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Writer/director Neill Blomkamp has recently expressed some dismay about the final cut of his sophomore film, Elysium. With a large budget and audacious concept, that sci-fi film with a social conscience had a lot of potential, yet the film only had scattered moments of brilliance. Blomkamp is certainly a filmmaker with ideas about placing sleek sci-fi stories into a crude, graffiti-strewn Johannesburg and watching how grit and genre can come together. However, the mesh between his humanist sci-fi allegories and high-octane action has always been inconsistent, dating back to his striking 2009 debut, District 9.
Chappie, his latest film, is yet another instance of a filmmaker thriving for the same ideals but coming up short. The genre here is not as much science fiction as cautionary 80s films that meant to prophesize the future schism between people and robotic prototypes. Blomkamp has admitted to being a fan of early James Cameron and Paul Verhoeven, »
- Jordan Adler
Plot: In a futuristic South Africa patrolled by police robots, one defective model is given human emotions by his creator (Dev Patel). Now known as Chappie (Sharlto Copley) the robot falls into the hands of a group of thugs who want to use him to help them pull off a violent heist, while the deranged engineer (Hugh Jackman) of a rival robot wants to use this outlaw model as a way to make his own machine king of the streets. Review: After District 9, it seemed like all fandom was ready to »
- Chris Bumbray
Director: Neill Blomkamp; Screenwriters: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell; Starring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman; Running time: 120 mins; Certificate: 15
District 9 and Elysium director Neill Blomkamp has the geek world in a tizzy right now over his proposed Alien sequel, perhaps slightly overshadowing the fact that he actually has a new film coming out.
Robo-comedy Chappie is another original blockbuster that blends propulsive action with high-minded science fiction ideas. Whereas the Oscar-nominated District 9 looked at apartheid through extraterrestrials and Elysium tackled wealth disparity, Chappie wears its thematic undercurrent lightly, only scratching the surface when it comes to the growing significance of artificial intelligence.
Familiar faces Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver and Dev Patel head up the cast, but it's actually South African rap group Die Antwoord (members Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er star as versions of themselves) and Blomkamp regular »
Intelligence, artificial or otherwise, is one of the major casualties of “Chappie,” a robot-themed action movie that winds up feeling as clunky and confused as the childlike droid with which it shares its name. Mashing together various elements from director Neill Blomkamp’s earlier sci-fi pictures (including another prominent role for Sharlto Copley), this South African spin on “Short Circuit” displays the same handheld immediacy and scene-setting verve as its predecessors, but all in service of a chaotically plotted story and a central character so frankly unappealing he almost makes Jar-Jar Binks seem like tolerable company by comparison. Absent “District 9’s” subtle apartheid allegory or “Elysium’s” health-care brief, but offering a bizarre performance showcase for the rap-rave group Die Antwoord, Blomkamp’s third feature exhausts its meager ideas and the viewer well before the end of its two-hour running time. Curiosity will beckon for a few, but this »
- Justin Chang
After three science fiction outings within the last six years, all of similar vision, maybe it's time Neill Blomkamp stopped retreading the same territory. His "District 9" was a thing of wonder because of its unfamiliarity — it was a wildly enjoyable sci-fi narrative with an effective metaphor involving class warfare at its core. Since then, with two more films sharing similar themes and settings, the repetition has gotten considerably less impressive. "Chappie" is the latest of those endeavors, and while it has a few appealing qualities, as a whole it amounts to a well-intentioned bag of missed opportunities. Blomkamp, who has always tackled weighty ideas in his films — from apartheid to economic dysfunction — now settles on artificial intelligence with a similarly inquisitive edge, mainly thanks to an inventive lead role — Blomkamp regular Sharlto Copley delivers a brilliant motion captured performance as the titular robot — but the rest of the cast struggles. »
- Travis Clark
Artificial intelligence – and its close link to the essence of humanity – is one of cinema’s favourite topics. There are tons of films about robots with varying degrees of sentience. 2001: A Space Odyssey, I, Robot, The Terminator, Blade Runner, Her, Wall-e, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence are just a few of them. The list could go on and on.
Blomkamp, Patel, and the Chappie crew go behind the science of artificial intelligence in the below two featurettes. Check them out below, and make sure to catch the film by the South African-Canadian director on Friday, March 6!
- Sasha James
Sharlto Copley doesn't go into any gig anything less than full throttle. The actor, who first broke onto the scene in 2009's District 9, has in a few short years gained a reputation as an intense and fiercely committed performer; as Matt Damon told me a few years ago, "Sharlto has no governor." And though I doubt he went "method" for his latest role, as a childlike robot called Chappie attempting to find his footing in a violent world, »
- Eric Walkuski
When asked by Digital Spy if his new movie would be closer to the "sci-fi/horror" of Alien or "sci-fi/action" of its 1986 sequel Aliens, Blomkamp said: "I want it to be the third of those three movies, so I'm going to try my best to make it try to live up to those [first] two."
Blomkamp also told AlloCiné: "My favourites are the first two movies, so I wanna make a film that's connected to Alien and Aliens - that's my goal.
Prior to his confirmation as the new Alien movie's director, Blomkamp posted pictures of concept art - featuring Weaver's lead character Ripley - that »
To celebrate this week’s release of Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie we have an exclusive featurette from the movie. The promo, which centers on the artificial intelligence, which lies at the heart if the film’s story, features interviews with the director, star Hugh Jackman as well as various technical advisors on the film.
From the director of District 9 and Elysium comes Chappie, starring Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, with Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman. Every child comes into the world full of promise, and none more so than Chappie: he is gifted, special, a prodigy. Like any child, Chappie will come under the influence of his surroundings – some good, some bad – and he will rely on his heart and soul to find his way in the world and become his own man. But there’s one thing that makes Chappie different from anyone else: he is a robot. »
- Paul Heath
Sigourney Weaver has said that science fiction movies "don't get enough respect" when it comes to major awards recognition.
"It is a genre that I think doesn't get enough respect when you consider how many issues sci-fi brings up that we need to deal with," said Weaver, who won a Best Actress Oscar nomination for Aliens.
"I think part of it is the Academy is mostly people like me who are over a certain age and they're still probably looking for the more conventional movie. I think all that's going to change because some of the work being done in sci-fi is some of the most interesting, provocative work out there."
Blomkamp, whose 2009 breakthrough District 9 earned a Best Picture nomination, added he hoped a »
Neill Blomkamp's third full feature film as director, Chappie, arrives in cinemas this Friday. The film features Sharlto Copley, Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman, and it follows the huge success that Blomkamp enjoyed with District 9, and the not quite so much success he had with Elysium.
Chatting to Uproxx, Blomkamp has been looking back at Elysium, and told the site that "any frustration I feel with Elysium is with myself". In specific reference to whether he feels under extra pressure because his first film did so well, and then his second underperformed, Blomkamp said that he didn''t, but added "the thing that bothers me is if I feel like I fucked it up".
So is that how he feels about Elysium? "A little bit", he admitted.
"I feel like, »
From mullets to mutton chops and extravagant mustaches – it's safe to say Hugh Jackman has seen the spectrum when it comes to his hair.
Et sat down with Jackman to talk about his new film Chappie, and he told us about his mullet and the many other hairstyles he’s donned throughout the years.
"I'm going be honest, you know why I love this haircut? Low maintenance," Jackman told Et. "Typical man. Low maintenance."
20th Century Fox
"That's the most high-maintenance haircut of all," said Jackman. "I'm singly responsible for the hole in the ozone layer with the amount of hairspray I've used."
"Three days spent in Disney World with my daughter and her friends for her birthday, and I got recognized twice," said Jackman. "One of those »
They say that the month of March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Traditionally, March was an unconventional month to release huge tentpole movies, but that all changed a few years ago when The Hunger Games took in $152.5 million in its opening weekend, proving that this month could be used to launch huge blockbuster franchises. To get you prepared for the month ahead, we're breaking down the five movies we're most looking forward to this March, along with an indie honorable mention. Here are the best movies awaiting you in the weeks ahead!
1Chappie - March 6
South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp returns with his third feature film Chappie, following Best Picture nominee District 9 and the sci-fi tentpole Elysium. The filmmaker goes back to his South African roots with Chappie, which centers on the title robot (voiced by Sharlto Copley), who is the first android »
We're only three months into 2015 but already it feels like blockbuster season is here. This month sees the next instalment in The Divergent Series, a new offering from Neill Blomkamp and Disney reinventing an old classic in live-action. Add these to an Oscar winning acting showcase and the latest from Studio Ghibli and March is looking golden.
Release diary: What movies are coming out in 2015?
Digital Spy rounds up the five films you have to see this March...
Release date: March 6
Why you should see it: All the talk surrounding Neill Blomkamp at the moment is surrounding his proposed Alien sequel, perhaps overshadowing the fact he actually has a new film coming out. Following on from District 9 and Elysium, the filmmaker's third feature Chappie centres on a police robot who's rebooted and develops a consciousness. Look out for a mulleted Hugh Jackman, Die Antwoord playing themselves and startlingly »
Madrid – Could Sony in Spain have come up with a solution to the costs and hassle of stars tub-thumping their latest movies worldwide?
On Saturday, in what Sony Pictures Releasing de España calls cinema’s first-ever holographic press conference, in this case staged for “Chappie,” the holograms of Hugh Jackman and Neill Blomkamp fielded questions from the Spanish press in Madrid — which the real-life Jackman and Blomkamp answered sitting in a hotel in Berlin.
Using Musion 3D holographic projection, in technical terms, the press conference was a stomping success. Bar a typical second-or-so delay in satellite sound transmission, the South African director and star of “Chappie,” quiescently sitting on stools, hands folded, came over loud and clear. There were no cuts or blur. And neither spent the whole time, as in many video satellite link-ups, trying to stuff an electronic gizmo further into an ear.
In the case of the presser for “Chappie, »
- John Hopewell
"Walker used to be the costumed vigilante 'Diamond', but became a cop after he lost his super-powered abilities.
"Though stripped of his powers, he still retains his contacts within the superhero community.
"'Deena Pilgrim' contracted her superpowers during a fight with an underworld thug named the 'Bug'. As a result of this, she unintentionally kills an abusive boyfriend in self-defense, then hides the evidence, after coming »
- Michael Stevens
As a former superhero, Christian Walker (played by Sharlto Copley) has his work cut out dealing with all things supernatural as part of his city’s Powers Division, a no-nonsense force that attempt to establish a sense of equilibrium between the everyday folk and the superhumans that soar across the sky above them.
It’s a conflict that will underpin Walker’s arc throughout the show’s first season, and his inner conflict is alluded to in Sony’s latest clip for the PlayStation-exclusive series. Adapted from Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming’s eponymous comic series, Powers will follow Walker and his partner Deena Pilgrim (Susan Heyward) as they find themselves caught amidst the two factions.
Sony’s PlayStation-exclusive »
- Michael Briers
As Powers gears up to make its PlayStation Network debut on March 10th, comic book co-creator Brian Michael Bendis has taken to Twitter to premiere the first TV spot from the 10-part series, which you can see here…
New Commercial! See the first episode of #POWERSonPS for free March 10th on http://t.co/nn49gxN7vd https://t.co/1GbWDVMWCv
— Brian Michael Bendis (@Brianmbendis) February 24, 2015
See Also: New featurette gives us an inside look at Powers
Powers, an edgy dramatic series from Sony Pictures Television and inspired by the graphic novel series of the same name, follows the lives of two homicide detectives, Christian Walker (Copley) and Deena Pilgrim (Heyward), who are assigned to investigate cases involving people with extraordinary abilities, referred to as “Powers.” Set amidst today’s paparazzi culture, Powers asks the questions, what if the world was full of superheroes who aren’t actually heroic at all? »
- Gary Collinson
What happens to a superhero when you take away his powers? It’s a question that’s been asked countless times in comic books, and it’ll be asked again in Powers, the first original scripted series from PlayStation. Sharlto Copley plays former superhero Christian Walker. After losing his abilities, he becomes a cop specializing in cases involving superpowers. He feels […]
- Angie Han
Neill Blomkamp, acclaimed director of District 9 and Elysium, brings you Chappie -- his startling vision of the future, where humanity's last hope isn't human. In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. But now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. As powerful, destructive forces start to see Chappie as a danger to mankind and order, they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind. Directed by Neill Blomkamp, written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, Chappie stars Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sigourney Weaver, and »
- Pietro Filipponi
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