VOTD: The Style of Michael Bay

Rat-tat-tat! Film-film-film!

As Transformers: Age of Extinction explodes the box-office everywhere, attention has once again turned to its director, Michael Bay. Regularly put down by critics, his films almost invariably make tons of money to the point where he’s been labeled “critic proof”.

Personally I don’t think I’d list any of his films among my top favorites but I actually have a lot of respect for the man. He’s a hard-worker who clearly knows his stuff and has his own, unique, distinctive style. Though he has many copycats, it’s undeniable there’s nothing quite like a Michael Bay film.

Tony Zhou over on Vimeo just posted a fantastic video dissecting Bay’s style and whether you like the man or not, it’s a must watch. Continue reading

Olivia Munn is Riding Along

UPDATE: Ken Jeong will also be in the film, playing a computer hacker who fancies himself a ladies man but who also is key in solving the case that Cube and Hart are working on.

This year’s “urban” buddy cop comedy Ride Along was a huge hit in the US when it premiered earlier this year, so naturally it’s getting a sequel. Two of the original’s four (!) screenwriters, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (also Clash of the TitansÆon Flux, R.I.P.D.) return for the sequel which will again center on security guard Ben Barber (Kevin Hart, Scary Movie 3 & 4) and his would-be brother-in-law, tough Atlanta cop James Payton (Ice Cube, 21 Jump Street) and also be directed by Tim Story (also Fantastic Four 1 & 2).

According to The Hollywood Reporter, former Attack of the Show! co-host, The Newsroom actress and infamous Brett Ratner shrimp fling Olivia Munn (also seen in Magic Mike) will join the anticipated sequel as a Miami homicide detective and love interest for Ice Cube’s character. Perhaps not coincidentally, the 33 year-old actress’ latest film, the “true horror” pic Deliver Us from Evil, is just about to release Stateside.

What do you think of Munn’s addition to the film? Does she have the chops to plays it up with Cube & Hart? Or will she just be token eye candy? Watch some of her early AotS comedy after the jump and sound off in the comments! Continue reading

New Trailer & Poster: Friday The 13th

Friday The 13th is undoubtedly one of the biggest, most enduring and recognizable horror franchises in movie history. It all started with John Carpenter‘s seminal 1978 slasher Halloween (recently remade by Rob Zombie) which paved the way for the 1980 release of the original Friday The 13th. Directed by Sean S. Cunningham and written by Victor Miller and Ron Kurz, the film was a big success (in no small part thanks to its tiny $700000 budget) and eleven movies later the producers decided it was time to reboot the franchise.

Enter Platinum Dunes, a production company headed by Michael Bay (director of Transformers), Brad Fuller and Andrew Form that specializes in horror movies (mainly remakes) much like the Joel Silver/Robert Zemeckis-headed Dark Castle Entertainment and the Sam Raimi-headed Ghost House Pictures. Originally in talks with Jonathan Liebesman (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning), Platinum Dunes finally chose to put Marcus Nispel (Pathfinder) in charge, the director who provided them with their best received film, the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Written by Freddy Vs. Jason scribes Damian Shannon & Mark Swift, the film will reportedly not be a direct remake but will instead take elements from the first three films in the franchise and go in its own direction. The movie stars Jared Padalecki (The CW’s Supernatural), Danielle Panabaker (CBS’ Shark), Amanda Righetti (Role Models), Travis Van Winkle (Meet The Spartans), Aaron Yoo (Nick And Norah’s Infinte Playlist) and Derek Mears (The Hills Have Eyes 2) among others.

It will premiere on February 12th, 2009 in Argentina, Germany, Portugal, Russia and the Netherlands, and come out the next day in a few other countries including the USA and the UK. You can check out four pictures from the new flick here and I have included the trailers for the first three films of the franchise after the jump. Don’t forget to tell me what you think in the comments.

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New Trailer & Poster: Gran Torino

Actor/Director Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby) has done it again! A mere two months after the release of his excellent previous directing effort Changeling comes Gran Torino, a film which might perhaps be Eastwood’s last outing as an actor according to the man himself.

The film will premiere in the US on limited release on December 12th before going wide on January 16th. Warner Bros is already pushing the film for serious award consideration, as can be seen here. The script was written by newcomers Nick Schenk and Dave Johannson.

Eastwood stars as a racist Korean War veteran who is disgusted by the amount of Asian people who have moved in his neighborhood. However, when he stops a young Asian kid from stealing his Ford Gran Torino as part of gang initiation one day, the boy is forced by his family to work for him as penance. A friendship eventually forms between the two.

I personally think it looks superbly awesome, and one must admire all the Asian actors, for most of whom this is the first film. As I said earlier, another surefire bonafide great piece of cinema from a man that can only be called a master. What do you think? Tell me below in the comments.

New Trailer & Poster: Bride Wars

I was somewhat reserved about Bride Warsfirst trailer, and while this one still doesn’t make the film look that good, I still feel it’s a slight improvement and it certainly looks a whole lot better then Confessions Of A Shopaholic. As for the poster, it showcases the two leading beauties but hopefully this isn’t the final one-sheet. Bride Wars will premiere in the US on January 9th, 2009. Tell me what you think in the comments.

Bride Wars tells the story of two best friends portrayed by Kate Hudson (Fool’s Gold) and Anne Hathaway (Passengers) who become bitter rivals when they accidentally schedule their respective weddings the same day. The film co-stars Candice Bergen (ABC’s Boston Legal), Bryan Greenberg (ABC’s October Road) and Chris Pratt (Wanted). It is directed by Gary Winick (Charlotte’s Web) and was written by Greg DePaul (Saving Silverman), and relative newcomers June Raphael & Casey Wilson.

New Trailer & Poster: Push

Push is a new action/sci-fi movie directed by Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin), written by David Bourla (Nostradamus) and boasting a talented cast comprised of Chris Evans (Street Kings), Dakota Fanning (The Secret Life Of Bees), Camilla Belle (10,000 BC) and Djimon Hounsou (the underrated Never Back Down).

Resembling somewhat the X-Men and Heroes, the film has young people with telekinetic and clairvoyant powers trying to escape from an evil agency. The film has been criticized for having poor special effects, but I think this trailer looks pretty cool and the effetcs seem fine to me. That and I think the cast is great and McGuigan’s last two films were great. Give me your thoughts in the comments.

New Trailer & Poster: Angels & Demons

Sony Pictures has just released the first trailer for Angels & Demons, the second film in the franchise following author Dan Brown’s hero, Harvard symbologist Robert Langon, after 2006’s The Da Vinci Code. Tom Hanks returns in the lead, as do most of Da Vinci‘s crew, including director Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, who co-penned the adaptation with David Koepp (Ghost Town). Joining the cast are Ewan McGregor (Deception), Ayelet Zurer (Vantage Point) and Stellan Skarsgård (Mamma Mia!). My one question is why did they make such a big deal of hiring a French actress to play Sophie Neveu in the first film only to have an Israeli portray Vittoria here?

This trailer is certainly riveting, and a much better one than that first look of The Da Vinci Code, which simply showed cracks in the Mona Lisa. I agree with the general feeling that Angels & Demons (which came before Da Vinci) is a much better novel than its more famous little brother, and interestingly enough, I found it also quite pro-christianity. Then again, I also felt that The Da Vinci Code wasn’t that anti-christianity. In any case, I wonder if Angels & Demons will be set as a prequel, or if it was reworked as a sequel. Angels & Demons will be released worldwide mid-May 2009. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Music Of The Day: Suddenly

Ashley Tisdale is in my opinion one of the best things to come out of High School Musical, a franchise I will write an in-depth article sometime soon when I have the time. Though she hasn’t done that much yet, the 23 year old is a joy to watch as Sharpay Evans in the Disney series of films and I’m convinced she’s capable of some great stuff in the future.

Suddenly is a single from her debut album Headstrong, and easily the best song I’ve heard from her, or any of the HSM crew’s solo efforts for that matter. A slow ballad about attaining her dreams aka making it as a performer, it’s not the greatest ever made, but I find it quite a pleasant listen. Similarly the music video isn’t amazing, but in tone with the song, and thus quite good. What do you think?

More “Music Of The Day”

Fun Stuff: Best Movie Car Chases

YouTube user Brutzelpretzel did an amazing job at editing together some of the best car scenes witnessed on screen from 1964’s Goldfinger to 2008’s Vantage Point, and with an inspired music choice to boot! Seriously, this guy deserves some praise, superb video. View a full list of movies used after the jump (the only inexplicable omission I detect is Casino Royale and its record-breaking crash).

More Fun Stuff

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Movie Of The Day: Alexander (2004)

Back in 1964, the huge financial failure of The Fall Of The Roman Empire pretty much single-handedly buried the big-budget peplum genre, and it wasn’t until forty years later that new attempts at grand American sword and sandal epics were made. Indeed Gladiator‘s success back in 2000 slowly revived interest in the genre, which led to the release of no less than three such films in 2004: King Arthur, Troy and Alexander.

Existing in three (very) different cuts, the film is obviously based on the life of Alexander The Great and follows the Macedonian king through his childhood, youth and tenure as king, his loves, conquests and relationships with friends and family. Directed by Oliver Stone (W.), who co-wrote the film with Laeta Kalogridis (Pathfinder) and Christopher Kyle (K-19: The Widowmaker).

Alexander stars Colin Farrell (Pride And Glory), Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Val Kilmer (Felon), Anthony Hopkins (Fracture), Jared Leto (Chapter 27), Rosario Dawson (Eagle Eye), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Children Of Huang Shi) and Christopher Plummer (Closing The Ring) among others. Trailer and review after the jump. Continue reading