Robocop

Doppelganger Releasing

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Black Out Jos (Raymond Thiry) used to be a very bad man. But he’s reformed now, on the straight and narrow, and engaged to be married to a wonderful woman. All of that’s put at risk when he wakes up the day before his wedding in a somewhat compromising situation… namely with a dead body lying beside him and no memory of how it got there. Now he’s in a race to discover what’s happening, who’s behind it and how he can keep his bride-to-be from hearing about it all. This Dutch action/comedy has been a long time coming to our shores — we saw it back at Fantastic Fest 2012 — and it’s an absolute blast from beginning to end as it mixes a dark sense of humor with extreme acts of violence and some highly memorable characters. Comparisons to early Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino are fair, but director Arne Toonen makes it his own creation. Highly recommended for fans of funny, profane and fast-moving R-rated fun. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, short film, bloopers, gallery]

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review robocop

As our own Neil Miller informed all of you brahs and brahlettes late last night, that incredibly ill-advised Point Break remake has found its very own Johnny Utah! And it’s somehow not Keanu Reeves, even though the man has not aged a day since the Kathryn Bigelow original from 1991! (Did they blow all their cash on co-star Gerard Butler? Eh, maybe.) Instead of going to the Reeves route, or even the actor-you’ve-actually-heard-of route, the Ericson Core (no, not actually a kind of cell phone you had when you were in junior high) production has gone with Luke Bracey, who you may (or may not) know from his previous work in G.I. Joe: Retaliation (where he was a masked Cobra Commander, the entire time) or a little something called Monte Carlo. Bracey joins a long line of unknowns populating the cast list of seemingly big-time action “reimaginings” and, as the remake machine continues to grind on, chewing up and spitting out plenty of new talent along the way, we have to wonder – is casting an unknown really paying off?

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RoboCop

Few years in the history of recent Hollywood have gone by without a sizable pile of ‘80s remakes. Typically, those remakes are at least somewhat spread out. But this Valentine’s Day weekend greeted us with a grand total of three remakes, all bearing (with the exception of a conspicuously absent ellipsis) the titles of their predecessors: RoboCop (original: 1987), About Last Night (original: 1986), and Endless Love (original: 1981). So many ‘80s clones haven’t opened wide the same weekend in two and a half years, when Footloose 2.0 battled the prequel to re-re-make of The Thing. Recycling the ‘80s is hardly exclusive to cinema. Indie and mainstream pop have been revisiting the era of New Wave and post-punk for years. Sometimes this results in uncanny synergy, like two singles from the past few months referencing the opening sequence of The Hunger. And, of course, in the political sphere the ‘80s are ever present, as the exponential concentration of wealth to the very rich have forced a public conversation rethinking Reaganism and neoliberal economics. Few films used popular culture as a platform for exploring this political climate quite like RoboCop and About Last Night. So rather than taking to task whether these remakes are “worthy” or “necessary” or not (is any?), I’d rather mine how the subtle differences between these revisitations and their originals betray our complicated relationship to the era of “Just Say No” and “Where’s the Beef?”. Perhaps we keep recycling the ‘80s because that decade in particular, invited […]

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iron man original

You don’t have to see the RoboCop remake. Normally I’d say that if you don’t see the big new release that you can’t read the new Movies to Watch column, because you’ll get spoiled. But I don’t think there’s much in the way of spoilers here, even if you haven’t seen the 1987 original. There’s a cop, he becomes part robot and then he’s a RoboCop. Without knowing much more than that, you can gather that some obvious precursors include Frankenstein, Blade Runner and anything where Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a police officer of any kind. Yet none of those are in this week’s batch of a dozen recommendations inspired by the new RoboCop. Some of my picks are more obvious with relation to the remake than the Paul Verhoeven version. Speaking of which, that too is another obvious selection I feel is a given if you see the new one and haven’t before seen the old. Go ahead and see the divisive RoboCop 2, also, and while you’re at it go on to RoboCop 3 in order to see something much, much worse than the reboot. Because it was difficult to be reminded of much else besides those predecessors, more than a few of the titles below are merely better earlier works by the talent involved. In spite of what I said above, here’s your reminder that the following list may spoil parts of this week’s movie, so if you haven’t seen the RoboCop remake and plan to, you might not want to read ahead […]

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Michael Keaton Monk

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career.  Whatever your feelings are about the new RoboCop remake, there’s no denying that it’s great to see Michael Keaton up on the big screen again with such a prominent role. The actor hasn’t been in a lot of movies over the past decade, and in those he has done he’s mostly played some young starlet’s father. Or he’s merely provided his voice for a few minor Pixar characters. And now in 2014 alone we get to see him stand out in three movies, including RoboCop, next month’s Need for Speed and, best of all, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman, in which he’ll star, reflexively, as a washed-up actor best known for having portrayed a superhero in the movies. If we’re lucky, next in line for Keaton is a return to another one of his most famous characters: Beetlejuice. Imagine if he’d not stuck with Hollywood long enough to work with Tim Burton and deliver his two most iconic performances? He also wouldn’t have gone on to notably play the same FBI character in two unrelated movies (Jackie Brown and Out of Sight), but then again he wouldn’t have done Jack Frost and Multiplicity either — not that he’s not great in the latter, only that he’s too good for how bad it is overall. If Keaton had left acting in 1985, we would still have his hilarious work […]

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“You got your robotic exoskeleton on my human brain!” “You got your human brain in my robotic exoskeleton!” Like the peanut butter cups of yore, cyborgs have always had a little bit of that best-of-both-worlds quality. They think and feel like we humans do. Their emotions are genuine. Yet they also have the ability to act on those emotions with their crude and powerful robot strength, making it all the more necessary that a cyborg’s human parts are in tip-top psychological shape. It’s here where the root of the cyborg lies — the inclusion of machine parts, which are neither good nor bad and act without motive, strengthens our human characteristics beyond the realm of human potential. A courageous character, upon becoming a cyborg, becomes an unstoppable superhero; a lawful one becomes a pillar of robo-justice; an unpleasant one becomes our worst nightmare. And in honor of one of cinema’s most famous cyborgs, a certain robot cop who’s getting a gritty new remake this weekend, let’s take a look at how cinematic cyborgs first came to be.

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review robocop

Everyone has their own idea on what constitutes the best remake, but most people can agree that the goal should be to improve upon the original in some meaningful way or to at least make the new film salient for a modern audience. The best remakes (John Carpenter’s The Thing, Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, the Coen brothers’ True Grit) take the core plot elements of the originals but find their own identity in relevant stories, fascinating characters, and casts that fully engage the material and the audience. RoboCop (2014) has chosen a different path all together, and while it avoids the degree of pointlessness reached by far too many Hollywood retreads, it still fails to justify its existence. It’s a cleaner package, but the contents are far less filling. You know the story. The multinational OmniCorp corporation has made a fortune developing robots to secure the streets, but while the rest of the world has signed on the United States refuses to accept armed drones walking its soil. Detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) meanwhile is brought to the brink of death after an attack by a purportedly vicious criminal, and his only hope is an experimental procedure designed to meld man and machine into the ultimate, drably-colored law enforcement officer. It’s a match made in heaven, but Murphy’s new gig as RoboCop lands him in a personal hell. At least he’ll be bringing some “friends” down with him.

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The LEGO Movie

Studios should learn a powerful lesson from the one-two punch of The LEGO Movie and RoboCop. Specifically, that they’re getting in the way of their own success. How do you make a hit? By making a great movie. How do you make a great movie? Hire great filmmakers and then empower them to create. Unfortunately, there are some huge roadblocks on the path toward that Utopia. We’ll discuss them while envisioning a bright new future. Plus, FSR Associate Editor Kate Erbland joins us for an Interrogation Reviewification of the aforementioned cyborg policeman movie, and we’ll all offer some ’80s movies we’d love/hate to see remade. You should follow Kate (@katerbland), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #49 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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The LEGO Movie - Flash

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Picnic at Hanging Rock

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Philip Seymour Hoffman - Almost Famous

It’s only natural that we discuss Philip Seymour Hoffman and the powerful work he left behind this week. We’ll also take the opportunity to think on other outstanding acting talents that we can be thankful for and celebrate some of our favorite Hoffman roles. Plus, FILM CRITIC HULK joins us to debate our movie fan baggage about remakes on the precipice of a new RoboCop, and Film.com‘s Will Goss drops by to play a thrilling round of Infinity Questions. You should follow FILM CRIT HULK (@FILMCRITHULK), Will (@williambgoss), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #48 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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robocop-commentary1

With the RoboCop remake hitting theaters next week and the recent 4K remastered Blu-ray release of the original film, it’s a good time to look back at the story’s humble beginning. While 1987’s RoboCop launched two lame sequels and a terrible television series, the original was a gas-station-explodingly fun excursion into 80s action excess. A few years ago, MGM released a Blu-ray set of the three films, but the RoboCop disc had no special features. These have been resurrected from the old DVD release and encoded on the new 4K remastered version, including the commentary by the filmmakers. It’s been a few years since this commentary track was recorded, but it still gives a nice retrospective of this action classic, including a look at why the film wouldn’t have made it through the MPAA and studio process now. So whether the remake is good or bad, we will still have the original RoboCop in all of its violent glory. On to the commentary…

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aboutlastnight1

You’ve seen our preview of our most anticipated movies of 2014. Now put away those expectations for a bit and be patient, because it’s homework time. As you may know, each weekend I offer some recommendations for movies, both well-known and obscure, to see after you’ve watched that latest hot new release. I’ll be continuing this feature into the new year, so you can look forward to adding more to your backlog queue with titles tied to everything from The Legend of Hercules to Night at the Museum 3. First, though, I want to get a jump on some of the most obvious movies of the past related to the upcoming movies of the near future. These are primarily the original works receiving remakes in the first half of 2014 — or older works based on the same stories. And as usual, some are more popular and familiar than others. Couldn’t you just skip the old versions and go blindly into the new as if it’s a fresh property? Of course, and you can keep on listening to cover songs, too. And always see the movie instead of reading a book. However, if you’re interested in knowing your history and also being able to judge something with proper awareness of what came before, whether you want to make comparisons or not, read ahead and prepare yourself for the next six months of moviegoing.

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remakes

Seeing as we’re pretty deep into the golden age of remakes at this point, it should probably come as no surprise that we’ve got a handful of big movies that have already been big movies readying themselves for release in the near future. That Hollywood currently loves remakes is clear, but what’s also becoming clear is that the way we respond to them is a little bit complicated and a little bit hypocritical. Announce that a movie a lot of people love is getting remade and the response is almost always an outcry of outrage and disgust. Actually release the same movie in theaters and enough of those outraged, disgusted people still go to see it anyway, which keeps the remake train rolling. A couple of trailers for high profile remakes that got released today shine a light on the fact that our response to all of these remakes has been a little bit more nuanced and a little bit more complicated than an initial abhorrence and then an eventual acceptance though. A new trailer for director José Padilha’s RoboCop has been released, which shows it to be a legit attempt to update the material from Paul Verhoeven’s original, yet it has been met online with almost universal contempt. On the other side of the coin, a new trailer for Spike Lee’s Oldboy has also been released, and even though it seems to be a pretty straight and unnecessary retelling of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 film, movie fans have welcomed it […]

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trailer robocop 2014

Blah blah blah remakes. No one wants them, but they just keep coming. All we can do is take them one at a time with the understanding that each new reboot has zero effect on the original film we probably love, like, or don’t honestly remember. And with that in mind our first real look at director José Padilha‘s remake of the gleefully violent, morbid and twisted Robocop has finally arrived. The story remains the same as a corporation takes over the business of policing a city with unintended results. A cop (Joel Kinnaman), wounded under suspicious circumstances, is used as the meat in a half man, half machine, all cyborg sandwich representing the company’s latest weapon in the war on crime. But what happens when he’s no longer interested in being a tool for the Man? I’ll tell you what happens. PG-13 violence happens. Check out the mildly competent yet wholly generic-looking trailer for Robocop below.

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RoboCop

RoboCop isn’t the first Paul Verhoeven remake Sony Pictures has showcased at Comic-Con. At the last two Cons they promoted Total Recall, a decent movie — and a pretty good Director’s Cut — that flat out bombed at the box-office alongside underwhelming critics and fans. Obviously, they’re hoping director Jose Padilha‘s remake of Verhoeven’s best film isn’t met with the same fate. With a cast this good – Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Abbie Cornish, and Jackie Earle Haley – if all else fails, at least they’ll have some mighty fine talent on display. We already know that it’ll be, no surprise, PG-13. The original RoboCop hasn’t aged a day as a nasty piece of violent cinema, and despite Samuel L. Jackson believing otherwise, it would remain an R-rated movie by today’s loose standards. But none of that matters at the end of the day. What matters is if Padilha and his cast make do something new with the character, and from what the cast and Padihla had to say at Comic-Con, that’s what they set out to do.

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Gary Oldman and Michael K Williams

What is Movie News After Dark? Tonight, it’s beside itself… We begin this evening with a photo of Gary Oldman and Michael K. Williams on the set of Robocop, in which they both will undoubtedly bring their usual level of quality. It’s unrivaled, the sort of awesome that exists in this one still image. The only thing that could possibly be better would be some sort of random, inexplicable Peter Weller photobomb. But lets just leave that up to the photoshoppers, shall we?

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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

To paraphrase Loverboy, everybody’s waiting for the weekend… to read the best original movie-related content on the web. So, come on baby, let’s go back to the start and give the past week of Film School Rejects a second chance. But first, we want to remind you of the category links on this page that will help you find the most recent reviews (including new releases Dredd 3D, End of Watch and The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and trailers (new spots for The Hobbit and The Life of Pi included) as well as the sidebar of all your favorite columns. And, of course, this week brought the start of Fantastic Fest, so you’ll want to look back on what films we’ve covered so far, such as Frankenweenie and Holy Motors. Keep this link handy through the next five days or so.

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Game of Thrones Behind the Scenes

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly news column that’s struggling on a slow-news Monday. Luckily there’s plenty of poster art to go around. Our evening begins with a behind the scenes shot from the production of Game of Thrones and its sure to be epic third season. It’s not telling us much, but the official production blog kicking into high gear is enough to whet the whistles of many a fan, including yours truly.

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Boiling Point

As with any movie that people can actively remember that gets remade, there has been plenty of poo-pooing of the recently underway RoboCop reboot. The 1987 classic from Paul Verhoeven set the standard for violence and gave us a kick ass super-cop who didn’t mind shooting right after asking you to surrender. I get it – there are plenty of films that shouldn’t be remade – true classics. Films like Casablanca or Gone With the Wind. I don’t think anyone is looking for another take on Schindler’s List or Amistad either. I was a big RoboCop fan. Because my parents were cool, I saw this movie when I was only like five years old. There’s still a Polaroid picture of me standing with a dude in a RoboCop costume somewhere from some neat event. I dug Robocop and remaking it is the right call. Say what?

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