Movie Review: “Chappie”
Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Ninja, Yo-Landi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo
There’s still reason to be hopeful about 20th Century Fox’s decision to hand the reigns of the next “Alien” movie to Neill Blomkamp, but the bloom is likely to be off the rose for a lot of sci-fi fans after they take a gander at “Chappie,” which continues Blomkamp’s series of declining returns after the disappointing “Elysium.”
It is in no way surprising that among the first words uttered by an audience member upon the conclusion of the advance screening of “Chappie” involved the phrase “if ‘Robocop’ and ‘Short Circuit’ had a baby.” After all, the film – co-written by Blomkamp and his wife, Terri Tachell – takes place in the not-too-distant future and revolves around the decision by the city of Johannesburg, South Africa to adopt a partially robotic police force. These aren’t cyborgs, a la the officer formerly known as Alex Murphy: they’re 100% robot, designed by programmer extraordinaire Deon Wilson (Dev Patel). Despite what he’s already achieved in his field, Wilson continues to strive for a greater breakthrough, focusing his sights on the goal of cracking the consciousness code, as it were, and creating the first sentient robot.
As you might expect, Wilson achieves this goal in short order, but his boss (played by Sigourney Weaver) isn’t wooed by his pitch to experiment with his consciousness program on a damaged robot marked for destruction and denies his request. Now, in fairness, his pitch is really, really terrible. Who goes to the head of a company that makes police robots and starts off by mentioning that one of the benefits of sentience is that a robot can judge the merits of art and write its own poetry? But as you might also expect, her denial in no way stops him from deciding to swipe the deactivated robot and do his experiment anyway.
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The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Kevin Michael Connolly (“Armed & Ready”)
Kevin Michael Connolly first came to prominence as a result of winning a silver medal at the X Games, an impressive achievement in and of itself, but one which was deemed decidedly more media-worthy as a result of Connolly having been born without legs. Using his X Games winnings to fund a trip across 15 countries in 2007, Connolly took photos along the way, publishing the results on a website called The Rolling Exhibition, and he subsequently wrote a memoir entitled “Double Take,” which has been optioned for a possible film. Now, as if the writing-photography combo isn’t enough in and of itself to keep most people busy, the guy’s gonna be hosting his own series on Travel Channel called – wait for it – “Armed & Ready.” Somehow, Connolly found the time in his schedule to chat with Bullz-Eye about what viewers can expect from his show, also filling us in as best he could about the status of the movie adaptation of his book, the wealth of limb-related puns in his repertoire, and how the words “all over the map” in no way come close to clarifying the depth of his tastes in music.
Bullz-Eye: I feel like we’re practically best friends now that we’ve Tweeted back and forth.
Kevin Michael Connolly: I know! Exactly! It’s, like, one step away from exchanging bodily fluids! [Hesitates.] Okay, maybe not that close. But it’s in the ballpark. Six degrees from…
BE: Yeah, we can probably just agree that we’re very close.
KMC: Got it. [Laughs.]
BE: Thanks to the Travel Channel, I’ve been able to check out the advance screeners of the first two episodes of “Armed and Ready.”
KMC: Oh, cool!
BE: I would say the same. So you’re a guy who’s gone from winning a medal in the X Games to being recognized for your photography to writing a book to now hosting a show for Travel Channel. That’d be a pretty amazing road to travel for anybody, let alone somebody who’s had to tackle these things from, shall we say, a different vantage point.
KMC: And to do it all by the time I’m 27! [Laughs.] It’s pretty crazy, man.
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Tags: Alex Clare, Armed and Ready, Beck, Bonnie Prince Billy, Damian Marley, Die Antwoord, Double Take, Double Take: A Memoir, Groundswell Productions, Interpol, Katie Jacobs, Kevin Michael Connolly, Marty Robbins, Michael London, NASA, rally car driving, Royksopp, Skrillex, Sufjan Stevens, The Knife, The Light from the TV Shows, The Rolling Exhibition, Travel Channel, Will Harris, X Games