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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The Kinks frontman Ray Davies and Scottish singer Donovan are to be inducted into America's Songwriters Hall of Fame. The class of 2014 will feature the Lola hitmaker and Donovan, who rose to fame in the 1960s with hits like Mellow Yellow and Catch The Wind, alongside British rocker Graham Gouldman of the band 10cc, singer/songwriter Mark James, who penned Elvis Presley's Suspicious Minds, and Jim Weatherly, who is known for writing Gladys Knight & The Pips hits Neither One of Us and Midnight Train to Georgia.
The five honourees were selected by museum officials from a list which also included Madonna, Vince Gill, Cyndi Lauper, Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson, Cat Stevens, Linda Perry and Led Zeppelin stars Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.
The inductions will take place in New York on 12 June (14).
British comedian Jim Davidson beat rapper Dappy to win U.K. reality show Celebrity Big Brother on Wednesday night (29Jan14). Former boxing champ Evander Holyfield, singer Linda Nolan, and Blue star Lee Ryan also took part on the hit series.
Legendary boxer Evander Holyfield has become the first contestant to be evicted from Britain's Celebrity Big Brother, days after hitting headlines for making homophobic comments on the reality TV show. The five-time world heavyweight champion entered the house to huge cheers last week (03Jan14), but he quickly fell out of favour with the public and his fellow housemates after he suggested homosexuality could be "fixed" by a doctor.
The former fighter was being asked about his views on openly gay stars in sports by fellow housemate Luisa Zissman when he replied, "But that ain't normal (sic)."
His comments prompted Zissman to add, "That's just the way some people are born", to which he hit back, "It don't make no difference (sic). If you're born and your legs were turned this way, what do you do? You go to a doctor and get it fixed back right (sic)."
Holyfield was reprimanded for his controversial response by Big Brother bosses, and he was the first celebrity to be booted from the show on Friday (10Jan14) after scoring the fewest votes from the public.
Speaking after his eviction, he told host Emma Willis, "Of course I thought I would be loved here. I got a few votes, but not enough."
British pop star Lee Ryan, comic Jim Davidson, rapper Dappy and singer Linda Nolan are among the contestants still competing in Celebrity Big Brother.
The Nolans star Linda Nolan was forced to rely on welfare payments after the death of her husband left her finances in ruin. The Irish singer was widowed in 2007 when her husband of 26 years, Brian Hudson, lost his battle with skin cancer, and she has admitted she was forced to rely on state handouts to survive.
Nolan recently joined British reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother, and she has revealed the job threw her a financial lifeline.
She says, "If I won Big Brother obviously it will make my life easier and hopefully it will bring other big things (jobs)... (It will) make my life better - financially secure. I had benefits (welfare payments) for maybe two and half years or something just when it was too difficult...
"The worst thing of all was for me was to go on benefits. I felt a loser really... There was no greater pleasure than phoning up the benefits people (after landing the Celebrity Big Brother slot) and saying 'My circumstances have changed actually'. That was such a good feeling to know I have financial security for the first time in a very long time."
Boxing legend Evander Holyfield has been reprimanded by U.K. TV bosses after he made homophobic comments on reality show Celebrity Big Brother. The five-times world heavyweight champion entered the house to huge cheers on Friday night (03Jan14), but is already facing a backlash after he suggested homosexuality could be "fixed" by a doctor.
In a conversation with fellow housemate Luisa Zissman about openly gay stars in sport, he replied, "But that ain't normal."
Zissman, who found fame on another U.K. reality TV show, The Apprentice, added, "That's just the way some people are born."
Holyfield then insisted, "It don't make no difference (sic). If you're born and your legs were turned this way, what do you do? You go to a doctor and get it fixed back right."
The 51-year-old sports star was then ordered into the Diary Room to answer to the show's producers, who warned him that his comments would be "extremely offensive" to a "large section of society".
Holyfield answered, "I thought I was just, I forgot about the thing (sic). I was just telling her my opinion but it's not like I was going to mention (it) to anybody else. It was just our conversation."
The fighter's remarks have sparked outrage among viewers, including openly gay singer Boy George, who tweeted: "Shame, I had such admiration for Mr Evander Holyfield, he seemed dignified and I was sure he was a cool, smart, giant!"
Holyfield is in the house alongside stars including comic Jim Davidson, rapper Dappy and singer Linda Nolan.
Stars including Billie Joe Armstrong, Linda Ronstadt and Brian May have paid tribute to Everly Brothers singer Phil Everly following his death on Friday (03Jan13). The younger of the two singing siblings passed away in Burbank, California aged 74 after suffering complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The sad news was confirmed by the music legend's wife Patti and has since prompted a string of tributes from leading musicians.
Green Day star Billie Joe Armstrong, who recently released a tribute album with Norah Jones called Foreverly, which is their own version of the brothers' second record Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, has taken to Twitter.com to share his grief.
He writes, "The Everly Brothers go way back far as I can remember hearing music. Those harmonies live on forever. We're gonna miss you Phil. Gratitude."
Linda Ronstadt, who recorded an interpretation of the duo's When Will I Be Loved in 1975, adds, "They had the sibling sound. The information of your DNA is carried in your voice, and you can get a sound that you never get with someone who's not blood-related to you. And they were both such good singers, they were one of the foundations, one of the cornerstones of the new rock'n'roll sound."
Queen rocker Brian May has also posted a tribute to the late star on his website, writing, "When we're young, we soak up up the things we love like a sponge, and the music of the Everlies (sic), which thrilled me to the core when I was a boy, will be in my head til I die... And tonight, about 3am, I hear that Phil is gone. I feel like a huge piece of my youth just melted away. I loved, loved those guys, and still do."
Other stars who have rushed to pay their respects include Rita Wilson, comedian Eric Idle and country star Charlie Daniels.
Boxing great Evander Holyfield, embattled British comedian Jim Davidson and veteran entertainer Lionel Blair have entered the Celebrity Big Brother house in England for the latest season of the reality TV show. The trio joined former Blue star Lee Ryan, rapper Dappy and singer Linda Nolan, among others as the latest series began on Friday night (03Jan14).
Singer/songwriter Yusuf Islam was "taken aback" upon learning he was one of the 2014 inductees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The musician, formerly known as Cat Stevens, was one of nine artists to make the cut and will officially be inducted to the Hall of Fame in a ceremony in New York City next year (10Apr14).
Islam was previously shortlisted for the honour in 2006 and he admits he was not expecting to win the coveted honour this year either.
He tells Billboard magazine, "It was a big surprise. I was taken aback because I was kind of used to a kind of status of self-detachment from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I see that the acceptance of me in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is kind of a rapprochement thing, which is very welcome.
"It's good because a lot of people may have, I don't know, taken different views about my life choices, but it's come back down to the music, which is good. When you start out in music you certainly don't see anything like this; you just do it because you love what you do. I'm not sure I feel very comfortable being in a museum, but you can't stop life doing things to you."
The singer, whose conversion to Islam stirred controversy in 1977, joins fellow inductees KISS, Peter Gabriel, late Beatles manager Brian Epstein, Hall & Oates, singer Linda Ronstadt, producer Andrew Loog Oldham and Bruce Springsteen's sidekicks, The E Street Band.
Islam plans on attending the ceremony, but has yet to hear from organisers whether he will be asked to perform.
He jokes, "I'm hoping they'll go straight to KISS."
Dave Grohl has paid tribute to late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain after the grunge icons were named among the 2014 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Smells Like Teen Spirit legends were among the nine acts to make the cut and will officially become part of rock 'n' roll history when they are entered into the fabled hall of fame next April (14).
Foo Fighters star Grohl, who played drums in Nirvana, admits he is delighted by the honour.
He says, "For once... I'm speechless. From the basements, to the dingy clubs, to the broken down vans, to... the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"I'd like to thank the committee not only for this induction, but also for recognising Nirvana for what we were: pure rock and roll. Most of all, thank you to all of the fans that have supported rock and roll throughout the years, and to (frontman) Kurt (Cobain) and (bassist) Krist (Novoselic), without whom I would not be here today."
Novoselic adds, "This is a great honour. Thank you to the people who nominated and voted for us. Thank you most of all to Kurt Cobain. And to everyone who's kept rock music going strong for 60 years and counting."
KISS, Peter Gabriel, late Beatles manager Brian Epstein, Hall & Oates, Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, singer Linda Ronstadt, producer Andrew Loog Oldham and Bruce Springsteen's sidekicks, The E Street Band, make up the other inductees.