Re-Watch: Total Recall (1990)

Total Recall
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writer: Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, Gary Goldman, Jon Povill
Based on: Philip K. Dick’s short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell

Plot:
Douglas Quail (Arnold Schwarzenegger) would be happily married to Lori (Sharon Stone), if it wasn’t for a recurring dream where he’s on Mars with a mysterious woman. He decides to confront this dream by going to Rekall Inc., a company that provides real-seeming memories of vacations in the most exotic places – like Mars. But the Rekall treatment triggers actual memories and suddenly Doug finds himself in the middle of the revolution on Mars as a spy.

I had completely forgotten how absolutely campy and gory this movie is. That completely makes up for the rather lackluster performances. It’s amazingly fun to watch. Plus, they actually improved the original story.

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We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (Philip K. Dick)

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale is a short story by Philip K. Dick (and the basis for the Total Recall movies).

Plot:
Douglas Quail is stuck in a marriage he pretty much hates and only dreams of going to Mars, which he really can’t afford. So he decides to visit a REKAL center where they implant fake memories into your head that seem entirely real. But before they can actually go through with, they discover that Douglas has actually already been to Mars on a secret mission. And that’s where the trouble only starts.

I never read anything by Dick before, but after this one story I can confidently say that this man couldn’t write for shit. The story reads more like a rough outline, a first jotting down of some ideas than a finished product. Plus the added misogyny doesn’t make things any better.

But at least the ideas are interesting. And if all of his stories are written that way, I can see why they are adapted into movies left and right, since they’re basically just templates anyway.

Summarising: it’s worth reading as it’s short and does have some interesting concepts in it, but great writing this is not.

Magic Mike (2012)

Magic Mike
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Reid Carolin
Cast: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Munn

Plot:
Mike (Channing Tatum) is a stripper with big plans: he wants to build and design his own furniture. Therefore he saves his money, works as a builder during the daytime and generally pursues many options. When he meets the young Adam (Alex Pettyfer), he introduces him into the world of male stripping, much to the disapproval of Adam’s sister Brooke (Cody Horn). But while stripping seems like easy money, it’s not all sunshine and kittens.

I would have loved to be able to write a good review of this film. I would have accepted both, if it was a fun-filled movie made for ogling guys or if it was an actual thoughtful film about the dangers of selling yourself as a piece of meat in a rather seedy environment. Unfortunately, this movie ends up being neither – instead it’s a ridiculous and boring mess.

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Thief of Time (Terry Pratchett)

Thief of Time is the third Discword novel about Susan Sto Helit (or the fifth Death novel, depends on how you count) by Terry Pratchett. [My reviews of the other Discworld novels here.]

Plot:
Jeremy is the best clock maker there ever was. Which is why he gets approached by the mysterious Lady LeJean to build the perfect clock. What he doesn’t know is that if he actually achieves it, he will manage to capture Time and stop time, leading to the end of the world. So Death, who is a fan of the humans, asks his granddaughter Susan Sto Helit to help with the situation, while the History Monks as well, in the form of Lu-Tze and his apprentice Lobsang, try to prevent the worst.

I really enjoyed Thief of Time. It’s well-paced and fun. Plus, I loved the History Monks. Perfectly entertaining.

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Cabin Fever (2002)

Cabin Fever
Director: Eli Roth
Writer: Eli Roth, Randy Pearlstein
Cast: Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern

Plot:
Paul (Rider Strong), Karen (Jordan Ladd), Bert (James DeBello), Marcy (Cerina Vincent and Jeff (Joey Kern) are planning a nice weekend in a cabin in the woods. But as these things go, they start to go creepy as soon as they want to stack up their supplies at the local store. But when they reach the cabin and are approached by an obviously very sick man (Arie Verveen), things go from creepy to very bad as they slowly get infected by the mysterious disease.

Many horror movies are funny even though they try to very creepy. With Cabin Fever I felt like it was actually campy on purpose many times, but I was much too creeped out to be able to laugh. Which is very nice for a change.

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The Rum Diary (2011)

The Rum Diary
Director: Bruce Robinson
Writer: Bruce Robinson
Based on: Hunter S. Thompson‘s novel
Cast: Johnny Depp, Michael Rispoli, Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Giovanni Ribisi, Richard Jenkins

Plot:
Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) just arrived in Puerto Rico to work there as a journalist, since he couldn’t get a job anywhere else as he is pretty much continuously drunk. But that also means that he fits in perfectly with the journalists there. He moves in with Sala (Michael Rispoli) and Moberg (Giovanni Ribisi). Then he is quickly approached by business man Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart) who wants to use him for one of his real estate plans. But that’s really where trouble starts, as Kemp practically immediately falls in love with Sanderson’s girlfriend Chenault (Amber Heard) and Sanderson’s plans aren’t all kosher anyway.

The Rum Diary really has its moments but it becomes a little repetitive and then it runs a little too long. There’s only so long until you need to get drunk yourself to really enjoy drunken shenanigangs.

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Prometheus (2012)

Prometheus
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof
Prequel to: the Alien movies (kinda)
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Emun Elliott, Benedict Wong, Kate Dickie

Plot:
After scientists find several unrelated cave paintings and murals that all depict the same star constellation, a mission is sent out to go to the planet and find out what’s there. And at first, the Promethes mission seems a full success – much to the joy to the scientist team of Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green). But the android David (Michael Fassbender) seems to have his own mission.

This is a pretty, pretty movie with some pretty, pretty people in it. And the cast really does try their best. But all their talent and all the pretty in the world can’t make up for the sheer stupidity of this film.

[SPOILERS]

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Hodejegerne [Headhunters] (2011)

Hodejegerne
Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Lars Gudmestad, Ulf Ryberg
Based on: Jo Nesbø‘s novel
Cast: Aksel Hennie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Synnøve Macody Lund, Eivind Sander, Julie R. Ølgaard

Plot:
Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is a pretty successful headhunter with a beautiful wife, Diana (Synnøve Macody Lund). But he also has quite the complex because he is rather short. He believes that he can only keep his wife if he provides her with a certain lifestyle – for which not even his very nice salary is enough. So he moonlights as an art thief to supplement his income. But when he gets the chance to steal from Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), an ex-special forces tracking expert, things spin out of control.

Hodejegerne is an extremely decent, very well paced thriller. But I never really connected to Roger and until the very end, I wasn’t really sure if I was actually supposed to root for him.

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Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

Plan 9 from Outer Space
Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Writer: Edward D. Wood Jr.
Cast: Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Tom Keene, Dudley Manlove, Joanna Lee, John Breckinridge, Tor Johnson, Vampira, Bela Lugosi, Criswell
Watched for: 2000th Blogpost Anniversary, requested by @psyriac

Plot:
Aliens have come to earth. Their plan is to take over by resurrecting the dead. Eros (Dudley Manlove) and Tanna (Joanna Lee) start with the recently deceased of a small cemetery – a wife (Vampira) and husband (Bela Lugosi), and a police man (Tor Johnson). Getting caught up in the events is pilot Jeff (Gregory Walcott) and his wife Paula (Mona McKinnon) – and of course the military in the form of Colonel Edwards (Tom Keene).

Plan 9 from Outer Space is absolutely insane. It is a movie that has to be experienced and is hard to review. Which is why I did a tweet-along – you can find it below.

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Brave (2012)

Brave
Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
Writer: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Irene Mecchi
Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson

Plot:
Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is King Fergus’ (Billy Connolly) daughter. But despiter her mother Elinor’s (Emma Thompson) best efforts, Merida is not really interested in being a princess. She much rather spends her time shooting her bow and riding through the woods. When the queen decides that it’s time for Merida to marry, Merida decides that she needs a way to change her fate – by changing her mother. When she stumbles on a witch’s cottage, she gets a chance to do so – with unforseeable consequences.

I loved Brave. It was funny, sweet, entertaining, touching and beautifully animated. An absolute success.

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