August 19th, 2012


Total Recall

Oooh busy week. Got a lil bit of catch up to play. I saw Bourne Legacy again on Wed. Just as awesome on a second go. Then came Total Recall on Thursday. Ended up going to a late show, and there was beer involved. Not such the best strategy.

The condition for watching this movie was that I had to watch the original first. Got that done a few days before, so it was still pretty fresh in my head. Really glad I did that because I was able to pick up on a bunch of subtle references that were kinda cool. But beyond that, there really wasn't a whole lot to the movie.

It wasn't bad, but there wasn't anything special about it. Generic was the word my movie buddy used to describe it. And the previously mentioned time + beer combo meant that I was falling asleep throughout. The story was a bit streamlined from the original flick. The whole Mars thing and mutations plotline were cut entirely. You know, I never quite caught what the big evil's motives were. But the basic character storyline was there. Guy goes to get fun memories implanted in him, finds out the life he knows is an implanted memory, kick ass-ery ensues.

I love Colin Farrell, but he's no Ahnold. Just doesn't have the same charm. The special effects definitely got a major upgrade since the original. I did kinda miss the animatronics, even though they'd gotten completely written out of the story. The rest of the action was just your typical blowing stuff up. We all know I live for that, but it's taking more and more to impress me and for the most part this didnt do it.

The one area where Total Recall did score some major points was that it felt really connected to the other Phillip K Dick inspired movies. The world looked so much like Blade Runner, you'd swear this was a misguided sequel. And there was a car chase scene (I'm using the term car rather loosely) that was pretty much lifted right outta Minority Report.

I'm scoring this higher than the tone of the write would suggest because again, there wasn't anything wrong with the film. There just wasn't anything incredibly right about it either. It was enjoyable, but adds zero to the world of cinema. You can't win 'em all

Total Recall - \m/ \m/ \m/

The Expendables 2

Continuing the unintended week of adrenaline movies is The Expendables 2. I remember being so \m/ psyched for the first flick. For me, Jason Statham is reason enough to see an action movie, but then add in Stallone, Willis, Ahnold, Jet Li, and the rest of the merry band, and my feable little mind could hardly handle the excitement. But then the movie came and went, and I really dont remember anything about it. What was a great idea fell flat, relying too much on the idea's greatness to carry the film and not trying hard enough to make it a worthy experience. Thankfully the sequel handled this situation much better.

Following the current trend of self aware films, this movie played up every possible joke about its stars. There were multiple "I'll be backs", a Rambo reference, and even a yippie-kai-yay. And Chuck Norris even recited a Chuck Norris fact. Oh yeah, did I mention Chuck \m/ Norris is in this movie?

It occurred to me that I've never really seen a Chuck Norris film. He's a very special person for my family because my Daddy was a dead ringer for him. We'd hear people whispering whenever we were out of town. Freshmen at the high school he taught at would run into the next classroom to ask if it was really him. A family friend spotted the real Chuck Norris, and his comment when telling his mother the story was that he looked just like my Daddy. It always amused me to walk into the living room and catch him watching Walker Texas Ranger. This was a _very_ common occurrence. I'd tease him to inquire why he was watching something he filmed. His usual response was along the lines of wanting to make sure they got it right. Not to go all hipster on you, but we were making Chuck Norris jokes before they were a thing. When I first encountered a list of Chuck Norris facts, sent to me by a friend that had met my Daddy, said friend and I literally fell on the floor laughing. Bear in mind I only use the word literally when I mean it. So yeah, big \m/ deal for me to see the man on the big screen.

The other VIP for me (because really, would you take that title away from Mr Texas Ranger?) was Jason Statham. And no, I'm not just playing favorites. Part of what makes him my favorite action star, by which I mean specifically for action as opposed to just being a fave in general, is that he's one of the few of this generation that is legit trained for this stuff. The trend nowadays is to take a big name pretty boy, teach him some kung fu, and then he moves on with his life. Statham had several really \m/ bad ass fight scenes here, the likes of which we haven't seen in a while. I'm talking Transporter level gritty and skilled fighting. No stunt double, no CGI, no holds barred. I also loved the bromance between him and Stallone. They bantered and bickered like bros aught. Chuckles were ellicited each time.

The movie was kinda short, but it was fast and full throttle. Things got blowed up. Bad guys got killed. Tough guys delivered one liners. What more could you possibly ask for?

The Expendables 2 - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Tarantino/Rodriguez: Inglorious Basterds

Awww, the last Tarantino on the list. Only a couple left til this bad boy blog business is bagged. I know I was trying to go as chronological as possible, but I prolly should have switched this with the next RR movie on the list, to keep it a bit more even. Whatevs.

This is one of those rare movies that I love more with each subsequent viewing. It was just this shy of making my favorites list but I'm pretty sure that when I finally get around to updating the list, this will make the cut. I've got this on my iPod, and its my usual on the go movie of choice.

The cast is just amazing. When I first saw this, the draw was Brad Pitt as Lt Aldo Raine. You can see how much fun he has with this larger than life character. Word on the street is that he'd stay in character at all times on set, so Tarantino would often have conversations with Aldo. I'd love to see a whole movie about just him. There's so many questions. So many possibilities. Continuing down the line of Basterds, Til Schweiger is an unsung hero. I recognized him right away from SLC Punk where he was a different kind of crazy, but still likely to fly off the handle at a moment's notice. And then there's Michael Fassbender. I hadn't paid much attention to him until he started blowing up in later films, but the man is truly fantastic here. So suave and calculated. It's no wonder this was a launchpad for his career. But my favorite Basterd would hafta be the Bear Jew, Eli Roth. I wont go into too much about him now, but lets just say that if my ExpDel plans work out right, you're gonna be hearing me talk A LOT more about him in a few weeks...

But the Basterds would be nothing without a bad guy, and that there is the illustrious Christoph Waltz in performance that won him an incredibly well deserved Academy Award. Hans Landa is a complicated and intriguing character that he pulls off with elegance and grace. That alone would have put him well in the lead for the statue. But then add in the fact that he fluently speaks not one, not two, not three, but FOUR languages in the flick, yeah game over. Thanks for playing.

Something I've recently come to love about Quentin Tarantino is that he writes some fantastic female characters. His films are pretty guy heavy, but the girls more than pull their own weight. Here we've got two bad ass babes. Mélanie Laurent's Shosanna Dreyfus has to be one of my favorite flick chicks. So strong and tough and independant. Cool under pressure. Totally ruthless. And Diane Kruger's Bridget von Hammersmark is another beauty with bite. Absolutely captivating when she's on screen. I wish I could be one of these dames.

I remember my first impression of this movie was that it felt like any other Tarantino movie, but with Nazis! I mean that in the best possible way. The same vibe (music, film, characters, blood, dialgoue) as anything else he's done, just in a whole new different setting. And I love every minute of it. Looks like he's getting comfortable with exploring the past, as we've got Django Unchained to look forward to in a couple months. I'm excited.