Ian Bryce

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Transformers: Age of Extinction Review


Grim

With each film in the Transformer saga, Michael Bay makes it clear that all he's interested in are massive metallic special effects bashing into each other and usually exploding. Because otherwise this is a vacuous thriller without any characters to speak of, no sense of plot coherence and an appallingly simplistic sense of geography. There's plenty in this franchise to enjoy (just watch the original 2007 film again), but Bay takes everything so seriously that only die-hard fans will have any fun this time.

The story picks up five years after the cataclysmic Transformers' battle in Chicago, as Texas inventor and overprotective single dad Cade (Mark Wahlberg) builds gadgets in his rural barn, oblivious to the fact that his 17-year-old daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) is secretly seeing 20-year-old Shane (Jack Reynor). Luckily, Shane is a race driver, so he's handy to have around when black ops agents commanded by shadowy CIA director Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) raid Cade's farm looking for an old truck that turns out to actually be Optimus Prime in hiding. This sparks a return to Chicago for more mayhem, followed by a hop to Beijing and Hong Kong, where Optimus Prime and a handful of remaining good-guy Autobots take on the villainous Lockdown. Helped of course by Cade, Tessa and Shane, plus billionaire inventor Joshua (Stanley Tucci).

The new gimmick this time is dinosaurs, building on a prologue showing the real reason they went extinct. This comes back in the climactic battle in the form of Dinobots, ancient Transformers that will have fanboys squirming in their seats with joy while everyone else yawns and looks at their watches, astounded that Bay has somehow managed to stretch this paper-thin story out over nearly three hours of metal-on-metal chaos. As in the earlier films, the action is quite literally cartoonish, purely animated mayhem that's not easy to decipher. At least the humans help keep it vaguely approachable, as they provide running commentary in their dialogue and bounce through the air like plastic action figures who never get hurt.

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European premiere of \Transformers 4 - Aera des Untergangs (Transformers: Age of Extinction)\

Taylor Bryce, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Alex Bryce and Ian Bryce - European premiere of Transformers 4 - Aera des Untergangs (Transformers: Age of Extinction) at Cinestar am Potsdamer Platz movie theater. - Berlin, Germany - Sunday 29th June 2014

Taylor Bryce, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Ian Bryce and Alex Bryce
Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Ian Bryce
Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Jack Reynor
Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Ian Bryce
Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Ian Bryce

Pain & Gain Review


OK

Spirited and very funny, this movie should actually be rather disturbing since it's a true story about torture and murder. But director Michael Bay is so slick with the action and comedy elements that he lulls audiences to sleep, entertaining us with events that really should send chills down our spines. So the movie feels rather tasteless when you begin to think about it.

Wahlberg stars as Daniel, an obsessive bodybuilder in 1990s Miami who works as a personal trainer at a local gym. But he's becoming increasingly annoyed by the fact that his clients are much wealthier than he is. So he convinces his steroid-addicted colleague Adrian (Mackie) to help him kidnap a customer (Shalhoub) and steal his fortune. Realising that they need some help, they enlist born-again ex-con Paul (Johnson) in their plan. But none of them is very smart, and the kidnapping goes badly wrong from the start. Still, they manage to steal quite a lot before a tenacious private detective (Harris) notices something isn't right.

For a story that deals with such intensely serious themes, this is an oddly broad comedy. Bay never even tries to find dark irony here; he just focusses on how stupid these criminals are, convinced that they are as cool as the characters from their favourite movies and eerily unbothered by the fact that they are inflicting pain and even death on people for their own greedy ends. The actors inhabit the roles with a disarming naivete, so we can't help but laugh at their idiotic actions. Wahlberg plays Daniel as a muscle-head so focussed on getting what he wants that he doesn't notice the carnage in his wake; Mackie at least gives Adrian a sense of self-doubt, plus some comical romance (with scene-stealer Wilson); and Johnson has a tricky role as a religious guy with a weakness for drugs and women.

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World War Z Review


OK

Starting as a clever Contagion-style investigative thriller, this fiercely paced apocalyptic adventure begins to fall apart early on when smart logic is jettisoned for the more visceral thrills of seeing Brad Pitt save the planet. Sadly, almost every major plot point makes no sense at all, and by the time the film reaches its corny finale, we can no longer suspend our disbelief. But at least it's packed with exciting set pieces that get our pulses racing.

It's set in the present day, as strange unrest breaks out around the world. And when the marauding hordes of undead arrive in Philadelphia, the Lane family barely escapes with their lives. Gerry (Pitt) is a former UN military officer who gets help from an ex-boss (Mokoena) to evacuate his wife (Enos) and children to the safety of an aircraft carrier off the coast. Then he's put to work on a globe-hopping mission to find the source of the infection, travelling first to ground zero in Korea, then to infection-free Israel and finally to a World Health centre in Wales. Along the way he picks up a sidekick in the form of feisty Israeli commando Segen (Kertesz).

The script is only ever interested in Gerry, so the filmmakers never bother deepening any other characters. There's some nice chemistry between Pitt and Kertesz, but she remains essentially irrelevant. As the film goes along, Pitt assumes the responsibilities of experts, soldiers and scientists, so he can singlehandedly solve the mystery. It's utterly preposterous, especially since he has to miraculously survive frequent zombie attacks that kill everyone else. And we won't speak of a shockingly ill-conceived plane crash, which removes what's left of the plot's credibility.

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Los Angeles Premiere of 'Pain & Gain' held at TCL Chinese Theatre - Arrivals

Ian Bryce - Los Angeles Premiere of 'Pain & Gain' held at TCL Chinese Theatre - Arrivals - Los Angeles, CA, United States - Tuesday 23rd April 2013

Picture - Atmosphere , Thursday 24th May 2012

Atmosphere and Ian Bryce Thursday 24th May 2012 World Premiere Of Universal Studios Hollywood's Transformers: The Ride-3D at Universal Studios Hollywood

Atmosphere and Ian Bryce

Picture - Ian Bryce , Thursday 24th May 2012

Ian Bryce Thursday 24th May 2012 World Premiere Of Universal Studios Hollywood's Transformers: The Ride-3D at Universal Studios Hollywood

Ian Bryce

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review


OK
With his usual disregard for story logic, Bay plunges us into another deafening metal-against-metal smackdown. Fortunately, this film is a lot more entertaining than Part 2, because it has a more linear plot. And it looks absolutely amazing.

With everything back to normal, Sam (LaBeouf) needs a job to impress his impossibly hot new girlfriend Carly (Huntington-Whiteley). Then strange things start happening around him. Again. And soon he realises that the Decepticons are back to wage war against the Autobot-human alliance. But he has to convince an arrogant government official (McDormand) to let him get involved with his old team (Duhamel, Gibson, Turturro and their Autobot buddies). All of this has something to do with a secret weapon that crashed onto the dark side of the moon in 1961, sparking the space race.

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Tranformers: Revenge of The Fallen Review


Grim
Michael Bay makes his loudest, most bombastic movie yet (which is saying a lot) with a bloated action sequel so packed with special effects that it's virtually a cartoon. The humans barely register on screen, but it does look pretty cool.

Two years after teenaged Sam (LaBeouf) helped the alien Autobots fight off the evil Decepticons, he's ready to leave for university and start a long-distance relationship with his hot girlfriend Mikaela (Fox). But the Fallen, the deposed Decepticon leader, has other plans. And since Sam is the key to reviving their destructive plan, he's sucked back into the chaos along with Mikaela, his parents (Dunn and White), his new roommate (Rodriguez) and ex-agent Simmons (Turturro). They suddenly find themselves in Egypt, where a massive battle's about to begin.

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Howard the Duck Review


Terrible
While fans and naysayers constantly complain about what he's done to a certain galaxy far, far away, few remember another beloved franchise that George Lucas adopted and then left for dead. In 1986, the writer/director/producer was riding high on the success of his Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Looking for new material to milk, he came across the beloved Marvel Comic character Howard the Duck. Hiring his buddies from American Graffiti, Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, Lucas hoped that he could jumpstart a new series starring the angry, angst-ridden anthropomorphized mallard. What he got instead was one of the worst big screen bungles ever -- and it's still quite bad some 22 years later.

When an experiment in laser beam research goes awry, a talking duck named Howard is whisked away from his home planet and down to Earth. Arriving in Cleveland, Ohio, he meets up with wannabe rock star Beverly Switzler (Lea Thompson), and the two form a fragile friendship. Howard wants to get back home, and his gal pal sets up a meeting with local scientist Phil Blumburtt (Tim Robbins). He in turn contacts Dr. Walter Jenning (Jeffrey Jones) who's in charge of the laser project. As Howard tries to adjust to his new surroundings, there's a bigger problem looming. Seems our avian hero is not the only "alien" contacted by the laser. The evil Dark Overlord of the Universe has been looking for a conduit for taking over the galaxy -- and the beam might just be the answer.

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Saving Private Ryan Review


Extraordinary
At this point, I don't know what I'd say about Saving Private Ryan, even if I hadn't liked it.

Undoubtedly this year's hype leader among "quality" pictures, Ryan hasn't garnered a word of bad buzz aside from the stern and dire warnings about its overwhelming violence content. It's no lie: Ryan may be one of the goriest films ever made - it will certainly be the goriest to ever win an Oscar (which will come in droves: I predict seven).

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The Island Review


OK
If you're going to clone someone, Scarlett Johansson is a damn good choice. But putting Scarlett in an action movie -- and dying her hair blonde? You can't be serious.

I am serious. And while The Island isn't exactly a great film, the case for Johansson as action starlet has been made, handily.

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Spider-Man Review


Excellent
If you aren't already sick to death of unyielding Spider-Man promotions for burgers, cellular phone plans, and the movie itself, you might just find the film a good time. Really good, in fact.

After a dozen or so years of fantastically bitter legal wrangling, Spider-Man has finally crawled to the big screen. For the uninitiated (and even for those of us who grew up with the comics but can't remember all the details), Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is the whipping boy of his New York high school. He's got a crush on the girl next door, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), and his best friend Harry (James Franco) is the son of the local millionaire/scientist Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe).

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Almost Famous Review


Excellent
When you enter into the world of entertainment journalism, you think it's the coolest thing in the world. Suddenly, doors are opened for you. You can get into movies free, or get books free, or get music free. You can meet directors or movie stars, see rock gods face to face, and get to ask Kurt Vonnegut that question that has burned in your gut for years. For some odd reason, people call you names. They call you evil and the enemy, but you really don't care. You just are thrilled to be there, be part of this intangible "it" known as celebrity.

And then it happens.

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Forces of Nature Review


Good
Any time you go to see a romantic comedy with big budget stars and a promo tagline like, "He went from the eye of the storm into the arms of a hurricane," you have to be a little scared. After all, for every When Harry Met Sally..., there are a dozen While You Were Sleeping's, and the worst part is that the bad ones always seem to make more money.

Surprisingly, my fears about sitting through Forces of Nature were unfounded and alleviated pretty quickly. Forces of Nature is basically Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, except that John Candy has been replaced with Sandra Bullock, Steve Martin is now Ben Affleck on his way to get married, and instead of hating his travelling companion, Ben is falling in love with her. With a set-up like this, you have to be especially worried, because Hollywood thrives on taking totally unrealistic premises and turning them into trite, sentimental, and naive romantic comedies with unrealistic happy endings. The reason this romantic comedy is pulled off, despite such an unrealistic premise though, is that the plot is actually somewhat darker an more honest than that of you typical popcorn movie. Additionally, the more unrealistic moments are played for laughs and not tears.

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Ian Bryce

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