Michael Bay

Fight Club

Is Fight Club satire? That’s the question we’ll attempt to settle this week with a knock down, drag out debate where two men enter the ring, and two men also exit the ring safely. Fortunately, we’ve got special guest moderator Eric D. Snider to keep us honest, and since he takes bribes, I’ve got this one sewn up. Plus, we’ll discuss whether data can help make you a better screenwriter, and The Bitter Script Reader drops by to discuss his new book, “Michael F-ing Bay: The Unheralded Genius in Michael Bay’s Films,” where he argues that the much maligned director’s movies are more than meets the eye. You should follow Eric (@ericdsnider), The Bitter Script Reader (@bittrscrptreadr), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. Please review us on iTunes Download Episode #76 Directly Or subscribe through iTunes

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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 […]

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014

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TMNT Recycle Dudes

Rebooting a franchise can mean a lot of changes to a beloved film property, and that tends to inspire everything from angry Tweets to petitions and boycotts. Just recall all the complaints about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie at various stages of both rumor and actual production. Fans are wary of there being too many alterations to their favorite heroes in a half shell, and they weren’t having any of that alleged alien race nonsense. But you know what would really have put pitchforks in their hands aimed at the throat of producer Michael Bay? The lack of a TMNT-centric rap song on the soundtrack. Fortunately, the upcoming movie does have one of those. We can all finally rest easy with this news. The tune this time is titled “Shell Shocked” and it’s performed by Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and Ty Dolla $ign with material from Brian Tyler’s score for the film as the melody. You’ll be able to hear it during the end credits of the movie, but you can also download it now via iTunes. Reportedly everyone associated with the song is a huge TMNT fan, and that has nothing to do with publicity spin whatsoever, I’m sure. Wouldn’t want any fans criticizing the idea of a track in the movie being made by people just in it for the cash. After all, how would we otherwise know if one of the rappers wouldn’t have given a damn about the turtles originating from space? Disappointment could come — […]

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Mark Wahlberg in Age of Extinction

Nobody was waiting to see how Transformers: Age of Extinction performed before deciding to do a fifth movie. Paramount knew it would wind up with the best opening of 2014, even if they had to allegedly lie about just how much it earned. The studio had previously announced Transformers 5 would arrive in 2016, and although that too might be a lie, the point is that it will be made. The question is, what more is there to do with the franchise? Could Chicago take a third beating? Will Mark Wahlberg return, and will his character, Cade Yeager, be able to continue being humorously amazed at finding Transformers and infinite-ammo space guns and other alien technology he wants to hypocritically steal and patent for himself? We aren’t even certain that Michael Bay is returning, though it is likely he’ll be back at the helm, more so if Paramount lets him do another “small” movie, a la Pain & Gain, beforehand. The problem for the studio would be that allowing Bay the passion project definitely means they’d be off track for an opening two years from now. If only there was a way for both sides to get what they want. Well, I think I have a solution for that compromise: Bay should make Transformers 5 his “small” movie.

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Seinfeld Finale

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Megan Fox Transformers 2

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Transformers Age of Extinction

 The Transformers franchise has never been about humans – or, at least, it’s never been about Michael Bay’s on-screen humans, who have now proven to be wholly interchangeable even after a seemingly complete trilogy of films. Bay has restarted his weirdest franchise (sorry, Bad Boys, you’re just not strange enough) with Transformers: Age of Extinction, a final-sounding feature (what could possibly come after extinction? Bay’s answer is, of course, at least two other films) that abandons both the human characters that populated the first trilogy and the upbeat conclusion that seemingly wrapped it all up in satisfying fashion. Set four years after the battle of Chicago (billboards declare “REMEMBER CHICAGO!” in locales as far away as Texas), Age of Extinction picks up in a world still reeling from the revelation that there are aliens in the universe who are so technologically advanced that they can turn into vending machines at will (oh, and who can also kill without prejudice). Inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) doesn’t seem too put out by the news that we’re not alone in the galaxy – he’s too busy trying to program robots that can deliver beers, keeping his teen daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) from the opposite sex (like her secret boyfriend Shane, Jack Reynor), bilking his only employee (T.J. Miller) out of his cash and pretending he’s from Texas. The Yeagers may be rich in big ideas, but they’re poor in their bank accounts, so Cade and Tessa need something major to happen in order […]

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Transformers the Premake

Last night I watched the documentary O.J.: Trial of the Century, which debuted on Investigative Discovery last week to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman’s murders on June 12, 1994 (today, of course, is the anniversary of the infamous white Bronco chase that followed five days later). Directed by Nicole Rittenmayer (102 Minutes that Changed America), it’s an exceptional compilation film, a rarity for a TV production in that it features no talking heads or narration or any other sort of retrospective commentary. The only exposition is in the spare titles occasionally used for chronological purpose and whatever exists within the archival clips pieced together to form the historical narrative of O.J. Simpson’s arrest and trial. In addition to offering that narrative, though, the film works on another level. Its very form says a lot about the media landscape two decades ago, and I thought about that through this morning as I watched a counterpart that similarly represents media proliferation of today. Only this other new film, a short compilation documentary titled Transformers: The Premake, is so distinctly immediate compared to Rittenmayer’s feature that it’s about something that sort of hasn’t even happened yet. Made by film critic and video essay master Kevin B. Lee, the 24-minute piece is an innovative and unauthorized making-of doc about the production of Transformers: Age of Extinction, which opens in the U.S. in 10 days (and premieres in Hong Kong this Thursday). It’s not just about the Transformers sequel, though, as […]

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1984 Movie

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Paramount Pictures

There was a question for a brief while as to whether or not director Michael Bay would return to the Transformers franchise he helped create once the initial trilogy was complete. The answer came fairly quickly after his critically successful but lowest grossing film yet, Pain & Gain, came and went at the box office last year. The third film’s $1B+ haul probably had something to do with his return as well, but all of that is filler. Bring on the transforming metallic creatures! Transformers: Age of Extinction features a world where mankind has turned its back on the intergalactic visitors who’ve saved our asses three times now. An Earth without space-born threats is an Earth without a need for Transformers apparently, so our friends Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Snake Eyes, El Beardo, Yellow Stream, Racist Caricature, Ricardo Montalban and others are scattered and in hiding. An all-American farmer (Mark Wahlberg) finds Prime rotting in a junkyard, and soon the semi, the farmer and his “hot” daughter are racing to save the world from Stanley Tucci. I may need to watch the trailer again.

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transformers-age-of-extinction

Perhaps casually tossing the word “extinction” into the subtitle of a blockbuster franchise that was once presumed dead (victorious in death, but still dead in theory!) is a bad idea. The (presumably) first film in Michael Bay’s recently relaunched Transformers franchise is set to hit theaters this summer, and the series is starting to go great guns on this marketing thing, launching a full-scale trailer attack during yesterday’s dismal Super Bowl. While the game may have disappointed, the first trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction actually looked quite good (well, it does look like a Transformers trailer, but a good one in the context of things), and it featured the arrival of some robotic, transform-y new characters that might just save this whole outing (sorry, Mark Wahlberg). The Dinobots are here! In the Transformers universe (where, yes, we’re betting Shia LaBeouf actually is still famous), the Dinobots are Autobots whose transformational mode makes them appear to be dinosaurs or similarly prehistoric beasts. Basically, no, they are not turning into planes, trains, or automobiles. Dinobots also get to bot out, thanks to their ability to fight in “robot mode” (much like evil Decepticons). Despite being Autobots by nature and literal design (the original origin story for the Dinobots actually holds that they were built by Wheeljack and Ratchet on Earth), they tend to be independent and interested in their own pursuits and aims. They are wild cards. And they are also dinosaurs that are also robots that are also born from […]

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Bad Boys team

This week, the long-rumored production of Bad Boys 3 moved forward at Sony Pictures under the new leadership of co-president Michael De Luca, whose mandate has been to bring Sony back to higher quality tentpole films. What better way to get back to big action tentpoles than to go back to the franchise that delivered $273 million at the box office 10 years ago? Somewhere, the characters of Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz are excited, as is yours truly. But while the in-talks status of Safe House writer David Guggenheim on the project certainly is news in the right direction, many questions still remain. The biggest of which revolves not just around the franchise’s two leading men, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, but about the two men behind the camera who built the world around two volatile Miami narcotics cops: Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer.

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OK

Finally, a bit of good news for those in favor of arming Eddie Murphy and unleashing him on unaware California residents. Jerry Bruckheimer, the megaproducer behind the Pirates of the Caribbean films and so many Michael Bay productions, has decided upon his new post-Disney partner, and it is Paramount Pictures. Many giganto-huge blockbusters will surely stem from this new partnership, but the first are to be Top Gun 2 and a Beverly Hills Cop reboot. Both have been talked about for years, but now 26 years later we’re finally on track to see an aged Tom Cruise ejecting himself from a series of aircraft — and yes, according to Deadline, both Cruise and Murphy are set to return to these new installments. It’s the same old story. Movie was popular several decades ago. Now it’s being redone. But the difference here is Bruckheimer, who was a producer and major creative force on both the original Top Gun and the first two Beverly Hills Cop installments. Will it change things now that he is rebooting his own babies and not, say, radio show characters from almost a century ago? (The $190m hole The Lone Ranger left in Disney’s pocket is considered one of the major reasons Bruckheimer was given the boot.) His affection could make a difference. The man may want to ensure that his earliest hits are given the care and respect they deserve, but Bruckheimer is also a very different producer than he was then. The Bruckheimer of today, who traffics almost […]

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Michael Bay and his Cameras

Michael Bay loves to shoot action like one would assume he does most things: hard and fast. It’s just part of the aura of Bayhem to do things not just over-the-top, but in a manner that exudes maximum bravado. It’s why it’s hard to not envy the guy’s commitment to his own style — he sure doesn’t make it easy on himself. And in this newly uncovered exclusive clip from the Special Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of Pain & Gain, which hits shelves this week, Bay shows how he made capturing muscly Mark Wahlberg hard on his camera crew and his editing team with an assortment of camera formats, styles, placements and techniques. It’s as beautiful as it is terrifying in an indulgent way. See for yourself just after the jump.

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Transformers Age of Extinction - Empire Cover

The new-fangled Optimus Prime plays cover model on the latest edition of Empire Magazine alongside Transformers: Age of Extinction co-stars Mark Wahlberg, generic white tough guy #37 and some sort of Alyssa Milano/Tara Reid hybrid. The image had a strange effect that crept up on me, and it wasn’t until staring down the replacement cast for a few moments that I realized what it was: this could be the announcement of a brand new franchise. As in, a first-look at the never-before-attempted adaptation of the 1980s toys into live-action Bayhem. Like Shia Labeouf and the worst last name possible never happened. Like Megan Fox was just a dream. A reboot in the truest sense. And isn’t that what all reboots futilely attempt to do? They often crop up just minutes after we saw the last of them (hence the futility), but Transformers might be uniquely situated to effectively use the little red blinky light thingy from MIB on its audience. Granted, I wasn’t really a fan so I don’t think about the series all that much, but with a backbone of CGI characters and disposable humans, Michael Bay‘s Magnum Optimus is well-positioned to shoot amnesia bullets at us. For a moment, it worked on me, and it was like seeing the big screen leader of the Autbots for the first time. [Empire Online]

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He may be hard at work on Transformers: Age of Extinction and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but we still stay awake through the night, eagerly anticipating what upcoming projects Michael Bay might infuse with his fireballs-and-toilet-humor style. Now we know: the next film from Bay will be Sabotage, a World War II thriller (and a true story) about nine Norwegian commandos who fought their way through Nazi-occupied Norway to keep Hitler from unlocking the secrets of the nuclear bomb. Based off a book proposal from author Neal Bascomb entitled “Sabotage: A Genius Scientist, His Band of Young Commandos, and the Mission to Kill Hitler’s Super Bomb” (in seeing the title in its entirety, it’s now readily apparent why the man behind Transformers signed on), Bay’s only attached as a producer for now. But according to The Wrap, he may “develop the project as a potential directing vehicle.”

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han-geng01

While one giant robot movie is rounding out a disappointing opening weekend, another continues to announce cast members a year ahead of its own release. This morning, Michael Bay welcomed Asian superstar Han Geng into the fold of Transformers 4, in which he’ll join a cast consisting of Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz, Kelsey Grammar, Sophia Myles and fellow China-based actress Li Bingbing. Han is a singer and actor who can be seen heading up his country’s second highest-grossing domestic release of 2013, So Young (it’s neck and neck with top-grossing Hollywood import, Iron Man 3, and both are now in the top ten of all time there). To give you an idea of how popular he is, just peruse YouTube’s many abridged yet still lengthy versions of the college drama featuring only Han’s scenes. Before becoming a movie star, Han got his start as a member of the South Korean boy band Super Junior, in which he was also known as “Hankyung.” Through the group he got his first major film appearance alongside the other guys in the 2007 Korean high school movie Attack of the Pin-Up Boys and later got his first lead role in My Kingdom in 2011 (the year the last Transformers sequel, Dark of the Moon, was the top-grossing movie in China). Meanwhile, he’s continued to be a recording star with a solo career following a legal battle to get out of his Super Junior contract. Among his hit singles is a song released this […]

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ghost-recon

Back before Michael Bay directed his Transformers films, Transformers were just weird toys and cartoons that children of the 80s fondly remembered as being basically the best thing ever. People like fast cars, and people like giant robots, so why not create a bunch of fast cars who turn into giant robots and then fight each other? The idea is elegant, it’s simple, and as far as we knew, it was timeless. Then Bay and his crew went and turned the whole thing into modern, big budget movies and made us realize that Transformers was a thing best nostalgically remembered from childhood. Turns out the whole idea, complete with aliens, energon cubes, and plucky kid sidekicks, is kind of stupid, and lacks the elegant simplicity of cars turning into giant robots and then fighting each other. These days kids don’t play with toys anymore though, they play video games, so if Bay is going to continue making billions of dollars turning things that kids like into movies, a smart bet for him would probably be to adapt a popular video game into a movie. Enter Ubisoft’s ‘Ghost Recon’ series of games, which are popular shoot ‘em ups inspired by the work of Tom Clancy. There are no aliens in ‘Ghost Recon,’ no energon cubes, and no plucky kid sidekicks, so could this be Bay’s chance to redeem himself by adapting something young people like that’s actually cool, something that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike?

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dunes

Thus far, Platinum Dunes hasn’t made movies for everyone. “Everyone,” of course, meaning a fair chunk of the online film community. Producer Brad Fuller – who started the company with Andrew Form and Michael Bay around 10 years ago — is well aware of the lashings he and his partners have taken. Remaking a horror classic is going to lose certain audience members from the start, but some of Platinum Dunes’ work has been met with downright hate. However, some of that hate comes from an insular community, as proven by the box-office numbers A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Friday the 13th delivered. They were R-rated horror hits that Fuller has been having a difficult time making since Elm Street. This is what led him to teaming up with producer Jason Blum and making the high-concept thriller The Purge. The home invasion pic was made for two million dollars which is a low budget that Fuller and his partners aren’t exactly used to. The Purge represents a new direction for Platinum Dunes. Fuller made the time to tell us about where the company is going and why it had to go there:

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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