Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekly Film Round-up 9th February 2014


An grand debate over Robocop ensued this week, and I suffered through another wimpy, silly romance.  And I probably wouldn't have named Robocop as my movie pick of the week, but there were only two films that I managed to see for this week. Some of the film previews clashed and I missed others. Life gets in the way sometimes. But it was definitely better than Labor Day.

(My movie Pick of the week)
 Robocop ★★★ ½   

Opens in Australia: 6th February 2014
USA: 12th February 2014    UK: 5th Feburary 2014 
Other Countries: Release Information

     Well I was harangued and told I had *&+?#@ taste in film and to hang up my reviewer’s hat up at a preview screening this week by one of the other reviewers who hated this film.  So began quite the argument between a few of us before we went in to see Cuban Fury (the publicist asked me to mention that and to get over Robocop—Cuban Fury is very good).  There’s nothing like a debate between critics. You won’t see punches thrown but you will hear a lot of director’s and screenwriter’s names hurled into the arena, and references to the purity of the origin story.
     However I am sticking to my guns. Yes, I loved the 1987 film and must have seen it about half a dozen times. And, yes, this one’s violence is toned down from the original to score it an M rating. But, the 2014 Robocop has a lot to like. Samuel L. Jackson plays his role as an activist television commentator with the perfect flavour. Michael Keaton as the president of OmniCorp is just a treat.  Where have you been Mr. Keaton? We’ve missed you. There’s a good mix of politics, commentary, cornball humor, and action, as well as a very creepy, icky, inner body scene.
     My critic-colleague would disagree with me, but there was enough action to move the film along and it diverges from the original enough to feel fresh for those who know the origin story well. If you are a sci-fi geek, this is a no-brainer. And a no-body-er, too.
In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years - and it's meant billions for OmniCorp's bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it. When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) - a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit is critically injured, OmniCorp sees their chance to build a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine.

Labor Day ★★
Opens in Australia: 6th February 2014
USA: 31st January 2014    UK: 28th March 2014
Perth, Australia:         See at Luna Cinemas
Other Countries:          Release Information

First up I am a romantic. I loved About Time last year. I wept in The Notebook. And Notting Hill and Pretty Woman I have seen too many times to count.  So that is not the reason that I found Labor Day insipid and lacking.
The reason I didn’t enjoy it is because in technical terms, it was a ridiculous premise. Maybe the book by Joyce Maynard is better and she pulls the concept off, but the film for me is no peach pie I am afraid (if you’ve seen the film you will understand my reference).  I just don't buy that a woman who isn’t that bad looking or mean in spirit (come on, you can’t make Kate Winslett look totally dowdy) would be that desperate that she would fall in love with her kidnapper, an escaped criminal, in two days. COME ONE, people!!!
What’s worse is that the escaped criminal who has supposedly been doing time for years for the murder of his wife still retains enough humanity that he bakes, cleans and is kind and considerate of children and physically challenged minors. Prison just doesn’t do that to you.
Kate Winslett and Josh Brolin do a great job of acting through what must have been some embarrassing scenes to make. The peach pie baking scene has scarred me. Not to the degree that Cameron Diaz’s romantic scene with a Ferrari in The Counsellor did, but enough that I won’t eat peach or apple pie for a while. Very yuk!
However I will warn you that Safe Haven, last year’s romantic dud that I despised, was enjoyed by many despite my proclamations that it was a load of “?&$#. So if you enjoyed Safe Haven you will probably enjoy this, and please just ignore me. And my colleague who didn’t like Robocop said he “dug” this.
My suggestion though is please rent out Bridges Over Madison County which had so much more heart. This is a very poor cousin to it.

"Labor Day" centers on 13-year-old Henry Wheeler, who struggles to be the man of his house and care for his reclusive mother Adele while confronting all the pangs of adolescence. On a back-to-school shopping trip, Henry and his mother encounter Frank Chambers, a man both intimidating and clearly in need of help, who convinces them to take him into their home and later is revealed to be an escaped convict. The events of this long Labor Day weekend will shape them for the rest of their lives.


I missed the screening of this, but Perth cinema lovers for you here’s this week’s Lotterywest film.  Do treat yourself and enjoy the beautiful setting at Somerville or Joondalup Pines.  A hint: arrive at least an hour early to get a good seat and enjoy the partaking of wine and nibbles, and the ambiance.

The Broken Circle Breakdown


Somerville:                  10–16 Feb, 8pm, doors open 6pm
Joondalup Pines:        18–23 Feb, 8pm, doors open 7pm


English, Flemish with English subtitles
A sure-fire, tear-jerking, audience pleaser that wears its heart resolutely on its sleeve. SCREEN INTERNATIONAL

Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight, despite their differences. They build a home, start a family, then watch as dreams are shattered by the unstoppable effects of their daughter Maybelle’s illness. Immersed in the moody world of bluegrass music, this is a tribute to love, loss and music; and the bittersweet necessity of all three.

Label Europa Cinemas Award & Audience Award Berlinale 2013
Best Actress & Best Screenplay Tribeca Film Festival 2013
Audience Award

To see The Broken Circle Breakdown in the Great Southern click here.

What have you seen this week? Did you find our comments helpful or do you disagree? Share your thoughts with us.