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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.

NOT-ROBOCOP

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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.

NOT-ROBOCOP