The new NBC comedy, WELCOME TO SWEDEN, has a pretty interesting back story. It was created by Greg Poehler (yep, he’s Amy’s brother) and stars Greg, along with Josephine Bornebusch, in the first new U.S. series to be on both American and Swedish TV. Greg and Josie talk about bridging the cultural comedy gap, plus after 11 years in reality TV, Trista Stutter (THE BACHELORETTE, DANCING WITH THE STARS) has a new project. She joins Gretchen Rossi (REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY) and other reality celebs in MARRIAGE BOOT CAMP and they both tell us what we can expect on the series.
Directed by José Padilha, RoboCop stars Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley and Samuel L. Jackson. In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and OmniCorp – the world’s leader in robot technology – sees a golden opportunity to reap billions for their company. When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit – is critically injured, OmniCorp grabs their chance to build a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and will stop at nothing – no matter the cost to Alex – to make sure the program succeeds. But OmniCorp never counted on one thing: there is still a man fighting inside the machine.
Who knew that a robot could be so lovable such as WALL-E from Pixar’s beloved movie, or that robots could think like Sonny from I, Robot? Coming soon to Blu-ray is another story of a famous robot, this time one where the robot is part human and part machine. In honor of RoboCop’s Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD releases, we present to you a look at how robots have been portrayed in films.
1. Human-Like Robots
We have all seen a movie where a human is discovered to be, in fact, a robot. There are the creepy ones like in The Stepford Wives, the smart ones like in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and the eccentric ones like Edward Scissorhands whose claim to robothood has been heatedly debated. These, at least to some, are the scariest robots since you never know when you might run into one. Maybe the brother you always thought was a bit strange or that co-worker who never really talks is the robot you always feared.
2. Robots that are Killing Machines
We can all agree that the Terminator is a killing machine. He was sent to assassin every Sarah Connor he came across, almost succeeding. The robots in I, Robot also fall under this category since they are determined to destroy anything and anyone that does not follow V.I.K.I.’s commands.
3. Robots Built to Fight
With recent movies like Pacific Rim and the Transformers series, movie fans have gotten numerous doses of huge robots that are built to fight either aliens or large monsters. While watching those movies, one can’t help but wonder if the world will ever come to that.
4. Robots that are Way too Ambitious
I, Robot and The Matrix trilogy fixated on the intelligence machines/robots could gain over humans and thus control the world and all of its resources. These machines tend to be super analytical, overflowing with common sense, and, in rare cases, like I, Robot, want to take over the world in order to protect it. In these movies, humans end up realizing the huge mistake they made by creating these monsters. And lets just admit that the whole Matrix plot was super scary (in a good sci-fi way). Metropolis, one of the first robot movies ever, also celebrates this idea of a machine that is too smart for its own good.
5. Evil Robots
Evil robots usually fall under other categories on this list, most often in the human-like one. This is probably because in films, robots that end up looking like people are created that way in order to do some real damage. Gunslinger from Westworld is one of these evil robots that will not stop until he has his fake showdown. As many fanatics of the Austin Powers movies remember, the Fembots are evil sexy women robots that are sent as a lethal distraction to the movies’ namesake. Also, Joshua, the robot arm/machine is a robot that doesn’t look like a human but still scared us all. Another contender in this category is the famous MCP from Tron.
6. Robots that Want to Save the World
When robots want to save the world, they usually do it hand in hand with a human. When it comes to the Iron Man series, that robot is actually a suit that eventually becomes part of the human. In I, Robot, we have Sonny “who” sacrifices himself? itself? for the sake of mankind. There is also our beloved RoboCop who becomes the law itself and eventually takes out those wanting to control him/it. Through portrayals like these, audiences get to see a glimpse of robots that intentionally and unintentionally become heroes.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment present RoboCop, arriving on Digital HD May 20 and on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD June 3.
To win the prized copy, you need to identify your favorite category of robot and top choice robot from that category. Have your answers posted no later than 11:59 p.m., Friday, June 6 and the decision of ComicMix‘s judges will be final. The contest is open to United States and Canadian readers only.
Sigh… it seems to happen earlier every yea– What? How could you forget that the third Monday in May is Miracle Monday? Elliot will be very disappointed in you…
If you have no idea what I’m talking about (Ma nishtana ha-laila ha-zeh mi-kol ha-leilot) [[[Miracle Monday]]] is the third Monday in May. It’s from a Superman novel of the same name written by Elliot S! Maggin and published in 1981. I highly recommend reading it, if you haven’t read it before. Here’s a taste:
On Miracle Monday the spirit of humanity soared free. This Miracle Monday, like the first Miracle Monday, came in the spring of Metropolis, and for the occasion spring weather was arranged wherever the dominion of humanity extended.
On Uranus’s satellites where the natives held an annual fog-gliding rally through the planetary rings, private contributions even made it possible to position orbiting fields of gravitation for spectators in free space. On Titan, oxygen bubbles were loosed in complicated patterns to burst into flame with the methane atmosphere and make fireworks that were visible as far as the surface of saturn. At Nix Olympica, the eight-kilometer-high Martian volcano, underground pressures that the Olympica Resort Corporation had artificially accumulated during the preceding year were unleashed in a spectacular display of molten fury for tourists who walked around the erupting crater wearing pressurized energy shields. At Armstrong City in the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility there was a holographic reenactment of the founding of the city in the year 2019, when on the fiftieth anniversary of his giant leap for mankind the first man on the Moon returned, aged and venerable, to what was then called Tranquility Base Protectorate, carrying a state charter signed by the President of the United States. The prices of ski lift tickets on Neptune inflated for the holiday. Teleport routes to beaches and mountains on Earth crowded up unbelievably.
Interplanetary wilderness preserves became nearly as crowded with people as Earth cities. Aboard the slow-moving orbital ships that carried ores and fossil materials on slowly decaying loops toward the sun from the asteroids, teamsters partied until they couldn’t see. On worlds without names scattered throughout this corner of the Galaxy, where Earth’s missionaries, pioneers and speculators carried their own particular quests, it was a day for friends, family, recreation and-if it brought happiness—reflection.
But why did it become Miracle Monday? And what was the first miracle? Go get a copy and read.
Beautiful, brilliant besties, Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, are headed to The USA Network for a new series, PLAYING HOUISE (premiering tomorrow on USA). They talk about writing comedy, making the new show stand out and the strength of their longtime friendship. Plus Warner Brothers finally publicly says “There will be a JLA movie!”
Properly channeling Japanese culture for American audiences has been a challenge given how different our tastes and expectations are. We find the content of much of their Manga and anime either not to our taste or outright incomprehensible. So, the challenge of adapting their bushido Edo-era and adding in some powerful fantasy into [[[47 Ronin]]] was going to be a challenge. Mix in American performer Keanu Reeves as a half-breed you have an uphill challenge in making the film palatable to enough moviegoers to justify the $170 million budget.
It has some terrific concepts and incredible visuals but it’s a mess of a movie, with a long, sluggish middle that loses the audience. Even amazing CG and a strong Asian cast can’t support a messy script.
The story, in short: Lord Asano Naganori (Min Tanaka) is disgraced after the efforts of Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano), conspires with a shape-shifting witch (Rinko Kikuchi). He commits seppuku and Kira takes charge of Asano’s family by arranging for him to marry Asano’s daughter, Mika (Ko Shibasaki). She agrees to the marriage but extracts a promise to have a year to mourn her father. Asano’s 47 samurai has acknowledged the deviltry that befell their master and they become ronin, masterless samurai, vowing revenge. Enter Kai (Reeves), who just happens to be in love with Mika, who partners with Oishi (Hiroyuki Sanada), the ronin’s leader.
While the action is swell along with some stuff I have not seen before, the characters are flat, one-dimensional. There are the brooding glances, clichéd dialogue, and predictable character beats that spoil the film’s potential. Much of this is a result of delays in shooting, studio interference and an emphasis on visual wonder and not enough on content. The film was a major bomb in the United States, bringing in under $40 million. As a result, you likely missed this last winter but can make up for it now with the Blu-ray release from Universal Home Entertainment. The video transfer is stunning with equally strong sound.
Clearly, the studio gave up on the film and went with a perfunctory suite of extras including four Deleted Scenes (8:00), which are interesting but easily excised; a brief Re-Forging the Legend (7:00); Keanu & Kai (4:00); Steel Fury (6:00), which looks at the film’s training, swordplay and battles; and Myths, Magic & Monsters (8:00).
The film is a curiosity and there are glimpses of what it could have been.
It’s possible you’ve heard about the superhero comic book series The 99. According to the Grand Comics Database, it ran for a total of 19 issues between 2007 and 2011, plus a six-issue mini-series crossover with the Justice League of America.
Despite its professional credits and its careful design, it was unsurprisingly clear that here in the United States a series about Muslim superheroes who derived their team name from the 99 names for Allah would be a tough sell. Even Superman and Batman couldn’t help. PBS did a documentary, and it was cover-featured in Newsweek – back when Newsweek actually had covers. President Barack Obama, a former comics reader himself, praised the series: “His comic books have captured the imaginations of so many young people with superheroes who embody the teachings and tolerance of Islam.”
The “he” in “his” referred to the series’ creator, Kuwaiti psychologist Naif Al-Mutawa. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Al-Mutawa wanted Muslim children to have Muslim heroes who selected a path different from the suicide bombers and jihadists.
Sadly, to no avail. It was a noble effort, one that was successful in places like Saudi Arabia – it even spawned a television series. But success can bite you on the ass, and the laws of Newtonian physics apply to politics as well as to apple trees.
The 99 is now the subject of a genuine Saudi Arabian fatwa, issued by grand mufti Abdulaziz al-Sheikh and his council because the comics and the television show are “evil work that needs to be shunned.” Good grief, I’ve worked on comics that received bad reviews, but nobody said they needed to be shunned.
For the record, a fatwa is defined by Merriam-Webster as a decree handed down by an Islamic religious leader. It is not a death sentence per se, although with organized religion one has to take into consideration how the zealots might react.
But what the fatwa does do is effectively end The 99’s commercial prospects. Unless the fatwa is lifted the teevee show, which is off-season, is unlikely to continue. The comic books face the same fate.
There really isn’t that much difference between a fatwa in Saudi Arabia and an undeclared boycott of The 99 in the United States due to its pro-Muslim content. Despite solid promotion here in the States and the aforementioned exposure from both PBS and President Obama, people simply did not sample the series to see if it was to their liking.
To those of us who vest our first amendment fantasies with a zealot’s enthusiasm, both actions are repulsive. I wish Dr. Al-Mutawa well, and I hope he’s got a great idea for a Wolverine mini-series.
Jerry Lewis is a legendary comedian and entertainer from his days working with Dean Martin as a hilarious comedy duo to his solo career as a filmmaker. He was also the star of a long-running comic from DC Comics that used brilliant work from Arnold Drake, Bob Oksner, and a newcomer named Neal Adams. One of Lewis’ later efforts, The King of Comedy, is finally coming to Blu-ray on March 25 and to celebrate, our friends at 20th Century Home Entertainment gave us a copy as a prize.
To enter, you need to name your favorite Jerry Lewis film and why. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, March 25. The contest is open only to readers in the United States and Canada. The judgment of ComicMix will be final.
The King of Comedy, The 30th Anniversary
Academy Award® Winner Robert De Niro*, Jerry Lewis and Sandra Bernhard give mesmerizing performances in this “chilling black comedy” (TV Guide’s Movie Guide) that explores the painfully high and often hilarious price of fame. Desperate to be a star, struggling stand-up comedian Rupert Pupkin (De Niro) enlists the aid of his fanatical friend Masha (Bernhard) to kidnap talk show host Jerry Langford (Lewis). The ransom? A guest spot for Pupkin. The results? Outrageous! The King of Comedy stands as Scorsese’s prophetic masterpiece which confronts a celebrity culture that “looks more disturbingly current with each passing year” (Lucia Bozzola, All Movie Guide).
*Actor, Raging Bull, 1980; Supporting Actor, The Godfather Part II, 1974.
Tribeca Film Festival: A Conversation with Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and Jerry Lewis
A Shot to the Top: The Making of The King of Comedy
We didn’t know what we were in for when FX debuted The Americans last February. The Cold War story of Russian spies embedded in suburban Washington D.C. was fresh and fun with winning performances from Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, and Margo Martindale. With the second season ready to arrive in a few weeks, our friends at 20th Century Home Entertainment are offering ComicMix readers an opportunity.
The Americans, Season 1 blasts its way onto Blu-ray and DVD February 11th. There’s no better way to celebrate than by entering to win a Blu-ray copy of Season 1 to add to your collection, as well as a Russian styled Ushanka hat. Be careful where you wear the hat though, your neighbors may begin to think you’re an undercover Russian KGB spy!
To enter for your chance to win, simply answer the below question.
What year was the U.S.S.R officially dissolved?
Give us your answer by 11:59 p.m., February 11. Open to United States and Canadian readers only. The judgment of ComicMix will be final.
Secrets can be deadly in this suspenseful thriller about undercover Russian spies in 1980s Washington. Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) seem to be a typical suburban couple, but they’re actually lethal KGB agents plotting to bring down America. As the Cold War escalates, Philip and Elizabeth must take extreme measures to continue their mission and keep their true identities hidden. But when an FBI agent moves in across the street, they become ensnared in a pulse-pounding game of cat and mouse.
Blu-ray & DVD Features
“The Colonel” Commentary featuring Joseph Weisberg, Joel Fields and Noah Emmerich
James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Catherine Keener shine in this heartwarming comedy that A.O. Scott of The New York Times calls “a small miracle of a movie.”
Divorced mom Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) may be falling for Albert (Gandolfini), a sweet, funny, like-minded divorcé. But as their relationship blossoms, Eva befriends Marianne (Keener), who’s always complaining about her ex-husband. When Eva realizes that Albert is the target of Marianne’s rants, she begins to question her own perceptions about first impressions and second chances.
The Blu-ray combo pack’s special features include exclusive second takes, promotional featurettes, and a look at the theatrical trailer for the film.
For your chance to win the Enough Said Blu-ray combo pack, answer the following question by 11:59 p.m., Wednesday, January 15. The decision of ComicMix;s judges will be final and the contest is open only to readers in the United States and Canada.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is best known for playing the character ______ in the show Seinfeld.
In an electrifying return to his signature role, Vin Diesel heads up an internationally acclaimed cast that includes Karl Urban (Star Trek franchise), Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica), Jordi Mollà (Columbiana), WWE superstar Dave Bautista (upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy), Noah Danby (“Defiance”), Danny Blanco Hall (Immortals), Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall), Matt Nable (Killer Elite), Raoul Trujillo (Apocalypto), Conrad Pla (Immortals), Neil Napier (White House Down), Nolan Gerard Funk (Aliens in America) and two-time Grammy Award nominee Keri Lynn Hilson.
Debuting an Unrated Director’s Cut with even more intense, heart-pounding sequences not shown in theaters and an alternate ending, the Blu-ray Combo Pack includes bonus features that reveal the behind-the-scenes secrets of the heart-stopping thriller’s incredible cast, uniquely talented crew and cutthroat characters.
The Riddick Unrated Director’s Cut Blu-ray Combo Pack also includes a Digital HD Copy of the film available on UltraViolet. UltraVioletis the revolutionary new way for consumers to collect movies and TV shows in the cloud to instantly stream and download to tablets, smartphones, computers, and TVs. Consumers can now truly enjoy Riddick anytime, anywhere.
We shine the spotlight on the Sci-Fi Queen of Riddick
For many sci-fi fans, Katee Sackhoff is a household name of this exciting genre, but you don’t have to be a sci-fi fan to know this woman is a force to watch.
The all-new thriller finds the title character trapped on a sun-scorched planet and pursued by ruthless bounty hunters eager to collect the reward for Riddick’s capture—dead or alive. Savage alien creatures, expansive desert landscapes, monster storms, jet hogs and an arsenal of futuristic weaponry make this the most exhilarating episode to date in writer and director David Twohy’s breathtaking series of futuristic blockbusters.
In celebration of the Blu-ray release of Riddick, we shine the spotlight on some of our favorite roles from Katee Sackhoff.
While her name might be pronounced ‘doll’, she’s anything but sweet in this role. Sackhoff has said Dahl is probably the strongest character she’s ever played.
1) Capt. Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace– Battlestar Galactica
Before playing the role of a sniper in Riddick, fans most enjoyed Katee’s work as Capt. Starbuck in the SyFy network series Battlestar Galactica. For four seasons, she played Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace, a pilot and warrior.
2) Herself- The Big Bang Theory
This may be her best role of all, a cameo in Howard’s fantasy. Katee guest stars on two episodes helping our nerdy hero muster up courage to propose to his girlfriend, Bernadette. Bernadette said no to the proposal but what better wingwoman is there for any sci-fi nerd than Katee.
3) Detective Sara Essen & Bo-Katana – Batman: Year One & Star Wars: The Clone Wars
As if there is more reason to note that she’s a standout, she also lends her voice to the live animation classics like Batman, and Star Wars, opposite the Breaking Bad mastermind, Bryan Cranston.
Our friends at Universal Home Entertainment have given us two copies of the Combo Pack. For your chance of winning a Riddick Unrated Director’s Cut Blu-ray Combo Pack, simply answer the following question:
The name of the first film in the Riddick franchise is _______.
The Chronicles of Riddick
Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, January 14. The judgment of ComicMix will be final. Open only to readers in the United States and Canada.