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Yes No Maybe So: CREED, SECRET IN THEIR EYES, STEVE JOBS

CREED "I'm so here for Michael B. Jordan becoming a bona fide movie star. It'll just take the right project to put him in the public consciousness. Creed looks like it could be it." - Kate

STEVE JOBS "Isnt it too soon for a Jobs biopic?" - Amanda

SECRET IN THEIR EYES "I loved the original -- without the background of the Argentinian dictatorship a huge element of the plot tension gets lost. I wonder how they'll deal with that." - Felix


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Entries in Rocky (8)

Wednesday
Jul012015

YNMS: "Steve Jobs" & "Creed"

Films celebrating their over achieving male protagonist are par for the course come fall movie season each year as Oscar competition heats up. But Steve Jobs and Adonis Creed both got trailers in the same 24 hours or so and I couldn't resist conjoining them since they both also star actors named "Michael". They make both an odd couple and perfect pair: Mind and Body. Michael Fassbender plays real life computer genius Steve Jobs for Oscar winner Danny Boyle; And Michael B Jordan, reuniting with his Fruitvale director Ryan Coogler, plays fictional Adonis Creed, the son of dead boxer Adonis, in an attempt to reboot the stalled Rocky series.

Yes No Maybe So on both trailers after the jump...

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Saturday
Apr252015

4 Movies That Introduced Artificial Intelligence (As An Afterthought)

Michael C here to 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 from 2001 to Blade Runner to Her. Even when it is not the main attraction, like with the droids from Star Wars or the synthetics of the Alien movies, 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 in Man of Steel (2013)
By the time the Superman finds the last recording of his deceased father late in Man 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 in Rocky IV (1985)
So the fourth film in the Rocky franchise 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). The Rocky films 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 next Fast and the Furious sequel having an appearance by The Great Gazoo who floats next Ludacris during chase scenes dispensing wise cracks.

Alsatia Zevo in Toys (1992)
Unlike the total randomness of Rocky IV’s subplot, everything in Barry Levinson’s Toys should prepare the audience for the appearance of a humanoid robot. After all, Toys is 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 of Toys, 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 in Logan’s Run (1976)
Around the 2/3 mark of the dystopian thriller Logan’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 original Star Trek show 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?
 

Monday
May122014

Beauty Vs Beast: The Boy-Men Next Door

JA from MNPP here - judging by the box office receipts a few of you joined me this weekend in going to see the first big comedy of the Summer of 2014, Neighbors, which had dumb beauty Zac Efron face off against the comparatively beastly Seth Rogen. ("Beastly" is not necessarily a pejorative here, especially judging by the hearty pro-Rogen contingent that showed up when I "Do Dump Marry"'d these two alongside co-star Dave Franco over at my site last week.) Enough of us showed to bounce a superhero sequel in just its second week, at that! So since it's the hot topic this Monday morning (and Zac finally has a post-adolescent hit on him) it only seems right to devote this week's "Beauty Vs. Beast" to the boy-men at its surprisingly gooey center...

 

 

You've got til next Sunday to spank out your case in the comments, so have at it.

 

PREVIOUSLY ON

Last week we stepped into the ring with a tune on our lips thanks to the Broadway version of Rocky and asked you who KO'd who, and finally coming out with the championship this time was the titular Italian Stallion himself, with just under 60% of the vote. I think some of those votes might've been less than Stallone-inspired though, and might've had more to do with the Tony-nominated lead of the stage show; as John T put it...

 

"Write-In: Andy Karl (...drool)"

 

Monday
May052014

Beauty Vs Beast: King of the Ring

JA from MNPP here, getting ready to rumble with a brand new edition of "Beauty Vs. Beast" for youse guys... we're running up the steps of the Philly Museum of Art and giving a victorious twirl (a very manly twirl, mind you) this week in honor of just having seen Rocky: The Musical.

It wasn't entirely by choice - my mother was in town and I'm always forced to see things I otherwise wouldn't (last visit it was Jersey Boys, which I'm still recovering from), and since she's a huge fan of the Sylvester Stallone's 1976 Oscar winner it seemed only right to hit up the stage version. Especially on the heels of its Tony nomination for Andy Karl as Best Actor in a Musical...

... but since we the people of The Film Experience seem to be cursed right now, Karl was a no-show at our performance. I can't say if the show would've popped more with him up there or not - his nomination makes me think so, but as it was the entire thing seemed reliant less on small things like music and character and more upon its admittedly spectacular staging. Ben Brantley nailed it - you kind of forget how bored you were for the first 3/4s when the boxing-ring rolls into the audience for the last act and shit goes bananas. It's empty calories, sure, but you walk out on a high.

That said what does come across well with the stage-version is the even-handed equinimity that Stallone & Co. treated both the the men-in-gloves with - yeah we're there with Rocky the whole time, but Apollo Creed isn't a stache-twirler. Both men have their faults and their strengths, and that's what's always made the showdown, spectacle or no, one for the ages. Apollo's established so well that by the sequel they become buddies and when evil Ivan Drago shows up in Part IV, well, not a dry eye in the house. And that brings us to today's showdown!

 

Which man will be standing in the end? Place your bets in the comments and prepare yourself for a grueling fifteen rounds over the next seven days of duel - see you back here next Monday when we'll crown the king of the ring.

PREVIOUSLY ON Last week was all about the Mean Girls, what with its ten year anniversary being heralded far and wide across the web and beyond (Tina Fey's ears musta been ringing something fierce) - so which Plastic exerted dominance over all the tables of the cafeteria? Who else? We all gave Cady a big "Boo you whore" and threw her under the bus - long live Regina George. Said Paul Outlaw:

"If Lindsay Lohan hadn't grown up to become an adult version of Regina George, Team Cady would probably be walking away with this. (Team Regina here.)"

Tuesday
Apr292014

Tony Award Noms 2014: Much Movie-to-Stage Madness

The Tony Award Nominations are upon us. 8:30 AM is, I think, officially my favorite time each day. It's always when award nominations for anything are announced. Plus I've already had a cup of coffee, am wide awake and have usually already written something. The curse of the Early Riser. The 2013/2014 Broadway season  -- at least for the musicals -- was completely dominated by movie-to-stage transfers or classics that have become movies and are back on the stage again but most of the transfers didn't fare as well as you might have expected.

Ever adorable Jonathan Groff and Lucy Liu announced the nominees this morning with A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder leading the tally and Hedwig and the Angry Inch close behind. A complete list with commentary follows

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Tuesday
Oct092012

Curio: Articulated Dolls by Pucherito

Alexa here. If you've taken a figure drawing class you're likely familiar with articulated wood mannequins (Manny to some).  I was lucky enough to spend most of my art school figure drawing classes with real human models, but occasionally as a cost-saving measure we'd have to draw from good 'ol Manny. After awhile I wanted to burn him. Maybe that's why I enjoy the use he's been put to by Pucherito, who has transformed Manny into some cultural idols with a little paint and inspiration. 

 

Here are some film favorites given the Pucherito treatment, with the resulting effect of elongating the likes of Woody, Sly and Liza into the same gangly proportions

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