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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Robocop & Winter's Tale

Dearest Blog, yesterday I braved the Valentines' weekend crowds for Robocop and Winter's Tale.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know or have guessed from the trailers.

First on the agenda was MY Valentine, Gary Oldman, in Robocop.

A critically-injured Detroit police officer is saved by technology...but at what cost?

Dear Blog, I must confess I don't have the same reverence for the original Robocop as many folks do. I like it well enough, but it's nothing special to me. Though I generally avoid press 'til I've written my own review, I have seen some reviews for this remake because they popped up in my daily Gary Oldman Alerts...not that I have daily Gary Oldman Alerts, mind you. Many folks who DO revere the original seemed unable to hate the remake as much as they expected to, so I took that as a good sign.

Due to the filmmakers' determination to hold onto a PG13 rating, the Robocop remake is less brutal than its predecessor. There are explosions and shootouts a plenty, but also very human moments. I haven't seen Joel Kinnaman in too much before, but I always thought he deserved an Emmy for The Killing, and I was interested to see him as a big-screen lead. He does a terrific job of keeping the lead character sympathetic, even when his behavior is more Robo than Cop. While I needn't mention that the best thing about the movie is Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Jackie Earle Haley are both better than they needed to be as well. I was also delighted to see two of my TV faves: Boardwalk Empire's Michael Kenneth Williams and Dexter's Aimee Garcia.

So, dear readers, how much would YOU sacrifice in the interest of your safety? Like the original, the Robocop reboot hits you over the head a bit with its social commentary, but, for my money, if it gets credit for any socially-relevant achievement, it'll be introducing a whole new generation to the awesome 70s jam Hocus Pocus! The movie has solid effects, and there's no denying the new suit looks pretty slick. The action is fast-paced, and a super cast helps make up for any other shortcomings.

Robocop clocks in at a very reasonable 108 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense sequences of action violence including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality, and some drug material."

Robocop is the remake the world deserves, but not the one it needs right now. (See what I did there?) Of a possible nine Weasleys, Robocop gets six and a half.

Next on my agenda was the maligned Valentines' Day love story Winter's Tale.

A man awakes in present-day New York City with no idea who he is, but soon discovers the connection between past and present.

I haven't read any reviews of Winter's Tale, but I'm told they're brutal, like 13% at Rotten Tomatoes brutal. As the sappy romance is front and center in the trailers, I was fully prepared to hate the movie, but I just couldn't. I didn't precisely love it, either, but 13%?? Harsh.

Winter's Tale is too schizophrenic to be the movie anybody wants or expects. An uneasy marriage of time travel, the Bible, and the most vomit-inducing love story ever, Winter's Tale is too schmaltzy a romance for fantasy fans, and too fantastic for folks looking for a simple love story. The movie never manages to find a comfortable balance between romantic tearjerker and fantasy epic, then it further muddies the water with a shot of morality tale.

If the movie is so-so, Colin Farrell, in the lead, is not. Farrell is a heaping helping of phenomenal actor with a double side of devastatingly handsome, and he salvaged the movie even when it bored me a little. Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay is charming as Farrell's lost love, and Russell Crowe remains immeasurably good, always.

My screening of Winter's Tale was fairly crowded, and it sounded like pretty much all the women were crying and all the men were sleeping. No matter what I write here or what you read elsewhere, that's probably as fair an assessment of the movie as you're going to find.

Winter's Tale runs 118 minutes and is rated PG13 for "violence and some sensuality."

In the end, I thought Winter's Tale was a better Cloud Atlas than Cloud Atlas. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Winter's Tale gets five.

Until next time...

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