Michael Bay

Michael Bay Transformers

On a gut level, a lower budget seems like it would be the best thing for the next Transformers movie. The franchise has made an absurd amount of money, sure, but the quality of the movies has always been hampered by excess. A little constraint can actually mean a lot of freedom. Of course, the normal laws of physics might not apply to Michael Bay. In an excellent feature by Geoff Boucher at Hero Complex, Bay opens up the new theme park ride alongside someone in a large Bumblebee costume and lays down some notes about the fourth installment (the one which he said he absolutely wouldn’t return for before absolutely returning for it). Among the details, a lower budget by $30m. That would bring Transformers 4 down to the earthly range of $165m or so, counteracting the tide of bloated blockbusters that can’t seem to nail down two hours worth of action without spending at least $200m. It feels strange to praise Paramount and this franchise for being sensible, but credit should go where credit is due. At the same time, Bay said that the action might take place in outer space. “That feels like the way to go, doesn’t it? I want to go a little off but I don’t want to go too sci-fi. I still want to keep it grounded.That’s what works in these movies, that’s what makes it accessible.” Of course, no matter where the action is, the true significant change will be the cast.

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An array of familiar faces flitter in and out of Lorene Scafaria‘s directorial debut. Be it Rob Huebel or Patton Oswalt, they all have a minute or two to shine before the apocalypse strikes the world at play; amongst some of those soon-to-perish characters is Rob Corddry, an actor well-known for bit parts and the “asshole” role. In Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Warren, played by Corddry, briefly revels in his final days, and in the way we’d hope to see him do onscreen. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World also shares a connection to another film Corddry has coming up: Michael Bay‘s Pain and Gain, based on a true (and insane) story. The doomsday bit isn’t the common thread, but the voices behind them are. Scafaria’s voice is shaping up to be a notable one, as Michael Bay’s is globally known. We’ll see Bay stretch some storyteling muscles the next time out, but, as Corddry tells us, his behind-the-scenes methods remain both the same and beneficial. Here’s wha Rob Corddry had to say about the crux of over-preparing for roles, having no frame of reference in acting school, and why Ed Harris was smashing a lot of phones for Michael Bay:

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Remember that reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise that Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes was making? The one that was just called Ninja Turtles and that spawned a bunch of fan debate when it was said it would re-write the turtles’ origins to make them aliens? Well, if you came down in the camp of those who were dreading a possible bastardization of your beloved childhood icons, the latest developments surrounding the film’s production might have you breathing a sigh of relief. Despite the fact that the film has already done quite a bit of pre-production for its planned shoot in Vancouver, THR is reporting that work has stopped on set and the film’s release date has been moved from December 2013 to May 2014. How long has work on the project been delayed? Some sources are saying ten weeks, but some are saying that they’ve heard the production’s hiatus will be “indefinite.”

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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.

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Culture Warrior

“If Michael Bay directed Raiders, the Ark would be opened in the first act, and people’s heads would explode through the rest of the film.” I don’t typically seek out wisdom from Twitter, but this below-140-character observation (made by @krishnasjenoi and retweeted by @ebertchicago) struck very close to something that’s been occupying my mind as we enter the fifth week of the summer movie season. Though the statement works better as a fun hypothetical critique than a contestable thesis (in other words, there’s no way we’ll ever really know, thank goodness), the sentiment feels relevant. Though the modern Hollywood blockbuster has been a staple of studios’ summer scheduling for almost forty years, the films that become blockbusters don’t look or feel very similar to the films of the 70s and 80s that somehow paradoxically led to today’s cavalcade of sequels, franchises, adaptations and remakes. Criticizing Hollywood’s creative crisis is nothing new. But with the mega-success of The Avengers and the continuing narrative of failure and disappointment that has thus far characterizes every major release since, it seems that this crisis has been put under a microscope. The moment where unprecedented success is the only kind of achievement Hollywood can afford and the well of decade-old franchises and toy companies become desperately mined for material is something we were warned about. But Hollywood’s creativity-crippling reliance on existing properties is not the only, or even the primary, problem faced by mass market filmmaking’s present moment. The bloated numbers sought after each and […]

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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; we’re always a hit…with elderly mimes and people whose favorite band is The Jerky Boys. This is the Internet’s best place to wait around for articles on the sites you like to load – sort of a cyberspace truckstop. And like a truckstop, we celebrate things that most people cast off as “trivial” or “base” or “seriously detrimental to one’s memory and critical thinking skills.” We are too! Wait, what was I saying? Anyway, this week we’ve had the very rare privilege of stumbling across a little gem of a rotten turd that will be playing a limited engagement of roughly ten shows a day in every single theater across the country. The arthouse maestro Peter Berg has taken the board game Battleship, that wonderful tool for teaching children all the necessary tenets of blind, desperate warfare, and extrapolated its meager mechanics into a two-hour cinematic testament to the struggle between Hollywood and your brain. Incomprehensibly bad as Battleship may be (read: totally is), I couldn’t help but wonder if the “plot” on the screen wasn’t merely a smoke screen for something that, like the invading alien ships, lurked just below the surface. So I gathered all the best minds in the Junkfood Cinema war room, which may or may not be my pet name for the corner booth at my local TGI Friday’s, and formulated some theories on just what the hell was going on here. My hope was to come up with a […]

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A remake of The Birds has been kicking around for some time now. As Platinum Dunes’ Brad Fuller tells us, the project won’t happen until it’s “cracked.” Remaking such a beloved film is a challenge, but finding new and original ways of showing birds attacking, and in a 21st Century environment, must make for an even bigger problem. As Fuller puts it, it’s a part of the reason why we have yet to see the remake get made. When I asked about the status of the film in a recent interview, Fuller said, “It’s interesting, because we have been developing that movie for five or seven years, and we haven’t cracked. You know, we’re not going to go out and just make a movie because we have a great title. We’re only going to make it if we feel like we thought of something that doesn’t exist. It’s a daunting and ongoing process. Frankly, I don’t even know what will happen with that. I hope we can crack it.” But just what does Fuller consider the essential element of “cracking it”?

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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:

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When you watch a Tarsem Singh film, you figure out pretty damn quickly that you’re watching a Tarsem Singh film. The auteur filmmaker isn’t the type to play it safe, and he’s clearly not afraid of polarizing an audience. Even with his modern take on the classic Snow White fairy tale, Mirror Mirror, he goes for an unabashedly childlike and wacky tone – which may not be for everyone. Tarsem’s films are rather similar to his persona: unfiltered, without any hint of compromise. This is the third time I have spoken with Tarsem in the past year, and although heaps of ground can be covered with him in mere minutes, courtesy of his rapid conversational style, it was a real treat to finally have an actual conversation with the filmmaker. Tarsem is one of a kind in terms of his filmmaking and demeanor. Whether you love or despise his films, the man is certainly an original. Here’s what Tarsem Singh had to say about polarization, the goal of not being different for the sake of being different, and the glory days of hanging with the college versions of Michael Bay and Zack Snyder:

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What is Movie News After Dark? If you don’t know already, then it might not be for you. Wait.. wait… wait… Don’t leave. Trust us, it’s for you. We begin tonight with a shot of Mark Wahlberg in Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain, the small movie that Bayhem will direct in between the last and the next Transformers movies. It’s being called a sort of “Pulp Fiction meets Fargo” story about a bodybuilder turned kidnapper. Wahlberg is beefy. There’s a 712% forecast of explosions, despite the promised sense of reality. Say hello to your mother for me, and carry on for more news…

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Have no fear, internet. April Fool’s Day is over, and (probably since it fell on a Sunday) the laundry list of fake casting announcements and crap development deals was relatively short. You can still check out our Print Edition of Film School Rejects, but here are a few good, bad and grotesque fakes that might need some clarification alongside a few geek products that should be real in a fair universe.

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From a family legacy to positive portrayals of black youth to showing up at the club with your kids, Mario Van Peebles and his son Mandela cover it all while discussing their forthcoming flick We The Party. To the bass beat of The Rej3ctz and Snoop Dogg, we discuss rising above racism, staying hip, heading out in a hoodie and a whole lot more. Plus, Hollywood.com Movies Editor Matt Patches joins us for Movie News Roulette and weighs in on Bully and Ninja Turtles. Download Episode #127

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Of all the critiques lobbed at the John Carter‘s marketing problems, one of the more devastating was that the name was boring and meaningless. Where do you go after that? How do you build advertising when your name is terrible (or worse: dull)? So, it’s in that spirit that, according to Bleeding Cool, the new Michael Bay-produced “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie will simple be called Ninja Turtles. Way to steal The Asylum’s rip-off title right out from under them.

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Bad Boys

We didn’t get enough of Michael Bay‘s ego blowing the world up a few weeks ago. We’re interested in more. That’s why in this week’s Commentary Commentary, we’re covering Bay’s first movie, the calling card, if you will, that would eventually launch this man to such great heights, he could make hundreds of millions of dollars playing with toy robots. We’re talking about Bad Boys. No, I’m not gonna sing the song. Thought about it. Decided to pass. Bad Boys started a lot of things. It began Will Smith‘s rise to divine power. It started something with Martin Lawrence that would eventually sputter out some time around Bad Boys II. Poor guy. Black Knight just wasn’t a good idea. Mr. Bay is sure to spew all kinds of love for both of these guys, as well as the massive number of explosions we’ll be seeing throughout the film. His Armageddon commentary was so much fun and surprisingly insightful, so there’s no telling what we’ll be in store for with Bad Boys. Whatcha gonna do? I couldn’t help it.

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When talking about the upcoming live action version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie his Platinum Dunes production company is helming, fan favorite and media whipping boy Michael Bay wandered into a non-controversy that is apparently still news. Fans of TMNT and Bay-haters alike got all up in a tizzy after the Transformers director made a statement about the film and casually dropped the info that the turtles will actually be aliens, not mutants. I’m surprised you didn’t feel the earthquake that happened shortly thereafter, because the world is ending.

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“When you see this movie, kids will believe one day that these turtles do exist, when we’re done with this movie. These turtles are from an alien race, and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely loveable.” That’s Michael Bay talking at the Nickelodeon Upfront about the forthcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. First of all, they wouldn’t actually change the name (and risk losing all that sweet built-in recognition). Second of all, it seems clear that Bay’s primary concern with the movie is making children believe that turtles are a real thing. Did killing their class pet “Slow-y” last year not hammer it home enough for them? Of course, the eyebrow-raising note here is that the turtles of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird‘s warped minds aren’t aliens. They’re turtles. From here on Earth. Where turtles live. Maybe it’s a simple matter of misspeaking, but if Bay and company are really planning to make Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael beings from another planet, this is a serious and pointless change to the core of the characters. This could be seen as impotent fan ranting, and it might be if their origin weren’t so central to the story here. It just seems like a needless change (and one that makes no zoological or rational sense to boot). What we really need to know: are their also rats on this alien planet?

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Paramount and director Michael Bay seem bound and determined to turn Bay’s next big picture, true-life tale Pain and Gain, into a real piece of work (read – not a film that gets its big gags from racist robots). First, Bay secured a story that’s seemingly ready-made for the cinematic treatment – a dark, funny, bizarre, and captivating story about loser bodybuilders in Miami who get mixed up violent crime (violent crime that, despite their bulk, they are truly not cut out for). Then, he filled out his cast with a mix of recognizable talent (Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson), spiced it up with some solid hitters (Ed Harris, Tony Shaloub, and Anthony Mackie), and then (for once in his directorial career), cast a model (Bar Paly) in a role suitable for a model. What next, Bay? According to THR, screenwriter Scott Rosenberg has been brought in “for polish and punch-up duties” on the film’s script. First penned by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (all three The Chronicles of Narnia films, Captain America: The First Avenger), Rosenberg will likely add bigger action and and the sort of humor Bay goes for (fun fact, Rosenberg wrote the “Animal Crackers” scene in Armageddon).

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Back in August of last year, Universal Pictures chucked their big-budget Ouija back into turnaround – usually the kiss of death for a project like this, one meant to cost over $100m and to tap into the hallowed “four-quadrant” ground (meant to appeal to both sexes and all ages). That first pitch likened the film to something like Jumanji, which could certainly be appealing, but Universal was shy to give it the go-ahead. Even the attachment of producer Michael Bay and director McG didn’t keep them interested, and for all intents and purposes, the project being put into turnaround could have been the last we ever heard of it. But it’s not. Deadline Chesterton now reports that Ouija has slid from a big “NO” to a much smaller “YES,” with Universal back on board to make it for a 2013 release, but with a significantly tighter budget than its previous incarnation. The new film will come with a tiny little $5m pricetag, one that signals that this will be no longer be a four-quadrant blockbuster, but something closer to a genre pic. Another indication that’s so? While original producers Bay, Brad Fuller, and Andrew Form are back in, they are also joined by Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions, who has produced films like Paranormal Activity and Insidious – films with small budgets that made big box office cash. THR also reports that Blum is responsible for the film’s new direction – a “high concept, lower budget model.”

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Goddammit, Michael Bay. All I want to do is make fun of you for your stupid TNT-rigged and robot-starring Transformers franchise and you just won’t let me. While we all know by now that Bay is indeed resurrecting his never-dead-to-begin-with Transformers series for Paramount, we also know that he won’t get to it until he finishes his next project – a true-life tale that is going by the title Pain and Gain. The problem with Pain and Gain? It’s that there is no problem – it’s a phenomenal story that’s perfectly suited to a cinematic adaptation and Bay is stacking his film’s cast with solid talent that are more than just appropriate for their roles. Dammit, Bay, you might make a fan out of me. Pain and Gain is the unbelievable true story of a pack of Floridian bodybuilders that get involved with extortion, kidnapping, and murder, among other things. Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson are already slated for starring roles in the film, and now Bay is apparently looking to bring on Anthony Mackie to play Adrian Doorbal, another one of the dumb-bell bodybuilders who get tangled up in a messy scheme that leads to all kinds of crime. The tone of the film has been compared to something like Fargo, and while other outlets might just be calling the film a comedy, it’s not – it’s a dark comedy. Really dark.

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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 […]

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C

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