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Tuesday
Feb182014

Movie Review: 'RoboCop'

RoboCop

Starring Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by Jose Padilha
Rated PG-13


Depending on which side of the fence you reside on, 1987’s RoboCop is either a great footnote in cinema or it’s a pure junk pop cinematic experience.    I tend to think it’s the latter.  Yes, I love RoboCop mightly  and you can’t argue that the movie didn’t nail what it set out to achieve, but like a lot of Paul Verhoeven’s films, there are moments where the word cringe comes into play.  I guess that’s the beauty of Paul Verhoeven and for a stretch of time back in the day; there was no one like him.  With this being the second Verhoeven film to get a remake (the first being the truly awful Total Recall remake), there was more than a fair share of people (including myself) who felt remaking RoboCop was crossing the line a little bit.  What could someone do to enhance and improve upon the original?  It’s a question that tries to get answered in RoboCop circa 2014.  And while the movie held my attention, it also did more wrong than good.

The idea of a police state and a world that has technology protecting us seems more prevalent now than it did back in 1987.  And had the original film come out today, I have no doubt in my mind that the enthusiasm and love for it would remain intact.  If you watch it today, the original ages really well.  Hell even the special effects looks pretty good.  So again the question is asked, why remake it at all?  I still don’t have an answer for that and I could spend an infinite amount of time trying to figure it out, I’ll instead just take a deep breath and try to watch RoboCop, circa 2014, with as much as a open mind as I possibly could.  The results of this film are somewhat surprising, given not only the fanboy backlash, but a leaked script that showed how awful this film could have been and trailers that left you with a “who gives a shit” response. New RoboCop will probably be forgotten pretty quickly, but at least its leaps and bounds better than the Total Recall remake, even better than RoboCop 2 or 3, but that's not really saying much.

The new RoboCop, just like the first one, centers on Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) a Detroit cop, who is just trying to do some good.  But Murphy crosses paths with the wrong people, resulting suffering life threatening injuries from his car blowing up. But Murphy's life is spared thanks to Omnicorp, who use Murphy as a guinea pig of sorts.  You see Omnicorp is looking to install their robots on U.S soil as protection against all the evil that lurks in the shadows.  But Omnicorp has a bad image problem and hope that installing a little humanity into one of it's machines will help sway the public to their side.  But Omnicorp is divided on how to proceed between it's founder Raymond Sellars (MIchael Keaton) and the doctor who put Murphy back together, Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman).  But Murphy starts to recall how his demise came about and sets out to bring down the hammer of justice.  

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Monday
Feb172014

Critical Hit's Month-Azaki Part 1: 'Spirited Away'

This month, we see the wide release of the final film from famed anime director Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises.  He's had a long and illustrious career, and it's truly a shame to see him go.  All good things must come to an end.  Now, to celebrate his retirement, the folks at StoryForge are going to spend the month looking individually at five of his films.  The first up on the list is Spirited Away, the film that introduced many people, including myself to his genius.

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Wednesday
Feb122014

Movie Review: 'The Lego Movie'

The Lego Movie

Starring Chris Pratt, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks
Directed by Chris Miller & Phil Lord
Rated PG


I really didn't have much of an opinion leading up to the release of the The Lego Movie.  The trailers looked good, but I was figuring it for a lesser childrens film that was coming out during a weak month.  But then the reactions and reviews prior to the release were downright glowing.  Naturally of course, you start to think that there maybe something to this thing they call the Lego Movie. I've been wrong before, having thought nothing of Frozen but walked out enjoying that one way more than any adult male probably has a right to.  So with that being said, I walked into The Lego Movie was a bit of excitement.   But that excitement didn't sustain...almost...but not quite.

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Tuesday
Feb112014

Gary Oldman Reveals New 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Details

It hadn't really occurred to me until now just how good of a relationship Gary Oldman seems to have with the press.  Between his many public Dark Knight Rises interviews, the way the Robocop previews tout his insistence that it's a smart movie, and today's story, it seems as though plenty of people think his opinion is important.  That's not a bad thing, of course, just an unusual thing.  Here's some footage of him describe the role he plays in the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

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Monday
Feb102014

Movie Review: 'The Monuments Men'

The Monuments Men

Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman
Directed by George Clooney
Rated PG-13


The Monuments Men, George Clooney’s retelling of how during WWII, a group of art historians, architects, museum directors and curators were commissioned to go save paintings, sculptures and the like from not only being stolen and destroyed by the Nazi's, is fascinating, at least to me.  These men, possibly too old or broken down to properly serve in WWII, were brought in during the waning days to save important works of art so that the future world wouldn’t be without them.  While the number of people commissioned to take on this task was about 400, Clooney (who also co-wrote and produced) decided to shrink his focus to 7.  Depending on how you construct your story, this can work in your favor or it can seem dishonest.   Clooney’s story isn’t exactly dishonest, but it doesn’t do him any favors either.

 

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