Category Archives: Shia LeBeouf

Indy 4: The Ride


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, besides having three too many words in the title (“the Kingdom of” should be removed in my opinion), is more of a ride than a film. In fact, I suspect that someone, probably Disney or Universal, have one in the works already, but there’s really no need. The film is the ride. And trust me, it’s a better ride than a film.

We pick up with Indy in 1957, and we know it’s 1957 because we are hammered over the head with this fact several times. The rock ‘n’ roll, the atomic bomb tests, the Cold War and the McCarthyism of the time are beaten into us enough to make it a distraction more than a background. It seems to me that if George Lucas wanted to make a film about America in the 1950s he should have just done it and left Indiana Jones out of it. Of course, however, with our principal character, and the actor Harrison Ford, feeling and looking his age, the time really had to be some time in the 1950s.

The rest of the cast is really outshown by brunette Soviet psychic spy Cate Blanchett. She is more than suitably evil and engaging. The screen lights up when Cate’s on it – an excellent foil opposite Ford, who for the first time in years (maybe since the last Indy flick) isn’t playing wooden and unlikable on the screen. Oh, Karen Allen is back again too, John Hurt does his best catatonia and schizophrenia, and then there’s Shia LaBeouf, the homeless man’s Marlon Brando imitation. Sorry, for me he justs gets more annoying in every movie I see him in.

Storywise, what story there is, seems to indicate that George Lucas has been listening to far too much Coast to Coast AM. This shift in the Indiana Jones series from Christian mythology to crypto-mythology is especially jarring. For me, the mix of Indy with aliens is akin to mixing fudge and mayo. It ain’t pretty. This flick is a mix and match nightmare of the paranormal culture, throwing in such aspects as Roswell, Nasca, Eldorado, among others to tell Lucas’ tale of the crystal skulls.

That’s not to say that it’s all bad. There are interesting nods and winks to “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” and Star Wars, and we even catch a peek at the Ark of the Covenant in a loose end that could, if pressured by box office success, lead to a sequel. There are a few memorable lines, and a sweet ending, but in my opinion, this is the weakest of the series. Still, see the flick, and ride the ride – it’s still worth it.

The Heartbreak Kid and More

The Heartbreak Kid ~ I was unaware this was a remake of the 1972 classic until I saw the names Neil Simon and Bruce Jay Friedman in the credits – and I wish I hadn’t. If I had kept thinking this was just another Farrelly brothers cringe-fest I could have enjoyed it so much more rather than knowing they were destroying the memory of a great flick.

Now it’s not that Ben Stiller or the Brothers F don’t produce a good or amusing movie, it’s just that it pales considerably to the darker and more mature Simon comedy. And while I was suitably entertained, I couldn’t get behind Stiller’s character who comes off badly and lacking, well, character. Stiller is good as usual, but Michelle Monaghan and Malin Ackerman steal the show. This is definitely a guy’s chick flick, and worth the price of admission – as long as you haven’t seen the original.

Transformers ~ Now I’m a generation removed on this one. When the Transformers cartoon was on the air and the toys and comics were the rage, I was more concerned with stuff like college, work and yeah, girls. So I just like I just don’t get it when it comes to the robots who are ‘more than meets the eye.’ And I am definitely out of the loop with my younger friends who cried when they heard that Bumblebee would not be a Volkswagen. But I can live with that, they’ve all put up with my rants about why insert-any-superhero-movie-here sucks.

And so I walked into this one blind, not knowing the cast of characters, the backstory, anything really. It was all new and fresh, and bad. It’s really not that great, or sophisticated, a movie. And nearly not effort was put forth to differentiate one robot from another – I know I couldn’t. Perhaps a studied eye and someone well-versed in the mythos could, but not I. And this is a shame, considering how much was put into making the robots look realistic. They could have put the same detail into making them not look so alike.

There’s not all that much action, or serious robot-on-robot action sadly until the end, and that battle scene and chase scene is great – even though I didn’t know who was who. Great mecha action for fans of giant robots and kaiju eiga alike. Shia Le Bouf continues not to impress me and John Turturro was actually a surprise in this flick as a parody of a military baddie. Megan Fox is the highlight of the human cast, she’s definitely got a career ahead of her. All in all, fun eye candy for the last fifteen minutes, the rest fast forward through.

Down in the Valley ~ I have to say this has got one of the most impressive preview trailers I have seen in some time. The preview is definitely worth seeing. But once I got the film through Netflix… wow. Despite it having Ed Norton in the lead, one of my favorite actors, he overacts atrociously, and the film is just crap. Don’t see it. See the trailer below, and leave the rest to your imagination.

Heading Home ~ This is probably one of the earliest, if not the first, example of why sports heroes shouldn’t become actors. In this 1920 silent Babe Ruth plays himself in the ‘true life story’ of his early days. Quaint if inaccurate and amusing for the title cards that are written in weird colloquialisms of the time. Worth a watch if only to catch Ruth in his thin prime and to watch his facial expression unchanged throughout.