MOVIES & BOOZE: Heading to the cinema this weekend?

Movie critic Esther McCarthy reviews Transformers and Hampstead

Transformers: The Last Knight (12A) *

The latest blockbuster in the series based on Hasbro toys lumbers through its batty and largely incoherent storyline over a period of two and a half hours. 

Mark Walhberg returns (he’s said this is his last Transformers movie ) as Cade Yeager, the man who present the good Autobots from human annihilation by hiding them in the desert. After all, there’s a military group (led by Josh Duhamel) which has been specifically tasked with wiping out every Transformer on the planet. 

He joins forces with an intelligent university professor, Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock), to help prevent both the wipeout at the hands of humans and the nasty impending advance of the baddie Transformers, the Decepticons. 

Optimus Prime has joined their ranks having been ruled by the evil Quintessa, who’s planning another assault on earth. 

The plot lines are vast and confusing. We meet a new character, a teenage girl named Izabella, who has been fending for herself and has a special connection with the Transformers. But it gets really nutty when we learn that they were central to the events of the myth of King Arthur, and were even involved in World War II, in a plot line that’s never pulled together effectively. A loud incoherent mess. 


Hampstead (12A) ***

Brendan Gleeson and Diane Keaton make for good company in the light but charming Hampstead, a romantic drama based very loosely on a true story. 

Emily (Keaton) is a quirky, widowed woman struggling to hold on to her flat  -  and maintain her friendships with her wealthier circle of friends  -  in the fashionable corner of London. 

Peering out of her attic one day, she spots a local self-sufficient recluse (Gleeson) trying to deal with a spot of bother outside the shack he calls home. 

She calls the police and checks in with him the next day, but this independent man with an unconventional life has little interest in getting to know the woman he assumes to be just another upmarket female. 

As the movie develops, it emerges they both have more in common than they think, and they form a friendship that could become more, if both of them could overcome their prejudices and expectations. Keaton and Gleeson make nice foils for each other and are as good as they always are.