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Entries in Man of Steel (9)

Saturday
Apr 25 2015

4 Movies That Introduced Artificial Intelligence (As An Afterthought)

Michael C hereto celebrate some of cinema's lesser known machine life.

Artificial Intelligence is such a rich idea,if it is introduced into a film more often than not it is going to be the centerpiece of the story,as is the case with titles ranging from2001toBlade Runner to Her.Even when it is not the main attraction,like with the droids fromStar Warsor the synthetics of theAlienmovies,those films still have to take the care to craft a world in which these robots make sense.

That said,there are those rare films that introduce A.I.into the storyline seemingly at random."Oh yeah,forgot to mention.There are sentient machines in this world."To introduce such a big concept in such an offhand manner is always jarring,and can often be unintentionally hilarious.

Jor-El Hologram inMan of Steel(2013)
By the time the Superman finds the last recording of his deceased father late inMan of Steel,the audience is primed for some variation on the scene from the original Superman where hologram Brando boots up to impart some prerecorded wisdom to his son.Instead we essentially get Russell Crowe's Jor-El brought back from the dead.He can respond to new information and run around the ship opening doors for Lois Lane.Hologram Jor-el even has an emotional confrontation with Zod about things that happened after Zod murdered him.The idea that this is even possible is frankly way more interesting than the giant space jackhammer the audience is supposed to care about at that point during the climax.

Sico inRocky IV(1985)
So the fourth film in theRockyfranchise is plugging away,hitting all the typical,roided out,80's sports movie beats,when out of the blue Rocky gives Uncle Paulie SICO,a fully intelligent robot butler,as a Christmas gift.Paulie and the bot proceed to develop a wacky odd couple relationship,at least until things go next level bonkers and Paulie reprograms the robot to be female (which for some reason dumb old Paulie is capable of doing).TheRockyfilms weren't exactly bastions of realism by the fourth entry but it is difficult to put into words just how bizarre it is to have this A.I.subplot dropped into the middle of a boxing movie.It is the equivalent of the nextFast and the Furioussequel having an appearance by The Great Gazoo who floats next Ludacris during chase scenes dispensing wise cracks.

Alsatia Zevo inToys(1992)
Unlike the total randomness ofRocky IV'ssubplot,everything in Barry Levinson'sToysshould prepare the audience for the appearance of a humanoid robot.After all,Toysis little more than two hours of elaborate gizmos.Yet it is still so very weird when it's revealed that (20 year old spoiler warning) Joan Cusack's character was a robot the whole time,built by Robin Williams' toy maker father as companion for his oddball son.Like the rest ofToys,the twist is designed to be sweet and charming but lands squarely on unsettling.It's a combination of the way the twist doesn't add up and the movie's bizarre foreshadowing that Alsatia is not quite human (She enjoys mayonnaise sandwiches…just like a robot would?)

Box inLogan's Run(1976)
Around the 2/3 mark of the dystopian thrillerLogan's Run,Michael York and Jenny Agutter are trying to escape through an ice tunnel to the mythical "sanctuary"when they encounter Box,a giant tin foil robot who speaks with the warm tones of Babe narrator Roscoe Lee Brown and who looks like he was designed for the originalStar Trekshow after it had blown the whole budget on tribbles.At first it seems like Box is going to be like all the other soulless computer programs in the movie,but he is different,describing himself as "More than machine or man.More than a fusion of the two."Not only is Box a conscious being but it quickly becomes clear that he has been down in that ice cave alone waaaay too long and has lost his little robot mind.For five minutes our heroes listen to Box ramble like a street corner prophet,making grandiose nonsense declarations ("The deep grottos whisper my name.Box…BOX…BOOOOOX!") going on and on about plankton,and finally attempt to murder them while cackling like a loon.Nothing in Logan's Run is explained with too much depth but the Box interlude is especially nutty - nothing about it makes a lick of sense or even attempts to - but damned if it isn't one of the most memorable scenes in the film,random or not.

Do you have any other "favorite"examples?

Wednesday
Feb 26 2014

7 Costume Sights to See Before The Oscars亚博主页

I sent Anne Marie to the FIDM Museum to check out this year's costume design exhibit.Here's her report.(I'm seething with jealousy right now!) -Nathaniel

Michael Wilkinson with some of his Oscar nominated costumes for American Hustle

The advantage to being a cinephile in Los Angeles is that there's a wealth of Oscars-related activities around this time to check out.亚博主页Costume lovers,rejoice!The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Museum has launchedthe 22nd Annual Art Of Motion Picture Costume Design.Here are 7 things you'll see if you get a chance to go:

1) Sydney's physics-defying gown fromAmerican Hustle-Which is,upon closer inspection,almost see-through.Kudos to Amy Adams and Michael Wilkinson (Oscar-nominated) for pulling off Sydney's daring looks,which seem all the more daunting to flaunt in person.(There just must have been so much boob-tape.) It's impossible to tell the period pieces from the original creations,which is more than can be said for...

2) Jay Gatsby's surprisingly striking pink suit- Away from the noisy CGI of Baz Lurhman's anachronistic adaptation,I was shocked to realize that this suit isdapper as hell.The color is absolutely beautiful,not the alternately washed-out-or-bubblegum pink it had seemed to be in the film.DiCaprio should ask Catherine Martin (nominated forThe Great Gatsby) to design his Oscars tux,亚博主页because otherwise I guarantee he won't look nearly so good.

Click to read more ...亚博足彩app

Wednesday
Feb 05 2014

Is Jeremy Irons Put 'Out to Pasture' as Pennyworth?

[Editors Note: I am pleased to welcome new contributorDiana Drummto The Film Experience.亚博主页The benefit of fresh voices?They often have subjects to opine on that we haven't run into the ground already here at TFE.Like this consideration of Jeremy Irons,late in his career.Enjoy!- Nathaniel]


Last week,the internet announced,buzzed and trounced the news of Jesse Eisenberg signing on to play Lex Luthor in the upcomingBatman vs.Superman.(Insert maniacal mastermind Mark Zuckerberg joke.) Less buzzed about,but part of the same announcement,Jeremy Irons is set to play Alfred Pennyworth.Seriously.Jeremy "Scar is an unknowing introduction to masochism"Irons.Brushing aside millenial Disney hang-ups,Jeremy Irons is a glorious figure of bygone British manhood and Alfred Pennyworth is...A different sort of bygone British manhood.

Lithe yet powerful,languid yet vital,vulnerable yet undeniably masculine.As an actor,Irons's performances take on a seductive quality,with an earnest veneer covering an implicit rascaliness or vice versa or a muddled mix of both.With a bewildered look as powerful as a forceful growl,he (his innate talent,his RSC work,his Oscar) is being wasted.

Not that he's the first thesp to be called in as a ringer for a blockbuster (or that this is his first time on the merry-go-round --Eragon,Beautiful Creatures,etc.)...

Click to read more ...亚博足彩app

Thursday
Sep 26 2013

These Tweets Touched Me In Places That Made Me Feel Uncomfortable

These two tweets were next to each other onTwitteras I scrolled through my feed....

unretouched from my twitter feed.no cropping!

I find this juxtaposition totally uncalled for and HIGHLY upsetting.I will never be able to look at Superman's crotch again without seeing Annabelle *shudder*.Can I sue Warner Blu-Ray for emotional distress?

Wednesday
Jul 24 2013

Man of Steel Post-Script

Release dates are no Kryptonite for me.I can't be bound or weakened by them!I rejoinedPanel Culture,a weekly comic book podcast,as their special guest for a discussion of Zach Snyder'sMan of Steelfive weeks into its successful run.Why did they wait this long to discuss it?They'll tell you.

Listen in and join the conversation about...

  • Whether this Superman is successful as icon,hero and performance
  • If this Lois Lane dynamic (or lack thereof) works
  • How Michael Shannon's General Zod measures up to Terence Stamp's
  • That surprising first half hour on Planet Krypton with Russell Crowe
  • Tornados,mass destruction,and whether or not to save a life or keep on fighting
  • What the sequel should fix or keep or jettison

iTunes|Podbean| ...or Listen Right Here


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Tuesday
Jun 25 2013

What Would Superman Do?A Superhero's Guide to National Security Crisis

[Editor's Note: Please enjoy this guest post from the recentlyReader Spotlighted Andy Hoglund.We haven't said much about Man of Steel (Nathaniel hasn't even seen it yet!) so here's Andy to do some thinking about it for us!]

Life is about choice,particularly in America.Coke or Pepsi.Elvis or Beatles.Biggie or 2pac.The choices we make engulf us,setting course for the lives we lead and informing the men and women we are to become.

No choice is more indicative of who we are than a decision made by most early in life.Though perhaps aided by circumstances out of our control – marketing,household income,geographic location – I feel nothing better defines a person's character than their answer to this simple question:

Batman or Superman?

Sure,at first it's a distinction without a difference,maybe even a little inane.After all,both are superheroes owned by the same parent company,originated in the same decade of American pop culture and,indeed,arguably the two most beloved superheroes in the country (sorry Iron Man).

But,in a rare streak of bipartisanship,politician fans of both characters have crossed the aisle to support their favorite superhero.Their endorsements may underscore nothing less than our continued capacity for a broad political discourse.[more...]

Click to read more ...亚博足彩app