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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: Alien Resurrection (Theatrical Cut)

To celebrate the release of Prometheus this week, we’ll be taking a look at the other movies in the Alien franchise.

I always feel a little hint of trepidation when I return to a movie that I know I didn’t like the first time. Part of me is reluctant to watch it again, even for the purposes of examining what exactly went awry during production, while some small part of me holds out hope that the film might be redeemed – that I might somehow magically get it the second time around. So, completing a marathon rewatch of Ridley Scott’s Alien and the sequels it spawned, I left Alien: Resurrection until last.

Unfortunately, it was just as flawed and messy as I remember it.

Reflecting on his behaviour…

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Wallander: One Step Behind (Review)

The wonderful folks at the BBC have given me access to their BBC Global iPlayer for a month to give the service a go and trawl through the archives. I’ll have some thoughts on the service at the end of the month, but I thought I’d also take the opportunity to enjoy some of the fantastic content.

And so we reach the end of the first season of the British adaptations of Henning Mankell’s acclaimed Swedish crime novels. Wallander is a series that is probably much stronger than it really should be, offering ninety-minute-long mysteries that are produced the standards of feature films. Director Philip Martin returns after directing the first episode to helm the final in the first trilogy of adaptations. (There would be a second set of three broadcast in 2010 and another set of three to be shown in 2012.) Strangely enough, this final episode actually manages to give a significant amount of depth to the title character, finally suggesting a role worthy of the depth Branagh imbues into it.

We've got a hit on our hands...

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Non-Review Review: Jo Nesbø’s Headhunters

While Jo Nesbø’s Headhunters might get a little bit too crazy and twisty in its final third, but it’s a brilliantly dark Norwegian thriller/comedy, headlined with considerable style by Aksel Hennie as corporate recruitment expert Roger Brown, a sleazy yuppie living well beyond his means to keep his wife in the style two which she has become accustomed. As the movie puts Brown through a sequence of painful and humiliating encounters, it is consistently entertaining, managing to walk the fine line between making sure we dislike Roger enough to be amused by his misfortune, but invested enough that we want to see the little (“1.68 metres”) bugger manage to escape the movie relatively intact.

Got milk?

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The Virtue of Ambitious Failure…

When I was compiling my “top twelve” list for 2011, there were a lot of films contending for a place on that list. I felt bad about having to leave off stuff like We Need to Talk About Kevin and Preludio and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. However, I didn’t find myself trying to justify the inclusion of Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, despite the fact that I found the film completely and utterly compelling. I’ll be the first to concede that Soderbergh’s disease epic had some fairly considerable flaws, too many for me to legitimately rank it “one of the best of the year”, and yet I think it’s one of those movies I couldn’t stop thinking about. What it is it about an ambitious failure that makes it so much more fascinating than a modest success?

Figuring out the formula...

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Ten Best Movie Moments of 2011…

I’ve compile my list of my own favourite films of 2011, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to outline my own favourite movie moments of 2011 – those breathtaking sequences when I was glad to be setting in a darkened room surrounded by strangers. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the raw combination of images and sounds can have such a dramatic effect on you, moving you and bringing you to from the height of joy to the depths of sorrow. I’m very happy with 2011 as a year for cinema, and these are just ten reasons why.

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