Michael Bay

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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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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