Michael Bay

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Year: 2014
Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman
Written By: Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec, and Evan Daugherty. Based on characters created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman

RYAN’S REVIEW

Some movies you just can’t take too seriously or you miss out on all the fun. Yeah there is plenty that could be criticized in this movie but who goes to see the heroes in a half shell expecting an award winner? Maybe I am still a sucker for the turtles after all these years but I can’t help but have a good time whenever I watch this movie. I have gone into it trying to be critical but still find myself overwhelmed by something I seriously enjoy. Plenty of people had problems with this new incantation of the ninja turtles but I feel like they’re just trying to take it too seriously.

People really love to hate on Michael Bay and I agree with those haters on most of what they say. Nevertheless I think when Bay does something good people are too determined to hate on him to appreciate it. At the very least give the guy credit for bringing the turtles back to the big screen. The franchise was so dead that the first installment in eleven years was animated, until this came out. This may not have made everybody happy but I think they are simply too critical of it because Bay was involved as a Producer.

I think there are plenty of things to criticize in this movie, but not enough to overshadow the things that I like about it. I think the shredder was too over the top. Why cast a cool looking actor to play the part then overwhelm him as a mutant Edward Scissorhands? He would have been much cooler had he had a more traditional costume and just manhandled the Turtles because he was that badass. I don’t understand what they were going for with the Shredder in this movie but that’s a criticism I have no counterpoint for in an argument.

Another criticism I simply can’t argue with is the casting of Megan Fox as April O’Neil. I don’t mind her personally because a movie like this only benefits from a bit of eye candy but I get it. It’s totally ridiculous and along with Michael Bay, she has manage to ruin another beloved franchise from the 80s. What I wonder these days is how long it is going to be before we hear what Megan Fox had to do to get back into the good graces of Michael Bay. I imagine it was something so dirty that she won’t even come public about it. After bad mouthing him and losing her job in the Transformers franchise there had to be something inappropriate going on to explain her presence here.

The last of the criticisms I’ll give credence to is simply Splinter. What a God awful work of CGI animation that thing was. I almost find him too repulsive to look at in this film and it is the main point where the original trilogy was better. All the CGI in the world couldn’t overcome what Jim Henson studios did back in the nineties. Nineties Splinter wasn’t repulsive at all, but more like a dear old grandpa rodent you’d want to take home and feed soup to. Maybe he’d teach you a bit of ninja shit after you fed him. In this film he really kicks some ass but he looks so disgusting that I can’t bear to keep my eyes on it.

Now, where I think this movie succeeds, and succeeds well enough to overcome any and all flaws is the Turtles themselves. I really love the distinct personalities they each have and how they flow into all the dialogue between them. They are exciting to watch in action and funny when they start talking. I love the immaturity that comes from them as they are actual teenagers with all the hormone madness that goes along with youth. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when they are riding the elevator and start beat boxing with their weapons. Hilarious. I think the CGI work on them was a bit weird at first but the more I get used to it the more I like it. They don’t look so uniform in this movie, with each not only having different body styles but so much personal gear that enhances their personas.

I think another big win in this movie was the casting of Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick. Arnett is a really funny guy and brings a lot to a film like this. The character of Fenwick has never been brought into the movies before and I like that they made room for him in the script. It’s hard for Arnett not to steal nearly every scene he is in playing opposite Megan Fox. So many of us remember him lovingly as “the MAGICIAN!!!!…….Gob” from Arrested Development. I for one can’t help but laugh involuntarily every time I hear the Final Countdown by Europe. You know what? Here you go, for old time’s sake:

Probably could have found a better video but this was the first one I came to and it serves the purpose. I freaking love that guy and him simply being part of this movie makes me like it all that much more.

This movie is far from perfect, but anybody demanding perfection from this movie has gone into it with the wrong attitude. The ninja turtles were never perfect, and our memories of them are a product of the age we were when we were introduced to them. Could this movie have been better? Absolutely, but was it good enough? I think so and I can honestly say I enjoy it every time I sit down to watch it. At the end of the day that is all that really matters. So I absolutely think this movie is worth your time, just not worth your criticism because there’s no need to take some things so seriously.

NEXT MOVIE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)

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The Island

Year: 2005
Directed By: Michael Bay
Written By: Caspian Tredwell-Owen, Alex Kurtzman, and Robert Orci

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie is pretty much a conglomerate of all Science Fiction movies merged together. Themes upon themes upon themes repeated and taken from other classic films.  Yet despite what many critics think I happen to be a fan of Michael Bay.  His movies may not have a whole lot going on sometimes but they are action packed and this guy has a gift for special effects and action sequences.  It’s why Bad Boys was so cool; it’s why the first Transformers movie was so good.  Yeah the guy is overseeing many remakes of timeless classics and butchering them, but he can make a cool action movie.  This is a stupid movie and a rip off at that, but that doesn’t make it any less cool or exciting does it?

I really don’t want to go into the specifics of which movies this one reminds me of because frankly I’m just not in the mood to think that hard.  If you see it yourself and you are a seasoned viewer you will recognize the many recycled Science Fiction themes all throughout the film.  I don’t think any of that matters with this movie because I happen to like it despite all of that.  Like I said, it’s a cool film and sometimes that is all that matters.  I have always been a sucker for special effects and nobody does them quite like Michael Bay.  Michael Bay has this real douche bag aura about him. The type of guy that wants to pretend he is in his 20s forever.  The kind of adult male that goes to a tanning bed and gets his hair done by a professional.  He might have a hand in many movies that make me shake my head in despair but I also think he has a specific talent that works out for him when he gets behind camera. He makes fun and exciting movies plain and simple. So despite his flaws and the movies that make me shake my head (the Friday the 13th remake, or…well Transformers 2……maybe also 3) I still like him and appreciate some of the movies he makes.

I am not particularly a fan of either of the two stars in this film.  Ewan McGregor has always been a solid actor but I haven’t liked many of his movies. Scarlett Johansson was really starting to explode around the time this movie came out but I have never been a big fan of hers either. Despite my opinion of the two stars they aren’t bad in this movie and they work with a fantastic supporting cast. I think Steve Buscemi is awesome and always have.  I have been really happy to see his career only get better and better over the years. I think he is great in Boardwalk Empire and I think he has been awesome in every single movie I have ever seen him in.  I have literally never seen Steve Buscemi in a movie and thought jeez he played an awful part but he is just that damn good.  I also think Sean Bean is awesome, one because he played the part of Eddard Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones, and two because of all the other parts he has played over the years. Michael Clarke Duncan also has a small part and may he rest in peace.  His unfortunate and premature death left the movie industry with a significant loss.  He was a good actor and made many memorable characters over the years, he will be missed.  Djimon Hounsou has a significant role and I really liked him a lot while his star was shining bright. In very small roles are two characters from shows that I love. Kim Coates from Sons of Anarchy and Yvette Nicole Brown from Community both play small bit parts and it’s cool to see them in a big time film. I seem to see Coates all the time but this is a rarity as far as Brown goes.

I don’t usually like a movie that is like another movie but I made an exception in this case after first seeing the film.  I realized how cliché it all was but liked it despite that and added it to the collection early on; buying it nearly right after it was released. Watching it now I think the decision was justified, and am glad I chose to get it.  It’s a cool movie that has great effects and an exciting, fast paced story line. Aside from being a sucker for great special effects I am also a big sucker for the elaborate chase scene.  This movie has some great ones and that is probably what swayed my opinion in the end when I first bought the film.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I feel like this is an interesting movie. Wouldn’t it be crazy if that were our insurance policy? A complete clone that is just waiting to help us with whatever ails us or happens to us. I think this film is a really interesting look at a possible future.

theisland

When I searched for this poster, I was honestly expecting the worst. I actually like this poster. The image in the typography is a nice touch and the typography is nice. Although, if I were really, really picky I hate that ESCAPE is on the bottom and it is supposed to be holding the weight of PLAN YOUR. That’s super picky and subjective. The Island typography is cool and futuristic, but it doesn’t really go with the main font very well. It seems I am a little back and forth here. Heh.

NEXT MOVIE: It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)

Bad Boys II

Year: 2003
Directed By: Michael Bay
Written By: Marianne Wibberley

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a great sequel because it is exactly what an action sequel should be, a bigger and better version of the original.  The critics may have hated this movie, and yeah, maybe there are scenes that are a little too over the top and unrealistic.  The opening scene for example, the KKK bust where Smith and Martin emerge from clan robes in the middle of a rally may not be how police would actually handle the situation. What I’m saying though, is who cares, the essence of any good action movie is that the action is exciting and the stars look cool as they are kicking ass.  If the story and scenarios of the film have to be over the top and unrealistic for the sake of being badass then so be it.  When Will Smith pulls the e-brake and spins his Ferrari around while simultaneously aiming a machine gun and killing a bad guy I don’t care if it was realistic or not, I’m just glad I got to see it because it was awesome. These movies are for fun, they are for us, they’re not for the Academy.

As I have already said, this movie is a larger version of the original, so naturally it is awesome.  I actually liked Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s back-and-forth better in the first film but they are still good the second time around.  Martin Lawrence is a little heavy on the whining here but I’ve always liked him as an actor and comedian.  Will Smith is a little heavy on the Will Smith in this movie, but that’s not really a bad thing. If you don’t know what I mean you should see Jay Pharoah do impressions of him, you can find it on YouTube. There is a great cameo by Dan Marino as himself. Joe Pantoliano is very funny again, he still has great chemistry with Smith and Martin.  I would have preferred that Smith and Martin be friends the whole film because I think it brings the story down for the characters to have drama between them, it’s more fun when the are friends. In the first movie they bickered because that was just how they were, but in this one the bicker because they are really mad at one another.

If you enjoyed the original then you have no doubt already seen this one, if not then get on with it, you won’t regret it.  I hear that there is a third film in the works and I really hope that there is.  Will Smith and Martin Lawrence both have considerably slowed down in their careers, and that is an unfortunate trend that will hopefully change.  This movie is a little long and a bit much, but is too much action ever a bad thing? It’s not a movie to watch with your kids, lots of violence and profanity, it is rated R. It’s very cool and very funny though, it’s definitely worth your time and I hope you give it a shot if you haven’t seen it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This one, to me, is way better than the first one. It is still a movie made for men, but I thoroughly liked it. The story line was clean and relevant and I really like the car chase scene on the highway. These two guys play so well off of each other. Having recently watched a satire of Will Smith on Saturday Night Live, I laughed even harder every time I heard him yell “Whoooooa.”

I also found it hilarious that Martin Lawrence had taken Ecstasy. I think it is funny anytime a movie makes light of using drugs, when they aren’t being abused. The way he acted was perfect and super funny and I found it to be true of how anyone would act on it if they didn’t know what to expect. I really enjoy this film, I love WIll Smith and this is one of his funnier films, I feel like lately he likes the serious ones that force you to cry….(I am Legend, Pursuit of Happyness). Definitely worth watching.

NEXT MOVIE: Bad Santa (2003)

Bad Boys

Year: 1995
Directed By: Michael Bay
Written By: George Gallo

RYAN’S REVIEW

I know many people with very strong feelings about Michael Bay, and I understand their point.  His movies are generally lacking in substance and overloaded with special effects.  The way I see it though, is that really a bad thing all of the time? Don’t we sometimes need eye-popping spectacles that we don’t have to think about? I don’t like all his movies and I am against his decision to produce remakes of classic films that should be left alone, but I am still a fan on a certain limited basis. This movie is a perfect example of why I like him actually.  Bad Boys is never going to be called a classic or anything but it’s cool, it’s fun, and it’s exciting.

This was Michael Bay’s first featured film and I think he made a great movie.  He has a great imagination for action and he is also very stylish.  Style is important in any mindless action film because the stars must look cool when they are kicking ass.  Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are both very funny and have great chemistry on-screen.  I think it’s their performances, in which they improvised much of the dialogue, that save this movie from making Michael Bay’s debut film a failure. Had it gone originally as planned with Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz in the lead roles I can assure you of this much, it wouldn’t be on my movie rack and I wouldn’t be reviewing it now. This movie almost seems like a footnote in the very successful career of Will Smith, but I think it was vital to his career.  This movie proved Will Smith could manage as an action star as the era of Schwarzenegger and Stallone came to an end.  It propelled his career in many ways and launched him into the big times. Joe Pantoliano is also very funny as the police captain, he works well with Smith and Lawerence. Tea Leoni is awful, but maybe my opinion is bias, I tend to think she is awful in everything. There are brief appearances by Michael Imperioli and Kim Coates, who I mention because I am a fan of both The Sopranos and Sons of Anarchy.

This movie is great because it’s nonstop, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are literally either being funny, or they are kicking ass during the whole film.  Yeah you have to suffer through an awful tea leoni as the damsel in distress with her bad acting stinking up the movie, but it’s worth it in the end.  This movie is more than worth your time, in fact it’s something I think you should make a special effort to see if you haven’t already.  It’s a little vulgar if you have a problem with profanity but hence the R rating.  Movies seem to be afraid to be vulgar these days because they want the higher ticket sales that come with a PG-13 rating.  I think this is a mistake, sometimes we need vulgarity. If we can’t enjoy R rated films as adults then where is the fun in being grown up?

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is a man’s movie. I love Will Smith just as much as the next guy and I find him and Martin Lawrence extremely funny together. This is one of those thinkless movies that is just fun to watch. Sit back and enjoy the ride. I actually think the second one is my favorite, but I will talk more about that one when we get there. On another note, my step-father’s name is Mike Lowery. How is that for ironic?

NEXT MOVIE: Bad Boys II (2003)