PAIN & GAIN COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE A TRUE STORY RIGHT?
That’s a question I asked myself throughout Pain & Gain. How can a story like this be true? Then came a moment where Dwayne Johnson’s character stood outside barbequing the fingerprints off human hands. In that moment, Michael Bay decided to throw a font on the screen:
“This is still a true story.”
From that point on, I truly understood the film for what it was. Once you understand a movie like Pain & Gain, it becomes easy to sit back and enjoy the mayhem.
I’ve always been a fan of Michael Bay. I especially enjoyed Bad Boys & Bad Boys 2. Pain & Gain fits nicely next to those two films. The movie is a gruesome (yet funny) tale about the dark side of the American Dream. Mark Walberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie team up to create their own fast track to the good life in ways you won’t believe. The movie lives and dies on whether or not you like the characters they play.
Honestly, I didn’t fully understand Mark Walberg’s character, Daniel Lugo. For someone who spends the majority of the movie talking about hard work he is awfully quick to hatch an insane kidnapping plot to get rich quick. It’s tough to sympathize with a character that hates when criminals get ahead yet chooses a life of crime in order to get ahead. However, this movie isn’t about believable motivations because these are real people!
I’m officially a fan of Anthony Mackie. (I’m really looking forward to his portrayal of Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.) His performance as Adrian Doorbal provided some of the film’s biggest laughs. He is simultaneously the voice of reason and eager schemer. He would have stole the show if it wasn’t for The Rock.
Dwayne Johnson is THE reason why I enjoyed Pain & Gain. His character, Paul Doyle, is the most consistent source of laughter and sympathy in the film. One moment, he’s the head cheerleader on Team Jesus. The next, he’s robbing bank trucks and feeding his own toe to dogs. (Did I just type that?)
It still seems odd to laugh at true events too idiotic to believe. How could they possibly believe they would get away with it? It’s an interesting choice for Michael Bay to inject comedy into such a violent story but I think it’s the right choice. These three body builders kidnap, torture, extort and murder people. You almost feel guilty laughing at them as their schemes go awry. But that’s the point.
This is a true story after all. If Pain & Gain were based on original material, I don’t think it would have the same impact. You can tell Michael Bay had fun stepping away from Autobots to make a smaller movie. I wish he would have left some of his signature shots behind as well but he can’t seem to resist the ol’ circular tracking shot.
I liked Pain & Gain but not enough to recommend you catch it in theaters. If you like Bad Boys or movies like Crank, Pain & Gain will definitely entertain you. Just wait until it pops up on Demand.
It’s no secret I love gigantic Summer blockbusters. By the time a tent pole movie arrives, I’ve usually written a dozen or so articles about how excited I am to see it. Last year, movies like The Dark Knight Rises & The Avengers were mentioned more than any other movie on this blog.
This year, Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel, Iron Man 3 & Pacific Rim and more will more than likely dominate the next few months. But what about the not so distant future? 2014 is beginning to take shape and today, I start writing about one of the more intriguing blockbusters.
I think Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim is the biggest reason why they have to be careful with Transformers 4. The scope is bigger, the stakes are bigger and the fights are infinitely bigger.
Michael Bay is going to have to follow Pacific Rim with his reinvigorated Autobot tale. But I’m encouraged by his approach thus far. He isn’t trying to go bigger. He’s taking the franchise back to it’s roots. In it’s simplest form, the original Transformers was about a boy and his car. It was an intimate story that slowly lead to bigger things. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen lost sight of that. They tried to blow the roof off and wound up messing things up.
Dark of the Moon was a much more focused story but the damage was already done. There were too many robots and not enough connections. This is why I completely agree with the notion of introducing a new cast to the franchise.
“We’re going to start off smaller. There’s a brand new cast. To freshen the franchise we’ve redesigned everything from top to bottom. The history of the first three movies is still there, we start four years later and there’s a reason why we’re meeting a new cast.” (MichaelBay.com)
With Mark Walberg leading the way, Transformers 4 promises to be a more mature approach leaving Shia and his love interests behind.
I’m also a big fan of setting the film in the same universe as the first 3 movies. This way, we don’t have to spend much time setting things up. Transformers 4 is a non reboot… Reboot. I loved the original Transformers and I really hope going back to basics allows them to create something truly memorable.
But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. This is merely an introduction to what will become extensive coverage in the near future.
Transformers 4 is coming. Will they screw it up? Will it be the best in the series?
Recently, news broke that Megan Fox was cast as April O’Neil in the upcoming Ninja Turtles reboot. Personally, I’m okay with the casting. I’m just thrilled that we’ve finally heard something new. It’s a nice reminder that a new Turtles movie is on the way!
Casting of the titular heroes is ongoing but the Turtles will be CG so are they simply looking for voices? Will the people they cast also perform on a motion capture stage? Either way, I’m a patient person and the big details can wait but…
I think it’s time we saw some concept art!
I’m not asking for much. Maybe a sewer location sketch or a teaser of the Turtles themselves. I completely understand that these reveals have to be calculated carefully to fuel hype worldwide but COME ON! This movie has been in development for a long time and delayed multiple times.
So far all we really know is the fighting will be in the style of ‘The Raid’ and that the film will be an origin story. Other than that, director Jonathan Liebesman has been fairly quiet as he plans the next Turtle adventure.
So….. Hey! Jonathan! Can we please get a sketch or something!? Die hard fans are clamoring to see the evolution of the Ninja Turtles! At the very least, it would be awesome to see the world around them. Some kind of hint at the visual style. Anything!
With all the questions surrounding the ‘alien’ approach, the reason for the delay and script issues, now is not the time to ‘Abrams’ this project. Having said that, I have nothing but confidence in this reboot. It seems like they have everything under control and aren’t rushing anything until it’s perfect. I hope. Interviews like the one featured below (courtesy of Collider) go a long way.
As for Megan Fox, they wouldn’t have cast her if she didn’t fit whatever vision they have for April O’Neil. At least it’s news. I just want a sense of what that vision may be. Looks like we’re waiting for the newly announced release date:
June 6th, 2014
In the mean time, click the links below for Ninja Turtles:
Whether you’re a NYU student filmmaker or an aspiring advertising guru, this is your chance to hit the big time and make a name for yourself in Hollywood. You’ve probably heard of the Superbowl, right? What American hasn’t? The mid-winter football frenzy is as famous for its extravagant half-time show and slick, witty and creative commercials as it’s first downs and touchdown passes.
Doritos has just released plans to hold its seventh “Crash the Superbowl” contest. All you need to do is put on your thinking cap and have a moment of amazement, because the winning Doritos commercial will give you the chance of a lifetime, and we’re not just talking about water cooler fame either.
Lets end the suspense. In a cleverly tailored promotional way, Doritos has teamed up with Michael Bay, the action director globally recognized for his Transformer franchise, not to mention “Pearl Harbor” and “Armageddon.” And if you create the top-ranked Doritos commercial aired during the Superbowl, which will be chosen by USA Today’s Ad Meter, then you will get the chance to work with Michael Bay on the next Transformer movie.
OK, calm down now, take a minute for this to sink in. Have you got it? In other words, this is your opportunity to see your name rolling in the film credits of Michael’s Bay’s next blockbuster extravaganza. Remember: “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is the fifth highest grossing movie of all time, so chances are a couple of people are going to show up at the theater for the next installment in the series.
However, before you start drawing up storyboards and working on your tracking shots, lets take a closer look at how the whole process works.“Crash the Superbowl” will have five lucky finalists, and they’ll be announced in January 2013. At that point, fans will vote online and the top two commercials will air during the game. The creator of the winning Doritos commercial will not only have the chance to work as a director, but win a million dollars as well. If the big Hollywood break doesn’t happen now, then at least you will have some money to film that indie crime drama you’ve been writing for the past decade.
The commercials that air during the Superbowl are often big as the game itself. They’re dissected and analyzed, brooded over, put on a pop-culture pedestal or tossed in the trash heap. The phrases “did you see that coke commercial” or “dude, how about that Doritos skit” are uttered with the same fervor that people talk about missing field goals and holding penalties. In other words, you want your commercial to become part of the national vocabulary, yes?
The Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” contest is a bit like “American Idol” meets “Mad Men.” If you’re a creative type, it’s time to start thinking about your thirty second slot.
Here’s the thing… Pitching a new live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie for today’s audiences is not an easy task. Not only does it have to connect to new fans but it also has to please the millions of passionate TMNT fans who have been waiting years for a reboot. Especially with all the technological advances filmmakers have access to now that they didn’t have in 1990.
When Michael Bay took over the franchise, people were skeptical but that’s what Michael Bay haters do. I for one, enjoy Michael Bay movies. They aren’t Oscar contenders but 2 hours of action, explosions, battles and laughs is time well spent if you ask me.
Yes, people groaned but then he hired Jonathan Liebesman to helm the film and slapped a release date of December 25th, 2013. The haters were silenced. Michael Bay was bringing the Turtles back!
Ahem… Then he screwed it all up by telling the world his Turtles were from an alien race. Or did he?
The fallout that ensued after his comments has been fascinating to follow but personally, I think the filmmakers behind the movie are thrilled with the response. It made national news! It rocked Twitter! People everywhere were debating every syllable of that sentence. People were angry and frustrated while others were intrigued and curious.
Regardless of what side of the line you stand on, people are talking. The hype for this movie will now be massive as details emerge. The last few weeks probably proved to the studio that a new Turtles movie was a good idea.
Now lets address the big ol’ alien elephant in the room…
Mutant Alien Ninjas…
Alien ooze? A planet full of talking Turtles? Mis-used Alien technology? Michael Bay did follow up by stating the mythology we all know and love remains in tact. It was simply expanded upon. That could mean anything. Did they change the origin to give them a reason to include Krang in the mix?
I think the Ooze is the Alien here. I just don’t see a planet full of giant turtles especially because they still have to explain Splinter somehow. Regardless, even the people who are angry about the ‘changes’ are going to be following this movie all the way up until it’s release.
Michael Bay and Co. know people are watching and it’s up to them to turn the doubters around. How?
1. The design of the turtles. Will they be suits or motion capture? Combination of both? What will they look like?
2. The Villain. Shredder is pretty much a guarantee. (Isn’t it?) With Shredder comes foot soldiers but what about the aforementioned Krang?
3. The Style & Tone. Will this be Batman Begins with Ninja Turtles? Dark and gritty? Is that a world where Michelangelo can still scream ‘Cowabunga’? How will they achieve that balance? I think the tone of the 1990 original was spot on.
4. Stills, Trailers & Viral Content. This one is tricky. Until we get more clarification on the ‘alien’ comment, people are going to be skeptical but skeptics can always be turned if you WOW them.
5. Be true to the mythology. People want The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I really think that’s exactly what we are going to get. The most encouraging comments I’ve heard through all of this came from the director himself:
“Look, it’s so funny—if everyone was such a die-hard fan, they would know that the TCRI canisters where the ooze comes from. That is alien ooze. Now I’m not saying what Michael said is exactly what the movie is, because we’re sitting in a room now figuring everything out. So we don’t know, but we are like Michael said: we’re expanding it, and the expansion will be true to the mythology. I promise you: fans will love it.”
Whatever mythology we’re building on or expanding is coming from that guy, Kevin Eastman’s head, who created the Turtles in the first place. And so everything will tie in with the mythology; fans will be extremely excited with what we’re coming up with. A lot of it is stuff he’s wanted to do for a long time, but just hasn’t had the opportunity because now we have the budget and things on this film to expand it in the right way. And so, I’m happy that everyone is extremely passionate, and they will not be disappointed. It’s all coming from the best possible place for this franchise.
We’re definitely into the action, but for me what’s more important than that is that it’s a story about brotherhood and friendship and responsibility. Right now, I’m with the characters because those are what attracted me to the movie. They’re the best characters I’ll have had a chance to deal with.” (Jonathan Liebesman)
More recently, Michael Bay defended the project while commenting on the title being shortened to Ninja Turtles:
“Paramount marketing changed the name. They made the title simple. The characters you all remember are exactly the same, and yes they still act like teenagers. Everything you remember, why you liked the characters, is in the movie. This script is being developed by two very smart writers, with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles. They care VERY MUCH about making this film for the fans. Everyone on this team cares about the fans. Just give them a chance. Jonathan the director, is a major fan of the whole franchise. HE’S NOT GOING TO LET YOU DOWN.”
Below is a collection of links that chronicles the ‘controversy’ surrounding the film. They are full of insight, opinions and features from around the web.
I’m not saying the alien comment isn’t at least a little concerning. I grew up with the Ninja Turtles and I don’t want to see their story changed. But tons of film adaptations have changed major elements from the source material that is readily accepted now. For example, the age of the Hobbits in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Some people were extremely angry. (Some probably still are) But they made those changes while staying true to J.R.R Tolkien’s work and people love those films. Even the doubters are anxiously awaiting the new Hobbit films in 2012 and 2013.
Sometimes change is good. I think this is a wait and see situation. No matter what, the new movie is meant to be successful they aren’t out to screw it up on purpose. I can’t wait to see what the new turtles will look like. I can’t wait to find out more about the filmmaker’s vision for the franchise.
I’m looking forward to a brand new live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie!