October 23, 2009 in Features

Latest ‘Transformers’ marked by special defects

Washington Post
 
Paramount Pictures photo

Twin robots are shown in a scene from “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” Paramount Pictures
(Full-size photo)

Coming up

Among upcoming DVD releases (schedule subject to change):

•Tuesday: “Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” “Orphan”

•Nov. 3: “Aliens in the Attic,” “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” “Not Forgotten,” “I Love You, Beth Cooper,” “White Christmas: Anniversary Edition”

•Nov. 10: “Monsters, Inc.,” “Spread,” “The Ugly Truth”

•Nov. 17: “Bruno,” “My Sister’s Keeper,” “The Open Road”

‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’

There’s so much swirling, relentless action, indistinct robot characterizations and over-caffeinated techies loose on the special-effects machines that this film, in mere seconds, achieves incoherence.

Since the absence of the “Allspark” life force has made the Autobots’ planet uninhabitable, they’ve moved in with us like unemployed relatives and have been working with the U.S. military to find rogue Decepticons and to keep the world safe. But not for long: The ancient origins of the Autobots and evil Decepticons will come to the fore.

Shia LaBeouf (Sam) and Megan Fox (Mikaela) are back, of course, but director Michael Bay, executive producer Steven Spielberg and the rest of their co-conspirators have relegated humans to the props department. (2:30; PG-13 for sexual content, vulgarity, intense action, crude humor and drug content)

‘Cheri’

A radiant Michelle Pfeiffer is Lea, a courtesan well schooled in pleasure and the politics of the personal, who is approaching that point where she will age out of her profession (any parallels to Hollywood are no doubt intentional).

With Kathy Bates, playing Lea’s friend and colleague Madame Peloux, Pfeiffer wends her way through screenwriter Christopher Hampton’s insouciant banter with decadent assurance and an eye on the clock – which may be why Lea adopts as her project, and her lover, Cheri (Rupert Friend), Madame Peloux’s son and a candidate for early debauchery.

What begins as a lark turns into love. And what began as a frothy period piece becomes a meditation on age and passion. (1:40; R for sexual content and drug use)

Also available: “BlackAdder Remastered: The Ultimate Edition,” “Blood: The Last Vampire,” “Fawlty Towers Remastered Special Edition,” “I Am Because We Are,” “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show: The Complete Series,” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Those Aren’t Pillows Edition,” “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live,” “The Transformers 25th Anniversary ‘Matrix of Leadership’ Collector’s Set,” “William Castle Film Collection,” “Wings of Desire: Criterion Collection”

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