Film Friday: ‘Transformers 2’ & ‘My Sister’s Keeper’

by W. Andrew Powell

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

Opening this week, Optimus Prime and his Autobots are back for more in the big-budget action adventure, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Also opening, two sisters face life bound together as one suffers from leukemia and the other is forced to donate a kidney to save her life in My Sister’s Keeper.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen [Also in IMAX]
Michael Bay’s massive Transformers sequel is hardly the type of film that needs more publicity. Anyone who wants to see Revenge of the Fallen probably knows more about the film than they need to, or has completely avoided anything that might spoil the film for them.

For anyone else, it’s safe to say that you probably know as much as you need to figure out that the plot definitely takes the back seat to the constant explosions, special effects, and Megan Fox’s curves.

The studio has also been incredibly vague about the film’s plot, making it tough to even say what the sequel is about.
All we know for sure is that most of the previous cast returns, including Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky and Fox, and a swarm of Decepticons are headed to Earth to conquer the planet as they also hunt for Sam. Meanwhile, Sam is having visions, seemingly brought on by the shard of the AllSpark that was left over from the battle in the last film, and he’s trying to figure out what they mean.

The only other hugely notable thing about the film is that it’s getting the kind of reviews reserved for Pauly Shore films. It is hardly the worst reviewed film of the year (that honour goes to Obsessed, so far) but for a film that’s bound to take in somewhere in the vicinity of $100 million by the weekend, it’s impressively poorly reviewed.

“Big, loud and definitely not clever, it’s a giant, lumbering idiot of a movie that, were it not for all the explosions, would send the most devoted action fans to sleep,” wrote David Edwards for the UK’s Daily Mirror.

On the other hand there are a few rare positive reviews that seem to recognize the film’s purpose.

“Revenge of the Fallen may be a massive overdose of popcorn greased with motor oil,” Owen Gleiberman wrote for Entertainment Weekly. “But it knows how to feed your inner 10-year-old’s appetite for destruction.”

My Sister’s Keeper
Switching gears completely, director Nick Cassavetes debuts his latest film, and it looks like he’s ready to push your teary buttons again.

Best known for directing The Notebook, Cassavetes’ latest is based on Jodi Picoult’s novel about two sisters who are tied together by love and sickness. Informed that their daughter suffers from a rare form of leukemia, two parents decide that they will have another child using in vitro fertilization, but specifically so that should their sick child ever need help, they will have a matched donor.

Over the years the two girls, played by Abigail Breslin and Sofia Vassilieva, constantly face the same turmoil where younger sister Anna is forced to help her older sister Kate. Life becomes more difficult for Anna however when Kate goes into renal failure and the first medical answer is that Anna will have to donate a kidney.

This is just too much for Anna though and seeking legal counsel she decides to sue her family for medical emancipation.

Featuring Cameron Diaz, Alec Baldwin, and Jason Patric, the film is sure to be a touching, emotional story about family and sisterly love. That is probably also the same reason it might be a little hoakey, but I’m not going to bash the film just because it happens to offer a touching tale.

Much like Transformers 2, My Sister’s Keeper is clearly aiming for a built-in audience, offering them everything they want with a two hour ride on an emotional rollercoaster.

At press time there were not very many reviews, but Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood Reporter wrote, “If you’re going to make a weepy [film], there’s no reason you can’t make it with intelligence and insight as the makers of My Sister’s Keeper have done.”

While John Hazelton of Screen International called the film “An awkwardly structured but warmly emotional and relatively unsentimental drama.”

Coming in July to theatres…

July 1
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
The usual suspects are back again for a third film. This time the prehistoric group are searching for Sid the Sloth who has gone missing in a strange underworld land filled with even stranger animals.

Public Enemies
With its cast of heavy-hitting actors, Public Enemies looks back at bank robber John Dillinger’s infamous time in the spotlight as J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI sought to bring him to justice. Johnny Depp plays the clever Dillinger, while Billy Crudup takes the role of Hoover and Christian Bale plays head agent Melvin Purvis.

July 10
Sacha Baron Cohen takes on America one more time as he slips into the role of an outrageous gay Austrian fashionista. At least partially filmed covertly, the new film is sure to cause an uproar, but it’s also bound to be one of the funniest, albeit raunchy, films of the summer.

July 15
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Lastly, one of the biggest movies of the year is sure to be the sixth film in the Harry Potter franchise, which has Harry learning about Voldemort’s past as he and Dumbledore try and discover the dark wizard’s plans. David Yates directs once more and the film opens in IMAX on July 31.

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