Movies I Almost Missed…

 

There are so many GEMS out there, for many reasons, I almost didn’t see. A fair chunk I had passed by because of who the “stars” were. As I mature in my movie enjoyment, I have quit “not seeing” movies because someone I consider a dud is in it. These entries, hopefully the 1st of many, come from a list I had created over at the inimitable IMDB.com. The list is getting long enough to where a movie’s numerical place doesn’t mean much. Sometimes forced to watch it for social reasons, I have been surprised by some. Not often, but credit where due. Well, not all are great BUT ALL are worth watching, anyhow. Short descriptions are courtesy of the aforementioned IMDB and are no doubt copyrighted. As you have probably guessed, the accompanying critique is courtesy of yours truly. I will try to post a new one weekly before or immediately after Shabbat. It will depend on the time Shuls starts and when I get to the synagogue.

OK, the first one will be one I just finished watching the other day on Netflix. It is the sadly under rated

Robot Overlords (2014)

Ben-Kingsley-and-Craig-Garner-in-Robot-Overlords

IMDB says “Earth has been conquered by robots from a distant galaxy. Survivors are confined to their houses and must wear electronic implants, risking incineration by robot sentries if they venture outside.” With the tagline “Robots Never Lie”

Even though no one ever went broke underestimating the American public, the success of the “Transformers” franchise mystifies me. I mean, I understand spectacles and bombast in a big theater with a 40,000 watt sound system, but come on. What about writing, story, acting, talent? I hate to sound like some milquetoast from the Village or someone whining but I really sympathize. I mean, dismissing the silliness and bad science, Independence Day was a BLAST. Great cast, no winking at the camera, pacing, and the telling of the story was 1st rate. I use that example to show I am not turning my nose up at anything that is successful nor do I have the pretentious “I only watch indies, or foreign films” attitude. Geez, I don’t want to use up what few good sentences I come up with on one film. I mean, I wish I had talent like Stephen King or James Clavell to illustrate a mental image clearly but with wit.

So we start off with some exposition. Not a crawl that lasts as long as some bad Biblical epic, just a couple sentences to establish where we are. I’ve always been partial to the school of thought that the secret of a compelling science fiction or fantasy story is the characters, not the back story\universe it exists in. The back story\universe can be compelling and make it unique but it’s our connections with the characters that drive a story home. The dad freaking, the reaction of the powers that be, and what it does to the kid held the interest that had been grabbed by the premise.

It’s kind of obvious that the budget was balanced between Sir Kingsely, the hottie from the X-files who is aging exquisitely, and then the CGI. This turned out to be a wise decision that works all the way through the flick. As long as Gillian Anderson stays away from any plastic surgery (or sticks to minimal EXPENSIVE stuff) she’s going to age like the still jaw-dropping Jessica Lange. Some unsolicited advice from a very hot blooded guy in his early 50s, don’t try to compete with the teeny boppers. The only ones who find them sexy are their age group and creeps. I filed this flick under substance over style, I just wish I had learned more about the mediators.

OK, I will say it. I, for one, would like to welcome our robot overlords. -T

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