TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS – Review by Susan Granger

Secrets of synchronicity: Transformers: Rise of the Beasts once again lures fans back into theaters while the New York Times Business section lauds Silicon Valley’s highly anticipated new technology that would unite human and machine. Known as The Singularity, it envisions a self-aware superhuman machine that could design its own improvements faster than any group of scientists. That’s not what happens in the seventh movie in the family-friendly Transformers franchise, spawned by Hasbro action figures, but it’s not far off.

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TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is like an old car outfitted with some new accessories. The spoiler and the hubcaps change it up a bit, but it has the same chassis underneath. The seventh (!) film in an action franchise launched in 2007, Rise of the Beasts introduces some new characters (human and robot) who liven up things enough for the first half. Yet it ultimately devolves into a big smashing robot movie that’s so-so, with a final showdown that could have been avoided if a character behaved the way we’ve seen in other films.

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TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS – Review by Nadine Whitney

In 2007 Michael Bay brought Tomy/Hasbro’s Transformers toys to live action with Transformers. Although there had been a series of animations Bay’s film kickstarted the cinematic franchise and allowed it to devolve into complete dross by the time the last film came around in 2017. That’s not to say that Transformers was any kind of marvel; typically shot in the frenetic ‘Bayhem’ fashion, the film was also uncomfortably exploitative of Megan Fox’s body and Revenge of the Fallen doubled down on the particularly predatory male gaze. Travis Knight’s 2018 Bumblebee corrected Bay’s formula and was genuinely good as an action film with an emotional core. Now we have Steven Caple Jr.’s Rise of the Beasts which avoids Bay’s worst directorial instincts but doesn’t measure up to Bumblebee in terms of quality.

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JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – Review by Martha K Baker

There is nothing pretty about Judas and the Black Messiah. It is, of necessity, a very dark movie, dark in its setting and lighting, and dark in the horrible history of J. Edgar Hoover against Blacks in general and, here, Fred Hampton in particular. Hoover called first for Hampton’s jailing and then for his killing. At 21.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 3, 1018: NIGHT COMES ON

motw logo 1-35Brilliantly authentic performances and a poignant, timely story, make Jordana Spiro’s superb debut feature a powerful drama about pain, regret, purpose, and sisterhood. It is the coming of age of a young Black woman named Angel (Dominique Fishback) whose once happy childhood fell victim to drugs and violence, leaving her angry and alone.

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