In 2007 director Michael Bay took the formerly popular children’s toy franchise Transformers and turned it into a multi-million dollar film franchise. With the success of the first, a sequel was immediately green-lit and Bay given the reigns once again. Having introduced the main characters in the first film, he took the opportunity to expand the Universe considerably in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Very loosely based on Judi and Ron Barrett’s children’s book of the same name, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a Sony Pictures Animation. During release it became the highest-grossing film released by the animation house taking over $240m at the box office. It represents the directing debut of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who rose to prominence after directing successful animated TV show Clone High.
Written and directed by Christopher Smith, writer/director of Creep and Severance, as the DVD box is quick to remind us, Triangle is a film I only found out about through pure chance. Someone I followed posted about it and said that it was her goal to make everyone watch this film. I took a chance and put it in, knowing nothing of the plot, or the film itself, other than it was a horror film. Triangle revolves around Jess (Melissa George), a mother of a mentally disabled child. She is going out on a yacht trip with her friend Greg (Michael Dorman) and his other friends he has brought her to meet. Once they have set sail, they get hit by a freak storm, leaving them stranded. However, a ship comes by and they come on board, finding the ship to be seemingly deserted. Jess cannot shake the feeling on deja vu, and soon they discover they are being hunted by a masked individual, and Jess may hold the key to save them.
In the early-to-mid 1980s toy companies realised that to help boost sales of their products it made commercial sense to create cartoons as a way of advertising to children. This lead to a boom in cartoons such as Transformers, He-Man and Thundercats on television. In recent years, Hasbro, one of the biggest toy companies in the world have begun to produce feature films at cinemas as a way of further increasing their brand presence. The globally successful Transformers in 2007 made way for an adaptation of one of Hasbro’s most successful toy lines, the G.I. Joe’s.
Bobcat Goldthwait is perhaps best known to some as squeaky-voiced buffon Zed from the Police Academy sequels. But over the last decade or so, the actor-turned director has been carving himself a reputation for writing and directing comedies of a somewhat ‘unique’ nature. Take breakthrough film Sleeping Dogs (2006), which gained a lot of attention on the independent circuit for exploring the hardly mainstream idea of canine bestiality. World’s Greatest Dad (2009) certainly doesn’t bark up this particular tree (sorry), but neither is it any likelier to receive an airing on the Disney channel.
Based on a remarkable true story, I Love you Phillip Morris details the countless escapes of Steven Russell a fraudster who is still currently serving his 140-year sentence in Texas. Initially a cop with a young family and a wife who adores him, we are taken aback (to say the least) when ten minutes in there is a rather explicit (shall we say) revelation, that Steven (Jim Carrey) is actually gay. Russell admits that the life of a gay man is “expensive”, which sees him in jail for insurance scams. However this is fate as it is here, head to toe in a stunning bright yellow uniform that he meets the love of his life, Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor).
Ben Wheatley’s third feature film, Sightseers, hit UK cinemas November 2012 on the back of a wave of critical acclaim, including hugely positive reactions at that year’s Cannes Film Festival. Trading on an effortless blend of brutal violence and razor-sharp wit, Sightseers demonstrates Wheatley’s expert skill at juggling genres. His debut feature, Down Terrace, was crucial in announcing the director as a vital new talent in British cinema, and in many ways offers a similar duality in its tone and execution.
Six years after the mixed result of Terminator 3, an attempt to continue and revitalise the franchise was launched, and thus we have Terminator Salvation, both a sequel and the intended first film of a new trilogy. The film isn’t exactly bad, but neither is it particularly good, and it seems that any hope of continuing the franchise beyond this point has fizzled out, which is perhaps for the best.
The quality of a film is a funny thing. Of course, everyone wants a film to be good, otherwise seeing it feels like a waste of time and money. But sometimes, a film comes along that’s so bad in every respect, in it’s acting, writing, direction, and story that it almost comes around full circle and becomes enormously entertaining. One fine example would by Tommy Wiseau’s misguided drama, The Room, or James Nguyen’s ‘homage’ to Alred Hitchcock, Birdemic: Shock and Terror. However, I have not once come across a film more hilariously terrible than The Final Destination.
Following the success of the X-Men trilogy, lead actor Hugh Jackman who had gone from a veritable nobody to an A-List star was given his own spin-off film. X-Men Origins: Wolverine directed by Gavin Hood of Tsotsi fame, was a moderate success taking $373m from a budget of $150m. Its success was probably harmed by a pirate copy of the film being distributed on the internet before post-production had been completed. Early reports from those who had seen the film were not positive, potentially causing a dip in box office receipts.