Autómata (2014) Review

IMG_8633

Autómata (2014) Review

Directed by Gabe Ibáñez

Starring:
Antonio Banderas
Birgitte Hjort Sørensen
Dylan McDermott
Robert Forster
Tim McInnerny
Melanie Griffith

Running time: 110 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Jacq Vaucan is an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation who investigates cases of robots violating their primary protocols against altering themselves. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity.

IMG_8694

My Opinion:

So I’m on a bit of an “artificial intelligence” movie kick lately having just watched Ex Machina & Electroma. Like I said in those reviews, sci-fi is my favorite genre & I’m fascinated by artificial intelligence and the singularity occurring and Skynet killing us all and blah blah blah. So, anyway, as it’s a concept that appeals to me I really wanted to see Autómata despite negative reviews. It certainly has its flaws but it’s not the worst sci-fi movie I’ve ever seen. It’s worth a watch if you’re a fan of the genre.

IMG_8695

First of all, I’ll say you need to go into this one expecting a B movie. I suppose that’ll make some of you instantly uninterested but, well, it’s not something that bothers me as long as there’s something I appreciate about the film. I apologize to my regulars who already know of my love for Hardware but I have to mention it here (as both are low budget sci-fi & especially as Dylan McDermott is in both films – it was so weird seeing him in Autómata!). No, Autómata is no Hardware (Hardware is much better) but it’ll get the same level of people loving it or hating it, I think. Hardware was made on a very low budget (and it’s obvious) but it has such a great feel & characters & simple but fun story. Autómata is also low budget but it looks much prettier while the acting & script feel low budget. Antonio Banderas is fine but the rest of the acting is a little dodgy. I think it also tries too hard to be intelligent but doesn’t ever get very deep so ends up feeling a little pointless. Hardware says “fuck it” and just entertains you with a killer robot, which makes it a far more enjoyable movie than Autómata.

IMG_8693

So what did I like about Autómata? The story was a bit of a mess & the acting was iffy but I still liked the concept of “robots violating their primary protocols against altering themselves”. Also, the look of the robots was quite effective for the budget & the filmmakers managed to create a decent looking dystopian world. And… You know what? It’s late & I really want to watch Game Of Thrones. Only four more episodes & then I’ll be all caught up so I can watch the new ones when they start! Woohoo! So, anyway, I liked Autómata okay but it’s a genre I really go for so I’m likely to enjoy it more than some would. It’s NOT a “good” film but, hey – at least they tried! I’ve seen better & I’ve seen far worse. Maybe give it a watch if you love sci-fi (but first watch Ex Machina, Electroma & HARDWARE). 😉

My Rating: 6/10

IMG_8692

Advertisements

Miracle On 34th Street (1994) Guest Review

20140325-094258 am.jpg

This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are. This is her second review after Sixteen Candles. Thanks for the reviews, Abbi! Let’s see what she thinks of Miracle On 34th Street. 🙂

20140323-093215 pm.jpg

Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

I have to start off this review by saying it’s fricking weird to watch a Christmas movie in March. It feels completely weird and wrong and probably has somewhat skewed my experience of this remake of the 1940’s classic, which I have unfortunately not seen.

Anyway… Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) is a very practical woman who works for a big New York department store, which is under threat from some local Poundland type stores that want to take over. What Coles has over the discount stores is its history and its Thanksgiving parade leading up to Christmas… which would of course be a disaster without Santa.

On the day of the parade the Santa Dorey has hired makes a bit of a tit of himself and it’s left to a passer-by who calls himself Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough) to step in and save the day. He’s so good that Dorey convinces him to take over as Coles’ full time Santa.

In the meantime Dorey is being courted by a handsome lawyer named Bryan Bedford (Dylan McDemott), who gets on fabulously well with her six year old daughter, Susan (Mara Wilson). Dorey is nervous to commit though.

Influenced by her pragmatic mother, precocious Susan doesn’t believe in Santa… although when she meets Kris, she starts to change her mind. Could he really be the man himself?

Mara Wilson is utterly adorable as Susan and it’s hard not to completely fall in love with her. She just seems so utterly natural and unaffected. Attenborough is also thoroughly charming as Kringle but it’s kind of hard to really get attached to the rest of the characters. At the same time I struggled with why Dorey was stalling so hard with Bryan. He seems like the nicest man on earth. Possibly if she had more of a backstory explaining why she was so sceptical of him it might have worked better.

I get the feeling that if I were fully on board with the Christmas spirit I would have been able to let myself just get carried along with the whole thing but on a particularly warm March day it just seemed like a bit of a stale Panetone, which went on and on and on. I think on the heels of Home Alone Hughes decided it was time to become the king of the festive classic but by this stage of his career he had lost his mojo a bit and it’s not a patch on his awesome teen movies, where he really is the king.
2/5

20140323-092546 pm.jpg

What do you mean you want a Minion for Christmas?

CPD Classics: Hardware (1990) Review

20140207-042628 am.jpg
Hardware (1990)

Directed by Richard Stanley

Starring:
Dylan McDermott
Stacey Travis
John Lynch
Iggy Pop
Carl McCoy
William Hootkins
Mark Northover
Paul McKenzie
Lemmy

Running time: 94 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Hardware is a British-American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film. Inspired by a short story in 2000 AD, the film depicts the rampage of a self-repairing robot in a post-apocalyptic slum.

20140207-043524 am.jpg
Why It’s A CPD Classic:

This movie is all kinds of awesome. Why isn’t it more well known? First of all, it’s a “post-apocalyptic science fiction horror”. How cool is that? I love sci-fi, I’m not huge on horror but love it when it’s GOOD (like this is) and, for whatever reason, I’ve always been a sucker for that whole post-apocalyptic thing (you can see my list of My Top Ten Apocalyptic Movies HERE).

20140207-043425 am.jpg
I will say this is quite low budget and feels more like a very early 80s film than a 1990 one. That’s a good thing anyway as the 90s sucked & had a terrible look to everything (watch a re-run of Friends – it’s not aging well!). Really, Hardware is a low budget Terminator but, again, that’s another movie that was all kinds of awesome so that’s fine by me.

20140207-043552 am.jpg
As it says above, this is inspired by a short story in 2000 AD, which I know absolutely nothing whatsoever about. According to Wikipedia, that’s a British science-fiction comic most noted for its Judge Dredd stories. I did know this was based on some sort of comic book and it very much has the look & feel of that. Certain images in the film seem to be right out of a comic book (I mean that in a good way). When I try to figure out just what it is that I love about Hardware, I think it’s a combination of the overall look & style, the quirky (though extremely underdeveloped) characters, and the fact that it has one of the coolest soundtracks ever. Oh, and Iggy Pop & Lemmy from Motörhead are in it.

20140207-043659 am.jpg
One other great thing is that Hardware has a strong female character. Dylan McDermott feels like the lead but, by the end, it’s just as much Stacey Travis. I’m surprised she didn’t have a bigger career (although she’s still around & has had lots of roles, mainly in TV). I mean, she’s a blow torch wielding metal sculptor in this. She’s cute & she’s cool. Come to think of it, she should have been on my recent list of Girl Crushes.

20140207-043730 am.jpg
I haven’t said much about the plot but, basically, Dylan McDermott is her sexy post-apocalyptic soldier boyfriend who brings her home these robot pieces he bought off a nomad to give her as a Christmas present as he knows she loves that kind of thing for her metal sculpting art (not knowing it’s a killing machine that’s part of a secret government project). I actually found their relationship very sweet and they have a super sexy shower scene that is very high on my list of My Top Ten Shower & Bath Scenes In Movies. (Yes, I’m mentioning that list yet again as it’s my most viewed thing on this blog BY FAR. That post gets views every single day!). And the f*^king amazing The Order Of Death by Public Image Ltd (I love John Lydon) plays over the scene & fits in SO perfectly, making it one of my all-time favorite uses of a song in a movie. Screw it – I posted the YouTube clip of it before in my shower scene list and I’ll post it again at the end of this review. This song really defines this film for me and gives you a good feel for the vibe of the whole movie – I can’t hear it without immediately picturing the film.

20140207-043804 am.jpg
This review is getting a bit long so I’m not doing well on keeping these CPD Classic reviews short. This movie is cool. It looks cool. The story is cool. The characters are cool. The music is cool. There’s biblical shit going on with the name of the robot (M.A.R.K.-13) & McDermott’s character (Moses). And, holy hell – I’ve not even mentioned the pervy peeping tom neighbor who is one of the creepiest characters in a movie EVER (they all walk the wibbly wobbly walk… *shudder*). Why has no one I know seen this? Why does it have such a low IMDB rating? Why isn’t this a bigger cult classic? Well, I may be alone (along with Mista Mutant) but I think this is a great film, especially for its genre. That’s why Hardware is a CPD Classic.

My Rating: 8/10

20140207-043837 am.jpg