As if the Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies didn’t have enough fans angry at them, Stephen Amell announced in an interview that there will be another change to the series.
Casey Jones, fan favorite from the comics, cartoons, and late 80’s/early 90’s films will not have the same origin story he had in the comics. Amell attributes that to this movie introducing him at a different point in his life and development. He says Jones is a normal, law abiding man with a job, who loves hockey, and after being laughed off by law enforcement, he decides to take things into his own hands.
Hopefully the change won’t make audiences too angry, although it seems people are just looking for reasons to hate these movies. Michael Bay is the worst, but if you love TMNT it’s still best to give them a chance right?
It’s a brand new year, which means a whole new slew of movies – with no pressure of being the next greatest thing – unlike the action-packed December. A fair amount of these films came out in 2014 internationally but are just getting to the States and a couple more have been pushed back from previous release dates. There’s a little something for everyone here.
January 9 – Inherent Vice
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Jena Malone, Benecio del Toro, Maya Rudolph, Michael K Williams (Omar!)
*Originally scheduled to be released 12/12/14
Based off the book of the same name by Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice follows pothead Detective Doc Sportello (played by Joaquin Phoenix) who is investigating the disappearance of his ex-girlfriends current boyfriend. The book has so many characters, it is unlikely that the movie will follow the book to a tee, but with an all-star cast, it surely will not disappoint. It looks absolutely irreverent and hilarious. Set in the 70’s, it will be slightly reminiscent of last year’s American Hustle, but with a little more mystery. – Adrian
January 9 – Selma
Starring: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Common, Wendell Pierce (Bunk from The Wire), Lorraine Toussaint (Dee from OITNB)
This movie could not have come out at a more opportune time. With the racial and political turmoil coming to a boiling point lately, the world needs a powerful movie like Selma. With an All-Star cast of strong black actors, Selma has already been given critical acclaim and is nominated for multiple Academy Awards. Plus, two of the biggest names in Hollywood are serving as Executive Producers – Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt. The focus of the film are the marches for voting rights, but the scope of the film seems to be to capture the spirit of the entire movement. More than just that, the film will give hope and inspiration to the civil rights movement that is still being fought today. – Sherif
January 9 – Predestination
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook
It’s been over a decade since Minority Report came out, but that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to borrow the plot to make a new movie out of it, right? Predestination is what we wanted Minority Report to be. This Australian film (which can be found in its entirety on YouTube) was released last August, but is finding its way to U.S. theaters next week. It’s about a futuristic detective force that uses time travel to stop crime from happening before they happen, but there seems to be an emphasis more on the science than the fiction with this film. – Sherif
It’s almost over, you guys. The dawning of the final installment to the Liam Neeson trilogy is almost upon us. Thank God. This movie didn’t really need a sequel, but now that the sequel happened, there might as well be a final explosion of glorious murder. It is a little over the top, but what the hell. Chances are that you have already made your mind up on whether or not to see the finale, and my words won’t try to convince you one way or another to go see it. – Sherif
January 16 – American Sniper
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Max Charles, Luke Grimes
*Originally scheduled to be released 12/25/14
If you know the name Chris Kyle then you also know you NEVER want to be on his bad side and at a distance. American Sniper is an exciting chronicling of real life Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most decorated and deadly sniper-gunman in history. With more than 150 confirmed kills and completing four tours of duty, Kyle appropriately earned the nickname “Legend.” The preview had my heart racing and my hairs on end as Kyle (portrayed by Bradly Cooper) decides whether or not to take out a child carrying what might be a bomb while rushing toward an American-military convoy traveling through what looks like rugged alleys of an Iraqi village. This film will take us though not just the dangerous battles of this hero’s life, but also the critical struggle of balance a family from afar and functioning as a normal civilian. 150 kills and four tours is certain to leave some lasting marks on an individual. I’ve honestly never seen a war/soldier movie that I’ve disliked or felt wasn’t worth the price of my movie ticket. Especially when the film takes on the stories of real-life patriots that have risked their lives and mental fortitude to protect the freedoms that many of us often take for granted. This one should definitely be on your list this month. – Taylor
January 16 – Blackhat
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Tang Wei
Chris Hemsworth battles hackers and probably frost giants in this movie about a super-hacker that is attacking banks and corporations all over the world. The one hope that the Chinese & American authorities have to stop this hacker is Thor, apparently. As interesting as it seems at first glance, this really sounds like just a way to capitalize on all the fear the world already has about keeping their identities secure. I’m up in the air as far as recommending this film, but if can be convinced that Thor is a master hacker capable of taking down the world’s most powerful cyber-hacker, then you are already closer to wanting to seeBlackhat than I am. – Sherif
I wish this had been the first trailer I saw for the movie Paddington. The trailer that first hit America was full of gross bathroom practices, but it looks like this movie is gonna be full of feels. The film based off the children’s book and toy line is going to be adorable. There is a definite Stuart Little vibe as far as the story goes, and this story concept has been beaten to the ground, but the dry British humor should be enough to separate it from its predecessors. If you’re looking for a movie to see with the kids, this might be the one, but don’t expect this to change the game. – Sherif
January 16 – The Wedding Ringer
Starring: Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco, Affion Crockett
Kevin Hart is at a crossroads in his career; one more crappy movie like Ride Along (it wasn’t THAT bad, but it was entirely forgettable), and he is destined to fall into obscurity like Katt Williams before him, or Eddie Griffin before him. If he can keep the ball rolling, though, then he keeps his crown as the funniest man in comedy. The concept of this movie is somewhere between the lines of I Love You, Man and Hitch, where Kevin Hart is paid for his services as a best man at a wedding. I’m really looking forward to The Wedding Ringer taking comedy back to feel-good entertainment instead of the two-hour long penis jokes they have become. – Sherif
January 16 – Escobar: Paradise Lost
Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Benicio del Toro
You know those movies where the guy is trying to get in with his girlfriend’s family? And then everybody has a good time while they learn more about each other and themselves than they bargained for? Yeah, this is not that film. This isn’t Robert De Niro we’re talking about; this is Pablo freakin Escobar here. Poor Peeta Mallark may have defied the Capitol and the Hunger Games, but finding himself on the opposite end of an argument with the most well-known and respected drug lord in the world means that he is screwed! – Sherif
January 23 – Mortdecai
Starring: Johnny Depp, Gwenyth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, Jeff Goldblum, Aubrey Plaza
Everybody loves Johnny Depp, right? WRONG. This guy has been putting out suckfests for years, and people keep seeing them. You have to give him this, though: the guy is fun to watch. Seeing the movie poster gave me an entirely different reaction than when I watched the trailer. This movie looks absurdly awesome. Mortdecai, besides being one of the fanciest men on Earth, is like a classy version of Austin Powers (or an idiot version of James Bond). Word on the streets is that this will eventually become a franchise, so familiarize yourself with this weirdo. It’s great to see Depp back in a role that does his weirdness justice. – Sherif
It may not be Star Wars, but Lucasfilm is back. Strange Magic looks like a lot of fun, and is described as “a beautiful fairy tale with goblins and elves, and do it in a way that only [Lucasfilm] can do. (Source: Yahoo)” With Star Wars sold and off the table for Lucas, this is really his time to let loose and do what he wants creatively. As far as kids movies go, this should blow Paddington out of the water, just for the fact that it’s new and creative – something that needs to be applauded more these days. Either way, it looks like George Lucas is back in the lab and having fun making movies, and that is a win for everyone. – Sherif
January 23 – The Boy Next Door
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Ryan Guzman, Kristin Chenoweth
Here’s an interesting one. JLo plays a MILF fantasy gone wrong. Hot suburban cougar gives in and sleeps with her student aaaaaaand then he becomes a psycho stalker who endangers her life, career and family. Did I lose you at JLo MILF fantasy? This is supposed to be a thriller, and although I know the trailer isn’t a lot to go off of, it does have the certain creepy suspense you want in that genre of film – if not just for the thought that something this crazy could realistically happen. Look for the “Booty” singer to continue to try to really milk her time in the limelight as a sexual object. – Sherif
January 30 – Black or White
Starring: Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Bill Burr, Gillian Jacobs
This movie is a huge eyebrow-raiser for me. On one side, you have Kevin Costner’s character, who has tried to raise his black grand-daughter, Eloise, by himself after the passing of his wife and daughter (mother to the child). Meanwhile, you have Octavia Spencer, who is fighting for the grand-daughter for custody. Maybe there’s some big Kumbayah moment where the reluctantly racist white guy and the black mom learn to live in harmony and share custody of the grand-daughter, but I foresee an awkward racial mud-slinger, and very little about what is actually best for Eloise. It’s gotten some pretty crappy reviews since it’s minor, independent release last September, so don’t be surprised when it turns out being awful. – Sherif
January 30 – Project Almanac (AKA Welcome to Yesterday)
Starring: Jonny Weston, Sofia Black D’Elia, Amy Landecker
I am a total sucker for these kind of home-made science-fiction movies that have been the trend the past few years, so when this this time traveling flick came up on the new releases, I got stoked. Unfortunately, this thing has been delayed almost a year, which is a shame since 2014 was an overall weak movie for indy sci-fi. Like Chronicle before it, this group of kids have fun with their new-found discoveries, but soon realize that there are serious repercussions to what they are doing. You may have let Michael Bay ruin your childish with TMNT, but this is one of his projects I could definitely get behind. – Sherif
Transformers have existed nearly 30 years, providing us with cartoons, comics and toys. The Transformers began with the 1980’s Japanese toy lines Microman and Diaclone. Hasbro bought the Diaclone toy line and partnered with Takara Tomy to produce and distribute Transformers. Transformers went through a period of low popularity in the early 2000’s, but were brought to the forefront of action entertainment with Michael Bay’s live action Transformers movie franchise. After the first live action movie was released, Transformers became more popular than ever. With this new popularity, the older Generation One toys have increased in value.
1984 Transformers Jetfire by Hasbro
What it is:
The Transformer known as Jetfire is an airplane that transforms into a robot. Jetfire, as a character, is known for his intellect and dedication to science. He is compassionate and believes he’s the smartest among his fellow Autobots. He is an Autobot, a good guy, but started out as a Decepticon and friends with the evil Starscream. The other Autobots don’t always trust him, because he can be cold and calculating. Here is an interesting side note: this particular toy was also made for Takatoku Toys and sold as the VF-1 Valkyrie. The VF-1 was a fictional mech/fighter jet in a popular Japanese Anime series named “The Super Dimension Fortress Macross”, also known as “Robotech” in the US. You can read more about it here.
“ I don’t believe in destiny ”
How Much it Costs:
The price can vary quite a bit depending on the version for which you are looking. If you are going for “vintage”, like the one in the video, prices can range from $40-$4000. If you are looking for the 1984/85 Jetfire to just play with for fun, I have seen a few Jetfires without the box and missing accessories going for $40-80 on eBay. If you are looking for a mint condition Jetfire sealed, graded by an appraiser, and for display only those are the ones that sell for thousands. There are newer versions and you can go today to Toys R Us to purchase Jetfire for about $40.
Is It Worth It?:
I love the original Generation One Transformers, like this Jetfire. The Generation One Transformers were made of substantial materials and stand up well over time. As you can see from the video, for a 30-year-old toy, it still looks pretty good! It’s cool looking and fun to play with. Unfortunately, it’s a rare 30-year-old toy and I’m so afraid of breaking it. The newer version looks similar; Jetfire is still a plane, but a more modern design. I also believe the newer Transformers I’ve played with were designed better. Even though the new ones are more sophisticated, they are made out of cheaper materials. The 1984 toy is worth owning, but if you want one to play with, I highly recommend just buying the 2014 version. The vintage one makes a pretty awesome display piece that you can look at and play with gently.
I need to put a few things out there before I begin my review. My second word was “Leonardo.” I had a yellow jumpsuit and a Polaroid camera that I wore almost everyday when I was 3 to the time I was 5. When I was 3, I got my hair cut like April O’Neil (specifically The Animated Series version). I wore out my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990 VHS. Twice. I often wished I could find a lantern at a garage sale that would transport me back in time and, that I too, could meet a little boy named Yoshi. And at some point, all four Turtles have been my favorite Turtle. Why am I telling you this? I am in no means trying to be a braggart, but I am letting you know one thing: I am very biased when it comes to my beloved Ninja Turtles.
Why not start with the good parts of the movie? What you may read or have read on Rotten Tomatoes or MetaCritic may mar every aspect of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, but I am here to tell you, there are some good parts. In fact, I wouldn’t say the film was necessarily bad, as you can judge from the grade I gave it, but it wasn’t great either.
The mesmerizing parts of Ninja Turtles were the fight scenes. Let’s face it, when we see a film with Michael Bay’s name attached to it, we don’t exactly go for the plot. However, the action sequences are awesome. They are fast-paced, and all the martial arts tricks are gripping to watch. There were many scenes where the Turtles are bounding around and I thought it was beautiful. In one particular scene, they jump from a building and a full moon is in the upshot of the camera angle. It seemed very much like a scene out of the comics. Added to the visuals, the look of each Turtle wasn’t bad. Many fans seemed angry about their look, saying they looked scary. Their facial features were different from each other and they were huge. Notably, Mikey was smaller than his brothers, which seemed like a good touch. All animals have different features from each other, and so do the Turtles. I really liked the animation of the Turtles, personally. I also liked all their accessories, from Michelangelo’s sea-shell necklace, to Donnie’s science gear, to Raph’s full head bandana, to Leonardo’s NYC pin. I also liked the Pimp My Ride style Party Wagon. The best part of all of the animation was the beginning credits. The motion-comic style animation, based off the original artwork of the comics, with the splashes of color was really captivating. I truly feel that if someone wanted to pick that up, it could be a highly lucrative straight-to-DVD venture for Nickelodeon, similar to what DC Comics does.
In case you were wondering, the story is changed. I won’t give you spoilers, but there was one story that I was not disappointed with, and that was April O’Neil’s. Given the other changes in the story, I felt that April’s made the most sense for why she feels such a connection with the Turtles. Because this is a Ninja Turtles origin story, you have to expect there is a Subway scene. Personally, I thought this scene was one of the best of the film. There was enough of a change that I didn’t feel like I was watching the same thing I’ve seen before, but it was still reminiscent of the original story.
There were plenty of funny scenes, most of which involved either Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett), who is April’s cameraman, or Donatello. Both characters had plenty of good lines and were a-dork-able. Enough so I that I walked away feeling like this was the first film that gave Donatello more play than normal, but I would like to have seen more. Even so, Raphael was able to sneak in one piece of comedy in a heartfelt speech, which is one of the most memorable moments. Other moments that made me think, “Hey, that’s cool!” were seeing Donnie’s computer lab which was quite impressive, an intense scene where Leonardo improvises by using his Katanas as ski poles, and once we are in the Turtles lair, a sign can be seen in the background that reads “POWER.” However, the best scene in the film is when all four Turtles are in an elevator awaiting epic battle and they start a hip-hop beat. I was smiling the entire time this scene went on because I felt like those were my Turtles and they would so obviously break out a beat before fighting a foe.
I’ll be honest; there are a lot of things I could nit-pick at because the logical consistencies of many aspects are…illogical. For instance, in a moment of being airborne through the city, because that always happens, April O’Neil (Megan Fox) catches herself with one arm on a steel beam. One arm! I am a female, and I can attest that the average female CANNOT do that. While I’m on the topic, I want to say that Megan Fox doesn’t do a horrible job in the role, but she still is no April. Another inconsistency was that Splinter learned the art of Ninjutsu from a book he found in the sewer. I only wish I could pick up things I read about so quickly. He then passed on the knowledge to his sons. The Foot Clan were not overly scary except for their quick draw on some machine guns. But they didn’t really use their resources to their advantage of being thugs. Also, Karai, their leader, wasn’t well explored. Her role in other TMNT franchises is more significant.
My list of annoyingly bad things includes voices. Namely, Megan Fox’s shrill scream that made me jump in my seat, and Tony Shalhoub’s voice does not translate to a Japanese Sensei sewer rat. The over advertising of Pizza Hut was also annoying, but expected in a movie that Michael Bay produced. Shredder was annoying because he looked ridiculous. I’m going to give you an assignment. Go to your utility drawer, pull out your Swiss Knife, pull out all the pieces of it, and slash wildly at the air. Did you feel badass, or just goofy? That’s what I thought. Mikey’s character was more of a characterization of himself; he was over done as the “stoner”. I love Mikey, I really do. And I did thoroughly enjoy him in this incarnation, but it would have been nice if he did as much martial arts as he did talking. And as much as I love Raphael, there was a great deal of him, and not enough of why he is so angry or why he isn’t the leader. We have seen the story of Raph saving his brothers; this film attempted to re-tell the story, and it failed.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ writers didn’t take into account the intelligence of the public, either. Sure, the average American may not be very sharp (other people’s quotes, not mine), but we don’t need to be force-fed either. There was so much about this film that was told and not shown: Splinter’s relationship with the Turtles, the Turtles rivalry with the Shredder, the Foot Clan being bad, Eric Sacks being a bad guy, and the list goes on. Even a child who loved this film, could look back in 20 years and say, “Nope, I got this all the first time” because even children can understand intangible things if they are portrayed properly. That intangible “thing” was the idea of family. It was a concept referred to several times in the movie, but I never really felt that Splinter and the Turtles were ALL a family. There really was no connection to Splinter, which felt odd and wrong.
The worst part of “The Bad” is the overall grand plan by the main villain, Eric Sacks. Yeah the Shredder has those hands, but he wasn’t really the nemesis, which I’m not sure was on purpose. Anyhow, (SPOILERS AHEAD!) Eric Sacks is an evil scientist who plans to take out New York City and then cure it with the same mutagen that made the turtles into Turtles and make lots-o-money. But for so many reasons this is a bad plan! Why is money a bad plan? Oh, because if he takes out all of NYC, won’t he, the Shredder, and the Foot Clan all be dead, too? Also, the dude is already loaded. He has a frickin’ gated mansion. His grand plan is all because he doesn’t have enough money? He doesn’t want, say the other thing all evil genius’ want, power? Nope. Just more money. I find major fault that this was never questioned by anyone.
Beyond all my complaints listed above, there is the ugly. There were parts of this movie that made me cringe. Shredder’s backstory and relationship to the Turtles was not explained AT ALL. Like not even a little bit. There is no reason for them to despise each other. None. Oh, and for the first 15 minutes of the movie, there are no Turtles. Nowhere in sight. Now I know they are ninjas, but it wasn’t because they are sneaky, it’s because the writers didn’t do a good job at writing. I did not intend to go see a movie about April O’Neil, and God knows I love her. Except that Megan Fox isn’t a good actress. She’s just not. This movie should have been entitled April O’Neil and her Pets. If you had known the entire story revolved around her, would you have gone? Well, I still might have, but at least I wouldn’t have felt lied to. But my biggest gripe is that there was not a story for Leonardo. Leonardo. LEONARDO! He is the leader of the group! He should have led! And I’m not mad at him, because he is just an innocent Turtle, I am mad at the writers. It came off as if Raph was the leader, but that is not the case. How could they cut someone’s story so much? They cut Splinter’s story, they cut Shredder’s story, but to cut one of the actual Ninja Turtles’ stories makes me want to raise my hands and say “Damn. Damn! DAMN!”
I have tried to be careful of comparing the 2014 film to the 1990 film because I know I am biased. I could write a book on why the 1990 film is better. I will spare you from that (for now), but I feel there was so much that could have been done to improve the current film. When I went to the theater (and I went in the early evening), there were not many children there. You know who was? 20 somethings wearing shell backpacks and those felt bandanas. Millenials. Truthfully, the production company had to have known that it was my age group who would be spending their money on this movie. It would have been nice if they had respected us. Now I’m not saying that they had to re-create the 1990 film, but some nice nods to it would have been great. Maybe Danny Pennington is New York City’s police chief. Maybe Judith Hoag and Elias Koteas are seen arguing in the background. Maybe the baby Turtles say “Pizza! Pizza!” Maybe we see Raphael in a fit of anger toss aside an old Vanilla Ice CD he finds.
I must say that it was very tough for me to write this review because Ninja Turtles holds a large place in my heart. I found a lot of faults with the film, but I admit that I will watch it again. I admit that I have bought a lot of the action figures for the movie. And I admit that despite all its faults, it still made me smile, even if the movie wasn’t full of T-U-R-T-L-E Power. Until next time, Cowabunga, dudes!
all media belongs to Nickelodeon
What are your thoughts on the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie? Let me know in the comments!
If you saw this week’s episode of Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you know that s*** just got real! Tying into the fallout of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (review here), S.H.I.E.L.D. has just gotten shaken up in a big way. Even better is news that Nick Fury and Maria Hill will be showing up in the television series. #HAILHYDRA
Bit by bit, we are getting a better look at Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This week begets character posters of each turtle holding their respective weapon(s). Story be damned, this movie is going to look awesome.
Wreck-it-Ralph fans can anticipate a return to the arcades, as Disney is currently in development for a sequel.
Hogwarts is coming to California! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is a mini-park inside Universal Studios Florida, will be joining the California park in 2016. A round of Butterbeer for all my friends, please.
Also in theme park news, Universal Studios will be getting a Fast and the Furious attraction. This franchise will never run out of ways to make money off of itself.
Professional wrestling Hall of Fame inductee (just three days into induction) Ultimate Warrior has passed away. Check out some of his in-ring highlights if you didn’t know who he was.
The next edition of Super Smash Bros.will also come out on the 3DS and feature an online mode; it will also feature Charizard. Between this and Scribblenauts: Unmasked, we’re one nudge away from owning a Nintendo system.
DC Comics will be relaunching two of their super teams in Suicide Squad and Teen Titans this summer. I’m pretty stoked to see Deathstroke and Black Manta on a team together, and it’s great to see Raven and Beast Boy finally back on the Teen Titans squad.
I would say “SPOILER Alert,” but this news is literally all over the internet – even CNN is talking about it. The death of Archie Andrews is coming. I’m not gonna touch this one…
The legendary Roots crew, known by many as Jimmy Fallon’s band, has released a single from their upcoming album, …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, called “When the People Cheer.” The album is due out in a month, and you can find a streaming version of the single at okayplayer.com.
If you needed another reason to hate EA, the reigning worst company in America, look no further than the fact that they were sitting on a Darth Maul game, supposedly inspired by the Batman: Arkham series. Now that Disney has the rights to the franchise, that game is shelved permanently – just like 1313 before it. Seriously, f*** those guys.
On the other hand, EA’s next UFC installment will feature the Dragon, Bruce Lee, in all his glory as a playable character.
This week is a little thin on big nerd news this weekend, so we’ll lay it out for ya:
DC Comics is releasing variants based on the pin-up style Bombshell line in June. I can’t guarantee Catwoman will get any more bearable in writing, but the cover will look awesome.
Rocksteady has released new screenshots of their next-gen finale to the Arkham series, Arkham Knight. Prepare to ogle.
Johnny Blaze has been replaced, as Robbie Reyes will be taking up the mantle of Ghost Rider in All-New Ghost Rider, debuting this Wednesday.
All you Moonies can jump for joy; in July, an all new adaptation of Sailor Moon will make its way to the Niconico, the online streaming service.
Action figure models of the Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have surfaced. What do you guys think? I think they have quite a Jim Lee vibe.
JK Simmons, also known as the Farmers Insurance guy and Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man flicks a decade ago, will be playing a “weary and alcoholic detective who has followed a bizarre case involving Sarah Connor and robots for more than three decades” in Terminator: Genesis.