(Photo by Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Shia LaBeouf’s first movie was the Certified Fresh surprise kids hit Holes. And though his next starring project, The Even Stevens Movie (based on the show that gave his young career a start), didn’t get same critical reception, it was a quick launch towards the Hollywood A-list. Soon enough he was groomed to be next of adventuring kin in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and was the main confused human face among non-stop robotic carnage with the Transformers franchise.
By 2014, LaBeouf had all but ditched blockbusters for arthouse material, starring in Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac saga. Afterwards, red carpet antics, abrasive art projects, and personal issues began to consume his image, with LaBeouf seemingly in danger of becoming another industry burnout. 2016’s American Honey hinted at a comeback, but 2019 was a true redemption arc with the sentimental, classically-styled adventure The Peanut Butter Falcon, and the autobiographical Honey Boy, a searing personal history, both which became his highest-rated movies. As he prepares his next films for release (including re-teaming with Fury director David Ayer for The Tax Collector, and the Vanessa Kriby-starring drama Pieces of a Woman), we’re ranking all Shia LaBeouf movies by Tomatometer!
Man’s best friend, the giant robot, gets a little more love as Netflix drops its third season of Voltron: Legendary Defender. In celebration, we’ve bolted together one heckuva mecha list: Choose and upvote your favorite giant robots from TV and movie history.
Plenty of new releases are making their way to theaters this weekend, but there’s only one wide release — because if you’re forced to choose between opening opposite one of Michael Bay‘s Transformers movies or simply moving to a different week, it’s usually best to pick the latter. In honor of Transformers: The Last Knight‘s arrival, we decided to take a look back at Bay’s directorial output, but with a twist: instead of arranging it by Tomatometer, we’ve lined up these releases in order of opening week box office. Get ready to push the awesome button, because it’s time for Total Recall!
Transformers: The Last Knight is out this week! Take a look back and upvote the Transformers movies you like, and lay waste to the ones you don’t — including the animated one!
Enough with the space jockeys, unqualified cartographers, and people who run in straight lines: How about terrorizing someone who can put up a real fight? Vote on our 10 suggestions below or leave your dream Alien deathmatch in the comments!
Hey, kids! Ya like superheroes? Toys? Then has Hollywood got your taste quadrant covered with this week’s release of Max Steel, based on the action figure line first introduced by Mattel in 1997. Youth-focused cross-media filmmaking has been a thing since the early 1980s, and in this week’s gallery we cover every theatrical movie based on toys, cards, and board games that got a Tomatometer!
Let’s forget about that whole Egyptian gods thing — Gerry Butler’s got another action movie for you this week. He reprises his role as a head Secret Service agent in London Has Fallen, sequel to Olympus Has Fallen which got a 48% rating from critics back in 2013. The Fallen movies inspire this week’s 24 Frames: best and worst action sequels by Tomatometer!
Friday’s Gods of Egypt may have drawn early criticism for its mostly white cast, but moviemakers have always viewed the country with a fantastical bent. From biblical stories to historic archaeological delights to springboards into tall science fiction tales, this week’s 24 Frames takes a look at all that, along with modern and true-to-life depictions of Egypt as it is today.
This week’s Ketchup covers ten headlines from the arena of film development news from the last seven days. Included in the mix this time around are stories about such movies as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Charlie’s Angels, an Evel Knievel biopic, War of the Planet of the Apes, and new roles for Ice Cube and Jennifer Lawrence.
As we frequently cover in the Weekly Ketchup, Walt Disney Pictures is currently in the midst of reviving many of their classic animated films as live action reboots and remakes. Not all of Disney’s hits from the middle of the 20th Century were (100 percent) animated, however, such as 1964’s Mary Poppins, based on the first novel in the series by P.L. Travers (as depicted in Saving Mr. Banks). Possibly confusing matters, some this week reported that Disney was going to “remake” Mary Poppins, but what they’re actually doing is rather more conventional (and one might guess, in keeping with Travers’ intentions). Walt Disney Pictures has started development of a new Mary Poppins musical movie which would be a sequel set 20 years after the original movie in the 1930s. This new Mary Poppins musical will be directed by Rob Marshall, whose filmography includes Chicago, Nine, and last year’s Into the Woods. For the film, the songwriting duo of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray, Smash) will start working on new songs that will attempt to follow up on the classics written for the first movie, like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “A Spoonful of Sugar.” There’s no word yet about who Disney might be hoping to cast as the older Mary Poppins, or any of the members of the Banks family.
One of the biopic projects that has been kicking (and jumping and rocket-cycling) around Hollywood since the 1990s has been the idea of an Evel Knievel movie. “Evel Knievel” might not be as well known a celebrity as he was in the 1970s, but during that time, Knievel was arguably one of the most famous figures in pop culture, following a series of well-publicized super stunts (some of which weren’t successful) on both motorcycles and a steam-powered rocket called the “Skycycle X-2.” In the past, stars such as Johnny Knoxville and Matthew McConaughey have been rumored or attached to star as Evel Knievel, but lately, it has been Channing Tatum who wanted to put on Knievel’s star-spangled jumpsuit. The project, which may be based on the Pure Evel biography book, is now being discussed with director Darren Aronofsky, whose filmography as director includes Black Swan, Noah, Requiem for a Dream, and possibly closest to an Evel Knievel movie, The Wrestler. In other Channing Tatum news, his superhero movie Gambit this week lost its director, Rupert Wyatt, over scheduling conflicts, as Fox is racing to get the movie made in time for an October, 2016 release.
One of the complaints movie fans sometimes have about recent DC Comics superhero movies is that they are less “fun,” or at least less “funny,” than their counterparts at Marvel Studios. This was a notion that some felt gained traction last year with a story that claimed that WB has a “no jokes” policy about their upcoming superhero scripts. Of course, that never necessarily meant that Warner Bros couldn’t change their plans, especially if they started to think that there would be a backlash over it, right? That might at least be one way to interpret the late-breaking news this week that Warner Bros is starting development of a movie focusing on the Blue & Gold team of Booster Gold and Blue Beetle. Like many of DC’s characters who aren’t Batman, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle are usually portrayed in the comics as being less serious and/or comedic. Blue Beetle is your typical inventor-turned-superhero (who was given a dark interpretation as Nite-Owl II in Watchmen). Booster Gold is a more unique concept, as a time traveler from the distant future who uses technology and knowledge of past events to make a name for himself in our time. Reportedly, WB is also hoping to recruit screenwriter Zak Penn, who worked on The Avengers for Marvel, to come across town to work on Blue & Gold.
With Sony’s plans for a female reboot of Ghostbusters now less than a year away from release (7/15/16), the studio is now looking at other female-centric action comedies. The latest that we’ve heard about involves rebooting a TV-show-adaptation from 2000 (and a sequel in 2003), which was the private eye comedy Charlie’s Angels. The director that Sony has recruited for their Charlie’s Angels reboot is Elizabeth Banks, who is in high demand following her successful directorial debut with this year’s Pitch Perfect 2. The reboot doesn’t yet have a screenwriter yet, so it’s probably a few years away from happening. It’s also unknown if Elizabeth Banks might also take one of the female leads (or who knows, maybe “Charlie” could be a lady this time?).
(Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff / Getty Images)
In the arena of comic book adaptations, female spies and superheroes often have similar codenames, including Black Widow, Black Canary, and Mockingbird (from ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). That last one in particular is also similar to the last two movies in the Hunger Games franchise, which is close enough for us to call that a successful segue. 20th Century Fox is currently hoping to put together a package for a spy novel adaptation called Red Sparrow (again, with the color/bird codenames!). What Fox is trying to put together is a new film for both Jennifer Lawrence and director Francis Lawrence (the director of all of the Hunger Games movies except the first one). If Jennifer Lawrence signs on to star in Red Sparrow, she will be playing a young Russian spy and “trained seductress,” who is assigned to “operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the agency’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence.” Red Sparrow is an adaptation of a novel by Jason Matthews.
A few years ago, director Bryan Singer returned to the X-Men film franchise for X-Men: Days of Future Past (and next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse) after starting things off in the early 2000s with the first two X-Men films. This week, we learned that Singer has chosen his next film, and that it won’t be a fifth X-Men movie. Instead, Bryan Singer is taking on an adaptation of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the classic science fiction story about a high-tech submarine called the Nautilus. Singer’s movie is expected to be produced by 20th Century Fox (also the home of the X-Men franchise). That also means that this project is not the same as the long-in-development reboot that Walt Disney Pictures has been trying to get started, which at one point had David Fincher (Fight Club, Gone Girl) attached to direct. As for the future of the main X-Men film franchise, there have not yet been any announcements outside of spinoffs like Deadpool, Gambit, The New Mutants, X-Force, and a possible X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover. With X-Men: Apocalypse, the team’s second trilogy of films will be concluded.
Although the (movie) summer of 2015 only ended a few weeks ago, much of Hollywood’s current focus is already on the summer of 2017, given the time needed to get expensive summer movies greenlit, cast, produced, marketed, and released. One such film will be 20th Century Fox’s third film in their rebooted Apes franchise, War of the Planet of the Apes (7/14/17). Details aren’t yet known about this third film, except that following the events of 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, humanity’s future was looking quite dire, and the word “war” isn’t exactly a positive portent. For that reason, it shouldn’t be surprising that the humans will be the villains in War of the Planet of the Apes. This week, we learned that the main human villain (“The Colonel”) will be played by Woody Harrelson, who is looking for a new franchise with The Hunger Games wrapping up on November 20.
ROTTEN IDEAs OF THE WEEK
Following the success of both Ride Along and Straight Outta Compton (which was essentially an “Ice Cube biopic”), Universal Pictures is very much interested in staying in the Ice Cube business. This was manifested this week by the news that Universal Pictures has won a studio bidding war to acquire a comedy spec script for Ice Cube to star in. The comedy is called Humbug, and much like the Bill Murray comedy Scrooged, it’s a contemporary retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. If the deal comes together, Ice Cube will play “a wealthy real estate mogul shown a path to redemption by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.” Humbug will be directed by Tim Story, who previously worked with Ice Cube on Barbershop, First Sunday, Ride Along, and next year’s sequel, Ride Along 2. Story also directed the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four movies, which now despite having RT scores of 27 and 37 percent have the distinction of being the best reviewed Fantastic Four movies to receive theatrical releases. In similar news (insofar as the connection between Ice Cube and Straight Outta Compton goes), Universal Pictures is also reportedly considering producing another rap industry biopic in the form of an adaptation of the non-fiction book Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money + God, about the early years of Def Jam records. If Universal does proceed, an early rumor suggests that they may be considering casting Jonah Hill and Fantastic Four star Michael B. Jordan as Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons, respectively.
(Photo by Larry Busacca / Staff / Getty Images)
The problem with basing the “Rotten Ideas” each week objectively on the aggregated RT Tomatometer scores of those involved, is that sometimes the numbers are misleading (there is such a thing as luck, and it’s not always good). Or sometimes people are punished by bad reviews for trying to operate outside their wheelhouse. Take for example, director Ruben Fleischer, who debuted in 2009 with the genre spoof Zombieland (90 percent on the Tomatometer), and then followed that up with three films as director or producer that have all struggled to receive RT scores above 45 percent. Then, there’s the case of Liam Neeson, who has appeared in plenty of well-received films, but partly because he’s so prolific, he’s also appeared in many (and in recent years, more) Rotten films than Fresh ones. Putting those two creatives together leads us to this week’s news that Liam Neeson has signed with Universal Pictures to star in an action comedy called The Revenger. Nothing is known about the premise, except that the title suggests that it’s possibly a spoof. There’s also the detail that the comedy pitch came from the writing team of The State/Reno 911 stars Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, who have given us such wacky comedies as Balls of Fury, Herbie: Fully Loaded, and the first two Night at the Museum movies (though as writers, their Tomatometer only has one Fresh score, Starsky & Hutch).
Earlier this year, the news cycle was populated several times about (many, many) different writers who were recruited by Paramount Pictures to participate in a “writers room” experiment for their Transformers franchise. The concept is that for two weeks, the same soundstage where dance recitals for Glee were held was used for over a dozen high profile screenwriters to pitch and “workshop” various ideas on where the Transformers franchise should go next. This week, we learned some preliminary details about two of the first projects to emerge from this experiment. The first such film is the least surprising, which is that there will be a straight up fifth Transformers movie, and the second to feature Mark Wahlberg in the lead role after last year’s Transformers: Age of Extinction. That film will be written by Akiva Goldsman (Batman & Robin, Insurgent), who had also been sort of leading the writers room project. Michael Bay was initially reported to be returning to direct Transformers 5, but Bay quickly replied via Twitter, “Re: directing TF5. No, it’s not official. I have not committed to any idea as of yet.” The other project announced this week comes from screenwriters Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari (who are described as Ant-Man writers, but they were not credited on that film). Their film will be an animated Transformers movie focusing on the history of the planet Cybertron, and how the Transformers came to be. Barrer and Ferrari are also working on a new Sabrina the Teenage Witch movie.
It wasn’t too long ago that Megan Fox found herself at the dizzying center of the celebrity maelstrom. Through no particular fault of her own, she was teetering on the brink of media overexposure — the kind that comes from the usual perception of someone (and more often an actress) suddenly becoming too big, and too fast. Fox’s well-publicized (and rather humorous) feud with her Transformers director Michael Bay lead to her being dismissed from the third installment (quick: try and remember the name of her replacement), while her would-be star vehicle — the hopelessly misunderstood Jennifer’s Body — bombed with critics and audiences.
Yet Fox’s career is taking an arguably more interesting turn now that the white light of scrutiny has subsided: she’s got roles in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up sequel This is 40 and Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator on the way, and this week stars as part of the ensemble cast of Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids. In the well-received comedy-drama, Fox plays Mary Jane, the much-younger girlfriend of single-dad-with-a-twist Adam Scott, while getting to act alongside a cast that includes Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph.
We got a chance to chat with Fox about the experience recently, as well as her thoughts on doing more of this kind of comedy in the future. Read on for that, but first, she reeled off her five favorite films. (And for being the first person to pick Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, well, we salute her.)
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (Peter Jackson; 2001, 2002, 2003; 92%, 96%, 94% Tomatometers)
Well number one — and we have to count it as one or else it’s take up my whole list — is The Lord of the Rings. That’s pretty self-explanatory. I read the books when I was a kid and Peter Jackson just created this incredible world and environment that you get caught up in. It’s amazing.
Finally — and this is a series as well — the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. The original three are just… [sings] “Go ninja, go ninja, go!” I just really loved those movies.
I do love the first one. How old were you when you saw them?
I was must have been really young — maybe five or six when I first saw them. And I think they still hold up. [Laughs] My husband laughs ’cause he thinks they’re so terrible, but I love the animatronic puppets. I just love the old school, the practical — you know, there’s no CG. I prefer the original Yoda in Star Wars as opposed to the CG Yoda. I love puppets and animatronics.
I’m with you. He needs to go and rewatch those films. That should be your mission.
To make him a believer? [Laughs] I’ll try.
Next, Fox chats about her role in this week’s Friends with Kids, why she enjoys playing comedy, and her experiences working with Judd Apatow and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Let’s talk a little about Friends with Kids. This is an ensemble comedy, and a different kind of movie for you. How’d you get involved?
Megan Fox: I think that there were a few names that Jen [director Jennifer Westfeldt] was considering to play Mary Jane, and she came over to my house to meet with me about it. We ended up talking for hours. I think it was maybe three hours, and we were talking about astrology and nothing that had anything to do with the movie — but we ended up getting along well so it sort of came about that way.
Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph — you got a fine cast to work with there. What was that like?
Well they’re all… first of all I feel like they were such a safe choice to make, because the movie’s gonna be amazing because the talent in the movie is so high. There’s so many really strong comedians and fantastic actors in it, and I just wanted the opportunity to get to work with them. I sort of felt the pressure was off of me, you know — I didn’t have to carry it or do anything spectacular to move the story along. It wasn’t really about me, which I really appreciated. I really enjoyed the process of that. And they’re also all good friends, which I feel like is an easier environment to work in and walk in to — as opposed to this sort of awkward, get- to-know-you stage that people go through when the entire cast has not met one another and is not familiar with each other.
With that pressure off, did you get a taste for doing more of these kinds of smaller films?
Yeah, I love it. I also really enjoy being a part of an ensemble cast. It was fun to go to work every day, and that’s a nice feeling to have — to wake up and be happy that you’re going to work. It’s not always that way.
It sounds like you don’t miss being part of a huge juggernaut production.
Ah… I don’t. There is something about filming those types of movies that is so [laughs]… there’s a lot of adrenalin each day because you never know what’s gonna happen, and literally going to work was dangerous. It was like, “Well, who on the crew is gonna almost get blown up today?” Which was, you know, there’s something really fun in it — I mean, it’s psychotic, but there’s something really fun and kind of frighteningly enjoyable about doing that. But you can’t always do that. [Laughs] That’s sort of a once-in-a-lifetime, or you maybe do that a couple of times, but you can’t make a living out of doing that. It’ll kill you.
You’ve done comedy before: Jennifer’s Body, for example, which most people unfortunately didn’t get—
[Sighs] I know.
Is comedy something you’d like to pursue?
I mean, I’m much more comfortable doing comedy. It feels, I don’t know — it’s a better environment for me and I just enjoy it more. That’s not to say that I’ll be successful at doing it, but right now I at least have more fun on comedy sets.
There’s less chance of getting blown up.
What was it like working with Judd Apatow on This is 40?
I love him. He’s such a nice guy. I never saw him get angry or impatient; he’s just this big, happy kid who also happens to be a genius. The way he shoots is so open and so creative. There’s so much improv on his set, it’s crazy. I don’t know how he has the foresight to take all of that and make it into a movie, because he has endless hours of material of all of these comedians that just spend all day improv’ing in these scenes. I loved working with him; he’s one of my favorite people.
And you’re in The Dictator — that’s just a cameo?
Yeah, it’s just a cameo I shot one day. [Laughs] But, you know — it’s Sacha, so it’s gonna be really interesting. It pushes some boundaries. I had a good time. He was a gentleman, but he’s really hysterical and very funny. That was a good experience as well. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I think it’s probably going to be really funny.
Did he stay in character while he was filming?
Yeah he did. He was in character the whole time. He would come out of character for a few minutes, but he has this song — he has this sort of chanting — that he would do to get himself back into his Dictator character, which he would do right as we were rolling
Friends with Kids is in theaters this week.
This is the second film in director Michael Bay’s live action adaptation of the toy franchise, and somehow he’s made it even bigger and more spectacular than the first.
It must be said that if you loved the first one, you are right in the target market for this explosive extravaganza. The war between the Autobots and Decepticons continues to rage, Shia LaBeouf is still looking terribly earnest and Megan Fox is still really hot. Other stuff happens, a lot of stuff, but let’s face it: how important is plot in a film like this?
This is a movie about the CGI and it is seriously upsized. It is loud, shiny and positively mesmerising.
It’s no secret that the critics panned this one — you only have to look at the Tomatometer to see that — however, it kicked some serious butt at the box office, amassing in excess of $AU925 million worldwide. No doubt the howling fans are demanding more.
Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke give strong performances as two childhood friends who have grown up rough and created a co-dependent life of petty crime to survive. Amanda Peet also shines as Brian (Ruffalo’s) hard-done-by wife.
The story is fairly straightforward but it is the quality of the acting that resonates to make this a gritty and memorable film. More than just a movie about failings and indiscretions, it examines the challenge of self-reinvention in a way that is surprisingly relatable, even without the jail time.
Written and directed by actor Brian Goodman, the movie is based loosely on his own experiences. His co-writer, New Kid on the Block and Wahlberg brother, Donnie Wahlberg, also stars as the local cop who sends the delinquent buddies to jail.
While this film may be a little bit on the stalkerish side of the rom-com genre, there is something delightful here. Jennifer Aniston is her likeable self as the up-and-coming sales woman adored, and Steve Zahn plays the guy willing to cross state lines to do the adoring.
Steve Zahn has long been cast as the loveable, stoned, oddball sidekick. Here he is still stoned and oddball but he most definitely has stepped out of the ‘best-friend’ role and straight into underdog leading man. He makes the movie.
This is a collection of stories about illegal immigrants in America fighting for new lives and the mighty green card. At the centre of these entwined tales stands Max Brogan, a weary immigration law enforcement officer, played by Harrison Ford. For all of Brogan’s heart and good intentions, this is a dark and deceptive world, personified by corrupt immigration official Cole Frankel (Ray Liotta).
There are some big-name heavyweights attached to this film, but what brought the movie its attention prior to release was the inclusion of an honour killing of an Iranian character. The storyline caused such offence throughout the Iranian American community that it was re-edited. It was too late, however, to prevent Sean Penn from insisting that he be dropped to the cutting room floor and released from the project.
2009’s biggest hit — Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen — blasts on to DVD and Blu-ray November 5, and to celebrate, Paramount and Rotten Tomatoes are giving away five robot-smashing DVD packs.
Each includes the 2-Disc Special Edition of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, plus a copy of the 2-Disc Special Edition of the first film and a collection of the Transformers animated series.
To win, just e-mail and tell us, in 25 words or less, your favourite Michael Bay film, and why. Send your answers, along with your mailing address, to: Transformers 2 DVD Giveaway.
Entries close Sunday, November 8. Winners will be notified by mail. Please note that the contest is open to Australian residents only.