Saturday, June 27, 2009

Camera Obscura: The Artistic Heights of 'Transformers'; Vampires In The Future; 'The Box'; Spielberg Wants 'Oldboy'

Danger, art, and mindless pubescent goofiness are all mingled together in the movie set to claim hundreds of millions in theater ticket sales this weekend. It's the sequel to the movie based on the cartoon created to sell toys in the 1980s, toys called Transformers.

This "new" movie gets the Review To End All Reviews at io9, titled "Michael Bay Finally Made An Art Movie":

Since the days of Un Chien Andalou and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, filmmakers have reached beyond meaning. But with this summer's biggest, loudest movie, Michael Bay takes us all the way inside Caligari's cabinet. And once you enter, you can never emerge again. I saw this movie two days ago, and I'm still living inside it. Things are exploding wherever I look, household appliances are trying to kill me, and bizarre racial stereotypes are shouting at me."

"Transformers: ROTF is so long, you'll need to wear adult diapers to it. But the movie's pure celebration of the primal urge, and unfiltered living, will make you rejoice in your adult diapers. You'll relieve yourself in your seat with a savage joy, your barbaric yawp blending in with the crowd's screams of excitement."

"So you have a movie that tries to reassure men that they can actually be masters of their reality — but then turns around and says that actually, reality is not real. There's no such thing as the "real world," and the only thing that's left for men to dominate is a nebulous domain of blurred shapes, which occasionally blurt nonsensical swear-words and slang from ethnic groups that have never existed. If you're drowning in an Olympic swimming pool full of hot chewing gum fondue, do you still care if Megan Fox likes you?"

I watched Michael Bay's first Transformer movie twice and was never able to make a moment's sense out of it. It was like watching a car speeding over 1,000 mph crash into a line of stalled traffic while huddled on the floor underneath the glove box.

Bay's movies aren't just bad - they are Exploding Temples of Awfulness.


Goofy and strange movies are not just the Rite of Summer, as January 2010 will bring out the odd vampires-in-the-future tale "Daybreakers" to theaters. Starring Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill, the movie is from the Spierig Brothers, twin brother directors who crafted a very odd but visually compelling zombie movie from Australia a few years ago called "Undead".

"Daybreakers" has a trailer now, complete with some emo music and heaps of explosions:


In other Weird Cinema news, Richard Kelly ('Donnie Darko') takes aim at audiences with the movie "The Box", based on a short story by the prolific Richard Matheson. The story was offered before onscreen as part of the Twilight Zone series re-boot in the 1980s. The preview explains the set-up for this thriller:


A very powerful and very odd tale of revenge hit movie audiences a few years ago and scored much praise, called "Oldboy", from director Chan-woo Park and based on a popular manga. The movie is a real stunner of visuals and twists of mystery. For the past few months, director Steven Spielberg has been trying to get the rights for an American remake with Will Smith in the lead.

But who really has the rights to the story? Spielberg says despite legal disputes, his plan is to create a new movie based on the manga, and not a remake of Park's Korean film. With Spielberg's clout, I'm sure he'll settle the legal issues to his advantage. But there are so many strong and powerful scenes in Park's film - like the long hallway battle scene with the hero wielding a hammer against a horde of guards - I think the story has already been told as well as it can be.

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