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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Take Me Home Tonight directed by Michael Dowse is a comedy about the ‘80s but its futility is timeless: In just about any decade it would be considered generic and unfunny. Set in 1988 it stars the likable and witty Topher Grace as Matt a recent MIT grad with a crippling case of post-college career-indecision. Working as a lowly clerk at a video store he has a chance encounter with his high-school crush Tori (Teresa Palmer) who to his (and our) surprise actually displays faint interest in him. But Matt fails to pull the trigger and so he resolves to make up for his lack of cojones when he sees her later that evening at a party hosted by the preppy douchebag boyfriend (Chris Pratt) of his twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris).
This sets the stage for an eventual romantic union between Matt and Tori; until then there is insecurity to overcome and wacky adventures to be had. Many of the latter stem from the increasingly unhinged behavior of Matt’s best friend Barry (Dan Fogler). The film turns on a bag of cocaine Barry finds in the glove compartment of a Mercedes stolen from the dealership that fired him earlier in the day. Cocaine is renowned for its ability to induce euphoria in even the most mundane of settings but it has arguably the opposite effect on Take Me Home Tonight. I consider Fogler to be a legitimately funny guy but he has the irritating tendency to compensate for underwritten material by wildly overacting. Throw in a bag of blow and that tendency is amplified ten-fold.
A happy standout in the film is Palmer who brings a liveliness and dignity to the stereotypical rom-com role of the Otherworldly Hottie Who Inexplicably Falls for the Stammering Schlub. (It also helps that she's the only member of the main cast who is young enough to realistically portray a recent college graduate.) She is one of the more talented young Australian exports to arrive on our shores in quite some time and has the potential to become a saucier version of fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman. That is if she finds material better than Take Me Home Tonight.
There really is no accounting for taste, especially in the minds of youngsters. Will Smith and his summer box-office disappointment "Wild Wild West" grabbed three awards at Nickelodeon’s 13th annual Kids’ Choice Awards taped Friday night at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Smith won three orange blimps for favorite song ("Wild Wild West"), favorite song from a movie (ooh … guess the song) and favorite male singer.
Rosie O'Donnell (who emceed the event) and Adam Sandler each won two awards. O’Donnell, in fact, picked up the highest honor of the evening, the Hall of Fame Award for her humor and charity work.
Other orange blimp winners included the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Melissa Joan Hart and Mandy Moore.
And in a surprise career move, Robert De Niro (yes, Robert De Niro) presented an award, as did LL Cool J, 98 Degrees, Carly Pope and Leslie Bibb from the WB’s "Popular" and Mel Gibson.
GARBO’S SECRETS INTACT: Historians unsealed more than 100 letters and other correspondence between Greta Garbo and Mercedes De Acosta on Saturday, but anyone hoping that rumors of a lesbian love affair between the actress and her socialite friend would be confirmed are likely to be disappointed. Garbo's grandniece, Gray Reisfield Horan, told the Associated Press, "I see nothing that refers to a liaison … I don't think there's much here to back it up. I only knew her to be interested in men." The items were unsealed 10 years after Garbo’s death, as she requested in her will. Garbo’s estate won’t let the media quote the letters, but it’s possible the letters may be published in a book.
LATIN SIZZLE: Actors Antonio Banderas and Cameron Diaz, along with singers Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera, were among the Hispanic performers who were honored Sunday in Pasadena, Calif., at the fifth annual American Latino Media Arts Awards.
ALMA kudos also went to Latin tube talents Hector Elizondo of "Chicago Hope," Wilson Cruz of "Party of Five" and Laura Ceron of "ER."
Ten musical performers were recognized, including the Backstreet Boys, Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan (with 'N Sync), Enrique Iglesias, Mariah Carey, Rage Against the Machine and Santana. Martin nabbed the male entertainer of the year award for shaking his bon-bon while Lopez, also of bon-bon fame, and Aguilera, of future bon-bon fame, received awards for female entertainer and new female entertainer, respectively.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MOUSE: Disney has paid horror director Clive Barker an advance of $4 million against nearly $8 million for all movie and ancillary rights to four unpublished fantasy novels he is writing. Collectively, the books carry the tentative title ``The Abarat Quartet.''
BLAME CANADA: Actor, Canadian and former Julia Roberts fiance Kiefer Sutherland joined thousands of protesters in Calgary, Alberta, on Saturday to protest plans to privatize some of Canada’s public health care system. Perhaps he was worried about his own benefits, since his acting career has apparently gone into cardiac arrest.
MURDOCH HAS CANCER: Doctors are planning several weeks of radiation treatment for Fox media mogul Rupert Murdoch. In a statement published by Murdoch's newspapers over the weekend, a spokesman said: "His doctors have told Mr. Murdoch the prognosis is very good. ... He has no intention of changing his work schedule."
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: All it takes to own the pair of ruby red slippers from "The Wizard of Oz" is a whole lotta of cash. A pristine pair of slippers made for Judy Garland will be sold to the highest bidder May 24 by Christie's auction house, and collectors estimate the pair could fetch $750,000. Also available are the Cowardly Lion's "Oz" costume, a Rolls-Royce from the James Bond classic "Goldfinger" and Christopher Reeve's Superman capes and body stockings.