Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, in all its 3-D glory, is going to score huge and remind us that good acting doesn’t always accompany box office success. The visual payoff, especially in IMAX 3-D, is worth the ticket price, and reinstates 3-D as a positive cinematic achievement after months of disappointments. One critic speculates: “One gets the feeling that if [director Michael] Bay could stop including people in his films altogether we’d all have a much better time with this franchise.” Tom Hanks’ adult-targeted counterprogrammer Larry Crowne, despite having America’s Sweetheart (Julia Roberts) and America’s Other Sweetheart (Hanks himself), is having a hard time convincing anyone it’s worthwhile. The WSJ’s John Anderson says: “You wonder who thought any of this was funny.”
J. Hoberman of the Village Voice says Azazel Jacobs’ coming-of-age indie Terri has a spirited cast, and “the premise is honest, and the direction is sufficiently skillful to obscure most of the platitudes inherent in the material.”
Aurora, the Romanian drama-mystery-thriller from director Cristi Puiu that premiered at Cannes 2010 is “a quiet, steady burn filled with stretches of unsettlingly reverberant silence cleaved in half by a midpoint eruption of violence. Here there is before, and then there is after,” says NYT’s Manohla Dargis.
If 3-D robots, rom-coms, coming-of-age indies and foreign dramas aren’t your thing, there’s also doc Crime after Crime, horror flick The Perfect Host and Monte Carlo, described by Todd McCarthy as “a less-than-bubbly teen comic romp aimed at little princesses,” which Variety’s Lael Loewenstein declares “a frothy, innocuous smorgasbord of girlhood wish fulfillment that scores a direct hit with its target demo.” Far be it from us to stop you from that 109 minutes of joy.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Paramount, USA | Dir: Michael Bay; Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Patrick Dempsey | 37% Tomatometer | 42% Metacritic | TOH! Review Round-up: 3-D Action Porn | TOH! Box Office Analysis | ThePlaylist: “Rewards With 40 Min. Of Great Action After An Asinine Story.”
Aurora, The Cinema Guild, ROMANIA [pictured] | Dir: Cristi Puiu; Cast: Cristi Puiu, Valentin Popescu, Clara Voda, Catrinel Dumitrescu, Linimita Gheorghiu | indieWIRE | 71% Tomatometer | 66% Metacritic
Terri, ATO Pictures, USA | Dir: Azazel Jacobs; Cast: John. C. Reilly, Jacob Wysocki, Bridger Zadina, Creed Bratton, Olivia Crocicchia | indieWIRE | 81% Tomatometer | 75% Metacritic | ThePlaylist: “Another Enjoyable But Slight Coming-Of-Age Indie.”
The Perfect Host, Magnolia Pictures, USA | Dir: Nick Tomnay; Cast: David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford, Helen Reddy, Nathaniel Parker, Meghan Perry | indieWIRE | 40% Tomatometer | 47% Metacritic | indieWIRE: “[It] only pretend to take the plot in new directions. In reality, each new twist is perfectly derivative, which leads to a host of problems.”
Monte Carlo, Fox 2000, USA | Dir: Thomas Bezucha; Cast: Selena Gomez, Katie Cassidy, Leighton Meester, Cory Monteith | 42% Tomatometer | 42% Metacritic | TOH!: “…shoving annoying teenage girls (and celebs playing caricatures of stereotypes they represent) down our throats.”