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Friday, Oct 24, 2014

Blood, Violence and Babes

A B-Movie Holy Grail by John Allman

If you’ve surfed the DVR pay-per-view options and seen a bunch of movies that you’ve never heard of, chances are John has watched them. Why? He loves movies. All kinds of movies. Good, bad, so-bad-they’re good, even the truly unwatchable ones. He mostly loves horror and science-fiction and drive-in exploitation movies that most upstanding model citizens wouldn’t dare watch. Then he writes up his thoughts so you can decide - watch, don’t watch or avoid at all costs. Sometimes he even gets to talk to the cool folks who make some of your favorite films.

New Releases for Tuesday, June 3


Published:   |   Updated: June 25, 2014 at 02:41 PM

What’s new in stores and on video shelves this week:

 

Robocop

Genre: Science Fiction/Remake

Directed by: José Padilha

Run time: 117 minutes

Rating: PG-13

Format: Blu-Ray

 

The Lowdown: I was 17 years old when the original “Robocop” came out, and I saw the film at a small theater in a tiny Virginia town while on vacation with my Dad.

 

Despite his snoring throughout the entire film, I was captivated.

 

Paul Verhoeven’s cult classic was full of snark, snide commentary on corporate America and a rebellious playfulness that seemed to make the brutal carnage almost secondary.

 

How do you improve on a classic? You can’t, really.

 

But the 2014 revamp of “Robocop” is such a different creature, a technological marvel of this time, filled with virtual bombast and a hallucinatory visual style, that the two films almost defy comparison.

 

If anything, this “Robocop” serves as a far better successor to the original “Robocop” than either of the lackluster sequels that followed the first film.

 

There are moments of geek-out awesomeness, and a few places where the melodrama threatens to upend the rhythm of an otherwise solid genre flick. Joel Kinnaman does a fine job as Det. Alex Murphy, and he’s surrounded by a capable cast of genre veterans, including Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Jackie Earle Haley and, best of all, Gary Oldman.

 

Oldman really pours himself into his role as the scientist credited with creating the Robocop technology that allows amputees to find a second life with an artificial limb.

 

The new “Robocop” distinguishes itself by focusing far more on Murphy’s transition from human cop to cyborg soldier, digging deep into the psychological impact of literally being reduced to a head, a set of lungs and a hand.

 

The other distinction that sets the remake apart is its focus on current events, using the advent of robotic drones in war-torn regions to give its protagonist’s plight urgency and social relevancy.

 

Jackson seems to be having a ball as a bombastic cable news personality, channeling Bill O’Reilly with a dash of Keith Olbermann thrown in for good measure. Keaton seems to relish the chance to show off his Keaton ticks from years past. And Haley is perfectly suited to play the military geek charged with making sure the machines don’t hesitate in taking a kill shot.

 

It’s nowhere near as good as the original – nothing could be – but this is definitely not a remake that doesn’t deserve to exist. It’s a good, fun movie with interesting ideas, standout effects and a heart beating inside its metal chest.

 

The Stuff You Care About:

Hot chicks – Yes.

Nudity – No.

Gore – Gun violence.

Drug use – No.

Bad Guys/Killers – The same bad guys from the original film, with a few new ones.

Buy/Rent – Rent it.

 

True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season (HBO, 600 minutes, Unrated, DVD): Not the best season, but not a completely unsatisfying season of HBO’s long-running vampire saga, “True Blood” has become comfort food as it prepares to enter its seventh and final year.

 

There are so many supernatural creatures to keep track of now, so many broken alliances, newly-formed relationships and complete 180 character turns that the once groundbreaking series just feels tired and run down.

 

But the actors and our attachment to them as their individual characters keep us tuning in.

 

It’s weird to me how a similar show like “The Vampire Diaries” can completely reinvent itself every season while churning out 22 breakneck episodes a year, and yet “True Blood” can’t seem to find its footing to deliver a solid 10 episodes that follows one predominate arc from beginning to end.

 

I will say this – “True Blood,” more than any other genre show on TV, has the ability to cause high anxiety about the fate of your favorite Bon Temps residents, and I suspect that in its final hurrah several of those beloved individuals will meet the true death in spectacular and shockingly abrupt fashion.

 

Also Available:

 

Kissing Jessica Stein

 

The Ringer

 

Son of God

 

Falling Skies: The Complete Third Season

 

Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Fourth Season

 

Mirage Men

 

Ravenous

 

The Birdcage

 

The Motel Life

 

Parts Per Billion

 

Rawhide: The Eighth and Final Season

 

42nd Street Forever: The Peep Show Collection Vol. 2

 

Female Gym Coach: Jump and Straddle

 

Office Love: Behind Closed Doors

 

Valentine Road

 

Graceland: The Complete First Season

 

Death Bed – The Bed That Eats

 

Vintage Erotica anno 1970

 

Kimodo: Secrets of the Dragon

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