1. ”RoboCop: The Oral History.” MPAA wars, cocaine, stunt injuries, RoboCop as Jesus, and more insights into the wild set of the 1987 action/sci-fi masterpiece.
“A little more than 25 years ago, Orion Pictures released RoboCop, a grimly hysterical, hyper-violent satire masquerading as an action film. And despite spawning two sequels, a television series, some anime, and now a remake, the film’s success was inimitable. This is partly because RoboCop only really became a great film as it was made. Director Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall, Basic Instinct) worked tirelessly to revise scenes while actors like Kurtwood Smith, who plays Clarence Boddecker, the film’s main heavy, improvised some of the movie’s best lines. In time for the new, inevitably inferior RoboCop’s release today, Esquire.com talked to four of the original 1987 film’s creators: director Paul Verhoeven; co-writer Michael Miner; stuntwoman Jeannie Epper; and actor Kurtwood Smith.”
2. “Less Redemption, More Tears.” Manohla Dargis reviews the RoboCop remake.
“Written by Joshua Zetumer (sharing credit with the original screenwriters, Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner), the movie has been pumped up, cautiously updated and cleaned up, with fewer expletives, if many more bullets. Among the other new attractions is a jingoistic television talk show host, Pat Novak, played by Samuel L. Jackson, who seems to have been tapped for duties so that he can deliver a bleeped Tarantino-esque obscenity. A corporate shill, Novak pops up every so often to provide intermittent commentary (and metacommentary), extolling red, white and blue militarism that’s as blunt as the action scenes. Mr. Jackson is a predictably crude, amusing instrument, even if his character’s ultra-conservative shtick is so familiar—Stephen Colbert mines much the same territory almost nightly—that the satire has no sting.”
3. “Holding Hands and Shedding Tears With Shia LaBeouf at His New Art Show.” Kyle Buchanan on his Marina Abramovic with the actor.
” I think of him briefly while I keep eye contact with Shia, but mostly, I stay present and friendly, trying to figure out Shia’s mood from what little I can see of his face, and absently strumming the ukelele while we stare at each other. As I flick those strings, the sound of the ukelele so pretty that it belies my total inexperience with it, I notice that Shia’s big brown eyes have grown watery. After a moment, I put the ukelele down and offer him an upturned palm. None of my other questions have produced any sort of reaction from him, but I know this one will be different. “Do you want to hold my hand?” I ask. A minute later, he puts his hand in mine and leaves it there.”
4. “Armadillos in Their Trousers.” The Tragic Special Snowflakes of This Is Spinal Tap.
“The film’s central thesis is the same as that of Bruce Springsteen’s ’Glory Days’ and Don Henley’s ’Boys of Summer,’ only brazenly comical. And unlike those two songs, it is more sympathetic towards its protagonists. This Is Spinal Tap realizes that we all surround ourselves with a mesh made from the stuff of dreams. We go through life thinking that fictitious armor makes us invulnerable. And the film’s sympathetic humor hinges on the inevitable emperor’s new clothes moment: people not realizing how daft they are looking and acting. This Is Spinal Tap admits that it is very hard to accept that one has already peaked, and move on anyway, graciously. One might as well, though. Time makes fools of us all.”
5. “Denis Côté.” The Québécois filmmaker on filmic revenge, horror, and making a film in seven days.
“At times [Vic + Flo Saw a Bear] feels like a more formal remake of his earlier Our Private Lives, about an internet couple who run into problems once they commit to getting together in person. In conversation, Côté doesn’t mince words: in our one-hour bull session, putatively on the heels of the U.S. release of Vic + Flo, Côté broke down his serpentine career history while casually dropping film theories, a handful at a time. His cardinal preoccupation as an artist may well be, unto itself, the act of reconsideration—and yet he addresses his own work with none of the opaque self-mythologizing that’s hidebound to festival darlings. Côté talks every bit as crisply and lucidly as the HD frames in which he paints his pictures, but with a playfulness and patience that can only be described as generous. There’s no mistaking Côté’s filmmaking for anything more or less than an extension of his former day job reviewing movies for Canada’s now-defunct ici magazine—auteurism as the ultimate act of criticism. Spoilers below.”
Video of the Day: Michel Gondry’s video for Metronomy’s “Love Letters”:
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