Tag Archives: Peter Weller

Paul Verhoeven

Verhoeven seems to really like exaggeration, both in visual effects and story elements. Directing actors does not appear to be his strong suit, but each film has a definite vision and consistent atmosphere. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen by him, though none of it has out and out wowed me. I also haven’t seen Showgirls, which is wowing in that it’s considered one of the worst movies of all-time.

Robocop: Peter Weller, police officer, gets killed during an arrest. Well, almost killed. The Detroit police force is able to turn him into a cyborg who kicks some royal justice ass, makes witty remarks, and struggles with faint memories of his former life. Lots of fun.

Grade: B-

Total Recall: Arnold Schwarzenegger is a construction worker who’s having trouble memories about life on Mars, so he visits a memory implant corporation to investigate if he’s currently living out implanted memories. Naturally, a bunch of shit goes down and there’s a lot of questions over what’s real and what isn’t. Like Robocop, some over-the-top situations that are mostly fun, as well as the witty one-liners. I love the visual and philosophical representations of late 21st century Mars colonization.  Loosely based on a Philip K. Dick story.

Grade: B

Basic Instinct: Michael Douglas is a detective investigating a murder. The prime suspect is a socialite author (Sharon Stone) who recently released a bestseller which details a murder that is virtually identical. Did she use the book as an alibi or is there a copycat killer? The movie sets up both possibilities really well. Sharon Stone is really good, playing the sexy but emotionally cold psychopath role to a tee. Michael Douglas, unfortunately, never quite comes across realistic. Some will hate the ambiguous ending, though I’m a big fan. Graphic sex scenes broach gratuitousness, but sex is a heavy part of the plot. Your mileage may vary.

Some LGBT supporters were very angry when this film came out, as every suspect in the movie is gay or bisexual, while all of the “good guys” are straight. I have a hard time getting worked up about that, since there is little in the way of emotion in the movie (and I never got the feeling that the sexuality of any character was being judged) and all of those involved, even the “straight” characters, have loose sexual morals.

Grade: B+

Other Movies By Paul Verhoeven You May Have Seen

Hollow Man
Starship Troopers
Black Book
Soldier of Orange
Turkish Delight
The Fourth Man

Irvin Kershner

Robocop 2: Just a brutal sequel that I don’t think any director could have saved.The last movie Kershner directed, and I may have given up too after this trash. Awkward, poor dialogue, confusing character motivations. Most sequels don’t need to be made but few are as miserable as this.

Grade: F

The Flim-Flam Man: A fun con-artist movie starring George C. Scott. Nowhere near The Sting in terms of plot or acting, but charming and funny through and through.

Grade: C+

Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back: Right before he wrote the script for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lawrence Kasdan wrote the script for Empire. It was his first script and a pretty good debut. Lucas gave the reins to Kershner and he directed the best movie in the series. The love triangle between Han, Leia, and Luke is a bit uncomfortable, but the action is one creative scene after another. From the imperial walkers to the asteroid belt to Cloud City to Luke’s showdown with Vader, there is little time to relax. Yoda makes his first appearance; he could have been a complete disaster but the puppeteer does an excellent job of giving the Jedi master pathos and an aura of wisdom. The end of the movie is a series of powerful cliffhangers. By the time I was old enough to watch this, the sequel had already been made. I couldn’t have imagined waiting three years to see how this wrapped up.

Grade: A+

Other Movies by Irvin Kershner You May Have Seen

Never Say Never Again
Eye of Laura Mars
Raid on Entebbe
The Return of a Man Called Horse
Up the Sandbox
A Fine Madness