19
Oct
2014

WSMS Transformers Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction isn’t so much a movie as watching one man just give up on even trying to do his job any more.

If I were to even attempt to go through everything wrong with the fourth Transformers film, I would wonder why I didn’t just finally sit down and write one of the many novels I’ve thought about producing over the years. The film is just filled with plot holes, deus ex machina contrivances, horrible acting, over used camera tricks, ham fisted product placements, racial stereotypes… in other words… it’s a Michael Bay film.

I would remiss if I didn’t lay some of the blame at screenwriter Ehren Kruger’s feet as well. He’s written three of the four Transformers films, so some of the blame belongs with him as well, but Bay is the true villain of this piece.

As I watched the movie I kept thinking about how Michael Bay had originally not wanted to return to direct this entry in the series feeling he had done enough with the other three. And it showed. As bad as the last three were, you never felt like Bay didn’t care, but this time around there was sloppiness in every corner of the frame. You could feel his boredom with the series pouring off the screen and washing over you. He just didn’t care. He showed up to collect a check, and that’s just what he did.

You have to wonder if this attitude trickled down to others in the production. In one scene the green screens weren’t even replaced. The performances by the actors were phoned in. Props were off (when stating how well you know a law, the card you carry for that law should match the number you said). It just felt like a haphazard amateur production and not a big budget blockbuster.

Of all the crimes of this film, two really stuck out to me: The statutory rape sub-plot and the length of the film.

Statutory Rape

Shane and Tessa - Transformers

This… was an actual sub-plot. When Cade (Mark Wahlberg) discovers his 17-year-old daughter is dating a 20-year-old, he threatens to call the police. Shane (Jack Reynor) then goes in to detail about how it isn’t statutory rape because of the “Romeo & Juliet” law in Texas.

Folks, there was a scene in a Transformers movie about why dating underage girls is just fine and dandy. I am not making a moral call on this situation, I am making a “Why is this in a film named for a race of giant robots?” This had no place in this film, and did nothing to strengthen the story. I actually think it would have been more interesting if she was 18 due to a few other scenes in the film, but at the end of the day, it just didn’t really matter.

Bay has never been able to wrap his head around the fact we don’t see Transformers movies for his paper-thin human characters. We want to see the giant robots we all love. They show up once in a while, but never shall they get in the way of conversations about the dangers of dating girls before they are of legal age.

Run Time

Transformers real estate agent

So, beyond a scene dedicated to, “Hey, dating your underage daughter is legal,” we had a scene dealing with a real estate agent that had no legal right to be on Cade’s property.

It had already been established that Cade was broke… multiple times. It was mentioned by two other characters, unpaid bills in the mail, Tessa’s (Nicola Peltz) inability to afford to go to college and was later covered with an eviction notice. But you clearly weren’t getting the point, and that is why a real estate agent shows up with prospective buyers and tells Cade she can do this because he’s six months behind on his payments. No foreclosure has happened yet, but sure enough she was there… in a movie about giant robots. (Are you seeing a trend yet?)

This scene was played for comedy at a moment where none was needed. There was no tension that needed to be broken, and there is just no logical reason for this scene to exist on any level. As scenes go, it’s a short one at just one minute and three seconds, but it happens less than 13 minutes into the film. By this time the money problems had already been established so this was simply beating it into the skulls of the audience for no good reason and wasting valuable story establishment momentum.

While I don’t subscribe to any certain length for a film, I also don’t believe in having my time being wasted with useless information. If this were the only establishment of the money issues, fine, it would have been acceptable. But as just one of numerous commentaries on that character development, it was useless and repetitive and is indicative of many other pacing issues in the film.

So Much Suck

I decided to focus on just two things that stuck out to me that helped me make this movie suck, but believe me there were many, many more reasons why it deserves to be part of this series of movie posts. I opted to focus on crimes against basic storytelling.

It is doubtful that anyone sees a Transformers movie expecting high art, but I think they at least expect some basic structure that makes sense… I kid, of course they don’t, but Transformers: Age of Extinction took it to a whole new level.

18
Oct
2014

Lucy 5

It appears that Scarlett Johansson may be the new hot female actions tar after the global success of Lucy and her turns as Black Widow.

Johansson was having a heck of a run as the darling of the indie film scene, but then she landed the role of the Black Widow in numerous Marvel Cinematic Universe films. She then teamed up with Luc Besson for the action film Lucy. Made for $40 million, the film went on to earn $412 million globally as her name recognition has grown.

Word is that Johannson is now pulling in $10 million per film for action roles, and she’s receiving a lot more offers. Now word is that DreamWorks has approached her to play the lead in its long gestating live action take on the anime Ghost in the Shell. This film has been sitting for years now, but things picked up some speed when Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) stepped in to the director’s chair.

No official word yet, but I think if Johannson does really come on board things will begin moving pretty quickly.

17
Oct
2014

carrie kelley robin

Rumors are circulating that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice may not only have a Robin in the mix, but it may be Carrie Kelley.

We’ve already seen that Ben Affleck’s Batman is pretty clearly influenced by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns series. During that series the older Bruce Wayne took on a new protege as his latest Robin, a girl named Carrie Kelley. It’s the only time Robin has been a girl, and seeing as that appears to be the influence for this film, it looks like the twist may show up in the new film.

Adding fuel to the fire, Jena Malone – that starred in Sucker Punch, another Zack Snyder film – has been said to be filming a secret part. No one immediately jumped to the conclusion she would be Robin, but now that the rumor has broke, everyone is noticing that two weeks ago she revealed she had dyed her hair red.

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Drastic times call for drastic measures.

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The pieces are definitely there to come to the conclusion Malone is playing Kelley, but only time will tell for sure. If true, count me as excited.

16
Oct
2014

Black Adam

Prepare thy self to watch a whole of super heroes coming your way in the next six years.

With the announcement yesterday of all the DC movie plans, the film schedule between now and 2020 has become insane if you’re a comic book fan. I remember when getting a comic book movie every few years sent me into spasms, now there will be some windows of time where I will only have to wait a week or two. That, to me, is insanity.

Movie
Release Date
Universe
Big Hero 611/7/14
Avengers: Age of Ultron5/1/14MCU
Ant-Man7/7/15MCU
Fantastic Four8/7/15Fantastic Four
Deadpool2/12/16X-Men
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice3/25/16DCU
Captain America 35/6/16MCU
X-Men: Apocalypse5/27/16X-Men
Doctor Strange7/8/16MCU
Suicide Squad8/5/16DCU
Sinister Six11/11/16Spider-Man
Wolverine3/3/17X-Men
Unknown Marvel5/5/17MCU
Wonder Woman6/3/17DCU
Fantastic Four 27/14/17Fantastic Four
Guardians of the Galaxy 27/28/17MCU
Unknown Marvel11/3/17MCU
Justice League Part One11/17/17DCU
Amazing Spider-Man 32018Spider-Man
The Flash3/23/18DCU
Unknown Marvel5/4/18MCU
Unknown Marvel7/6/18MCU
Unknown Fox/Marvel Film7/13/18???
Aquaman7/27/18DCU
Unknown Marvel11/2/18MCU
Shazam4/5/19DCU
Unknown Marvel5/3/19MCU
Justice League Part Two6/14/19DCU
Cyborg4/3/20DCU
Green Lantern6/19/20DCU

When you add in all of the TV shows as well, my mind just melts at how my beloved art form has finally made it’s way into the mainstream in ways it never has before. I couldn’t be happier, but it also frightens me a bit for the inevitable crash that will come one of these days and everyone tires of this style of story.

There are sure to be more films added in the coming years, but for now, sit back folks, there are about to be a whole lot of capes flying around.

15
Oct
2014

Justice League white background

Warner Brothers isn’t messing around any longer, and it’s time for it to stage a full-frontal assault on the Marvel movies.

The slate of upcoming DC movies was announced through 2020 and answered a few questions everyone had. Apparently the only missing films are solo films for Batman and Superman, but they will be announced later on.

To me, the most annoying thing is it was confirmed that the Flash will be played by Ezra Miller, meaning the TV shows such as Arrow and The Flash are not part of the film universe. I think that is a silly decision, but I think Warner Brothers is making a lot of silly choices to be honest.

  • Suicide Squad – August 5, 2016
  • Wonder Woman – June 23, 2017
  • Justice League, Part One – November 10, 2017
  • The Flash – March 23, 2018
  • Aquaman – July 27, 2018
  • Shazam – April 5, 2019
  • Justice League, Part Two – June 14, 2019
  • Cyborg – April 3, 2020
  • Green Lantern – June 19, 2020

At least Green Lantern is getting rebooted. It certainly can’t be any worse than the last one.

Expect a lot of analysis this in the coming days.

14
Oct
2014

Captain America and Iron Man

Civil War appears to be coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and no, I don’t mean the war between the North and the South.

Robert Downey Jr. has been hinting recently he has a lot more to do with the MCU, and if the new rumor from Variety is to be believed, he wasn’t kidding. According to the trade paper, Downey is close to signing on to co-star in Captain America 3 and launch what could be a seven year saga known as the Civil War.

In the comics, the story went that the virtually untrained group the New Warriors fought a group of super villains in a small town. When the villain Nitro pushed his power to the limit, he blew up several blocks of the town including an elementary school killing over 600 people, 60 of which were children. The national viewpoint of superheroes turned, and the government signed into law the Superhero Registration Act meaning everyone wearing a costume had to reveal their secret identity to the government and act within certain regulations.

Captain America decides it violates civil liberties and puts families at risk as well as handcuffing the heroes. Meanwhile Iron Man is all for it and feels heroes need oversight. S.H.I.E.L.D. is put in charge of the enforcement and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders in the movies) is made the director tasked with carrying this out.

Clearly some things will need to change for this to work in the films because the hero population is nowhere near as large as it was in the comics at the time this happened. Additionally, S.H.I.E.L.D. is in a shambles, and we have the very clear threat of the Infinity Stones still building up.

This should be interesting to see how this all plays out, and none of it is official as of yet, but I imagine we’ll hear something very soon.

Captain America 3 will hit theaters on May 6, 2016.

[ Source Variety ]

13
Oct
2014

Columbus Day - xkcd

Welcome to the ninth annual posting of this entry!  Long time readers can skip it, but as I keep adding more readers, it’ll keep getting posted!

Ah, Columbus Day, the day we set aside each year to celebrate a lie. It always warms my heart.

People tend to forget that Christopher Columbus wasn’t looking for North America when he landed here, he was looking for the West Indies. Quite the navigator there. He also believed, until his death, that the entire time he was in this area that he was exploring the Eastern coast of Asia.

Never mind the fact that he also took the indigenous people as slaves and shipped them back to Spain, against the Crown’s wishes. Never mind that colonists he brought over here rebelled against him when the New World didn’t come close to what he described. No, no, all those things are just a-ok for a man we should honor with a governmental and banking holiday.

The biggest offense to me is that he was far from the first person to “discover” the Americas. (how does one “discover” a place that is already inhabited?) The Siberians crossed the land bridge with Alaska as early as 70,000 BC, and it was those crossings that gave us the Native Americans. There were numerous other occurrences of people coming to the Americas, but one of the most well documented was Leifur Eircksson in 1005 when he sailed from Iceland to North America and traveled down the coast. Gee, does that come before 1492?

Yet, history textbooks still hail him as the man who “discovered” America. Why is beyond me, but a friend pointed me to a wonderful book called Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong that spends an entire chapter delving into this very matter. Fascinating stuff.

If you want to credit Columbus with something, just say that he brought the America’s to the attention of Europe, but leave it at that.

13
Oct
2014

Gone Girl banner

Newcomers were no match for for a missing girl this weekend.

Gone Girl won the box office again this weekend with a very healthy 28.6 percent drop off in its second weekend to take in another $26.8 million. That brings it up to $78.2 million off of a $61 million dollar budget.

Second place went to Dracula Untold with $23.4 million off of a $70 million dollar budget.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day came in third with $19.1 million off of a $28 million dollar budget. I really have no clue where this one will go by the end.

Fourth place went to Annabelle which fell from second place to take in $16.3 million. It now stands at $62.1 million off of a $6.5 million dollar budget. Yep… low budget horror films are where it’s at.

Rounding out the top five was The Judge which took in $13.3 million off of a $50 million dollar budget. With Robert Downey Jr. out promoting this film like crazy, that is a bit surprising.

Next week’s big releases are The Book of Life, Fury and The Best of Me.

Curious how I think these films will do? Check out my The Movies of 2014 – 4th Quarter report.

12
Oct
2014

The Group Hopper

Do you ever feel like every movie adaptation of a Young Adult novel looks the same? It’s because they are, and you aren’t the only one to have noticed.

I don’t usually post sketches from Saturday Night Live, but this one was just too perfect. The Group Hopper will be the newest YA adaptation to take the box office by storm!

Sadly, if this was real, it probably would indeed happen.

Sorry those of you outside of the U.S., the video is sadly region locked.

11
Oct
2014

Daredevil Netflix logo

Finally, Netflix is allowing us to get a taste of its first series from Marvel: Daredevil.

While leaked set photos have appeared here and there, nothing too concrete has appeared. During a panel today at New York Comic Con all that changed with the premiere of the first footage along with the first images of Charlie Cox as both Matt Murdock and Daredevil himself.

Interestingly, the series has gone with a lesser known costume for Daredevil. As opposed to the iconic red costume, they opted to go with something close to the black costume from >Frank Miller and John Romita Jr.’s Daredevil: Man Without Fear run. An interesting choice to say the least, but one that definitely looks a bit less silly on screen I imagine.

Still no announcement of a release date, but I’d say we’re getting closer and closer.

10
Oct
2014

tomorrowland teaser trailer

I’m all for mysteries, but every now and then it’s nice to have some sort of idea what a movie is about before you see it.

Tomorrowland is one of the best kept secrets around the film industry right now. Next to no one knows what it’s about. And this teaser trailer… doesn’t help much.

It feels a bit like the Wizard of Oz, but not to an annoying extent.

Here’s the official synopsis:

From Disney comes two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird’s “Tomorrowland,” a riveting mystery adventure starring Academy Award® winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world—and them—forever.

Brad Bird (The Incredibles) co-wrote and directed the film with Damon Lindelof (LOST), which is my main cause for alarm here. Lindelof is his own biggest fan. My hopes are Bird was able to control him.

Tomorrowland hits theaters on May 22, 2015.

tomorrowland poster

9
Oct
2014

Ghostbusters logo

It looks like Ghostbusters III is inching its way towards reality whether we want it to or not.

Rumors of a third Ghostbusters film have been circulating for years. It looked like it was finally coming together with a story that would see the original cast pass the torch to a new generation, but when Harold Ramis passed away that plan was scrapped and Ivan Reitman departed the project.

Never something to stop a project, it appears Paul Fieg (Bridesmaids) will step into direct while Katie Dippold (The Heat) will be manning the script. Fieg has confirmed that his plan calls for the new film to feature a group of female Ghostbusters. There’s no word yet on which women may be cast, but it seems like Melissa McCarthy will be in it as there appears to be a rule in Hollywood as of late for her to appear in everything.

No word yet if the remaining original Ghostbusters – Aykroyd, Murray and Hudson – will be involved, but it would seem silly for them to not show up.

I’m still not convinced this franchise needs to be revisited, but sadly Hollywood doesn’t appear to listen to me.