Joe: Retaliation  I am relieved to say that it is much BETTER than I expected.  Understand that I was expecting the EBOLA VIRUS!   So to say it is BETTER isn’t saying that it is a great film.  It still has logic problems and cheesy moments and lackluster effects.  But it more effectively fits the tone a G.I. Joe film should have and offer up enough fan service an old school Joe fan would want in order to be able to walk out of the theater under their own power.

I mentioned this in my last review but it bares repeating.  The Expendables works because it acknowledges the performers’ nostalgic roots.  It gives the fans of these performers what they want.  You want Arnold to say ‘I’ll be back’?  Fine.  You want someone to say yippee ki yah?  There you go.  You want a Van Damme spin kick?  Here’s two.  You want a bloody, bullet riddled, fire fight for ten straight minutes?  We’ll give you twenty.  It isn’t complicated to make films that are based purely on nostalgia like Transformers and G.I. Joe.  This isn’t The Master or Tree of Life.  Keep its simple and give the people what they want.  Popcorn films like these have longer legs that way.  Ask Joss Whedon.  Yes, Transformers made money.  A crazy amount of money.  But does anyone…ANYONE hold it in high regard?

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is burdened by cleaning out the closet of the previous film’s storyline.  A terrorist group called Cobra have an operative impersonating The President and reeking havoc on the Joes and the world.  A team of surviving Joes must clear their names and take down Cobra before its too late.  Simple.  Director Jon M. Chu seemed to have done his research on what failed in the first film and done research on the material in general.  It shows in the little nuances Joe fans would notice.  A faceplate for Cobra Commander, an Uzi for Snake Eyes, an Australian accent for Firefly, a blindfold for Jinx.  Its those little things that show me he actually cares about the material and doesn’t just want to use the property as a bridge to show off his directoral talent.  It comes across that the Joes in this film seem to actually be capable soldiers with varying skills, the way the show was intended.  That as apposed to the bumbling, excelerator suit wearing, dummies in the previous film.  Men and women who seemed to be working for Maxwell Smart instead of the United States armed services.

Dwayne Johnson takes the lead in this and does an solid job.  Much BETTER than the laughable Marlon Waynes and the cameoing Channing Tatum.  The one thing that I thought the first G.I. Joe film got right was Ray Park’s Snake Eyes.  Though, Sommers even tried to screw him up too by putting a mouth on a masked man who DOESN’T TALK.  But I digress.  He is the only thankful carry over from the first film.  His action scenes with rival Storm Shadow are worth the price of admission alone.  Bruce Willis is trying much more in this than he did in his own tent pole franchise and I really liked Adrianne Palicki’s Lady Jaye.  However, the performances aren’t all roses.  Jonathan Pryce is still a bit over the top as the faux President/Zartan.  The ball was dropped by casting the wooden D.J. Cotrona as Flint.  A character who is supposed to be the more charismatic version of Duke merely slinks by unnoticed and unremarkably through this film.   And I’m not even going to get into how bad RZA is as Blind Master.  I think it is the overall camaraderie of both teams that allow you to be able to dismiss the bad apples.

By the level of improvement this film has made from The Rise Of Cobra, it would take about two more films before I could consider it a must watch franchise.  However, I think I’m going to have to settle for the fact that G.I. Joe: Retaliation is just BETTER than expected and breathe a sigh of relief that I haven’t fully disappeared.  Be a real American hero…watch it…then tell me I’m wrong.

Welcome to the new home of SimplisticReviews.net - We're currently still working on the site. You might notice a few issues, please be patient with us. Thanks! (Store also in testing — no orders shall be fulfilled.)
Scroll to top