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Transformers 3 Set to Slaughter 2-D Field; Plus Terri, Aurora, Perfect Host, Uninspired Larry Crowne

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood July 1, 2011 at 5:35AM

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."
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Thompson on Hollywood


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."

Reviews, details and trailers below:

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.

Thompson on Hollywood

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."

Larry Crowne, Universal Pictures, USA [pictured] | Dir: Tom Hanks; Cast: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts | 36% Tomatometer | 41% Metacritic | ThePlaylist: "A Miscalculated, Muddled Rom-Com."

Crime After Crime, mTuckman Media, USA (Doc) | Dir: Yoav Potash | 91% Tomatometer | 70% Metacritic

Thompson on Hollywood


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."

This article is related to: Box Office, Franchises, Genres, Headliners, Independents, Video, Reviews, Weekend Preview, Media, Summer, Transformers, Drama, Documentaries, comedy, Action, Foreign, Julia Roberts, Trailers


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.