August 6 - 12, 2004 • Vol. 24 - No. 32

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I, Robot: Mankind NEVER Learns
by The Maven and The Blonde
Film Columnists

Will Smith saves the world yet again! This time it’s from deranged robots. This high-tech thriller starts out in the year 2035, with Detective Del Spooner, played by Will (Men in Black, Ali), a robot-phobic, dedicated, relentless, paranoid (with good reason) cop. Spooner is requested to investigate an alleged suicide/murder of beloved Dr. Alfred Lanning, played by James Cromwell (Space Cowboys), who works at U.S. Robotics, as head of research. To everyone’s surprise, the trouble all begins when a unique, human-like robot named Sonny appears to be the prime suspect in the investigation. The plot thickens when Lawrence Robertson, the ambitious, robot manufacturing giant, played by Bruce Greenwood (The Core), is about to triple the robot population. His goal is to flood the market with the latest housekeeping model NS-5’s. No one wants to believe that a robot is capable of causing all the chaos that occurs. Dr Susan Calvin, a stiff-necked, ice-queen played by Bridget Moynahan (The Sum of All Fears), is a robot specialist and psychologist. Although Del and Susan start out with mutual animosity, theysoon grow to have respect for one another and she aids Spooner in this investigation. This sci-fi, modern day story concludes with an original, surprising twist.

The Blonde: I, Robot was like Lost in Space meets Bi-Centennial Man meets The Terminator, and Spider-Man meets “The Jetsons”…The moral of this story is, “You better beware when you hire a housekeeper.” It is always hard to find good help these days, and apparently this remains true in the distant future. By the way, Maven, when did Will Smith get that body? Wasn’t he just the skinny, “Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire”? That’s not the same kid as the naked hunk in the shower scene! But I hardly noticed…

The Maven: He buffed up to prepare for his starring role in Ali. Is that why you were using your camera cell phone in the movie theater?

The Blonde: No! I just got the phone today and was testing it out…You’re not buying that story, are you?

The Maven:  Not at all. But since you have the photo already, can I download it? To say I was looking forward to this movie is an understatement. Will Smith never disappoints me in his choice of roles, or in his acting ability. I, Robot was everything that I hoped it would be. There was non-stop action as well as a solid theme. The story never gets bogged down with too many plot twists as many movies of this genre usually do. I would actually enjoy a personal robot like Sonny… Think of the possibilities.

The Blonde:  Yeah, but what happens when “Sonny gets Blue”?

The Maven: Like I said, think of the possibilities!!

The Blonde: Hey, Cher had her own personal Sonny and it didn’t make her happy! One more question of importance: Why did Will sport plain black stud earrings instead of his usual diamond ones? I found that most disturbing and distracting.

The Maven: Well, he was on a cop’s salary.

The Blonde: This movie was most creative. I found the robots to be both scary and humorous. I had a great time watching this film. I was captivated by the flow of the story and felt like I was entering into another world, a world “where no man has gone before.” Hey, that was so original of me!

The Maven: For all of you “Trekkies” out there, forgive her, for she is a blonde. I am an avid science-fiction reader, and Isaac Asimov’s books are among some of my favorites. This film was based on a short story by Asimov. The tone of the author’s story is captured well. The movie is dramatically enhanced by the new generation of computer graphics. It was quite a pleasant change to see CGI work well in a film while not overtaking the scenes where it’s used.

The Blonde: You sound like a maven… Well, I felt the robots were at times a little too human for comfort. It does make you think what could happen when technology in the future is given too much free will.

The Maven: This is a fun movie to watch. The story is great! Will Smith is perfect. The robots, believe it or not, are endearing. I rate this movie an A.

The Blonde: An A? A? It was good, but an A?

The Maven: I’m just thinking of the possibilities.

The Blonde:  No, you’re just thinking of your own personal Sonny. I was at no time bored watching this film, and you won’t be either. It is a great summer film that just about everyone will enjoy. I rate I, Robot a B+ and recommend lots of fun candy and bon-bons. Yes, ladies, you heard me right. Bon-bons… Enjoy.

The Bourne Supremacy:
A Born Again Movie, as Good as the First


The Bourne Supremacy is an awesome, breathless-paced, action-packed film that starts off where The Bourne Identity left off. This Bourne film appears to have stakes even higher than the first time around. The movie re-enters the CIA espionage world of expert Jason Bourne, once again played by the hunky and focused Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, Saving Private Ryan). For the past two years, Bourne and Marie, played by Franka Potente (Storytelling), have maintained their anonymous underground existence under assumed names. They find themselves moving from one city to another. In order to survive, it is imperative to remain one step ahead of the world they had left behind. Through it all, Jason continues to have nightmares and fragmented memories from his haunted former life. The action begins when a CIA operation to purchase classified Russian documents is blown by a rival agent. That agent mysteriously shows up in the sleepy village where Bourne and Marie have been living. They are on the run, once again. Bourne’s promise—that anyone from his former life who tries to contact him will be dealt with using any means necessary—becomes a reality. He will kill anyone in his path that even looks at him the wrong way. The revenge and retaliation begin. They should have left him alone…

The Blonde: Wow! This film was like an angry Clint Eastwood meets Die Hard meets The French Connection, meets James Bond with a cynical attitude, meets the Punisher, with close-up, hand-held camera shots like Blair Witch Project, except with a big Hollywood movie budget.
This was an original, sharply spun, clever tale. It was so refreshing to watch, as it was not only believable, but somewhat unpredictable. I am so tired of knowing that I could write the ending in the first five minutes of watching a film.

The Maven: I was revved up for this movie for months. Having read Ludlum's Bourne books, I am in seventh heaven when a studio wants to bring this intriguing character to the screen. At first, I was concerned that Bourne couldn’t be played by such a young actor as Matt Damon. Remember, The Bourne Identity was a mini series movie with Richard Chamberlain in the ‘80s.  But, for the second time, Matt proved me wrong. He brings a dynamic intensity to the role that really gets the juices flowing.

The Blonde: In my opinion, the character of Bourne was improved and had more depth. I thought that Matt gave a stellar performance. His cool, confident, never looking over his shoulder demeanor came right through the screen. You could feel it!  His deadly intent was nothing short of spellbinding. How can a guy with innocent boyish looks, bleeding, sweating and oozing with anger be so sexy? Wait, never mind…I remember now…

The Maven: Who did you date who was oozing with anger and blood?

The Blonde: Okay, he wasn’t bleeding, but I wanted him to! It was nice to see the bad guys written in a film to be interesting and intelligent, for a change. People worthy of killing… Did I just say that?

The Maven: Yes. You just watch too many movies. I think it’s time for someone else to be the CIA paper pusher. Brian Cox always seems to play that guy in most of his films. He does it well, but I thought Joan Allen (The Notebook) was a brilliant change of pace. She was cool, decisive, intelligent and much more intuitive than the usual power player.

The Blonde:  Maven, that’s a lot of adjectives for you! This is one movie with all its action and special effects that must have been an editor’s nightmare. By the way, I didn’t feel any chemistry between Bourne and Marie in this film. She is too plain for him; he deserves better!  Woof! Woof! Bourne is no prize either. He is too complicated. I thought the guys I date have a lot of luggage…

The Maven: Baggage! Baggage!  However, I would take that baggage to be with Matt. As for the chemistry, you we right on. What is even stranger than that is he only seems to have an onscreen chemistry with men. Hollywood hasn’t found the right woman to complement Matt on screen.

The Blonde: But, I am here! Wasn’t the scenery of all the various countries wonderful to watch? I wanted to be there, but not with Bourne. By the way, there was this loud, obnoxious woman sitting next to me loudly munching on popcorn, and unwrapping candy without any regard for others. I hate sitting next to rude people like that….

The Maven: On which side?                             
The Blonde: Oh was that you? Sorry!  Continue on, my sweet partner.

The Maven: Talk about being rude. You are the one with a book-light on, scribbling notes, and turning pages in the theater. Oh, and need I add, forgetting to turn off your cell phone!

The Blonde: Never mind! One more thing!  Speaking of Barbra Streisand, did you know that our favorite diva is going to play Ben Stiller’s mother in Meet the Fockers? She is like butter!

The Maven: I know that I have had some blonde highlights put in my hair recently, but…when were we speaking about Barbra? In closing, the choice to use those jerky camera shots brings you right into the action. This film was a non-stop ride. I rate it an A-.

The Blonde: The hand-held camera shots reminded me of all my childhood home movies taken by my father. I thought it was over-done. Anyway, I rate The Bourne Supremacy a B. Fun for all to see.

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