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Robots with spark and a pop star who’s dead inside

This week has something out for the kids, and those who were kids in the '80s and '90s, and something for adults with are entertained by the antics of sleazy, decadent, broken people. “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” opened in cinemas Wednesday, and the much talked about “The Idol” began its run on HBO.

Mirage (Pete Davidson) and Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos) bond in this installment of the ‘Transformers’ franchise.
Mirage (Pete Davidson) and Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos) bond in this installment of the 'Transformers' franchise.

“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” now introduces the Maximals from the 1990's Transformers animated series: “Beast Wars.” Optimus Prime, Bumble Bee, Arcee and Mirage, with the participation of Stratosphere, team up with Airazor (a peregrine falcon voiced by Michelle Yeoh), Cheetor, Rhinox and Optimus Primal, and two humans, Noah (Anthony Ramos) and Elena (Dominique Fishback). Their goal—to prevent the Transwarp Key from getting into the hands of the Terrorcon, Scourge (Peter Dinklage). Got that?

The movie is set in 1994 and moves from Brooklyn to Peru and outer space. And it's got a great hip-hop soundtrack from the era with music from Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, LL Cool J and Notorious B.I.G.

It's light like Saturday morning cartoons back in the day. It's got comedy, a family angle, action and clever, lovable, noble robots fighting bad robots. My six-year-old godson loved it. This one is directed by Steven Caple, Jr. (“Creed 2”); Michael Bay stopped directing for the franchise after 2017.

“Succession” has vacated the Sunday night prime time slot (in the US) on HBO, and now we have “The Idol” in its place. The opening scene of the pilot shows Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) wearing a provocative red kimono in the middle of a pictorial; you wonder whether she's really in the moment, faking it all for the money and comfort or if she's just dead inside. She's surrounded by a team of handlers / minders / managers / assistants / PR people all arguing, and there's some comedy there, showing a mostly unflattering side to people dealing with the artifice of the entertainment industry. A big quarrel breaks out over her bare breasts in the pictorial and over a leaked photo online, which her 14-year-old fans are better off not seeing.

It takes a strange turn midway through the episode when she decides to go to a club and meets Tedros (Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd), who successfully flirts with her and gets her to make out with him right away. The Weeknd has all these hits, but can he act? Then again, he is the co-creator and executive producer of the show. Tedros ends up holding some sway over Jocelyn in the coming episodes.

“The Idol” actually had to switch directors from Amy Seimetz to “Euphoria's” Sam Levinson. It seems Seimetz's vision ended up clashing with The Weeknd's. I am curious as to what she had in mind.

I don't mind these broken/messed up/morally bankrupt characters, but as in life, you have to throw in some fun, wickedly witty ones with keen observations too. I haven't seen anyone like Tyrion Lannister on an HBO show. How I miss him.

*****
Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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