Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The 1980s RoboCop was more bleak and devious, this suffers from too much PC
I believe this goes into the pile of "not so bad, but could have been great" remakes. Much of this could have been settled in the editing room for me, story second, as the story was there - why move so fr from it? There was too much PC and government, not enough deviousness and big business.
The main problem I had is with the addition of the 'family' story line, as it is an "always used" device in films to "get the women" interested in a film, which tells me this production thinks little of women and their advancement even 26 years later. In the 80s version, I loved seeing women fight right along side of men (Murphy's partner in the 80s version vs. Murphy's partner in this one), equal to men, not dragging their children around sobbing about their husbands, etc. That was a downer for me.
They could have ditched the sappy family line story, and they should have left in the heartbreaking one where his wife and family didn't know, that this took so long that the family was gone when Murphy started recalling his human side. More importantly, that began to show the human side was "still" there for Murphy. Murphy had NO idea what they did to him, did not authorize it, and that made the story even more sad and horrific.
Another storyline in the 80s version that I thought should have stayed, the New Detroit police department was not liking a "Robocop" and had to "warm up" to the idea. They never really did, but the animosity towards this 'machine against the human' police force was an underlying current that helped drive the film back then. RoboCop was a cop and they were cops in a violent society and they knew they were all there for the common good. The problem was not with the police department and never should have been.
This one 'threw in' the family of Murphy and the force knowing and that dragged down all the better updated elements of this film which happened to be in the update of politics vs. humanity. The film was much kinder to the greed and money aspect of why there was a RoboCop. In the 80s version the mash-up of big business-corporation (employees vs board of directors)-money-reed-street hustlers all becoming one is not very apparent in this version. The 80s version mash-up of all of this was the villain(s). This one was all over the place trying to make a villain (A weak attempt with Washington politics, RoboCop technology makers, police department) but never connecting it like the 80s one did.
The 80s RoboCop really focused on greed, senseless violence and had one heck of an ideal of a bleak future of gangs and street gang leaders working with Corporate business America in "New Detroit". RoboCop was no longer in question, but a need.
This, while a good effort in technology and CGI, (and the warehouse scene looking just like a FPS video game) was more milquetoast -- like the studio was "scared" for this to be even more bleak and violent, put women as equals, and underhanded as the original. The elements of change were there, and it should have been presented.
A movie that's a story
Nebraska is a story that was wonderfully done and made me wonder -- with all the shoot up, bang up, blow up, young-naked Hollywood films making so much box office, how this ever got done. Alexander Payne is how it did, he directed a wonderful story. It's not for everyone, and I think that some people who watch it now and disliked it, will see it 30 years from now may not dislike it so much as they may see it in a different perspective.
The easiest thing to 'get' about Nebraska was that it is about an older man Woody, played wonderfully by Bruce Dern, who believes he's won a million dollars through a mail marketing program. He's headstrong as he wants to claim his prize and nothing will stop him from doing so, but there may be more going on there such as a degenerative order like Alzheimers or Dementia. His son, played by Will Forte, knows what this program is about, but cannot convince his dad it is not what it seems. So the two sets off on a road trip to claim the prize.
What we get is a road trip mixed with all sorts of people, some quirky, some jealous, and for me, some a few overblown (the cousins, for example) but it did not ruin the film for me. They all worked as some folks that reminded me of real people. The multi-layers come in when it gets out that Woody may be a million dollar winner. Some people are happy about it, some people want to take advantage. While we know the mail marketing company may have taken advantage, people can too especially where any hint of money is concerned. So besides going through Woody's ordeal, the film also goes through his family's, the town, his so-called acquaintances and a father-son bond that by the end of the film becomes heartwarming.
This is filmed in black and white, but a very sharp black and white which I think enhances the film. The supporting performances by Stacy Keach (as Ed Pegram) and June Squibb (as Kate Grant) were stand out as well. It's not a film for everyone, but for those who just want to see a story being told that will make you think after it's over, Nebraska is for you too.
Clear History (2013)
Make no mistake, this is a Larry David film with Larry David being Larry David. The thing about Larry is, it would be hard pressed for him to act into any other character, and that is a great deal of his charm.
Here, he takes on the role of a marketing genius who was hired for his expertise in making a product a part of the consumer idiom. Nathan is apparently excellent at doing just that. However, he gets hired by a boss, played by Jon Hamm, who is very obnoxious and egotistical and names the product, an automobile, after his son, Howard. Nathan's marketing instincts tell him that is a bomb of a name for the automobile, which will make the marketing of it very hard to consumers, and he tells his boss so. His boss takes it personally, so Nathan does what he feels is best, quit. Even though he owns a percentage in the stake of the company, he gives it all up.
Suffice to say, the car actually becomes a success to consumers regardless of the marketing used/needed, and Nathan is branded 'the stupidest person' in the world for giving up his stake which would have made him extremely rich. Years later, Nathan has moved to a small, quiet "island", changes his name and gets a menial job to live the rest of his life out to try to forget his biggest mistake, but his ex-boss and his wife moves to the island and proceeds to build a 'McMansion' Nathan is hell-bent on revenge and precedes to exact it.
Now, that sounds like an entertaining premise, and it is. However for me, the execution at points became uneven and really over worked. Larry brings his humor and pathos to the character of Nathan, but unlike other characters Larry has developed, I didn't want to root for Nathan. I became uninterested and this got grading as it went along.
Also the sub-sub-sub plot of Larry finding out about the goings on of a girlfriend he had ions ago, and her association with the band Chicago could have been excluded. It was over wrought, over used and unneeded. I do appreciate hearing Chicago's music, but not as part of this film as it didn't seem to "flow" to enhance the story in any way as soundtracks can/do. It just seemed like a bunch of their wonderful materials placed in a film haphazardly. Didn't do them justice at all.
Clear History was a 50/50 for me as I like watching Larry David because only he can bring a perspective to a character that you can 'get' every now and then, even if his character makes stupid decisions or makes stupid moves. Larry's characters have an interesting way of overcoming shortcomings. It fell short in Clear History, but surely didn't have to. Larry is also good at producing ensemble pieces that revolve around his character's bad decisions, etc. Here, he had a small ensemble piece, but drifted away, trying to add material not really needed.
Pacific Rim (2013)
Sparking memories of childhood...
Pacific Rim is meant to pay homage to those who grew up around the time of "the other" ToHo films and ToHo type films entering the market like what Del Toro saw while growing up. It's been decades since these movies got the big screen treatment, and this is a nice re-entry piece decades later that I hope gives the green-light to others as well.
What's the story? Well, the story is simpler than most, but this is not a film presented to complicate your mind. It's easy to get, the characters are easy to understand. You'll get the feeling that the filmmakers are give homage to those 'kaiju' films before it, the plot, humorous scientists, those who want to make a buck off of tragedy and monsters. The 'kaiju' were all that one expects them to be: huge, menacing, loud and armed with a few surprises. And so are the man piloted robots.
The robots aren't Power Rangers or even Transformers. These Robots, called Jaegers in this film, do not transform into anything. They cannot hide or blend into the scenery. The Jaegers in this film don't throw karate kicks. The Jaegers do not give any moral messages or speeches. They too are big and loud, piloted by humans and are just battle equipment. They are "fighting machines" against the kaiju coming up from the pacific rim.
This is one of those rare films were it doesn't posses your typical movie tack-ons to lure one in (i.e., a star name, a love story, teens, etc.), and that may be one of the film's major downfalls. Audiences may be so used to this so that when its missing, they may think the film is a failure. Not necessarily. It's monsters vs. robots. The only thing I would have liked to have seen are more of the international robots & pilots and their stories, as some were mentioned but had too little screen time for my tastes.
Pacific Rim is what the old 'popcorn' movie is all about. It's monsters-from-the-deep matinée genre. It is fun, nice action fight scenes with nods to the models and scales of those old 60s films, and man within robots to save the Earth from getting taken over.
It is a movie, though.
As soon as I saw this, I read some reviews and I wonder if folks really watched this film. And the ones who did, I wonder how old they are because if you haven't seen Independence Day, Armageddon, Transformers (I, II, II, etc...at this point) and Real Steel, then I can understand the kudos. Ye,s the special effects catch your eye. And yes, you can see similarities to the Battleship game in this film. To me, that was the best part about it. But to pay $15+++ to see it, isn't worth it unless you are really bored.
The acting isn't all that great for a "pre-summer blockbuster". This is a January 5th movie at best and that is being too kind. I don't have anything good to say about any of the actors performances really so I'll just move on. Except this: Why in the heck did the filmmakers feel they had to throw in the stereotypical blonde actress with the ever bouncing chest-line that doesn't do a darn thing type in this? And the ending alien-human fight was just too ridiculous for words (and you wont be too surprised with the looks of the aliens, let me tell you. Very cheaply done). The filmmakers should be ashamed of themselves. The music isn't all that great either. It sounds like it too has been pieced together from several movies. And that screeching-transformers sound to make it more exciting, just got very annoying to me about 47 minutes in.
Sadly, I can see the razzies in this film's future.
Life 2.0 (2010)
The Next Big Cyber Thing..
This is an interesting documentary that could have gone further, but it fell into the trap of featuring the "unique", because the day to day is pretty standard. Standard yields little interest, exciting makes something go from the obscure to mainstream. I bet Second Life wants to go as mainstream as possible and become part of the vernacular like Facebook, etc. And why not? Its had quite the quite giant decade, now its time to let others know it's the "next big cyber thing".
I heard about this documentary on the radio as a promotion for the Oprah (OWN) channel's documentary feature segment. I happened to catch it via DVR. OWN did something that HBO did (and does) and scored a documentary of something that will be curious to many but of huge interest to the rest of us who know nothing about it. I'll say kudos to OWN for acquiring the documentary property. HBO may now have competition in the bidding wars of TV networks to air documentaries like this. Thank goodness, the rest of us can now see more of how the other half lives.
That being said, I never knew about Second Life, and I find it is aptly named. Reading what others have wrote about it where they have run into folks who are vampires, vamps, and the like, that is trendy and will come and go just as in anything - first or second life. I find Second Life like The Sims, but anyone can get on Second Life and not "buy" it per ce, but buy into it.
I gathered that this is what many folks feel that this is what they want their 'second life to be, or what they ARE, without face to face daily interaction with real life judgments - that is unless you WANT to go there. I think many second lifers do not want to go there, they want to become lost in virtual reality and be this new person as their real life is not so three dimensional. Is second life just another virtual escape or another chance for opportunities?
I feel that just like anything introduced into the masses that this can be a hoot, lots of fun, and an escape; your 'second life'. That is as long as you do not lose grasp of your FIRST life. If you have an addictive personality, this can get the best of you. Also as with everything, many folks will take it over the top (such as the adulterous couple profiled in this documentary), some folks will come out of that cocoon and be the butterfly they always wanted to be, and some folks are just negative a-holes because they can be. If you want to be a negative force to disrupt everyone else's fantasies, like in real life, those folks are at second life too - so there IS no way around them.
But what gets me that became clear in this documentary, is that the carpetbaggers that always find a way to buy and sell anything everywhere. It doesn't matter what bare land you discover, in comes the advertisers, commercial goods, money makers, and they are making bucks in virtual reality. You cannot escape them. Such as with Facebook (Friendster is something that didn't gel I think because it DIDN'T advance into the world of advertising/PPC, etc.) when opened to the public, the moneymakers latched on and now we have what we have. (In other words, don't kid yourself, if Facebook was just about exchanging stuff to friends and family, it wouldn't last and Zuckerberg and gang wouldn't make a dime, wouldn't be millionaires and the toast of the world. It's about that 'dime' more than anything else.) Secondlife will be/is no exception and in the next year or two, this will go big. Not because of the wanna-be Vamps, fuzzy folks, etc., but because it will make money. It IS making money, as the balance sheet shown on the documentary indicates year after year.
After watching this documentary I'm now wondering, why am I sitting here writing this? I'm curious and will go on SecondLife to see if it's for me, I mean, isn't that the point? I too am a consumer, and I too want the dream of owning my own business, and being the next Warren Buffett. Because it seems like here is where I can do it, and that may be the real point where my first life and second life will morph into my third life. Documentary or not, this was one big commercial for the site, and one should never lose sight of that.
How to Make Difficult look Sexy in the 80's.
Back in the early 1980's, Showtime was a new cable movie pay channel that wanted to be a little different than those already formed. It tired different avenues such as live concerts, hosts between movies and little experimental snippets of original made for Showtime features. This was one of the experiments that worked.
Between movies they showed women and men doing exercises to increase heart rates. The change was in the 'beauty' of doing it, rather than in the sweat of it. Ron Harris assembled a line of dancers, athletes, models/actors and certified instructors to round out this vision. His idea was to place them on a round; slowly rotating platform to perform the heart pumping exercises with one camera catching the detail. Sounds easy? Far from it. But the results were spectacular.
I remember the "making of" segment that was shown mostly on Showtime. It was interesting, as many people did not believe these exercises were all done in one camera take, that these young men and women could DO them at all without falling apart. I will try to break it down in saying that the one camera technique to film this was new and innovative, sexy and cinematic as the Ron Harris has a cinematographer's keen eye for detail and used it here. The rotating platform was an optical illusion and a sensual one as well. And the women and men who choreographed and/or performed these routines on this rotating platform had a difficult task which they made look easy, approachable and dare I say...sexy.
The aerobic routines were choreographed by aerobics instructors to give maximum results for a goal of increased heart rates and circulation in a short period of time. A few of the women featured were those instructors who choreographed routines, a few did not appear and choreographed the routines only. In any case, the women and men chosen to do these were of peak performance levels - whether they were indeed models, actors or dancers. They sold the routines. And therein eventually was the problem: the audience who complained.
It was more than complaints - there were folks trying to follow along and could not. They were dropping like flies because they thought they could just go ahead and 'do it'. Was it fat/obese people doing the complaining? No. It was others who thought because they looked good, they could just go on and do this without warming up, practice or knowing that they could psychically keep up without checking with their doctor FIRST. This is why on the '20 Minute Workout' show/tapes, etc. it came with a warning. The warning is real (because of the complainers) and it's for everyone. These exercises are difficult and because they accelerate your heart rate, it can hurt you no matter how great you look. Sure this helps you to get in and stay in shape, but one should not attempt this until they can work themselves into it. (Actually this was the basis for the 20 Minute Work out series!) On the other hand, there is the alleged sexual content. I believe it was planned to be sensual, not sexual. Many exercise programs before that time were pretty much the same: black and white and jumping jacks for stay at home housewives. The camera was never up close. The instructors were covered from head to toe.
But in came the 1980's, the decade of excess. Ron added color, flair, direct camera angles to accentuate the workout on the muscles, an eye-view of it, beauty (and the makeup NEVER ran!), and instead of some kid playing chopsticks on the piano to accompany the workout, new-age/new-wave/disco combos of sultry accompaniments. This was to make you want to get up and at least try these exercises. And if you did, make you feel as beautiful as the people doing it - instead of feeling like you've just joined basic training in the Army. But even with that for some watching, it because a new method of exploring sexual fantasy. And in came more complainers.
Again, their main complaint was that this was soft-porn and had no redeeming exercise value at all. Was it fat/obese people doing the complaining? Once again, no - they were the ones buying the tapes. The complainers were the ones that had a huge voice in the 80's, the "What about the children!!!" groups.
Their complaint was not all bad, but it was not all correct either. As with any and every exercise program, it will help some achieve their toning or weight loss goals - but definitely not a majority or all. Aerobics helped increase the heart rate and the choreographed routines to it assisted in firming, strength, toning and weight loss. The cameras were right there to show you where, the women and men were selling the program. They were beautiful and handsome. They drew you in. Did you forget to exercise ...and just want to goggle at them? Admire the close up camera work? Therein lies the rub.
Now those who claimed this to be too sexually explicit/soft porn, can do so as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But it begs to have the question answered, "For what benefit ARE you looking at this series?" Aerobic Exercise or Sexual Stimulation? As an individual, you make the choice. I can say this series was never sexually stimulating as I was in too much pain and sweat over working out with these tapes to become stimulated in that way. Daily exercise for health. Wasn't that the true goal? Too bad many have/are missing the initial point.
Not Roseanne or Streep or Bagley's Fault
For those reviewing this film who are putting down Rosanne Barr, the truth is that she was the PERFECT cast for this film, as was Meryl Streep. Where it went wrong was the script and direction. Based on the book and series The Life and Loves of A She-Devil; the Americanization of this film was wrong. It went for laughs. This was NOT a funny subject.
The original series was engrossing and you felt for the fat, really ugly suburban neglected wife at the end. She slowly and methodically got her crappy husband back. To be honest, Roseanne could have been even more fatter and uglier in the beginning; and her transformation to the 'she-devil' over the years could have been more dramatic. They did not let Roseanne BE Roseanne in this. If they did, she would have mop the floor with this role.
When I heard that Roseanne was cast for this film against Meryl Streep, what a good contrast and choice! Meryl was great! Old enough, pretty enough, vapid enough, spoiled enough - but then again, Meryl wasn't allowed to be... Meryl! She was phenomenal in transitions back then and needed that here if the script was serious.
Bagley was a good choice for the crap husband; but Eric Roberts would have been devilishly better if they kept with the seriousness of the book and BBC series.
I saw the TV series first, and week by week it kept me riveted back then. Then read the book and by that time, this film was being done. When I saw the film (on cable) finally, I was pretty ticked. The casting was right for all, the script was horrid.
Maybe someone in America needs to look at the book again soon, and this time do it with the seriousness it was. Yeah, you'll initially hate the she-devil, but you'll hate the folks around her more and at some point start rooting for her as she climbs UP through the muck of her boring life, of letting herself go thinking her life was fine and it was not, and her adulterous thoughtless, degrading husband.
To Control by Creating Fear
This is one of the best (and in my view, THE best) original Outer Limits Episodes written and aired. This is one of those brilliant television moments you 'finally' get to look at later and wish you were around when this first aired. Here's a clarification, I existed at that time, but alas as baby so even though this could classify as shown "within my lifetime", I was not able to understand or view upon premiere airing.
But I did see this finally at 4 years old, and I was scared out of my skull. Sure, the 'monster' was scary for the limited funds of special effects and cinematography of that time (history tells that The Outer Limits TV show budget was next to null!); but there is more to this: an intelligent script one can still debate and discuss today, wonderful episodic music and excellent actors (The late Robert Culp as the lead and the late Geraldine Brooks as his loving, just as smart wife is excellent to witness). That's what makes episodic television stick with you. This episode is a perfect example of such a phenomenon and should be on every University's study list - in MANY category classes - 'till the end of time.
What one gets out of this episode will probably depend on what is known about the 'cold war' back the or what happening in current events or what one knows about those who wish to gain a control of world power at the time. Not to give too much away, for me it was obvious that the 'cold war' and the threat of nuclear arms war was first and foremost for this episode. But as I watched this over and over throughout the decades, the reasoning behind all of this it what chills you to the bone.
'The Architects of Fear' raises many questions such as: Who are these people? What makes them so smart to make decisions about my freedom? And the most important question: Could a group of men meet secretly to create a fear to bring that would bring the world together against a fabricated common enemy so we could stop fighting among ourselves?
The men in this episode were intelligent minds, highly educated, mature and sophisticated and driven towards their goal. But I think when one watches this one may see that the sociological implications behind that question could be horrific. But were these men acing for the good of the world, or for the kudos (now we'd probably see it as 'celebrity') of their brilliant plan? Was the outcome to bring the world together or a platform rule it themselves? (as in..if the experiment proved successful, this group can do better than the current world administrations!)
This is sci-fi at its best too, mixed with political commentaries and questions about who is in charge of the world future; and what would you do if asked to make a sacrifice to make the world safer? You can enjoy it that way...or see this as an early television dramatic program that was very effective for its time. Either way, this episode is astonishing; deserves several views and may be as relevant today as it was in the early '60's.
Jersey Shore (2009)
A Sad Representation of (New Jersey) Youth
As a transplanted New Yorker who spent years in South Jersey while growing up; I am ashamed of this addition to its so-called reality programming roster for young people.
This show does seem like something The Science Channel, The Discovery Channel or Animal Planet should be showing. But MTV Networks thought it would be entertaining to show the social retardation and animalistic behavior of these humans raised in this little area by a shore in New Jersey. Understand it's not all of New Jersey, and it darn sure is not indicative of all Italians in New Jersey or living by an 'affluent' shore. (Sorry, I grew up in New Jersey and to this day, I'm still trying to find an 'affluent' shore. Who's kiddin' who here?) An example: New Jersey young women of 30 years ago had problems trying to find out what it is about them that makes them beautiful, wanted, intelligent factors of humankind. To be more than just punching bags, breeders and dolls for their husbands to parade around. 30 years later, this particular enclave never got the word or winds of change. Loooks like those women grew up, married the men that ticked them off and had children and here we go again. Same cycle. These young adults will have children too and 30 years from now you can bet...same cycle. This is appalling.
I would guess that the most boring show in the world to air on MTV Networks (et. al) right now would be the exploits of a teen trying to get into college (with no sex or violence involved) and the trials of trying to get that sheepskin; or a teen having to take a meaningless job instead of going to college as they wished. But maybe MTV should rethink that because this kind of programming for young people should cease. It's not helping them to understand each other. It's not helping them to love a fellow human being or accept them poor - or fat - or just regular. It shows them that young people have to have an ethnic label; they have to live in grandiose style in the lower middle income of areas. It's showing them how to become animals and fight over that piece of steak someone..like from MTV for example...tells them it is Kobe but is actually Kangaroo meat. And it's teaching them how to laugh at abuse instead of reporting it. It's showing them how to be verbally abusive as well as mentally and physically. And its showing them all this gritty behavior, promiscuity, violence, etc. is all okay as long as people laugh at it and you're on TV which makes them think they're the next Spencers or Kardasians or Hiltons instead of the next clowns.
Bottom line, its showing youth that you have no real value to each other or anyone else: male, female or otherwise. A terrible show among other terrible reality shows geared to young adults.