Transformers 4 Artsy Header

Guess what?  There’s another Transformers movie out today.  Yep.  Although this one spares us from Shia The Beef, it doesn’t spare your ears from its cacophony of industrial sounds.  But I guess the kids are into that sort of thing, what with EDM being all the rage.

Anyway, Transformers is just one entry of turning your favorite childhood toys and games into a big-budgeted mess, so here’s some ideas for the inevitable adaptations that we haven’t seen just yet.

 

5. Magic Eight Ball

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Title: Ask Again Later

Starring:

Tom Cruise as Number 92-Male

Jessica Chastain as Number 92-Femme

Elizabeth Olsen as Number 317-Femme

Diane Lane as the Matchmaker

Ed Harris as the Constable

Director: Brad Bird

Tagline: Go ahead… Ask.

The Pitch:

It’s 2313. Earth is in its infancy of rebuilding after a catastrophic nuclear war that left merely several thousand people alive. They were called “The Chosen Ones”. As resources have proved limited, survival is of the utmost importance and keeping the population manageable a priority. The well organized have quickly assumed control of society, implementing a cleansing of the population of anyone deemed undesirable. The rest are paired off and allotted one child per couple.

The 92s live life by the strict rules of the new society, until the female 92 becomes pregnant and gives birth to the couple’s second child. When the second child is discovered, the parents are put on trial for their crime. All trials in the new world are quite simple: the council shakes a Magic Eight Ball, asking it “Shall the Criminal Be Put to Death?” 92-Femme is put to death at her trial, but 92-Male’s trial comes back with “Ask Again Later”. Again. And again. Each time the question is asked, the same response comes back: Ask Again Later.

The trial is put on hold and 92 plots an escape. While making his way out of the city, he comes across 317-Femme, who is pregnant before she has been legally paired. Together, they try to escape the city, in search of a fabled land rumored to be untouched by the Council.

 

Review:

Tried and true tropes, though they may be, Brad Bird’s Ask Again Later is a wonderfully crafted sci-fi actioner that reminds you of everything from Fahrenheit 451 to Children of Men. This is classic Tom Cruise, whom can’t help but be entertaining in these sorts of films.

Diane Lane and Ed Harris are perfect villains in this, as the members of the Council set out to hunt down the escapees. What are really on display here, though, are the set pieces, which really bring to life an Earth completely ruined by war. The action scenes are exquisite, as well; Brad Bird really knows his way behind a camera and it shouldn’t be long before he becomes a household name.

 

4. Stretch Armstrong

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Title: Stretch

Starring:

Owen Wilson as Stretch Armstrong

Luke Wilson as Dave Armstrong

Andrew Wilson as Joe Armstrong

Bill Murray as Uncle Neil Armstrong, the First Man on the Moon

Frances McDormand as Millicent Armstrong

Director: Wes Anderson

Tagline: His whole life was a stretch.

The Pitch:

In the summer of 1975, Millicent Armstrong and her then-husband adopted an infant from the St. Augustine’s Home For Abandoned Yet Hopeful Boys and named him Stretch, for his disproportionately long arms. Even as he got older, his arms remained slightly longer than normal, causing his parents some alarm. Test after test came back with no reason why Stretch, despite his abnormality, could not maintain a normal life. That is, of course, until his fourteenth birthday.

At his Ghostbusters 2-themed party, the children decided to play basketball; a game in which Stretch greatly enjoyed, despite being small for his age. While going up for a rebound, his arms continued to grow skyward. The slam dunk that followed was effortless. This is where our story begins.

Stretch gains notoriety throughout growing up. His mother ghostwrites an autobiography for him entitled: Not a Tall Tale. It would go on to be a New York Times Best Seller. He would hit the talk show circuit, guest star on teen-oriented television programs, and his face would be plastered all over teen bop magazines, until the world stops caring.

In 2004, Stretch is a washed-up celebrity, living at home with his mother and two brothers. When his famous astronaut uncle comes into town, Stretch finds a kindred spirit in Neil and he lights a fire in Stretch that has lain dormant for years. Together, they hit the road in a series of misadventures, trying to find a place where Stretch’s abilities are welcome.

 

Review:

Wes Anderson is his usual self for this madcap road movie, which is more about finding one’s place in the same world that has already chewed you up and spit you out than it is about Stretch taking advantage of his abilities; that’s in there, too, though, as Neil (played boozy by Bill Murray) goads his nephew to try his hand at a few trades, including: carnival sideshow attraction, NBA star, and adult film actor, among others.

Reteaming with Wes Anderson really seems to rejuvenate Owen Wilson here, who shows more depth in this film than he has since The Darjeeling Limited, but it’s Bill Murray’s gin-soaked take on one of America’s great heroes that captivates the audience.

 

3. playmobil

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Title: The Asylum’s playmobil

Starring (Voiced by):

Edward Furlong as Joe

Corbin Bernsen as President Executive

Deborah Gibson as Foxfire

Director: Anthony C. Ferrante

Tagline: Everything is awesome great!

The Pitch:

(From IMDB): The LEGO Movie playmobil is a 3D 3D-ish animated film which follows lead character, Emmet Joe, a completely ordinary LEGO playmobil mini-figure who is identified as the most “extraordinary person” and the key to saving the Lego playmobil universe. Emmet Joe and his friends go on an epic journey to stop the evil tyrant, Lord Business President Executive.

Review:

If you’re kids missed The Lego Movie, then The Asylum’s playmobil is almost like the real thing. If they have seen it, skip this one. The animation is poor, the talent is what you would expect from the studio, and the brand just doesn’t have the same licenses that LEGO can muster. Case in point, while LEGO has Batman, playmobil can only muster a handful of Mac geniuses from their Apple store line. Otherwise, the script is essentially lifted straight from the far superior film about LEGOs; and quite lazily done, I might add.

The one reprieve is that the film is animated, saving us all 90 minutes of watching Edward Furlong’s bloated corpse trying to act. This film is surprisingly below the talents of a director that once brought us a tornado filled with sharks.

 

2. Operation

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Title: Don’t Touch the Sides

Starring:

Jake Gyllenhaal as Sam

Alfred Molina as Dr. Bradley

Kevin Spacey as The Voice

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Tagline: It takes a very steady hand…

The Pitch:

It was supposed to be a simple surgery; at least, that’s what Sam thinks he remembers. But things aren’t what they seem, when Dr. Bradley shows up at Sam’s bedside time-after-time, claiming to be unable to find the source of Sam’s pain. Before he can figure out what’s going on, Sam is being wheeled in and out of surgeries until he can no longer distinguish how long he’s been in the hospital and how long he goes under the knife. Eventually, he starts to question whether or not there’s anything wrong with him.

Review:

Touching on similar themes that his previous films Pi and Black Swan, Aronofsky’s take on the classic game is reminiscent of Orson Welles’ The Trial, as shadowy figures haunt Sam with little explanation; replace prison with hospital and you have Don’t Touch the Sides.

Gyllenhaal continues to build a strong career, with another small film with a lot of legs, but the film doesn’t really start to move until Sam starts to hear the voice from the other side of the wall (Kevin Spacey). The voice haunts Sam, with idle conversations that ultimately end with the voice offering Sam a simple piece of advice, which serves as the film’s title.

 

1. Barbie

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Title: Barbie Cums With Everything You See Here (Barbie kommer med alt hvad du ser her)

Starring:

Kate Upton as Barbie

Elle Fanning as Skipper

Aaron Eckhart as Ken

Channing Tatum as Joe

Director: Lars von Trier

Tagline: At what price a dream home?

The Pitch:

Kate Upton stars as Barbie, an Internet sensation-turned-model that couldn’t be happier. She has the perfect life: dream home, pink corvette, and an endless supply of clothes and accessories sold separately. That is until her picture perfect relationship with a male model named Ken is torn apart by a one-night-stand that she has with a GI named Joe.

On her own and unable to afford the lifestyle she’s used to, she’s forced to take odd jobs: chef, ballerina, even roller disco enthusiast. Eventually, she’s forced to scour the sleazy adult section of Craigslist, looking for quick tricks for fast cash.

Review:

Lars von Trier continues his psychosexual analysis of the human condition, holding a mirror on the world’s fixation on outer beauty by really forcing his cover model lead to dirty herself a bit, as her tricks range from bondage play to more depraved corners of fetishism. Parental guidance strongly suggested. The regrettable title sounds much more elegant in von Trier’s native Danish, but at least it took the guesswork out of the titling for the inevitable porn parody.

Upton really stretches her acting here, as her character slowly descends to madness. As she goes further and further down the rabbit hole, her breakdown manifests itself into an obsessive need to have everything in her life pink, culminating in a scene where she tries to strangle her sister Skipper (played wonderfully by Elle Fanning) with her vintage pink cardigan sweater from the 1962 Fashion Pak collection.

Also, bewbs.

 

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