Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

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Famed archaeologist/adventurer Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones is called back into action when he becomes entangled in a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind mysterious artifacts known as the Crystal Skulls. (IMDb)
A classic straightaway action sequence is followed by a great plot set-up that introduces an enjoyable new sidekick (LaBeouf’s greaser) while offering some rambunctious initial fun (see the bar escape; motorcycle chase; Ford’s library one-liner) in a glossed-up 50s Americana setting. The adventure only gets amped up from there, but obvious CGI often brings it down (see the jungle sequence), and the increasingly ridiculous sci-fi plot certainly doesn’t help matters. Still an entertaining watch.
7/10 (Good)

The Company You Keep (2012)

A former Weather Underground activist goes on the run from a journalist who has discovered his identity. (IMDb)

A stacked cast does not disappoint here; LaBeouf is particularly electric as the savvy journalist uncovering for us a fascinating web of former radicals still on the lamb. The past-present element is compelling and produces a refreshingly old and textured cast of characters, while the cat-and-mouse game is exciting without resorting to cheap action. The underlying themes of truth and justice aren’t given quite enough oomph but the movie remains an engaging thriller that looks great to boot.

8.2/10

#2 on my Top 10 Most Underrated Films list

Holes (2003)

A wrongfully convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp where he joins the job of digging holes for some mysterious reason. (IMDb)

An already unique premise here is given a delicious second layer of back-story that pops up in the current tale in a peppering of delightful past-present parallels and fulfilled prophecies that work well with the bleak but intriguing desert setting. LaBeouf’s hard-luck Stanley, meanwhile, leads an enjoyable cast of characters that includes a loveable gang of misfit adolescents and three wonderfully nasty bad guys, bringing some heart to this immensely satisfying mystery story.

7.2/10