February 14, 2012 5:09am EST
Signals of a fourth Transformers installment were broadcasting through the galaxy as early as October of last year, but now it's official: Transformers 4 will invade theaters in 2014, with franchise mainstay Michael Bay once again behind the wheel.
Speaking to press at the New York City Toy Fair, TF producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura hinted at Bay's return, while speculating what might be in store for the next outing in the mechanical mayhem series:
"We're going to try to do a hybrid there where there will be some characters that come forward--we think, we're still in the process of figuring it out--and some characters that don't, but it will definitely be a different story."
But it was Bay himself who made the announcement official, taking to his personal website to announce his involvement with the fourquel. The director revealed to eager fans his two-picture deal with Paramount Pictures, the studio behind Transformers. The action-oriented Bay will first shoot Pain & Gain for the studio, a true story drama starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, then segue to the yet-to-be-subtitled Transformers sequel to hit a June 29, 2014 release date.
The return of Shia LaBeouf or Dark of the Moon's replacement damsel-in-distress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is unclear, but with Bay back in the director's chair, there's no question that another metal-clashing blockbuster that clicks with (and melts the brains of) the masses is on the way. The original Transformers trilogy grossed $3 billion worldwide — why stop there?
Source: Comingsoon, MichaelBay.com
January 27, 2012 7:17am EST
In the cinematic desert that is the January-February movie-release schedule one gains a greater appreciation for mere competence. And that’s precisely what you’ll get with Man on a Ledge a mid-budget thriller with modest aspirations and genuine popcorn appeal. Sam Worthington (Avatar Clash of the Titans) stars as Nick Cassidy a former New York City cop wrongly convicted for the theft of a prized diamond. After exhausting all judicial avenues for exoneration he takes the unusual and seemingly desperate next step of planting himself on a ledge outside the penthouse of midtown’s Roosevelt Hotel and threatening to jump. An NYPD psychologist (Elizabeth Banks) is summoned to talk him down unaware that Nick harbors an ulterior motive. From his perch above midtown he is secretly orchestrating a scheme to take revenge against the corrupt corporate chieftain (Ed Harris) who engineered his demise and prove his innocence once and for all.
Director Asger Leth making his U.S. feature-film debut with Man on a Ledge keeps the pace brisk and never allows the tone to stray into self-seriousness which is crucial for a movie whose premise is so devoutly ridiculous. The script from Pablo F. Fenjves provides enough feints and twists to keep us engaged. Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez aren’t the most believable of couples but there’s a screwball charm to their comic routine as amateur thieves charged with aiding Nick’s scheme. (Leth can’t resist inserting an entirely superfluous – but nonetheless greatly appreciated – scene of the criminally gorgeous Rodriguez stripping down to a thong in the middle of a heist.) Worthington makes for a likable populist protagonist even if his Australian accent betrays him on copious occasions and Harris’ disturbingly emaciated frame lends an added menace to his devious plutocrat villain.
January 06, 2012 12:50pm EST
The opening credits of the found-footage excretion The Devil Inside include a helpful disclaimer advising us that the Vatican “did not endorse this film nor aid in its completion ” just in case we might be inclined to believe the Holy See were in the business of making schlocky horror flicks. One’s heart goes out to Satan whose involvement in the film is pretty clearly implied by the title but who received no such disclaimer. Even he deserves better than to be associated with this dreck.
The pseudo-doc-style story centers on a young girl Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade) whose mother Maria (Suzan Crowley) murdered three people twenty years prior during what was later revealed to be an exorcism gone awry. Seeking to learn more about the tragedy that consumed her mother Isabella travels to Italy where Maria is currently housed in a Vatican-run mental hospital. The doctors prove frustratingly insensitive to her mother’s affliction causing Isabella to see out a pair of young renegade exorcists (Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth) for help.
Maria is one creepy bird a frazzled cat-lady whose eyes blaze with penetrating high-octane craziness even under heaviest of sedation. An early scene in which Isabella meets with her near-catatonic mother and gently tries to ascertain whether her insanity is of the conventional or demonically-inspired variety oozes tension as we wait for her whispered ramblings to explode into full-on Satanic mania. It’s a terrifically fraught scene by far the best in the film and sadly the only point in which we ever come close to being scared.
The film proffers a variety of different narrative threads and chooses to resolve none of them. What happened to the English priest’s uncle or Isabella’s baby? And what of that poor possessed gal with the hemorrhaging vagina? Was she ever able to get that under control? God only knows. Even crazy-eyes Maria the film’s MVP makes an all-too-hasty exit never to be hear from again after a half-baked exorcism attempt.
Director/co-writer William Brent Bell’s clear aim is to mimic the wildly successful Paranormal Activity films but he ignores the found-footage standard-bearer’s most important precept which is to keep the story simple rely as little on the “actors” as possible and pile on the cheap scares one after another. Instead we’re handed an abundance of character details we never asked for and which never really amount to anything save for some choice over-acting in the third act when the devil’s machinations turn everyone against each other. The film devolves into a kind of exorcism-themed Real World episode replete with “confessionals” in which the characters tearfully air their frustrations -- as if we gave a damn. Perhaps it’s a good thing we don’t because The Devil Inside concludes with what might be the least-satisfying horror ending in a decade.
September 27, 2011 5:06pm EST
Hollywood's ongoing obsession with all things extra-terrestrial is showing no signs of letting up. Deadline.com reports that Area 52, an alien-themed comic that enjoyed a four-issue run in 2001, has been targeted for big-screen adaptation by Summit Entertainment. The comic, penned by Ben Haberlin, concerns a top secret "government storage dump for otherworldly discoveries, manned by a ragtag group of misfits who have been exiled to the middle of nowhere to staff it. When an alien killing machine is accidentally hatched in this repository, the group must band together and use the stored mythological weapons and artifacts to save themselves and the world." Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian will produce the live-action adaption, while J.C. Spink will exec-produce.
One of the more highly anticipated alien-oriented films of 2012 is Battleship. Check out the trailer to the surefire blockbuster:
June 28, 2011 6:39pm EST
If Transformers: Dark of the Moon is indeed Michael Bay’s final entry in the Hasbro toy-inspired franchise as he has repeatedly intimated then it is a fitting swan song for a director whose lust - and gift - for spectacle remains unmatched. Exhilarating and exasperating awe-inspiring and stupefying the third installment in the blockbuster alien-robot saga is less a movie than a prolonged manic episode. In other words it’s a Michael Bay film.
Any suspicion that Bay might have matured at all since his last film 2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen vanishes immediately after Dark of the Moon’s opening credits when model-actress (in that order) Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replacing tempestuous Megan Fox as the franchise’s resident eye candy is introduced ass-first. The camera lingers on her backside mesmerized as she makes her way up the stairs to summon our hero Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) from the bed she inexplicably shares with him. For a director so notoriously ADD-afflicted as Bay he can show remarkable focus when circumstances require it.
Times are tough for our boy Sam who despite having saved the world on two separate occasions can’t find a job. With the Decepticon scourge abated (for now) Optimus Prime Bumblebee and the rest of Sam’s Autobot pals have gotten side gigs as mechanized Hans Blixes roaming the planet in search of illegal WMDs and eliminating the regimes that harbor them. Feeling left out and finding little comfort in the arms his undeservedly hot girlfriend Sam yearns for a shot at more world-saving action.
He finds it soon enough when he is drafted into a plot so sprawling and convoluted that to describe it in full would extinguish what little neurochemical reserves I’ve managed to replenish since last night’s screening. It’s built on an enticing bit of revisionist history which casts the war between the Autobots and Decepticons as the real inspiration for the Cold War space race. It seems that many years ago an Autobot spacecraft carrying a technology that could turn the tide in their centuries-long war crash-landed on the moon. Alerted to the crash JFK immediately initiated the Apollo program with the specific purpose of harvesting technology from the craft before the Soviets could.
But that’s only part of the story as Sam learns when confronted with evidence by a raving co-worker (Ken Jeong) at his new job. (The two have a tussle in the loo – setting the stage for a hi-larious gay-insinuation joke. Vintage Bay!) Turns out there there’s much more to that fallen craft than anyone realizes and if its undiscovered cargo falls into the wrong hands – say Megatron and the Decepticons who are quietly regrouping in Africa – the implications could be devastating.
Dark of the Moon can be roughly divided into two parts. The first is a conspiracy thriller with a surreal comic bent with Bay aiming for – and dare I say nearly achieving – a quirky Coen Brothers vibe as Sam delves headlong into the moon mystery. (The presence of Coen veterans Frances McDormand John Turturro and John Malkovich among the cast reinforces the connection.) Credit screenwriter Ehren Kruger for recognizing that material this preposterous requires a suitably ludicrous sense of humor. But there’s also a sharpness and irreverence to Dark of the Moon’s wit that previous Transformers films have lacked. (It’s still however steadfastly juvenile: When Sam locks eyes with his future girlfriend for the first time his mom exclaims “What a gorgeous box!” while gazing at an unrelated object in the background.) Dark of the Moon's screenplay is a vast improvement over Revenge of the Fallen's in that it is an actual screenplay and not a stack of index cards.
The second half of the film centering on the Decepticons’ extended siege of Chicago unfolds essentially in one long action sequence. It’s as if Bay having sufficiently answered the biggest complaint about the previous film – the lack of a discernible plot – is suddenly unburdened free to commence the all-out sensory onslaught he’s been planning all along. In doing so he all but disavows the film’s first half rendering much of its storyline superfluous.
The battle scenes are truly epic – unprecedented in grandeur and scale and utterly resplendent in 3D – but the endless spectacle induces a kind of delirium. Each frame is positively crammed with images far more than our feeble non-Michael Bay brains could ever hope to process at the breakneck speed he presents them. And no two shots ever look the same: Even a simple shot-reverse-shot dialogue exchange shifts perspective on seemingly every other word. The net effect of Bay’s frenzied handiwork is a state of joyful discombobulation: mouth agape bewildered basking in the dopamine blush.
June 15, 2011 10:09am EST
“Alexander wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.” Though originally penned to describe the imperialist of ancient days, this solemn Hans Gruber (not Plutarch) quotation will someday be applicable in describing a modern rising titan. One who continues to take on marathon projects. One who distributes films to America that have greater impact than natural disasters. One who, as it seems, won’t be satisfied until he makes the world’s first trillion dollar movie.
I am talking, of course, about James Cameron: who seems to be the most powerful man in the world. In addition to a Twentieth Century Fox deal for two Avatar sequels—which are meant to finish off the remainder of America who was not overcome by the outburst of depression over not being able to actually live on Pandora—Cameron is working on another doubtlessly epic film, titled Myth. Cameron’s details are as vague as the title, but considering those involved, including Avatar star Sam Worthington and Transformers series producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura as producers, there is no reason to doubt that this film will inspire the next major world religion. Also attached to the project is videogame writer Will Staples, responsible for Lair and Pursuit Force.
So what do we know about this project? Very little, including whether or not Sam Worthington is part of the cast. But what can we be sure about? Total world domination. I'm onto you, Cameron.
April 29, 2011 7:11am EST
When a film receives multiple rewrites or goes through a number of drafts under the guidance of multiple scribes, some people take it as bad news. Sure, having too many "cooks in the kitchen" can kill the momentum that the original story had or cramp the narrative, but sometimes it works out for the best and a filmmaker gets to use the greatest bits from each writer. The Ten Commandments had four credited screenwriters; Toy Story had eight and look how those flicks turned out. That's why I'm not all that concerned about today's news regarding Paramount Pictures' untitled Jack Ryan reboot. The scoop: David Koepp will rewrite the script.
The film had an original screenplay from Adam Cozad, who created an origin story for Tom Clancy's beloved CIA analyst called Dubai. Sherlock Holmes' Anthony Peckham then came aboard for a pass on the script, which had then been renamed Moscow. Finally, Steve Zaillian, the Oscar winning writer responsible for Schindler's List and Gangs of New York among countless other classics (including the 1994 Ryan pic Clear and Present Danger), was brought in to polish and perfect the script in time for the shoot. Shockingly, Zaillian left the project before he started to work, forcing the studio to push back the start date as it was not entirely ready to go with the script in place.
Enter Koepp, who has lent his pen to action-adventure franchises like Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible and Spider-Man in the past. He'll begin work on the Ryan script as soon as he finishes editing his own action flick Premium Rush (due January 2012). There's still plenty of time to make it work, as the new plan is to have star Chris Pine shoot his Star Trek sequel this year so he can start on this one in January. Lost's directing producer Jack Bender is still set to helm the flick, with Paramount based power producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld calling the shots with executive producer Mark Vahradian. Known for conceptualizing large scale action set pieces and intense character focused films, Koepp is one of the most accomplished and sought after scribes in the industry. It should come as no surprise that his services were in high-demand for a film like this, nor should it surprise you to know that I think his involvement will dramatically increase the quality of this script. I've always been a fan of the Jack Ryan films and this prequel, with great behind-the-scenes talent in place, shouldn't disappoint.
February 15, 2011 11:09am EST
When a prime Hollywood director prepares the main course of a movie franchise, it's hard to find someone to take the leftovers. Nevertheless, Paramount Pictures is desperately trying to entice someone to settle for the sloppy seconds in its G.I. Joe franchise. Since Stephen Sommers left the directors chair on the sequel (he helmed the 2009 series starter that grossed just over $300 million worldwide), the studio has been trying to land a competent filmmaker for the follow up. And now, the shortlist...
Reuters and The Hollywood Reporter are claiming that F. Gary Gray, Jon M. Chu and Jaume Collet-Serra are top candidates to direct the high-priority project, which Paramount hopes will be ready for production by the summer for a 2012 release. Lorenzo di Bonaventura is once again producing and will have a hand in filmmaker selection.
While Collet-Serra is best known as a Warner Bros. based director (having made House of Wax, Orphan and this week's Unknown for the studio), Gray and Chu have both helmed big films for Paramount. Gray made the 2001 blockbuster The Italian Job and while he's had trouble mounting fresh films in recent years, his most recent outing was the modest hit Law Abiding Citizen. Chu cut his teeth on Disney's dance hits Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D, but is at home on the Paramount lot after directing Justin Bieber: Never Say Never to a solid $30 million opening weekend.
Based on their experience working in genre, I'm going to say that Collet-Serra and Gray are the best potential candidates for the job, with Gray narrowly edging Collet-Serra out since he's the only one who has made films somewhere near G.I. Joe 2's budget range. I think that Gray can inject some much-needed attitude into the characters; personality that was missing the first time around. Granted this is a film franchise based on Hasbro toys, but if Paramount wants to increase their profits this time it needs to push its creative team to create characters that the audience will care about when the bullets start flying and bombs start bursting. I'm not saying recast the roles, I'm saying rethink them...
Source: Reuters, THR
August 03, 2010 5:16am EST
Now that he's helped spirit away Jack Shephard, Lost executive producer (and director of the finale among other eps) Jack Bender is reportedly thisclose to signing on to direct another iconic/fictional Jack.
The director is in talks for Moscow, Paramount's long-gestating reboot of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan spy franchise, Vulture reported yesterday.
Bender’s most recent directing credit is the 1991 slasher film Child's Play 3.
Chris Pine, who starred in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, will star as a fresh-from-the-Marines Jack Ryan who goes to work as an analyst for a Russian billionaire, but winds up on the run after being implicated in a terrorist plot.
Paramount and co-financier Skydance Productions are readying the Ryan film for a February production start, says Deadline. Script is by Adam Cozad with Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld producing.
July 12, 2010 8:33am EST
Congratulations are in order for Willie Block and Jake Emmanuel, the rookie screenwriting duo who today sold their action-adventure pitch to Paramount Pictures. The high-concept story mixes original ideas with the framework of the traditional Hunchback of Notre Dame story, says The Hollywood Reporter.
Said to be in the vein of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the film's plotline is being kept under wraps by producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian of Di Bonaventura Pictures, but the studio is moving quickly on the property. Needless to say, this won't be anything like the Mouse House's 1996 version of the Hunchback...
Emmanuel and Block also penned another action-comedy spec script, titled F*ck You I Win, that has made the rounds to studios this year, though it hasn't mustered much interest yet. Perhaps Paramount will option that project, too, after bringing the boys on board the back lot. It's commonplace these days for studios to keep prized scribes working on projects within the company, as we've seen screenwriters like Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio become Disney mainstays and Greg Berlanti become Warner Bros. Wonder Boy. Though I'm not so interested in yet another rendition of Victor Hugo's classic novel, we'll keep track of what these young wordsmith's are up to...
Source: Risky Business