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Entries in Neill Blomkamp (6)

Aug 14 2018

The Link With Two Brains

VultureKathleen Turner in conversation,dishing on Burt Reynolds,William Hurt,Eileen Atkins and more.I had no idea that she didn't like Elizabeth Taylor!That's insane but Turner is always good for a blurb.So frank and funny.
Parade10 Steve Martin quotes to brighten your day on his birthday
VarietyRuby Rose is the latest actress to quit her social media after online trolling.This time a bizarre she's not gay enough to play a gay character or some nonsense (even though she's been out for years!).When will the madness end and why do we live in such a mean world?

MNPPthe trailer to Gaspar Noe's latest provocation,Climax
Slatea round up of all the shark jokes people made while reporting onThe Meg
Film School RejectsNetflix's original film slate for the last few months of this year.It's stacked.
Varietyan update of sorts on that Fan Bingbing rumor we told you about.Is China banning her from acting for 3 years?
Varietyshould the Emmys have even more categories?Acting categories too often combine very disparate skills.
/FilmNeill Blomkamp (District 9) is directing a sequel toRobocop,ignoring the other sequels apparently,and he wants Peter Weller to return as star.
VarietyInstant Family,a comedy starring Rose Byrne and Mark Wahlberg moved up from 2019 to a November bow this year
i09Jeff Goldblum jigsaw puzzles!
Coming SoonTrain to Busan,the Korean zombie hit,is getting a sequel

Exit Video
It's another teaser for Matthew Weiner's new seriesThe Romanoffs.I'm soooo excited for this because I love Weiner AND I have no idea what to expect really even after watching this.Looks like the kind of show that might have instant takes which prove incredibly wrongheaded once you see the show develop.

Mar 11 2015

Chappie,or "God,How I Hated That Robot"

Michael C here.The more coarse and petty the level of online discourse becomes the more determined I am to elevate things when I add my own voice to the mix.And yet,here I am sitting down to write aboutChappie,a film that announces itself as being full of Big Ideas,and all I really want to say is,"God,how I hated that robot."

I could couch that in more academic terms.I could say Chappie's grating personality exemplifies the many drastic miscalculations Neill Blomkamp made in crafting his latest sci-fi parable.But let's cut to the heart of the matter.Chappie is the worst.NotChappiethe movie,which is bad,but not as Earth-shatteringly terrible as its buzz suggests.Chappie the character,the first robot to be programmed with a soul.I hated Chappie's cloying,chirpy voice (courtesy ofDistrict 9'sSharlto Copley).I hated the supposedly cutesy-poo way Chappie refers to himself in the third person.I hated the attempts to make me go "Awww"by having Chappie relate to the children's bookThe Black Sheep.And Sweet Jesus did I hate it when a gang of thugs teaches Chappie to mimic all their irritating mannerisms.[More...]

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Mar 08 2015

Box Office: Rusty "Chappie"Tops Weak Chart

Hi everyone!Anne Mariehere with the weekend box office.We're about a week away from the first big releases of the year,so the news is mostly underwhelming.We had a handful of new releases this weekend with mixed results.Chappie,South African director Neill Blomkamp's third scifi film with a social message,underperformed in its opening weekend,making it Blomkamp's poorest opening yet.This probably won't affect his involvement in theAlienreboot,but I'm sure there are some sweating execs out there at Sony right now.The world gave a collective shrug toUnfinished Business,the Vince Vaughan vehicle that I kept forgetting about,even though it's been aggressively marketed.Other than that,things mostly faded,withFocusandKingsmanmaintaining their unsteady hold,while post-Valentine's Day50 Shades of Greywent soft andJupiter Ascendingfinally crashed.

Click on the highlighted titles for past articles on that film

02FOCUS $10.2(cum $34.6)
04KINGSMAN$8.3(cum $98)
05SPONGEBOB MOVIE$7(cum $149)
0650 SHADES OF GREY$5.6(cum $156.4)
07MCFARLAND USA$5.3(cum $29.4)
08THE LAZARUS EFFECT$5.1(cum $17.4)
09THE DUFF$4.8(cum $26.1)

In bolder news:American Sniperbecame the #1 movie of 2014 outgrossing the secondHunger Gamessequel andGuardians of the Galaxy's franchise launcher.

In happier news:Second Best Marigold Hotelopened in only 1,573 screens this weekend,but managed to make it to the #3 spot on the Box Office charts with the highest per screen average: $5,467.This is wonderful news for theJudi DenchandMaggie Smithfans of the world,though considering its low $8.6 opening,we can safely conclude this was an off weekend for movie watching.

What did you watch this weekend?

Feb 27 2015

Link Overload: Busy Actors,Deleted Scenes,Movie Spoofs

AV Clubthere's finally aWhiplashspoof starringThe Muppets' Animal."Animalllll!"
Boy Cultureremembering a great poem "Lana Turner Has Collapsed"
EWthe DVD ofInto the Woodswill include the new Sondheim song sung by Meryl Streep cut from the movie - you can see a minute of it here.I like it.Could listen to Meryl sing all day
Pajibaall the crazy shit that's gone down at50 Shades of Greyscreenings
THRLovely profile of Kyle Chandler's careful career moves.If you missed my review of the pilot of his new seriesBloodlineit's here.Love this actor.I'm totally curious about what he'll do inCarolwith Cate Blanchett

Coming Soonfirst image and synopsis fromJem & The Holograms
Movie City NewsDavid Poland says very smart things about the Academy's lack of confidence in themselves as evidenced on Oscar night.I've often felt this and don't get why they don't embrace their power?They're always worrying about audiences they don't have and not concentrating on delivering for the huge audience they do have.
VarietyBrit Joe Alwyn lands the lead in Ang Lee's next projectBilly Lynn's Long Halftime Walkabout a 19 year old US soldier home briefly between tours in Iraq.It's Alwyn's first motion picture though he's done stage work.
AmazonI haven't watched this yet but they're streaming the pilot to Sutton Foster's new showYoungerfor free
THRBlade Runner's sequel will be directed by the talented Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) though I still don't get why something that perfect in original form needs a sequel (sigh).You're just asking for trouble!
VarietyJoan Allen doing a dramatic thriller pilot co-starring Zach Gilford fromFriday Night Lights
HitFixLouis Virtel reminds us thatThe Brady Bunch Movie(1995) was actually hilarious.

Wait,there's still more links?
i09bringing comic book characters to life with a really unique take on makeup transformations
EmpireRosamund Pike lining up lots of projects includingThe Deep Blue Good-Bywith Christian Bale which is meant to be a franchise
A Fistful of Filmsgives out 1939 prizes.I keep thinking of doing this with older film years but I'm such a completist and those big projects undo me!Still giving best actress to anyone but Vivien Leigh that year?I won't hear it!
Stage Buddytalking toThe Last Five Yearsproducer.Who came up with that Russell Crowe joke?
UproxxNeill Blomkamp is refreshingly honest about how he failedElysium

Julie Andrews goes Death Metal in this awesomeMary Poppinsvideo

Nov 05 2014

Yes No Maybe So: Chappie

Manuelhere to play our favorite trailer watching game.

Is it safe to say that of the 47 films to have been nominated for Best Picture ever since the category's expansion,District 9remains the oddest,with its sci-fi concept,low-tech execution and lack of big name recognition?Neill Blomkamp and Sharlto Copley followed that up withElysiumwhich very few of us have thought about since it came out.They're re-teamed forChappiewhich,well,I'll just give you the synopsis:

Every child comes into the world full of promise,and none more so than Chappie: he is gifted,special,a prodigy.Like any child,Chappie will come under the influence of his surroundings - some good,some bad - and he will rely on his heart and soul to find his way in the world and become his own man.But there's one thing that makes Chappie different from anyone else: he is a robot.The first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.His life,his story,will change the way the world looks at robots and humans forever.

They've both lost me already;wanna see whether the trailer won me back?Herewith,a special YES/NO/MAYBE SO assessment of this trailer via all of the films it made me think of as I was watching it:


- Chappie's character design is enough of a riff on known commodities (C3PO,Short Circuit,80s Robot) without feeling derivative.I particularly love the ears/antenna.
- I'm fascinated by the fact that Copley is (to my knowledge) not playing Chappie via motion capture a la Serkis,but rather in a more rudimentary fashion ("they're animating over my movements,"he notes). That might make for an interesting approach;and might give us an interesting Copley performance.
- I love the POV shot from inside Chappie's head (is he also looking for Sarah Connor?)
- That He-Man cameo is pretty awesome.
-District 9still holds enough goodwill for me to give this a tentative yes.
- IMDB informs me that Sigourney Weaver is in this which YES!but…


- ...were we just denied a Weaver sighting and is that enough for me to notch a NO?Yes and yes.
- All those explosions towards the end reminded me ofElysium(and every other action film ever made).
- Hugh Jackman + Robots =Real Steelflashbacks.
- " unpredictable"immediately made me think ofTranscendence(and of Rebecca Hall's career;anyone have any news?Will she be given a non-thankless role soon?).
- Artificial Intelligence is a fascinating topic,but why must paranoia be pit against government involvement?Why must it always lead to things exploding and people getting shot?
- "One machine's journey… to become his own man,"Can we talk about this tag-line?Is Chappie secretly Kal-El?Must newly sentient beings always be framed within a masculinist view of progress?Suddenly the He-Man cameo feels less awesome.Add in a "girl in danger in need of being saved"shot and this needlessly testosterone-fueled trailer is ticking all my "No"boxes.
- The "You taught me so much more"line had me eye-rolling (Might as well be "I'm just a guy,in front of his robot…").
- The overall design and aesthetic seems particularly reminiscent ofDistrict 9if a bit more playful and colorful (are we in a pseudo-Eastern European dystopia with a dash of punk-rock?),but there's very little that pops in this trailer for me (give or take a bad Jackman haircut).


- That moment with the carton of milk.
- You'll notice this from the images above,but I think there might something else going on this film despite its ho-hum,by-the-numbers trailer (with its run-of-the-mill soundtrack,flashing title cards and kaboom!ending) and it falls more in line with the fish-out-of-water humor Disney just used to promote Baymax inBig Hero 6and which successfully launchedWALL-Eas an adorably Streisand obsessed curious robot.
- The insistence of seeing Chappie as a "child"seems to be aiming for a type ofLilo & Stitch("Do you know what a black sheep is?") andE.T.("You're name is… Chappie!") dynamic.Might this be the type of film Blomkamp and Copley have in store for us?Theposteris definitely more family friendly than the film this trailer is selling.

Watch and judge for yourself:

I must say I fall in the "No,thank you,I'll pass,wake me up if we were somehow duped by this subpar trailer"camp.I don't want to ask whether this film will break new ground (good or even entertaining films need not do that) but I can't quite stomach the tried-and-true uplifting human spirit in a non-human vessel that'll lead to bullets and sacrifice vibe I'm getting.Disagree?Do we think Copley & Blomkamp have another surprise hit in their robotic hands?

Aug 11 2013

Review: "Elysium"

This review was previously published inmy column at Towleroad

Matt Damon has a gym membership but no health care in ElysiumIn the future everyone has trouble finding good healthcare,there is no middle class,and Los Angeles is a cesspool.So far,so believable.By the future you mean next week,right?Dystopian fantasies work best when they prey on current fears and exaggerate like a mofo.ELYSIUMknows just where we hurt,aiming squarely for our 'have-not' wounds.Though there is no direct talk of politics in Neill Blomkamp's action flick / sci-fi allegory,this 22nd century Earth is a place where the Right Wing have obviously long since won the political wars.The Koch Brothers and Friends,the "Corporations are People!"set,have vacated the filthy planet altogether to rule from afar and horde their wealth.They orbit the earth in mouthwatering luxury aboard the titular space station Elysium which spins like a pricey slo-mo hamster wheel (think2001: A Space Odyssey.Add bling,swimming pools and golf courses),though it's undoubtedly the 99% who are powering it with their sweaty manual labor.

One such laborer is Max DaCosta (Matt Damon) who is foolishly hoping to 'work his way up' and buy a ticket to Elysium.He's an ex-con,though,and delusional about his future prospects.Even his childhood love Frey (Alice Braga),a stand-up citizen and steadily employed nurse can't afford to move there.In the future good health care is only available to the 1% despite technology so advanced that anything this side of death is instantaneously curable (think magic not medicine) and Max and Frey are out of luck.Socioeconomic mobility is as extinct as the weird animals that Max and Frey look at in picture books as children in flashbacks -- what the hell is a giraffe?

And also:why is Jodie Foster so pissed off???

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