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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Hollywood veteran Kevin Costner is auctioning off a selection of personal items and film memorabilia to help an employee at his South Dakota tourist attraction cover his college costs. The actor was moved by the story of 47-year-old Lakota tribe interpreter Phillip Red Bird Frame, who is determined to return to school to study sociology and obtain his degree, and he has offered up items including his childhood baseball and bat, and a sports jacket he wore in 1988 film Bull Durham to help raise funds.
Chief David Bald Eagle, head of the Minnicoujou Tribe, has also donated some of his movie keepsakes, including a signed copy of Errol Flynn's Captain Blood, in which he appeared as the actor's bodyguard, and a signed buckskin shirt he wore for the picture.
Frame, who works at Costner's Tatanka: Story of the Bison museum near the city of Deadwood, is flattered by the stars' generosity and he tells local publication the Rapid City Journal, "I am humbled but that's too small of a word. I am obviously appreciative that I am getting this chance to help other people through Mr. Costner and Chief Bald Eagle."
The sale will take place at Lead's Dakota Plains Auctions on Saturday (21Sep13).
A pair of boots worn by Errol Flynn in 1938 film The Adventures Of Robin Hood are expected to fetch at least $3,000 (£2,000) at auction later this month (Sep13). The actor's rust-coloured boots were used in what was the most expensive Warner Bros. film ever made at the time, and they are among 20,000 theatrical costumes at the sale.
The auction, due to take place in Nottingham on 21 September (13), is being held to sell items belonging to former hire shop owner Andrew Wilson-Jenner.
Movie legend Errol Flynn was once the subject of a private investigation in England after he failed to cover the cost of a large clothing bill. Jonathon Williams, the current store manager of Northampton menswear shop Montague Jeffrey, recently unearthed a handful of letters in the store's archives, which revealed the late star had wracked up a large debt back in the 1950s.
The shop owner hired detectives to track down Flynn in a bid to recover the funds, and when confronted, the Australian, who was working in the area, admitted he was strapped for cash.
He vowed to pay the store back in full within a week, although it is unclear whether Flynn ever made good on his promise before he died in 1959.
The actor acknowledged the issue in a handwritten note to the store, dated January, 1955, which reads, "If you would care to wait about a week longer I will be able to pay your account in full. The only reason it has not been settled previously is inability, not disinclination."
The Last Of Robin Hood will focus on the controversial relationship between Flynn, played by Kevin Klein, and teenage actress Beverly Aadland, who was with him when he died in 1959 at the age of 50.
Flynn, who was cleared of statutory rape charges in 1942, was married to actress Patrice Wymore until his death, but romanced Aadland after casting her in his final film, Cuban Rebel Girls.
Susan Sarandon will play Beverly's mum Florence Aadland, who wrote 1961 book The Big Love about Flynn's relationship with her daughter.
The film is due for release later this year (13).
The film, The Last of Robin Hood, will focus on the final days of Flynn's life, just before the swashbuckler died from a heart attack, aged 50.
At the time, he was allegedly romancing teenage newcomer Beverly Aadland.
Susan Sarandon has signed on to play the youngster's mother, Florence, who wrote a book about the scandalous affair between her daughter and Flynn.
Production on the film is set to begin in January (13), according to Variety.
Authors Danforth Prince and Darwin Potter have spent years tracking down the scandalous details of the actress' romances and affairs and they have laid her love life bare in new tome Elizabeth Taylor: There is Nothing Like a Dame.
In the unauthorised biography, which promises "all the gossip unfit to print from the glory days of Hollywood", Prince and Porter claim Reagan was 36 when he invited a teenage Taylor to dine with him at his home in the Hollywood Hills - and she seduced him.
According to the book, she told a close pal, "Reagan was treating me like a grown woman, and that thrilled me. We sat on his sofa and I could tell he wanted to get it on but he seemed reluctant to make the first move. I became the aggressor.
"After a heavy make-out session on the sofa, we went into the bedroom."
The book's revelations about Taylor's fling with Kennedy will shock many readers - Prince and Porter claim a nude dip in the politician's pool turned into a threeway with Taylor and Stack.
The authors claim the actress went on to have sexual encounters with stars including Peter Lawford, Errol Flynn, Tony Curtis, Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra.
Her romance with Ol' Blue Eyes fell flat after she became too serious and allegedly told Sinatra she was expecting his child in a bid to blackmail him into marrying her.
The Austrian actor died in Vienna on 30 September (12).
Bey's good looks won him exotic supporting roles in movies starring Errol Flynn, Katharine Hepburn, John Wayne and Peter Lorre and earned him the Hollywood nickname Turkish Delight.
Born Gilbert Selahettin Schultavey, the actor changed his name upon his arrival in Hollywood, where he was snapped up by talent scouts at Warner Bros. after fleeing Austria to escape the Nazis in the 1930s with his Jewish mother.
He returned to Austria after the movie roles dried up and became an acclaimed photographer.
Bey also tasted TV success in America late in life, when he was cast as Turval in the Babylon 5 sci-fi series in the 1990s.
Former Olympic fencer Bob Anderson passed away in England on New Year's Day (01Jan12).
After serving in the Royal Marines during World War II, he represented Britain at the 1952 Olympic Games before moving into movie stunt work.
His first big screen fight scene was when he staged sword battles and coached Errol Flynn in The Master of Ballantrae. He became one of Hollywood's most sought-after sword masters, and worked on stunts for films including From Russia With Love and Die Another Day, The Legend of Zorro and The Princess Bride.
He also donned Darth Vader's iconic black costume to perform the character's light saber bouts in the three original Star Wars movies
. Anderson is survived by his wife Pearl and three children.
Director Alexander Payne's (Election Sideways) new film opens over sprawling landscape shots of Hawaii's scenic suburbia accompanied by George Clooney's character Matt King summing up his current predicament: "Paradise can go fuck itself." The reaction unfortunately is reasonable.
We pick up with King an ancestor of Hawaiian royalty in the middle of deliberations over a plot of land handed down through his family over generations. With every uncle aunt and cosign whispering opinions into his ear King is suddenly presented with an even greater problem: taking care of his two daughters. A boating accident leaves his wife in a coma forcing Matt to take a true parenting role with his young socially-troubled daughter Scottie (Amara Miller) and his rebellious teen Alexandra (Shailene Woodley) who was previously shipped off to boarding school. Matt awkwardly hunts for the emotional glue necessary for the mismatched bunch to become "a family " but matters are made even more complicated when Alex reveals that her mother was cheating on him before the accident. Murphy's Law is in full effect.
With The Descendants Payne continues to explore and discover the inherent humor in life's melancholic situations unfolding Matt's quest for understanding like a road movie across Hawaii's many islands. Simultaneously preparing for the end of his wife's death and searching for the identity of her lover Matt crosses paths with a number of perfectly cast side characters who act as mirrors to his best and worst qualities: his father-in-law Scott (Robert Foster) who belittles Matt for never taking care of his daughter; Hugh (Beau Bridges) an opportunistic cousin who pressures Matt to sell the land; Alexandra's dunce of a boyfriend Sid (Nick Krause) who always has the wrong thing to say; and Julie (Judy Greer) the wife of the adulterer in question. Colorful yet real Matt experiences a definitive moment with each of them yet the picture never feels sporadic or episodic.
Clooney and Woodley help gel these sequences together as they observe experience and butt heads as equals. Clooney's own magnetism stands in the way of making Matt a fully dimensional character but he shines when playing off his quick-witted daughter. His reactions are heartbreaking—but it's the moments when he has to put himself out there that never quite ring true. But the script by Nat Faxon Jim Rash and Payne gives Clooney plenty of opportunities to work his magic visualizing his struggle as opposed to vomiting it out like so many of today's talky dramas.
The Descendants is a tender cinematic experience an introspective and heartwarming film unafraid to convey its story with pleasing simplicity. Clooney stands out with a solid performance but like many of Payne's films it's the eclectic ensemble and muted backdrop that give the movie its real texture. The paradise of Descendants isn't all its cracked up to be but for movie-goers it's bliss.