It was a great year for movies. One of the best in recent memory, in fact, with enough outstanding films to fill three or four top ten lists. But the good in any artistic medium will always be outweighed by the bad, and even as it seems like the number of potential classics grows every year, the number of certified stinkers grows as well. Exponentially; there’s enough cinematic turd burgers from the last twelve months to fill seven or eight top ten lists.
With some of the year’s biggest movies only a month or two away, the box office seems to have entered a holding pattern. Some of the new releases are minor hits. Others crash and burn. Right now, Hollywood just seems to be crossing their fingers and hoping for the sweet, sweet summer movie season to come along and save them (or at least the April release of Furious 7). In other words, every new release underperformed this weekend.
If you’re in need of about five minutes of Chappie star Hugh Jackman and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon discussing, joking about, and sporting mullets, have we got a clip for you. Jackman stopped by the show last night to talk Chappie – all robots and future and stuff – but Fallon quickly fixated on his favorite element of the entire film: Jackman’s mullet. Turns out, Jackman went full mullet for the role, and it’s actually not the first time he’s grown out his own party in back/business in front coif.
The technology in Neil Blomkamp’s movies is so fully realized and intricately detailed that it feels like another one of his characters. Now Blomkamp’s made Chappie, a film where that’s literally true in the form of a police robot given the gift of human consciousness. The result is one giant metaphor for itself; a story of the world’s first true artificial intelligence and how it is almost corrupted by violence, presented in a movie where any semblance of serious consideration of what it means to be alive is drowned out by gunfire, explosions, and macho posing.
Remember that incredibly cool ‘Alien’ concept art by ‘District 9’ and ‘Chappie’ director Neill Blomkamp that popped up on Instagram last month? At the time, Blomkamp said he’d developed the images completely on his own without the approval of Fox, the studio that owns the ‘Alien’ franchise, and that he was done working on it, so why not share it? That seemed like the end of the story—talented filmmaker makes what basically amounts to uncommissioned fan art—until our old pal Mike Ryan from Uproxx asked Blomkamp about it at the ‘Chappie’ junket earlier today. And while there’s no ‘Alien’ movie coming from Blomkamp at the moment, he basically said there could be, if he wanted.
Okay, let’s ask the big question: what the hell is ‘Chappie’? The first trailer made the film look like a slightly goofy and overly sentimental ‘Short Circuit’ riff, with the title robot learning about the world ... while teaching us (blech). The new trailer feels more like director Neill Blomkamp’s previous work, showcasing wacky science fiction ideas and explosive action. In any case, we’re definitely not sold on the film yet based on either trailer.
Happy new year! And, really, what better way is there to ring in 2015 (besides a thousand bad ‘Back to the Future Part II’ jokes) than some sweet concept art from a movie that never was and likely never will be? Yesterday, ‘District 9’ and ‘Elysium’ director Neill Blomkamp tweeted out a whole bunch of images from an ‘Alien’ movie he was working on, apparently by himself and without the authorization of 20th Century Fox. (“This has nothing to do with the studio,” Blomkamp tweeted, adding “They didn’t really even know I was working on it ha.”)
What are we to make of the 'Chappie' trailer, which looks to promise a funny, thoughtful and original science-fiction tale about a robot who "grows up" in the South African slums? On one hand, it's from the director 'District 9.' On the other hand, that same man also directed 'Elysium.' The fact that the trailer name-drops the former and not the latter gives us hope that this is Neill Blomkamp returning to form after his sophomore misfire.
The 'Chappie' poster seems harmless enough, but it really represents a true make-it-or-break-it point for director Neill Blomkamp and star Sharlto Copley. This one-sheet, which exists simply to introduce the title character of this new science fiction film about a family who "adopts" a robot with ties to the criminal underworld, represents a film that could be the next great exciting genre project ... or the final sign that we all put a little too much faith in the people who made 'District 9.'
From a government agent exposed to a race of aliens in his feature film debut, to assuming the role of "Howling Mad" Murdock in a remake of 'The A-Team,' to chasing after Matt Damon as a sci-fi assassin, Sharlto Copley is anything but typecast. The...