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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After the President of the United States and the Queen of England, and maybe even the Pope, James Bond seems to be one of the most well traveled people out there. While he may be a fictional character, he sure has racked up those Sky(fall)Miles. With 22 films under his belt, Bond has journeyed all over the world — and then some. But while his missions have landed him in some of the world's most exotic places around the continent — sometimes more than once — how many miles has Bond actually traveled throughout all of his movies? Hollywood.com decided to crunch the numbers to discover the answer.
Trip One: Dr. No - 1962
London, England to Kingston, Jamaica: 4687.76
Kingston to Crab Key, Jamaica: 37.84
Trip Two: From Russia with Love - 1963
London, England to Istanbul, Turkey: 1555.71
Istanbul to Belgrade, Formerly Yugoslavia, now Serbia: 505.28
Belgrade to Zagreb, Formerly Yugoslavia, now Croatia: 228.63
Zagreb to Venice, Italy: 179
Trip Three: Goldfinger - 1964
Unidentified Drug House in Mexico (let's place it in Mexico City, Mexico) to Miami Beach, Florida: 1288.99
Miami Beach to London, England: 4429.32
London to Geneva, Switzerland: 464.71
Geneva to Baltimore, Maryland: 4036.68
Baltimore to Bluegrass Fields, Kentucky: 426.01
Trip Four: Thunderball - 1965
Château d'Anet, near Dreux, France to London, England: 195.92
London to Nassau, Bahamas: 4347.61
Nassau to Miami, Florida: 186.93
Trip Five: You Only Live Twice - 1967
Hong Kong, China to Tokyo, Japan: 1791.22
Tokyo to Kobe, Japan: 263.37
Kobe to Matsu Islands, China: 1083.46
Trip Six: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service - 1969
Estoril, Portugal to London, England: 992.47
London back to Estoril: 992.47
Estoril to Bern, Switzerland: 1023.76
Bern to London: 464.82
London to Piz Gloria, Switzerland: 497.11
Piz Gloria to London: 497.11
London to Piz Gloria: 497.11
Piz Gloria to Estoril: 1028.16
Trip Seven: Diamonds Are Forever - 1971
Tokyo, Japan to Cairo, Egypt: 5949.64
Cairo to London, England: 2184.26
London to Amsterdam, Netherlands: 222.30
Amsterdam to Los Angeles, California 5560.70
Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Nevada: 224.84
Las Vega to Baja California, Mexico: 364.86
Trip Eight: Live and Let Die – 1973
London, England to New York City, NY: 3464.99
NYC to San Monique (let's use Mustique Island), Caribbean: 2076.31
San Monique to New Orleans, Louisiana: 2192.49
New Orleans back to San Monique: 2192.49
Trip Nine: The Man with the Golden Gun – 1974
London, England to Beirut, Lebanon: 2150.17
Beirut to Macau, China: 4724.01
Macau to Hong Kong: 38.70
Hong Kong to Bangkok, Thailand: 1075.52
Bangkok to Private Island in the Yellow Sea within boundaries of Red China: 2088.35
Trip 10: The Spy Who Loved Me - 1977
Alps in Austria to Cairo, Egypt: 1524.95
Cairo to Costa Smeralda, Sardinia, Italy: 1429.61
Trip 11: Moonraker - 1970
London to Vaux-le-Vicomte, California (let’s say Los Angeles, because that’s where they filmed in Calif): 5446.58
Los Angeles to Venice, Italy: 6142.23
Venice to Rio, Brazil: 5873.97
Rio to Outerspace (lets put him on the moon): 238900
Trip 12: For Your Eye Only - 1981
London, England to Madrid, Spain: 785.90
Madrid back to London: 785.90
London to Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy: 650.65
Cortina d'Ampezzo to Corfu, Greece: 618.28
Trip 13: Octopussy – 1983
Undisclosed Latin America Country believed to be Cuba to London, England: 4547.01
London to Delhi, India: 4174.46
Delhi to East Berlin, Germany: 3595.50
East Berlin back to Delhi: 3595.50
Trip 14: A View to a Kill – 1985
Siberia to London, England: 3494.68
London to Berkshire, England: 49.78
Berkshire to Paris, France: 241.82
Paris to Chantilly, France: 23.87
Chantilly to San Francisco, California: 5555.56
Trip: 15: The Living Daylights – 1987
Gibraltar to Bratislava, Formerly Czechoslovakia, now Slovakia: 1411.23
Bratislava to London, England: 801.26
London back to Bratislava: 801.26
Bratislava to Vienna, Austria: 34.10
Vienna to Tangiers, Morocco: 1419.66
Tangiers to Jail Cell in Afghanistan: 4070.13
Trip 16: Licence to Kill (1989)
Key West, Florida to Cay Sal Bank, Bahamas Banks (Caribbean): 125.55
Cay Sal Bank to Bimini: 145.66
Bimini to Fictional Isthmus City (can pinpoint in Panama City, Panama): 1158.65
Trip 17: GoldenEye – 1995
Arkhangelsk, Russia to Monte Carlo, Monaco: 1925.18
Monte Carlo to London, England: 641.69
London to St. Petersburg, Russia: 1305.73
St. Petersburg to Cuba: 5537.10
Trip 18: Tomorrow Never Dies – 1997
Oxford, England to Hamburg, Germany: 495.88
Hamburg to Saigon, Vietnam: 5905.19
Saigon to Ha Long Bay, Vietnam: 699.68
Trip 19: The World Is Not Enough – 1999
Bilbao, Spain to London, England: 585.40
London to Scotland (no specific area, so lets say capital, Eidenburgh): 331.97
Eidenburgh to Baku, Azerbaijan: 2592.75
Baku to Kazakhstan: 991.65
Kazakhstan back to Baku: 991.65
Baku to Istanbul, Turkey: 1912.57
Total 20: Die Another Day – 2002
Pukchong, North Korea to Hong Kong: 1488.22
Hong Kong to Havana, Cuba: 9112.47
Havana to Iceland: 4010.64
Iceland to North Korea: 4945.27
Trip 21: Casino Royal – 2006
Prague, Czech Republic to Madagascar: 5157.65
Madagascar to London, England: 5628.09
London to Nassau, Bahamas: 4347.61
Nassau to Miami, Florida: 186.93
Miami to Montenegro: 5488.98
Montenegro to Venice, Italy: 398.25
Venice to Lake Como, Italy: 152.93
Trip 22: Quantum of Solace – 2008
Siena, Italy to London, England: 778.29
London to Port au Prince, Haiti: 4467.40
Port au Prince to Bregenz, Austria: 4923.16
Bregenz to La Paz, Bolivia: 2440.35
La Paz to Kazan, Russia: 8217.17
Out of 22 movies, Bond has traveled 448,245.19 miles in total. Thanks to DistanceFromTo.com for helping us ring these totals!
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures]
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A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
Actor Edward James Olmos was sentenced Friday to spend 20 days behind bars after trespassing on U.S. Navy land on the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques during protests against Navy war games, Reuters reports. The Miami Vice actor was arrested on the Naval bombing range April 28 with environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and New York labor leader Dennis Riviera, who both received 30-day sentences on the same charges. They completed their sentence on Aug. 1. "We need to do this. Puerto Ricans all over the world needs to understand this problem. We need to support Vieques," Olmos said.
'N Sync, Destiny's Child and Britney Spears were among the winners at the Teen Choice Awards, held Sunday at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles. Ben Affleck, who is currently in treatment for alcohol abuse, came out to receive two awards, including favorite actor, The Associated Press reports. The show will air Aug. 20 on Fox.
The Charlatans UK's keyboardist Tony Rogers has been diagnosed with testicular cancer. According to BBC News, Rogers has undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy making his chances of recovery very high, the band said on their official Web site.
Russian director Stanislav Rostotsky, whose films revolve around life in the Soviet Union from World War II until the reforms of the late 1980s and early 1990s, has died of a heart attack at 79, BBC News reports.
Garth Hudson, founding member of The Band, has filed for bankruptcy for the third time. The musician, 64, faces foreclosure on his Hudson Valley home in New York, AP reports.
The struggle among SAG and AFTRA ended Friday, with members of both actors unions giving the new film-TV deal a 97 percent endorsement, Reuters reports.
Singer-actress Cher is selling her 14,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom Malibu home for $25 million after she finished building a new home on land that was purchased eight years ago, AP reports. Cher's home is on 2.5 acres with a guesthouse, a pool, tennis court and unobstructed coastline view.
Al Pacino and Colin Farrell will star in The Farm, a suspense thriller that revolves around a young CIA operative (Farrell) and his relationship with his doublecrossing mentor (Pacino). Jamie Foley will direct, Reuters reports.
Cary Elwes, from The Princess Bride andShadow of the Vampire, has joined the cast of The X-Files. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Elwes will play FBI assistant director Brad Follmer and the ex-boyfriend of special agent Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish). He will make his first appearance on the show's ninth-season premiere episode.
The owner of Boston's Bull & Finch pub, which inspired the television show Cheers, will open a new bar next week that replicates the sitcom's set, AP reports. The two-story restaurant, which will house Sam Malone's Red Sox jacket and Cliff's mail carrier uniform, will open in Faneuil Hall, owner Tom Kershaw said. The interior of the original bar, on Beacon Hill, bears no resemblance to the fictional Cheers bar.
Mexican singer Gloria Tevi has turned down a $40,000 offer by imprisoned Brazilian drug lord Luiz Fernando da Costa has offered to pay $40,000 to Mexican singer Gloria exclusive musical performance. Tevi has been in jail for more than a year as she waits to be transferred to Mexico, where she faces charges of sexual abuse.
Immune Deficiency Foundation member Carol Ann Demaret is campaigning against the release of Bubble Boy, a comedy about a teen-ager confined to live in a plastic bubble to fight an immune system disorder. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Demaret wrote letters accusing Disney of making fun of her son David, who lived that way until his death at the age of 12. Disney execs point out that the film was made by Touchstone, a subsidiary, and that it is the basis for a road-trip comedy and is not meant to portray any real-life person.