Replicas Recap

Jamie

Dr. William Foster is a super genius working to try to transfer the consciousness of humans into robots post-death. However, when his family is involved in a car wreck, guess what he does? That’s right, grow clones of them and transfer their concionesses into them. Can the world stop this mad man before it’s too late… wait, he’s the good guy?! Find out in… Replicas.

How?! Dr. William Foster has a big ‘ol brain and is tasked with figuring out how to transfer the consciousness of dead humans into robots. Everything is going wrong, though, and the robots are ripping themselves apart in despair following the transfer (not ideal). In the midst of this frustration, William and his family go off for a holiday boating trip only to crash on the way, killing everyone but William (also not ideal). Looking at the dead bodies of his family he decides to call his friend Ed in order to try to do the impossible: clone his family and transfer their consciousnesses into the new bodies. At this point we all know William is insane and yet the movie goes on. Ed helps him grow the clones, however he doesn’t have enough tanks so he can’t grow a body for his younger daughter (a lot of not ideal things going on). Instead of looking in the mirror and being like “oh wait, this is insane and I should stop,” he instead erases the memory of his daughter from his family’s brains… which just simply does not make sense… and yet the movie continues. Against all odds he figures out the issues with the transfer and is able to bring (most of) his family back, but almost immediately they are like “wait, why have I seemingly been asleep for two weeks and also feel like a clone and kinda remember having another daughter/sister?” At this point William spills the beans to his wife in hopes to figure it all out, but unfortunately the president of the company he works for also shows up and is like “oh BTW, we knew you were doing this and you better give us all the techmology or else you’ll be in trouble because you are a mad scientist monster.” William refuses and goes on the run, only to have his family captured by the company through the deceit of Ed. In the final climax he transfers his own consciousness into a robot that then comes in and totally owns the president because he’s a robot. The film ends with William enjoying his life with his clone family but also being a robot running an evil company… almost as if there would be a sequel where he has to battle his evil replica… but nah. THE END. Big Question: Have we really reached a point where we are expected to root for a character that would previously have been viewed as a monstrous madman?   

Why?! Clearly the motivation for William is to get his family back, while the motivation of the company is to sell immortality to the highest bidder (and not in fact save soldiers from combat fatalities like advertised). However, we never really get a good idea for why William does all the crazy and illogical steps along the way… like why is erasing Zoe from memories the best plan? Seems destined to fail the instant anyone in their lives are like “Yo, where’s Zoe?” and then all the clones would explode (probably). And indeed it does immediately blow up in his face. So I guess we just chalk all the stupid stuff up to his grief and move on.

Who?! Middleditch is arguably a Planchett, but is far too respected and competent to really count. There is an interesting “thanks for your help and support” credit to Andres Rivera, who is a long time caterer/chef (worked on Weekend at Bernies II, so you know he’s in demand). He has on occasion helped with location work on some films and it seems like that would be the case here.

What?! Apple is everywhere in this film, from phones to laptops. It’s always hard to tell whether this is true product placement or just the fact that realistically there would be a number of Apple products around in any situation. The only reason that I think it’s true product placement is that there is significant literature on Apple’s product placement strategy since the mid-90’s and this seems like a perfect example of a film they would target. 

Where?! A settings bonanza here as we are immediately informed that for whatever reason the film is set in Puerto Rico. They even kind of make a big deal that Keanu dragged his family down to Puerto Rico in order to work for the super advanced scientific medical company. B+.

When?! A double settings bonanza on this one as we also get a Secret Holiday Film Alert! Part way through the film a teacher swings by the house and Keanu has to make up some reason why it seems like he probably murdered his family. At the end of the conversation she’s like “oh, happy holidays” and I was like “what?!” Then later the whole fam goes Christmas tree shopping together. This is a holiday film! A-. Oh, and this has to be set in the future… I mean, they grow humans in tanks and barely blink an eye.

Boy, this is a mess. The whole film looks terrible, in particular the robots, and then the plot begs so many questions it’s hard to take it seriously. Keanu is either a monster or insane from the get-go and makes a series of bizarre decisions that left me wondering why we were supposed to believe he was some world-changing super genius, let alone root for him to succeed. By the end you just have to shrug and let it be. It’s likely that it’s the worst thing I watched this year. It was very hard to get through and difficult to understand why it existed and why they decided to release it to theaters rather than just sell it off to streaming. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Replicas? More like Replican’ts, amirite? It felt like I needed a classic for this Keanu classic. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I really didn’t know much about this film beyond that it started off the year strong with a solid January BMT offering. The preview revealed that the films had a very delayed release (I don’t really know why, maybe to recut it after Keanu had his little comeback with John Wick? Or maybe because of Hurricane Maria.), which is always promising. What were my expectations? My impulse is that this is a Bruce Willis or Nic Cage film that accidentally starred Keanu and accidentally got released to theaters. So it would be boring and nonsensical and leave me wondering what I’m doing with my life.

The Good – Not much. The sci-fi concepts are really out there. A mash up of about ten different things that could be cutting edge in like 100 years. It almost felt like a very old school sci-fi short story in that regard. A story where they couldn’t quite decide how far in the future things should be, and didn’t really have a good grasp on the different scientific concepts they were dealing with. I like Thomas Middleditch in the role, it fit him well.

The Bad – The acting from basically everyone besides Middleditch was pretty bad, even Keanu. The film truly is one gigantic plothole, where you are left wondering about 50 different questions even after they’ve tried to explain things multiple times. They throw you a little life preserver later by suggesting maybe the evil corporation allowed all of this stuff to happen … but more likely the film is just poorly written. The CGI robot looks atrocious, some of the worst CGI we’ve ever seen bar none. And the ending is perplexing while the film also managed to be about 20 minutes too long. It really it one of the worst films you’ll see in 2019 if you want to look at things objectively.

The BMT – I think this will be one of the ones we’ll come back to if we ever start watching those Bruce Willis or Nic Cage straight-to-VOD features that come out every year. Just because we’ll be vaguely reminded of it. Realistically it’ll be in the top 5 worst of 2019 which will be something. I feel it in my bones. Did it meet my expectations? Despite the length, it exceeded them slightly. I think just the way the script managed to say so much, and yet every time it said something it begged two more questions at the same time. It is a bold way to tell a story, and one that does not work at all.

Roast-radamus – An absolutely huge Setting as a Character (Where?) for Puerto Rico. It is incredibly set in Puerto Rico, which is very very exciting. Also a very nice Secret Holiday Film (When?) as the film is set right around Christmas mostly out of nowhere. I’ll throw in a Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that the corporation knew what Keanu was doing the whole time (lame). And finally I think this will pretty easily make my personal shortlist for BMT Live! As it is probably objectively the worst film I’ve seen released this year. Pretty good chops.

StreetCreditReport.com – Oh snap, we got lists. It amazingly got the number 2 on the AV Club list. I think it probably went a bit under the radar for the rest of the lists to be honest. I’m pretty impressed that it managed to nearly top a pretty big list. And really the delayed release date kind of gave it street cred anyways.

You Just Got Schooled – What more appropriate film to watch alongside Replicas than the film that gave Keanu his comeback, John Wick! I kind of expected to enjoy it, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Usually, these films that just involve a crazy amount of killing turns me off, but the world of assassins created around John Wick is so compelling (and the bad guys so unabashedly bad) that it overcomes this minor issue. I also happened to have watched the original The Raid around the same time, and while it also was mostly enjoyable, it really is the cartoony world that helped me sit back and enjoy it. I’m genuinely excited to watch the other two as well. A+.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Replicas Quiz

Uh oh, I got into a crazy bad car accident and my whole family was killed. I also don’t really remember what happened because I sustained a bad concussion in the process. Do you remember what happened in Replicas?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film a donor comes in to Keanu’s clinic to get his new body. Who is this donor, and what happens to him?

2) Well, no time to dwell on failure (even though if I fail a few more times the entire company I work for it going to go under … whatever), time to hit the beach! Where is the family going on vacation?

3) Whoops, Keanue killed his whole family (whoops!). Well … obviously don’t call the police, instead just clone them all! Except for the youngest one. Why can’t he clone the youngest one?

4) Keanu it turns out operates like a rare gemstone. Pressure makes diamonds! Under extreme pressure to both resurrect his family and resurrect his flailing research project, Keanu buckles down and thinks up some gnarly algorithms. How does Keanu solve the issue with the robots destroying themselves?

5) In the end Keanu and robo-Keanu part ways. What do each do with their lives?

Answers

Replicas Preview

“We’re so sorry,” Patrick says solemnly through a mouthful of pie. Jamie echoes the words blandly, all the while picking at his fingernails. Angel is stunned. While he agrees that his character’s death will be emotional and raw for the audience, he had been led to believe his character was going to take a larger role in the series going forward. The feedback for his work was fantastic and his star seemed only to be rising. But suddenly it had fallen and there was nothing he could do about it. “Do you need me to film a death scene at least,” but Jamie seems bored and just says they’ll “do it in post using CGI or something.” Angel sighs and leaves. “Finally,” Jamie says with relief, “we can get back to work without Angel distracting us and ruining everything.” He looks sideways at Patrick who apparently hasn’t heard him. They were each reacting to the pressure of production in different ways… “you think you might want to slow down on the pie, bro?”

“Angel has what?!” Banks screams into the telephone. My god, they are out of control. The only good thing in the production and they have to get envious and fire the poor guy. Banks is panicked. Three weeks from the premier and they aren’t even wrapped filming! Not to mention that Patrick has managed to stress eat his way to 60 pounds overweight. Looking at Rod’s pictures from set he’s barely recognizable. He buzzes his assistant. “Get Chris Klein on the phone.” If these idiots are going to pout and eat this picture into the ground, Banks isn’t going to go down without a fight. And that means only one thing: he’s gotta somehow replicate the Rich and Poe magic himself and fast. That’s right! We’re watching Replicas, the Keanu Reeves Sci-fi flick that bombed at the box office early in the year. At the time it seemed to portend a ripe BMT harvest for the year. Little did we know that a drought was on the horizon. Let’s go!

Replicas (2019) – BMeTric: 44.6; Notability: 13 

ReplicasIMDb_BMeT

ReplicasIMDb_RV

(The fact that it opened that high is incredible. What kind of bizarre PR team is hitting the IMDb page for a film that was delayed for release by two years which is an almost inevitable January bomb? That is just crazy.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – Here’s a fun game to play to keep your mind from truly wandering during a bad film: try and figure out exactly when the movie you’re watching went rotten. Was it a script that never should have been purchased? A concept that no one could have made work? Or did the problems start in pre-production, perhaps with the wrong cast or tech team being hired? Maybe the whole thing went to hell during production with a director who couldn’t manage tone or actors who checked out early? Or some bad films are tragically destroyed in post-production, sliced up in the editing bay. This is the game I played while watching the truly dreadful “Replicas,” and I went with “All of the above.”

(… I do the same thing to be honest. It always seems pretty easy to see where things went awry. Usually it is the director since his job often boils down to organization. And disorganization results in the most dire of situations: a boring bad movie.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKdpGHazAqs/

(Huh … so cloning and like … memory stuff? This seems very sci-fi and also very not good. I’m vaguely intrigued.)

Directors – Jeffrey Nachmanoff – (Known For: Traitor; BMT: Replicas; Notes: His brother is Dave Nachmanoff, a singer. Jeffrey accompanied him on his album Threads of Time.)

Writers – Chad St. John (screenplay by) – (Future BMT: Peppermint; BMT: Replicas; London Has Fallen; Notes: Writing the next Tim Story and Kevin Hart film My Own Worst Enemy)

Stephen Hamel (story by) – (Known For: Henry’s Crime; Future BMT: Siberia; BMT: Replicas; Notes: Executive Producer of John Wick. He writes a lot of the films his production company produces, but not all of them. Mostly has production gigs lined up it seems.)

Actors – Keanu Reeves – (Known For: Toy Story 4; The Matrix; John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum; John Wick; The Replacements; John Wick: Chapter 2; The Matrix Reloaded; Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Between Two Ferns: The Movie; The Neon Demon; Point Break; The Devil’s Advocate; The Bad Batch; Always Be My Maybe; Destination Wedding; Constantine; Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure; Speed; To the Bone; Dangerous Liaisons; Future BMT: Knock Knock; Exposed; Siberia; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; The Watcher; Generation Um…; Chain Reaction; Feeling Minnesota; 47 Ronin; The Whole Truth; Youngblood; Matrix Revolutions; Sweet November; Street Kings; A Very Bad Day; BMT: The Day the Earth Stood Still; Replicas; Johnny Mnemonic; The Lake House; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1996 for A Walk in the Clouds, and Johnny Mnemonic; in 1997 for Chain Reaction; and in 2002 for Hard Ball, and Sweet November; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1994 for Much Ado About Nothing; and in 2001 for The Watcher; Notes: Ya’ll know Keanu. He played a French-Canadian in Youngblood, and it is bar none the worse accent I’ve ever heard.)

Alice Eve – (Known For: Bombshell; She’s Out of My League; Star Trek into Darkness; Men in Black 3; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Please Stand By; Starter for 10; Cold Comes the Night; Stage Beauty; Decoding Annie Parker; Some Velvet Morning; Future BMT: Sex and the City 2; ATM; The Con Is On; Misconduct; Dirty Weekend; Criminal; The Raven; The Decoy Bride; Entourage; Untogether; Crossing Over; Before We Go; BMT: Replicas; Notes: Daughter of Trevor Eve who was Jonathan Harker in Dracula with Frank Langella. Has two different colored eyes.)

Thomas Middleditch – (Known For: The Wolf of Wall Street; Zombieland: Double Tap; Godzilla: King of the Monsters; Kong: Skull Island; The Other Guys; Tag; The Kings of Summer; The Final Girls; The Campaign; The Rebound; Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie; Being Flynn; Joshy; Entanglement; Future BMT: Once Upon a Time in Venice; Fun Size; Search Party; The Bronze; The Brass Teapot; Splinterheads; BMT: Replicas; Notes: Starred in the hit comedy Silicon Valley on HBO, and … Verizon ads, I think it was Verizon.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $4,046,429 (Worldwide: $9,206,925)

(That has to be Hollywood accounting. The robot looks so bad in the film that they must have spent $0 on any of the CGI. So did they just pay Keanu $29 million or something?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (5/53): Equal parts plot holes and unintentional laughs, Replicas is a ponderously lame sci-fi outing that isn’t even bad enough to be so bad it’s good.

(Ha, it is just one giant plot hole, got it. Reviewer Highlight: The filmmakers manage to avoid every potentially interesting choice for far dumber, and far more inexplicable, conclusions. – Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times.)

Poster – Twinzos (B)

replicas_ver6

(This literally makes the movie look like it’s about Keanu and his robot replica probably battling each other in hand-to-robot-hand combat. But, spoiler alert, that is not the case. Nice organization, interesting font, and OK color scheme. It’s fine.)

Tagline(s) – Some Humans Are Unstoppable (A+)

(I think this very well might be The Avengers (1998) of taglines. It is complete and utter nonsense and I don’t know how you put that on the poster. So bad that it became an A+ again because it’s so stupid. My brain hurts trying to even comprehend what they were thinking.)

Keyword – clone

Replicas_clone

Top 10: Gemini Man (2019), Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Logan (2017), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Annihilation (2018), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), Tron (2010), Cloud Atlas (2012); 

Future BMT: 54.7 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 46.4 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), 46.2 Machete Kills (2013), 37.3 Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), 37.0 Morgan (2016), 36.3 Gemini Man (2019), 35.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), 27.8 Pokémon: The First Movie (1998), 24.6 Resident Evil: Extinction (2007); 

BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Replicas (2018), Hitman: Agent 47 (2015), Judge Dredd (1995), Æon Flux (2005), The Avengers (1998), Babylon A.D. (2008), Ultraviolet (2006), Species II (1998), Pluto Nash (2002), Godsend (2004)

(My God … we’ve seen so many of them! There appears to be a surge of clone related films. I wonder if the sour taste from Attack of the Clones has finally left everyone’s collective minds and clones are cool again.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Keanu Reeves is No. 1 billed in Replicas and No. 1 billed in Lake House, which also stars Sandra Bullock (No. 2 billed) who is in Demolition Man (No. 3 billed), which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – The story and screenplay for REPLICAS was developed at Keanu Reeves and Stephen Hamel’s production company Company Films. Hamel writes the majority of all the stories produced there.

Filmed in August 2016, but not released in the United States until January 2019. (Wow, why even release it?)

Nicolas Cage turned it down before it goes to Keanu Reeves (It does seem like a Nic Cage film)

The Circle Recap

Jamie

Mae is a recent grad not living up to her potential. But when she gets a job at the biggest, coolest, best company in the world, The Circle, she knows she’s going places. It soon becomes clear that the company is not exactly what it seems. So can Mae stop the founders before it’s too late? Find out in… The Circle.

How?! Mae is wasting her time answering phones at a company in her hometown before she finally decides to cash in on some powerful college connections to get an interview at The Circle, a big tech company that combines your real and online self into one entity. Impressed with her drive for reaching maximum potential, the company starts her in customer service. She soon becomes disillusioned when the company’s founder, Ty, shows her some top secret and immensely troubling developments in the company at the same time that her best friend from home is dealing with online harassment as a result of the company. Venting her frustration she steals a kayak for a midnight trip only to capsize and be rescued by one of the company’s very obviously ridiculous surveillance technologies. Following the incident and at the behest of the company’s other two founders, Eamon and Tom, Mae becomes the leading proponent of these ridiculous and satire-like technologies and shoots up the corporate ladder. While showing off the newest and most over-the-top ridiculous stupid serveillance technology she inadvertently gets her best friend killed. Clearly she can’t still be a proponent of the company right? Wrong! Instead she comes the immensely dumb conclusion that the only thing that would have saved her friend was EVEN MORE SURVEILLANCE. So she returns to the company, tricks Eamon and Tom to agree to be tracked everywhere, releases all their top secret emails, and takes over the company which requires that everything everyone does should be public. Because that’s the only rational conclusion, right? RIGHT?!!!! My god. Big Question: Is this serious or a satire? The completely awful ludicrous plot would suggest a satire. Everything else points to them being serious… which is insane.

Why?! This is actually a little confounding. Obviously most of the people in the film are craven capitalists who are out only to make money at all costs. Mae on the other hand is our main character and it seems like the film wants us to like her… except everything she does is either because she a) genuinely believes that constant surveillance of private citizens is necessary for the good of the world or b) she is also just a craven capitalist climbing the ladder. I really would have preferred option b. Would have been actually kinda refreshing to finish the film and realize she was the same as the bad guys. But instead they tried to dress her crazy ideas up as something good when they are terrible. Just terrible.

Who?! Somehow this film had one of the best random cameos of the year as we were treated to a full Beck concert as a demonstration of just how rad and cool The Circle was as a place to work. Seems like an odd thing for Beck to agree to except that he was releasing an album at the time and sang on of the singles.

What?! There was a very funny product placement in the middle of this film. When Mae first meets Ty he is awkwardly standing off to the side of a big party. Mae is also feeling awkward and laments the lack of alcohol only for Ty to pull out his secret stash of Cupcake wine. Nothing goes better with the surveillance state than a smooth glass of Cupcake wine.

Where?! San Fran, where else. Seriously, where else would you possibly set a film about a huge, monopolistic tech company that is veering into dangerous surveillance territory? This has to be an A. Can’t be anywhere else.

When?! Pretty obviously takes place over a long period of time as she works at The Circle for several months before making her dramatic rise up the corporate ladder. They don’t even go to the trouble of saying something like “Mom and Dad, I’d love to come home for TGivs, but I have too much work to do.” Missed opportunity. F.

I hated this film. I hated watching it, but I also hated the joke of a premise. It seemed like they were going for some kind of “information wants to be free” message, but for whatever reason put behind a seriously messed-up pro-surveillance plot. You keep waiting for the main character (presumably who we are supposed to identify with and root for) to turn against the company and bring it crumbling down. Instead they have her succeed in taking over the company only to turn around and RAMP UP the egregious surveillance. We even get a happy little ending where she smiles lovingly at a drone camera to tell the world how happy she is to be tracked at all times by cameras. Cooooooooool. The only good things to point to is Tom Hanks and John Boyega who are both good at acting. Everything else sucks. As for Buford’s Beach Bunnies, somehow that film had more brains than The Circle. There was even some shockingly nuanced discussions between the main characters about trauma and how they were trying to deal with abuse in their past. If it wasn’t a gross, low-production, semi-porno I daresay I’d almost recommend it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I think when they made this book/film they thought they were taking a bit of creative license to exaggerate the Googles and Facebooks of the world. Now … at least Facebook seems maybe rather close? Too bad the movie kind of sucks. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – The craziest thing, in retrospect, from the preview is that they ended up completely changing the ending to the film because audiences hated Emma Watson’s character so much. The ending to the book is basically that her character completely buys into The Circle and ends up betraying the original founder (Ty) in order to bring about the world domination by The Circle (or whatever, it is something like that). Ultimately they decided to soften this a bit which is nuts … we’ll get to that in the bad section. What were my expectations? Basically The Space Between Us. So some interesting ideas, some decent acting from the older stars, but kind of boring, rote, nonsense. That is what I expected … I had low expectations.

The Good – I think the journey Emma Watson goes through in the beginning is pretty interesting. The evisceration of the Silicon Valley unicorn was somewhat satisfying, even more so a few years after its initial release. I like Tom Hanks, and Patton Oswalt, and the acting in general actually. Boyega in particular does a pretty excellent job at portraying the introverted co-founder floating around on campus. There is everything here you’d want to construct a decent movie. It just isn’t really that good.

The Bad – The fact that Tom Hanks goes on stage and proposes a police state run by a corporation and half the auditorium isn’t like “wait wait wait … what?!”doesn’t feel true to form. At least, it feels like a good 50% of the engineering workforce would be just disgruntled (which I assume is the state of Facebook at the moment … I hope that is true at least). Emma Watson’s character is actually a dumb garbage person. Secrets are lies? Get the fuck out of here with that fascist bullshit. They don’t even bother presenting the other side of that important argument. The word “privacy” is only mentioned like once near the end! It is the entire argument against the “secrets are lies bullshit”! You have a right to privacy, I don’t think that many people disagree with that statement, but they can’t even be bothered to address that? The only thing that could have saved this film was the full heel turn at the end. I would have actually be genuinely impressed if they had gone through with it and had her stab Ty in the back and become an exec at the company. Pulling the punch at the end was a cop out.

The BMT – I certainly will throw it in the same bin as Transcendence and The Space Between Us. Movies with interesting ideas which either go nowhere, are sloppily done, or, in this case, pull their potentially powerful punch right at the end. I wouldn’t revisit it, nor would I recommend it to anyone. If anything it makes me want to read the book. Did it meet my expectations? By being The Space Between Us for BMT 2019? Sure. For being a bad movie that I would recommend to anyone in any capacity? No, it didn’t. But I didn’t mind watching it in the end. Some interesting ideas peppered in there.

Roast-radamus – I can’t remember a specific product placement … maybe a beer here and there? Since The Circle was so ubiquitous there wasn’t any real tech product placements. I think it has real Worst Twist (How?) potential though with Watson exposing the creators of The Circle and making it … I don’t even remember? Was the company good in the end or something? Small potential for Bad just for being sloppily made. That’s it though, pretty thin movie from a trope perspective.

StreetCreditReport.com – I guess I shouldn’t be surprised (2017 was a surprisingly strong year for bad movies it turns out, Flatliners, Bye Bye Man, Baywatch, Transformers 5, The Snowman, The Space Between Us, Rings, The Emoji Movie, Chips, Fifty Shades Darker, Geostorm, The Mummy, and those are only the ones we’ve watched for BMT. It did get a shout out on this online review. But that’s it. I think it is plausibly on a list for the worst “tech” related films. But it wouldn’t get number one, I would but Transcendence above it at the very least.

You Just Got Schooled – Nothing about the movie this week … mainly because Jamie and I started in on P&A Magazine’s 6th Puzzle Boat. Basically it is 100 or so puzzles … and you do them. We find it fun, wanna fight about it? Anyways, that’s why I didn’t watch some random Emma Watson movie to school you. Because I was schooling myself with puzzles.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Ah, I nearly forgot that I had to watch Buford’s Beach Bunnies starring Jim Hanks this week! To start with I literally texted Jamie in the first ten minutes and asked “So … can I just not watch this film?” But weirdly, as I watched the film I kind of took a shine to it. The director/writer is somewhat notable for making micro-budget films in the 80s and 90s. And unlike something like Roller Blade Seven (which was too weird to be anything but an “art film”), this was truly the work of a man who loved film. Combine that with what is, in reality, a very sensitive discussion about sexual trauma and weirdly the film is … kind of good. Well, right until the big reveal at the end where, very obviously, they couldn’t figure out how to end things so they yada-yada-hypnotize-crime-and-trial-yada-yada everything. But, all things considered, a lot better than it had any right to be. Would watch the middle again gladly, but maybe would skip the rest. B-.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Circle Quiz

Oh man, last thing I remember I was kayaking in the middle of San Francisco Bay, and then yada yada yada, some fog rolls in, I almost die, and then my company’s weirdo all-seeing remote cameras saved my life. Besides that I can’t remember what happened … can you remember what happened in The Circle?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Mae (Emma Watson) is a woman working temp jobs and not living up to her potential. How does she get an interview with The Circle, a dystopian tech company run by Patton Oswalt and Tom Hanks?

2) In her first week at the company she meets Ty (Boyega), an introverted and mysterious man on campus. Who is Ty really?

3) What disease does Mae’s father have?

4) Mae has a friend Mercer who is hunted down by Mae’s followers and dies in an accident as a result. Why did Mae and Mercer have a falling out?

5) How does Mae take down The Circle?

Answers

The Circle Preview

With his cadre of Rambos leading the way, Patrick enters the BMTverse. He breathes in the dull, uninspiring air and a part of him knows it’s home. The old rickety Rambo crouches down, his knees giving off loud popping noises, and tastes the earth. “Your brother, he’s been here.” The young spry Rambo with the sad eyes tastes a different spot, “another was with him. The man in black.” At that the older garbage Rabmo hisses, “Vampiro.” Patrick steps forward, “Which way did they head?!” At that the youngest of the Rambos replies bluntly, “No.” But Patrick pleads “I need to get to him before it’s too late. Please!” The Rambos nod, “OK.” At that they head off. From the few monosyllabic statements the Rambos make Patrick is able to glean that Vampiro is a Dracula who has been sucking the BMTverse dry in some mysterious scheme and that Jamie is in grave danger. “So what is the scheme Vampiro has set up?” Patrick asks, and immediately the Rambos point to a large building dominating the skyline of New Angeles. The sign reads, “The Square.” Patrick doesn’t want to say anything but to him The Square looks pretty hip. That’s right! We’re watching the 2017 classic The Circle starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks about a big ol’ company that totally spies on you. Sound the Ointment Alarm, cause this movie is topical. Let’s go!

Meanwhile, the man in black backflips from his skateboard and and grabs Jamie by the throat. He squints at him, “You really don’t remember me, do you?” Jamie looks closer and notices the sharp Dracula teeth of the Dracula that turned him into a Dracula at Dracula School a year ago. “Vampiro,” he wheezes. “Let him be, baby,” a young sexy voice says from behind Vampiro and four beautiful bodacious beach bunnies come out from the steam. “Sticks and Stone will not be happy if you kill him, Vampiro,” the sexiest of them coos. “Call me Buford, baby,” He replies. That’s right! We’re going for the only Jim Hanks vehicle in history, Buford’s Beach Bunnies. Tom Hanks’ bro plays the titular Buford being titillated by the titular Beach Bunnies. It should be a hoot and in no way sad probably. Let’s go!

The Circle (2017) – BMeTric: 56.8 

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(Ooooooo for a film like this low-5s is incredibly incredibly low, that is promising. And very consistent across the years as well. Interesting.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  When the story turns into something akin to a nightmarish cousin of “The Truman Show” or “Network,” or the kid sister of Cronenbeg’s “ExistenZ,” you want it to get bigger, wilder, more outrageous, more frightening, and it’s too nice and reasonable and conscientious to do that. The result feels undernourished in just about every way, although Hanks’s performance, John Boyega’s brief role as a founding programmer, and a couple of frightening action sequences break through the tedium.

(Yeah I would have expected it to go very broad in the end … it is pretty concerning that it doesn’t. Like what is this movie about then?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUlr8Am4zQ0/

(Watching that trailer and I’m thinking Firewall starring Harrison Ford. Reading the review above it … and I’m getting whiffs of The Space Between Us. Which is concerning because that movie was boring.)

Directors – James Ponsoldt – (Known For: The Spectacular Now; The End of the Tour; Smashed; Off the Black; BMT: The Circle; Notes: Went to Yale, and then got a Masters in Fine Arts from Columbia.)

Writers – James Ponsoldt (screenplay by) – (Known For: Smashed; Off the Black; BMT: The Circle; Notes: Is writing and directing a film about “wild animals in Los Angeles” called Wild City.)

Dave Eggers (screenplay by & based on the novel by) – (Known For: Where the Wild Things Are; A Hologram for the King; Promised Land; Away We Go; BMT: The Circle; Notes: Actually an amazing story concerning his parents both dying when he was a young man, and he dropped out of school to raise his youngest brother who was 8 at the time. It became the subject of his fictionalized memoir, the acclaimed A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.)

Actors – Emma Watson – (Known For: Beauty and the Beast; Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1; The Perks of Being a Wallflower; This Is the End; Noah; My Week with Marilyn; The Bling Ring; The Tale of Despereaux; Future BMT: Regression; BMT: The Circle; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for The Circle in 2018; Notes: She’s going to be in Little Woman later this year, obviously most famous for her roles in the Harry Potter films where she played Hermoine.)

Tom Hanks – (Known For: Toy Story 4; A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood; Forrest Gump; The Green Mile; Saving Private Ryan; Catch Me If You Can; Toy Story; Toy Story 3; Cloud Atlas; Sleepless in Seattle; Cast Away; Cars; Road to Perdition; Toy Story 2; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; The Post; Apollo 13; Bridge of Spies; Saving Mr. Banks; Big; Future BMT: He Knows You’re Alone; Larry Crowne; Inferno; Ithaca; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: The Circle; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Notes: Ya’ll know Tom Hanks! He’s getting Oscar buzz for his role as Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.)

John Boyega – (Known For: Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi; Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens; Pacific Rim: Uprising; Detroit; Attack the Block; Half of a Yellow Sun; Imperial Dreams; Junkhearts; BMT: The Circle; Notes: British. You can hear his natural sccent in Attack the Block.)

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $20,497,844 (Worldwide: $20,497,844)

(Hmmmm, given the budget that isn’t actually that bad I suppose, but it is a box office disappointment. Their Netflix distribution may have made a bit more of that back since. I’m a little surprised it could be made for so little.)

#55 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(Our 8th BMT film of this genre. Came right as these types of films stopped making money. Weirdly, not even close to the worst box office we’ve seen beating out The Darkest Minds, Midnight Sun, The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, and Vampire Academy)

#52 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated chart

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (20/135): The Circle assembles an impressive cast, but this digitally driven thriller spins aimlessly in its half-hearted exploration of timely themes.

(Yeah that sounds about right. Float through something significant, but straddle the fence and make it as milquetoast as possible. This is indeed what I expect. Reviewer Highlight: The Circle is a big honking sloppy mess of a movie, one that flops around so aimlessly that it’s baffling so many intelligent people had a hand in making it. – Will Leitch, The New Republic)

Poster – Corporate Sklog-vallience (C+)

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(It’s artsy in the framing and the color is fine. Font makes me sad. At least make the C in Circle be the company’s logo. Not just block bullshit.)

Tagline(s) – Knowing is good. Knowing everything is better. (A-)

(Do you know what’s better than a billion dollars? A gazillion dollars. While I don’t support the message of the tagline I can still recognize that it’s a good tagline.)

Keyword(s) – video surveillance; Top Ten by BMeTric: 82.3 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 79.5 The Devil Inside (2012); 67.8 College Road Trip (2008); 65.7 Captivity (2007); 65.5 Pulse (I) (2006); 60.4 Maid in Manhattan (2002); 60.2 Sliver (1993); 56.8 The Circle (I) (2017); 52.5 Everly (2014); 52.2 Bangkok Dangerous (2008);

(This is a pretty interesting keyword. Like is that really what Halloween: Resurrection has? College Road Trip? This seems to be one of the rare ones where it is a central theme to the film.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tom Hanks is No. 2 billed in The Circle and No. 1 billed in Bonfire of the Vanities, which also stars Bruce Willis (No. 2 billed) who is in The Whole Ten Yards (No. 1 billed), which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch Angels & Demons, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Bill Paxton died before the film’s release. Glenne Headly, who played his wife in the film, died the same year after the film’s release. (What? I knew Pacton died, but I didn’t realize Glenne Headly died.)

Re-shoots took place four months before release, aimed at making Emma Watson’s character more appealing, but test audience reactions were even worse than previous test screenings. (Jesus THAT was their attempt at making her MORE appealing? She’s insane in the movie)

The scene where Annie video calls Mae was shot by Karen Gillan’s crew while they were filming Gillan’s feature film; The Party’s Just Beginning (2018) in Scotland. (Wow that is interesting)

In the U.K. this film did not get a cinema release but went straight to streaming service Netflix. (Yeah I noticed)

The logo of The Circle was created before the Uber redesign, despite them looking very similar.

The lead role of Mae was first offered to Alicia Vikander, which according to her, was one of three roles offered simultaneously, alongside the roles of Maria in Assassin’s Creed (2016) and Heather in Jason Bourne (2016). Due to fan factor, she opted to do Bourne, thus the producers moving on to casting second choice Emma Watson.

Received a “D+” CinemaScore, which is quite rare. [Variety 2017] (Not surprised)

This is the second time that Tom Hanks has a role in an adaptation of a novel by Dave Eggers. The first was A Hologram for the King (2016). (Never heard of it)

The auditorium scenes were filmed at Citrus Community College’s Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora, California.

Opening bridge shot is Dumbarton Bridge in Northern California near Silicon Valley. Fake image of the Circle building located on the Coyote Point recreation park.

The ending was changed significantly for the film adaptation. In the novel, Mae, fully believing in The Circle’s goals and mantras, betrays Ty in his attempt to bring down the company and he is effectively silenced. (WHAT?! THAT IS CRAZY)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Emma Watson, 2018)

Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace Recap

Jamie

Jobe is back, Jack! And he’s got a new face and a new plan to take over the world with his VR brilliance. But not so fast! Dr. Trace is on the case with his gang of rambunctious teens. Can they stop Jobe (and perhaps get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace!

How?! Jobe is back, Jack! And boy howdy was he all burned up in that fire that we definitely remember. Unwittingly a virtual reality company reconstructs his face (what?) but can’t save his legs (alright) and they just prop him up in a chair so he can start coding up a virtual reality world while they pretend they can’t find a wheelchair for him. Meanwhile Jobe’s old friend Peter is living on the streets of post-apocalyptic LA with his gang of rad teens. They just love hooking into cyberspace and cruising around when suddenly Jobe is there and he’s like “I need help. Find me Dr. Benjamin Trace who totes is important.” Trace lost the patent to a powerful VR tool back in the day but now lives a reclusive life. Peter convinces him to come see Jobe, but when Peter enters cyberspace to let him know Jobe is a straight up crazy person and is all ready to rule the (virtual) world that he’ll convince everyone to hook into. He just needs a little help with a program called Egypt, but Trace refused. Enraged, Jobe send all kinda of subway cars at them, but they escape. Coming up with a plan, Dr. Trace gets in contact with his ex-girlfriend who still works at the company and with her help they steal the Chiron Chip. Unfortunately, they realize too late that they stole a fake and Jobe has bypassed Egypt and is ready to take over the world. In their last ditch effort they break into the company again and enter the virtual world. There they do battle with Jobe with virtual swords and shit and totally own him. Feeling sorry they find him a wheelchair (finally) and take him outside where sunshine makes him smile. THE END. 

Why?! Jobe is still evil and wants to rule the world with his superior intellect. The company is evil and wants to make money. The good guys are by definition not evil and want to stop them. There is also the MacGuffin of the Chiron Chip, which is the key to virtual reality. But as we’ve learned from the Lawnmower Man franchise, perhaps VR is too powerful for us mere mortals.

Who?! It’s claimed on IMDb that Molly Shannon played a homeless woman in the film, but I don’t really recall that. There was also someone portraying the President of the United States in the film who was one of the worst actors I’ve ever seen. I was excited to see who the actor was but apparently he went uncredited and IMDb/the internet can’t help me with the trivia. So Hail to the Chief, President Uncredited is in the house.

What?! There are some props for sale, but they are just boring ol’ ID cards. I wonder who from the crew got away with Jobe’s bonkers gold, bejeweled suit? There was also a video game sequel released at the time of the film, but it involved Dr. Angelo going into Cyberspace to battle Jobe, so not particularly close to the film. And just as poorly received as the first video game adaptation.

Where?! This time we are told explicitly that we are in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. Surprisingly, they don’t seem particularly interested in explaining why that is. Only a cursory, “Oh, I moved here with my mom and then she died,” without ever mentioning that apparently the world also pretty much ended in that time span as well.

When?! When Dr. Trace and Peter’s GF Jade totally hack the Gibson to figure out where to go after Jobe they are given a time signature: January 24th, 3:35PM. As for the year, it told us that it was set in “The Future” in an intertitle at the beginning so that’s good enough for me. Although judging by Peters age it can’t be much later than 1997. B+.

This film has been on my bucket list for ages. The idea that it was released to theaters in any capacity is high comedy. Whenever I get so hyped for a BMT film it usually ends in disaster. Not the case here! I screamed in silent joy for the entire run time of Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace. Somehow it surpassed even my wildest expectations for what it could be. Did I expect it to take place in a Super Mario Bros-esque post apocalyptic LA hellscape? Nope, but it did. Did I expect Jobe to be a legless man played by a Jim Carrey act-alike? Nope, but he was. Could I have possibly expected our heroes to subdue their VR corporate foes and then help Jobe (the bad guy of the film) return to the world full of joy? Definitely not, and yet there Jobe was laughing and laughing and laughing while looking at a sunset. Nothing will ever surpass Here on Earth in exemplifying what it means to be a BMT film, but this came mighty close. This is what an instant BMT classic feels like and… I’m… I’m getting a little emotional. Forgive me. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! 500th film guitar riff, and I have to say, we picked a doozy. Sometimes you think after 500 films there can’t possibly be more bananas films to watch, but … let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I actually knew more about the original The Lawnmower Man than this one. I remember maybe my older brothers watching The Lawnmower Man, or maybe I caught a bit on television. This I was stunned to see was directed by the Max Headroom guy, and that the neighbor in Honey I Shrunk the Kids was Max Headroom himiself, and is Jobe in this! The entire thing looked crazy, like Highlander 2: The Quickening so … I guess I was just very excited? What were my expectations? B-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-bonkers shit. If there are 10 b’s on the bonkers chain then I would be happy as a clam with regards to the 500th BMT film.

The Good – Nothing is genuinely good in this film. Nothing. Things are ironically good, but as everyone knows irony is dead and we take things super duper seriously here at BMTHQ. So genuinely nothing is good in this film, so … let’s get to the good stuff.

The Bad – Hooooooooooo doggie … Where to begin? The graphics are awful. Somehow deciding to just film people in a forest and declaring “this is a computer simulation” is worse than The Lawnmower Man’s graphic’s version of VR. The film has nothing to do with the original, and it is kind of offensive that they even bothered to try and connect it. Matt Frewer was awful and is a completely different character than the original Jobe. They have a weird thing about him being a double amputee, and in the end … my God, the end! In the end they go out into the real world and back in the sunshine and I guess he’s no longer a megalomaniacal genius? Future dystopian LA as the setting is crazy and unnecessary … like how did we get from The Lawnmower Man to this in 10 years? Why not connect it to The Shop? It is just bullshit. The bad guys are one-dimensionally bad, moustache twirling garbage with literally “money! crime!” as their motivation. The kid actors are awful. Initially I tried to write this section as a stream of consciousness, but it came out basically as a garbled word salad, so I rewrote it, but that is basically how this film makes me feel.

The BMT – Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. This is like Highlander 2: The Quickening, but watched at a time where my BMT tastes have somewhat matured. While watching the beginning I almost cried when Jobe appears in the simulation the first time. I’m not joking, I’m 100% serious, I got emotional. That is how incredibly terrible/amazing this film is. It is one of hte first honest to god, so-bad-its-good films I’ve seen in years. Years! Did it meet my expectations? Heeeeeeeeeeeell yeah.

Roast-radamus – It has an outside shot for Setting as a Character (Where?) for it’s very Double Dragon post-apocalyptic LA. In the same vein it could get something for its time period (of “future!!” with two exclamation points), but we tend to always go for secret holiday films. It definitely has a good chance for MacGuffin (Why?) with the mysterious Chiron Chip … which honestly, I’m not sure I know what it does still, it like … makes an internet maybe? And of course this might be the favorite for the BMT film of the year. A good crop.

StreetCreditReport.com – Again, I’m not surprised it didn’t hit on any the worst of lists for 1996, this one in particular would definitely fly below the radar for most critics. Like The Lawnmower Man it was also on the list of films with virtual reality. This one really has credit because it is … just well known as a bad movie. It has an astonishingly low 2.5 on IMDb, and goes hand in hand with Highlander 2: The Quickening (which is on wikipedia’s worst movies ever list … this really should be there as well).

You Just Got Schooled – Matt Frewer has been a character actor for years, but he kind of started out as Max Headroom, which I vaguely knew of because of the Max Headroom incident in Chicago. I decided to watch an episode. There was an original TV Movie, a talk show, a television show based on the movie, and then a revival of the talk show. I naturally watched the last one because it was short and easy to find. And … it is awful.

Holy shit. All of the jokes are try hard garbage, Frewer is exasperating, and the interactions with Max ends up being so difficult for the guests to deal with that … it hurts me. I am physically hurt by this show. I am interested in the original television movie though, but that is for another time. Interestingly I commented to Jamie that I thought Frewer should have avoided his characterization of Jobe in Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace because it was too reminiscent of Jim Carrey (especially as The Riddler in Batman Forever which had come out the year before). But in reality he was just playing Max Headroom. And apparently Jim Carrey has said that many of his manic characters are somewhat based on Frewer’s portrayal of Max Headroom. So I guess I should have scolded Jim Carrey for stealing Frewer’s thunder instead. Good to know.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs