Michael Bay

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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evilgrammer

Okay, so to say that Kelsey Grammer is going to be replacing a tiny, blonde model in a movie franchise is kind of a ridiculous lie. But, with the news Deadline just broke that he’s going to be joining the cast of Transformers 4 as its main non-robot villain, the rumors that director Michael Bay is going to be changing up the strategy he used while making the first three films in order to give us something different appear to be true. Gone is the strategy where Shia LaBeouf and some hot, young actress make goo-goo eyes at each other while incoherent robot action swirls around them, and in its place is a plan where more established actors like Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, and now Grammer are being looked at to shoulder the weight of the non-robot segments of the film.

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Florida Movies

“Kim Jong-un doesn’t understand that we aren’t afraid of him. What that guy doesn’t get is that we already have an unstable peninsula that will ultimately bring down America. It’s called Florida.” The above quote comes from Conan O’Brian’s keynote speech at Saturday night’s Whitehouse Correspondents’ Dinner. O’Brien, of course, doesn’t explain the joke. He doesn’t need to. Not because he’s referencing a specific, recent event in Florida, but because the joke taps into a vast catalog of associations with Florida as a whole. It’s hard to pinpoint one adjective that adequately describes the ways in which Florida’s culture appears to the rest of the nation, but The Sunshine State is certainly in a class all its own. On the one hand, Florida made news this past year for its absurd, unjustifiable gun laws, its bureaucratic bulwarks against democratic participation, and even its cannibals. But in less serious terms, Florida is also known for hosting an astonishing number of bizarre petty crimes and a few emerging one-of-a-kind industries. Many lists, articles, editorials, and even a Twitter feed chronicling the life of the worst superhero ever have all taken part in attempting to surmise why, exactly, the Florida is so damned special. But perhaps recent movies that take place (and were shot on location in) Florida provide the real keys to understanding the idiosyncratic culture of Voldemort’s state. Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain is the third of a string of high-profile films to investigate the lives of that routinely exceptional brand […]

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movies_pain_and_gain_on_set_2

Welcome to another edition of the Reject Recap, where we highlight the past week’s best news and original features from this very movie site and others around the web. You might notice the format is slightly different this time around. You also might notice that we’ve only selected stuff posted to FSR. Part of this is because I’m at a film festival this weekend and didn’t have as much time to browse our friends’ sites. Part is because our writers banged out a lot of great stuff the past few days. Surely you’ll agree while playing catch up. Start your weekend right after the jump.

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Corddry Pain and Gain

The last time we spoke to actor Rob Corddry, he told us how director Michael Bay “kicked his ass” and how he’d tell us about it next time. Now, almost a year after promoting Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Pain & Gain is finally hitting theaters and Mr. Corddry is here to tell us how Bay went about that ass-kicking. Some actors haven’t always taken to Bay’s blunt style, but Corddry embraced it. A director can’t get much more honest than telling one of his actors they “fucked up,” something Bay would tell the creator and star of Children’s Hospital after a take gone wrong. If Corddry didn’t respond to that approach, then he most likely wouldn’t have done a pool stunt for Bay, considering he isn’t a fan of the water. But Corddry is a fan of Michael Bay’s tireless work ethic, and here’s what else he had to say about him, along with a New York theater experience gone bad and why talking to Ari Fleischer wasn’t the best idea for Oliver Stone‘s W.

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FILM JOCKEYS HEADER

What happens when a legendary film critic brings is geriatric crankiness to an internet movie show? Film Jockeys follows the adventures of Carl Barker, his far-too-young production staff, the filmmakers and the movie characters that inhabit their world. Written and illustrated by Derek Bacon, it’s the perfect webcomic for passionate movie fans (especially ones who agree with this). For your consideration, Episode #20:

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Armageddon

This week, Michael Bay did something that I thought was only possible if you were named Joel Schumacher: he apologized for a loud, bloated late-’90s summer stimulus-athon. In an interview with the Miami Herald promoting his Florida-set Pain & Gain, Bay said, “I will apologize for Armageddon, because we had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks. It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could. But the studio literally took the movie away from us. It was terrible. My visual effects supervisor had a nervous breakdown, so I had to be in charge of that. I called James Cameron and asked ‘What do you do when you’re doing all the effects yourself?’ But the movie did fine.” It’s unclear exactly what Bay’s problem is with the third act of Armageddon that isn’t also characteristic of the film as a whole (cloying sentimentality, a rushed pace, the central premise), or whether or not, in typical Bay fashion, his real problem is solely with special effects or the film’s box-office performance (“the movie did fine” here seems to relinquish any issues he may have had). But one thing’s for sure: Armageddon, according to its maker, is not a pure, ideal Michael Bay vision. (Bay, of course, later refuted the story and says he’s proud of the film, as he should be.)

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Pain and Gain

Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) believes in fitness – and the American dream and bettering himself and making money and a whole mess of other stuff – but he mainly believes in fitness, and he believes that it is his unique dedication to fitness that will turn him into a success. And, if that doesn’t work, he can always just rob someone. Based on a true story (a claim that gets progressively harder to believe as the film goes on because this stuff is bonkers), Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain centers on the 1990s crime spree committed by Miami’s own “Sun Gym Gang,” one that saw personal trainer Lugo (along with his equally stupid cohorts, Paul Doyle, played by Dwayne Johnson and Adrian Doorbal, played by Anthony Mackie) hatch the brilliant (sarcasm all-around) scheme to trick a gym customer out of everything he owned. What started as a simple plan – kidnap millionaire moron Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), get him to sign over all his worldly possessions and funds, release him, and enjoy the spoils – goes hilariously, disastrously, and almost immediately awry. Crime does not pay, but crime really does not pay when you’re an evil idiot.

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Michael Bay

When a Transformers film or Bad Boys II washes over its audience with gigantic, thunderous popcorn-scented waves, they know the man behind those tsunamis. No, it isn’t Poseidon, but someone even more mythic and powerful: director Michael Bay. He is one of the most successful auteurs working today, and mass audiences love visiting the worlds he presents to them through the colorful, bombastic prism of Awesome. They connect to his movies, but maybe not for the obvious reasons. A Michael Bay picture is many, many things. The global showman has made his career off shiny money shots, a broad sense of humor, solid on-screen pairings, well-orchestrated chaos, and much more. We all know a Bay creation when we see it, and much of that comes from the mind’s more subconscious, inner workings. Bay doesn’t necessarily repeat himself, but there are reoccurring details which appear in most his movies, all of which further his status as an auteur. Since an auteur is generally labeled as a filmmaker with a “strong personal style,” even Bay’s harshest critics should admit he has personality and a well-established brand, whether they like his particular brand or not. The director’s newest movie, the abrasively entertaining Pain & Gain, carries on those trademark signatures in many ways. It’s not the explosions which make him an auteur, it’s the little things that make his human stories more meaningful than what we see from most blockbuster directors. Michael Bay a true visionary auteur, and here’s why:

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mnad_mitchell

Tonight we explore the world of art, Matt Murdock’s new home and supporting TV characters who should have their own show. It’s all here in Movie News After Dark.

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Drinking Games

With the upcoming release of Pain & Gain this week, the cinematic world looks back on director Michael Bay’s filmography. However, instead of focusing on his billion-dollar franchise installments, we can look back to his more modest days when he worked on character-driven stories: movies like Bad Boys II. The only sequel Bay has directed outside of the Transformers series was made right before his biggest domestic disappointment (The Island) and marks one of his final films in recent years that doesn’t feature giant freaking robots. Love him or hate him as a director, Bay’s films serve as big-screen beer commercials. So why not enjoy one of his most revered and reviled movies by sampling some appropriate beer?

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the rock shower massacre

Given all the positive buzz we’re hearing for Pain & Gain, Michael Bay could very well have his first critical hit since 1996 when the movie opens this Friday. And it might just be an even fresher tomato than the lonely red orb affixed to The Rock seen here. Interestingly enough, this new release stars someone named The Rock, further proving that Dwayne Johnson isn’t just franchise viagra but also a kind of Hollywood miracle in general these days. Not that Bay has been struggling as far as the industry is concerned. At all. It’s not important for us to defend the quality of Bay’s movies. They are what they are. Some are more entertaining than others. Most fulfill a certain demand by audiences for action, broad humor and flag-waving. And occasionally they do surprise us, especially in times when our expectations are at their lowest — or simply on that horizon to which we anticipate his work, neither high nor low, just there. We do enjoy some of it. Maybe not even whole films but individual bits. So, this week’s Scenes We Love highlights six favorite moments. And as usual we invite you to share your own picks.

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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
D+
published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
B+

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