Saturday, December 7, 2013

Paramount is Officially Out of Ideas

The following exchange took place in an episode from season 4 of the great Seinfeld.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Random Movie: RoboCop 3 (1993)

Somewhere between Peter Weller deciding to hand over the RoboCop suit to Robert John Burke, the big wigs at OCP, or whatever big business in charge, decided that RoboCop needed to be more family friendly, thus leading to the first PG-13 film in the series. Never mind the fact that the original is a gory mess, even for an 80s movie, and the sequel probably expended more rounds than the Persian War, some damn parental board decided RoboCop should be a corporate product complete with action figures and cars and even it’s own spin-off TV show not too much later. Hence: RoboCop 3.

Since the last installment, old Detroit has gone to shit even more, OCP has merged with some Japanese company, and a military-esque team is brought in to force them damn ghetto people out by force for the construction of OCP’s idealistic Delta City. Luckily the ragtag team of CCH Pounder, Stephen Root, Daniel von Bargen, and a cute, smart displaced girl with uncanny computer skills decide to fight the proverbial power. While Lewis is in hot pursuit of the van of ne’er-do-wells, she gets cornered by The Splatter Punks, which appear to be some rock band in pursuit of another hobby. Of course Robo comes to the rescue with his newfangled detachable arm that fires an automatic machine gun. And naturally, his insubordination doesn’t go over well with boss Bradley Whitford (what, there are a shit load of decent people in this movie) who wants the Murphy-part of Robo erased.

In spite of Lewis’ selfless act of heroism (which damn whoever was responsible for killing Nancy Allen), the mercenaries close in the on the remaining survivors and with Robo suffering damage in the attack, he is off little use … until the little girl why uncanny computer skills comes to to the rescue with Doctor Lazarus and her mystical power. But even that is little use until the Japanese send katana-wielding robots to clear things up.

All in all, RoboCop 3 wasn’t as bad as I remember even if poor Frank Miller’s script got butchered again. The concept of a decrepit and bankrupt city (shocking for Detroit, I know), mercenaries who don’t give a damn about collateral damage, and those that are willing to stand up against BIG GOVMINT, there are a lot of positive ideas to come from this. But RoboCop driving in a pimped out pink Cadillac, a cheesy CGI scene of Robo flying on his jet pack, and the little computer illiterate girl saving the game really sticks out as quite silly to a series that had hands, arms, and other innards strewn about to attack a bigger audience than previous. At the very least, maybe it’ll be better than the reboot.

P.S. How the hell did all of these otherwise quite talented actors get roped into this? A better starting script? Gas money? If I ever see Stephen Root, that’ll be a question I ask, as well as about the red Swingline stapler.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Random Movie: RoboCop 2 (1990)

It’s almost funny that Irvin Kershner, director of the undisputed best Star Wars movie, was tapped as the director of RoboCop 2. While I can’t say I’ve seen any of his other works, he seems to be the studio-appointed and restrained errand boy as opposed to Verhoeven on the original. So naturally with the law of sequels, RoboCop 2 features most of the same players but with a bigger foe in the titular character.

Stripped of its social and historical allusions, RoboCop 2 is just another sequel that attempts to up the ante with less else new to offer as the evil conglomerate OCP attempts to recreate RoboCop from a psychotic drug dealer. Surprisingly things don’t work out as planned which fortunately leads to one of the best police shootouts on film. But instead of the heroic journey that Murphy endures in the original, here he is sidelined and neutered. Even though the finale of the last film had Peter Weller’s character realizing he is more than simply a corporate product of destruction, there are scenes that contradict that simply to add some sort of character arc as Weller again announces himself as Murphy at the end.

Other than the unnecessary complications with RoboCop’s programming and the quite idiotic creation of a drug-hungry 2 ton machine, RoboCop 2 falls into the trap of a sequel that adds little else. Co-screenwriter Frank Miller reportedly had bigger and presumably better ideas for the sequel that were deemed “unfilmable” so this is the best we got in the three years following the successful original. At least it isn’t as bad as RoboCop 3 to my recollection.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Random Movie: RoboCop (1987)

With the release of the newest RoboCop reboot trailer which I must say has me intrigued, I wanted to officially revisit the original of which I've seen approximately 413 times.

While the argument can be made for just about any remake, RoboCop is one of the few "old" movies that has more cultural relevance today than it did upon it's release. Big conglomerates, similar to OCP, are basically running the United States; the city of Detroit is bankrupt and probably will snap up any corporate sponsor it can, and between drones and the NSA and everything else we know nothing about, technology seems to be far outpacing our ability to harness it. If it sounds like I am paranoid, I am (not really at least). But basically all of this was foretold twenty-six years ago with arguably Paul Verhoeven's most complex film, excluding Jesse Spano in her Showgirls stage.

Much like many of the age-inappropriate movies I consumed under the age of 10, the themes and allusions of the film went completely over my head. I just liked matte-black Ford Tauruses, RoboCop with his spike finger, the awesomely ineffective body armor the police officers got and the great chemistry and performances by Peter Weller and Nancy Allen. But beneath the surface is a damning look at the callousness of big corporations and the inherent flaw of capitalism (in that someone always gets screwed) as well as the comparisons of RoboCop to Jesus. The latter of these themes struck me as wild when I read it years ago but it makes perfect sense as Alex Murphy was a decent man, killed and then resurrected, and turned on by his "creator."

But aside from all of that fancy stuff, RoboCop is just as sharp and impactful today as it was upon its release (especially the unrated cut). It has all of the standard 80s action staples of well-defined heroes, big baddies, and oodles of violence. While the new RoboCop remake/reboot/whatever will probably not come close to the sheer awesomeness of the original, I feel safe in knowing that RoboCop '87 will survive the test of time to become one of cinema's defining films.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Random Movie: World War Z (2013)

From the jump, World War Z has been plagued with problems. From ire among fans of the book that the film takes the title, but little else from, to the well-publicized production and budget woes, to last minute reshoots, the writing on the wall indicated that this would be a disaster. Yet somehow, in spite of a title that is still very divisive, a director who is not quite known for his action directing abilities, and a "family-friendly" PG-13 rating, World War Z is actually a pretty solid film and juggernaut at the box office. I'm sure we'll see the sequel World War Double-Z in 2016.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Blow-bocop (2013)


Old Man: Our system of entertainment is under assault and dangerous crime. The real crime: unoriginalty. In an effort to replace Hollywood with our own Delta City CA, we need a cop who not only has the weapons to fight these street thugs but the resources to use them. Ladies and gentlemen…. I introduce to you …..

Sunday, September 22, 2013

AMC Decides it Needs More Shows about Idiotic People in the Apocolypse

With AMC’s Breaking Bad ending soon and Mad Men on its elongated final legs, AMC is looking to fill the void with more than just Chris Hardwick talkshows. They say there is no risk-taking in Hollywood these days, and … this announcement couldn’t further back up that sentiment:

What's the Most Acclaimed TV Show You've Never Watched?

Dexter has come to a close on Showtime. Breaking Bad is close to its final episode. In the current television landscape you no doubt will come across someone who loudly exclaims while covering their mouth with their hands after telling them you haven't seen their favorite TV show. Unless you are an unemployed mouth breather with government handouts at your whim, chances are you are working and being a productive member of society and thus, not able to take advantage of the plethora of ways to consume entertainment these days.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Watch Marky Mark’s Response to The Happening

I have made no qualms about my feelings about The Happening before and this is not the post to indicate that has changed. Just like many of M. Night Shyamalan’s recent movies, The Happening is a mess but one that I am more and more convinced has to be intentional.

Friday, May 24, 2013


AMC CEO Says No End to The Walking Dead in Sight (
AMC is not content to let The Walking Dead die with grace and dignity when the time comes and instead will parade around its lifeless corpse to viewers and advertisers alike. But, given the massive ratings it currently gets, why would they? Perhaps when every last ounce of stupid-female subplots and wholly unsatisfying story arcs is exsanguinated from the series will it be allowed to expire. And then they’ll bring back Lori and Andrea to start the cycle of idiocy over again. And we’ll probably still watch.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Just Die Already! Top Franchises That Need to Retire

While much derided, sequels can serve a purpose, not just` to the financial end of Hollywood, but also to the creative side. As a member of the audience, there is a comfort in watching a new movie with foreknowledge of its characters or its basic plot structure, especially if the preceding movie is one that you enjoyed. But at some point, every franchise needs to be put out to pasture to spend the rest of its days playing golf and listening to Paul Harvey.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mini Scum: End of Watch (2012)

If you ever wondered if the 'found footage' genre would graduate from horror into loftier pursuits (Chronicle notwithstanding), End of Watch might be the film for you. At least, sort of. I was sold on a gritty cop film starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña with the aforementioned style but the end result was less than impressive. Imagine COPS: The Movie with attractive actors, love interests, and a big bad in the form of a very shallow drug kingpin and you have the idea.

 Gyllenhaal and Pena are two almost-rogue LA cops who manage to get entangled into more shootouts and busts than Riggs and Murtaugh with even more chatty banter but less characterization. As a result of them sticking their noses into a drug war, the two are (eventually) drawn into the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles that permeates almost every other film by David Ayer. Like the "found footage" angle that is more easily explained by having an invisible cameraman, the film suffers from having goals too lofty for what the rather trite material allows as it tries to explore deep and troubling issues in an urban area but is sabotaged by the hollow characters and sheer predictability.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Random Movie: Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

It seems that since the terrorist attacks in 2001 and the following wars in Iraq and Afganistan, more and more movies and television shows were produced with elements of Middle East tension, a terrorist mastermind, questionable intelligence, or some combination of the above. With the eventual onslaught of bad news from the frontlines of the war and the sheer amount of pop culture fashioned around these modern storytelling tropes, it is easy to grow tired of that trend no matter your innate desire to watch Jack Bauer use "enhanced interrogation" methods. But Zero Dark Thirty's theoretical trump card of a "realistic" portrayal of the hunt for Osama bin Laden is too little, too late, and especially too rough around the edges for the already crowded geopolitical subgenre.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Random Movie: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012)

Written by: Tabitha Johnson

Saying this is the best of the ‘Saga’ isn’t wrong but being the best at an unflattering project is not that big of a compliment. I was not so excited about going to see the film but I placed all my grudges aside. And I was not completely disappointed.

Mini Scum: Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

Even though Paranormal Activity 4 has the same goals and hits the same notes as its predecessors, it is the weakest entry in the series by far. As another year passes and the already thin concept is stretched more transparent, the filmmakers stubbornly refuse to jettison the established storyline even though the weighty backstory is a hindrance. The main focus this time is teenaged Alex and her family who experience weird happenings after a young boy comes to stay with them. Alex convinces her boyfriend to set up the family’s endless supply of Macbooks to record everything even though that footage is more for our benefit than Alex’s.

While I have enjoyed the series up until now to varying degrees, PA4 offers nothing new and worse, it is rather boring. There are a handful of decent jump scares and one extended uneasy scene but the rest is simply filler while we wait for those. The lengthy buildup to shocks and scares doesn’t work this time around since we know what to expect and the characters are simply to showcase the fear the audience is supposed to be experiencing. At this point, you’re probably better off with a knock-off found footage movie.

Random Movie: House at the End of the Street (2012)

PG-13 horror movies are nothing new and probably won't be going away anytime soon. Some horror fans bemoan the lack of hard-R stories filled with gore and blood and weighty acts of violence (it seems like the upcoming Evil Dead remake will fill that void though) but the fact is that a good story does much more to elevate a film rather than free reign to shock through gore. The problem though with most PG-13 horror movies, including House at the End of the Street, is a lack of most anything else resembling a horror movie. Like last year's The Possession, this film exists, not as a sobering look at small town prejudices or the foolishness of unmitigated trust, but merely as a way to pander to teenagers looking for something to do on a Friday night. In other words, the mother-daughter pairing of Elisabeth Shue and Jennifer Lawrence is quite nice but there is little else of note on display.

Monday, January 21, 2013

TV Scum: The Following — Pilot

At recent press events, Fox and series creator Kevin Williamson came under fire for the depraved and violent imagery in the new series The Following. While I do not subscribe to the notion of “violent entertainment = violent real actions,” it seems odd that this show would get singled out while other network serial killer/law enforcement drama Criminal Minds is in its eighth season. Perhaps the attention was due to the starring role of Kevin Bacon or the fact that I don’t watch broadcast TV and I still swear I saw about 63 promos for this. It’s like they piped it into my dreams, man.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Random Movie: The Taking (2012)

Written by: PBF

The Taking, the first feature length film by The BAPrtists (Lydelle Jackson and Cezil Reed) is a bold and well crafted horror film. Upon viewing, the time, emotion and care employed to create this film exudes from the screen and forms an impressive entry in to the cinematic universe.

We meet Carl (John Halas) and Jade (Alana Jackler). Carl's fiancé, Carolina (Linda Rodriguez) has cheated on him with his best friend. Jade's daughter was murdered by a man (Frank Bliss) and was never caught. They have both somehow found themselves tied to trees in the woods. They suffer from bizarre and horrifying visions and are tormented by a family that perform various rituals. Each vision seems to possess them, and leave them bloodier and weaker. They are frequently confronted by the very cause of the rage that may have brought them to the woods; Carolina and the man that killed Jade's daughter. Carl comes to the realization that this is a place to face one's demons; or suffer a horrific fate.