Jonathan Liebesman

TMNT Elevator

When was the last time a movie as bad as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a great sequel? There have been plenty of other comic book movie franchises where the second installment was a huge improvement over the first (X2: X-Men United; Spider-Man 2; Hellboy II: The Golden Army; The Dark Knight), but none of them started off nearly as terribly as this one. Although the TMNT reboot was a success at the box office over the weekend, and general audiences apparently liked it (as per Cinemascore and the Rotten Tomatoes audience ratings), it still doesn’t seem like a movie that people loved. Just how many of the front-loading fans enjoyed it enough to return for another is a key question to consider. Paramount isn’t likely to worry about that when making the sequel, which was confirmed yesterday, because a $65m opening is enough to convince them that they did something right and shouldn’t change the formula. But even if it weren’t dumb of studios to believe their product is good just because people paid ahead for it, they should always be striving for better with their series anyway. What they qualify as “better” is another question. With franchises like this, the synonyms for the definition tend to be “bigger” and “more.” Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 will look and feel the same for the most part, but you can bet there will be a lot of new characters added. Which characters, though, could be a very big deal as far as getting the fans back in […]

read more...

TMNT 2014

New York City is under attack by a heavily armed gang of thieves called the Foot Clan, and while they’ve been happy committing a string of robberies their villainous leader, Shredder, has plans for something for more deadly. The city’s only hope rests with a quartet of ninja warriors who also happen to be obnoxious, horny, anthropomorphic turtles. April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is a NYC fluff reporter who longs for a big story, the kind that matters, and she thinks she’s found it when she witnesses one of the turtles successfully interrupting a Foot Clan robbery. Her investigation reveals the truth behind the turtles, Shredder’s plans and why she’s been stuck doing puff pieces her entire career. (They’re mutants! He’s hungry for murder! She’s not that bright!) There are several questions raised by the big-screen reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The vast majority of them involve idiotic plot turns, continuity errors, who exactly the film is made for and what the screenwriters have against their dads, but one question stands out among all the rest. Could this entire movie be part of producer Michael Bay‘s elaborate and expensive revenge plan against Megan Fox?

read more...

Megan Fox in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014

Two years ago, the appropriate amount of outrage fumed when news circulated that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would be aliens instead of, you know, mutants. Straight from Michael Bay‘s mouth, it was another example of the we-like-it-let’s-change-it thinking that infects so much of the worst of franchise filmmaking. Nevermind that the new incarnation was under Platinum Dunes’ wing. There’s also a long production history that has taken a cult comic creation and transformed it enough already. We’ll never get a true vision of what Eastman and Laird put down on comic book pages, but while accepting that, it felt even stranger to see large modifications made to an origin story for seemingly no real reason. Enter the trailer.

read more...

Danny Woodburn

Oh, Danny Woodburn. It’s great to see that Cirrhosis of the liver with jaundice can’t keep a good man down. According to Deadline Hollywood, the Seinfeld actor has just been cast as Master Splinter in Jonathan Liebesman‘s Ninja Turtles — rounding out a cast that’s out of the left side of left field. Although that kind of goes with the alien-based plot they’ve cooked up, so let’s just go with it. On the one hand, it’s laudable to see some atypical casting. On the other, it all feels really bizarre. It’s also still unclear whether Woodburn will appear in the film itself or whether he’ll be lending his voice (and/or movements) to a CGI giant rat. Probably the latter. Is this project so weird it just might work or a year-long train wreck that we get PR emails about? Hard to say. Very, very hard to say. However, the one thing that Woodburn’s casting makes clear is the probability that Will Arnett will be playing the movie’s villain. Now the question is whether he’s an alien or a more earth-bound enemy. And that train wreck thing. There are a lot of questions that still need answers with this one.

read more...

Well, kind of. According to The Province (via ComingSoon), the Jonathan Liebesman-directed, Josh Appelbaum- and Andre Nemec-penned, and Michael Bay-produced Ninja Turtles might start filming later this summer in Vancouver. Well, Canadians are by and large a very welcoming people. The outlet reports that word is out in “casting and pre-production circles around town” that the turtles are coming to the fair city to film a new version of the heroes in a half shell and their adventures in being both totally awesome and completely weird. As with most reboots/remakes/relaunches, this new film will be more “grounded” and “gritty” and, as producer Brad Fuller told us earlier this year, the film will likely use Rise of the Planet of the Apes-inspired motion-capture performance to tell its story.

read more...

When we heard that Platinum Dunes and the director of Battle: Los Angeles were planning on rebooting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it was pretty easy to jump to conclusions about what type of film they would be making: gritty, lots of shaky-cam, and like most modern action filmmaking, trying to ground ridiculousness as much as possible. But Platinum Dunes producer Brad Fuller tells us that we should definitely expect a grounded, but not “gritty” take on a movie with alien turtles coming to Earth. Fuller also shared that a part of this “grounded” version may come courtesy of motion-capture. Based on Fuller’s tone and his love for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, it would be a shock if the filmmaking team behind the project do not go with mo-cap Turtles. Here’s what Brad Fuller had to say about Ninja Turtles:

read more...

Back when it was first announced that Platinum Dunes had plans to put together a new live action Ninja Turtles movie, Neil Miller found himself pondering what sort of picture they intended to make. Platinum Dunes is known mostly for relaunching popular but tarnished horror franchises, so did that mean that they intended on giving us a gritty, adult take on the Turtles, kind of like the original Eastman and Laird comics? Or would they still be taking a more kid friendly approach, like the cartoon and live action film series of the 90s, which raked in bajillions of dollars by appealing to a younger audience? Now that there are some names attached to the creative end of this one, what it’s going to look like is becoming more clear. According to a new report from Variety, Michael Bay and company have hired Jonathan Liebesman to direct. At first glance, that might lead you to believe that this could be a seriously dark film, as Liebesman was the guy who did The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning for New Line back in 2006, and that was a pretty dark, R-rated remake. But if you look at the work he’s been doing lately, he’s been hovering much more in the PG-13 range, and he’s been doing the sort of films that are generally too epic in scope to limit your audience by putting in questionable content. His last film was Battle: Los Angeles, and he’s got Wrath of the Titans coming […]

read more...

Battle: Los Angeles is an unusual movie. It’s an action film with Aaron Eckhart in the lead, it’s pro-military, and it doesn’t feel compelled to answer every question put forth by its premise. There are elements within it of several other films, but it still manages to play out like a somewhat fresh mix of military action and alien invasion. It’s Roland Emmerich without the cheese and laughable understanding of science. It’s Michael Bay without the stupidity and excessive use of ground level POV slow-mos. And most unusual of all, it’s a solidly entertaining action movie releasing in the middle of March.

read more...

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr finds himself behind enemy lines in Los Angeles. At first, he thought he was the victim of an alien invasion, but then he realized he was just in South Central wearing the wrong colors. Fortunately, Aaron Eckhart came to his rescue. This gave him a chance to put on a red cloak and skip through the woods, searching for Amanda Seyfried. He then capped off the week sneaking on a NASA flight to Mars wearing only boxer shorts, a T-shirt and a space helmet. He plans to return soon because that kind of makeshift space suit worked for the folks in Mars Needs Moms. Don’t wait up, though.

read more...

A lot of people have their panties in a bunch over the recent spat of 3D films. Roger Ebert alone has tweeted about it roughly 7000 times and mentioned it in literally hundreds of reviews. What are the complaints? 3D is just a gimmick. It adds nothing to the filmgoing experience. It dulls and muddies the image. It’s just an excuse to jack up ticket prices. Okay, there are some good points in there. But there’s also some that can be argued. The biggest 3D success yet has been James Cameron’s Avatar. Everyone seems to be in agreement that while the movie was pretty bad, it did some interesting things with the 3D technology. Most people credit that to the fact that Cameron used high tech 3D cameras, and didn’t just convert film to 3D afterwards. I would argue that Cameron’s success in the medium had more to do with the blocking and construction of his scenes, which all made sure to painstakingly utilize the possibilities of a three dimensional image in order to create a deep, layered field of action. What Citizen Kane did to revolutionize focused action occurring both in the foreground and the background, Avatar did times ten.

read more...

Rosamund Pike‘s very first film performance was as Miranda Frost in Die Another Day, and she’s been steadily showcasing her talents for the past decade. Now, she’ll get a chance to wrap that talent in a toga for Wrath of the Titans. According to Deadline Des Moines she’ll be playing Andromeda, the character played by Alexa Davalos in Clash. It’s unclear why Davalos won’t be reprising the role. It looks like Pike is ready to return to tentpole acting, because it was either going to be this or a role in Man of Steel. It’ll be interesting if the production can get an actual performance out of her or the stable of talented actors that are returning considering the lifelessness of Clash. Fortunately, if the sequel is stale, we all have Pike’s performance in An Education to wash down the sour taste.

read more...

If you were a fan of Clash of the Titans, then you saw it in 2D. Well played. This next go ’round, it looks like monster heads will be ripped off and people will accidentally make love with cows that are Gods in disguise after a healthy amount of post-production time to focus on making the CGI better. Wrath of the Titans will start filming in the Spring of 2011 for a March 2012 release, and it’s confirmed that Jonathan Liebesman will shoot in native 3D since there’s almost no reason not to do so. It seems like a no-brainer. Which is also the fighting move Perseus did to Medusa. Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are all back in the mix. All in all, those are the ingredients for at least a passable sequel. Fingers crossed. [Coming Soon]

read more...

Looks pretty freaking badass doesn’t it? Like the best parts of Independence Day minus all the schmaltz.

read more...

The Superman movie Warners is contractually obligated to make by 2012 is still a ways off, but now that Christopher Nolan is involved, there’s even more attention being paid to it. That attention turned this week to the possible directors in line to take on the famous superhero – Tony Scott, Matt Reeves, Zack Snyder, Duncan Jones and Jonathan Liesbesman. Some are denying they know anything about it, some are saying they’ve already turned it down, and none of them are dressing up as Superman and running around their offices pretending to fly. That’s all well and good, but there are some pros and some cons to these names.

read more...

Jonathan Liebesman‘s Battle: Los Angeles hasn’t hit theaters yet, but his career and talent seem to be growing. After a mediocre start with Darkness Falls, he delivered a solid entry into the Texas Chainsaw Massacre legacy, a halfway psychological paranoia-fest with The Killing Room, and now he’s set to take what he’s learned battling aliens alongside Aaron Eckhart to the ancient world of Clash of the Titans 2: Titans. Will. Clash. Again. What’s interesting about this is the maturation of a genre director beyond the boundaries of the schlock he delivered in the past. That used to be the way the business worked, and it’s interesting to see it in practice here. Maybe it’ll lead to an American Pink Film movement. Liebesman has shown an ability to grow talent, so this is a great choice – but where does it leave his “300 meets Taken” version of Odysseus being developed over at Warners? Maybe one trip to antiquity will spur on another.

read more...

Going into Comic-Con I knew very little about Battle: Los Angeles. That seemed to be the case for many last weekend in Hall H where they showed a brief amount of footage from the film. Apparently, it was well received. The idea of a war combat film with aliens thrown into the mix is going to get any nerd’s heart racing. Many have been drawing comparisons to District 9, but that’s not entirely fair or logical. District 9 didn’t really stick to its opening documentary style. Battle: Los Angeles may very well do just that. Also, when has there every been a straight, flat out war movie with Aliens involved? Unless I’m wrong, there hasn’t been. That’s why despite not having seen a lick of footage I’m excited for Battle: Los Angeles. It’s got a unique concept and director Jonathan Liebesman pitches it well. The idea of Aaron Eckhart leading a big-budgeted action film also makes me even more hopeful. It’s definitely got potential. Lets just hope it lives up to the wild range of possibilities. Here’s what director Jonathan Liebesman had to say about Battle: Los Angeles:

read more...
Twitter button
Facebook button
Google+ button
RSS feed

published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3