Exclusive: New 'Transformers' spot reveals new dino-bots and an epic scale

Exclusive: New 'Transformers' spot reveals new dino-bots and an epic scale

How much bigger can Michael Bay make these films?

On Memorial Day, I took both my kids to see "X-Men: Days Of Future Past," and one of the trailers we saw was the newest "Transformers: Age Of Extinction" trailer, and it is safe to say they lost their damn fool minds. Over the last six weeks, they've finally worked their way through the first three movies, and if you are curious who Michael Bay's ideal audience is, I think Toshi's reaction to the trailer says it all.

As the trailer ended with that insane shot of Optimus Prime hopping off of the dinosaur and wading into a whole crowd of Decepticons with his sword, Toshi and Allen both cheered, and, loudly, Toshi looked at his little brother and said, "Every one of those movies is made by Michael Bay, and that's why THEY ARE SO AWESOME."

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Review: Walt Disney's 'Maleficent' asks tough questions but fails to answer them
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Review: Walt Disney's 'Maleficent' asks tough questions but fails to answer them

HitFix
C+
Readers
n/a
Is this really Disney's 'I Spit On Your Grave'?

All I could picture as the closing credits began for "Maleficent," the big-budget fantasy picture that Walt Disney Studios is releasing on Friday, was a whole generation of women explaining how deeply and permanently broken their view of men was by Angelina Jolie when they were just princess-crazy little girls.

It is safe to say I will not be taking my kids to see "Maleficent," a film that is so swollen with psycho-sexual subtext that I felt like I was watching a true hijacking of the mainstream. But… by who? Robert Stromberg, who directed the film, is a production designer who has been involved in creating some of the richest, most detailed fantasy worlds on film over the last decade, and who worked in visual effects for 20 years before that, and he certainly brings that skill set to bear on how he establishes a sense of time and place in "Maleficent." This is a world divided into the half that is run by men and the half that is protected by a much older magic, filled with powerful creatures, and it is lush, almost every frame packed with something new to see.

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Danny McBride and Jody Hill sign to bring the world of 'Vice-Principals' to HBO
Credit: HBO

Danny McBride and Jody Hill sign to bring the world of 'Vice-Principals' to HBO

No word yet on when we'll actually see it

Danny McBride is going back to school, and I couldn't be happier to hear it.

There is a fascinating thread running through the work of McBride, especially when it intersects with the work of Jody Hill. There's a curdled idea of masculinity in our culture, and they've done a beautiful job of creating characters who represent the weakest parts of who we are. They are men who buy into the ideas that are sold to us about success and manhood and power, and who are destroyed by it in the process. One of the reasons it infuriates me when critics refuse to engage with comedy in the same way that they engage with drama is that comedy can lay the truths about who we are in a very honest way. The humor is what makes it possible to deal with it in these cases. If we were told the exact same story that "Eastbound And Down" but without humor, it would be so emotionally savage and unbearable that I'm not sure you could look directly at it.

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<p>Dean Deblois is the primary architect of the &#39;How To Train Your Dragon&#39; series</p>

Dean Deblois is the primary architect of the 'How To Train Your Dragon' series

Credit: HitFix

'Train Your Dragon 2' director Deblois on crafting the middle film in a trilogy

The filmmaker talks about his larger plans for the series

When the first "How To Train Your Dragon" came out, I was excited because Chris Sanders and Dean Deblois were both involved, and "Lilo And Stitch" was one of the most charming animated films in recent memory. Sanders has moved on, but Deblois is now the primary architect of the "Dragon" series moving forward.

It's safe to say that the series is in good hands. "How To Train Your Dragon 2" isn't just one of the best of the Dreamworks sequels, it's one of the best sequels to anything that I've seen in a while. It is a confident, smart story, told with an eye on both the epic scale of the world and the action as well as the intimate emotional material that makes this something more than just an excuse to sell a new toy line to the fans who loved the first movie.

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Review: Seth MacFarlane's 'Million Ways To Die In The West' is too many different films at once
Credit: Universal Studios

Review: Seth MacFarlane's 'Million Ways To Die In The West' is too many different films at once

HitFix
C+
Readers
B-
But Charlize Theron gives it everything she's got and almost pulls it off

First, before we go any further, let's take "Blazing Saddles" out of this conversation, okay? It's not even worth bringing it in. "Blazing Saddles" is one of the finest comedies ever made. "A Million Ways To Die In The West" belongs in the same conversation as movies like "The Villain" or "Rustler's Rhapsody," a conversation about innocuous and uneven Western comedies. That's a fair conversation. That's a weight class where you can make comparisons and contrasts and there's some sort of common ground. But "Blazing Saddles"? Don't be silly.

"Ted" was a surprise to many people who bet against the idea of Seth MacFarlane making the jump to a successful big-screen movie. I think he set himself a much more difficult task this time out, but it seems like it was inevitable. After all, he is one of the primary performers on "Family Guy" and he's the voice of "Ted" and why wouldn't he eventually star in one of his films? After all, he's the co-writer, co-producer, and director of the movie. This is as much his voice as a film can be, so starring in it is the next logical step, right?

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<p>Aiden&#39;s phone is his primary weapon in &#39;Watch Dogs&#39;</p>

Aiden's phone is his primary weapon in 'Watch Dogs'

Credit: Ubisoft

Launch day impressions of the XBox One version of Ubisoft's highly-anticipated 'Watch Dogs'

We're nowhere near ready to review this one yet, but it's an interesting start

It's safe to say that there are few entertainment events that I am more eager for this year than the release of the new Ubisoft game, "Watch Dogs." The first time they showed a video from this, I was fascinated. And now that I've had a chance to play it for about ten hours all told, I'm still excited to really get into it. I feel like I've grazed the mere surface of the game at this point, and even though there's a million things happening for me in June, "Watch Dogs" is going to be a big part of that month as well. At this point? Inevitable.

The first observation I'll make is that the game has a pervasive sadness in the opening stretches that I didn't fully expect. When I saw that first gameplay video two years ago, what got me was the idea of hacking the city around me to use as part of the gameplay. I've enjoyed watching the city itself come into focus as they've released more and more materials, and the conversations about how they might be incorporating multiplayer were also exciting. But I've gone out of my way not to learn much of anything about the story because I hate having that element of a game ruined for me before I can experience it for myself.

My review of the game won't run for at least a week, because I don't think I could give any sort of genuine response until I've had a chance to live with it a bit and see what gets its hooks into me and what doesn't. All I can offer today is my impression of that beginning and the actual game play and how quickly I started to feel comfortable with it.

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Quentin Tarantino reportedly sets November start date for his 'Hateful Eight' western
Credit: The Weinstein Company

Quentin Tarantino reportedly sets November start date for his 'Hateful Eight' western

If he's going to use the cast he did at the live reading, we're in for a treat

If you didn't read our coverage of the special live read event for Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight" screenplay, check it out.

It was fairly clear during that event that Tarantino still has every intention of making the movie, and that the reading was a way of him not only testing some of the biggest moments in front of a crowd but also a way of taking control of the conversation about the script. After all, the first time most people heard of it was when the script got leaked and there was a rush from various sites to summarize it and offer up plot details.

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America Ferrera and Jay Baruchel on how they beat Quidditch in 'How To Train Your Dragon 2'
Credit: HitFix

America Ferrera and Jay Baruchel on how they beat Quidditch in 'How To Train Your Dragon 2'

Plus we find out how they pulled off one of the film's most charming moments

The first film I saw at this year's Cannes Film Festival was also the one that was least like the others, the animated sequel, "How To Train Your Dragon 2." And while this was the least interview-oriented festival I've had in a while, when asked to sit down with the talent involved with this film, I was happy to do so.

Both Astrid (America Ferrera) and Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) have grown five years older between the first film and this one, and considering the age of the characters, those are five big years, marking a major shift in maturity. It's subtle stuff to play, and both Ferrera and Baruchel seem to really love these movies and these characters.

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Edgar Wright and Marvel part ways on 'Ant-Man' over a different vision of the film
Credit: Marvel Studios

Edgar Wright and Marvel part ways on 'Ant-Man' over a different vision of the film

The studio says they're still on track for a summer 2015 release

That is one short and succinct announcement.

"Marvel and Edgar Wright jointly announced today that the studio and director have parted ways on ANT-MAN due to differences in their vision of the film."

Marvel, might I suggest that this was not your best move ever?

Honestly, if Edgar Wright and his co-writer Joe Cornish had not stayed dedicated to the idea of making an "Ant-Man" movie in the first place, I doubt this would be a film that would have been tapped as a major cornerstone in Phase Three, which kicks in after Marvel's release of next year's "Avengers: Age of Ultron." As far back as I can remember Edgar talking about the movie, it's always been something that he and Joe kicked around as a crazy sort of left-field idea. Marvel took some serious convincing, and they've been more than happy to leave the development on a time-table that had nothing to do with marketing. They even put it off so Edgar could finish the Cornetto trilogy with "The World's End" first because there were personal reasons for wanting to finish that film in a timely manner.

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<p>You know you want it.</p>

You know you want it.

Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

'Godzilla' director Gareth Edwards set to direct first 'Star Wars' spinoff film for 2016

And with Gary Whitta onboard writing, things just got interesting

After the opening weekend of "Godzilla," it seemed to be a given that Gareth Edwards would be offered further big-budget blockbuster work. I just didn't expect it to be so fast, and I certainly wouldn't have guessed that he would move from one dream job to another.

As Edwards said in the press release that was just sent out, "Ever since I saw 'Star Wars,' I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life - join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm."

Yes, Edwards is the man steering the first stand-alone "Star Wars" film. With a script by Gary Whitta, the film is already dated for December 16, 2016. There is no word yet as to which of the hundreds of possible characters will anchor the film, but at this point, the exciting thing here is that they're going to be able to make something that can have its own identity.

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