Tag Archives: total recall

THE METAMUCILS

19 Aug

 1. The Expendables 2/LGF                            Wknd/$   28.8           Total/$  28.8

 2. The Bourne Legacy/Universal                 Wknd/$   17.0            Total/$  69.6

 3. ParaNorman/Focus                                    Wknd/$   14.0            Total/$  14.0

 4. The Campaign/Warners                            Wknd/$   13.4            Total/$  51.7

 5. Sparkle/TriStar                                            Wknd/$   12.0            Total/$  12.0

 6. The Dark Knight Rises/Warners              Wknd/$   11.1             Total/$ 409.9

 7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green                Wknd/$   10.9            Total/$   15.2

 8. Hope Springs/Sony                                     Wknd/$     9.1             Total/$   35.1

 9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3/Fox                      Wknd/$     3.9            Total/$   38.8

 10. Total Recall/Sony                                       Wknd/$     3.5            Total/$   51.8

 

SURPRISED THERE’S NO PRODUCT PLACE FROM VIAGRA

The Expendables 2 opens at number one and it’s pretty much impossible to get mad at a film this stupid as it clearly embraces its own stupidity and silliness.  I mean, you can’t get much campier without men being in drag.  The entrance of Chuck Norris is the stuff of instant legend.  It’s so over the top it’s practically a parody of Chuck Norris.  And it doesn’t stop there as he appears to the sounds of “The Good The Bad & The Ugly” along with jokes about how he’s been a “Lone Wolf” at times.  In fact, in a movie with Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger you hear “I’ll back” “You’ll be terminated” ‘Who’s next? Rambo?” and “Yippie Ki Yay.”  And that’s in addition to jokes about Dolph Lundgren’s character going to MIT and having a Fulbright scholarship.  See, it’s funny because Dolph Lundgren did go to MIT on Fulbright scholarship.  The problem with this film is that there are simply too other many scenes where they clearly aren’t in on the joke and still think they represent bad-ass action heroes, not the least of which is when Stallone says to villain Jean Claude Van Damme in the showdown, “I’ll man you up” AS HE UNDOES HIS BELT!  For a second I thought they’d screwed up the reels and put on some gay porn.  Also there’s nonstop use of the type of filter once reserved for “actresses of a certain age.”  Well, it’s not just for girls any more. Now you need it to prop up the egos of men like Stallone, who unlike his co-stars, stopped being an A-lister about a decade back.  It’s so intense the film looks out of focus at times.  In addition, from his “badass” chopper, to his oddly-looking and strangely still jet-black hair, to the hot younger Asian chick who wants him, Stallone has made this film so male-menopausal they may need a new word for it. Hell, we should just use his name.  “You hear about Bob?  Left his wife for a young girl, bought a sports car, wearing as toupe…he’s gone full on Stallone.”  Oddly, only Van Damme (who along with Norris turned down the first film) acquits himself well. He started off as a movie villain against Sho Kosugi (and why the hell isn’t he here) and coming full circle has become very good at it.

 

BEHIND EVERY INVINCIBLE ACTION HERO IS A WOMAN WITH A DOCTORATE

The Bourne Legacy is down to number two and also in this is Rachel Weisz who is no stranger to the female scientist lead in an action movie, going back to Chain Reaction with Keanu Reeves and the two Mummy films.  Here she’s one of the scientists who helped make the super-soldiers and it does them credit that they remembered what made Bourne appealing was that despite all his skills he still needed someone to help him. That he was somewhat scared and confused.  Here we learn that Aaron Cross in fact lacked the IQ to join the army and the recruiter fudged his application to make a quota. He needs what she does because he’ll lose the intelligence he’s gained.  This humanizes him because it adds a level of understandable fear and desperation to what he does. Also like Bourne, when the time comes he tells her to leave and she chooses to stay with him, though there’s no hint of romance until the very end of the film which might as well have “To Be Continued…” pop up on the screen.

 

REASON #93847 WHY MARKETING DEGREES ARE A JOKE

Para Norman opens at number three and why in the world is this being released two months before Halloween? It’s the second-most profitable holiday behind Christmas, so why you releasing this in the dog days of summer where it’s opening a weak third as opposed to October 26th, where it could have cleaned up?  It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.  I’m mildly interested in this if for no other reason fucking Tim Burton isn’t involved.  Again, something to watch on cable in a year.

 

MIGHT, COULD DIRECT TRAFFIC ON A ONE WAY STREET

The Campaign is down to number four and another reason to never see this movie is its director, Jay Roach, the man behind Meet The Parents and the horrible sequels as well as every Austin Powers movie.  Yeah, exactly. He makes comedy for morons.

 

NOTHING I WANT TO FEEL

Sparkle opens at number five and if you’re black and especially if you’re black and of a certain age, you know all about Sparkle, a fictional account of a Supremes-type girl group from the 70’s starring Irene Cara.  If you didn’t see it, then your mom and dad had it on VHS (it only came out on DVD when Dreamgirls was released).  Either way it was part of your life, especially the music from none other than Curtis Mayfield and sung by Aretha Franklin (En Vogue’s hit “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” was a remake of one of those songs).  It’s a very, very black experience.  When R. Kelly showed up with a singer who went by the name “Sparkle” every black person in America got the reference.  That said Mike Epps is in this remake so I will never fucking see it. Ever.  Cannot stand Mike Epps.   It doesn’t matter how good or bad the film is, he makes it worse. He’s either the biggest turd in a pile of shit or he’s a piece of shit someone dropped onto your otherwise nice cake.  There’s a lot of sadness already attached to this film with it being Whitney Houston’s last, but his presence is insult to injury. Yes, I really hate him.

 

I COULD BLAME ELEKTRA, BUT IT’S REALLY JUST YOU.

The Dark Knight Rises is down to number six, followed by The Odd Life of Timothy Green opening at number seven and in this is Jennifer Garner and her presence here means that she’s pretty much given up.  Like Vin Diesel and The Rock before her, after a number of flops she’s turned to family films (this is from Disney no less).  Honestly, she should have stayed with TV.  She was never a big screen star and at best she’s just a prettier Hilary Swank who isn’t exactly lighting up the box office either.  For Joel Edgerton this is covering his bases, as Warrior and the prequel to The Thing both disappointed.  He’s actually Tom Buchanan in the upcoming Great Gatsby from Baz Lurhman (always giving his Australian countrymen work) and given that’s been pushed back from Oscar-baiting December to next year, things do not look good for him either.

 

TIG OLE BITTYS!

Hope Springs is down to number eight and also in this is Mimi Rogers who is Tommy Lee Jones’s sexual fantasy neighbor.  I guess because she’s got ginormous boobs.  Seriously.  And isn’t afraid to show them as half-a-dozen movies will prove.  But what she will inevitably be most famous for is being briefly married to crazy-ass Tom Cruise in the 80’s…when he also dated Cher, indicating a clear “mommy period.”

 

HERE COMES UNDERWORLD 5…

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is down to number nine, followed by Total Recall wrapping up the top ten at number ten and given this movie tried to leave behind so much of the first film, why the hell is there a three-breasted hooker?  She was a mutant in the first, but since there’s no Mars, where’d she come from?  It’s a fun flourish in a movie that clearly doesn’t want to have any fun.  So many, many mistakes… but the upside is maybe people will stop giving Len Wiseman money.  It’s only made $51M domestic and another $58M overseas.  Too bad the budget was $125M, meaning it’d need $375M to be a clear hit and $250M just to break even.

 

DANCING QUEEN

I’ve come late to the table on Bunheads, but I enjoy it.  Big city person in small, strange town has worked since The Egg & I and isn’t stopping now, least of all in this show about a once promising dancer now a Vegas showgirl who accepts a marriage proposal drunk and winds up in small town, where her mother-in-law just happens to run a dance studio for the town’s young people.  I never watched Gilmore Girls but I’m aware that loquacious women in a quirky small town are part of the Amy Sherman Palladino formula and she continues to follow (it even includes a young ballet dancer who looks just like Alexis Bledel).  Granted, it can seriously be grating at times and the forced eccentricies of the townspeople really annoys others, but for the most part I find it fun and I’m big on fun TV these days.  Also, I like the fact that while, Laura Graham was far from ugly, the female lead here also isn’t some beauty queen.  It makes her more human and relatable.  I mean as relatable as tall, thin Tony-nominated Broadway performer Sutton Foster can be.  What’s great is that I get to watch the entire summer season in on fell swoop because I’m so behind.

 

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THE BOURNE STUPIDITY

12 Aug

1. The Bourne Legacy/Universal              Wknd/$   40.3           Total/$  40.3

 2. The Campaign/Warners                        Wknd/$   27.4            Total/$   27.4

 3. The Dark Knight Rises/Warners         Wknd/$   19.5            Total/$ 390.1

 4. Hope Springs/Sony                                 Wknd/$   15.6            Total/$   20.1

 5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3/Fox                  Wknd/$     8.2           Total/$   30.6

 6. Total Recall/Sony                                     Wknd/$     8.1            Total/$  44.2

 7. Ice Age 4/Fox                                             Wknd/$     6.8           Total/$ 144.2

 8. Ted/Universal                                            Wknd/$     3.3           Total/$ 209.9

 9. Step Up Revolution/Summit                  Wknd/$     2.9            Total/$   30.2

10. Amazing Spider-Man/Sony                   Wknd/$     2.2            Total/$ 255.5

 

THE BOURNE REDUNDANCY

The Bourne Legacy opens at number one and wasn’t the raison d’être of Bourne was that he was a young secret agent as opposed to Bond who was always a man?  That being the case, why the hell do you hire 40-year-old Jeremy Renner to take over?  Shouldn’t it be somebody from a vampire movie?  Or at the very least tall?  And they might have come up with a better plot.  Bourne was being chased because basically he was the loose cannon of government officials who’d been misusing that weapon and they didn’t want it to get out.  Jeremy Renner is being chased because…Bourne got away.  Seriously. They’re killing off all their super agents who haven’t done anything wrong and aren’t being used inappropriately because they’re afraid it will get out that America has created super agents to defend itself. I’m pretty sure post-9/11 America would fucking love to learn that its government had created super agents to defend it, so none of this makes a lick of sense.  It doesn’t help that characters within the movie are asking the same question: “Why do we have to destroy everything?”  The only answer Ed Norton gives us is an ominous “Just imagine what happens when all this gets out.”  WHY!?!  We’re never told why this is all so wrong.  Plot aside, the other hole in this is Jeremy Renner never fights his equal the way Bourne always did in all three movies.  They sent other super-agents after him so you got a battle of equals along with him trouncing others.  Renner never once goes mano-a-mano with another super-agent, which makes most of this like watching an 8th grader beat up a bunch of 6th graders.

 

THERE IS SUCH A THING AS TOO FUNNY

The Campaign opens at number two and for me both Will Farrell and Zack Galifinakis don’t work as leads because they will always be supporting comic foils to a straight man. This is why both their breakthrough roles came in movies that had just doing just that.  For Ferrell it was Old School and Luke Wilson filled the role.  For Galifinakis, it took both Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms to balance him out.  So the thought of them together with no one to balance it out doesn’t appeal to me.  Yes, I know Jason Sudekis and Dylan McDermott are here to do that to a certain extent, but honestly they’re both like wheat before the scythe for these two.

 

HOLY UNVARINISHED TRUTH!

The Dark Knight Rises is down to number three and as everyone probably knows by now Joseph Gordon Leavitt plays a character whose real name is revealed in the closing minutes to be “Robin” which seems like a tribute from Chris Nolan on his way out the door, but is really Chris Nolan giving those of us who love Robin The Boy Wonder the finger on his way out the door.  See, in his world of a man dressed up like a bat fighting crime without a gun talking in a stupid voice and fighting a guy with an even dumber voice who manages to take over an American city for months without the might of the United States government being able to stop him, a kid sidekick is totally ridiculous.  Here’s a little known fact: Batman only existed 11 months before Robin showed up.  So exactly 1.27% of Batman’s 72 year history is Robin-free.  He needs the Boy Wonder like he needs air.  Robin is what saved Batman from being lost in rush of superheroes that popped up in the wake of Superman’s success.  He allowed for Batman’s audience to imagine themselves fighting alongside him in a way that could never be for Superman who was an alien and the last of his kind.  Robin was also the first wisecracking teenage superhero, so you’re welcome as well, Spider-man.

 

FALL OF 2013

Hope Springs opens up at number four and this is one of those movies with a lot of good actors that gets mostly positive reviews that you know you’d probably like if you saw it, but you never do until years later when it’s on cable one night and you go, “Hey, that was all right.”  So, I’ll see you in a few years with my thoughts on it.

 

THE MORE YOU THINK ABOUT IT, THE WORSE IT GETS

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is down to number five, followed by Total Recall at number six and as long as we’re picking on this lame remake of Total Recall, let’s pick on the original story. Exactly how was turning Hauser into Quaid supposed to allow him to infiltrate the rebellion?  On friggin’ earth no less!  Was the job he was working some recruitment spot?  In fact it only works because Hauser’s memories bleed into Quaid’s mind and he goes back to Mars.  And if that wasn’t already a problem they cut the balls off the character here by making Hauser a bad guy who turns good and that’s why his memory gets wiped (though it still makes no sense as to why his memory gets wiped and him again taken away from the rebellion which is this time in England).  In the original, Hauser was evil through and through but inadvertently creates a hero in himself.  Here, falling in love with Mileena changes him. That’s the equivalent of Greedo shooting first. 

 

GO AWAY ALREADY!

Ice Age: Continental Drift is down to number seven, followed by Ted at number eight and Step Up Revolution at number nine.

 

YOU KIDS WILL LIKE HER. YOU’LL REALLY LIKE HER.

The Watch and The Amazing Spider-Man actually tied at number ten, but since I have nothing to say about The Watch, some final comments on The Amazing Spider-Man, where they actually show his dad, played by Campbell Scott and it freaks me seeing him playing older men when I remember him clearly as a young guy in Singles all those years ago.  And I love that Sally Field is playing Aunt May.  She’s gotta be 70, but she’s one of those people who looks forever young and now a whole new generation who never heard of Gidget, The Flying Nun, Smokey & The Bandit or Norma Rae will get to know her.

 

SUPER ART

My continuing attempts to get some culture crossed paths with my own geekness with an exhibition by photographer Gregg Segal of photographs of superheroes in “everyday situations” at the Chelsea Market.  Wonder Woman takes out the trash. Captain America gets his mail or fixes his car.  Superman vacuums his home filled with Superman paraphernalia.  It was borne out of the people in Hollywood who dress up and take pictures with tourists.  For a briefly moment they’re special, but at the end of the day they go home and they’re ordinary people and Segal wanted to convey that.  He also has photos from another project where Civil War reinactors go to the actual sites of Civil War battles that are now expressways, neighborhoods and department store parking lots.  The juxtaposition is surprisingly poignant.  See? I can talk some art!

 

GET YOUR ASS TO A BETTER MOVIE

5 Aug

1. The Dark Knight Rises/Warners            Wknd/$   36.4            Total/$ 354.6

 2. Total Recall/Sony                                      Wknd/$   26.0            Total/$  26.0

 3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3/Fox                   Wknd/$   14.7             Total/$   14.7

 4. Ice Age 4/Fox                                              Wknd/$     8.4            Total/$ 131.9

 5. The Watch/Fox                                           Wknd/$     6.4            Total/$   25.4

 6. Ted/Universal                                             Wknd/$     5.5            Total/$ 203.4

 7. Step Up Revolution/Summit                    Wknd/$     5.3            Total/$   23.1

 8. Amazing Spider-Man/Sony                      Wknd/$     4.3            Total/$ 250.6

 9. Brave/Disney                                                Wknd/$     2.9           Total/$ 223.3

10. Magic Mike/Warner                                    Wknd/$     1.4           Total/$ 110.9

 

LET’S TALK ABOUT PUSSY

The Dark Knight Rises holds at number one and I actually liked Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.  She had the right combination of playfulness and amorality that Catwoman is supposed to have.  I know people like to cite Michelle Pfeiffer, but Michelle Pfeiffer didn’t play Catwoman. She played a Tim Burton character named Catwoman, but there’s nothing about her than was ever a part of Catwoman in the comics.  She was just another freak in his parade of freaks. Danny DeVito didn’t play The Penguin either. He played Edward Flipperhands.  But all the Catwomen live in the shadow of Julie Newmar.  She defined the character.  Not to mention she was the absolute hottest.  She freaking danced with Fosse.  These others have nothing on her.

 

THERE IS NO PARTY

Total Recall opens at number two and this commits the gravest sin any movie can, even worse than being bad: it’s boring.  This is bad in any movie but it’s twice as bad in an action movie.  Utterly unforgivable when it’s a remake of a movie known for its over-the-top action.  Let’s go with the first mistake here: Len Wiseman as the director.  He’s a B-list actioner who strangely gets to direct A-list budget, which is how you get Live Free or Die Hard and this.   He’s better when only allowed limited resources and control, not greater.  Your second mistake was the very limited scope of the movie.  The first time we went to Mars.  Here, the world has been destroyed with the exception of England and Australia and you travel between them on an elevator through the center of the Earth. If only that was as much fun as it sounds. This is such an over-the-top concept it demanded an over-the-top movie.  What it got was the lackluster vision of a limited mind. When Luc Besson clearly borrowed from Blade Runner, he made it bigger and brighter.  Here you see elements of Blade Runner and The Fifth Element made smaller and dimmer.  And it doesn’t even follow its own premise.  If the world is limited and cramped, why do Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale still seem to have a nice apartment?  It makes no sense that they repeatedly refer to it as a dump.  The future still looks too nice to be so horrible.  Now Blade Runner made living in the city look like crap and it didn’t have to destroy 99% of the world to do it.  And the apartment Bruce Willis had was genuinely tiny.  But these are just details.  The real problem is the action scenes are dull.  There’s not an iota of kinetic energy when Colin Farrell suddenly realizes he got the skills of James Bond and takes out an entire police squad and it doesn’t get any better as the film progresses, not matter how much jumping, shooting and robot punching they do.  The performances are equally muted.  Everyone is sleepwalking through this for a paycheck and it shows. They all knew it was a mistake and wisely chose to save their energies for something else.  The only exception is Kate Beckinsale who was obligated by being the director’s wife to try, giving it her best shot to fill not just the shoes of Sharon Stone but of Michael Ironside as well as their roles of wife and hunter were basically combined.  Maybe she tries so hard because she realized if she actually succeeded in killing Colin Farrell the movie would be over.

 

UM, OKAY

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days opens at number three and this has become quite the little franchise while no one was watching…including myself.

 

APPARENTLY MOVIES ARE HARDER THAN 2-MINUTE SHORTS. WHO KNEW?

Ice Age: Continental Drift is down to number four, followed by The Watch at number five and you’d think this would be funnier given it was directed by a guy who is a member of Lonely Island and directs all their videos.  You’d be wrong.  You’re probably better off watching “Jizz In My Pants” again.

 

WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE REF

Ted is down to number six, followed by Step Up Revolution at number seven and The Amazing Spider-Man at number eight and also in this is Dennis Leary as Emma Stone’s dad.  He’s also a voice in Ice Age so he’s technically got two films in the top ten and there was a brief moment when he thought he could be a comedic lead.  You’ll see them turn up on cable in the wee hours of the morning all the time.  And once you have you’ll realize he’s lucky to have this.

 

EVEN THE COOKING RAT DID BETTER

Brave is down to number nine and still has yet to double its budget worldwide. That’s pretty sad.  Especially when you realize that crap like Ice Age Pt 29 has made over $700M.

 

WAIT. ARE YOU SAYING THAT SEX SELLS TO WOMEN?  SERIOUSLY?

Magic Mike finally closes out the top ten at number ten and technically is the most profitable film of the summer, even more than The Avengers which crossed the billion dollar mark.  While The Avengers has made six times its budget, Magic Mike has made fifteen times its cost.  That’s some cheese on your whopper.

 

CHARIOTS OF FIRE 2012

When I was a kid, The Olympics was the worst thing ever. It was two weeks when all your favorite shows wouldn’t be on.  Now, I was actually excited, even watching fucking swimming prelims a few months ago.  I don’t know when this happened, but I’m actually glad because it’s two weeks of totally interesting, suspenseful TV. You find yourself watching shit you’d never watch and being captivated.  Trampoline as an Olympic sport is stupid…until you see it.  And there’s an unending sense of awe of seeing people who have spent literally decades training their bodies to be the best in world for events where it’s only required for a few seconds.  There’s also the cheap thrill of ogling said bodies because they’re like Greek statues come to life.  As someone who does swim, I naturally like the swimming, but even though I hate running, that’s fun to watch too.  Especially the women.  As a geek it made me think about the competition the Amazons had in the comics to see who got to become Wonder Woman.  When the show came on in the 70’s it was a bunch of less-than-athletic models and actresses, when it should like the Olympics, where it’s pure muscle and sinew.  But ironically about the same about serious cheekbones.  And there’s still another week to go!  And when it ends, football’s back.