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

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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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Hollywood has gone IMAX crazy

After both Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye) both expressing their wish to shoot part of their next respective films in the IMAX format, word has come out that director Michael Bay (Transformers) actually is doing it right now with the currently-filming Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. This year’s record breaking The Dark Knight is the culprit responsible for starting the trend.

As you may or may not know, IMAX screens, in addition to being much bigger, are much more square-shaped than “normal” ones, with an aspect ratio of 143/100 as compared to 185/100 which is the standard for most films these days. I wasn’t lucky enough to catch The Dark Knight in IMAX but a lot of people who did insist it is truly amazing to behold. From what I understand, the image would expand for certain scenes, offering the viewer a greater immersion into the film.

If any of you have seen The Dark Knight in IMAX, please tell me is it really worth all the hassle? Is IMAX the big new cinematic revolution?

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New Moby Dick to become a special effects bonanza

Universal Pictures is planning yet another adaptation of Herman Melville’s classic 1851 novel Moby Dick, and are looking to take it the brainless summer blockbuster route with Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) at the helm. What’s more, the story will be modernized and robbed of its point.

Gone is the first-person narration by the young seaman Ishmael, who observes how Ahab’s obsession with killing the great white whale overwhelms his good judgment as captain.

This change will allow them to depict the whale’s decimation of other ships prior to its encounter with Ahab’s Pequod, and Ahab will be depicted more as a charismatic leader than a brooding obsessive.

The screenwriting duo responsible for this rape are the illustrious Adam Cooper & Bill Collage (Accepted). Meanwhile, Melville is rolling over in his grave and Michael Bay (Transformers) is wondering whether they’ll finally let him film John Steinbeck’s East Of Eden the way it was “meant to be seen”. No word on whether noted whale lover Hayden Panettiere (NBC’s Heroes) is already boycotiing the film.

Fun Fact: Techno musician Moby is in fact Herman Melville’s great-great-great-grandnephew.

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Give Babylon A.D. a second chance, watch the “real version”

I saw Babylon A.D. today, and while I won’t write a full review of it at this time, I do have a few things I want to say. Babylon A.D. has been a pet project for acclaimed French director Mathieu Kassovitz (Gothika) for many years, with him being a huge fan of Maurice Georges Dantec’s source novel Babylon Babies. The film had a very troubled shoot and was delayed from its original release date in early 2008. Ultimately, most people had already dismissed the film before it was released, and the final nail in its coffin was when both Kassovitz and lead actor Vin Diesel (Find Me Guilty) trashed the film before its American release. Here’s the catch though: they were talking about the Fox version of the film.

Yes, there are two versions of Babylon A.D., one which runs 90 minutes and is distributed by 20th Century-Fox in the US, Canada, UK and some other countries, and another by Studio Canal, which doesn’t mention Fox at all and lasts 11 minutes more. Now this doesn’t mean that Fox simply cut out 11 minutes from the film and released it…they actually cut out much more, and replaced it with footage that isn’t in the longer version. I haven’t seen the Fox version, but I’ve read about it and can thus tell you that Fox basically removed significant parts of plot development and replaced them with action scenes that are completely absent from the Studio Canal version… Fox changed the beginning, Fox changed the ending, Fox changed the dialogues, Fox changed everything.

Rest of the article after the jump Continue reading

Are you ready for Voltron?

Relative unknown Max Makowski (One Last Dance) has repotedly been hired to direct the forthcoming sci-fi blockbuster Voltron. No doubt greenlighted following the success of Michael Bay’s Transformers, Voltron will follow five young pilots who, after Earth was devastated by an alien attack, learn to operate lion robots from the planet Arus, which can unite to form a giant sword-wielding  mega-robot. The movie will be shot entirely on green screen like, say, 300 or Sin City. Voltron, set for release in 2010, will be adapted from the eponymous popular eighties Japanese anime that I’ve never heard of. The screenplay is by up-and-coming unknown Justin Marks, whose first feature writing credit, Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li, will be released next year.

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Movie Of The Day: What’s The Worst That Could Happen? (2001)

A crime comedy directed by Sam Weisman (Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star), What’s The Worst That Could Happen? stars Martin Lawrence (College Road Trip) and Danny DeVito (FX’s It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), along with John Leguizamo (The Happening), Carmen Ejogo (NBC’s Kidnapped), the late Bernie Mac (Transformers) and William Fichtner (The Dark Knight). It is based on a novel by Donald E. Westlake (Payback), which was adapted by Matthew Chapman (Runaway Jury).

Lawrence plays a thief who fails to successfully rob a billionaire’s beach house, as said billionaire, played by Danny DeVito, was there. The billionaire then steals the thief’s lucky ring, which was just given to him by his girlfriend (Ejogo). Since the billionaire refuses to give back the ring, the thief vows to make his life miserable by embarassing him in front of his peers and robbing him again, and again, and again…and again. Trailer and review after the jump.

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