8 items from 2017
Hollywood, Calif. – Called “incredibly entertaining” (Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International) and filled with “non-stop action from start to finish” (Emily Engberg, ABC-tv, Kstp), director Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight explodes on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D Combo Packs September 26, 2017 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. The groundbreaking adventure will also be available as part of the Transformers’ 5-movie Blu-Ray Collection arriving September 26. The film arrives two weeks early on Digital HD September 12.
Transformers: The Last Knight shatters the core myths of the Transformers franchise, and redefines what it means to be a hero. Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord »
- ComicMix Staff
Paramount Pictures has announced that Transformers: The Last Knight is set for release on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray Combo Packs September 26th and on Digital HD September 12th, and will also be includes in the Transformers 5-Movie Blu-ray Collection, also out on September 26th.
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Transformers: The Last Knight shatters the core myths of the Transformers franchise, and redefines what it means to be a hero. Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord (Sir Anthony Hopkins); and an Oxford Professor (Laura Haddock). There comes a moment in everyone’s life when »
- Gary Collinson
Called "incredibly entertaining" (Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International) and filled with "non-stop action from start to finish" (Emily Engberg, ABC-tv, Kstp), director Michael Bay's Transformers: The Last Knight explodes on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D Combo Packs September 26, 2017 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. The groundbreaking adventure will also be available as part of the Transformers' 5-Movie Blu-ray Collection arriving September 26. The film arrives two weeks early on Digital HD September 12.
Transformers: The Last Knight shatters the core myths of the Transformers franchise, and redefines what it means to be a hero. Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord (Sir Anthony Hopkins »
For “The Last Knight,” Michael Bay headed toward classy and medieval, traveling to England and riffing on King Arthur with a bevy of new Transformers. Along the way, Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager enlists the aid of an eccentric historian (Anthony Hopkins), a street-wise teenage orphan (Isabela Moner), and an alluring Oxford professor (Laura Haddock).
For Industrial Light & Magic, the challenge was animating even more complex and detailed metallic creatures for higher-resolution action sequences using IMAX 3D cameras. “It’s about craftsmanship and artistry and it doesn’t get easier on any of these films,” said Ilm’s VFX supervisor, Scott Farrar, who has labored on all five “Transformers” movies. “The number of parts on Optimus Prime, for instance, went up from about 10,000 parts to 22,000 parts. That means more difficult rendering for achieving a photoreal look.”
Dragonstorm and the Knights of Cybertron
In a prologue, we’re introduced to the origin story of the Transformers on Earth. A thousand years ago, the Knights of the Cybertron helped out King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and his Knights of the Roundtable in their war with the Saxons. This was the result of a pact with a drunken and inept Merlin (Stanley Tucci), who was granted use of the three-headed, fire breathing Dragonstorm.
“The nearly 100-foot dragon contains large, metallic thorns and has a tarnished look,” said Farrar. “It took thousands of pieces. No matter which way you look, he’s gonna spear you. So he’s fairly deadly,” he added.
Some of the best-looking shots in the movie were based on sunny afternoon cloud plate shots from Lear jets and helicopters over England, Texas, and Detroit. “Once you start with a gorgeous setting such as this, then the dragon becomes similarly backlit,” Farrar said. “And the more backlight or edge light that you can have, the more realistic it looks.”
Quintessa, the Sorceress from Cybertron
We’re also introduced to the creator of Optimus and the other Transformers, Quintessa, a beautiful and powerful sorceress from Cybertron. This deity took months to build and is comprised of thousands of intricate pieces.
Quintessa is very regal-looking with a cowl collar and long, flowing cape. Ilm even goes further with an ethereal vibe. She resembles pearlescent seaweed in a pool. Her face was modeled after actress Gemma Chan, who recorded her voice, though there’s a slight resemblance to Optimus, too. “We matchmoved to her and created our character, for the face at least, and some of the arm motion,” said Farrar.
It’s like she’s made of small louvered pieces that act like veins, always moving and all reflective. “She is lit only by what the reflected light is doing for her, so you have to position lights everywhere around her,” said Farrar.
Cogman the Manservant
“I think he’s one of the most beautiful creations that we’ve come up with,” said Farrar. “The original idea was that he was a turn of the century automaton. But he can run around, and you can see all the gears that are running inside his face, neck, sternum, chest, and shoulders. It’s like he’s made from fine pieces from a very expensive French watch.”
The key-framed Cogman is also highly reflective. He’s made of silvery metal armor with copper and brass, and shines with warm colors. “It’s all about the detail in proximity to the camera for important acting moments,” said Farrar. “We do ultra-closeups in camera so it all looks hand-tooled and hand-made.”
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- Bill Desowitz
“Transformers: The Last Knight” opens in medieval times with a drunken Merlin (Stanley Tucci) and closes with a futuristic man-versus-aliens showdown set in Stonehenge. In between those ludicrous scenarios, director Michael Bay’s fifth entry in the most overproduced movie franchise of the 21st century stuffs in a new love interest for Mark Wahlberg, a deep space journey to a robotic villainess intent on destroying mankind, and a robotic British butler with martial arts skills operating at the whims of Anthony Hopkins. It’s an unabashed freewheeling mess of CGI explosions, fast-talking strategies and shiny metal monstrosities clashing in epic battles. And it’s actually kind of fun, in an infuriating sort of way, to watch the most ridiculous Hollywood movie of the year do its thing.
Here’s the thing about the “Transformers” movies. Bay managed to drag a nostalgia-laden franchise best known for the toys it inspired into the 21st century in part by not taking the premise too seriously. That changed after the success of the first live action installment 10 years ago; “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” turned the playfulness of the earlier entries into a gleaming mass of commercial showmanship; each runs well over two and a half hours, and “The Last Knight” is no exception.
But the craziest thing about the movie is that it practically dares audiences to grow anxious while watching its restless, bloated contents, and keeps tossing out shiny nuggets of entertainment to cloak from the overwhelming ridiculousness in spectacle. The closest thing in American movies to an epic, Bollywood-style genre mashup, “The Last Knight” continues the trend of the series in borrowing liberally from every filmic tradition possible in the quest to crush all competition and leave viewers with the sense that they don’t need to see anything else, ever. That underlying implication is made all the more infuriating because Bay excels at the aesthetic of distraction, with the masculine intensity of a jock and the soothing words of a hypnotist: Sit back, relax, and enjoy the stupid ride. What, you don’t like fun movies?
Bay’s craftsmanship is impeccable, but per usual, the real stars of the show remain the wizards at Industrial Light & Magic responsible for the range of special effects. The degree of visual information crammed into every frame never ceases to amaze, particularly when enjoyed on an IMAX screen capable of conveying the full scale. It helps that the ongoing story has gotten to the point where Transformers have blossomed around the globe, providing an excuse to unleash so many dazzling images the brain can’t possibly process them all at once.
At the end of the third movie, Transformers leader Optimus Prime left Earth for a mysterious journey back to his home planet, leaving Earth at odds with the remaining Transformers inhabitants as they hid from the law while defending the planet from an onslaught of Decepticons. In other words, we’ve gone beyond the “Age of Extinction” singled out in the 2014 movie and headed into post-apocalyptic territory: Since defending Transformers has been outlawed, rascally inventor Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) hides out in a junkyard with the usual motley gang of tower-sized defenders, including the ever-endearing Bumblebee (still eager to find a new voice box).
Bay’s mastered the art of showcasing these beings and their colorful personalities so well that he could easily craft a digitally-enhanced comedy about passive-aggressive Transformers with roommate problems and call it a day. But bigger things are at stake! Or, at least, more plot is necessary to drive the ongoing perception that this giant mass of moving images deserves your 20 bucks.
Summarizing a Transformers movie is a good way to fall prey to its traps, but here goes: At some point while running from the law, Cade is kidnapped by the mysterious Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins, doing a kooky riff on his “Westworld” character), who maintains a group of aging robots stretching back millennia and belongs to a secret society of humans who have protected the secret of the Transformers’ existence. (These include Da Vinci, Shakespeare and Harriet Tubman, all of whom might have provided more ambitious fodder for a framing device than Tucci’s Merlin, but hey, there’s plenty of time for more sequels.)
In any case, Cade saved a medieval Transformer space traveler who gifted the human with a protective amulet dating back to Merlin’s days, so now the inventor’s a genuine superhero. He’s paired with spicy British academic Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock), a Merlin descendant whose knowledge of the lore informs her understanding of Wahlberg’s qualifications to save Merlin’s magical wand from an incoming alien invasion. Bay’s flimsy capacity for directing substantial women roles gets especially dicey here, with a cardboard cutout version of a brainy academic who ultimately melts into Wahlberg’s arms. Make no mistake: These movies are the most sensationalistic illustrations of the male gaze in history.
They’re also terribly reductive. When Cade and Vivian aren’t scrambling, “Indiana Jones”-style, to comprehend an Arthurian legend, a neurotic scientist played by “Veep” funnyman Tony Hale urges the government to do something about the invaders from space. As if this watered-down “Independence Day” scenario weren’t enough, the movie keeps veering off in jagged directions. At one point, we meet a range of Decepticon villains released from jail to take down the Transformers, a robotic Suicide Squad with names like Nitro Zeus and Dread bot who vanish almost as quickly as they’re introduced.
But, you know, who cares? It’s a “Transformers” movie! More coherent than “Age of Extinction,” the third act of which took place in Beijing for no other apparent reason than to outsource the production to China, “The Last Night” lands a lot of good laughs with its cartoonish robots and equally over-the-top chemistry between its two leads. Hopkins’ character is even helped along by a senile robot named Cogman, an unapologetic C-3Po ripoff whose very existence proves that Bay thinks nothing is sacred in his plundering of cinematic traditions. In these transparent times, when the ills of capitalism are no longer hidden under the guise of moral superiority, the sheer absurd cash grab of “The Last Knight” feels like more than just a commercial coup. It’s the zeitgeist. Just go with it.
Or don’t. In 2007, audiences keen on “Transformers” counterprogramming went to see “The Hurt Locker.” This time, “Transformers: The Last Knight” opens the same weekend as “The Big Sick,” a smart and intimate romcom that transforms those formulaic traditions into a more personal story about the travails of an interracial couple. As summer crowdpleasers go, it’s a lot more credible than “The Last Knight” — and the contrast between the two movies couldn’t be more extreme. One carries the implication that the modern world is a complex place in which the process of discovering new people and ideas leads to bountiful rewards. The other rejects all that and implores you to settle for a flashier version of the same old thing.
“Transformers: The Last Knight” opens nationwide on June 20, 2017.
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- Eric Kohn
During their 3rd annual Valiant Summit, Valiant Entertainment once again gave us an amazing line up of books that will be released throughout this year, starting with last months launch of X-o Manowar and concluding with December's release of Quantum and Woody. It is important to note that Valiant Entertainment has only been around since their relaunch in 2012. They had such an impact that they won the award of Comic Publisher of the Year from Diamond Comic Distributors that same year. Now they are on the verge of bigger and better things including a YouTube series called Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe, a multi-movie deal with Sony which includes a Bloodshot movie and a Quantum and Woody television show that will be made by the Russo brothers, who are currently working on the next Avengers film.
They were very excited about their line up as their first title X-o Manowar #1 has already sold over 90,000 copies, »
- Emmanuel Gomez
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A quick look at the slinky sleight-of-hand involved in making movies about magic.
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Lugosi is a lot of fun but the real star of this movie is director William Cameron Menzies whose distinctive visual style graces every scene.
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1953’s Houdini »
Author: Dave Roper
The prospective candidates for admission to MiB were hand-picked because they were the best of the best of the best. That’s a lot of superlatives. Eric Roberts and Chris Penn were two of the more unlikely members of a Tae Kwon Do team that took on Korea in The Best of the Best and across pretty much every athletic and artistic theatre of endeavour you can think of, debate rages as to who is the best of the best. Today we look at the greatest movie actors.
This new series of articles is not intended to lay such arguments to rest. Instead it will hopefully prompt some discussion and (polite) debate as we consider, within certain film-making disciplines, who might be considered to be the best and what is their best work. Highly subjective, of course, but that is whence springs healthy debate. We’ll get to actresses, »
- Dave Roper
8 items from 2017
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