Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

There are two sets of writers for this movie, the good ones and the bad ones. One set wrote a compelling sci-fi narrative about kids' toys, transformed a wise-cracking kid into a man who has saved the world twice and can't get a job, and threw in a couple quirky parents so we won't forget why our hero is the way he is. That would be the good set of writers.

The other set of writers inserted a story about a super hot chick (SHC) who is more helpless than the last SHC in a Transformers movie and tacked on a 20-minute denouement that was so tedious that when it appears that, yes, the hero is intending to limp over there and kiss that SHC, that I was praying she got turned into Allspark Toast before he succeeded. Alas, it didn't happen. The ending was so slow and predictable at that point that I expected one of the onlookers to start the slow clap-----clap----clap---clap--clap-clap and then everyone would applaud madly and cheer, just like the end of Star Trek VI when I wanted to gouge my ears out.


Larger than Life (1996)

I have a sincere love of Bill Murray's work, from the goofy to the crass to the childish to the subtle. Regardless of the movie or role he plays, he approaches characters with intelligence, even if they're as dumb as a bag of golf clubs, a la the Caddyshack grounds keeper. Knowing that he often works unscripted and can turn in the right nuance, as in the roommate in Tootsie, tells me he's a skilled listener. He survived the SNL curse and that tells me he's not about fame and celebrity, though if those are part of doing what he loves, he'll take them.

Larger than Life is the kind of movie you missed when it had its theatrical release. I missed it, but picked it up a few years later on cable. I was ready for some Bill Murray and the write-ups said there was nothing in it that would mess up my 2-year old son.


Green Lantern (2011)

For context, I think that the first Iron Man and Spiderman movies and Batman's The Dark Knight rank at the top of the comic book superhero stack for me, and that The Incredibles ranks up there with them as a movie about superheroes. At the bottom is The Incredible Hulk. This movie drifts somewhere in the middle and doesn't try to be more than that either, which makes the flashes of depth that occasionally emerge welcome. Equally welcome is that they don't last long.

The Green Lantern, like its hero, doesn't want to take itself too seriously. The humor and slight sense of camp works well when our hero is being taught how to use his new gifts. The "tutelage" portion of all superhero movies can sometimes get unimaginative, but there was both humor and wit here. When our hero struts his new costume to protect his true identity, the movie spawns the single best line of any comic book superhero movie. From memory, it is, "I've known you for ten years. You think just because you've covered your cheekbones I won't recognize you?"

Which has been my point for many years about most superhero costumes.