Really, Michael Bay? We’re doing Transformers 4? Is no one satisfied with a trilogy of 150-minute toy-franchise-based summer blockbusters anymore? I find it only fitting that while the director was trying to shoot his latest monstrosity in Hong Kong, two brothers came up to the set and tried to extort $13,000 from him, in return for not attacking production crew with bricks and an air-conditioning unit. That’s about as much money as Bay vacuums out of American pockets every second. Just pay up!
The assailants, which Bay compared to the zombies from World War Z, because he lacks any frame of reference not supplied by bad films, even had a legitimate beef: they worked in the area. All the local vendors, Bay says, were paid a “fair price” for the inconvenience of having Hollywood disrupt their business, but these dudes were demanding four times as much, threatening violence otherwise. After a scuffle, security and some dozen Hong Kong police subdued and arrested them. Sheesh—it’s like Bay has never even heard of “negotiation”!
Sure, you can claim this was an aggressive shakedown, that the guys were drugged to the gills, that they were putting the safety of a lot of people in danger. But if Bay is going to shake us down for $24 to see an IMAX 3D version of his latest schlock, the kind that you have to be drugged to the gills to watch and that will irreparably damage your cognitive abilities, shouldn’t he be languishing in a Hong Kong jail himself? Such a double standard here. Roland Emmerich I’d be willing to give a pass, mind you, but that’s on the strength of Stargate alone.
Usually, it takes a true cinematic nuclear meltdown disaster to get a filmmaker to apologize for their work. Like, Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin—you know, the one with the Bat-Nipples—level disaster. For which Schumacher actually did apologize. But directors, generally, aren’t expected to apologize for even their worst errors, especially those who critics typically pigeonhole as makers of bad movies. Which is why it was so surprising that, in an interview promoting his new film Pain & Gain, Michael Bay, he of the Transformers franchise, offered a mea culpa to fans of one of his most, erm, classic films.
“I will apologize for Armageddon, because we had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks. It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could. But the studio literally took the movie away from us. It was terrible. My visual effects supervisor had a nervous breakdown, so I had to be in charge of that. I called James Cameron and asked ‘What do you do when you’re doing all the effects yourself?’ But the movie did fine.”
Michael, Michael. It’s okay, dude. You don’t need to apologize for Armageddon. We get it, the explosions weren’t quite up to your standards and you had to fight with Deep Impact for attention (Deep Impact did have Morgan Freeman but yes, Armageddon is somehow still better than Deep Impact). Yes, it’s a bad movie, but it almost veers into so-bad-it’s-good territory and you know what? Lots of people genuinely love Armageddon. I have seen it unironically front and center amongst the DVD collections of various Chicago apartment-dwellers. People actually liked it. Just as some people genuinely love all your movies (and people other than adolescent boys, too), even the ones that were way, way worse than Armageddon. People still like lots of movies that are bad. And if you’re going to apologize for shoddy work, Armageddon is, like, the last one you should be apologizing for. Steven Tyler would probably agree.
Good lord, people. Remember when superhero movies weren’t so satisfied with themselves? I get that Zach Snyder, auteur behind overblown green-screen epics like Watchmen, 300, and Sucker Punch (he’s really the thinking man’s Michael Bay, huh?), doesn’t want to be known solely for making the least subtle genre films ever, but in his attempt to make what appears to be a very serious drama featuring a man in tights and a cape is looking more and more like the least fun thing in the world. And also, prettttty gay. I mean, tights and a cape and that dude’s jaw. Come on. This is basically a Terrence Malick film but with explosions and a familiar plot mixed in with all the soft-focus shots of wheat.
Well, this is good news for adult men whose only issue with the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was that the chick who played April didn’t give them enough boners on account of her face and body looking, well, like a normal human woman’s. Megan Fox, whose face resembles, of all things, a visual labyrinth, a concealed butterfly, and waves crisscrossing a lake, will don the yellow trench coat as the reporter who becomes the main squeeze of life-sized teenage turtles. I could go on about how this fulfills the fantasy of every straight man born between 1979 and 1989, but good lord, I’m exhausted. Basically, I hope all the dudes stuck in a period of sustained adolescence have fun masturbating to Megan Fox in another dumb movie.
For the third year in a row, director Michael Bay will produce a commercial for the Victoria’s Secret Spring 2012 Angels campaign. This time around, Bay and four Angels–Erin Heatherton, Lindsay Ellingson, Toni Garrn and Elyse Taylor–gathered in sunny Miami for the shoot. And as you’ll see in this just-released behind-the-scenes video, the girls sure like to talk about the new Dream Angels Adds-2-Cup Push-Up Bra… while wearing the new Dream Angels Adds-2-Cup Push-Up Bra. Enjoy!
● Looks like Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be neither "Teenage" nor "Mutant" — not by title, at least. Bay announced on his blog this morning that Paramount marketing has renamed his reboot Ninja Turtles. "They made the title simple. The characters you all remember are exactly the same," he assured, adding that, "yes they still act like teenagers." [EW]
● The precocious Chloe Moretz has been cast as the tormented adolescent lead in Kimberly Pierce’s upcoming Carrie remake. "I’ve never been so happy in my life," wrote Moretz on Twitter. [Deadline]
● The Harry Potter series is at last going digital, with all seven books now available for download from J.K. Rowling’s own Pottermore site. [WSJ]
● Lil B will give a #rare, #exclusive, and — although it goes without saying — #based lecture about something at NYU on April 11. "THIS WILL BE HISTORICAL AND TRULY LIFE CHANGING, HISTORY STARTS," says the Based God, and we don’t doubt it. [Pitchfork]
● They might have lost Khloe Kardashian in the wake of the flour-bombing incident, but a new and beautiful relationship appears to be blooming between the increasingly absurdist PETA and "recently switched to a vegetarian" Courtney Stodden. Lets call it a draw. [NYDN/Gawker]
● Steven Tyler celebrated his 64th birthday with a sparkly blue pedicure, a new puka shell necklace, and a nice walk on the beach. [ONTD]
● Nicki Minaj has inked a multimillion-dollar deal with Pepsi to be the face their new "Pop" beverage. "It’s going to be explosive," they say. [Forbes]
● Michael Bay says die-hard fans need to "chill," because he is not going to ruin the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot he is working on. "Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place," he assure. "Our team is working closely with on of the original creators of the Ninja Turtles to help expand and give more complex back story." [TMZ]
● Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase are writing a movie together. "Can’t say too much about the concept, but the joy of working with him again is one that I am extremely excited about," Aykroyd writes on Facebook. [Vulture]
● Apparently Drake don’t mind if he do with Wayne’s sloppy seconds. [RapFix]
● Harry Potter bully Jamie Waylett has been sentenced to two years in prison for involvement (during which he was allegedly in possesion of a firebomb) in last summer’s London riots. [Us]
● Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine is in negotiations to join the second season of FX’s American Horror Story as a contemporary character and one half of a couple called “The Lovers.” [EW]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a surprisingly easy concept to work with: You make sure the turtles are teenaged, mutants and ninjas, and everything basically follows from there. Not for Michael Bay, who is producing an upcoming live-action revival of the merchandising octopus. Speaking at the Nickelodeon Upfront, Bay hinted that the revamped turtles might be aliens, and not mutants. “When you see this movie, kids are going to believe, one day, that these turtles actually do exist when we are done with this movie," he said. "These turtles are from an alien race and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely lovable.” TANT doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it? Now’s as good a time as any to point out this eerily prescient Onion article from a few years ago.
But let’s not get this completely twisted before we take to the forums: Maybe Bay just chose his words poorly and meant alien in the literal definition of "unlike one’s own" or "foreigner." In that case, mutant turtles would indeed qualify as an alien race. Or it could just be that he really doesn’t give a damn and is down to troll as hard as he can because wow you guys who is over the age of 15 and seriously even giving a crap about whether some giant kung-fu-doing anthropomorphized turtles in headbands are mutants or aliens or pirates or seapunks? It’s made for the youth of today, not twenty years ago. Children’s standards regarding cartoon authenticity don’t exactly recall the Grand Inquisition.
The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is supposed to be out on Christmas 2013 and will be an excellent way to tell your family you hate them.
Because this is America, and because cash rules everything around us, of course there will be another Transformers movie. Director Michael Bay, who helmed the previous three robot orgies, said as much when he announced his two new projects: Pain & Gain, a bro-fest starring Mark Wahlberg and The Rock, and Transformers 4, which will be tentatively due in Summer 2014. In an interview with MTV, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura said that a new film will follow in the established continuity of the Transformers universe, but without any of its principal stars. That means no Shia LaBeouf, no Josh Duhamel, and no Rosie Whitley-something-or-other to continue the gripping Autobot saga.
Maybe it’s a blessing? Without the perpetual anchor of LaBeouf and his dumb family, Transformers 4 could cut the fat and be somewhat special: better characters, brisker pace, deeper mythology, nuaned emotional gravitas. Haha, nah, it’ll be like three hours of tits and lasers and flags, as always. I’ve already uncovered the movie’s subtitle: Transformers 4: Fuck Osama bin Laden. I can’t wait.