Transformers: Age Of Extinction
Worst Case Scenario: Believe it or not, there was a moment when some otherwise smart people convinced the rest of us that there was a five minute chunk of watchable footage in any of the Transformers movies. Michael Bay is a man with a world of talent, vision and leadership skills, and everything about his handling of film sets suggests a near-savant level of understanding of scale, logistics and visuals. And boy, does he make some terrible movies. Nonetheless, Bay is an artisan of sorts, and it would be foolish to bury his craft, particularly considering his body of work. However, the Transformers movies seem to bring out the worst in him, these movies embracing the claptrap excess of every bad CGI blockbuster ever made. Have you ever watched one of these movies at someone’s house with one of those elaborate personal soundsystems? It’s like a robot repeatedly farting in your ear. Bay turned this harmless toy-commercial-disguised-as-kiddie-franchise and turned it into a hard-PG-13 orgy of violence, sexism, racism, and incoherence. And somehow, we’re all being expected to pay for the same thing a fourth straight time. There’s a reason that old saying never gets to, "Fool me four times, shame on…"

Best Case Scenario: Shia LaBeouf is off on some Method Acting walkabout, leaving the heavy lifting to the duo of Mark Wahlberg and Jack Reynor. Wahlberg is coming off one of his best-ever performances, in Bay’s Pain And Gain, and Reynor is one of the industry’s most promising young actors. LaBeouf’s repetitive Sam Witwicky was headed towards Tourette’s territory by the end of the third film, so maybe a tolerable human nucleus will make these films slightly more tolerable.

Release Date: June 27

I, Frankenstein
Worst Case Scenario: What’s more amusing: to see people watch the trailer for this RIDICULOUS-looking new movie? Or to watch them absolutely lose it when the goofy title, I FRANKENSTEIN, pops onscreen? This ludicrous trifle pits Frankenstein’s monster (or just… Frankenstein?) against hordes of other villains in an absurd monster mash from the writer of the Underworld films. Underworld is basically what they’re going for here, or at least Legion, with the early year release date, the silly effects and the various CGI-ghoulies. It seemed like we all heard the verdict on Aaron Eckhart’s career as a blockbuster leading man with Battle: Los Angeles, but to his credit, it looks like since that film, he’s done some solid ab work. Good job, Aaron.

Best Case Scenario: This is being directed by Stuart Beattie, a screenwriting vet who made his directorial debut a couple of years ago on the Aussie actioner Tomorrow, When The War Began. It wasn’t great, but it had a definite polish that came from someone who knew the world of blockbusters intimately. Also, that trailer… it’s just so terrible that it just might work. The combination of the howler dialogue, the rubbery CGI and the dopey theatrics like a 3D slow-motion flying Frankenstein punch just might be the right mix of idiotic and sublime.

Release Date: January 24

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