Tag Archives: movies

Total Recall

Original Total Recall

They are remaking Total Recall! With Colin Farrell! There is even a new trailer, which I have to say looks pretty brilliant and can be seen at the bottom of this post. First though, a bit of intro in case you have wasted your life and not seen it.

Total Recall was a 1990 film wherein a heavily musled construction worker (Schwarzenegger) who is dissatisfied with his tedious life goes to a company that implants memories so that he can at least have something of interest to look back on. Unfortunately the implant goes wrong as there some messed up implants in there already. Violence and mayhem ensues.

Total Recall has Schwarzenegger in one of his greatest ever roles. It also has Paul Verhoeven directing a violent scifi epic – what he’s best at (see Starship Troopers too). It even has Michael Ironside as the baddie, which is always good as the man is a legend, especially as a baddie. As a bonus there is even Sharon Stone showing a nipple and a triple breasted mutant Martian whore, which is something you don’t see in most films . And it is all based on a Philip K. Dick story. Absolutely brilliant.

Total Recall is based on the story We can remember it for you wholesale. Philip K. Dick tales are nearly always awesome as the man was a genius and one of the greatest science fiction writers ever. Like a lot of his work, the principal theme being dealt with is reality and our perceptions of it. If it seems 100% real does it actually matter that it isn’t?

Schwarzenegger’s protagonist Quaid has no life. (Although he does have an inexplicably hot wife – Sharon Stone.) He always dreams of adventures on Mars in much the same way that I always dream of zombie apocalypse or being abducted by fun, sexy aliens. To rectify this, he goes to a company called Rekall that can implant the memory of the most perfect holiday on Mars – one that will be indistinguishable from other memories. They also have a new option: you don’t even have to go as you. You can be a sports star, playboy, or even a spy. Quaid opts for spy because let’s face it, that is what most red blooded males would do. He picks a randomly generated love interest from Rekall’s databanks and they begin the procedure. But there is something already implanted and that fucks things up.

It turns out that Quaid was already a spy from Mars and that his current life has all been a fake. Or has it? Is the spy bit the Rekall dream? Or isn’t it? Perhaps it is? Maybe not though. This has been much debated and it is answered here.

From what I can see from the new trailer, the new Total Recall follows a pretty identical story. Which is cool. It’s a shame that it won’t have Michael Ironside as the bad guy (that guy is just class) but you can’t have everything. Hopefully it will be ambiguous and leave things open and not have the Hollywood need for wrapping things up nicely (I’m looking at you, Spielberg).

Anyway, here is the trailer:

 

Iron Sky

Iron Sky

At last a film about Nazis on the moon. This is a niche I will confess I hadn’t thought about much until I saw this trailer but I now realize it was one that needed to be filled. There isn’t much I really need to add by way of explanation. Basically, in 1945, the nazis flew off and hid on the dark side of the moon. Now they are coming back.

 

The effects actually look pretty cool for what it is and there are even some blonde, stern but sexy looking Nazi frauleins chucked in. The Nazis are hard to beat when it comes to historic baddies. They had cool outfits, were into Vagner, art, the occult and so forth. They also had an ideology that no sane person could possibly agree with and committed acts of genocide and pure evil. The perfect bad guys.

Iron Sky is part of a new wave of production where fans help write some of the ideas, send in money, and generally chip in. It even has Udo Kier in it, from awesome movies such as Flesh for Frankenstein and Suspiria, and also Yuri from the PC game Command and Conquer 2. The man is a legend.

I’m sure this may offend some people but it seems to be done very much tongue-in-cheek. Enough time has passed that we can now laugh at them. ‘Allo ‘allo did that 30 years ago and everyone was ok with that. So enjoy.

*Disclaimer – If you find the idea of Nazis on the moon offensive then don’t watch this. Please don’t watch it and then get offended because that is just dumb.

Snow White and the Huntsman trailer

Snow White and the Huntsman

I know what you’re thinking: has Scifiward gone a bit lame? Kristen Stewart, the pretty vampire lover from the teen girl friendly Twilight films in a Snow White movie? Not a zombie or stomach bursting alien in sight? What’s going on?

Every month or so, I scour the apple trailer site to see the latest flicks. I used to use youtube but there are too many sad pricks doing fan made trailers and after a while I start to simmer in frustration and eventually want to kill. That’s best avoided. I saw this trailer advertised but didn’t bother looking at it because of the above reasons (see sentences two and three above.)

I was then browsing the Scifi Now website and Snow White and the Huntsmen was mentioned as being a bit dark. Dark is good. I then discovered it has Thor in it – the actor that is or it would be a weird weird and incongruous. He seems alright. The big plus though is Charlize Theron who plays the uber vain evil Queen. She always good to ogle, I mean watch. Mmmmmm.

Anyway, here’s the trailer. It looks intriguing and, as promised, quite dark. There’s even a glimpse of some dwarves. The only problem I can foresee is that Charlize Theron will always be hotter than Kristen Stewart. The latter is pretty but Ms Theron really need not worry. See what you think:

 
http://youtu.be/55Dq2psogSw

The Avengers trailer

First off here’s the trailer

http://youtu.be/eOrNdBpGMv8

I’m curious to know what fans think. I love comics but until recently my reading of them has declined. Since I got an iPad, it has soared again but that has mostly been due to the ‘new 52’ which is an entirely different universe from the Avengers. If you aren’t into comics you will have no idea what I’m talking about.

When I was younger and smoked certain herbal substances for my bad back (medicinal so not immoral) I read piles of comics. They were rarely Marvel or DC though. Comics like 2000AD, Transmetropolitan, Preacher, Slaine, Savage Sword of Conan, Hellboy, Sandman and so on. I was just never that in Superheroes in tights. They always teetered on the edge of looking stupid. Some (Captain America, Wonder Woman, Superman) just made me laugh they looked so ridiculous. Although Batman is cool.

On the other hand I like big explosions and women in unnecessarily revealing tight outfits and Superhero flicks are full of these.

So I was torn by this trailer. It could be really cool. Robert Downey Jr and Samuel L. Jackson are always worth a watch, and so is Scarlett Johansson but for slightly different reasons. It’s also directed by Joss Whedon who is a reliable man at the helm. The music is pretty bad though and I just wasn’t wowed by the trailer. These days you often see trailers for movies and think: ‘Holy Fuck! There’s no way that can possibly be bad,’ only to be proved massively, massively wrong. With this I just thought, ‘Meh, looks ok.’

At least I will approach it with an open mind. Unless a better trailer comes out.

Doomsday

Doomsday

In the future of a few years ago, a highly contagious virus starts killing people in Glasgow. There is no cure and it starts to spread rapidly, too rapidly to contain. So the evil English build a huge wall along where Hadrain’s Wall used to be and make Scotland a no go zone. In what seems to be a few minutes, the Scottish go feral. The whole of Scotland is left to its own devices.

Cut to modern day London, the year – 2035. The place is a bit of a mess. Politicians are devious and self serving and there is mass poverty, riots and unrest. So things are really different from now ok?

The virus that struck Glasgow is suddenly discovered in London and everyone starts to shit themselves. But a secret has been kept from everyone. Satellite imagery shows that there are people in Scotland. Lots of them. Somehow they have survived. An elite team headed by the hot but hard Eden Sinclair are dispatched to Scotland to see how they survived. They have 48 hours or London is fucked.

So that’s the plot. Sounds like a mix of a lot of films doesn’t it? Well it is.

Doomsday starts like a zombie film, then becomes Escape from New York (possibly Escape from LA too but I have successfully repressed all memories of it). When the elite team arrive in Glasgow, it is suddenly Aliens with Scottish people playing the role of Xenomorphs. Then it becomes Mad Max 2/3, then a violent Robin Hood, then Mad Max again, then back to Escape from New York. There again is the plot, but told in a different way.

The thing is, while this film teeters on the edge of being bad, (sometimes very close to the edge), it doesn’t quite fall. It a blatant mix of a ton of other films and genres but it’s a fun, violent mix. Doomsday was written and directed by Neil Marshall who wrote/directed Dog Soldiers and The Descent. Both of these similarly mixed genres and movie types and were both gory entertaining fodder. If you enjoyed them, you will like Doomsday. I did.

 

 

Watchmen movie

Watchmen characters After 20 years of waiting, Watchmen is finally here. I first read Alan Moore’s brilliant comic in the early 90s and again a couple of months ago. It is a truly superb and multi-layered masterpiece about a group of fucked up masked heroes and vigilantes. It postulates numerous questions: What is the true nature of humanity? (We’re not very nice.) What sort of person is likely to become a masked hero and are they all a bit mental? (They’re all a bit mental.) Given that humanity isn’t very nice, how do you bring about world peace? (I’m not telling.) Why do female crime-fighters have to wear such sexy and revealing little outfits? (They just do, alright? Deal with it.) There are lots more and I’ll admit I’m being a bit flippant – it really is worth reading.

The film is set in the alternate history of 1985 where, due to the intervention of the masked heroes – in particular the god-like Dr Manhattan – America won the Vietnam war and the Cold War is still ongoing. Nixon is still in power for his third term (the rules were changed) and the second generation of masked vigilantes have been outlawed. Only a couple remain active.

The film begins with an awesome bit of violence as a masked superhero called the Comedian is beaten shitless and thrown to his death out of a window. This is followed by an opening credit sequence that is truly a wondrous thing to behold and is even enjoyed by people who hated the film. It is the best opening sequence since the remake of Dawn of the Dead – also directed by Zack Snyder. The man’s a genius at starting a movie. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars (a new hope) and Barbarella (basically Jane Fonda stripping in zero G) have great openers but not quite as good as this. I’m not including porn here.

The story then follows a sociopath called Rorschach – who has a cool moving Rorschach print covering his face – as he unearths a conspiracy that is getting rid of all the remaining masked heroes. At the same time the world’s Doomsday clock is at five to midnight, tensions mount in the ongoing cold war, and ‘Tricky Dicky’ Nixon is on the verge of pressing the big red button. The tensions increase still further when Dr Manhattan gets pissed off with journalists and mankind generally and buggers off to Mars. Dr Manhattan is the only hero to have superpowers and can do pretty much anything. He could whip Superman while working, having sex, and making his dinner – you’ll have to watch it to know what I mean. This causes him to slowly lose touch with his own humanity and all those around him – leaving him increasingly isolated, condescending and patronising as the movie progresses. When he talks to people he comes across as a mix of Yoda and Gandalf but without the charm. He also insists on being naked for most of the film so you are subjected to enormous blue glowing genitalia for large chunks of the film. This is cunningly balanced by the lovely Silk Spectre getting naked so it’s ok, there’s something for everyone.

So that’s the plot. Well some of it. There’s a lot of plot as it was a long comic novel.

watchmen

When the film came out there was a tedious predictability about the divisions it would cause. Some hard-core fans of the graphic novel disliked it because too much was changed. I should hesitantly point out that they are idiots and are wrong. Short of actually going frame by frame in line with the comic (like Sin City), Snyder could not have done a better job of bringing it to the screen. If he had copied the comic too closely the only people who would have enjoyed it would have been the hard-core fans and Manhattan’s schlong would have been wasted on the almost all-male crowd as they sat there for the 10-hours trying to find fault.

The details were there (even down to moles on faces) and the sets and events and critical conversations were included. Conversely, a large chunk of the criticism was that it too slavishly copied it’s source material. Critics boringly banged on about Snyder’s loyalty to every detail of the comic and that it proved detrimental to the movie. There was no way he could please both groups of people but fortunately Snyder managed to please the vast majority of people in the middle camp. The ‘norms’.

There are two big changes however that partially substantiate this dislike. One is the deletion of a ‘comic within the comic’ – a tale of piracy and survival and bloated corpses and murder. Which really is a great as it sounds. There is going to be an extended version of the film which includes this comic as an animated insert. It is also now available on DVD. So people can stop blubbing about that. The other big change is the ending. A fairly substantial thing to alter. The graphic novel had a fairly bleak and dark ending which was just superb. I love films that end like this, and this possibly explains my devotion to zombies but I digress. The film keeps this ending but just uses slightly different means. Given the current climate in the real world, I think the ending was actually better in the movie. So there.

Will you like this film? It depends what you want from it. If you are a devoted fan of the comic and love every aspect of it and worship Alan Moore (like myself but just more so), then the ending might piss you off too much. If you are looking for something up there with Dark Knight, this is close but not quite there. It is brilliant but it is flawed. Until now, the comic has been deemed unfilmable. Terry Gilliam and Darren Aronofski have both tried – the fact that they tried though, should say something about the material. The great and godlike Alan Moore said it was written as a comic and would not translate well to the screen. I can see why, as the pacing, layering and characterisation works differently but it still does work. He probably still just has the hump about what happened to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and who can blame him?

It might help you decide by looking at who liked the film and who didn’t. Nearly all the top critics I respect – Roger Ebert, Jonathan Ross, Time Out, the Guardian and Empire thought it was brilliant. On the other hand, the critics for the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, and the Independent hated it. This pleased me immensely as I don’t want to agree with the Mail on anything. (The brilliant Charlie Brooker once described the Mail as an idiots guide to life released in easy-to-read daily chunks.) The latter group were so obviously going to hate it I’m be surprised they even bothered going. Personally, I fucking loved it. For the record – so did my better half and she hadn’t read the comic. I have read complaints that it is hard to follow if you don’t know the source material but am pleased to say that a lot of my friends hadn’t read the comic and followed it just fine. The film is an astounding spectacle, has some superb action sequences, great characterisation and plot, and the cast of relative unknowns are outstanding. If you are looking for a ‘Crank’ level of action you will be disappointed although the action that is on offer is brilliant. The characters are fleshed out nicely and the complexity of the human condition is examined to a satisfying level. In particular, Rorschach and the Comedian – neither very nice people – come across vividly and you understand where they are coming from. Just like the graphic novel. No mean feat for two people who are essentially psychopaths.

Snyder was given a task that was never going to please everyone. It was a guarantee from the outset that some groups were going to be alienated. If he had just made a movie that was loosely based on the comic I’m sure some elements could have been improved. But that would have been disappointing to anyone who had even a passing like for the comic and we could have ended up with another Batman 4 or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. No one wants that. Snyder did his best to please as many of the camps as possible while remaining loyal to the graphic novel and I could not have been happier or more impressed with the result.

85/100

(Note: this is my first review and the ones that follow won’t be as long. I am used to having an editor and you can now see why.)