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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A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.
Have you ever wanted to own all of the Friday The 13th films? Even Jason Takes Manhattan? Well, good news: the Friday The 13th Ultimate Collection is coming to DVD. The 31st anniversary collection includes deluxe editions of the first eight Friday films, including a 3D edition of Friday The 13th: Part 3. This limited edition includes a collector’s booklet, hours of deleted scenes, and a replica hockey mask, perfect for scaring the crap out of your friends/playing hockey. The DVD set will be released on October 4, in time for Halloween. (Unfortunately, the 13th in October is only a Thursday)
DVD Features include:
The FRIDAY THE 13th-Uncut Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish Mono along with English, French and Spanish subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Commentary by director Sean S. Cunningham with cast and crew
Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th
The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham
Friday the 13th Reunion
Lost Tales From Camp Blood – Part 1
The FRIDAY THE 13th Part 2 Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish Mono along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Inside “Crystal Lake Memories”
Friday’s Legacy: Horror Conventions
Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 2
The FRIDAY THE 13th Part 3-3D Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish Mono along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Disc contents are as follows:
3D Version of the film (includes 3D glasses)
The FRIDAY THE 13th THE FINAL CHAPTER Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish Mono along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Commentary by director Joe Zito, screenwriter Barney Cohen and editor Joel Goodman
Fan commentary by Adam Green and Joe Lynch
Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 4
Jason’s Unlucky Day: 25 Years After Friday the 13th The Final Chapter
The Lost Ending
The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part I
Jimmy’s Dead Dance Moves
The FRIDAY THE 13th PART V: A NEW BEGINNING Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish Mono along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Commentary by director/co-screenwriter Danny Steinmann with cast and crew
Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 5
The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part II
New Beginnings: The Making of Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
The FRIDAY THE 13th PART VI: JASON LIVES Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, English 2.0 Surround and French and Spanish Mono along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Commentary by director Tom McLoughlin with cast and crew
Lost Tales from Camp Blood – Part 6
The Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited Part III
Jason Lives: The Making of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Meeting Mr. Voorhees
The FRIDAY THE 13th PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, English 2.0 Surround, French Mono and Spanish Mono along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Killer Commentary by director John Carl Buechler and actors Lar Park Lincoln and Kane Hodder
Jason’s Destroyer: The Making of Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
Mind Over Matter: The Truth About Telekinesis
Makeover by Maddy: Need a Little Touch-Up Work, My Ass
Slashed Scenes Intro
The FRIDAY THE 13th PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN Deluxe Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, English 2.0 Surround, French 2.0 Surround and Spanish 2.0 Surround along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus material includes:
Killer Commentary by actors Scott Reeves, Jensen Daggett and Kane Hodder
New York Has a New Problem: The Making of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Nicolas Cage was left stunned at the premiere of his hard-hitting new film World Trade Center when the Port Authority Police Department sergeant he portrayed onscreen handed him a special 9/11 memento.
Terrorist attack survivor John McLoughlin was so touched by the actor's performance in the Oliver Stone movie, he gave Cage a cross made from steel salvaged from the rubble of the Twin Towers.
Cage put his hand to his chest and gasped as he realized what he was being given by the hero he plays in the film.
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For most of us the feeling of being frozen on 9/11 will never leave; it was our knee-jerk reaction to news and images that we just couldn’t wrap our heads around. But for policemen and -women and countless other emergency personnel in New York City on Sept. 11 2001 the knee-jerk reactions were those of duty and instinct--and as World Trade Center demonstrates a human’s most basic instinct is to want to help a fellow human. After the first plane hit the World Trade Center Sgt. John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) a veteran of the Port Authority Police Department and PAPD officer Will Jimeno (Michael Pena) were amongst the first responders who raced into the heart of pandemonium. Mere hours earlier the two men were heading in for another day at the office the twin towers hovering exclamation marks in the skyline that enveloped their morning commute; hours later the officers were trapped under twisted metal that was previously the Trade Center from which only 20 people would be rescued. WTC tells of their desperate struggle to stay awake let alone alive with the help of the spirits of their wives Donna McLoughlin (Maria Bello) and Allison Jimeno (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who were equally in the dark. Even with all the agent hardball and anticipatory buzz that likely factored into these actors earning these roles there’s something noble in their seeking involvement. That nobility manages to come across in even the smallest roles. For one we’ve never seen Cage quite like this--stern hushed steely impenetrable. (Even in his somber roles like Leaving Las Vegas he is animated and herky-jerky.) But it’s those traits that convey a dutiful man of the law a man who tries to remain levelheaded even while pinned beneath a building’s worth of debris--anything to improve his chances of seeing his family again. Cage also nails a subtle New York accent--which would seem in theory difficult for him--making his character lived-in instead of methodized. As his cohabitant for what seems an eternity Pena also scores big. Last year’s Crash put him on the map; WTC breaks him out. As the much younger and slightly less severely hurt of the two Pena’s Jimeno adds a touch more energy even comedy at one point humming TV-show theme songs. The men’s beleaguered wives wear the terror on their faces and wear it well and there couldn’t have been two better choices than Gyllenhaal and Bello. Gyllenhaal’s Jimeno is heavily pregnant with hormonal swings that don’t help her already distraught state while Bello’s expression looks even more urgent than it did throughout A History of Violence. If he weren’t on the inside looking out Oliver Stone might’ve said it himself: There’s something not right about America’s darkest day looking glossy as a poster advertising its movie. Ironically it’s Stone who’s responsible for this effect in WTC. Doubly ironic is the fact that the man who has always been such a controversy magnet tackles his most incendiary project only to produce by far his tamest effort yet. In that sense there are reasons to admire Stone’s finished product--“product” in every sense of the word--but there is a gaping void where his voice or slant usually goes. And while it’s honorable for him to sacrifice his beloved politicizing and philosophizing--there’s hardly any attention paid to the attack or the Bush administration--for the sake of WTC’s heroism Stone in a decidedly anti-Stone move has turned this film into Apollo 13 all the way down to its absurd box-office minded PG-13 rating. The true story is obviously compelling; its movie dramatization as borderline unpatriotic as it may sound is “soap opera” compelling. But maybe that’s because more so than Stone’s sudden conservatism some true stories--earmuffs Hollywood--are too big for the big screen.
Hollywood star Nicolas Cage spent hours in a sense-deprivation tank to understand exactly what his character in upcoming 9/11 film World Trade Center suffered.
The movie--directed by Oliver Stone--tells the story of the last two people found alive in the rubble of the collapsed Twin Towers in 2001 and Cage, who plays police officer John McLoughlin, was desperate to do justice to his heroic character.
He says, "I focused on getting Mr. McLoughlin's New York accent right.
"I spent time in a sense-deprivation tank to get a hint of the fear and claustrophobia one might experience after hours immobile and in pain in the dark.
"I also spent some time with McLoughlin and his family.
Cage Defends 9/11 Film
Academy Award-winner Nicolas Cage has hit out at criticisms his role in upcoming 9/11 film World Trade Center is insensitive to the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The movie has outraged relatives of victims who died in the tragedy, who fear it has been sensationalized by Hollywood.
However, Cage, who plays police officer John McLoughlin, insists it's a fitting and accurate tribute to the heroes of that day.
He tells British tabloid The Sun, "The movie is not meant to entertain.
"I see it as storytelling which depicts history. This is what happened. Look at it.
"The picture feels like real time unfolding. It smacks of reality and feels as real as it can. The movie's about what happened among this handful of men when the buildings came down."
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The wife of a Sept. 11 victim convinced Maggie Gyllenhaal to star in Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, despite comments the actress made about America's 'responsibility' for the terrorist attack last year.
The Secretary star decided she would have to meet real-life hero Port Authority Officer William Jimeno and his wife Alison--whom she plays--to explain her position, and she was ready to drop out of the hard-hitting drama.
The movie, which stars Nicolas Cage, is based on the story of William Jimeno and his partner Sergeant John McLoughlin, who became trapped by falling debris as they attempted to rescue the injured.
Alison says of Gyllenhaal after she visited her New Jersey home, "Right away, both Will and I felt comfortable with her and realized how sincere and passionate she is. We had no problem with her in this movie."
Gyllenhaal decided to go ahead with the role: "I wanted to tell them the absolute truth of what I meant. If they still didn't want me to play Allison after that, then I wouldn't have."
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Paramount studios have been slammed for announcing Nicolas Cage will star in
Hollywood's first movie dramatization of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks--within 24 hours of the London bombings on July 7.
News of the movie broke in the Friday edition of showbiz newspaper
Variety, the day after the tragedy in the English capital, and a studio insider
admits the timing is not "ideal."
The movie giants have shocked the public with their inadvertent display of
double standards--studios and broadcasters avoided any theme reminiscent of
the devastating attacks on New York's World Trade Center, even erasing images
of the towers from film stock where possible.
The movie, which will feature Cage as real-life policeman Sergeant John
McLoughlin, is based on an original screenplay by Andrea Berloff about
McLoughlin and his colleague William Jimeno, who were saved from the wreckage
of the Twin Towers.
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