Michael Bay

Oftentimes, when we post these “Because You Asked For It” posts, readers will inevitably weigh in with various calls of “no one asked for this!” or “I didn’t!” No, this time, you all asked for it – by allowing the Transformers franchise to make over a billion dollars at the worldwide box office. Your reward? More Transformers from Michael Bay. After lots of chatter on the ol’ Internets this afternoon, most of it sparked by producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura announcing in an MTV interview that a fourth Transformers film was coming in June of 2014, complete with director Bay back for still more robots. Beyond that, we don’t have a whole lot of information on the project, as DiBonaventura said, “I think the challenge there is we really are going to do a reboot there, and what that’s going to be we don’t even know yet.” A reboot! Of course! And what about cast and story? “No, it’s so silly. We gotta get a story first. You can’t pick characters until you have a story…there’s still continuity that’s going on. There’ll be a lot of new cast, whether there’s anyone from the first we don’t even know yet. The truth is, there’s going to be a whole new story. The characters that will come along will be Optimus and Bumblebee, I’m sure.” What’s most shocking about this news? That the film’s creative team thinks that they need a story to make another Transformers. Did they not see Transformers: Dark of the Moon?

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Director Peter Berg is making his bid for A-level status (box office-wise) this summer with an adaptation of the Hasbro game Battleship. That, by the way, is a complete misuse of the term ‘adaptation’ seeing as the game has zero story elements to adapt. Maybe if the movie featured naval combatants going head to head and controlled by unseen forces? Or if the aliens were manipulating ships to fight each other? I don’t know, I’m just spit-balling here, but you can see how difficult it would be to make a good movie from the game. So why do it? Obviously Universal is hoping to find the same success with Hasbro that Paramount has with their Transformers movies, but it’s still so nonsensical. The Battleship name offers no recognizable pull for audiences. These aren’t fighting robots that viewers have seen in action previously on TV or via toys in their hands…this is a board game with no moving pieces. The film could exist exactly as is under a different name and would end up with the exact same box office results. Check out the new ad below.

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Commentary: Armageddon

You knew it was inevitable. We here at Film School Rejects love Michael Bay’s Armageddon. Hell, we even gave the film a full day of coverage last April, sadly a day before Commentary Commentary was in existence. So here we are. The Criterion Collection of Armageddon and everything Michael Bay has to thrown down on the commentary track. Say what you will. Even outside the walls of FSR, this film has its fair share of fandom, and they aren’t backing down from their sturdy position. But be honest. It’s going to be fun to hear all the intricacies and insight Bay has to dish out even if you aren’t a fan of the film. He’s not alone, either. On this particular track, Bay is joined by Jerry Bruckheimer, Bruce Willis, and Ben Affleck. That sounds to me like all the knowledge you’d want about Armageddon wrapped into a tight, little group of Hollywood players. It’s the commentary track – and the Commentary Commentary – the size of Texas, and the less preamble we give it the better. So here’s everything we learned from listening to these fine gentlemen speak about their film, and don’t worry. I’ll acknowledge the moment when Affleck tells Willis he loves him. I’m getting misty eyed just thinking about it now.

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The first glimpse we got of Peter Berg’s upcoming board game adaptation (it hurts me somewhere deep to have to type those words) played a little coy with us, and at first made it look like the film would be sticking to the Battleship board game’s naval battle roots. Once a spaceship popped up and the whole thing turned into an alien invasion movie, it was kind of a surprise. This second look at Battleship, however, doesn’t bother to take any time tying this movie to the board game at all. It’s all alien invasion from beginning to end. And with a color palette very reminiscent of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, a bunch of elaborately techno ships and weapons that look like they’re right out of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, sound effects that seem to be ripped from Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, and a big ol’ headline that says this movie is from the company that brought you Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, I think it’s safe to say that Universal is aiming this thing less at fans of grid based strategy games and more at fans of Michael Bay’s big, dumb Transformers movies. It leaves me with a question: if this movie isn’t going to have anything to do with naval battles at all, why even attach it to the Battleship name? Why not just admit what you’re doing and call it Gobots? Check out the new trailer below.

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Dwayne The Rock Johnson

I don’t know which movie sounds weirder, a Michael Bay directed dark comedy or a Michael Bay directed movie that only has a budget of $20 million, but Variety is saying his next film, Pain and Gain, is going to be both of those things rolled into one. The movie is based on an article published in Miami New Times back in 1999 about a pair of bodybuilders responsible for a series of kidnapping and extortion plots. The script was penned by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who describe it as having a tone similar to Fargo. So I guess you can throw that on the pile too: a Michael Bay directed movie that’s like Fargo.

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Boiling Point

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. A day of laundry. A day of animation domination, not going to church, not doing a damn production thing, and so on and so forth. AMC’s The Walking Dead has ruined that. Well, actually it hasn’t ruined any of those things, but it has made Sunday a rather contentious day. On one side, the Walking Deadheads. Those who can’t get enough of the AMC television series. On the other side, people who just can’t be bothered to give a damn. Scratch that. They do give a damn. A negative damn. A “this show blows” damn.  And gosh darnit, neither side likes the other. While the two will probably never see eye to eye, you either dig the melodrama or you don’t, there is one argument that is thrown out over and over again: If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Well that’s bullshit. Mostly.

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Culture Warrior

One of the great misconceptions about Hollywood is that it is a liberal institution. Several false assumptions inform this misconception: thinking of “Hollywood” as a monolithic entity in any way besides its shared corporate infrastructure, confusing public endorsements of celebrity politicians by celebrity movie stars as political activism, thinking that left-leaning consumers of movies see Hollywood as representing their political beliefs in any way, selectively reading a limited number of texts (e.g., Green Zone “proves” Hollywood’s liberalism, but every superhero movie ever isn’t proof of its conservatism), and, most importantly, thinking that the most public figures associated with Hollywood (i.e., stars and filmmakers) are Hollywood. This last point I think is one that has continued to be the least considered when such straw man critiques are drawn, because Hollywood here is equated only with its most visible figures who overshadow its intricate but also not-so-shrouded political economy. It’s no mistake that despite the fluctuating numbers of major and minor Hollywood studios in the past 100 years, the most powerful studios, like the biggest banks in the nation, have been referred to as “The Big Five.” And indeed, to the surprise of no one, both Big Fives have had and are continuing a lucrative relationship with one another. Hollywood’s agenda, of course, has always been profit, and the representatives of this ideology are not George Clooney and Matt Damon, but Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal (Chairman/CEO & Co-Chairman, Sony/Columbia), Stephen Blairson (CEO, 20th Century Fox), Brad Grey (Chairman/CEO, Paramount), Ronald Meyer […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that has just discovered its lack of Photoshop talent. Don’t worry, you’ll see it. It’s not hard to spot. Otherwise, it’s all news, baby… Benicio Del Toro could be the next Star Trek villain, if J.J. Abrams gets his way. And we all know that J.J. Abrams gets his way. Of course, the character he’s in line to play is still being kept under wraps. Will he be a Klingon? Khan? Some nobody like Eric Bana’s Nero? I do know this: he will be creepy, even if he plays himself.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Like Lexus, it’s relentless in its pursuit of perfection. Unlike Lexus, it’s a movie news column. It also won’t cost you anything. Take that, Lexus. Pop quiz, hot shot. How many Clash of the Titans movies does this modern world need? One? No. Two? Not even close. How about three Clash of the Titans movies, ah-ha-ha. Yes, Warner Bros. is already prepping a third Clash of the Titans film, which will most likely come complete with a terribly muted, dark and blurry 3D post-conversion. You know, for the kids.

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Six months ago, in the very first edition of the Channel Guide here on FSR, I wrote a list of five comic book character that would make for great TV. Apparently working at FSR has granted yours truly psychic like powers because according to Deadline, in one of the last deals before buying season ends, FOX has ordered an adaptation of The Punisher from former Criminal Minds show runner Ed Bernardo with a put pilot commitment. The Punisher is more than prime for a television adaptation. However, based on the description of this version of the series, it appears that the character of Frank Castle is being changed from an all out murderous vigilante, to more of a Batman type character. “The Punisher is described as an hour-long procedural with a Marvel signature and a new take on one of Marvel’s more iconic characters, Frank Castle, a rising star detective with the NYC Police Department who moonlights as the vigilante Punisher seeking justice for those the system has failed.”

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that is just trying to get through its humpday malaise, therefore it’s a nightly movie news column that will be keeping things short, sweet and surprisingly interesting this evening. We begin tonight with Michael Bay and Jason Statham, both of whom are denying all those rumors about Transformers 4 and 5. It was just as safe to assume yesterday that nothing was actually in the works as it is to assume today that something really is in the works. Logically, the bean counters at Paramount and Hasbro want another one. And until the price becomes right, all parties involved will deny, deny, deny. In the mean time, rumors will resurface. Because as Statham told MTV News this week, “the internet is a dangerous place.” And that’s coming from a pretty dangerous guy.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly celebration of what’s happening in the world of entertainment. It also usually manages to get in a few zingers. We begin tonight with an image of Wei Tang, an actress you may recognize as the gal who had a lot of sex with Tony Leung in that Ang Lee movie, Lust, Caution. She’s also a talented actress. Which is why she’s on the shortlist of actresses who could play the Asian Bond girl role in Bond 23, which is now rumored to be partially shooting in China.

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With $1.1b in international revenue for the third film alone, it’s not really news that Hasbro is drooling for another Transformers flick, but The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the company is currently in talks with Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay about moving forward. This also isn’t a surprise, and since it’s widely known that Bay and star Shia Labeouf have been unenthusiastic about returning to the franchise, it won’t be a surprise when they pass on the director’s chair and the star trailer respectively. However, there’s something important to consider here. With Bay gone, the biggest force in the franchise is gone, and without Labeouf, its face is gone as well. That means that someone can pull out the old drawing board and start again on creating a franchise that does a better job of focusing on the cool part of Transformers (the Transformers) and on crafting a better sci-fi story. Meanwhile, Hasbro continues fruitless development on their other projects. Battleship is storming the beaches in the near future, but Candyland, their Ouija Board movie and several other projects are still not nearly as far along as they should be for the amount of time that’s been spent promising them. That’s probably a good thing. The world doesn’t need another Clue movie, but another shot at getting transforming robots might be just the thing humanity is crying out for.

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Culture Warrior

From the second half of the twentieth century onward, our view of NASA and its associated lore in movies have been inseparable. The astronaut, a uniquely American frontier hero whose myth and iconography made them the cowboy of the second half of the 20th century, has a position in our cultural memory that is inseparable from cinematic imagination. From pre-moon landing science fiction that dreamed of potential encounters with distant worlds through an organized space program (Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey) to reenactments of history celebrating the space program and the individuals involved (The Right Stuff, Apollo 13) to NASA/moon landing documentaries (For All Mankind, In the Shadow of the Moon) to later, more divergent science-fiction films that have emerged since the prominence of NASA has lessened (Armageddon and so on), NASA, space exploration, the moon landing, and its imagined associations have retained a prominent place in cinematic mythmaking prompted by continued fascination with the frontier of space and humanity’s place in it. Hell, we’ve wondered about the moon since the beginning of cinema. That our collective experience of space in both fiction (i.e., narrative cinema) and non-fiction has been via the moving image (i.e., watching the moon landing on TV) is perhaps what most thoroughly cements this porous association between NASA and its cinematic myth.

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In 2008, Universal made a deal with Hasbro to develop movies based on plastic and particle board. Now, three years later, they’ve dropped Clue, and they’re also more interested in paying Hasbro a $5m penalty than in actually making the Ouija Board Movie. According to Vulture, the project – which was being produced by Michael Bay and directed by McG (a hell of a pair if there ever were one) – is now in turnaround. Bay and McG are now free to shop it around to anyone that wants to take it. This might be just another cautious step in a trend where studios are wising up to what audiences are getting tired of, but it also represents further proof that 90s style filmmaking is dead as a doornail. McG pitched the project as a large-scale adventure ala Jumanji, which sounds like a strong idea, but apparently Universal wasn’t keen on the concept for the price. It’s a signal that that kind of family adventure is done, while blockbusters are still trying to find a type of adventure that does work. Johnny Depp acting drunk seems to work, but apparently not when he’s playing a Native American sidekick. Meanwhile, the only company who’s discovered the formula for consistently bringing in large numbers of adults and children is Pixar. Maybe they should get their busy hands on this one, too.

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In the least shocking move of possibly the entire summer season, Paramount has announced that they are re-releasing Michael Bay’s opus, Transformers: Dark of the Moon (or as I call it, Trannies: Pink Floyd Kinda), back into IMAX theaters for an extended two-week run. No less than 246 IMAX theaters that previously thought themselves free from the metallic clang-clangs of robots and the screams of innocents piercing through their giant speakers and splashed on their giant screens will be subjected to the bloodshed (oilshed?) all over again, for yet another two weeks. The re-release kicks off this Friday, August 26, and will run until Thursday, September 8. The film has already grossed over one billion dollars in the worldwide box office, with just $59.6m of that coming thanks to IMAX. With the re-release of the film to IMAX 3D, that number will be jacked up exponentially, guaranteeing that audiences who previously missed (avoided?) the spectacle have no excuse to not see robots and humans going at it on a screen taller than most people’s homes. Optimus!! Buuuumblebeeee! There are currently three films playing in IMAX: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Cowboys & Aliens, and Final Destination 5: More Final-er. With the next new IMAX film opening not set until September 9 (that would be Contagion), Potter nearing the end of its run, and Cowboys underperforming, it’s no surprise that IMAX would push out a proven winner to end the summer strong. Now, who do I talk […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a rumblin’, stumblin’, often bumblin’ and at times even tumblin’ nightly look at the world of entertainment news through the lens of brevity and wit. But mostly brevity. And fancy images. Tonight’s lead image came to me randomly while browsing around Yahoo! Movies. It’s the first still from A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas, and I can’t for the life of me explain why we haven’t featured it yet. Perhaps it was just released. If so, I feel like I’ve stumbled upon buried treasure. A gold mine of full-force ridiculousity. And NPH.

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Boiling Point

Listen, 3D is a contentious issue. Lots of people hate 3D and let it be known almost daily. I guess I get it. I mean, sometimes 3D is done poorly. Sometimes it’s annoying. It’s kind of a gimmick. Then again, there has been some good 3D, too. Transformers: Dark of the Moon looked amazing, Thor and Captain America were both well done, and plenty of movies from My Bloody Valentine 3D to the Final Destination films (recent ones) have been fun in 3D. We’re also moving into a new age of 3D, one where some of the most respected directors in the world are making 3D films. Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola, Ridley Scott, all the major players are going to play with 3D and many of them love it – like Ridley Scott who said, perhaps exaggeratedly, that he’d never make a film without 3D again. So, for now, 3D is here to stay and while it can be imperfect, often it’s fun. There is one instance, however, when the 3D kind of sucks no matter what.

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With Michael Bay gone (for the foreseeable future) and Shia Labeouf done with the franchise professionally, the next incarnation of Transformers will most definitely look different. Without the auteur subtlety of Bay, producer Don Murphy will need to go to someone else, and there aren’t many who can handle large action sequences with as much skill (at least not many who would want the job). Still questioning whether we’ll see more of the giant robots? Murphy posted on his website (via /film), saying “What happens next? Certainly not a reboot. We haven’t lost the Transformers. They didn’t grow up or become expensive like Toby Maguire. I don’t know what happens next. I’m pretty sure there will be a second trilogy. I am pretty sure it will kick ass. And I am pretty sure some of you will hate it because it wasn’t all bots.” So if the producer is pretty sure they’ll make more, what should they look like? What problems can the fix? What elements should be kept the same? What do you want to see in future Transformers movies?

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All during the lead up to Transformers: Dark of the Moon, both the film’s director Michael Bay and its star Shia LaBeouf made it clear that three was going to be enough for them, and that they would not be coming back for a Transformers 4. Usually when declarations like this are made there’s a lot of hand wringing that goes on as everybody tries to figure out what it would take to get the big names back. In this case, however, the concept of huge robots turning into cars and fighting is way, way cooler than either Michael Bay or Shia LaBeouf.  You guys aren’t coming back? Great, then maybe we’ll finally get a Transformers movie that’s completely awesome. And if the early rumors turn out to have nuggets of truth to them, then I already like Transformers 4 better than I’ve liked any of the first three. Showbiz Spy is claiming that they have sources close to the development of the franchise, and seeing as the third film is making so much money, a fourth is going to be attempted even without Bay and LaBeouf. And since they can cast off the shackles of the previous creative direction, they are looking to take the Autobots in a much darker and more adult direction. To that end they’re apparently looking at action star Jason Statham to become the new lead of the series.

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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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