Two unrelated occurrences recently happened and were on my mind prior to walking into the movie theater. I had stopped in the men’s department of a retail establishment, store coupon in hand. There were 2 women shopping with their young sons; the boys looked like they were 6 or 7 years old. One boy was walking underneath the clothes racks, playing hide and seek. If he happened to knock a piece of clothing onto the floor he would pick it up and return it to the rack. The other boy was running around; if he stopped at the shelves of folded shirts, he would leave one crumpled on the floor. As he darted under the clothes racks, he left a trail of items strewn everywhere. His mother either did not see or care about what he was doing; I could not tell. I started to wonder what were the 2 boys taught that led them to two different reactions regarding respecting someone else’s property. The other incident that was on my mind had to do with a small news item I had read in the newspaper. An elementary school had a costume day where the students dressed up as their favorite literary character. One eleven year old boy was sent home because he came dressed like Christian Grey from the novel, 50 Shades of Grey. The article made me curious to know how this elementary school student even knew how to dress up like the character. From the time of birth to various stages in their lives children are impressionable. CREATED by Deon Wilson, played by Dev Patel (The Last Airbender, Slumdog Millionaire), the security robots of the police force were a big success as they kept crime down in the city. However when Deon gave one robot a conscience, Deon’s rival Vincent Moore, played by Hugh Jackman (The Wolverine, The Prestige), decided to take steps to protect his life’s work. This action, science fiction thriller had a thought provoking story. The idea of uploading a program to give a robot the freedom to think for itself was fascinating to me; especially because the transformed robot named Chappie, played by Sharito Copley (District 9, Maleficent), was essentially an impressionable infant. Unfortunately the idea for this story was poorly executed. Except for the wonderful visuals, the story was far-fetched and unbelievable in places. The acting was nothing special but the script did not do it any favors. For such an intriguing concept I was disappointed in this predictable story that felt shallow and boring at times. Along with the memories from the 2 earlier events before seeing Chappie, I still spent time afterwards thinking not only about the possibilities of having a conscious robot but the responsibilities. There were a few brief scenes that showed blood.
1 3/4 stars
When the day consisted of challenges and stress, some individuals find comfort by getting it soaked out of them with one squeeze. Meeting a friend or family member can begin with one of these, reattaching the shared bond of the two’s history together. At a time of grief, it tries to remove the tiredness and sadness from a person’s body. And then there is the special kind that greets you in the morning after drifting off from a romantic night into a deep slumber. A hug may not always be the cure-all but it certainly can come close. There is nothing like coming home after a hectic day at work and fall into a warm, inviting embrace. For me hugs have important therapeutic value; they can bring unconditional comfort and a sense of total acceptance. I still remain in awe on the sheer power a hug can have on us. Remembering a horrible breakup and how a pair of arms encased me as each breath I took was accompanied by a drenching removal of strength to continue standing. On the other hand there were times where a loving hug stretched out to greet and surprise me while tired, standing in line to exit after a long trip away. In its simplest form, a hug has universal appeal for all. HUGS took on more of a special nature in this exciting animated action film. Hiro Hamada, voiced by Ryan Potter (Supah Ninjas-TV, Senior Project), was content betting on his battling robot until he met at his older brother Tadashi’s, voiced by Daniel Henney (The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), laboratory an unusual looking robot named Baymax, voiced by Scott Adsit (We’re the Millers, The Italian Job). Hiro wanted to be part of this world filled with incredible devices being created by brilliant people such as Wasabi and Honey Lemon, voiced by Damon Wayans Jr. (The Other Guys, Let’s Be Cops) and Genesis Rodriguez (Identity Thief, Man on a Ledge). This movie literally shocked me with its bold new take on action heroes. Written with sensitive and humorous passages, this film provided a whole story for both the adult and kid viewing audience. The characters were average people who just happened to do amazing things in their lives. One of the aspects I appreciated most was the good vs evil aspect of the story without having to shed any blood or perform extreme violence. Now there was an issue about death that made the little 3-4 year old boy next to me cry; I believe he was in the minority. With wonderful visual effects and a strong story line, I left the packed movie theater feeling like I had just received a warm fuzzy hug. There was an extra scene at the end of the credits.
3 2/3 stars
Things would be easier if memories were filed in some type of arrangement, such as a card catalog or power point presentation. My memories reside in this vast sea where they float about, swirling below and rising to the surface, depending on the current. Gratefully I can simply fish them out when needed. But what will happen if the waters become murky? In this story set in the near future, ex-jewel thief Frank, played by Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon, Unknown), was at a point in life where his children Hunter and Madison, played by James Marsden (Hairspray, X-Men franchise) and Liv Tyler (Armageddon, The Lord of the Rings franchise) were concerned for his well-being. The solution was to provide Frank with a robot assistant. At first, Frank looked at this intrusion with disdain; however, once the robot assisted Frank with a heist, a new partnership was formed. This comedic drama set itself apart with firm acting by the cast. The exchanges between the robot and Frank were fun; I loved the deadpan delivery by Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead, An Education), who voiced the robot. There were parts of the story that dragged for me; but with the other parts being so good, it was not a major concern. The added story line of librarian Jennifer, played by Susan Sarandon (Enchanted; Jeff, Who Lives at Home), being replaced by a robot was an interesting twist among others. Who knows what the future holds, but this movie provided an interesting answer both in an amusing and poignant way.