Luc Besson’s popular TAXI movie franchise is now an NBC TV series called TAXI BROOKLYN. Actress Chyler Leigh talks about the challenges on taking a big hit to both a new medium and a new country, plus Nickelodeon star, Elizabeth Gillies (VICTORIOUS) reveals why she is stepping out of her comfort zone and into a new horror film.
So our national fingerwag has found its way through the mire of newsprint and cable television and into the Land of Comics. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you won’t hear it from me because I’m not joining the fray, my children, but it’s Obama’s fault.
Just like that rewarring in Iraq is Obama’s fault – obviously a plot to distract us while his armies of Kenyan invaders gather for the Big Strike. Or this global warming bushwah… more distraction. I mean, global warming? Last winter – that long and brutal season, remember? – as you were struggling to start your car in sub zero weather, did the globe seem warm to you then? Yeah, I thought not. And those pictures of melting ice caps: in the first place, do you really care if some ice melts? Doesn’t it happen every day in your lemonade glass? And in the second place, how do we know it’s really happening, even? Anyone actually believe that the White House doesn’t have access to Photoshop?
Of course, Obama’s real triumph was the destruction of Pompeii in 79 CE. How can that be? you might ask. Wasn’t Pompeii destroyed when a volcano, Mount Vesuvius, erupted and buried the city under tons of ash and rocks and stuff? How, youmight continue with just the tiniest edge in your voice, could our monster-in-chief be responsible for that?
Ah, the innocence of the naive! You underestimate the power of the monster’s evil – an evil so great that it shattered the constraints of time and hurled back through the centuries until it emerged by chance, unless Obama had something against the locals, in the heart of Vesuvius, arriving with the momentum gathered as it veered through the millennia, again shattering time. Obviously, the unexpected arrival of a gigantic lump of malevolence from the future upset the area’s cosmic balance and the poor volcano had to do something! I mean, wouldn’t you erupt?
By the way, none of this is depicted in the recent Pompeii movie and I don’t remember any of it being part of The Last Days of Pompeii, which I saw when I was a little kid. Of course not! The recent film? Well, You know Obama and Hollywood! As for the earlier movie, the one I must have seen in rerelease in the 1940s…maybe the backward-speeding malevolence stopped in 1935, the year the movie was first shown, just long enough to obliterate any traces of the truth that may have been lying around. Or maybe the movie guys just didn’t know about the Obaman meddling with geochronology.
I mean, we’re reasonable people here. We can’t blame everything on Obama.
How do I know about all this? Well, I’m not making any claims, but just suppose an angel came to me in a dream and told me what I’ve been telling you and maybe I believe the angel because I believe in angels.
The best science fiction is the kind that uses the settings to make comments about our society today, making us think. When Paul Verhoeven gave us RoboCop in 1987, it was a commentary on the rapidly rising role of technology in the world along with the increasing spread of urban crime. The idea that a mortally wounded cop (Peter Weller) was involuntarily turned into a cyborg and sent out to clean up the city was riveting. The performance, blood, and violence made the film an interesting statement and the beginning of a franchise that got watered down in lesser hands.
MGM saw the moribund property as a chance to make some fresh cash with a reboot because everything else has been dusted off and for the most part done pretty well. But did Brazilian director José Padilha have something to say or was he brought in for stylish mayhem? Apparently he did, working with screenwriter Joshua Zetumer, building on the original script by Edward Neumaier and Michael Miner. Omnicorp, a subsidiary of OmniConsumer Products (OCP), is a next generation supplier of military weapons in the form of humanoid ED-209 and EM-208 mechanized warriors at a time global tensions mean a steady supply of soldiers is required.
OCP CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) wants to sell a domestic version of his machines but is thwarted by Senator Hubert Dreyfus (Zach Grenier) and his just passed Act outlawing such domestic police. Undaunted, Sellars finds a loophole in the law and orders man put inside one of the machines, something general counsel Liz Kline (Jennifer Ehle) and marketing chief Tom Pope (Jay Baruchel) endorse. He instructs Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) to take his prosthetics research to the next level and the scientist screens candidates until he settles on Detroit police detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman). Welcome, RoboCop 2.0.
Partnered with Lewis (Michael K. Williams), he takes on the underworld in the form of Antoine Vallon (Patrick Garrow) while risking his humanity as his wife Clara (Abbie Cornish) and son David (John Paul Ruttan) grow increasingly distant. Meantime, one battle is overt, while the covert story is machine versus corporation over Free Will. OCP has intentionally “dumbed down” Murphy, hoping he would merely follow orders after being trained by Rick Mattox (Jackie Early Haley) but Murphy is his own man and not the “Tin Man” Mattox insists on calling him.
Things blow up just fine and the human conflicts sometimes take a backseat to the PG-13 violence (a crass commercial move that robbed the film) but this is better than we feared when the collective consciousness said, “We don’t’ need a RoboCop reboot.” Yes, its’ commentary is not as sharp as Verhoeven’s original nor is the action any better despite enhanced special effects or the presence of Samuel L. Jackson. And maybe we don’t but what we got is a cut above and well worth a look. Padilha’s American debut is done with affectionate nods to the original film while still having its own voice.
The film, now out on home video as a Blu-ray, DVD, Digital copy combo pack form MGM Home Entertainment, has an excellent video transfer with sharp colors. The audio is a notch below this but the overall 5.1 lossless DTS-HD MA sound mix is fine.
The Blu-pray comes with a standard assortment of unremarkable special features including Deleted Scenes (3:59), 10 Omnicorp Product Announcements (3:27); RoboCop: Engineered for the 21st Century (The Illusion of Free Will: A New Vision, 7:46; To Serve and Protect: RoboCop’s New Weapons, 6:05, The RoboCop Suit: Form and Function, 14:54); and, two theatrical trailers.
Well, this sort of came out of nowhere. We must have missed when this wnet into production but here comes Michael Keaton in a brand new superhero film that is set somewhere other than Gotham City.
Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance is a black comedy that tells the story of an actor (Michael Keaton) – famous for portraying an iconic superhero – as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself.
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Go behind-the-scenes and beneath the streets to discover the real origin story of four of pop culture’s most enduring heroes in the captivating new film TURTLE POWER: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, debuting on DVD, VOD and Digital HD August 12, 2014 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. Written and directed by Randall Lobb, the film chronicles the birth of a franchise and reveals the remarkable journey of four of the most unlikely super heroes of all time. Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael with this must-see documentary and the August 8th theatrical debut of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett.
In the spring of 1984, a strange new comic book sat beside cash registers in select shops, too big to fit in the racks, and too weird to ignore. Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles presented a completely original breed of super hero. It was too bizarre, too crazy. It broke all the rules and should never have worked. Until it sold out. Again and again and again. For 30 years. Now, peek under the shell and see how this so-called “happy accident” defied every naysayer to become one of the most popular and beloved franchises in the world.
The TURTLE POWER: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description, along with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
TURTLE POWER: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller reunite to bring Miller’s visually stunning “Sin City” graphic novels back to the screen in SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR. Weaving together two of Miller’s classic stories with new tales, the town’s most hard boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more notorious inhabitants. SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR is the follow up to Rodriguez and Miller’s 2005 groundbreaking film, FRANK MILLER’S SIN CITY.
I’m always rooting for sci-fi action movies to succeed and when it became clear that Edge of Tomorrow was going to be equal parts sci-fi action and Groundhog Day I was ready to love this movie. Unfortunately the movie they delivered has the distinct feel of studio notes all over it leaving it feeling a little too much like a Tom Cruise movie than any of the component parts. I like Tom Cruise movies but it hurts this premise to make it hit all the same beats of a Mission: Impossible film.
English: Edgar Wright at the 2010 Comic Con in San Diego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
…these movies are all so intertwined from a business/perception perspective that Marvel can no longer afford to roll the dice on a hip, genre-subverting superhero film that might not do Winter Soldier numbers on its opening weekend. Letting Wright walk away makes Marvel look bad to film-geek Twitter, but if the box-office headline after Ant-Man opened were anything but ANT-MAN SQUASHES COMPETITION, it would call into question the viability of the whole Movieverse.
Recent years have brought an avalanche of terrible fairy tale remakes. Snow White and the Huntsman was boring, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was dreadful, and Jack the Giant Slayer is so absent from my memory that I suspect it induced some kind of post-traumatic stress reaction. I went to see Maleficent expecting to have an unpleasant experience along the lines of the others but was instead pleasantly surprised. Disney has made a thoroughly pleasant, if not super ambitious, modern take on Sleeping Beauty. They fall in to a few pitfalls along the way (if I never see another mid-to-large scale medieval battle it’ll be too soon) but emerge on the other end with a solid movie.
This is the second big Disney kids release that bucks the traditional fairy tale view of true love. In last year’s Frozen the moment of true love was between two sisters and in Maleficent it’s a decidedly maternal gesture. It’s refreshing to see them move to stories about characters that don’t have to be boy/girl romantic love stories and in Maleficent the love story is pushed so far to the periphery that I’m not sure it was in every draft of the script. I’m not cynical enough to say that I never want to see Disney do another love story but it’s wonderful to see a company with so much access to the building of romantic ideals of generation after generation of young girls start to acknowledge that other relationships can be loving and that boys aren’t the be all and end all.
Speaking of characters pushed way to the periphery, the trio of multi-colored fairies from the original animated film are done quite a disservice this time around. They’re just blithering idiots in this film and are reduced to scenes where they think infants should eat carrots and radishes straight out of the ground and reenacting magic-assisted versions of old Three Stooges routines. They also made some kind of horrible casting blunder by casting Imelda Staunton as Knotgrass, the leader of the trio. To an entire generation she’s Delores Umbridge, the phenomenally evil teacher from the Harry Potter films and I couldn’t help see anyone else even when she was in the throes of a hair-pulling slapstick routine and I can’t imagine little kids are doing any better.
The movie is completely carried by the command performance by Angelina Jolie. What ultimately separates this movie from the other fairy tale remakes is that Jolie is in an entire other class as a movie star than the actors in those other films. Letting her run loose with such an iconic character is a delight to watch and the effortless way she brings you along even as she does some honestly terrible things is a tremendous accomplishment. I don’t mean to take anything away from Elle Fanning who does a fine job being an adorable foil but this movie was always going to live and die on Jolie’s prosthetic cheekbones and it not only lives it thrives. I came in hating this entire genre of movie and left something of a believer and that’s as high a compliment I can imagine paying this film.
The rumors that circle through the comics industry span the sublime to the ridiculous. Some, like the death and/or return of major characters turn out to be spot on, but some make the annual spate of April Fools posts seem tame and rational. (How many times has Dan Didio supposed to have been fired by now?)
The latest hot topic, posited by the gang at Bleeding Cool, claims that Marvel Comics has plans to suspend publication of their Fantastic Four titles, both standard and Ultimate, for an indeterminate period of time. Not due to poor sales, or pursuant to a planned relaunch, but because the comics provide too much publicity for 20th Century Fox’s film adaptations, and by shelving the titles, interest in the characters would plummet to the point that the next film would tank, and Fox would finally relinquish the rights to the characters, opening the door to a true Marvel-led reboot.