Archives for posts with tag: Michael Keaton

Grade B +

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a successful, fresh start to one of the most loved, Marvel Comics character.  Playing a 15-year-old Peter Parker/Spidey is Tom Holland, who is perfect for the role, and better at it than any other actor who played the webslinger in previous movies and tv specials (yes, there were live-action, Spider-Man tv specials a long time ago).  After coming home from his epic battle in Europe (“Captain America: Civil War”), Holland is back in Queens, NYC, itching for a new mission from his mentor, Tony Stark/Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr.).  But his dream of another epic fight doesn’t come, and Holland is forced to do street level superhero stuff while juggling the cruelties and confusion of High School.

Then one day, Holland comes upon a weapons deal that leads him to a gang of criminals who deal in modified, alien tech.  A gang that is led by The Vulture.   A gang that will test the teen-aged superhero in every way. With his pleas for assistance from Downey Jr. seemingly going unanswered, Holland takes it upon himself to stop The Vulture from stealing more alien tech that will kill many more lives.  But the cost of saving lives may cost Holland his own.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is the final scene of the movie.  I won’t spoil it, but I will say it was shocking and very funny.

Let me address a big problem many fans/moviegoers had with this movie: Spider-Man’s lack of his “spider senses,” which warn him of dangers.  I do believe he does have his spidey senses; but it is done in a very subtle way.  In the comics and cartoons, Spidey says things like “My spider senses are tingling…”  Well, we can’t have that in the movie, because it’ll just sound retarded.  When Spidey is dodging bullets or items being thrown at him, we just have to assume part of him doing that is because of his spidey senses.  And yes, I know Spider-Man gets hit quite often in this movie…that’s not proof of his lack of spidey senses.  In the comics and cartoons, Spider-Man takes hits also, despite having spider senses that warn him of immediate danger.  He’s not perfect, once in a while he gets hit.  Also, remember that in this movie, Spider-Man is 15-years-old, and still adapting to his newly-found powers, powers that sometimes overwhelm his senses.  His suit addresses that sensory overload, but not completely.  So, bottom line, this isn’t an issue for me.  Moving on…

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a very good movie that I think will satisfy most fans of this character.  Tom Holland once again kills it with his portrayal of a teen version of Spider-Man, as does Downey Jr. with his flawless take on Tony Stark.  Add to this lots of huge, action sequences, numerous funny moments, an interesting villain, great special effects…it all adds up to a very memorable, Spider-Man movie.

I do have to mention a huge shenanigan though: a plane full of extremely valuable/dangerous items is flying solo, no guards inside, no automated Iron Man soldiers, no military escorts?  It just relies on a stealth tech, and it has a “blind spot” that The Vulture takes advantage of?  Get the hell out!  But for this huge, glaring shenanigan, I would have given this movie an “A” grade.   It doesn’t ruin the movie, of course; but it does take quite a bit of the shine off.

— M

Grade A

In 2001, an investigative group of reporters in The Boston Globe known as “Spotlight” decide to follow up on a story of a Catholic priest accused of molesting children.  Their work led to uncovering dozens of priests who molested hundreds of children in Boston over a span of decades, as well as the lawyers and higher ranking priests who covered up the sexual assaults.   Although reports of priests who molest children have already been reported by smaller newspapers years prior to Boston Globe’s article, the other newspapers didn’t have the reach that the Globe had, so when the Globe finally broke the story, it shocked not only the city of Boston, but the entire nation.   The aftershocks still reverberate, exposing many more priests who have molested children all over the world.

Michael Keaton plays the leader of the Spotlight team.  Deeply rooted in Boston, Keaton knows he has an uphill battle.  Many prominent members of Boston’s elite will try to kill his story; but with a tenacious team of reporters played by Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, they will finally bring to the spotlight the Catholic church’s crimes of hiring, shielding, and protecting priests who molest/rape children.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Spotlight” is the scene when Stanley Tucci’s character tells Ruffalo that if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to molest one.  I agree with this statement.  A child who is being molested always gives off signs.   We must always be vigilant of what our children are doing, who they are with, and always ask what is going on with them.  And I believe that society needs to stop teaching our children to always trust certain people such as priests, rabbis, ministers, preachers, imams, policemen, etc.  Blindly trusting someone because of the uniform they wear and the job that they do is the first step to having children be victimized by child molesters.

From beginning to end, “Spotlight” has undertones of dread that brings this movie to the realm of mystery/suspense/thriller.  It is a fast moving story that won’t be forgotten by anyone who sees it.  The excellent writing, direction, acting, editing, and the tremendous, social relevance of the story all contributed to the movie’s well-deserved Best Picture win in the Oscars.

— M

I’ve said it before and I say it again here: if you’re going to remake a movie, make it better or at least as good as the original.  “Robocop” (2014) does neither.  So while it is a failure in regard to my definition of what a remake should be, “Robocop” (2014) is a mild success if viewed without regard to its pedigree.

In this version of “Robocop,” Joel Kinnaman plays a police officer in a future Detroit where crime is out of control.  Hmmm…sounds like present Detroit.  Anyway, Kinnaman’s investigation of a big time, weapons dealer leads to Kinnaman being blown up in a car bomb.  He is barely alive, and should he continue to live, he would be a crippled mess that would barely resemble a human.  Enter a corporation called OCP who offers Kinnaman’s grieving wife an opportunity to transform Kinnaman into a fearsome, cyborg policeman.  Considering the alternative, the wife agrees.

OCP has more than benevolent reasons for providing such an expensive transformation of Kinnaman.  OCP needs a law enforcement product that people in America can support; and if Robocop is successful, OCP will open up a huge market and reap billions of dollars each year.  Unfortunately for OCP, their Robocop is not a robot that they can fully control.  Robocop has a fully functioning human brain, complete with personality, fears, hopes, dreams, and all the unpredictability that is part of human nature.

Of course, OCP and the Detroit PD (both diabolically connected) will do whatever it takes to control Kinnaman…especially as he goes against his programming/orders and investigates who tried to kill him.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Robocop” is the scene when Kinnamon is in the lab, his physical and robot body resting on its stand; and he is shown how much of his body is left.  One by one, the robotic pieces are removed until only his head, lungs and right hand are left. Horrified, Kinnaman asks that his life be terminated.  More on this later.

There are a few things that this movie deals with very well.  The increasing use of robots to do the work of soldiers and law enforcement personnel.  Corporate greed and corporations’ heavy influence on the government.  The way Kinnaman reconnects with his wife and son, the way his family dealt with Kinnaman becoming Robocop… I was happy to see that this movie touched on these subjects, completely the opposite of the original movie that quickly brushed aside the family and had them disappear long before Robocop makes an appearance.  But all this cannot surpass the hyper-violence and satirical views on corporate greed/ media insensitivity that is found in the first “Robocop” movie.

For those who have never seen the 2 “Robocop” movies and plan to do so, I suggest you watch the remake first, then the original.  Save the best for last.

Now, back to Kinnaman’s character wanting to die after seeing how little of himself is left.  At some point in the future, maybe within 50 years, we’ll have this technology, where we can transfer our brains into robotic bodies.  I wonder how many of us will be willing to do so, assuming we can afford it.  Ask yourself: if your body was dying, but your brain — your mind, your soul — was still intact, would you transfer your mind to a robotic body?  I’ve asked myself this question many times over the past decade, and the answer is always yes.  I can always “unplug” should being a cyborg not work out.

— M

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