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thegazette • Wednesday, February 26, 2014

On Disc

Conrad Floryan GAZETTE STAFF GGFFF RoboCop Director: Jose Padilha Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish RoboCop probes big ideas, but it’s so stubborn to be taken seriously on an intellectual level that it loses sight of the nuances that give a great film pulse. This tin man has no heart, among other missing elements. Following a near-fatal attack, policeman Alex Murphy (a subdued Joel Kinnaman holding his own) is revamped into the ultimate crimefighting android by multinational conglomerate OmniCorp. The premise introduces timelessly engaging issues — the man vs. machine dichotomy, the morality of increasingly automated law enforcement — which keep the film intriguing but ultimately relegate the tone to a high school science project. Jose Padilha shoots the film in a style reminiscent of a CSI episode — and no, this is not a compliment. The camera habitually hovers around like a blind child with ADD. The original Robocop (1987) featured exceptionally kinetic cinematography because the camera moved with motivation. Here it’s either tossed about to contrive slapdash pizzazz, or it misguidedly follows the film’s prevailing iron-handed tenor — i.e. the camera rotates around characters to punctuate critical emotional moments. The film fails to establish a sense of place. The original Robocop vividly conjured Detroit as a seedy, bluecollared metropolis. This remake globetrots to excess — an exhausted

GGGGF Sun Kil Moon Benji Caldo Verde Records Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

trend in 21st century Hollywood. At times it’s not clear where the action takes place geographically. This disorientation does, however, provide a highlight when a freshly robotized Alex escapes the OmniCorp laboratories — presumably somewhere in the U.S. — and hops a fence into a rice paddy; he’s actually in China. The cast is mostly excellent. Gary Oldman (Dr. Dennett Norton) emits an earnest compassion. Michael Keaton (Raymond Sellars, CEO of OmniCorp) embodies a nuanced villain who’s charming and never threatening until the later stages. He’s a subtle reprove of callous consumerism. Robocop is derivative of recent sci-fi remakes — Total Recall, Judge Dredd — that deflate the original film’s charm by sulking towards a gravitas that never manifests. Alex’s lean, matte-black robot armor is typical of the movie — built for function, but not much personality. There are sporadic glimpses of the original film’s irreverent pungency. The famous MGM logo has the lion’s growl dubbed over with

television presenter Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson) gurgling to prepare his voice for an upcoming broadcast. He closes the movie by going on an on-air tirade (Samuel L. Jackson is the Roger Federer of cussing) that serves as a loud reprimand of right-wing news. It’s refreshingly spontaneous and a great closing vignette. The attack that transforms Alex into RoboCop occurs right when he’s about to have sex. Ouch man, that’s cruel, compounded because his body has been mostly amputated so RoboCop has no penis and his wife Clara is Australian beauty Abbie Cornish! Common! It’s a case in point for sanitized, generic blockbusters; the film just became aggressively PG-13. Quentin Tarantino has expressed that he wants to retire soon because older directors make “limp dick” movies. RoboCop — despite topflight hardware and some healthy brain cells — is literally a “no dick” movie, which at least means it won’t be able to spawn any unnecessary sequels.

Sun Kil Moon’s latest record is a dark, depressing, passionate and powerful album that is the best folk-rock album to be put out in a long time. Benji is a collection of 11 stories, each of which details the death of someone songwriter Mark Kozelek knew. Through Kozelek’s profound storytelling, listeners get a personal and private look into the lives of these people, be it their successes, struggles or failures. All of the tracks focus primarily

USC INTERN JOB FAIR

on the lyrics and story rather than the instruments that back it. The guitar, bass, slight percussion, and xylophones tend to be simple and never overly complex. They set the mood perfectly. Songs like “Carissa” with its soft, simple, yet powerful guitars perfectly characterize the feel and atmosphere of the song. “Jim Wise” is one of most somber, grim songs backed by a rhodes piano and creates an unmatched atmosphere that elicits strong emotional responses. Despite the heights that Benji soars with these songs, it also has a handful that fall short of the mark. Songs like “Truck Driver”, “Pray for Newton”, and “Micheline” are by no means bad, but are average, especially in comparison to heavy hitters like “Jim Wise” and “Carissa”. There have been countless albums and songs about death but few have told the stories as masterfully as Mark Kozelek does in Benji. In “Carissa”, he sings the purpose of this album to be to, “find some poetry to make sense of this and give some deeper meaning” and it’s safe to say that he succeeds. — Syed Wajahat

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Wednesday, February 26th 9:00AM – 5:00PM Mustang Lounge East

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Courtesy of Universal Pictures

The Little Rascals, 1994 “Dear Darla, I hate your stinking guts. You make me vomit. You’re the scum between my toes! Love, Alfalfa.” The brutal honesty in young Alfalfa’s letter to Darla is something we can all appreciate in The Little Rascals. Taking a trip down memory lane and watching this classic childhood movie will definitely remind you of the hilarious, yet often inappropriate,humour children conjure up. The 1994 comedy is an adaptation of Our Gang, a series of short films that were originally created by Hal Roach in 1922. The Little Rascals features many of the comical Our Gang characters that were such a great success. Our Gang has been noted for incorporating boys,

girls, as well as blacks and whites as characters — something that was very uncommon and new in 1920s cinema. The Little Rascals provides an extremely accurate picture of elementary school boy-girl relations. For many 20-something Western students, it’s easy to forget how different things used to be for us over a decade ago. Now, a Saturday night might include heading to Ceeps with both your girl and guy friends, however, nothing of the sort would have been allowed if you were a part of Spanky’s “He-ManWoman-Haters Club.” In the film Spanky is the head of the club, whose members include several neighbourhood boys, including Spanky’s best friend Alfalfa. When Alfalfa is caught

hanging out with Darla, the boys of the club try their best to separate the two. Eventually Darla is led to believe that Alfalfa feels ashamed of her, which leads Alfalfa to attempt to win back her love. Darla becomes completely uninterested in Alfalfa and begins spending her time with the new rich kid Waldo, whose father is played by Donald Trump. Some parts of the film appear to be too crude for a kid’s movie. However, The Little Rascals provides a spitting image of many typical eight-year old boys, which is precisely what makes it so enjoyable to watch. The movie really captures the true nature of young schoolboys and provides a look into the everyday adventures youngsters face. — Jennafer Freeman

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Diversity at Western Law: A Student Perspective Wednesday, February 26, 2014 Law School Building, Room 36 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM 6:00 PM – 7:15 PM 7:15 PM – 8:00 PM

Admissions & DiscoverLaw.org info Student Panel Reception

Sponsored by the Law School Admission Council

DiscoverLaw.org

This open event will include law school admission and DiscoverLaw.org information, followed by a panel discussion with current law students from diverse backgrounds. The student speakers will shed light on their cultural, ethnic, socio-economic, and genderrelated experiences at law school. FREE pizza and pop reception to follow in the Student Lounge To R.S.V.P, please email Jen Fawcett-Cornish jfawcet3@uwo.ca Create an account at DiscoverLaw.org, to access helpful information about preparing for law school

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Robocop missing a few parts

Wednesday, February 26, 2014  
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