Tag Archive: Michael Bay


Review by C.J. Bunce

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) and director Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon) are going to surprise a lot of people this December.  Their new film, a direct-to-Netflix, big-budget action spectacle called 6 Underground, is the kind of movie that belongs on the big screen leading the box office rankings.  It has big, over-the-top, expensive action sequences that leave last year’s seemingly impossible to beat Mission: Impossible–Fallout, in its wake.  It also stuffs about two movies into one: giving the audience a slight breather between action sequences, its edits are sharp and quick, so much so it offers one of those strobe warnings upfront, with an amazing new weapon we haven’t yet seen anywhere that it keeps for its third act.  If you loved the team of crooks in Baby Driver, the good guys seeking revenge of The Italian Job, and the speed of The Fate of the Furious, get ready for the next watchalike.  It’s Leverage on steroids.  It’s the best direct-to-Netflix movie yet–and a whole lotta fun.

Reynolds is a billionaire genius fed up with not being able to do good with his money by following the rules.  He fakes his death and recruits and tries to maintain an international band of six “ghosts” who have complementary mad skills and are willing to leave their lives (including names) behind to change the world.  This includes an incredible driver played by Dave Franco (Now You See Me), a badass ex-CIA spook played by French actress Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds), a hitman played by Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (The Magnificent Seven), a doctor played by Puerto Rican actress Adria Arjona (True Detective), and a parkour whiz played by Brit actor Ben Hardy (Bohemian Rhapsody, X-Men: Apocalypse).  When one of the team dies in a messy job, Reynolds’ character, known only as One, recruits an ex-marine sharpshooter played by Corey Hawkins.  And the movie gets bigger and better.

Although the opening 20-minute action scene will be talked about for years, it’s Hawkins arriving new to the team as Seven where the story takes off.  He was willing to leave the military service behind because he was held back–he tried to save his fellow soldiers in an attack but was ordered not to–but with this new team he finally has the freedom to do all he can for the greater good, all under his own terms.  Reynolds as Reynolds–the same snarky, smartass character he played in Deadpool and Life and R.I.P.D. and Green Lantern is here, and he makes it work yet again, thanks to funny banter and a team of actors and characters with chemistry.  He carries the leading action man role that would normally be taken by Jason Statham and twists it a bit, not doing all those kicks and physical feats, but getting in the middle of the action and staying there with all the other stunt-heavy moves going on around him (not that he doesn’t get to play in the punches, too).  If that weren’t enough, 6 Underground also has amazing international settings and gorgeous, James Bond universe-type cinematography thanks to photography by Bojan Bazelli (The Ring, The Sorceror’s Apprentice, Snake Eyes).

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Merry Christmas!

It’s that time of year again, time to take a look forward at what movies should be on your radar for 2019.  Are you going to see them all?  Heck no.  These are the genre films we think borg readers will want to know about to make their own checklists for the coming year–and they are only the films we know about so far.  We pulled 78 of the hundreds of films that have been finalized or are in varying stages of final production, slated for next year’s movie calendar.

What looks to top the list for most fanboys and fangirls?  The last of the nine films in the Star Wars saga.  Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home.  Shazam! is DC’s contribution.  Quentin Tarentino returns to movies to direct Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Martin Scorsese is back with an all-star cast in The Irishman (on Netflix).  M. Night Shyamalan finishes his dark superhero trilogy with GlassArnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton return in TerminatorJordan Peele is back with another horror film with Us.

Do you like sequels?  This is your year.  Another Men in Black, X-Men, Shaft, Happy Death Day, Lego Movie, Hellboy, John Wick, Kingsman, Jumanji, The Secret Life of Pets, How to Train Your Dragon, Fast and the Furious, Zombieland, Addams Family, Charlie’s Angels, Godzilla, Shaun the Sheep, Annabelle,and Stephen King’s It and Pet SemataryDisney is trying to get you to move into your local theater with another Toy Story, Aladdin, Dumbo, Frozen, and Lion King–all in one year.  Yep, lots and lots of sequels are coming.

Some films don’t have locked-in release dates yet.  Amazon Prime and Netflix haven’t revealed dates for these 2019 releases:

  • Martin Scorcese’s The Irishman, a film about Jimmy Hoffa starring Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, and Bobby Cannavale (Netflix)
  • The Kid, a Western biopic with Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Dane DeHaan, and Vincent D’Onofrio (Netflix)
  • The Man Who Killed Hitler Then Bigfoot, starring Sam Elliott (Netflix)
  • 6 Underground, a Michael Bay film starring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Hardy, Dave Franco, and Mélanie Laurent (Netflix)
  • The Last Thing He Wanted, Dee Rees directs Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, and Toby Jones; journalist quits newspaper job to become an arms dealer for a covert government agency (Netflix)
  • The Laundromat, Steven Soderbergh directs Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, James Cromwell, about the Pentagon Papers (Netflix)
  • Radioactive, Rosamund Pike plays Marie Curie, with Anya Taylor-Joy (Amazon)

Some of these films will have revised release dates, or get pushed to 2020.

So grab your calendar and start making your plans–here are the movies you’ll want to see in 2019 (and many you might not):

January

Glass – Superhero, M. Night Shyamalan trilogy part 3, stars Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy; continues where Unbreakable and Split left off – January 18.

Serenity – Mystery/Thriller, stars Anne Hathaway, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong, Diane Lane; sorry, no relation to Firefly – January 25.

King of Thieves – Heist Comedy, stars Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay, Charlie Cox, Michael Gambon, and Ray Winstone – January 25.

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wahlberg-5-trans“We’re not giving up, okay?”

Director Michael Bay turned around the Transformers franchise with his fourth installment in the series, Transformers: Age of Extinction.  His film served as not only the action-packed, fun romp you’d expect, it also showed off some of the best use of 3D special effects we’ve ever seen.  Mark Wahlberg’s goofy but sincere awe at the giant machines proved he was a great choice to come back for the next big-screen Transformers film.

For this fifth movie in the series, Transformers: The Last Knight, the first full trailer released by Paramount this week shows a return to a darker world, pitting machine vs. machine and man vs. machine in the ultimate showdown.  Bumble Bee vs. Optimus Prime?  Who is The Last Knight?  Will it have the fun of the last film?  The lackluster second and third installments have us worried about a threepeat, but we’d love a repeat of the action from Bay’s last effort.

transformers-5

Sure to have some mega-sized swordplay, the new film reflects Bay needing to make  each new film bigger and bigger.  Let’s hope that also means bigger and better.  Here is the trailer for next year’s Transformers: The Last Knight:

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TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION

Review by C.J. Bunce

It must be fun to be on the production set watching Mark Wahlberg make movies.  The actor conveys a passionate sense of determination no matter what he stars in.  You can track back through his films and see this–no matter whether the movie was a hit or not, you can see Wahlberg firmly planted in his role and delivering all he can muster.  In The Perfect Storm (2000) you have him responding to a once-in-a-lifetime disaster, in Planet of the Apes (2001) he’s facing an impossible world, and in Rock Star (2001) he’s a devoted fan turned star, poking fun at his former life in Rock ‘n’ Roll.  In The Italian Job (2003), a role that could have been made for a young Tom Cruise, we saw one of Wahlberg’s best roles as lead man of an all-star cast of master thieves.   If the whole world hadn’t noticed him yet, Martin Scorcese’s The Departed (2006) made that happen in his supporting tough guy role.  And whether or not you like M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening (2008), it’s easy to get sucked in because you believe Wahlberg believes he is running from the strange, murderous, phantom wind.  Who else could pull off performances with such a wacky comedic edge like Ted (2012), Pain & Gain (2013), and 2 Guns (2013)?

So it’s no wonder that one of the two key components that make Transformers: Age of Extinction a complete blast of a roller coaster ride is star Wahlberg.  For all the Transformers movies (Age of Extinction is the fourth in the series) you either buy in to the world of machines-turned-robots or you don’t.  There’s no in-between.  And if you get that far, then the movie is a success only if the actors believe the CGI-heavy world they are performing in.  Wahlberg’s failed inventor and sharp mechanic Cade Yeager lets you know at the beginning of the movie where he stands with the goofy yet perfect line “I think we just found a Transformer!”  From there on you follow this guy because he really wants everything he is after–the truth, protecting his daughter, and defying the law to protect those he sees as innocent.

Age of Extinction IMAX 3D transformers

Transformers: Age of Extinction is now available in an impressive Blu-ray edition that brings the 3D IMAX shots right to your home television, with visuals that demonstrate the leading edge of the medium right now.  As we have mentioned here at borg.com with prior Blu-ray 3D, you can’t beat the landscapes in modern 3D films, and Age of Extinction would be a treat for the eyes for that alone.  Crisp, bright colors and sound and depth filmed with some impressive camera wizardry actually elevate this movie beyond what it might be as seen in its 2D Blu-ray, DVD, or film version.  Finely textured background detail will make you think someone took years to create each frame.  There’s enough to dazzle here that, if you don’t get tired along the way, you may walk away judging this as I did as almost as good as the first Transformers movie.

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TMNT turtle

They’re not the Pre-Teen Dirty Gene Kung Fu Kangaroos.  They’re not the Pre-Pubescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters.  And they’re not Rocket Raccoon and Groot.  But they are Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo–the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and they’re coming back to the theaters in a big-budget, Michael Bay production.

The first trailer is here and the turtles in a half shell are looking pretty good.  And we even get Megan Fox as April, taking on another 1980s toy property franchise after her run in the Transformers movie series.  Shredder is back, too, played by William Fichtner, with Danny Woodburn playing Splinter.

TMNT clip

Check out this first trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

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Pain & Gain

Director Michael Bay would have to work really hard to screw up this new comedy/action flick.  Mix two fitness addicts played by Mark Walhberg and Dwayne Johnson, and add in Monk’s Tony Shalhoub, and this looks like it could be a very funny movie.

Shalhoub

Both Wahlberg and Johnson are at their best when they make fun of themselves.  And we haven’t seen Shalhoub since Monk went off the air.  Shalhoub is a versatile actor, so he should do nicely as a kidnapped villain.

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