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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One of rocker Jimmy Page's lawyers thwarted an attempt to reunite Led Zeppelin for the 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy benefit gig in New York City last winter (12), according to movie mogul and concert organiser Harvey Weinstein. The film boss tells the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter he came close to agreeing terms to get Page back onstage with bandmates Robert Plant and John Paul Jones in December (12), but the guitarist's legal expert wrecked his big plan.
Weinstein says, "He's got a lawyer who's Satan or something like that."
The movie mogul also asked former U.S. leader Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama to help him secure the services of Led Zeppelin at the big charity gig.
Clear Channel entertainment president John Sykes, who produced the concert with Weinstein, explains, "Harvey found out Led Zeppelin was being honoured by The Kennedy Center, and he chartered a plane to (Washington) D.C. and was like, 'We're going to get presidents Obama and Clinton to get Led Zeppelin back together'."
The Hollywood producer reveals Plant and Jones agreed to perform but Page nixed the Madison Square Garden show, which featured the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Billy Joel and Alicia Keys and raised more than $53 million (£35.3 million) for charity.
Harel Goldstein used bogus contracts with foreign distributors to help secure more than $35 million (£23.3 million) in loans from bosses at Comerica Bank, who thought they were financing independent films.
He used Silverstone and O'Toole as examples of stars he would be working with to convince bank chiefs to hand over the cash.
Goldstein pleaded guilty to fraud in 2007 and on Wednesday (12May10), Los Angeles District Judge S. James Otero sentenced him to 46 months behind bars, according to the Associated Press.
A gracious Beyonce was crowned the queen of the MTV Video Music Awards in New York on Sunday night after winning the event's Video of the Year prize and sharing it with Taylor Swift.
Earlier in the evening, Swift's magic moment -- as she claimed the Best Female Video prize -- was interrupted and ruined by Kanye West, who stormed the stage to protest the honor and proclaim it belonged to Beyonce. (Scroll down for the clip.)
The shocked "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" singer simply looked on in disbelief as West embarrassed Swift.
But triple winner Beyonce made sure Swift had a moment towards the end of the show when she insisted the country star join her onstage as she accepted the night's big award.
Beyonce said, "I remember being 17 years old, up for my first MTV award with Destiny's Child, and it was one of the most exciting moments in my life, so I'd like for Taylor to come out and have her moment."
Swift strolled onstage to a standing ovation and quipped, "Maybe we could try this again," before making the acceptance speech she would have earlier -- if a rude West had allowed her to finish.
The edgy evening was dominated by controversy, tributes and stellar performances from Beyonce, Pink, Jay-Z, Muse, Swift and triple winners Lady GaGa and Green Day.
As well as West, show host Russell Brand and GaGa provided the controversy -- comic Brand made lewd references about Katy Perry, GaGa, Beyonce and Swift, and GaGa shocked by pretending to die in a bloody mess onstage at Radio City Music Hall.
Her performance of "Paparazzi," though a talking point, was not the night's live highlight -- that belonged to Beyonce, who took the stage with 30 lookalikes to sing and dance her way through megahit "Single Ladies."
Meanwhile, Pink also stunned with a gymnastic, high-flying show, wearing a pink heart covering the nipple on her exposed left breast, and Beyonce's husband Jay-Z concluded the performances with an Alicia Keys collaboration on New York anthem "Empire State of Mind."
Among the tributes, double winner Eminem dedicated his Best Hip Hop Video trophy to late pal Proof, and house act Wale took a moment to remember Adam 'DJ AM' Goldstein, who was part of the house band last year.
But the VMAs opened and closed with the biggest tribute to Michael Jackson -- Madonna and Janet Jackson honored the King of Pop at the beginning of the show and the first trailer for his This Is It concert-rehearsal movie closed it.
The winners of what will surely be one of the most-talked about MTV Video Music Awards shows ever were:
Breakthrough Video - "Lessons Learned" by Matt & Kim
Best Female Video - "You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift
Best Rock Video - "21 Guns" by Green Day
Best Pop Video - "Womanizer" by Britney Spears
Best Male Video - "Live Your Life" by T.I.
Best Hip Hop Video - "We Made You" by Eminem
Best New Artist - Lady GaGa
Video of the Year - "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyonce
Best Art Direction - "Paparazzi" by Lady GaGa
Best Choreography - "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyonce
Best Cinematography - "21 Guns" by Green Day
Best Direction - "21 Guns" by Green Day
Best Editing - "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyonce
Best Special Effects - "Paparazzi" by Lady GaGa
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