Outtakes

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TRANSFORMERS (PG-13) Armageddon and Pearl Harbor director Michael Bay plays with the most expensive toys in the planet in this loud, destructive live-action version of the Hasbro properties. The plot, themes and characterization are laughable at best (except for Shia LaBeouf's ingratiating, steadying work in the leading "human" role), but the special effects extravaganza of giant robots whaling on each other is kind of awesome. 3 stars — Curt Holman

WAITRESS (PG-13) A slight and sweetly quirky affair, Waitress is an oddball fairy tale with a faintly naughty undertow. The movie's title refers to not one but three colorful women living lives of varying degrees of dissatisfaction while working in a curiously idealized dive called Joe's Pie Diner. The principal "pie genius" here is Jenna (Keri Russell), a pregnant backwoods beauty trying to figure a way out of her marriage to a bad-tempered jerk named Earl (Six Feet Under's Jeremy Sisto). The weirdo whimsy is sometimes a bit forced and it doesn't always fully mesh with the more "real" reality that periodically rears its head — but, at the risk of conjuring up tired old words like "bittersweet," it's quite a feat that director Adrienne Shelly manages to put a sunny and even silly face on material that might just have easily slipped into tragedy. Shelly's awkward characters and stylized cadences owe much to the skewered sensibilities of indie filmmakers like Hal Hartley and Jim Jarmusch, and the movie's connection with reality often seems so loose as to be a matter of convenience, a hook for the audience. Also stars Nathan Fillion, Adrienne Shelly, Cheryl Hines, Andy Griffith and Eddie Jemison. 3.5 stars

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