Transformers: Age of Extinction

Not rated yet!
Director
Michael Bay
Runtime
2 h 45 min
Release Date
25 June 2014
Genres
Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Overview
As humanity picks up the pieces, following the conclusion of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," Autobots and Decepticons have all but vanished from the face of the planet. However, a group of powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists attempt to learn from past Transformer incursions and push the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control - all while an ancient, powerful Transformer menace sets Earth in his cross-hairs.
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Ica Reviews1
Aryan Skynet



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⚠️ 𝐄𝐃𝐆𝐘 🔥 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐍𝐓 🔥 𝐖𝐀𝐑𝐍𝐈𝐍𝐆 🔥 (𝐍𝐒𝐅𝐖?) ⚠️

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  • kinopoisk.ru

    Nothing epitomizes the summer movie season like a big, blustering, CGI-saturated blockbuster about giant, battling, alien robots. This installment stars Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager, a down-on-his-luck robotics engineer and single father living in “Texas, U.S.A.” (as a caption conveniently informs those viewers uncertain which country Texas occupies). Cade and his daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz), get swept up in military-industrial machinations and even intergalactic warfare when he discovers the wreck of a truck that turns out to be Optimus Prime.

    Inconveniently, CIA eminence grise Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) is secretly rounding up all the Transformers he can find and delivering these to military contractor KSI, headed by arrogant weenie Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), the idea being to corner the technology and create a totally automated U.S. military. Meanwhile, Attinger’s robot co-conspirator Lockdown, along with new creation Galvatron, may not be the controllable assets Joyce and Attinger confidently believe these to be.

    Transformers: Age of Extinction is exactly the explosion-packed, lightning-paced action extravaganza fans are expecting, with quite a few close shaves, noisy weapons exotica, nasty, slime-spewing creatures, and one particularly suspenseful moment with characters inching their way along cables suspended high in the air while harried by Lockdown’s robotic hell-hounds. Younger audiences are sure to be in awe. The film’s themes are, however, more adult than juvenile, and parents may be concerned to know that Age of Extinction contains several frightening incidents and one especially noteworthy death scene, that of comic relief slacker Lucas (T.J. Miller), that is too graphically disturbing to be appropriate for children. The film runs a little overlong, and the ending, reminiscent of Prometheus (2012), has Optimus Prime setting out on a new adventure and so setting up the inevitable next installment of the popular toy adaptation franchise.

    4 out of 5 stars.

    Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Transformers: Age of Extinction is:

    8. Anti-torture. “This is worse than waterboarding,” robot Brains complains at being shocked by an electric jolt.

    7. Pro-serfdom. Tessa aspires to do her part to inflate the American college bubble by applying for financial aid to go to university. The film attempts to milk sympathy from a rejection letter.

    6. New age, lending credence to the idea that Earth was once visited by ancient aliens.

    5. Corporate, featuring prominent product placement for Victoria’s Secret, Oreo, Giorgio Armani, and Red Bull.

    4. Anti-slavery (i.e., pro-yawn). Negroid-voiced Transformer Brains exults at being “free at last!” Lucas, objecting to partner Cade’s cutthroat business practices, also alludes to slavery.

    3. Capitalist, offering a sympathetic portrait of the struggling small business owner in Cade. Early scenes of the hero’s domestic existence convey a definite impression of an America in economic decline.

    2. Pro-miscegenation. Joyce falls for the head executive of his company’s China branch (Bingbing Li).

    1. Antiwar, anti-state, and anti-cronyism. Attinger, head of CIA black ops and military contractor KSI’s best customer, expects to take a seven-figure salary with the company after leaving government “service”. Since the Battle of Chicago, a cataclysmic 9/11-like event in which America was attacked by Decepticons and defended by the Autobots, a paranoid police state has taken hold, with Decepticons and Autobots alike being hunted down and neutralized by the fearmongering CIA. Transformers: Age of Extinction also gives a timely illustration of federal authoritarian overreach when CIA agents, with no warrant and no regard for human dignity or life, raid Cade’s property and threaten to murder his daughter. The movie expresses Americans’ discomfort over the advent of drones, as well.

     

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John Hanlon3
John Hanlon Reviews



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  • Transformers: Age of Extinction
    Transformers: Age of Extinction opens up with an endless number of possibilities. The days of Shia LaBeouf dominating the franchise are over and now a new main character, check played by the charismatic Mark Wahlberg, ampoule is in charge. Most of...
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  • The Movies of 2014
    (”Transformers: Age of Extinction” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    The end of 2014 is quickly approaching. With that in mind, page I went back and created a list of all of the films that I reviewed this year and the different ratings I gave them. Of course, this this isn’t a complete list of all of the films I saw this year. It’s...
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  • The 10 Worst Movies of 2014
    (”Transformers: Age of Extinction” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    It was a strong year for movies in 2014 (check out this list to find out why). As always though, purchase there were a few geniune clunkers along the way and this year, stuff some of the worst movies of the year (That Awkward Moment and This is Where I Leave you, buy to name...
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Plugged In1
Focus on the Family



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Transformers: Age of Extinction
    DramaAction/AdventureSci-Fi/FantasyWarKids We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewIt's been only a few years since the devilish Decepticons demolished Chicago and the awesome Autobots finally fought them off. But, quite frankly, human memories are short. And we generally just want to be done with all those giant shape-shifting robots. Both the good and the bad. In fact, a prominent government official named Harold Attinger has already decreed that the "age of Transformers is over." And so he sends out a special military black ops team to hunt all the surviving bots down and get rid of them permanently. Well, at least that's the official story. Behind the scenes, there are some seriously unscrupulous things going on. Tech tycoon Joshua Joyce and his powerful military-tech company, KSI, have made some seven-figure promises to Attinger in exchange for the green light to start experimenting with transforming metals (dubbed transformium). Between that easily malleable stuff and leftover scraps of Decepticons and Autobots, Joyce has all manner of robot-building plans. There's even an alien bounty hunter bot in the new metal-morphing mix. Named Lockdown, he offers Attinger something called a "seed"—a bomb-like device that's key to harvesting more transformium than Attinger and Joyce could use in a century. And all this powerful pile of metal and madness wants in exchange is to get his mitts on a certain Autobot leader by the name of … what is it again? Oh, yeah. Optimus Prime. Where that particular Transformer is, however, nobody knows. Nobody except Cade Yeagar, that is. Cade is a Texas scrap dealer/failed robotics engineer who just so happened to come into the possession of an old beat-up truck recently. It was his hope to fix the old junker up and sell it for enough cash to help his 17-year-old daughter, Tessa, get to college. But that plan changed a bit when Cade hooked the truck up to a car battery and it started to spark, move … and talk. Could this result in a high-action adventure for Cade and his daughter? Or could it perhaps be the beginning of a rambunctious reboot for the Autobots? Or maybe it's the first step for Attinger and Joyce to sew up loose ends and throw all their fiendish robot-building plans into action. Will this kinked and knotted fuse pull all of the Transformers players together for an enormous battlebot war that stretches from Texas to Hong Kong, demolishing anything and everything in its path? Uh, sure. Why not "all of the above"? There's certainly time in this nearly 3-hour smash-'em-bash-'em fantasy flick.Positive ElementsCade regularly states that his daughter is the best thing that ever happened to him. And he repeatedly moves to do anything and everything necessary to protect her. She often unfairly gives credit for those rescues to her boyfriend, Shane, but Cade takes that in stride. And Tessa finally recognizes her pop's efforts, saying that he was her hero throughout her life. Optimus Prime makes some self-sacrificial choices as well. At first he's totally fed up with human betrayals and ready to abandon us to our own collectively foolish choices. But Cade's shining example, along with the man's challenge to "have faith in what humanity can be," spurs Optimus and his Autobot allies to step back up as the defenders they're destined to be. And that makes Optimus Grade A Prime, you might say.Spiritual ContentEarly in the pic, Mr. Prime talks of the Transformers' power source as a "spark" that holds their strength and their memories. Cade tells him, "We call it a soul." Later, when Optimus battles a manmade robot called Galvatron, he tells the rampaging robot, "You have no soul." It replies, "That is why I have no fear." Cade takes a moment to toss a comment skyward to his deceased wife, telling her that she would "be proud" of the young woman their daughter has become.Sexual ContentCade makes the point that he forbade his daughter to date boys until after her high school graduation—his reason being that he and Tessa's mom made the mistake of getting pregnant in high school, and he wants to help Tessa avoid that life-changing situation. That admirable concern for his daughter's purity, however, soon becomes something of a running joke as we find out that 17-year-old Tessa and 20-year-old Shane have been hooking up behind Cade's back for a while now. The young lovers point out that even though she's a minor and he's an adult, their intimate relationship is legally covered by a Texas "Romeo and Juliet" law. Then, once the cat is out of the sleeping bag, the two young people continually rub their suggested sexual connection in Dad's face. Shane steals a bottle of mouthwash, for instance, saying, "I like to be fresh when I'm making out with your daughter." And when Cade recalls hearing noises in the house in the dead of night, Shane says it was him—implying a sexual rendezvous with Tessa. We see the couple kiss. From the moment we first meet Tessa and her high school girlfriends—all dressed in curve-hugging T-shirts and shorts—the camera stays ready to ogle tanned and toned teen skin whenever possible. When Cade makes mention of his daughter's skimpy attire, the camera's eye swoops in to Tessa's short shorts-clad backside to make sure we see the full view. An old movie theater owner talks of the days of movies with pretty female dancers and their "big cha-chas." A number of other girls and women wear cleavage- and midriff-baring outfits, tight hot pants and short form-hugging dresses. A Chinese executive is paraded around as eye candy …Recommended ResourceA Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About SexKevin LemanEven the bravest parents feel timid about discussing sex with their 8- to 14-year-olds! This resource offers reassuring, humorous, real-life anecdotes along with reliable information to help you with this challenging task.Buy NowViolent Content… when she's not called upon to use her vicious martial arts skills to kick men in the face, that is. That hints at one category of bam-boom in this explosive film. And in its up-close-and-personal vein we see Cade, his comrades and various others manhandled and pummeled by humans and robots alike. The black ops team throws Cade and his daughter around, slamming them both to the ground and putting a gun to her head with threats of blowing her brains out. Later, a CIA thug (so described because of how he acts) chases Cade down the outside wall of a multistory apartment complex—between bouts of the two pounding each other mercilessly in several living quarters. Eventually, Cade gets the upper hand and smashes the other guy through a window, sending him to his death, 20 stories down. We see a man thumped on the head by a giant robot's arm. Another is slammed in the face by a (ramp-jumping) car's tire. A robot's fire blast sears a man into a petrified statue of bone and gristle. And with slo-mo detail we see what's happening to some of the human victims caught up in the massive robot battles. A few are grabbed and rescued, but many more go spiraling like tiny tattered ragdolls or smashing out of car windshields as they crash. As for the grand-scale paroxysms, there are never any half-ways here. In fact, director Michael Bay likely spent as much on pyrotechnics and CGI whiz-bangery as many small countries have in their entire national budget. Every kind of disastrous blasting, erupting and demolishing you can imagine is packed into this too-long film. And it's not just giant car- and truckbot smackdowns either. Huge roaring Dinobots tear into town with spiked tails and four-foot long teeth. Mechanical dogs snap and lunge at our heroes. An enormous alien space craft uses magnetic weaponry to suck buildings, vehicles, railroad cars and freight liners hundreds of feet up into the air and then send them smashing to the earth again. Guns, large and small, blaze away constantly. Explosions erupt with massive force. The city of Honk Kong is nearly leveled. And, of course, millions of human residents get caught in the crossfire of the ground-up city mulch. Transformers are brutally hacked in half, decapitated, blown to bits and chomped to metal mash. Optimus Prime says he had made a vow not to kill humans, but he rescinds that in one particularly vile man's case. He hits the dastardly dude with a powerful blast that leaves the relatively frail human dead, crumpled and singed.Crude or Profane LanguageOne f-word (along with another "downgraded" use of "effing") and at least a dozen s-words join "a‑‑" (nearly 20 times), "h‑‑‑" (10 times), "b‑‑ch" (seven), "d‑‑n" (two or three) and "b‑‑tard" (one). We also hear close to 10 exclamations of "oh my god" and one abuse of Jesus' name.Drug and Alcohol ContentTessa talks to her high school friends about "getting wasted" after their upcoming graduation. We see Bud Light bottles littering a city street. Cade picks one up that's still full, opens it and gulps the brew down. Maybe it's no surprise, then, that one of Cade's inventions is a robot that delivers cold beers from the fridge. A Transformer regularly puffs on a glowing shell casing as if it were a cigar.Other Negative ElementsConclusionThe age of the Transformer is over? Hardly. But it sure has evolved. How twee and innocent those '80s toys that folded and shifted on little plastic joints and inspired playtime imaginations seem now. Sigh. Thanks to Michael Bay's steady stream of metal-shifting, -screeching and -pounding summer blockbuster pics—his own particular brand of cinematic excess—The Transformers franchise has become something altogether different. These days its shape-shifting robots are all about infinitely malleable CGI bombast. They offer a hard-driving movie roller-coaster ride of whirling warriors, stupendous explosions, ear-rending and brain-numbing cacophony, and world-ripping destruction. Movies one, two and three (Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers: Dark of the Moon) all set that larger-than-life stage. Transformers: Age of Extinction merely chews up whatever remains of the steel scenery. Yes, there are a few minor changes in this edition. The robots get some next-gen tweaks and robo-dinosaurs make a short appearance. And not that most will notice or care, the human cast is, well, transformed, with Mark Wahlberg now serving as the out-of-his-depth hero and Nicola Peltz as his siren-in-short-shorts daughter. Everything else, though, feels remarkably unaltered. As in: static, unable to bend or move, decrepit. That includes a contradiction-laden wisp of a script, a cavalcade of human deaths, a rat-a-tat-tat of foul words and enough bare teen skin to coax Victoria's Secret into spending some of its product-placement dollars on this flick.Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
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Michael Medved1



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  • Transformers: Age of Extinction
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Debbie Schlussel1
The New York Post



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Weekend Box Office: Transformers: Age of Extinction, Obvious Child, Le Chef
    Blog Posts Movie Reviews Le Chef [Comme Un Chef]“: While this isn’t a “great” movie or anything earth-shattering, it is charming, enjoyable, and a nice 84 minutes of escapism. A stuffy, renowned French Three-Star chef is under pressure from the company that bought his restaurant to use the company’s substandard products and ingredients in his food. And he’s under pressure to reduce costs and change his classic style of cooking in favor of modern “molecular” cuisine. He refuses, and the CEO of the company that owns the restaurant threatens to get his Three-Star rating reduced so the chef can be fired. Meanwhile, the famous chef’s biggest fan–a sous chef who is a classical cooking perfectionist–keeps getting fired from jobs because he insists that customers eat food only as he deigns acceptable. Soon, the sous chef is stuck painting windowpanes at a senior citizens’ home in order to have a paycheck and hold on to his pregnant girlfriend. But the sous chef cannot stay away from cooking and teaches the home’s chefs how to make excellent food for the senior citizens residents. Ultimately, the famous chef learns of the sous chef and hires him. Together, they plot to keep the three-star rating and foil the threatening CEO. Light, fun, entertaining, and enjoyable (thought predictable). TWO REAGANS ]]>
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Society Reviews1
Society Reviews



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  • Power Rangers Review
    (”Transformers: Age of Extinction” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Will Power Rangers fans enjoyed this film? Probably not, you’ll spend all your time nitpicking things that aren’t like the original series. Will your average moviegoers like this film? Honestly, yes. This is not a great movie by any stretch, but it is watchable and its better than the 1995 counterpart which wasn’t a hard task to complete. I’m very indifferent toward Power Rangers at this point. I can’t be too positive or too negative one way or another, but if this film gets anything right, is it that you are really going to want some donuts when this is all over

    Read more →

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Sonny Bunch1
Free Beacon



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  • ‘Mission: Impossible — Fallout’ Review
    (”Transformers: Age of Extinction” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    BY:

    Mission: Impossible — Fallout is, like every other entry in the M:I series, a well-paced action-thriller providing ample fodder for its ageless star, Tom Cruise, to wow us with virtuosic stunt work wrapped up in a modestly complicated plot.

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PJ Media Staff1
PJ Media



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Netflix Streaming Ditches Blockbusters for Exclusives
    (”Transformers: Age of Extinction” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    VodkaPundit It's a big move, and probably a smart one:In a blog post this weekend, the company’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, explained that “a number of high profile” movies will leave the service next month as a result of Netflix’s decision not to renew the partnership. Films affected include ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’, ‘World War Z’ and ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’, which viewers have until the end of September to watch.“While many of these movies are popular, they are also widely available on cable and other subscription platforms at the same time as they are on Netflix and subject to the same drawn out licensing periods. Through our original films and some innovative licensing arrangements with the movie studios, we are aiming to build a better movie experience for you,” Sarandos wrote.Saving money on blockbusters you can see anywhere in favor of spending more money on exclusives you can't makes a lot of business sense -- especially if Netflix can maintain decent quality.It also fits in with their CEO's stated goal of "becoming HBO before HBO becomes us." class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/vodkapundit/2015/9/1/netflix-streaming-ditches-blockbusters-for-exclusives/ ]]>
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Kyle Smith2
National Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • The Post's critics' top 10 movies of 2014
    (”Transformers: Age of Extinction” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    birdmanboyhoodcalvarycaptain americadawn of the planet of the apesinterstellarinto the woodsnightcrawlerselmathe imitation gamethe theory of everythingwhiplash This has been a year when audiences flocked to the likes of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I,’’ “Transformers: Age of Extinction,’’ “Guardians of the Galaxy,’’ “The Fault in Our Stars’’ and “Gone Girl.’’ What did The Post’s film critics prefer? Lou Lumenick and Kyle Smith sat down to hash out their own top picks: Lou: We’ve been working together on the movie beat for nearly 10 years, and we’ve only matched our top choice twice. This year, at least, each of our No. 1 films of the year are somewhere on the other’s list. Kyle: Didn’t you call “Boyhood” a gimmick movie? I thought “Birdman,” which is styled to look like most of the movie is a single take, was the ultimate in artifice for its own sake. In any case: Both made your list! Viva the gimmick! Lou: Well, “Edge of Tomorrow’’ on your list is also a stunt — it’s the first Tom Cruise movie I’ve liked in years, plus it’s got a badass Emily Blunt. I suspect “Boyhood’’ and “Birdman’’ are strongly written and acted enough they would have worked without being stunts. Kyle: “Birdman” is not only one take, it’s one-note. Spare me the showbiz-is-agony woe. But I agree that “Boyhood” would be equally great if different actors played the kid over the years. The scene in which the mom — heartbreakingly good work by Patricia Arquette — cries when she sends her boy off to college might be the best of the year. “I just thought there would be more,” she says. Indelible. Another great parenting film was “Interstellar,” which yielded the profound thought that the reason we’re here is to make memories for our children. Lou: I think the emotional content was too much for some of our colleagues, who were complaining about the “incomprehensible” physics while claiming to understand Jean-Luc Godard’s inscrutable “Goodbye to Language.’’ Another celebration of out-of-the-box thinking — in physics and an unconventional marriage — can be found in “The Theory of Everything,’’ with super performances by Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Kyle: A surprisingly uplifting movie considering the hero spends most of it in dire straits. Given two years to live in 1963, Stephen Hawking is still cracking jokes, still enlarging our sense of wonder. Another movie that caught me unawares and made me cry was Rory Kennedy’s “Last Days in Vietnam.” The very word “Vietnam” is synonymous with folly and dishonor, yet this doc shows how, with ingenuity, tenacity and courage, US forces saved thousands of Vietnamese from the barbarians at the gates as Saigon fell in 1975. I would love to see this important, seldom-told story get the full Hollywood treatment. Lou: We’ve got a couple of great movies this year about real-life war heroes who meet unhappy ends. “The Imitation Game’’ has a fantastic Benedict Cumberbatch as closeted genius Alan Turing, who invents the computer to defeat the Nazis, only to end up prosecuted for his homosexuality. And then there’s your favorite, “American Sniper,’’ the first movie I’ve seen with Bradley Cooper where he actually disappears into the character. Kyle: Yes, he embodies the character — physical, taciturn, focused. The film’s director, Clint Eastwood, continues to be a puzzlement. Half the time his military movies amount to Howard Zinn anti-American propaganda, like “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters From Iwo Jima.” And yet “American Sniper” is anything but. It’s a mature, thoughtful, sober work — the capstone to his directorial career, the best military movie since “Black Hawk Down” and a tribute to the warrior class that is the guts of this country. Lou: At the other end of her career, Ava DuVernay arrives as a major filmmaker with “Selma,’’ an epic telling of the ’60s voter rights struggle in Alabama with a terrific David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. politically outmaneuvering Tom Wilkinson’s Lyndon Johnson. The marchers’ confrontation with cops on the bridge is the most powerful scene in a movie this year. Kyle: It reminded me of “Lincoln.” Many long, slow, quiet, dimly lit scenes. Both King and Abe deserved more exciting films. I much preferred the complex mind games in “Calvary” and “Whiplash.” The former is a devastating parable about the issues facing contemporary Catholicism, the latter a thrilling exploration of the pain that may be involved in attaining true mastery of craft. Lou: Hope you mailed your “Calvary’’ review to your No. 1 Catholic fan, Philomena Lee! I do think “Whiplash’’ is well worth seeing for J.K. Simmons’ mesmerizing performance as an abusive music teacher, though I question making him a role model. Another dark character I loved was Jake Gyllenhaal’s creepy TV cameraman in “Nightcrawler,’’ debuting director Dan Gilroy’s blackly hilarious mash-up of “Network’’ and “Ace in the Hole.” Kyle: It was amusing, but Billy Wilder was 10 times as caustic. The “serious” movies in general disappointed me this year, but I enjoyed a bunch of summer blockbusters. The new “Apes” movie was smart, eerie and gripping, and the second “Captain America” was nearly the equal of its predecessor — funny banter, sinewy action, well-drawn characters, a pleasingly complicated plot and one of the most ingeniously designed exposition scenes ever — Toby Jones explaining it all as a Nazi ghost speaking through 1970s computers. Lou: To me, “Captain America’’ was an interminable one-joke movie — Robert Redford collecting a paycheck playing a Nazi. Meanwhile, the unlikely collaboration between the Mouse House and Stephen Sondheim has turned out what may well be the best Hollywood musical so far this century — the deeply subversive “Into the Woods,’’ with fantastic singing by Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep. Just don’t bring the kids, PG rating or no. Kyle: Another one about the agonies of parenting. I venerate Sondheim, but the big-screen version is a bust. All I want for Christmas is for somebody to greenlight the “Wicked” movie already. Lou: Don’t hold your breath. I almost forgot to mention Lukas Moodysson’s “We Are the Best,” a delightful comedy-drama about aspiring punk rockers in 1980s Stockholm. Kyle: Time to get on out of here. I have to go convince my 6-year-old that “Big Hero 6” isn’t the greatest movie ever. Lou: And I have to buy a “Frozen’’ doll as a fifth birthday present for my granddaughter — who dismissed “How To Train Your Dragon 2’’ as a “boy movie.’’ Lou Lumenick’s Top 10 1. “The Theory of Everything”2. “Interstellar”3. “Selma”4. “We Are the Best!”5. “The Imitation Game”6. “Birdman”7. “American Sniper”8. “Nightcrawler”9. “Boyhood”10. “Into the Woods” Kyle Smith’s Top 10 1. “American Sniper”2. “Boyhood”3. “Calvary”4. “Whiplash”5. “The Theory of Everything”6. “Edge of Tomorrow”7. “Last Days in Vietnam”8. “Interstellar”9. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”10. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogleFacebook MessengerWhatsAppEmailCopy ]]>
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The Federalist Staff1
The Federalist



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Why Hollywood Censors Your Summer Blockbusters
    (”Transformers: Age of Extinction” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    At first, it seems typical Hollywood promotional hyperbole. “This movie has been rebooted because the film makers all loved the original movie,” said “Red Dawn” producer Tripp Vinson. “If you like meat with your potatoes, muscle cars that roar, tanks, guns and things blowing up by Americans kicking some Commie ass—then we have something special coming your way!” However, Vinson was not appearing on a late-night talk show pimping his soon-to-be released summer blockbuster. This quote came in a face-saving PR release, after it was announced “Red Dawn” was undergoing a start-to-finish makeover. Rather than a simpler retooling with creative editing and reshot scenes, Vinson’s production studio, Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), ordered him to completely alter his film, with the film’s primary antagonist removed and a newer threat inserted. No longer was our nation going to be invaded by the Chinese Red Army in his already completed film. Instead, it would the North Koreans breaching our border. This order was handed down for one reason: to appease China. That a studio would not only endure the cost of digitally scrubbing a movie but command that a film-maker drastically alter his vision was a touchstone moment in Hollywood’s history. In the years since this stark affront to artistic integrity, film studios have routinely shown a willingness to compromise creative values and submit to self-censorship, all in the name of the all mighty dollar—or, more specifically, the Yuan. Money Versus Freedom? We’ll Take Money Hollywood used to be the torch-bearer of freedom-of-expression protections. Whether it was battling the Black List days of the 1940s, opposing the Motion Picture Association of America ratings code mandates, or resisting blame in the 1980s for inspiring teenage violence, the entertainment industry always made a stand against altering artistic content. Any time these pressures arose, the initial defense would be an accusation of censorship, then trumpeting the integrity of the First Amendment. Studios frequently submit to calls for revision of content, avoidance of subjects, or mandated inclusion of vital components. Even the advance of the leftist political-correctness movement wouldn’t sway liberal entertainment producers. Any time an aggrieved group voiced displeasure with a cinematic depiction, they were brushed aside with the standard defenses. The Catholic Church was rebuffed by rote over its opposition to unorthodox content. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “True Lies” was said to cast Middle Easterners in a bad light, and met a collective shrug. Jesse Jackson called for scenes of the film “Barbershop” to be cut for poor representation of black history, which led to nothing. When LGBT groups opposed a toss-away joke in “The Dilemma,” all the creators did was enjoy the free publicity their movie received. These days, those high-minded stances have been tossed into a trash can on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Studios frequently submit to calls for revision of content, avoidance of subjects, or mandated inclusion of vital components. The Chinese film industry is not only growing but becoming vital to movie studios’ financial standing. The leadership of that nation rules the entertainment options therein with an iron fist, and not only dictates what they will allow to be shown on screens but threatens economic reprisals against entities that violate their requirements. And Hollywood is no longer willing to stand up for those freedoms. Gone are the entertainment leaders who would loudly announce to the press any attempts to squelch their creative voice. Submitting to governmental scolds and employing self-censorship is now the norm. The industry that resisted the effort to rid itself of communist sympathizers now bows reverently in the hopes of gaining favor with a communist leadership that will reward them handsomely. Hollywood views the lucrative Chinese marketplace as so integral it will routinely compromise artistic integrity. Yellow Spines Over Red Ink In 2009, when MGM gave the green-light to produce “Red Dawn,” China had a banner year for western movie titles. Two films—“2012” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”—topped the year-end list in theater grosses, each earning more than $60 million in ticket sales. For the longest time, China was a small player in the international box office, but in the last decade it has quickly grown to a major income force. One example: “Furious 7” has earned more in mainland China than here in the United States—approaching $400 million. ‘Furious 7’ has earned more in mainland China than here in the United States—approaching $400 million. This is the kind of money to make studios salivate. To learn why entertainment outlets would be willing to bend to force and demand artistic corruption upon their own properties, you need to understand the specifics of the Chinese film economy. This is a state-run industry with harsh limits, byzantine rules, and numerous arbitrary, sometimes capricious decisions. Hollywood is more than willing to play the kept woman, compromising standards and cowing to state demands to keep the money flowing. One of the rules Communist leaders have is a ceiling on how many foreign films can be released. Currently, the amount of Hollywood-produced titles permitted in Chinese theaters is around 34, annually. The desire of studios to gain access into this limited market leads to capitulation in numerous ways. Movies are routinely altered to meet the strict commands. Sex is almost always excised, and violence is commonly truncated. But other odd decisions are in play. (One rule shows they don’t allow time travel plot points, for example.) Chinese censors target more than just objectionable scenes. Negative portrayals of citizens and any content deemed insulting to the nation will likely be ordered out of the final cut. This can lead to curious, sometimes baffling decisions regarding western films. The main villain in “Iron Man 3” had to be renamed something besides The Mandarin, for obvious reasons. The outbreak of a zombie virus in “World War Z” that originated in China was changed. In “Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End,” the actor Chun Yow Fat was edited out, because displaying a Chinese pirate was not acceptable. “Men In Black 3” had to remove Asian-American characters because they were revealed to be aliens in disguise. Even innocuous displays have been removed. “Mission Impossible: 3” had to remove a brief scene where Tom Cruise was in an exterior shot. The reason was the laundry seen drying outside of numerous dwellings. Censors opposed showing that most Chinese citizens could not afford washers and dryers. Censors opposed showing that most Chinese citizens could not afford washers and dryers. These arcane decisions, while artistically offensive, are relatively easy fixes. What is more vexing is when an entire property can be regarded as a broad offense. It is not as easy a decision as saying the film will simply not be released in Chinese theaters. The communist government, by way of threatening economic reprisals, actually exerts influence over the Hollywood product. More than that, studios have been indicating a willingness to enter into partnerships with China to produce content that may land anywhere between jingoistic to outright agitprop. Nice Little Movie You Have There Vinson tried to sell the upside of altering his movie. In the Los Angeles Times he was quoted: “After careful consideration we constructed a way to make a scarier, smarter and more dangerous Red Dawn that we believe improves the movie.” Understand, this was a man describing a film he was ordered to change from his original vision. His words seem delivered through gritted teeth, especially when the concept of exchanging the Chinese Army with North Koreans is beyond farcical. The NoKos have an Air Force comprised of Vietnam War-era hardware and no discernable navy. Should their underfunded troops even manage to reach our shores, a single aircraft carrier could destroy their nation, made defenseless in their absence. A Nork invasion is beyond implausible; it requires a sit-com laugh track. No other company wanted to be associated with the film for fear the negative portrayal of the invading Chinese army on film would impact future business deals. Despite the oppressive call to change an entire film, Vinson’s bosses had little choice. In 2009, MGM faced a dilemma. For years, the studio had wavered on the edge of bankruptcy. There was so little capital the company had difficulty getting even a few titles into theaters each year and was only staying afloat on the strength of a lone property—the James Bond movies. Producers managed to rejuvenate that franchise by putting Daniel Craig in the title role, and with that success decided to fund a new venture. The studio calculated a remake of the 1980s cult hit “Red Dawn” would be a solid gamble. Audiences were receptive to reboots, and a young, charismatic cast might draw younger ticket buyers along with a built-in audience. But upon completion there was a problem. MGM found it had an un-releasable title. One of the handicaps in being a cash-strapped studio was that MGM did not have its own distribution network, so it relied on other studios to get its titles into theaters. Nobody would touch the new version of “Red Dawn.” Even with no involvement with the production, no other company wanted to be associated with the film, for fear the negative portrayal of the invading Chinese army on film would impact future business deals in that nation. The completed “Red Dawn” languished in the studio vault for years. MGM knew very well why they possessed a movie without a theater. Years earlier, the studio had released the film “Red Corner,” a harsh indictment of the Chinese legal system, netting it economic “punishment” from that national government. At the time, China was not so big a player in the foreign box office. Now that has changed. After targeted industry expansion and increasing theater counts for years, it now ranks as the No. 1 foreign territory for box-office returns. The studio had little recourse but demand their property be completely altered. Twenty months later, “Red Dawn” finally made its way to theaters. From Resistance to Cooperation Why no studio dared to release a Chinese-invading film has more reasons than just potential box-office returns (although that lucre alone is sizeable). Most movie studios are parts of larger conglomerates, and being frozen out of the Chinese market could mean more than a movie not playing in Peking. Sony would be loath to have its electronics products tariffed over a potentially offensive movie, for one example. For this reason, Hollywood is not only taking censorship orders, studios are now playing along. Sony would be loath to have its electronics products tariffed over a potentially offensive movie. In recent years, films have been shoehorning Chinese content, casting native actors, and centering entire plot lines on locales attractive to the booming audience. More than excising a character’s name from the comic-book cannon, the Chinese edit of “Iron Man 3” also had product placement, with Tony Stark drinking a brand of Chinese milk, and an insert scene with numerous mainland actors as doctors operating on the lead character. For the film “Looper,” writer/director Rian Johnson was up against budget problems, but when a Chinese production company offered financial assistance scenes were rewritten to take place in Shanghai instead of Paris. This had a two-fold benefit for the production: the movie was allowed past that arcane time-travel restriction, and it qualified as a Chinese co-production, thus bypassing the limit on western-produced films. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” was more of a full collaboration with Chinese studios. Parent company Paramount staged multiple scenes in China with local actors. This also qualified the studio for a larger payout. On average, the Western cut of Chinese box-office receipts is around 25 percent; a co-production means Paramount received over 40 percent That was a windfall, as “Transformers 4” also earned more in China than it did stateside—$320 million versus $245 million. It has become more than obvious why Hollywood is willing to compromise its artistic principles. The money to be had is made in China. One other reality fuels this self-censorship. Domestic box-office totals have relatively plateaued in recent years. Gimmicks like 3D premiums and inflated pricing mask that the number of U.S. tickets bought have been in steady decline for most of the past decade. China’s booming market is more than tempting; it points to survival. A study has estimated that the Chinese movie market will become larger than U.S. domestic box-office returns in five years. This indicates that Hollywood’s desire to silence itself will not just continue, but likely expand. As long as they are rewarded, our culture stands to be punished. “Red Dawn” was never released into Chinese theaters. ]]>
    ...
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