RoboCop (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.
Rogue One – A Star Wars Story (2016) – 7/10
A bit abrupt at first – frenetic jumping from this planet to that station etc, etc. I thought, uh oh, I’ll never be able to keep up with what’s going on.
Thankfully, this was a brief intro to ‘the scene’. When the narrative settles, the story is engaging. Reminiscent of early Star Wars. Compelling, believable characters; tragic end.
And it has Mads Mikkelson. Awful elegance.
Really disliked the CG especially the end scene with a seeming resurrected Carrie Fisher.
Rocky Balboa (2006) – 7/10
‘Rocky VI’ continues the series with heart and kindness. Bittersweet and poignant. Rocky has a strength of character that imbues everything he does.
A persona that’s larger than life yet ultimately vulnerable. No one is immune to the ravages of time.
Even Rocky needs validation.
Physicality and determination on display, spectators roused to join the chant ‘Rocky! Rocky!’. Cheering for one and all; never give up. Inspiration to run up the steps.
Ricki and the Flash (2014) – 2/10
Diablo Cody, Jonathan Demme, Meryl Streep
Unusual filming technique, like you’re watching a play on screen.
Loser house band at loser pub playing to loser people, every single night.
Meryl is a loser also. One hairstyle and makeup routine – no creativity here.
What was her past? Was she ever good? She started the band after having three children so she would have been older to start with. Was she always so crude and uneducated? What was the attraction between her and her husband?
Comedy or tragedy, not worth the effort.
River’s Edge (1986) – 7/10
The murder of a high school girl goes unreported for days. Yet her friends are compelled to repeatedly visit the sight of her murder and her dead body.
Crispin Glover plays a strange staccato speaking caricature of the group leader. He’s like a cartoon character all hopped up on goofballs.
Keanu is channelling Ted – he can’t not be Ted. Keanu is the real leader here. Dense and slow but with a good heart and actions that reveal an underlying sense of doing the right thing.
Dennis Hopper is a bizarre precursor of ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ and at times quite hilarious.
A powerful film. Small town America, you can feel the hopelessness of everyone. It’s overwhelming. Their lives are dismal, their emotions flat. You feel that this event will eventually fade into their combined history. Won’t be long before stasis returns and the glaze covers their eyes.
The Revenant (2015) – 8/10
Devastatingly beautiful scenery. Crunchy snow, primordial forest.
Cruel, hard and cold. Animal pelts are warm. Loss and revenge. Cowardice. What is life, hero’s journey, into the mystic.
The Running Man (1987) – 6/10
Wow. Arnie was so young and so on steroids. One liners in abundance. What’s not to like about this movie? Based on a short story by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King). Directed by Paul Michael Glaser the original ‘Starsky’. 80s glam dancers’ choreography by Paula Adbul. Richard Dawson a parody of himself.
Game shows stakes are high in dystopian America. Lucky audience members choose from stalkers Dynamo, Buzzsaw, Subzero or Fireball to battle expendable citizens.
80s fashion and hairstyles – big silver geometric earrings. Love the costumes. Two memorable scenes: After his escape from prison Arnie dresses as a labourer complete with suspenders and a little yellow safety hat? Stalker Dynamo covered with fairy lights drives a vehicle not much bigger than himself up a steep hill of refuse. Tumbling down he comes. Was he thinking?