Movies out today: big robots, life-altering decisions and costume drama

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Three new films hit South African cinemas today, although it’s clear that two won’t be threatening the third in terms of box office earnings.

Transformers: Age of Extinction:
Screening in 2D, 3D and 3D IMAX is this fourth entry in, and pseudo-reboot of, the big screen series centred on the Transformers toy line and offshoot media. Set four years after the events of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Age of Extinction sees the remaining Transformers hunted to near extinction. Autobot leader Optimus Prime and his surviving friends align with a single father (Mark Wahlberg) and his family against a Transformer bounty hunter, brutal CIA unit and an overly ambitious technology firm CEO (Stanley Tucci) who may have bitten off more than he can chew. Oh, yeah, and there are Dinobots this time too.

Once again directed by Michael Bay, Transformers: Age of Extinction looks to be more of the overblown blockbuster same – despite evidently going for a less goofy approach now that Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky is gone. At the time of writing this profile, the movie was sitting with an aggregated review score of 13% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Consensus is that it’s 165 minutes of excess: just noise, battles, special effects and brain aching stupidity from the messy script and weak characters.

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Locke:
Tom Hardy stars in this one-man-one-location thriller about a construction foreman, husband and father who receives a phone call, prompting a decision that will forever alter his life. The film focuses entirely on the title character over the course of one car ride as he juggles phone calls with important figures in his life.

This indie, gimmicky release won’t be for everyone. However, minimalist Locke has been called “riveting” and “unrelentingly emotionally intense.” Hardy evidently gives the greatest performance of his career (to date). 89% Fresh.

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Belle:
Your anti-Transformers is this costume drama and true story about Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate, mixed race daughter of a British officer in the 1700s. She is brought up as an aristocrat by the Lord Chief Justice of England (Tom Wilkinson), and despite facing many social obstacles, plays her part in the abolition of slavery. Also with Miranda Richardson, Matthew Goode and Emily Watson.

Belle is apparently a crowd-pleasing winner – sumptuous looking, warm and full of social commentary. A few reviewers have found it shallow and a unnecessarily warped version of a true story, however.

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Last Updated: June 27, 2014

Noelle Adams

Sometime Tomb Raider. Full-time Pop Culture fanatic and Geekaissance Woman. Most often spotted outputting Pop Culture opinion pieces, writing fanfic and original genre fare, cosplaying and bringing the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu smackdown. Editor of the Comics and Toys section.

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