RoboCop

RoboCop_(1987)_theatrical_posterRoboCop (1987) – 7/10

Cyberpunk dystopia in the late 80s.  Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall – the good one – and Starship Troopers) directs.

Things are so bad in Detroit, Michigan USA that a strong police presence is needed 24/7.  City planners invest in enforcement droids, with fatal malfunctions.

Peter Weller is the fresh faced Murphy, newly assigned to the Detroit PD.  Impatience and imprudence on his first mission with new partner Lewis (Nancy Allen) have dire consequences.  Murphy is mortally wounded and revived as the cyborg RoboCop.  Memory of his past life erased; all that remains of Murphy is his face, rewired brain and a simplified digestive system.

RoboCop is relentless and successful.  Detroit is being cleansed.  But in true dystopian style politics, greed and fear lead to a backlash against the new order and RoboCop. Justice ultimately prevails and RoboCop rediscovers his humanity, he’s Murphy again. Or MurphyRoboCop.

Weller’s portrayal of RoboCop is engaging.  Stalwart and stiffly robotic.  Jerky yet fluid movement.  Tireless engagement to ‘Serve the public trust, Protect the innocent, and Uphold the law’.  Through RoboCop’s eyes Weller reveals a sense of Murphy’s tragically, sad predicament but ultimate strength of character.  Added to this is an occasional twinkle of humour and we glimpse a hero.

 

 

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Blue Ruin

Blue_Ruin_film_posterBlue Ruin (2013) – 7/10

A taught, indie revenge flick.  This movie is so quiet.  It entwines the viewer with desolate solemnity and then mires you in events that grow progressively more tragic and inevitable.

Dwight is homeless when we meet him.  He lives in his car near the ocean. Rummages for food in rubbish bins and takes the occasional nervous bath in homes left unguarded.

Circumstance mobilises Dwight to seek revenge for the murder of his parents.  His tie to the murderer’s family are complicated and slowly revealed.  They are all on a path to ruin.  Dwight has a final, redemptive act.  Only the innocent remain, left to sort through the chaff or not.

Alien: Covenant

Alien_Covenant_Teaser_PosterAlien:  Covenant (2017) – 5/10

Well, I’ll just start by saying that it’s a very high bar against which to measure any movie in the Alien franchise.  While this sequel to Prometheus is better, it pales in comparison to the original two.

Visually interesting – Aesthetically compelling scenes:  space, the alien planet, the ancient city and the interstellar ship.

Cra-cra android – Michael Fassbender does a competent job juxtaposing David’s ‘Hannibal’ like evil against Walter’s steadfast loyalty.  As David, his search for ‘the creator’ and disdain for humanity leads to the origin of the alien we know and love so well.  Just have to add that Walter’s American(?) accent sounds pretty phoney.

Stupid villagers/engineers – Let’s all gather in the town square where we’re really vulnerable and our entire civilisation can be destroyed.  These are superior beings?

Pacing – No suspense, no slow build.  The other alien movies seemed so much longer than this one because of the slow build and palpable tension.  Covenant is frenetic and uncontrolled, like a pin ball game, bouncing off walls and bumpers.  Directionless coupled with poor decision making.

Crew – Well, we just don’t care about them.  Our hero (Jack McCoy’s daughter) is ok and it’s probably not fair to compare her to Ripley but I wanted more stature, more poise. And, didn’t she notice at the end of the movie that the wounds on ‘Walter’s’ face weren’t healing?  Come on.  But I guess she had been through a lot.

And while this is not a military operation, per se, you would think that the crew of an interstellar ship transporting 2000 colonists and 1000 human embryos would have some training in how to respond in a crisis situation.  Seriously here’s how that initial scene on the lander unfolded . . . ‘oh I have to lock you in the med lab cause there’s something really dangerous going on; no you can’t come out and it doesn’t matter that I also have infected blood spatter on my face; oh my, things don’t look so good, I know, I’ll get a gun and open the door to the med lab to help; wow didn’t expect the situation to be so difficult to handle; whoops there goes the shuttle up in flames.’  Witness the little alien scampering away to wreak havoc on the rest of the crew.

The Alien –  Really wanted the alien, newly birthed from Captain Oram’s chest, to don a top hat and start singing ‘hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime, summertime gal’.  Now that’s a classic.

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland_posterTomorrowland (2015) – 7/10

Shamelessly optimistic and wonderfully imaginative Disney film.  Watch it with an open mind and a desire to be inspired.

Actors George Clooney and Britt Robertson engage with a vulnerable sincerity.  Geniuses both; the older, disillusioned Frank and the youthful, determined Casey.

They save the world, literally.  Corny but true: hope or despair?  You choose.  Feed the winner.

The Dressmaker

The_Dressmaker_film_posterThe Dressmaker (2015) 8/10

This movie took me by surprise.  I had no idea that it was filmed in Australia and featured that quirky Aussie humour, the ‘it is what it is’ approach to hardship and the harsh, dry landscape that I love so much.

Kate Winslet is an elegant actress. She plays Tilly Dunnage. Tilly is from a speck of rural Australia and has a sense of fashion and design that is creative, bold and perfect.

Aussie talents are supporting players: hilarious and touching Hugo Weaving, batshit crazy (or is she?) Judy Davis is her mother, Liam Hemsworth is her constant love.

Loss, hilarity, revenge, adversity, triumph.

 

Personal Shopper

Personal_Shopper_posterPersonal Shopper (2016) – 6/10

Immediately post viewing I wanted to give this movie a 1 or even a zero.  Felt the plot was a genre mash and a little bit silly and KS’s performance wooden and one dimensional.

My sister and I wanted to watch ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ but it wasn’t available on my mum’s pay tv so we settled. And we were sorry . . . until the next day when we started pulling the movie apart – acting, plot, genres, intention, spirits, suspense, fashion, personal shoppers, atmosphere, loneliness, daring, confronting and why does KS buy so many drinks but doesn’t finish them.

There was so much about this film that we wanted to discuss and consider. It kept us busy for a couple of days.  What is art?