Transformers 4 (2014)

Transformers 4 PosterRelease Date: June 27, 2014

Directed by: Michael Bay

Written by: Ehren Kruger

Starring: Nicola Peltz, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer

Synopsis:

A mechanic and his daughter make a discovery that brings down Autobots and Decepticons – and a paranoid government official – on them.

Summer Movie Diaries

This February, Film School Rejects turned a gloriously unruly 8 years old. Which means for me that, including the time spent blogging elsewhere prior to starting FSR, I have been blogging the world of cinema for almost a decade. It’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had. And as the years go by and the grey hairs continue to sprout, I continue to learn new things about my own taste. In film, in companions, in life experiences. It has all changed not always drastically with time. I’ve also experienced changes in behavior. In the beginning, I got into this business for the free movies (there is no such thing as the much mythicized “movie blogger groupie,” so movies it is). But as my work with the site has evolved, especially in recent years, I’ve found myself missing out on all the movie-related fun. It’s not about seeing movies. It’s about spreadsheets, advertisers, more spreadsheets and finding creative ways to make sure we find the best writers on the web and pay them somewhat appropriately. There are other distractions. Living in the New Golden Age of Television certainly isn’t helping solidify my commitment to seeing many movies. Between catching up on great shows like Orphan Black and Fargo and reading, watching, blogging and podcasting about all things Game of Thrones, television is a relentless distraction. It’s about time that I issue cinema an apology: I’m sorry, movies, I’ve been neglecting you lately. I feel like that guy, we all know him, who […]

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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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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 4: Optimus Prime

“A new era has begun. The day of the Transformers is over.” It’s not so much a reboot, this Transformers: Age of Extinction. It’s definitely the fourth film in a franchise closely watched by its shepherd Michael Bay. But in the first teaser and now this first full trailer, the minds of marketing at Paramount want fans to know that this time around is different. It’s darker, more serious, less Shia. It’s grown up and picked Pain & Gain star Mark Wahlberg as its very manly lead. It touts the fact that the rules have changed, the era of the Transformers is over. “We don’t need you,” explains newcomer Stanley Tucci to an off-screen robot. And for a moment — two minutes, to be exact — it’s easy to believe them. Because this time around we get some giant dinosaur robots (Dinobots to their friends). Things may just be different, after all.

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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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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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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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Transformers 4: 2014 Camaro Bumblebee

Whether you’re interested in it or not, Transformers 4 is happening in the summer of 2014. Personally, I’m interested. Mostly because, as a stout Michael Bay defender (sometimes apologist), I welcome any opportunity to experience a bit of Bayhem. That, and despite its numerous and well-chronicled series of flaws, the Transformers franchise has not failed to entertain on a very basic level. Something inside me adores the very existence of giant alien robots fighting it out in absurd situations. That’s exactly what I’ve always wanted from a live-action Transformers franchise, and I’m certainly not alone. With that in mind, it’s about time — almost exactly a year prior to the release of the next movie and well in advance of any actual footage — to get up close and personal with some of the new vehicles that Bay and friends have assembled for this go-around. These cars will undoubtedly star alongside the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Sophia Myles, Kelsey Grammer and Li Bingbing. And just as we’ve seen in previous installments, if this is going to be one long car commercial, it might as well feature some wicked-cool cars.

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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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Jack Reynor

What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting roundup that’s knee deep in nostalgia as it reports on movies based on comic books and toys from its childhood. Due to a little bit of inspiration from the Internet, Michael Bay gave Mark Wahlberg a pretty big part in his upcoming fourth Transformers movie. It’s always been understood that Wahlberg was playing a placeholder character though, who would pass the franchise off to a couple of young kids who would be pushed into the forefront as it went forward. Well, today Bay announced that he’s found the male half of this new duo. Apparently little known Irish actor Jack Reynor is his guy. Bay says that he saw Reynor in an Irish movie called What Richard Did, which a quick Googling tells me has nothing to do with acting opposite giant robots, so let’s all hope he knows what he’s talking about.

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Michael Shannon

What is Casting Couch? It’s the roundup of casting news that knows what Gillian Jacobs is going to be doing with her upcoming break from Community. All that time in the bushes finally paid off. Most people probably thought Wild Things director John McNaughton’s career hit its zenith when he directed Wild Things. That movie was basically the most ’90s thing ever, and it practically introduced the concept of the three-way to the square community through the communicative power of Denise Richards’ boobs. He may yet top that work though, because Deadline reports that he’s just recruited the best actor in the world, Michael Shannon, to star in his upcoming thriller The Harvest. The film will star Samantha Morton as a successful heart surgeon and Shannon as her co-dependent husband. Its conflict comes in when their sick son meets a new friend, and suddenly the very controlled routine that Morton’s character has created starts to break down. Sounds like a creepy mom.

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Isla Fisher

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s a casting column that’s relying on the dreaded “short list” for content. You can’t really say that The Switch is a Jackie Brown prequel. Its story doesn’t really connect with the goings-on of Jackie Brown in any way, and Quentin Tarantino isn’t involved or anything. But it is an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel that features many of the same characters Jackie Brown did. Case in point: Variety reports that fiery redhead Isla Fisher is in negotiations to play Melanie, the same stoner surfer girl that Bridget Fonda played in Tarantino’s film. The Switch also features Mos Def and John Hawkes in the roles Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro originally played, and Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped housewife. Fisher’s character is said to be the manipulator of the story, and isn’t that always the case with these pretty girls?

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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

We aren’t really going to be seeing Star Wars rumors and updates all the way through 2015, are we? As much as that might be the boost the American economy needs (when bloggers make money, bloggers spend money…), it could become very tiresome and result in absolutely no excitement for the actual film upon its release. Maybe once a director is chosen we’ll see a decrease in coverage. Well, maybe we’ll at least see a stoppage of “this director isn’t directing Star Wars” posts, unless we get a start on carrying them over to Episode VIII. Before we look at the week that was mostly just more Star Wars content, here’s your weekly reminder to read our reviews of new movies in theatrical release (Skyfall, Lincoln, Chasing Ice, Starlet, The Comedy, 28 Hotel Rooms, and The Citadel) and interviews with Skyfall producers Barbara Brocoli and Michael G. Wilson and cinematographer Roger Deakins and 28 Hotel Rooms composer Will Bates. We also watched new trailers for zombie movies World War Z and Warm Bodies, Wong Kar-Wai‘s The Grandmasters, Arnold Schwarznegger‘s The Last Stand, Alan Moore‘s Jimmy’s End, the remake Silent Night, the 3D re-release of Jurassic Park and our very own exclusive debut of the new spot for the wonderful Only the Young. Now, check out our biggest and best stories and original content from the past week after the break.

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Benedict Cumberbatch

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s a casting column that’s debunking a couple of rumors that will probably come true anyway. Absolutely Anything is a project that’s long been on comedy nerds’ radars, not only because it’s being directed by Monty Python member Terry Jones, but also because the film will see Jones re-teaming with the other members of his legendary comedy troupe to do voiceover work. According to The Wrap, filming is looking to get underway on this one soon, Gemma Arterton has joined the cast, and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) is currently negotiating to come on board, as well. The story is about a bumbling but magical school teacher, something that Cumberbatch would likely knock out of the park; which is one more positive that will help you forget Robin Williams is also going to be doing his voiceover thing here.

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Bay and Wahlberg

If you can’t beat the Internet, join them! At least, that seems to be Michael Bay‘s mentality when it comes to his (good God) fourth Transformers film. Late last month, a rumor broke free from the gnashing, mewling, almighty Internet machine that held that Bay was looking to his Pain and Gain star, Mark Wahlberg, to lead the latest installment of your little brother’s favorite franchise. At first, Bay was like “oh, no, that’s totally not going to happen. Nope, not at all,” but let’s get real – this is totally going to happen. Bay has now posted about the speculation on his website (via ComingSoon), writing: “I squashed a rumor that was on the internet last week. It was about Mark Walhberg. Mark was rumored to be staring in Transformers 4. We are working on another movie together, not T4. I had such a great time working with Mark on Pain and Gain, and he gave such a great performance – well let’s say that very internet chatter gave me some ideas. We are at the inception of our story process right now on T4. Let’s say some ideas are gaining traction with me and my writer – so I’m here to say thanks internet chatter.”

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Wahlberg and Bay

Though Michael Bay was initially reticent to commit to making a fourth installment of his hugely successful Transformers franchise, the money in these things is just too good, so it was really only a matter of time before he relented and agreed to sign on for a fourth. And though the news of another Bay-directed Transformers movie is going to be enough to earn groans from a lot of film fans, there have been some promising indications that a fourth film could be the best yet, even with the same director in place. From the very beginning, Transformers 4 has been thought of as a retooling of the franchise. Gone would be the north of $200m budgets and focus on Shia LaBeouf’s goofy Sam character and his ridiculously annoying family, and in their place would be a more traditional action plot starring a more traditional action actor. Heck, at one point it was even rumored that the studio was going after Jason Statham to star. Say that Bay made a Transformers movie without a focus on all of that family-friendly humor, with a budget that forced him to rely a little less on technical wizardry and a little more on his ingenuity…that could result in a watchable movie, right? The final battle of Transformers 3 was a lot of fun to watch, what if that were the whole movie?

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Michael Bay Transformers

Owing to the sheer size of the event, the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl ad contest has become its own institution over 7 years. The annual contest (alongside a growing number of other venture filmmaking contests sponsored by companies) has created an opportunity for the aspiring to have their work shared on the largest stage possible while winning a stupid amount of money. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the winner will also get to work with Michael Bay on Transformers 4.  The prized crew position has yet to be determined, so it could be Second Unit Director or Awesome Clean Up Crew Member, but either way it should prove to be a fantastic hands-on opportunity to work on a major film set. The official rules are on the contest’s Facebook Page along with past winners to give you an idea of what they might be looking for. Although this announcement just caused an automatic rise of EPS (explosions per second) in the entries, I’m looking forward to the intimate, subtle look at the emotional subtext Doritos can provide (but this should win for subversiveness alone).

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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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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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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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