When Worlds Collide

Posted on Nov 25, 2000

For those of you interested in the technical aspects of movie-making—especially photography—go and read this VERY informative interview I found in my old American Cinematographer magazines. It is by far one of the most interesting articles I’ve seen published about how Bay and Schwartzman work. It details the whole photography process in “Armageddon.” This article is waist-deep in technical stuff.

When Worlds Collide.

Pearl Harbor trailer description

Posted on Nov 22, 2000

Just came back from watching “Unbreakable.” Excellent movie.

But, what I really went for was to see the new “Pearl Harbor” trailer. Let’s go directly into the details. The openig shot is of two boys playing on what looks like a toy ariplane made of wood boxes and other stuff. It’s about 3 minutes long. It has the same temp track (Journey to the Line), and some of the footage that was found in the teaser.There is some dialogue, but what is most impressive is FDR’s voice over spoken by Jon Voight. What surprised me the most is that this film doesn’t look like any of Michael’s other movies.

But the the new shots are breathtaking. The one that made people in the cineplex say “WOW” was a tracking shot (from the rear) Michael set up to follow a bomb that is headed for one of the ships. I said “WOW” too. That’s the money shot. It’s the equivalent of the Chrysler building racing down towards the camera. It is awesome!!! There’s also an underwater shot of dead sailors floating in the water with an American flag filled with holes and light beams flashing through. There are cool shots of the Japanese planes taking off the carriers. You have to see it.

As soon as I get the Quicktime files of the new trailer, I will notify you all through the mailing list. So sign up if you haven’t!

Criterion's Beker defends "Armageddon"

Posted on Nov 21, 2000

In a conversation Salon had with the Criterion Collection’s Peter Becker (the man who created the ultimate DVD versions of “Grand Illusion,” “This Is Spinal Tap” — and “Armageddon”), he defended Criterion’s DVD issuing of “Armageddon” by saying the following:

“Specifically, with “Armageddon”: You’d be silly to overlook blockbusters as a genre and leave them out of a film library. They drive so much. They drive tastes and shooting styles and visual references that appear all over the world in commercials and on TV as well as on movie screens. They’re part of a huge cultural cross-pollination. And special effects are one of the most important aspects of a certain kind of contemporary filmmaking.

The opportunity we had to explore the effects in “Armageddon” was extraordinary. These guys dug a 400-foot hole in the middle of a Hollywood sound stage. It was a mammoth project and a great thing to be able to chronicle. One may choose to say, “What an enormous amount of money to spend on so frivolous an enterprise.” But it occupies an important position on the spectrum of contemporary films.

Michael Bay, who made “Armageddon,” is one of the most masterful directors of that kind. He’s managed to develop a certain style and energy in shooting that is consonant with what people seem to be looking for in these huge blockbusters. He’s an articulate exponent of what he is up to, and he is refreshingly candid. He’s not going to sit there and try to convince you that his and Ingmar Bergman’s intentions are one and the same. He’s trying to make a wild ride and he’s trying to show you how it’s done.

While it may be that there are some who feel it’s uncomfortable to see “Armageddon” on the shelf next to “Amarcord,” they’re both great discs for different reasons. I think there’s an honorable place for “Armageddon” in our collection. It may help us bring in a whole new audience. If we climb too proudly to the top of the ivory tower where we screen only Fellini and Bergman, Godard and Truffaut, Kurosawa, Tarkovski and Pabst, we will find ourselves very soon preaching only to the choir.”

Even people who hate “Armageddon” have to admit that one of the best things about your collection is that it’s not stuffy. In addition to the high art, it’s got some glitz, and it’s got some cult items.

Pearl Harbor trailer feature in "Unbreakable"

Posted on Nov 17, 2000

Be on the lookout for the new “Pearl Harbor” trailer (not teaser) in the previews for Bruce Willis’ “Unbreakable” which comes out on November 22, 2000. From what I hear, it is “amazing.”

I will post the trailer online as soon as I get it.

Pearl Harbor site

Posted on Oct 30, 2000

The Official Pearl Harbor site is online. Go check it out at www.pearlharbor.com

Michael Bay Cameo

Posted on Oct 18, 2000

Got this from the UK site Popcorn. It’s snippet from an extra that worked on the Uk set:

“…The biggest laugh was when Michael Bay appeared on-set dressed like us, complete with slicked-back hair. When the senior British AD asked me if I knew where the director was, I told him he’d just appeared on-set in a costume – much to the AD’s surprise! Seems Mr Bay keeps these little Hitchcockian moments to himself. He sat himself next to Ben, thus insuring himself some screen time.”

So keep your eyes opened, and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of Michael on “Pearl Harbor.”

Bay Jumps on Kidnap Thriller

Posted on Oct 5, 2000

NEW YORK — After completing photography on “Pearl Harbor,” Michael Bay’s Disney-based Bay Films has acquired an untitled thriller that Bay and Bay Films veep Jennifer Klein will develop, with hopes that Bay will direct.
The script by newcomer Stuart Alexander concerns the kidnapping of a high-powered attorney’s wife; the ransom for her safe release is his suicide.

The project was bought on the basis of a 25-page outline. Alexander has finished the first draft, with the film being supervised by Disney Motion Picture Group president Nina Jacobson and exec veep Mark Vahradian.

That film could be the next one Bay directs — another candidate is the dark comedy he’s developing, “Gory Details” — but he won’t likely take another feature before the possible SAG strike next summer. His next directing job will be the pilot of “Quantico,” a drama about the FBI Academy for Twentieth TV and FBC, which he’s exec producing with Dario Scardapane, who wrote the script. Klein’s producing as well.

Bay nearly made “Phone Booth,” the Fox 2000 drama with a similar ticking-clock premise. Joel Schumacher is still trying to pull that together.

Though scripter Larry Cohen told this column that Bay disconnected because he wanted to move the drama from its single phone booth location, the director denied it. “Will (Smith) and I were ready to go, taking $500,000 each and backend, but we wanted Fox to put more money in the script to make the words better and the studio wouldn’t. Every actor loved the idea, but if the words weren’t there, that film wouldn’t work.”

That Bay is making new deals under his Mouse pact indicates that there has been some healing of the bruised feelings from when Disney rescinded a “Pearl Harbor” greenlight and didn’t restore it until he and producer Jerry Bruckheimer waived their fees and cut other costs.

That duo agreed to work free until the pic covers its costs. “It was pretty discouraging at the beginning and became an emotional roller coaster,” said Bay. “It was greenlit, then ungreenlit, then greenlit again, meaning I had to hire, fire, then rehire the whole crew. The whole film had a recipe for disaster, with so many locations. We worked with 60-year-old aircrafts, with hundreds of extras in the water around ships with explosives everywhere. But it was the best production experience I ever had, and we finished one day over schedule.”

Bay said the studio allowed him $135 million with an extra $5 million cushion. “There are no hard feelings with the studio. I’m happy the movie got made. I would have been miserable if it hadn’t.” While Bay’s best known for hardware-heavy hits like “Armageddon” and “The Rock,” “Pearl Harbor” will broaden his range. “The thing I really like about the movie is it’s shot with an old-fashioned feel, and women are responding to the love story,” he said.

As Bay zeroes in on the next feature, one he’s now dubious about is the Eric Roth-scripted Jon Peters-produced WB pic “Africa,” about the exploits of Richard Leakey. Said Bay: “After tourists were hacked to death in Rwanda, my girlfriend said no way. I don’t want to rush into another big movie right now. I’d just like to finish this one, do a few commercials, and the pilot.” Alexander was repped by Carlos Goodman of Lichter, Grossman, Nichols & Adler.

Bruckheimer fan page

Posted on Sep 30, 2000

A cool fanpage dedicated to Jerry Bruckheimer is up. Go to www.bruckheimer.com and check it out. I even like it more than the official Bruckheimer page.