DVD Shopping Bag: Robot and Frank (Mania.com)

By:Robert T. Trate
Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Source: Mania.com

It’s a big action release week here for the DVD Shopping Bag. Not only is Skyfall arriving on Blu-ray, but a ton of other James Bonds as well. If you refused to have certain Bonds in your collection (*cough* For Your Eyes Only and License to Kill) then it is your time to strike. Having most of the Bonds already on Blu-ray, I found a different type of film more appealing in this week’s DVD Shopping Bag. A little sci-fi picture called Robot & Frank


Robot & Frank had a quiet release and not a lot of hoopla. The film features Frank Langella (Skeletor in Masters of the Universe) as an ex-con, Frank, living out his golden years in a quiet, small town.  “Golden years” may have been the wrong expression as Frank spent a huge part of his life in jail and became estranged from his family. His son, Hunter (James Marsden), has gone out of his way to make sure his dad is taken care of. Frank is suffering from the onset of Alzheimer's, thus making Hunter’s life more problematic. In his his weekly visits he often find his father’s home in complete disarray. Hunter decides to get Frank a service robot to help maintain both his heath and his home. Frank doesn’t like this, but reluctantly agrees. 


Now, obviously, this is set in the future. However, this Robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) is not C-3PO, nor is it Roy Batty. Think of him more in the terms of GERTY from Duncan Jones’ Moon. This robot is a tad more human-like as he has both arms and legs. Incredibly mobile, Robot begins to improve Frank’s life. 


The setting of the film, the future, could have been problematic for director Jack Schreier (Natural Selection). Instead, by keeping the story small and the location remote, we get a more realistic sci-fi tale, much like that of Rian Johnson’s Looper, as long as I’m throwing out praise. The telephone is different, cars sound different, and even the library is moving to an all digital format. It is there where Frank’s story begins to take place.


“Yuppy Shits” (yes they still have them in the future) are revitalizing the local library, a place where Frank hangs out and chats with Jennifer (Susan Sarandon) the librarian. Jennifer reveals what is happening to the library and then invites Frank to the gala party for its change. When she reveals to Frank the value of the old books, Frank’s mind awakens to the possibility of stealing them.


Robot has been attempting to get Frank to do some physical activities. Frank gets Robot to go for walks, learns how to case a joint, and he even teaches him to pick a lock. This mental and physical activity makes sense to Robot and it fulfills its programming. In Robot’s training and Frank’s exercises, the two individuals begin to talk and get to know one another better. A real friendship is born. What bothers Frank so much is that the Robot will erase its own memory in order to protect Frank and the book heist. This creates the eventual dilemma of erasing the only friend Frank has left. 


I won’t spoil anything else for you about this film. I liken it to how Gene Roddenberry used Science Fiction to tell a story about relevant issues. Here, we have Alzheimer’s, the modernization of the world, the value of true friendship, and parental relationships. Robot & Frank, at its heart, is the very best of what sci-fi represents: a chance to tell a story in a different way and shed light on issues we tend to ignore. 

 

Top 5 Picks of the Week:
1. Skyfall (Blu-ray/ DVD + Digital Copy)
2. On Her Majesty's Secret Service [Blu-ray]
3. You Only Live Twice [Blu-ray]
4. Robot and Frank
5. Duck Dodgers: Dark Side of the Duck - Season 1

ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS

Diamonds Are Forever [Blu-ray] Starring Sean Connery and Jill St John

GoldenEye (Blu-ray) Starring Pierce Bronson and Sean Bean

The Living Daylights [Blu-ray] Starring Timothy Dalton

The Man with the Iron Fists (Two-Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) Starring Rick Yune, Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu and Dave Bautista

The Man with the Iron Fists Starring Russell Crowe, Cung Le, Lucy Liu and Byron Mann

Octopussy [Blu-ray] Starring Steven Berkoff, Roger Moore and Louis Jourdan

On Her Majesty's Secret Service [Blu-ray] Starring Telly Savalas, George Lazenby and Gabriele Ferzetti

Pierce Brosnan Ultimate 007 Edition (Goldeneye / The World Is Not Enough / Die Another Day) Starring Pierce Brosnan, Judi Dench, Halle Berry and Famke Jenssen

Quantum of Solace / Casino Royale [Blu-ray] Starring Daniel Craig

Roger Moore Ultimate 007 James Bond Edition, Volume 1 Starring Roger Moore and Yaphet Kotto

Roger Moore Collection 007 James Bond Ultimate Edition, Volume 2 Starring Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale and Maud Adams

Skyfall (Blu-ray/ DVD + Digital Copy) Starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes

Skyfall Starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes

Spy Who Loved Me [Blu-ray] Starring Roger Moore, Richard Kiel and Curd Jurgens

Thieves [Blu-ray] (2012) Starring Gianna Jun, Hae-suk Kim, Hye-su Kim and Soo Hyun Kim

Thieves (2012) Starring Gianna Jun, Hae-suk Kim, Hye-su Kim and Soo Hyun Kim

Tomorrow Never Dies [Blu-ray] Starring Pierce Brosnan

Trap Starring Allen Perada and Alonzo F. Jones

You Only Live Twice [Blu-ray] Starring Sean Connery, Tetsuro Tanba and Teru Shimada

ANIME

Fushigi Yugi Season Two Boxset

Inuyasha: The Final Act, Set 2

Inuyasha: The Final Act, Set 2 [Blu-ray]

New Fist of the North Star: Complete Collection Starring Takehito Koyasu, Gackt, Unshou Ishizuka and Adam Dudley

Waiting in the Summer: Complete Collection

CARTOONS

Duck Dodgers: Dark Side of the Duck - Season 1 Starring Joe Alaskey, Bob Bergen, Tia Carrere and Richard McGonagle

Criterion Collection

The Kid with a Bike (Criterion Collection) Starring Thomas Doret, Jeremie Renier and Cecile de France

The Kid with a Bike (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Thomas Doret, Jeremie Renier and Cecile de France

HORROR

Beast Beneath Starring Daniel Bonjour, Luis Fernandez-Gil and Joel Bryant

The Comeback: Remastered Edition [Blu-ray] Starring Jack Jones, Pamela Stephenson, David Doyle

Croczilla Starring Barbie Hse and Tao Guo

Die Screaming, Marianne: Remastered Edition [Blu-ray] Starring Susan George

Doomsday County Starring Paul Petrus, Michael Santi and Paul Alessi

Dracula Vs. Frankenstein Starring J. Carrol Naish

House of Whipcord: Remastered Edition [Blu-ray] Starring Penny Irving, Patrick Barr and Barbara Markham

Mimesis [Blu-ray] Starring Sid Haig, Courtney Gains, Allen Maldonado

Mimesis Starring Sid Haig, Courtney Gains, Allen Maldonado

Purge Starring Sarah Breen, Michael F. Cahill and Mark Doggett

Rise Of The Zombies Starring Danny Trejo, Ethan Suplee and Chad Lindberg

Rise of the Zombies [Blu-ray] Starring Danny Trejo, Ethan Suplee and Chad Lindberg

Schizo: Remastered Edition [Blu-ray] Starring Lynne Frederick

Silent Hill: Revelation (Two-Disc Combo Pack: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet) Starring Adelaide Clemens, Kit Harington, Carrie-Anne Moss

Silent Hill: Revelation Starring Adelaide Clemens, Kit Harington, Carrie-Anne Moss

Smiley Starring Keith David and Michael Bart

SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

Robot and Frank Starring Frank Langella and Liv Tyler

TV LAND

Big Bad Beetleborgs: Season One, Vol. 2 Starring Wesley Barker, Herbie Baez and Elisabeth Lund

Bonanza: The Official Complete Fifth Season Starring Michael Landon, Bill Clark, Lorne Greene

Family Matters: The Complete Third Season Starring Reginald Veljohnson, Jo Marie Payton, Rosetta Lenoire

The Hardy Boys: Season 3 Starring Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson

Matlock: The Eighth Season Starring Kene Holliday and Andy Griffith

Nurse Jackie: Season Four Starring Edie Falco, Paul Schulze, Eve Best and Haaz Sleiman

Weeds: Season Eight Starring Mary-Louise Parker, Alexander Gould, Justin Kirk

BOX SETS

Sleepy Eyes of Death: Collector's Set 3 Starring Raizo Ichikawa

 



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