Joel Kinnaman

REVIEW: Robocop Is the Only Real Superhero

Paul Verhoven’s original Robocop was one of the first films I ever reviewed. Well, saying it was a ‘review’ is being generous, particularly in view of what my film criticism has evolved to: analytic breakdowns of other fimmakers’ work that serve as chapters for an ever-expanding, auto-didactic guide for my own work as a filmmaker. My reviews back then were more like enthusiastic or scathing write-ups in miserable prose; I could smith a sentence or two in letters, but I had no idea what I was doing in articles. I still shudder when I remember the crap I flung out there in my early twenties. In print, in public. The shame.

It’s unlikely that particular review survives. All that remains in my memory bank is impressionistic snapshots of the film, the feelings I had when I left the screening room. Prior to Robocop, the only superhero I’d ever had was Gandalf; many a broom handle was turned into a magical staff that smote seething balrogs and orcish hoards,

Jonah Bobo in Disconnect

REVIEW: ‘Disconnect’ Does Just That

Forgive the incidental pun on a cliché, but it’s a sign of the times that when The New York Times awards a film with a Critics’ Pick it tends to be a hallmark of mediocrity and safeness, so fuddy-duddy has the Grey Lady become.  Such is the case with Henry-Alex Rubin’s Disconnect, an ensemble piece about cross-connecting lives that is basically the sequel to Paul Haggis’ Best Picture-winner Crash with a far superior soundtrack.

The challenge with ensemble films that aren’t live-action superhero comic books like X-Men or The Avengers is there is no single protagonist,