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Robot and Frank

Friendship doesn't have an off switch.

Who says sci-fi has to involve spaceships, explosions and million-dollar effects? Two warm performances anchor "Robot & Frank," an endearing movie about a human and his mechanical new buddy. One comes from Frank Langella as an aging jewel thief, the other from Peter Sarsgaard as the voice of Frank's robot-caregiver. Together, they accomplish what expensive but hollow spectacles like "John Carter" and "Total Recall" couldn't: They make you care. Langella is Frank, a former "second-story man" living alone in upstate New York, where his mind is short-circuiting even as his instincts for burglary remain hard-wired. To keep an eye on the old man, Frank's legitimately successful son, Hunter (James Marsden), buys the VCG-60L: a walking, talking home aide that never tires of washing dishes and monitoring blood pressure. Frank, proud and stubborn, is initially horrified, until he realizes this contraption may have other uses. Sci-fi fans will recognize the building blocks: Sarsgaard channels the passive, amiable voice of Douglas Rain's HAL in "2001: A Space Odyssey" -- though he's all goodwill -- while Frank's irrational feelings for a humanoid object recall "The Lonely," one of the better episodes of "The Twilight Zone." But "Robot & Frank" works precisely because of its vintage version of sci-fi. "I know you don't like to hear this, Frank, but I'm not a person," it says at a critical moment. We've grown so attached to the little guy that we don't like to hear it, either. Director Jake Schreier and writer C.D. Ford, both making their feature-film debuts, have created a real gem here, mixing stock characters (Jeremy Sisto plays a nosy police detective) with cleverly drawn ones (Susan Sarandon is the local librarian who keeps catching Frank's eye). "Robot & Frank" makes a good companion piece to "Safety Not Guaranteed," another recent, low-budget charmer that used sci-fi conceits to illuminate a human story, not the other way around. Is there a trend happening here? Let's hope so. Courtesy: Rafer Guzman, NewsdayTo read the 4 star review of Robot & Frank that appeared in The Beat Magazine follow the link below: Trailer
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Directed by: 
Jake Schreier
Running Time: 
Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Peter Sarsgaard, Jeremy Sisto
Screenplay by: 
Christopher Ford

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