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Non-Review Review: Total Recall (2012)

Len Wiseman’s Total Recall is a total mess. While the film features some superb production design and some passable action sequences, with an obvious affection for the design of contemporary science-fiction classics, the direction is muddled,the pacing is awkward and the script is constantly tripping over itself. At one point it’s suggested that the lead might have had has memory scrambled during a muddled recall session, the result of procedure started and yet not quite finished. In many ways, that feels a lot like what happens here – a choppy, uneven and unsatisfying movie that is a result of a muddled production and post-production process. “We can remember it for you,” an advertisement for the Rekall service boasts, homaging the classic short story that inspired the film. Unfortunately, they omitted “wholesale”, which is about the only price I could recommend this at.

Where’s your head at?

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Non-Review Review: Total Recall (2012)

Len Wiseman’s Total Recall is a total mess. While the film features some superb production design and some passable action sequences, with an obvious affection for the design of contemporary science-fiction classics, the direction is muddled,the pacing is awkward and the script is constantly tripping over itself. At one point it’s suggested that the lead might have had has memory scrambled during a muddled recall session, the result of procedure started and yet not quite finished. In many ways, that feels a lot like what happens here – a choppy, uneven and unsatisfying movie that is a result of a muddled production and post-production process. “We can remember it for you,” an advertisement for the Rekall service boasts, homaging the classic short story that inspired the film. Unfortunately, they omitted “wholesale”, which is about the only price I could recommend this at.

Where’s your head at?

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Non-Review Review: Total Recall

Total Recall, to quote the lead character, whoever or whatever he may actually be, might just be “the best mind%&@! yet.”

"Dammit Cohagen, give these people some air!"

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Non-Review Review: Batman & Robin

It takes a lot to kill Batman. Just ask Bane. That character broke Batman across his knee, discarded him and claimed Gotham for his own… only to have Bruce claw his way back and reclaim the mantle. The evil New God Darkseid once decided not only to kill Batman, but to send him back to the dawn of time to live through a cycle of death and rebirth in the hopes of destroying the Caped Crusader… Batman just sorta shrugged that one off. He’s a tough nut to keep down, is that Dark Knight.

However, Joel Schumacher managed to nearly knock Batman out for the count (at least on film) with Batman & Robin, the movie which – if it didn’t kill the Batman franchise – at least put it into a coma for several years.

It's some kinda storm (it's not "snow", but it begins with "s")...

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Non-Review Review: Black Swan

We’re currently blogging as part of the “For the Love of Film Noir” blogathon (hosted by Ferdy on Films and The Self-Styled Siren) to raise money to help restore the 1950’s film noir The Sound of Fury (aka Try and Get Me). It’s a good cause which’ll help preserve our rich cinematic heritage for the ages, and you can donate by clicking here. Over the course of the event, running from 14th through 21st February, I’m taking a look at the more modern films that have been inspired or shaped by noir. Today’s theme is “alterna-noir” – just looking at slightly unusual choices.

Wow. That was disturbing. It’s really rare to get such a strong reaction to a film, and to feel so distinctly uncomfortable. Well, it’s easy to feel distinctly uncomfortable – rent a Lars Von Trier film or The Human Centipede. However, the Black Swan feels bold and vivid and disturbing, without ever feeling cheap. It seems to be a very tough line to walk (especially given some of the sequences which could be deemed “trashy” in the hands of lesser directors), but the Black Swan manages to make the viewer squirm in their seats without ever feeling dirty.

Let's dance!

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Non-Review Review: The Expendables

Nostalgia is a double-edged sword. When it was mentioned that Sly Stallone would be putting together a dream team of action movie stand-bys – Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dolph Lundgren – our minds immediately go to a happy a place. We remember the joys of films like Rambo: First Blood or Die Hard or Total Recall. However, we forget that a great many of the films produced over that iconic era we look back to were also just plain terrible (or, at best, woefully mundane): Red Heat, Cobra, Tango and Cash, among many others. Sadly The Expendables stands more with the latter than the former. Which is a damn shame.

Sly managed a long and arduous shoot...

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Non-Review Review: Terminator 2 – Judgement Day

Terminator 2 is a pop culture classic, a film that single-handedly made Arnold loveable despite films like Junior and Jingle All the Way, typecast Robert Patrick as a distinctly unpleasant individual and reminded us that not all teenage protagonists had to be eye-roll inducingly bad. Spielberg’s Jaws is frequently regarded as “the first blockbuster”, but I think the case can be made that Terminator 2 redefined the kind of summer movie we saw – for better or worse, it laid down a blueprint which has been followed countless times since.

Prepare to be blown away...

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Non-Review Review: The Terminator

Wow. What a debut. Okay, I know this wasn’t quite a debut for James Cameron, but Pirhana II hardly counts, right? Terminator is perhaps the best example of a talented young director producing a large-scale action movie on a miniscule budget. I’ll provoke the disdain of many a film buff out there when I declare I have a very slight preference for the sequel Terminator II: Judgement Day, but the first two movies are some of the best examples of action movies from the eighties/nineties. Hell, they are both some of the best examples of any action movies.

Don't ask him to show you his guns...

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Non-Review Review: Teminator 3 – Rise of the Machines

Network 2 reaired the whole Terminator trilogy to celebrate Salvation‘s release on Friday. My luck being my luck, I caught the tail end of the franchise, the weak link if you will. As I write this, I face the question that I face when I review any given sequel or part of a franchise: should I judge it independently or alongside its predecessors (and – if I’m a latecomer to the party – its successors)? If I adopt the former approach, is Terminator 3 a reasonably solid sci-fi/action movie? If I look at it as the third installment in the franchise, is it fit to be considered alongside two of the greatest action movies ever made?

Spot the one non-classically trained actor in this shot...

Spot the one non-classically trained actor in this shot...

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