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Monthly Archives: May 2013

So, Mud is an interesting movie. Maybe repeated viewings of RoboCop have made me a little cynical, but I couldn’t believe how genuine and straightforward the titular character of Mud is. He’s out for love, and he needs these children to help him do it. He means everything he says, right down to his name actually being “Mud,” which really tripped me up. When he told us he was trying to rendezvous with his girlfriend, I was all, “Yeah right. Next thing you know, he’ll be a Clarence Boddicker wannabe. I bet he’s big into snorting wine, too.”

The main character, the kid, is the coolest person in the world. I’m not being remotely sarcastic here, I really wish I could have been him when I was 14. Wait, scratch that. I think I’d rather be you-know-who. Anyway, the kid’s dad is the best-acted character in the movie. He was the most believable, in my opinion, but the kid was IMPOSSIBLY COOL and like some of the characters in this movie, talks in ways that nobody ever does in real life. In RoboCop, we get lines like, “He’s a cyborg, you idiot!” and in Mud we hear things like…Well, it’s been awhile since I saw it. Trust me, I was rolling my eyes at a few lines in this movie. In RoboCop, there’s a whole lot of camp, but some of the silliness to the dialogue in Mud took me right out of the otherwise-believable film.

Moving on, they keep calling Mud a “liar,” but aside from being stuck on his old girlfriend, he’s a pretty stand-up dude; not a whole lot of flaws. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was waiting for some twist to happen, where Mud would turn out to be a terrible person. Maybe another Bob Morton, whom you can’t help but love, even though he’s a huge d-bag. Do you remember when he told the RoboCop team to “lose the arm?” That was messed up.

If I’m hard on Mud, it’s only because I really liked it. Maybe not RoboCop-liked it, but it’s a great watch. I thought I was gonna be disappointed with its bloodlessness, but there’s a really nice action scene toward the end of the movie. I gotta give this movie four severed arms up.

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Comic book movies are an interesting topic. Some of the subject matter they cover might be pretty similar to ol’ RoboCop. In fact, RoboCop himself was in some comics in the ’90s, precisely because his story lends itself to comics pretty well. We’ve got a robot-suited man in IM3, but that doesn’t mean Tony Stark is comparable to Alex Murphy. What Murphy went through was a torturous death and failure as a policeman, followed by a mechanical rebirth in a cyborg shell. Stark is some rich jerk who felt like building himself a fancy toy – a toy he can step out of.

The Iron Man suit is a capable one, but would we be able to empathize with RoboCop if he could fly? Probably not. Actually, that question was already answered by a certain 1993 movie that shall remain nameless. RC’s limitations, his inability to escape, his duty…these are human qualities. It’s why I kinda liked Guy Pearce’s character, Aldrich Killian,  in IM3 since he took on a permanent change with “Extremis.” He’s almost on that Murphy-level of commitment.

I know I didn’t talk much about the plot of IM3 here, but it’s the type of movie you go to watch, not examine. It’s got some great visuals, though they’re not as iconic as shots from RoboCop…like the one where Dick Jones falls out of a building and his arms look all long. It’s visually entertaining, has some fun dialogue (it’s not “bitches, leave” level fun), and it has Ben Kingsley talking funny.

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Pain & Gain is a pretty awful movie. This already does not bode well for a RoboCop comparison. The Rock is a huge dude who could probably bend gun barrels if he wanted to, but he’s most likely not a robot. He’s also the best thing about this movie, as it gets pretty dark. Admittedly, so does RoboCop, but the happy ending and good humor saves that movie from being depressing…and it’s (allegedly) not based on a true story, like P&G over here. Also, it’s got a lot of childish homophobia and racism, so, look out for that! As a reminder, RoboCop was an equal-opportunity, badass movie.

The movie has its moments, and it reeks of Michael Bay…so of course, there’s the unnecessary briefing room scene and the slo-mo military shot. I guess that’s fine for people who go out for that sort of thing. RoboCop didn’t need any military BS, as it’s already got a one-man-army…

(RoboCop, I’m referring to the titular character of RoboCop, RoboCop.)

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The Place Beyond the Pines features a whole lot of Ryan Gosling. He’s got an understated style of acting, but it’s nothing compared to Peter Weller’s straight-faced portrayal of Alex Murphy in RoboCop. Weller spent four months with a mime from Juilliard to get into his role; I don’t think Gosling put himself through anything nearly as rigorous.

TPBtP has pretty lofty goals as it spans a fairly long timeline, has many important characters, and wants to portray several traumatic events from different viewpoints. This makes for a great first two acts, but the third one is much weaker. It might be the child actors, it could be the emotional jumps the characters make, but it’s most likely due to the lack of real issues – I’m talking about becoming a cyborg. When Murphy’s old persona starts to wake up and bleed through all those wires, he has to reconcile his new body and responsibilities with his old mind and memories. Some kids in Long Island with parent troubles? Save it.

Eva Mendes is convincing as a woman who cries a whole lot, but it’s a shame to see that she never signs up for the police force.

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Spring Breakers is about some Disney girls whose prime directives seem to be “Party” and “Become Hardcore.” It features zero automatons and is not set anywhere near Detroit. Already it’s off to a rough start, but I was excited to see that it had its share of criminal scumbags and automatic weapons, but they don’t really get to do much. Certainly not as much as Boddicker’s men got to do with the Cobra Assault Cannons.

Maybe it’s because this film was set in Florida, rather than Michigan. What I mean is, perhaps it’s the actual locale that dictates how much action one movie can have. If Michigan is a “10,” Florida is somewhere around the “4” mark. That, and without the smooth editing of Frank Urioste, Spring Breakers kind of drags. The movie is some kind of artistic statement on American excess, which is an idea certainly touched upon in RoboCop, but RC had way more explosions. It’s an okay movie, and while James Franco’s performance is fun to watch, it’s not enough to really carry the whole film. Think ED-209: great first impression, leaves you a bit disappointed.

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