13 items from 2017
Allan Loeb certainly isn’t a household name, but there’s a pretty good chance you’ve might’ve seen one or two of his credited movies. Whether it’s “21,” “The Switch,” “The Dilemma,” “Just Go With It,” “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” “Rock of Ages” or last year’s regrettable “Collateral Beauty,” just to name a handful, Loeb is one of those screenwriters who’s quick to diversify his resume but never able to prove his skills.
Continue reading ‘The Only Living Boy In New York’ Is A Lacklustre Coming-Of-Age Dramedy [Review] at The Playlist. »
- Will Ashton
Child actor Griffin Gluck is growing up and cashing checks ... scoring a sweet contract to play a high schooler on Netflix's new true crime satire, "American Vandal." Griffin -- known for playing family son roles on movies like "Just Go With It" and "Why Him?" and the TV show "Private Practice" -- landed the series regular role of Sam on the upcoming mockumentary ... at a rate of $7,500 per episode. Gluck's in all 8 eps ... so that comes out to $60k. »
- TMZ Staff
“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
While “The Amazing Spider-Man” director Marc Webb is watching the franchise get rebooted, he’s not sweating it one bit. The filmmaker has returned to his indie roots in a big way, having already released “Gifted” this spring. While you weren’t looking, the Chris Evans starring dramedy has racked up an impressive $28 million worldwide, and now the filmmaker has another movie swinging into cinemas this summer, with “The Only Living Boy In New York.”
Starring Kate Beckinsale, Pierce Brosnan, Kiersey Clemons, Cynthia Nixon, Callum Turner and Jeff Bridges the long-in-the-works movie (which at one time was going to star Logan Lerman, and be directed by Seth Gordon), is worryingly penned by Allan Loeb (“21,” “The Switch,” “The Dilemma,” “Just Go With It”) and follows a recent college graduate who seeks the guidance »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Exclusive: Wme has signed screenwriter/producer Allan Loeb. Loeb’s scripting credits include Collateral Beauty, which he also produced, The Space Between Us, Rock of Ages, Just Go with It, 21, and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. His next film is the Marc Webb-directed The Only Living Boy in New York, which Roadside Attractions releases August 11, with Kate Beckinsale, Pierce Brosnan and Jeff Bridges starring. Loeb, who had been repped by CAA, continues to be managed… »
There is no doubt that Bailee Madison is rising quickly in her acting career. Her roles in the films “Just Go With It” and “Brothers” have given her the opportunity to showcase her talents. The exposure to the masses has definitely given her a rung up on the ladder of success. In addition, appearing in “The Fosters” and “Good Witch” were great additions to her steadily growing resume. These are things that we all know about her, but there is so much more to find out. Here are five things you didn’t know about Bailee Madison. 1. She’s a One
Five Things You Didn’t Know About Bailee Madison »
- Nat Berman
To quote Jill Zarin when she arrived on Scary Island, "Surprise!" Yes, the Og Real Housewives of New York City star is back on the Bravo reality series after five seasons for a bullying lunch. Just go with it. The women of Rhony escape the Berkshires and head right to lunch with Jill, which is basically what happened after the infamous Scary Island trip. "Jill's always maneuvering. Of course I'm oblivious, I'm just showing up, happy to go to lunch and support the cause, but there's bullying going on in the bullying lunch," Dorinda Medley says about their lunch. They don't say what exactly the bullying lunch is about, but could it be "systematic bullying"? Get it? That's »
The newlyweds revealed that one key element of their ceremony went awry.
Appropriately, Ballas tells brides- and grooms-to-be of their big day: “Something may not happen as planned, but you gotta »
- Lanford Beard
There are essentially two types of Adam Sandler movies, though they sometimes come in varying shades. On the left side are the more casual, laissez-faire affairs, wherein the popular comedic actor/producer plays an exaggerated variation of his real-life, good-hearted slacker persona. Some of them are charming enough (“Billy Madison,” “The Wedding Singer,” “50 First Dates“), some are mixed (“Big Daddy,” “Spanglish“), and a few are, err, curious failures (“Eight Crazy Nights,” “Click,” “The Cobbler“), but the rest stink of cash-grabbing laziness (the “Grown Ups” movies, “Just Go With It,” “Blended“).
- Will Ashton
They’ve never been critical favorites, but remember when Adam Sandler movies used to be kind of a big deal? Even given the usual Happy Madison stable of filmmakers and performers, keep in mind who has appeared in cameo or even co-starring roles in those movies: Jack Nicholson was in Anger Management. Reese Witherspoon played an angel (and Sandler’s mom!) in Little Nicky. Nicole Kidman contributed antics to Just Go With It. No such star power alighted Sandler’s first two straight-to-Netflix features. Who can even remember if John McEnroe or Dave Matthews checked into The Ridiculous 6 for a low-rent walk-on? (They didn’t, but Vanilla Ice did.)
Sandy Wexler, Sandler’s newest Netflix project, has a slightly hipper collection of celebrities on hand. They walk through the movie pretending to know the title character, an oddball showbiz hanger-on. In addition to the usual Saturday Night Live classmates »
- Jesse Hassenger
MaryAnn’s quick take… Trite characters, very well-worn clichés of Sf cinema, and a mystery that is completely transparent. All about production design, and even that is familiar. I’m “biast” (pro): big science fiction fan
I’m “biast” (con): not much of an anime fan
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
No, I have not read the manga by Masamune Shirow. I have not seen the 1995 animated film. (I’ve seen Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.) I have not seen the 2002 animated TV series. I have not seen the 2013 animated web series. I have not seen the 2015 animated film. (All of these originated in Japan, and fit solidly into the genre of anime, a particular subcategory of storytelling of which I am not much of a fan.)
And that’s fine. Generally, it’s a neutral matter, »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Are you overwhelmed by how much television is available right now? Is life getting in the way of keeping up with the shows you wanna try out? We feel your tube-related pain. Here’s a handy feature that’ll help you locate the hidden gems in this era of Peak TV.
Network | TBS
Created By | David Jenkins
Number Of Episodes | 10
Episode Length | 30 mins.
Premise | Acclaimed reporter Ozzie Graham (The Daily Show‘s Wyatt Cenac) relocates to a small town in upstate New York, where he intends to profile the members of StarCrossed, a support group for people »
She’s played a fairytale princess on Once Upon a Time and a teenager with supernatural powers in the Hallmark channel’s Good Witch, but actress Bailee Madison needed some real life magic (and a little help from Wayfair) to transform her run-of-the-mill garage into a fabulous hangout spot.
“After months of filming on location or a long day of travel it’s the best feeling to be able to look forward to walking into my own space where I get to be me!” says Madison, 17. To create the chic and cozy space she’s dubbed her “lady cave,” the »
- Mackenzie Schmidt
13 items from 2017
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