Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ultimate Franchise

By ultimate, I really wish I meant last.

Michael Bay, however, will not grant us that mercy, not with these numbers. Which means we'll get the same movie again in a couple of years. Actually, it's two movies in one. One movie involves the sub-human inanity of the human characters, their respective dog/robot-humpings, hyper-unrealistic relationships and inhuman experiences (perhaps the next film will feature a Graduate school where the professors are all hot thirty-something babes, inspiring the Beouf to just pluckspaz right out to even greater heights of performance art, completely and totally, until he implodes?)

The other movie on display here is a thoroughly appalling, unexpectedly racist, loud, and completely baffling army ad, featuring giant robots (which transform into vehicles made comical by their own recession-based obsolescence). For all Michael Bay's right-wing war-porn, this is a pretty lame recruitment tool. Just because the dragon fight at the volcano wasn't a successful marketing strategy doesn't mean that Transformers and better special effects will work.

The movie is so sloppy I'd be hard pressed to be offended that Obama has been whisked away to a secret bunker (I'm trying to imagine a Republican president being any more effective than Obama would be against a Decepticon attack. Eight years ago, whither Cheney?).

Still, let Red America have a Transformers flick rather than have the White House, I say.

There' s another movie mixed into that appalling war-ad, and it' s a full-throated Transformers movie, with special effects and battle-sequences that worked better this time around, and are sometimes even breathtaking in their audacity (if sometimes swallowed by their own complexity). There are actually moments of real artistry, with creature effects that really are among the best I've ever seen. I had to sit through a Michael Bay movie to see them, which I won't want to do again unless there's another Transformers movie.

The AV Club has a wonderful breakdown of everything that went wrong, and of course we all read poor Ebert's generous take-down.

The theme that emerges from these reviews is that Michael Bay is far too old to be making this kind of movie. That confuses me a little bit. I sometimes wonder if critics forget who's in charge in Hollywood. I know it's maddening the amount of money this is making, I know it's juvenile, etc. etc. But to expect Michael Bay to grow up? Come on. We need Michael Bay. It's Manichean, really, how much we need him to soldier on, creating Manichean conflicts from the tip of his id. I don't ever want him to grow up. Every couple of years we get dazzled and appalled in equal measure. Behold our bread and circuses! Can we ever out-excess this? The last movie I watched before this one was Through a Glass Darkly. I'll be fine. Besides, ROTF was roughly the same movie last time, minus the minstrel show, and I don't remember this volume of critical fulmination in '07.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Project! Project!

With the new decade approaching, my brain is conspiring with encroaching time to produce a twice-monthly feature here at the Tympani room, starting in August. I'll be revisiting two influential films from 2000-2009, each month, with an eye towards how the filmmakers have defined the decade, for better or worse. Some will be great films, some will not, but the point will be to separate, from films that accomplished something distinctive, all the chaff, and in some cases, evaluate the runners up.

Leading to that, I'll be covering some of the almost-successes and total disasters of the decade. Modus Operandi on the latter will be the three D's: Deracination, Devaluation, and Dudgeon.

In the meantime, expect a handful of DJ mixes at the Droid Rock Show, and various musical trainspottings here, as per usual.

Speaking of, Adam Freeland's band has a new album out. Here's a little tease:

Why Does Roland Emmerich Hate The White House So Much?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Yes, I'm going to Bonnaroo. No, I don't care that there are hippies there. No, I'm not going to put reams of LSD into my mouth. If I can tolerate the company of the many very special people who frequent my bookstore on a weekly basis, I can tolerate some patchouli stank and a coupla hours of Phish (It'll be my first time hearing them in any format). Trust me, this is a vacation.

More pointedly, I get to see The Beastie Boys this week, along with Al Green, Animal Collective, The Decemberists, The Boss, etc.

Those for whom this post would fall under the category "rubbin' it in": wish you were accompanying us.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


That last post ended up being the wrong Olbermann, so go back to it here, and watch the right one.

I wouldn't just post random clips of him sniping at Limbaugh. There's enough of that, after all.

Friday, June 05, 2009


(Just wait for the last bit)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Nobody Would Be That Stupid


When he's down is precisely the time to kick him. It's the one way to insure that we will very seldom be blighted with "Directed by McG".