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Transformers: The Last Knight Review

Bad

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to define this franchise. The first film was solidly entertaining, but the sequels have been hit and miss. And this jarringly chaotic episode never finds its feet. Is it aimed at teen boys (robots hitting each other), young children (a random little girl in the cast) or action fans (Mark Wahlberg being heroic)? Meanwhile, the plot only barely connects a stream of wildly overblown set-pieces.

We find Wahlberg's mad inventor Cade now in hiding protecting the good Autobots, while government meathead Lennox (Josh Duhamel) chases the evil Decepticons. Somewhere in space, tentacled temptress Quintessa (Gemma Chan) has turned heroic Transformer Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) to the dark side, and now they're heading to suck the life out of Earth, as you do. Humanity's only hope is in a mysterious talisman Cade possesses and the staff of Merlin the magician (Stanley Tucci in an Arthurian prologue), which only Oxford professor Vivian (Laura Haddock) can wield. She's accompanied by dotty Sir Edmund (Anthony Hopkins), who helpfully explains the mythology with the assistance of robot butler Cogman (Jim Carter). Then everyone converges on Stonehenge for an epic battle.

To be fair, Bay does have an eye for spectacle, and the film looks properly amazing in Imax 3D, especially as Bay throws everything he can think of at the screen, including some adorable baby dinosaur robots, a submarine chase, various elements from Star Wars and Alien, and a military invasion that desperately wants to outdo Saving Private Ryan's opening scene. All of this is piled into a blender and edited together with absolutely no sense of logic or geography.

Continue reading: Transformers: The Last Knight Review

Ken Nolan - Ken Nolan, David Rosemont, and Kevin Zucker Monday 16th July 2007 at Majestic Crest Theater Los Angeles, California

Ken Nolan
Ken Nolan
Ken Nolan

Black Hawk Down Review


Terrible
"It's about the facelessness of war!" exclaimed a colleague. "The compositions are stunning, with action going on in the foreground and background. It's a dynamic and apocalyptic visual experience!" This, to me, is madness. Black Hawk Down has been mistaken, in its bloated self-importance, for being cinematically and politically relevant. Take away its timely guise of patriotism, and it's a real horror show, more about murder than military prowess. Without the morally repellant "kill 'em all" subtext (young white boys mowing down the savages), you're left with something merely incoherent.

Two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters go down in the mazelike streets of Mogadishu during a routine search-and-capture mission, leaving 100 G.I.'s stumbling around enemy territory with limited resources until the rescue Rangers show up. It's been oft-compared to having almost two full hours of Steven Spielberg's masterful 30-minute Omaha Beach sequence in Saving Private Ryan, which sounds good on paper only because Ryan suffered by following up its amazing visual prologue with a glut of character-driven monologues to invest personality within each soldier before he get killed. But Spielberg understood the basic precepts of documentary filmmaking: no matter how chaotic things got, we always understood where the soldiers were, and where they were going. Black Hawk Down, by removing exposition and cohesion, couldn't care less.

Continue reading: Black Hawk Down Review

Black Hawk Down Review


Terrible
"It's about the facelessness of war!" exclaimed a colleague. "The compositions are stunning, with action going on in the foreground and background. It's a dynamic and apocalyptic visual experience!" This, to me, is madness. Black Hawk Down has been mistaken, in its bloated self-importance, for being cinematically and politically relevant. Take away its timely guise of patriotism, and it's a real horror show, more about murder than military prowess. Without the morally repellant "kill 'em all" subtext (young white boys mowing down the savages), you're left with something merely incoherent.

Two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters go down in the mazelike streets of Mogadishu during a routine search-and-capture mission, leaving 100 G.I.'s stumbling around enemy territory with limited resources until the rescue Rangers show up. It's been oft-compared to having almost two full hours of Steven Spielberg's masterful 30-minute Omaha Beach sequence in Saving Private Ryan, which sounds good on paper only because Ryan suffered by following up its amazing visual prologue with a glut of character-driven monologues to invest personality within each soldier before he get killed. But Spielberg understood the basic precepts of documentary filmmaking: no matter how chaotic things got, we always understood where the soldiers were, and where they were going. Black Hawk Down, by removing exposition and cohesion, couldn't care less.

Continue reading: Black Hawk Down Review

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Ken Nolan Movies

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Black Hawk Down Movie Review

Black Hawk Down Movie Review

"It's about the facelessness of war!" exclaimed a colleague. "The compositions are stunning, with...

Black Hawk Down Movie Review

Black Hawk Down Movie Review

"It's about the facelessness of war!" exclaimed a colleague. "The compositions are stunning, with...

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