Currently Watching : THE MACHINE (2013) – NetFlix Streaming VOD Movie of the Day!

 

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THE MACHINE – Directed by Caradog James, is a definitely worth a look scifi thriller, however if you have the slightest familiarity with the Science Fiction genre you are clearly aware the film is breaking no new ground.

Indeed much of it, is you marveling at the stupidity of supposedly brilliant scientists (a stupidity that unfortunately is not relegated to fiction), that open seemingly obvious Pandora’s Boxes of moral and spiritual and existential chaos.  Humanity has enough trouble being humane to other humans, much less the storm of confusion and conflict and potential horror and abuse, that will spiral up around the  very concept of potentially conscious beings that are built or grown, rather than born in the traditional sense.

It is a door that Mary Shelley saw two hundred years ago we were not ready to walk through, and humanity for all its technological leaps, has become no more emotionally or morally responsibly since. Indeed it can be argued that as our technological marvels increase, our humanity decreases. That humans increasingly become drones, in a world were we have relegated the marvelous to our creations.

So THE MACHINE touches on all of this, but it’s a well worn topic, and the movie often feels plodding and redundant rather than an innovative new take on the dwindling of the human spirit. So again worth a look, but ultimately pretty forgettable.

Far more satisfying takes on the subject would be Whales’ BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN or Ridley Scott’s BLADE RUNNER or the enigmatic, but brilliant UPSTREAM COLOR. The latter is also available courtesy of Streaming.

Grade: B-.

 

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MOVIE REVIEW: TOTAL RECALL (2012)

Much delayed Movie Update.

I did see TOTAL RECALL a couple weeks ago and just now getting around to my thoughts on it. Visually it’s a feast, filled with one elaborate, futuristic, mayhem-filled set piece after another. Unfortunately the pieces don’t really fit together into a particularly satisfying or engrossing story.

While visually, the film should be applauded for a world every bit as fantastic and well realized as BLADE RUNNER, the story itself seems very pedestrian when compared with those visuals and grandiose ideas.

So it’s an okay film, but long before the ending I felt myself trying to stay engaged, and not too long after the ending, trying to remember anything really noteworthy about the film.

It’s good performances, solid direction, spectacular effects, but ultimately in service of a script/story that felt more than a bit empty and lackluster.

In summation a great trailer for an okay film; worth a rental, but not a purchase. Grade: B-.

THE TOP 3 Actor Ad-Libs of All Time!!!

To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield, Actors, their salaries aside, tend to have to put up with more than their share of disrespect. Generally from people that don’t have anything close to talent, and their only joy is pushing people from pedestals. The unwashed masses that have nothing but venom to spout about the personal lives of the Cruises or the Woods or the Gibsons.

As long as someone’s personal life isn’t affecting my life, or is not changing the laws or policy I have to endure, I don’t give a good darn. Someone wants to be a Scientologist or Mormon or the last Scion of Zion… more power to em.

I tend to give people more leeway than most. Mostly because though I don’t believe in much, I do believe that ‘let him without sin, cast the first stone’. So Romney needs to shut the eff up. :).

And getting back to actors, in particular, they are often seen as primadonnas, who get paid much and bring little. And no doubt there are the ones for whom that belief is completely accurate. But on the whole I think it’s something of an impressive calling.

To give everything, your hurt and your joy, to crowd and stage and screen.

Writers particularly tend to view Actors adversarially, ‘Don’t you dare change my line!’.

But when you have a committed actor, feeling the part, living the role, being the moment…their ad-libs, their additions…. can be priceless. Can be in certain cases, the most memorable lines of a film.

Three standout cases come to mind.

And counting down….

#3!!

PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID- I’ve mentioned this before, but can never get enough PAT GARRET & BILLY THE KID. 🙂

R.C. Armstrong, born in 1917, (95 years ago, and by all reports still going strong) delivered one of the quintessential lines in Pekinpah’s PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID. As is well documented, Pekinpah had a way of riling up actors to get a performance out of them, he did that with the 6’3″ mean as a rattlesnake R.C. Armstrong and Kris Kristofferson had the bad luck of being the object of that realism. :). R.C. bringing his fundamental upbringing into the crafting of this line…

“Your problem is you don’t know about Jesus! I’ll show you! I’ll take you for a walk across Hell, on a Spider Web!”

What an awesome line, next up….

#2!!!!

THEY LIVE- Roddy Piper’s biggest step from the squared circle, into the lights of Hollywood came with this John Carpenter film, and the wrestler turned actor attacked it. Giving a great performance in a great film, opposite the always impressive Keith David. But even more than his performance, it’s probably this line he added, that stood out for a whole generation of people seeing the film—

“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.”

heh, heh, heh, I never get tired of that line (A really close followup to that, from the same movie is..“Life’s a b*tch… and she’s back in heat!”. Aww that roddy Roddy Piper! 🙂 And the number #1 Actor Added Line of ALL Time IS!!!!!

Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner!!!!!

BLADE RUNNER- Rutger Hauer seeing the climatic scene of Ridley Scott’s chaotic production needed something, came up with this, my favorite bit of ‘not in the script or the book’ writing, that anyone has brought to the table—

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

Well all three actors take a bow. Your Awards are being kept safe for you, until you ask me for them :).

As far as you writers, you can all stand suitably chastised. And all you film fans… go out there and treat yourself to a classic flick!!

Enjoy!!! And remember (leaving you with one more Actor Added line)…

Who Loves Ya Baby? 🙂