Tag Archive | "Michael Bay"

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First Trailer For Michael Bay-Produced TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Posted on 27 March 2014 by Rich Drees

TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles

Paramount has released the first trailer for their new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film and it has me scratching my head. ON one hand, it has all the dark, serious grittiness that producer Michael Bay wants to infuse his films with yet it does end with a comic beat that seems a bit incongruous with most of the preceding minute of footage. I am not exactly sure what audience Battle: LA director Jonathan Liebesman is striving to reach based on what we’re seeing here. Is it a more sophisticated take for older fans who grew up with the original Turtle movies/comics/cartoons from the 1980s and 1990s or is it for their children, a new generation of potential fans?

Hopefully we’ll find out more as it gets closer to the film’s August 8th premier.

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Michael Bay Sells Secret Project To Paramount

Posted on 18 March 2014 by Rich Drees

MichaelBay

Paramount has picked up an untitled project from Transformers franchise director Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes production shingle.

Story details for the project are being held close to the vest but the Hollywood Reporter is stating that it is “a real science adventure thriller with an undersea component.” I would hazard a guess that there will probably be numerous large explosions too.

The screenplay is being worked on by Tom Wheeler and Robbie Thompson. Wheeler has previously co-written 2011’s animated Puss In Boots and created the short-lived superhero series The Cape for NBC while Thompson served as The Cape‘s story editor before moving on to the series Supernatural.

Currently Bay is only serving as a producer for the project, though it is not ruled out that he could direct.

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Marvel Vetting Directors, Writers For DOCTOR STRANGE

Posted on 21 February 2014 by William Gatevackes

dr_strangeIn recent years, surely as a sign of the studio’s growth in stature and faith in its creative leanings, Marvel has gotten away from known directors for its projects (such as Jon Favreau on Iron Man, Edgar Wright on Ant-Man, and Kenneth Branagh on Thor) to more little known or unproven ones (The Russo Brothers on Captain America: Winter Soldier, Alan Taylor on Thor: The Dark World, and Shane Black on Iron Man 3). And it looks like that trend will continue on its latest offering.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog states that Marvel is in the process of vetting director and writers to tackle the awesome task of bringing Doctor Strange to the big screen. They are said to be looking for writer/directors first, but will be willing to pair compatible writers and directors together.

On the director side, four names are mentioned, all with experience on the writing side of the business as well:

  • Mark Andrews: A Pixar veteran (said to be Brad Bird’s right hand man), who was brought in to replace Brenda Chapman as writer and director on Brave (he is credited as co-director on the film).
  • Nikolaj Arcel: A Danish filmmaker with four films he wrote and directed in his native Denmark (King’s Game, Island of Lost Souls, Truth About Men, A Royal Affair). He has no American films to his credit yet, although he has begun work as writer/director of the adaptation of Don Winslow book The Power of the Dog. His attachment to Doctor Strange has already brought rumors that he will bring fellow Dane Mads Mikkelson in as Stephen Strange, a move I am completely down with.
  • Dean Israelite: The closest thing to a true unknown here (his sparse IMDB page lists only a number of short subjects he wrote and directed on his resume). He did recently complete his feature debut, the Michael Bay produced Welcome to Yesterday. The film was originally scheduled to come out next Friday, but was postponed indefinitely. There are two schools of though on the Internet about this, both good (that the film test so well they are looking  for a summer or fall release) and bad (it’s delayed so Bay can go in and work it over. And if Bay is stepping because your film has problems, your film has problems).
  • Jonathan Levine: He is the writer/director of the critically acclaimed Indie, The Wackness, and the exceptionally good Zom-Rom-Com, Warm Bodies. He has also directed All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and 50/50.

On the purely writer side, Glen Berger and Jon Aibel, known for their work on Monsters vs Aliens, the Kung Fu Panda films, and, ugh, the Alvin and the Chipmunks sequels in the lead to pen the screenplay if Marvel chooses to go the separate writer/director route.

What this all means, of course, is that Marvel is restarting the project from scratch and the previous take on the script by  Joshua Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly has most likely been scrapped. This also means that the likelihood of Doctor Strange being part of Marvel’s film slate in the near future is almost nil. The film, if it ever appears, most likely won’t appear until Phase IV or Phase V. Keep that in mind when you hear the next round of casting rumors.

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Super Bowl Trailer: TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION Features Dinobots!

Posted on 02 February 2014 by Rich Drees

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We’ve just gotten our first look at MIchael Bay’s Transformers: Age Of Extinction and for a film that has been under a pretty heavy media blackout through its production, they are certainly giving up a lot of elements from the film all at once, most specifically the appearance of the Dinobots.

Shia who?

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New Releases: April 26, 2013

Posted on 26 April 2013 by William Gatevackes

pain-and-gain-poster1. Pain & Gain (Paramount, 3,277 Theaters, 130 Minutes, Rated R): My first thought on how to approach writing the blurb for this film was how awkward a fit Michael Bay was for directing this film. After all, the ads portray it as a wacky crime comedy about a group of bungling bodybuilders who engage in an extortion plot as revenge against a particularly obnoxious client. That is almost a story that Elmore Leonard would write. It was a film that would be better suited being directed by a Barry Sonnenfeld or a Steven Soderbergh, not the master of the explosion.

Then, thanks to the Internet, I was able to read the articles that inspired the film. You can read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 by clicking those links. If you have enough time, I’d recommend you do so. You’ll find a fascinating retelling of the true story that is being dramatized on the screen. What you won’t find is a wacky comedy. Yes, there is bungling. But there is also brutal, inhuman torture of the character Tony Shalhoub represents. There is also a second crime done by the same crew that ends in the murder of two people and their corpses being cut up and sunk in a culvert. The victims of the second crime are listed on IMDB in the cast listing, so that gruesome crime will be addressed in the film.

The true story the poster takes so much pride in stating it is adapted from doesn’t seem like the buoyant fun-filled romp that the trailers make it out to be.  That means one of several things. It could mean that Paramount is misrepresenting the film as a goofy comedy instead of a pitch-black comedy/drama the real story would be. This kind of bait and switch is always unctuous.

Or it could be that the Hollywood has taken liberties with the story so it is now a wacky crime caper. This is likely, because Dwayne Johnson’s character appears to be a composite of numerous other accomplices of the Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Mackie characters.

Either way, this is an event where people died. People who were loved and respected by their friends and family were brutally murdered and the bodies underwent the ultimate disrespect after their demise. And while some of the incompetence about the muscle-headed plotters can lend itself to dark humor, you need a master of setting a tone to ensure the film stays respectful to the victims. And Michael Bay is anything but a master of setting the tone, unless it is coming from loud explosions.

the-big-wedding-movie-poster2. The Big Wedding (Lionsgate, 2,633 Theaters, 90 Minutes, Rated R): You know, you don’t often get casts like this one in your remake of a French farce. I mean, you have four Oscar winners, and Prince Caspian! How could you lose!

This is a remake of France’s 2006 film, Mon Frère Se Marie. The plot consists of a family whose adopted son is getting married. The son has been writing home to his biological mother, a devout Catholic, about the wonderful family he was raised in. Only problem is that the story is a lie. His parents are divorced, his siblings are crazy, and his life is anything but perfect. But his birth mother is coming to the ceremony so the man’s family has to pretend to live up to the idealized version he relayed to his mom.

Now, right off the bat, I can pick a bone about the premise. Not that I am one to judge, but I think a Catholic who got pregnant out of wedlock and gave her son up for adoption should be able to cut a divorced couple a little slack. And the semantics of the son’s lie is troubling for me. Why would he have to address his family life in any sort of detail? And if he did, couldn’t he find something positive about his family to relate? In other words, why did he lie when he could have just not admitted the whole truth?

Anyway, farces usually have plots that work best if you don’t think about them. And this all-star cast could make anything good. Might be a fun film if you just take it at face value and run with the concept.

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Irish Actor Jack Reynor Cast In TRANSFORMERS 4

Posted on 08 January 2013 by Rich Drees

JackReynorDirector Michael Bay has cast Irish actor Jack Reynor to appear opposite Mark Wahlberg in the next installment of the ongoing Transformers franchise.

Apparently, Bay liked Reynor’s Horatio Alger story and says so in the announcement he made on his website

I just hired a great new actor for Transformers 4 to star against Mark Wahlberg. Jack Reynor, he is an Irish kid that came to America with 30 bucks in his pocket. Pretty ballsy. Seriously who does that? Anyway I spotted him in a great little Irish movie WHAT RICHARD DID. This kid is the real deal.

Bay also takes the time to address the rumor that the new film might be a reboot of the franchise –

Transformers 4, is not a reboot. That word has been floating around on the net.

This movie takes place exactly 4 years after the war in Chicago. The story makes a very natural transition, and reason as to why we have a whole new cast. This Transformers will feel very different than the last three. We are embarking on a new trilogy.

Transformers 4 is scheduled for a June 27, 2014 release.

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Bay Confirms TRANSFORNMERS 4 Takes Place 4 Years After Trilogy

Posted on 12 November 2012 by Rich Drees

As Michael Bay’s Transformers 4 gets ready to shoot next spring, we’re going to be spending the winter hearing lots more about the project. It has already been announced that Mark Wahlberg will be leading up the human cast for the film, and now Michael Bay has given an indication of when the film will fall in relationship to the past three films.

The movie is going to continue 4 years on from the attack on Chicago which was in the last movie. So it’s going still to have the same lineage but going in a full, new, different direction and it actually feels really natural how it is going in that direction.

The folks at Bleeding Cool, who braved the original TMZ Live show for the quote, hazard a guess that perhaps there may be some ‘post 9/11’ subtext in the film. But let’s be real about that. As a filmmaker, the last word I think anyone would label Michael Bay with is subtext. As it is, his films barely have any text, little alone subtext.

That’s not to say that a big science-fiction adventure film couldn’t have some deeper meaning than just two hours of visceral thrills. Cloverfield does that quite well as post-9/11 reworking of the original Godzilla story.

We’ll see what, if any, relevance this will have on the story as we get closer to Transformers 4 summer 2014 release.

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Hollywood’s New Kind Of Originality

Posted on 15 May 2012 by William Gatevackes

A film called Dark Shadows opened last week. It shares the same name and a number of characters with a cult soap opera from the late 60s, early 70s. Both feature time-tossed vampires who join their descendants 200 years in the future. However, the film plays the story as a wacky fish-out-of-water comedy while the soap opera, which was campy because, well, it was a soap opera with a production budget of $5, portrayed the story as a somber Gothic romance.

This week, Battleship opens. It shares its name with a Milton-Bradley board game that was first introduced in 1943. The game is advertised as a game of naval strategy where players try to sink each others armadas first by guessing location of ships on a grid. The film, which was based on the game, features the U.S. Navy combating a sea-based alien invasion force.

Now, this won’t be the kind of post that criticizes Hollywood for their lack of originality. Hollywood has always adapted  works from other media for the screen. That is not necessarily a bad thing. To prove my point, let’s take a look at the Top 10 films on the 2007 version of AFI’s “100 Years…100 Movies” list.

Now, you can argue semantics about this list all night–this film should be higher, that one lower, this film included, that one not–but we can pretty much all agree that these are great films. What do we see here? We have five films based on novels or plays (The Godfather, Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, Vertigo, and The Wizard of Oz), four films based on or inspired by the lives of real people (Raging Bull, Lawrence of Arabia, Schindler’s List and Citizen Kane, which was a fictionalized account of William Randolph Hearst’s life) and one inspired by Hollywood’s history (Singin’ in the Rain). Not one wholly original, but great films nonetheless.

But those were adaptations done right. Unfortunately, Hollywood has the nasty habit of wanting to put their own stamp on properties they adapt, usually with not-so-good results. And Dark Shadows and Battleship take this habit to a dangerous and puzzling new level.

Now, I’m not naive as to think that every original work should be adapted to the screen with no changes. I realize that it would be impossible for eight seasons of a TV series, 300 pages of a novel, or 200 issues of a comic book to be squeezed into one two-hour movie. But doing a good adaptation means keeping the stuff that works, keeping the same tone and characterization, and if you are going to change anything, change it to the better. The problem lies in the fact that the film studios definition of better doesn’t really end up as being better.

This problem, unfortunately, is nothing new. Studios have been making changes to classic works from other medium for decades. Whether it be modern literature, like The Bonfire of the Vanities (Does the journalist need to be British? Why can’t it be Bruce Willis? And does Sherman McCoy have to be such a erudite jerk? Why can’t he be nice, like Tom Hanks? And why have spot-on, social satire? Wouldn’t broad comedy be better?), classic literature like The Scarlet Letter (You know what would make kids pay more attention to the book in school? If Hester diddled herself in the tub.), comic books like Jonah Hex (What? The character is basically the cowboy antihero archetype that led Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson to stardom? That will never work in films. Give him superpowers, have him stop an anacronistic weapon of mass destruction, and, please, make it campy), or video games, like Super Mario Brothers (You know who the best actors to play a pair of Italian plumbers would be? An British Cockney and a Latino American! And Dennis Hopper playing their turtle nemesis! It’s like printing money!), more than one film adaptation was ruined by studio’s “improvement.” But Dark Shadows and Battleship take these kind of changes to an entirely new, and dangerous level.

Dark Shadows is the latest example of a film trying to present a property that is loved by a large, cult audience while having the studio, or, in this case, the director put their own stamp on the project. But what it really is just an unnecessary form of this type of marketing.

While I don’t deny that Dark Shadows does have a following, the fans of the show are not exactly in the 18-35 demographic that make films a hit. It was before my time and I’m way out of that demographic.

And, really? Do you need help marketing a movie where Tim Burton directs Johnny Depp again? You could have kept the fish out of water/man out of time plot, you could have even kept the main character a vampire,  you could have kept the premise the same and not have it tie into Dark Shadows at all and people would most likely still have come to see it.

The real reason that the film is called Dark Shadows is because Tim Burton was a fan of the series and wanted to do his own take on it, a take even he knew that fans of the TV show wouldn’t like. I’m sure Burton probably sold the idea to studios using the TV shows built in fan base. But this was Burton co-opting an existing property for his own use when he could have, and should have, created something original that would have still allowed him to say what he wanted to say. Dark Shadows fans have a right to be upset.

The case with Battleship is even more absurd. It’s not really a case of an adaptation being screwed up by Hollywood, because, really, if there was any way to adapt that particular board game, it would probably an even worse film than this one.

One of the producers of this film is Hasbro, the toy company that bought out Milton Bradley and owns the rights to G.I. Joe, Transformers and, you guessed it, Battleship (And Candy Land, which also has a film in the works). What happened was that Hasbro saw how much money they could make on films with the first two properties, so they decided to make a film out of every piece of intellectual property they own, whether making it into a film made sense or not. Personally, I cannot wait for Easy-Bake Oven: The Movie.

Battleship, like Dark Shadows, is a film that could have been released under another name and still do probably the same amount of business. Also, like Dark Shadows, the demographic of the source material will probably not follow it to the big screen even it was an exact representation of the game. What we have here is a generic alien invasion flick with the twist that the invasion takes place at sea.

Yes, rumor has it that there will be a scene in the film that mimics the gameplay of the original game, and I’m fairly certain that at some point in the film we will see a character, most likely Liam Neeson’s, pull a pair of binoculars away from their faces, squint off into a point just past where the camera was placed, and utter with grim, steely reserve, “They sank my battleship” (or some variation there of). But other than that, the film could have been called Aliens At Sea and it would not have made a bit of difference, except that it would have been mocked slightly less in the press.

So this is what the state of the film adaptation is today. The source material is reduced to a name only, a name Hollywood can use to practice a new kind of originality. The names become tools for directors to work out the issues they had with the original source or companies to earn a quick buck from their intellectual property in by any means necessary. Hollywood has always been accused of not caring about the books, TV shows and comics they adapt. At least now, they are being honest about it. And they get to have the best of both worlds–a film with a recognizable public image that is an “original” creation by the Hollywood establishment.

Unfortunately, this trend will not stop here. By now we should all be familiar Michael Bay’s Ninja Turtles, which every one from Bay to co-creator Kevin Eastman have promised fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would deliver “everything that made [them] become fans in the first place.” Everything except the characters being Teenagers (they will be a bit older) or Mutants (they’re aliens). They couch these changes as “building a richer world,” as if the world that made the Turtles a pop culture phenomenon for thirty years wasn’t rich enough.

And you thought Demi Moore writhing in a bathtub was bad.

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New TRANSFORNERS Being Written, No Shia LaBeouf

Posted on 26 April 2012 by Rich Drees

Michael Bay vowed that he would never return to the Transformers franchise after completing the third film and yet he is signed on for the currently in development fourth installment. Might star Shia LaBeouf, who made a similar vow, have a similar change of heart?

If he does then he may be out of luck. The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Paramount film group president Adam Goodman who explained that the screenplay is currently being written by Ehren Kruger and as of right now there are no plans for an appearance of LaBeouf’s Sam Whitwhicky character.

The story is going in a different direction now. Ehren Kruger [who wrote the past two Transformers movies] is writing it for us, and we’re starting to engage, but I can’t say anything more.

Bay will be back to work on his fourth film about giant robots beating the crap out of each other just as soon as he finishes his current project Pain & Gain, a dark comedy about boxers, human beings who beat the crap out of each other.

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Rumor Mill: NINJA TURTLES No Longer Mutants Or Teenagers

Posted on 26 March 2012 by Rich Drees

Last week, producer Michael bay stirred up the internet equivalent of a hornets’ nest of trouble when he announced that the titular stars of a new film adaption of the classic 80s indie comic book Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would not be mutants so much as they would be aliens. It is now look as if Bay has chopped another adjective off of the title as Bleeding Cool is reporting a rumor that the film may now be titled simply Ninja Turtles.

We haven’t been able to get a definite statement as to why this title change is occurring, and our sources are not 100% clear on whether or not the Turtles will indeed be adolescents. One of our sources has said: “It seems to be driven by marketing. Think of John Carter and how Disney wouldn’t allow for a title with either “Princess” or “Mars.”

Now I understand that the kneejerk reaction is to criticize such a move. I’m not even a fan of the franchise and it sounds pretty stupid to me. But this simply might be a way of testing the waters on certain potential elements of the film’s story. It has happened before and will happen again.

Or it could just be a way of stirring up interest in the project before even a frame of film has been shot. And considering that the most recent screen appearance by the Turtles was the poorly received 2007 computer animated TMNT, Bay and company certainly have a tough road ahead of them on that front. But is even negative publicity good publicity? Or is Bay being even more Machiavellian by floating some rumors about big changes in the film and then placates fans by saying that said changes will not happen after all. Considering that his films aren’t that complicated, I would doubt it.

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