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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Two nights of The Bachelor, and two nights of Tierrable decisions. Tired of that joke? Well, I’m tired of having to use it. But apparently, Sean is not ready to let her go. Yes, I’ve ruined the suspense of the rest of the blog, because that’s all I can think about since my wine buzz has faded.
Date One: Catherine's One-On-One
Tuesday night, The Bachelor headed to Banff, Canada. I have to say, the scenery was breathtaking.
Catherine received the first date, and they showed all of two seconds of the blizzard they “romantically” hung out in. I can just see Sean and Catherine grabbing two or three shots and peacin’ out. Dinner was much better, and I really liked how Catherine opened up. She gets more beautiful every episode. She shared a very touching story about her friend passing away, and I was a bit disappointed Sean didn’t really interact as much. Maybe we didn’t see the whole conversation?
RELATED: Arie's Blog: 'A Rose Is A Tierrable Thing to Waste'
Group Date: Tierrable Drama
Alright, enough of that. Let's get to the drama: Cue Tierra. The group date had the girls getting into their bikinis and taking a polar bear plunge. Selma wasn't having any of it. (Don’t worry, girl. I would have hung out with you in the tent.)
After everyone jumped into the water and came out all smiles, Tierra started running around, looking for attention (cough), I mean a paramedic. Tierra was then put on oxygen for what seemed to be a missed diagnosis of hypothermia. Then, 15 minutes later, she strapped some boots on and crashed the cocktail party. This girl is full-throttle crazy, and there is no stopping her. Thankfully, she didn't get a pity rose, but sadly this wasn't the last of her.
RELATED: Arie's Blog: Tierra Could Turn Into Courtney Robertson
Date Three: Desiree's One-On-One
Desiree’s date went well, but I couldn’t concentrate because of Sean’s ugly Christmas sweater. I mean, I know this is Canada, but this just was not acceptable. We may forgive Sean for keeping Tierra, but we will never forgive him for wearing that sweater. Sorry, bud.
At the cocktail party, Selma went 90-10 and gave Sean a kiss. (Did that peck even really count?) Don’t worry, Selma. I think your mom would approve.
During the party, AshLee also gave Sean a scarf that apparently represented 20 or so things really important to her (Sean, don’t ever lose that scarf). And Lindsay and Sean shared a really good kiss — the best one yet. Maybe he is finally learning?
RELATED: Arie's Blog: Tierra Is Just Tierrable
I don’t really know what to say about Tierra getting a rose over Selma. Ke$ha I would get, but Selma? If you guys follow me on Twitter you know I have a crush on Selma, but regardless, did you see that dress? Was she too much for Sean to handle or did that peck just not peak Sean’s “interest?"
There are six women left, and apparently they are all the woman for Sean. Only on The Bachelor can you ever say that to six women.
Follow Arie on Twitter @Ariejr.
[Photo Credit: Voorhees Studios]
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While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Ben Flajnik doesn't seem to be as innocent as he claims. During the The Bachelor: After The Final Rose special that aired on March 12, Ben insisted that he never cheated on his fiancee Courtney Robertson even though photos surfaced in February of him kissing another girl. Well, more photos have come out -- and they show Ben getting very up close and personal with another woman who looks just like Courtney!
Ben spent the day of March 11 hanging out with a very pretty brunette who could easily be mistaken for Courtney, a witness tells Life & Style magazine. They started out the day by grabbing brunch the Tipsy Pig in San Francisco. The pair next headed to a nearby park where the girl was pictured on top of Ben rubbing him down.
"It seemed like they were close," the witness says.
Ben and the mystery girl started drinking at brunch. They then carried on the booze fest in the park with Tecate beer. The pair spent about two hours tanning with some other buddies.
"They were drinking at the restaurant and at the park," notes the witness.
But this wasn't the only incident that weekend to raise red flags about the status of Ben's engagement to Courtney. Ben grabbed dinner with some friends at Marlowe on March 10 when a beautiful blonde that he knew approached the group.
"Ben lit up when he saw a blonde woman he knew in the restaurant," shares an onlooker. "He got up from his seat at the table and greeted her with a quick peck on the lips. He insisted she sit down at his table," an onlooker shares. "He had his arm around her hugging her. They both seemed happy and really into the conversation."
After dinner, Ben and his pals headed to his favorite bar, the Lion Pub. At the bar, Ben spent some time talking up another woman. Before long, the two left together.
One insider reveals that Ben dropped his lady friend off at home before going his own way. But, the whole stunt seemed questionable. A customer at the bar describes Ben's exit: "It was like he was looking around and thinking about it before he did it."
Do you think Courtney and Ben will last?
Source: Life & Style
A massive hit never ends at its own conclusion for better or worse. Lost Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland The Blair Witch Project and other pop culture milestones spawned plenty of imitators of wavering quality that trickled on to screens until the phenomena tapered off. Joyful Noise the new film starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton is one these auxiliary creative endeavors a direct descendant of the cheeky drama/comedy/musical hybrid Glee. But instead of teenage issues and pop covers Joyful Noise swaps in familial struggles gospel tunes and a sizable serving of Christian faith. The combination results in a movie that lacks the jazz hand energy of Glee but packs good-natured laughs to keep someone awake for its two hour duration. More "noise" than "joyful."
Mere minutes after the passing away of choir leader Bernie Vi Rose (Latifah) inherits the position—along with a serving of negative vibes from Bernie's wife G.G. (Parton) who was hoping to take the job herself. The new responsibility is only the beginning of Vi Rose's troubles as she attempts to balance her rebellious daughter Olivia's (Keke Palmer) raging hormones her son Walter's (Dexter Darden) Asperger's syndrome her husband's absence during a military stint and her own old school God-faring ways. Hardships are whipped into further chaos upon the arrival of Randy G.G.'s rambunctious horny grandson who shows up at rehearsal with an eye on Olivia and undeniable vocal skills. Randy's rock and roll edge is readily embraced by the group but even with the national gospel championship on the line Vi Rose isn't ready to toss tradition aside.
Joyful Noise is a mixed bag sporadically entertaining when director Todd Graff (Camp Bandslam) lets his two commanding stars flex their comedic muscles or belt soulful tunes. Latifah and Parton can do both with ease—Latifah has a natural charm while Parton essentially fills the "kooky Betty White" here—but instead of letting the two fly Graff breaks up the action with overwrought drama and bizarre side character stories. The script injects a lot of ideas into the picture—loss of faith modernizing ideologies coping with tragedy sexuality under the eye of God—but every tender moment is fumbled. A gut-wrenching conversation between Vi Rose and her autistic son should have weight and the actors do their best but the material doesn't service the emotional complexity of the scenario. Instead it opts to cut to a musical number. Another sequence involving the overnight demise of another character is even played for comedy even when it causes one woman to question her beliefs.
Thank God for the musical numbers which have enough energy to brush the flimsier moments under the rug. The Glee-inspired pop tune covers (Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror " Usher's "Yeah"—both tailored with religious modifications) aren't nearly as interesting or powerful as the straight-up gospel songs. But unlike the tunes Joyful Noise doesn't have rhyme or reason. A mishmash of played out character stereotypes narrative cliches and enjoyable but erratic music the movie feels more like a cash-in than it should. Latifah and Parton are a sizzling duo but the vehicle built for them is a clunker. As Vi Rose might say the only way to have a great time at Joyful Noise is to believe. Really really hard.