Total Recall

Total Recall Mars

This month, NASA tweeted a great bite of optimism about the future of space exploration: “1st humans to step on Mars are alive today.” The statement was followed by a link to what they’re calling the “Next Giant Leap,” a loose plan compiling their expected missions over the next few decades culminating in a manned trip to the red planet. The tweet, however, may not necessarily refer to American humans or a NASA operation. With the United Arab Emirates announcing, also this month, that they’re sending an unmanned mission to Mars by 2021, and with at least Japan, China, India, Russia and the European Space Agency all currently involved in the planet’s exploration, we’re experiencing a new space race. Will we see humans on Mars by the 2030s as NASA proposes? Or even in the lifetime of today’s newborn infants as was promised on social media? The answer won’t be known until then, obviously. How such a trip will be achieved isn’t even certain yet. But maybe the movies can help us with transportation options. For more than a century, cinema has provided us with stories of man traveling to Mars. Many were released in innocent times as far as knowledge of both the planet and space exploration are concerned, and those are quite preposterous. Yet unlike Moon landings in movies (which have a real counterpart to compare to) there’s really no way for us to tell yet what is completely credible. Some examples are currently known or at least believed to be […]

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IntroOneLiners

A good method of determining the realism of a film isn’t by body count so much as it is the weight a writer puts on each death. For example, if the death is preceded by any of the following one-liners, it probably wasn’t valued very much. That isn’t to say these are bad films by any stretch, just films that you wouldn’t want to be caught dead dying in, lest your final breaths be a gentle laugh at the lunacy uttered by your attacker.

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IntroBarFights

The World’s End was a great film, and amongst its many covered genres, it made a pretty big mark in the ranks of epic bar brawl movies. To celebrate, why don’t we explore some of the other great drunken tussles of the sci-fi and fantasy genres? Excellent. Glad you’re on board. Because no matter what sorcery or technology you have at your fingertips, there’s always time to get soused and hit someone.

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predator2

Film critics of a certain age, i.e. the age that I am aged, tend to overly-romanticize the 1980s. This often manifests in gushy, hyperbole-laden love letters masquerading as objective discourse. To be fair, that is probably because the 80s rule and the human race has never created anything better and never will, oh my God. The firing of spastic, rose-colored synapses aside, for those of us cursed with this affinity, the coming of the 90s carried a certain apocalyptic vibe. Or at least, that’s how it seems when tempered by the great equalizer that is hindsight. In other words, revisiting films on the fringe of that most glorious decade becomes a rather somber affair. Oddly enough, there are some films that seem to be cognizant of this great changeover. When viewing certain titles from 1990, there appears a bizarre nod to the dramatic end of an era. This is more than mere temporal proximity, it’s as if the overall decline, with a few exceptions, of genre film in the 90s was foretold to these films — not the filmmakers necessarily but the films as sentient entities. Here are the movies from 1990 that represent the last gasp of 80s filmmaking.

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The Best Action Movies of 2012

Movies are many different things to many different peoples. A film may tug at your heart strings, tickle your funny bone, or change the way you look at the world. But sometimes all you want from a movie is an adrenaline shot straight to the heart, a testosterone booster right to the balls, or whatever the female equivalent of getting really hyped up over an action film is. 2012 didn’t see the apocalypse, but it did see a bunch of cinematic ass-kickery, the best of which is counted down here for your pleasure.

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Killer Joe Chris (Emile Hirsch) is having a bad day, but when he decides the key to solving all of his problems is to have his mother whacked by a hit man (Matthew McConaughey) he discovers that things can always get worse in this refreshing return from William Friedkin. Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church and Juno Temple are all along for the violent and darkly comedic ride, but it’s McConaughey who shines through the grime, brutality and Southern hospitality gone bad. He excels as a cruel bastard looking for love in some very wrong places who’s unafraid to take what he wants even if that means abusing Gershon with a KFC drumstick. Also available on DVD. [Extras: Featurette, Q&A, SXSW intro, commentary, trailer]

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Ever wonder why people usually don’t wear elaborate costumes in real life when they are out killing teenagers or robbing banks? Chances are it’s because the whole damn point of wearing a disguise is to draw attention away from your face. Of course that would be no fun in movies. No one wants to see a crime committed by someone wearing an off color ski mask – so costume designers tend to get a little… creative, and sometimes the result can be downright horrifying.

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Remaking a movie is a tall order, and transitioning a story from another medium to film is even tougher. So it’s no surprise that details frequently get changed to accomodate a new era of filmmaker or the different “beats” associated with a feature-length movie. It becomes a problem, however, when one of the things cut to accomodate an extra action scene turns out to be vitally important to the plot, leaving the movie with a scene or detail that only makes sense if you’re familiar with the original. Things like…

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What is Movie News After Dark? Like the Curiosity Mars rover, it’s out there breaking new ground. Taking panoramic pictures of the red planet and whatnot. Also, collecting links to interesting stories about movies. We begin with a shot from the titles of The Avengers, taken from the expose that Art of the Title has done on the summer’s biggest blockbuster thus far. They brilliantly profile the work of Method Design on the Joss Whedon directed movie. Here’s hoping that Method will get asked back alongside Whedon for the sequel.

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Blu-ray Spotlight

As many a dedicated FSR reader will note, there has long been a column on this site called This Week in Blu-ray. The operative statement that illuminates the lack of effectiveness in its run is “week,” as it’s never been the most consistent feature we’ve run on this site. So as we do from time to time, we’re going to allow it to evolve into something new. Blu-ray Spotlight, it’s replacement, is a different concept for my coverage of the world of high definition home entertainment. This week, it will look similar to old entries. Reviews of the Blu-ray releases of the day. In coming weeks and months, we’ll expand it a bit to look at Blu-ray technology, news and other topics within the realm of home entertainment. Bigger releases (like the upcoming release of Jaws) will get the more in-depth treatment they deserve and we may even mix in a few giveaways. In the end, it will ultimately still serve the mission of highlighting the best of the world of Blu-ray. So lets get started, shall we? Pick of the Week Full Metal Jacket The Pitch: Stanley Kubrick’s classic Vietnam exploration explodes on its 25th Birthday. As you’ll see below, it was incredibly difficult for me to not place High Fidelity as my Pick of the Week. I love that movie fully and unabashedly. But the release quality of Warner Bros.’ 25th Anniversary Edition of Full Metal Jacket is far too strong. A brand new HD remaster of the film provides beauty, a […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It should be said up front that it had no prior knowledge of the woman in the image above prior to researching a story. Seriously, you guys… We begin this evening with an image of Sunny Leone, an actress of adult films who is about to make her Bollywood debut. It’s an example of another cross-over path from porn star to actual movie star, in so much as we’d consider Bollywood movies to be real movies (I’ve seen them, they are.) Leading with this story has nothing to do with my desire to lead with that picture.

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Director Len Wiseman made the 21st Century remake of Total Recall we kind of expected. It’s big, flashy, and in modern remake/reboot fashion it’s also gritty & grounded. Sure Wiseman nicely packed three-breasted women into his PG-13 picture, but this isn’t a movie fit for Kuato, small prostitutes firing off machine guns, and Arnold Schwarzenegger making funny faces. There’s little room for comedy in the futuristic world Wiseman has built. Compared to his previous films, it’s the biggest sort he’s created thus far. With a budget of $125 million — which, as Wiseman points out, has been falsely reported as being $200 million — the director has also made a blockbuster about as big as one can get. That scope isn’t what drew the Underworld filmmaker, but the identity crisis at the film’s core is. Wiseman set out to make a personal detective tale which happens to be set in a big, futuristic world. Here’s what Total Recall director Len Wiseman had to say about not going big for the sake of big, the influence of The Fugitive, and how certain Roland Emmerich classics served as his film school:

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Let’s get this out of the way – there’s quite a bit different about Len Wiseman‘s remake of Paul Verhoeven‘s Total Recall. Although the film hasn’t exactly been greeted with the most pleasant of critical responses thus far, one thing you can’t criticize the film for is being a carbon copy of the 1990 film. Obviously missing is the iconic Kuato and the setting of Mars, but also absent from the film is a widely reported appearance by Ethan Hawke. Although it sounds like Wiseman’s remake lost a sizable amount of material in the editing bay – considering there is a 17-minute-longer director’s cut in the works – Mars and Kuato never even made it past the script stage. While speaking with Wiseman yesterday, he told us why there is no Mars, no appearance or mention of Kuato, and why you won’t see Ethan Hawke’s brief role in the theatrical cut:

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As the cinematic summer season winds to a close, audiences everywhere will soon get to relive the joy of memory implantation, three-boobed ladies, and governmental double-cross. No, no, it’s not The Bourne Legacy (is anyone triple-stacked in that? Let’s hope so!), it’s Len Wiseman‘s take on Total Recall. This time around, no one goes to Mars and Ahnuld is nowhere to be found, instead Colin Farrell takes over as the mystified and misplaced everyman Douglas Quaid whose fun-time mind-trip ends up with some seriously unexpected consequences. Last weekend, Beverly Hills’ own Four Seasons Hotel played host to scads of press primed to interview the Total Recall crew about such things as what they’d want Rekall to implant in their minds, what it was like working with a married couple, and how the film’s lovely lady stars stay so young-looking. Of course, there were also interesting questions asked at the junket, and director Wiseman and his stars Farrell, Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale, and Bryan Cranston answered those, too. And also Cranston talked about Breaking Bad for twenty minutes and we all took it in, starry-eyed. After the break, check out 21 we learned at the Total Recall junket, from how Cranston thinks BB will end, what element of the film stands out as the major difference between it and the original (hint: it’s not that the film doesn’t go to Mars), what Biel knows about the status of David O. Russell’s Nailed, and the special cameo that Wiseman built into the film […]

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Total Recall

Here we are, the downturn of one of the most hyped cinematic summers in recent memory. Now, we’ll be getting all the films the studios weren’t quite sure would make it during the May-July run. We’ll be seeing a lot of these titles over the next two weeks…two weeks…two weeks. To kick off the Gilligan’s-Island-worthy “and the rest” season is Len Wiseman‘s remake of Paul Verhoeven‘s Total Recall. Based on the book, “The Future Hates You And Will Kill Your Face” by Philip K. FunnyLastName. No, it was actually (of course) Philip K. Dick‘s ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.” The basic premise is largely the same as it was in the before time, the Schwarzenegger longlong ago. A man trudging through a humdrum existence (Colin Farrell‘s Quaid), realizes he lives in futurey times and can have memories of a more exciting existences slam-packed into his brain via a company called Rekall. Trouble is that in so slam-packing, the company accidentally pops the top on a whole pickle jar of new skill sets and suggests that the life he currently knows may be a lie. The big difference of course between the original Total Recall movie and the remake is a profound reduction in the set pieces that take place on the planet Mars. That is to say, no part of the remake takes place on the planet Mars. This is where geeks like me would usually throw a conniption, or at the very least a strongly-worded hissy fit. […]

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Drinking Games

This week, Colin Farrell tries to fill Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sizeable shoes in the remake of Total Recall. If you’re not a fan of Farrell or director Len Wiseman, or if you’re just angry about a PG-13 remake of an R-rated film, why not check out Paul Verhoeven’s original? Lionsgate releases the new Blu-ray in the “Mind Bending Edition” this week, which basically means a new edition to sell the week of the remake’s release. But that shouldn’t stop you from visiting a bar in Venusville where you can drink yourself silly while watching this slice of R-rated 90s silliness.

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Rorschach at Comic-Con

Rorschach’s Journal: July 13th, 2012 I don’t sleep, not by current definitions. I lie still, lie silent, but my eyes do not close. Vigilance is the price of order. Sleep is a breeding ground for vulnerability. I tend to be grumpy in the morning. Suiting up for my second day of the maddening orgy of nerdom that is Comic-Con, I don my mended face. The tensile strength of my haphazard handiwork proves adequate. On the train, local law enforcement commence inspecting tickets. I remain calm. Costumed freaks of all ilks populate this speeding geek wagon. I should not draw much attention. My admittance is confirmed. They do not leave; maintaining uncomfortable proximity. Fists clenched, I will not go quietly. Stop reached, I am not accosted. The badged grunts turn a blind eye as I step off the train and vanish into the crowd.

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Total Recall

While not everyone in attendance at San Diego Comic-Con is the biggest fan of Len Wiseman, tweeting out jokes spotlighting his missing film knowledge and pedigree, it could just be jealousy that he is married to star Kate Beckinsale. That’s enough to make any man, and most women, insane with jealousy. Feelings for the director, and remakes, aside, I didn’t know what to expect from a Total Recall total remake. Would there be boobs? How many? Would there be tiny mutants? How many? Would there be bullets, explosions, and car chases? How many? We have some answers for you now.

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What is Comic-Con News After Dark? It’s taking over for a few days while Movie News After Dark goes off into the wilderness to find stories unrelated to Doctor Who. It’s taken focus a little too seriously. Also, Comic-Con News After Dark already has plenty of news about Doctor Who, including… Tonight’s top photo: Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and Matt Smith, best known as the cast of BBC’s Doctor Who. They appeared today at Comic-Con looking cool. Sunglasses are cool. Also, Karen is my dream girl.

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, we’ve got like 610,000 words in this article, without actually typing any words! Ain’t the internet the greatest? Take a peek at what we thought was the coolest stuff around on Thursday and then dive into our expanded gallery! Above: Some characters from Hotel Transylvania. We found these two weirdos wandering around the floor and had to say hi. The Mummy is looking pretty righteous!

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