Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Treading water at the very surface of RoboCop, there is an idea. A dense concept, ready and willing to provide no dearth of dissection for any eager student of philosophy, psychology, political science, physics — hell, any of the Ps. To simplify the idea on hand: What separates man from machine? It's a question that is not just teased by the basic premise of José Padilha's remake of the 1987 sci-fi staple, but asked outright by many of its main characters. And then never really worried about again.
We have principal parties on both sides of the ethical quandary that would place the security of our crime-ridden cities in the hands of automatons. Samuel L. Jackson plays a spitfire Bill O'Reilly who wonders why America hasn't lined its streets with high-efficiency officer droids. Zach Grenier, as a moralistic senator, gobbles his way through an opposition to the Pro-boCop movement. We hear lecture after lecture from pundits, politicians, business moguls (a money-hungry Michael Keaton heads the nefarious OmniCorp...) and scientists (...while his top doc Gary Oldman questions the nature of his assignments while poking at patients' brains and spouting diatribes about "free will"), all working their hardest to lay thematic groundwork. Each character insists that we're watching a movie about the distinction between human and artificial intelligence. That even with an active brain, no robot can understand what it means to have a heart. But when Prof. Oldman tempers his hysterical squawking and Samuel L. Hannity rolls his closing credits, we don't see these ideas taking life.
In earnest, the struggle of rehabilitated police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) — nearly killed in the line of duty and turned thereafter into OmniCorp's prototype RoboCop — doesn't seem to enlist any of the questions that his aggravated peers have been asking. Murphy is transformed not just physically, but mentally — robbed of his decision-making ability and depleted of emotional brain chemicals — effectively losing himself in the process. But the journey we see take hold of Murphy is not one to reclaim his soul, although the movie touts it as such. It's really just one to become a better robot.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Meanwhile, RoboCop lays down its motives, and hard: Murphy's wife and son (Abbie Cornish and a puckish young John Paul Ruttan) lament the loss of Alex, condemning his dehumanization at the hands of Raymond Sellars' (Keaton) capitalistic experiments, and sobbing out some torrential pathos so you know just how deep this company is digging. Weaselly stooges (Jay Baruchel, Jennifer Ehle, and Jackie Earl Haley) line the OmniCorp roster with comical wickedness. Overseas, killer combat bots take down peaceful villages, unable to work empathetic judgment into their decision to destroy all deemed as "threats." And at the top, figures of power and money like Sellars and Pat Novak (Jackson) speak the loudest and harshest, literally justifying their agenda with a call for all naysayers to "stop whining." Clearly, RoboCop has something to say.
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And when it's devoted to its outrage, RoboCop is terrifically charming. The buzzing political world is just a tiny step closer to ridiculous than our own; the pitch meetings at OmniCorp are fun enough to provoke a ditching of all the material outside of the company walls. And one particular reference to The Wizard of Oz shows that the movie isn't above having fun with its admittedly silly premise. But it loses its magic when it steps away from goofy gimmicks and satirical monologues and heads back into the story. We don't see enough of Murphy grappling with the complicated balance between his conflicting organic and synthetic selves. In fact, we don't see enough "story" in Murphy at all. First, he's a dad and a cop. Then, he's a RoboCop. But can he also be a RoboDad? With all of its ranting and raving about the question, the film doesn't seem to concerned with actually figuring out the answer.
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This week’s episode was all about maternal affairs. The ratchet lovely ladies of Atlanta wanted to showcase their best mommy moments. Pity this episode was after Thanksgiving and not Mother’s Day, because there are very few things we are thankful for because it was boring. When episodes spend multiple scenes recapping things that happened in earlier episodes, they waste valuable time for reading, fights, and shade. Hear that, Bravo?
Kenya Moore introduces the mother of all boring storylines to the mother of all Fashion Queens, Miss Lawrence Washington. Kenya is still bringing up her eviction and singing off-key impromptu songs about nothing. She also wastes valuable screen-time bringing up the fight Apollo Nida and Phaedra Parks are having.
Cynthia Bailey tells NeNe Leaks the mother of all lies. "This is a farmer’s market and it has all kinds of stuff." They walk into a typical grocery store where they purchase items like Swiss Cake Rolls, 4-for-5-dollar pizzas, and Hot Pockets. Then Cynthia introduces her pitiful storyline: her 13-year-old daughter, Noelle, has a boyfriend. So she decides to have the boy and his mother stop by. What follows is so boring it will make you fall asl…
Porsha Stewart is considering moving out of her mother’s house. But the major hurdle is her financial dependence on love for her mother.
Kandi Burruss is doing her best impression of a Stepford wife. She sets up an elaborate meal for her fiancé, Todd Tucker, that includes multiple baked goods. She recounts her fight with her mother, Momma Joyce, to her best friend Carmen. She explains that her mother even accused Carmen of cheating with Todd. Carmen does not seem too trustworthy. It could be the editing, music, multiple side-eyes, or the HUGE gash on her face. Was she cut for talking to another woman’s man?
The meal with Momma Joyce arrives. Joyce comes in swinging throwing out accusations at Carmen and Todd. She starts complaining about her lack of pictures in the house. She flat-out calls Todd an opportunist. He coolly responds with “None of this impresses me.” Isn't that an insult to his prospective wife? Then Momma Joyce channels Diana Ross's worst impersonator by wailing, “Ain’t no river high enough, ain’t no ocean deep enough, ain’t no dessert hot enough to keep me off your ass, baby!”
The best mother of the episode by far is ... Phaedra Parks?!? Despite going to Alabama for a study group she still brings her nanny newborn baby, Mr. President. She also is still in the thick of a fight with Apollo but she politely declines speaking to him rather than fighting on camera or in front of her child. Then she attends a study group and legitimately study. Go, Phaedra!
Mother of All Phaedra Lines
(to Amber’s Face) Well baby, you thick like a porkchop.
(Behind Amber’s Back) Big Booty Amber is alright by me she obviously hadn’t missed any red beans and rice or gravy. She’s thick with it.
Mother of All Supermarket Reads
She needs some carrots for her eyes.
David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
It’s funny to see how dissemination of news has changed since the rise of Twitter. Straight headlines followed by urls have been replaced by as much snark as can be contained within 140 characters. So if you’re only checking in on Twitter, chances are you’re going to learn the reaction to something before you actually learn what exactly people are reacting to. Case-in-point, yesterday’s news that Sony had optioned the rights to the comic series Zombies vs. Robots to be produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production shingle.
You can imagine what the flood of tweets was like after that, but I think my favorite would be from Drive Angry screenwriter Todd Farmer: “Zombies vs Robots? Seriously? LOL. Why do I even bother...”
And you can’t exactly blame anyone, let alone those trying to make it in the business as screenwriters, for rolling their eyes at the news. They see the name Michael Bay and the title Zombies vs. Robots and they instantly assume that Hollywood has finally completely given up and abandoned the pointless pretense that they actually want to even bother trying to make original movies. So, yeah, I get the gut reaction, but is that really a fair reaction, all things considered?
First off, the comic is called Zombies vs. Robots; the movie, however, is called Inherit the Earth. Not quite as eye rolling, now is it? Secondly, the film adaptation is being written by JT Petty, a man who has yet to do wrong by the horror/sci-fi genre. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen The Burrowers, you need to fix that as soon as possible. It’s a slow burn, but it’s a badass creature feature with a seriously brutal kick-you-in-the-face sensibility to it.) Thirdly, the plot actually doesn’t sound too shabby:
Mankind has lost its inevitable war with the undead and the world has been overtaken by a race of evolved yet still brain-hungry zombies. The only thing separating the last remaining human, who happens to be a little girl, from zombie lunch is a swarm of robots programmed to protect her.
Come on, what’s not to like about that? Yes, combining zombies and robots does immediately seem like the Hollywood equivalent of adding bacon to everything. But just because it appears safe and tasty doesn’t mean it will automatically be without substance.
Anytime a movie like this is announced and the Internet groans in cynical unison, I just sit back, relax and think of RoboCop. Sure, Paul Verhoeven’s bloody cyborg flick is a genre classic these days, but at the time? Twitter may not have been around, but you can bet your ass all the teenage boys read about it in Starlog or saw the poster for it were just as quick to be snarky: “A cop...who is a robot...real f**king genius, Hollywood.”
So, yeah, the idea of a movie about robots vs. zombies may not scream high art, but honestly, who gives a damn? Have we really become so cynical as a movie-going culture that we’re going to pretend like we wouldn’t watch a Michael Bay-produced movie about freaking robots battling the undead for the right to inherit our planet? I hope I never get that jaded. Even without JT Petty’s involvement, that just sounds like a damned good time to me.
Ok, I’ll admit it. I was a wuss as a kid. I couldn’t stand horror movies and never rode the haunted rides at the town fair. Even today I’m weary of going into horror movies, and what passes as horror these days is hardly scary. I was worried about seeing Disturbia, I kid you not. Yes, I know. But perhaps the scariest thing I can remember as a kid was this mask of a dude with pins in his head. I knew it was from a movie that I would not ever see it. Ever.
Then I got word that Dimension Films chose a pair of creative shepherds for its Hellraiser remake. “That’s odd,” I thought to myself in a British accent. “I’ve never heard of that movie for some reason. Let me google it really quick and.. OH MY GOD NOT THAT MOVIE! AHHH!” Needless to say it caused quite a ruckus in the office.
Anyway, Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer will be handling the remake as director and writer, respectively. Lussier, an editor turned director, most recently released My Bloody Valentine 3D, which was met with decent reviews and turned in moderate box office. His latest film is the extremely awesome looking Drive Angry 3D. Farmer is a frequent collaborator of Lussier's (he wrote both of Lussier's films in addition to The Messengers and Jason X). While I am happy these two gentlemen are remaking a beloved horror franchise for a new audience, I will not be going to see it for the sake of my sanity.
Though I will say the original has one of the best opening lines on Wikipedia: “...a 1987 horror film exploring themes of sadomasochism and morality under duress and fear.” Sounds lovely.
Source: Shock Till You Drop
Source: Shock Till You Drop
It's being reported that pre-production as stopped on Halloween 3-D which was set to hit theaters next summer.
Bob Weinstein of Dimension Films felt that production was being rushed after a script was turned in last week by Todd Farmer whose credits include My Bloody Valentine 3-D
Halloween II, which was directed by Rob Zombie, cost an estimated $15 million to make and grossed over $32 million at the box office.
Click here to watch Spill.com's Halloween II review
The last to know Steven Spielberg had signed on to produce and direct the film version of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was apparently the director himself.
A spokesman from Spielberg's office says the filmmaker hasn't officially climbed aboard and is still considering the project.
"Potter" is just one of the projects Spielberg is considering along with Stanley Kubrick conceived "A.I." (for artificial intelligence) and a bio about Charles Lindbergh. He's also set to make the Tom Cruise starrer "Minority Report" and a movie version of the acclaimed book "Memoirs of a Geisha."
SUPER-ACTION TEAMUP: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone hope to use their combined muscle at the box office to star in one massive project, The Hollywood Reporter says.
They're currently searching for a feature, which would mark the first time the two action icons have appeared onscreen together. Besides their combined weight, the film would be heavy in expenditures -- Stallone reportedly earned $20 million for the upcoming "Into Thin Air," while Schwarzenegger cashed in $25 million for last fall's "End of Days."
HE'S BAAACK: The next "Friday the 13th" will take place in the year 2455. And, yes, ol' hockey-mask-face himself will still be around.
"Jason X" (as its title indicates, it'll be the 10th installment in the series) is being set up at New Line Cinema, with up-and-comer James Isaac at the helm. The movie is scheduled to begin shooting in March in Toronto, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The story, scripted by Todd Farmer, involves a field trip in the future to visit the long-abandoned planet Earth. A teacher and his students discover a cryogenically frozen young lady and a hockey-masked thug. Before anyone can say "space kebob," the thawed out psychopath has returned to his killer ways, wreaking havoc on the citizens of outer space.
PARTY OF TWO: Teen idol Jennifer Love Hewitt will receive motherly advice from veteran actress Sigourney Weaver in MGM's upcoming comic noir "Breakers."
Daily Variety reports that the two have closed their deals and that Kevin Kline has been offered the role of Weaver's love interest.
The shoot is scheduled to begin in Florida and Los Angeles in April, with "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" director David Mirkin helming a script by Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur. The story's about a mother daughter con team and their male victims.
SIGNED AND SEALED: After surveying all the major talent agents in town, Harrison Ford has signed up with United Talent Agency. Longtime agent Patricia McQueeney will act as the actor's point person with the agency, which beat out estimable competitors including Creative Artists Agency and William Morris.