Friday, February 21, 2014


Release Date: Feb 12, 2014 
Runtime: 1 hr. 48 min. 
Director: José Padilha 
Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Michael Keaton, Jackie Earle Haley, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste.

The 1980's were an emblem of cutting-edge science fiction – with films such as "The Terminator," "Blade Runner," and of course the mentionable "Robocop." And with all of our modern day updates it was only a matter of time, before another resurrection occurred for a new generation. Enter 2014's next line of defense: armed, locked and loaded...and painted in black. Joel Kinnaman steps into the role made famous by Peter Weller – part human, part machine as the purveyor of justice. As with all bold remakes, comparisons are inescapable, but a willingness to succeed is a progress in itself. José Padilha attempts to do so with his contemporary interpretation: a sleeker, more mobile military machine. Far agile and futuristic than its bulky predecessor, it adheres to Murphy better as a bodily entity. Abundant time is spent on setting up this premise, as he transitions from one physical outlet to another. But as a result, it takes time away from the original objective of the film, carrying out the law instead of confined to a laboratory. With that, it becomes an origin story by default, but a mundane and lethargic one at that. The editing is a drawback to the efficacy of the film, composing of awkward transitions and shaky camera movements. It doesn't help that Kinnaman is stoic as a human as he is a robot, lacking the emotional justification of Murphy/Robocop's actions. Thankfully Oldman and Keaton bring a nice balance to the mix, each with opposing views on morality. And then there's Samuel L. Jackson with his incessant yelling, always tried and true. Though this "Robocop" will ever be deemed a remake, at the end of the day it's about the individuality of the film and its ability to withstand the present. Whether it's new and improved will be anybody's call.

Rating: 3 stars

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The LEGO Movie

Release Date: Feb 07, 2014 
Runtime: 1 hr. 35 min. 
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller 
Cast: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson.

Back when "The LEGO Movie" was first announced, the whole idea sounded absurd. The prospect of a film based entirely on toy blocks seemed more like a marketing ploy than anything else. Yet lo and behold, if they can dream it, they can build itand surprisingly enough, it's a movie worth seeing. From the writers that brought us "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," comes a quirky new adventure set in the intricate realm of LEGO's. Voice-led by Chris Pratt and a handful of stars, it's an elevated take on a childhood classic. Emmet, played by Pratt, is an everyday construction worker, ordinary and faceless to all those around him. But when a prophecy calls upon a "Special" to thwart the evil doings of the "Kragle," it's up to him to rise to the challenge and go from zero to hero. At first glance, it may seem like an average underdog tale, a rehash of morals and conventional values. But residing deeper is a story much more intellectual than that, as ingeniously clever and creative as that of "Toy Story." Through its rigid movements and constructed environments, the film embraces the versatility of its star, in this case the LEGO piece. The animation is unique in that very sense and stirs up the nostalgia of being a kid all over again. What's more are the colorful characters that inhabit the world, from Batman to Bad Cop/Good Cop to "1980's Space Astronaut Guy." They really validate the limitlessness of it all when it comes to imagination, particularly in line with the climax that will be left unsaid. While some scenes can come off as theatrical and divergent in tone, "The LEGO Movie" is a film that's truly built for all ages. With a sequel already in the works and positive box office results, there will be plenty of more chances to recapture our youth.

Rating: 4 stars