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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Friday’s openings: Bay ‘Transforms’ your weekend

Whenever I try to make a point about overstuffed, overhyped Hollywood product, I like to mention Michael Bay. As in, "Michael Bay has never met a special effect he wouldn't abuse." Or, "Michael Bay has a simple filmmaking formula: Bigger, louder, longer, worser." You get the point.

But — and there's always a but, right? — I was a sucker for the original "Transformers." The one with Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox and the parents played by Kevin Dunn and Julie White. To me it had the perfect blend of humor, excitement and EFX-laden action. Even so, Bay could never let things alone. So we had "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and, on Friday, "Transformers: Age of Extinction."

And each has been less funny, less personal and less enjoyable. Or, better, more intense, more action-oriented, more Baylike.

Anyway, that sets the tone for this weekend's releases, which are as follows:

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" (all formats, including IMAX 3D): Mark Wahlberg buys a truck that turns out to be Optimus Prime. What, didn't he check the CARFAX?

"Obvious Child": A 20-something comic finds herself pregnant and, at least for pop-movie purposes, makes an unusual decision. Not everyone's likely to laugh.

"For No Good Reason": A documentary about the artist Ralph Steadman, whose work is most associated with the late writer Hunter S. Thompson. Gonzo lives on.

And at the Magic Lantern? Spokane's alternative movie theater continues "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Fed Up," "Lucky Them" and "Ida." Look for "Snowpiercer" to open on July 4.