Total Recall (Remake): in order to take a break from his life Douglas Quaid visits Rekall, a company that implants false memories to distract people from their pitiful existence. I went into this expecting a big steaming pile of shiitake mushrooms, but was pleasantly surprised by how daft and enjoyable it was. Not a whole lot has been changed from the original movie – other than the edges being filed down – but there is so much action that you didn’t really have the time to think about the story more than 30 seconds. Fist fights, gunfights, robot fights, chases, explosions, floating cars, and loads of future tech – all set in a spectacular world that evokes the metropolises featured in the likes of Minority Report, Fifth Element, iRobot, and more recently, Dredd. Whilst it will never win any awards for acting, originality, politics (Great Britain and the Australian sub-human Colony – LOL) or even being a required remake – the 2012 Total Recall gives the original a modern facelift, putting an emphasis on the ‘instantly forgettable CGI-heavy Sci-Fi action romp’ angle.
The World’s End: five middle-aged friends re-unite to tackle the 12-stop pub-crawl that they never finished as teenagers. If you watched the trailer and thought that this looked a bit empty and silly then you’re completely right. No matter how good the director is (which he is), or how on-form the cast are (which they are) this is a great example that if you have a silly idea, you’ll probably end up with a silly film. It also has a few long stretches where there’s not many laughs – namely backstory. The cast are truly the best of contemporary British comedians, and a few bigger players thrown in: Paddy Considine and Pierce Brosnan, to name but a few – a well-picked bunch. The World’s End boils down to being a silly bodysnatchers movie that’s overflowing with 90s nostalgia, whilst pulling from some modern sources like Attack The Block, Hitchhiker’s Guide etc. Given the quality of Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect more from The World’s End, still, it’s a decent Brit-Com, and a good enough way to close out the ‘Cornetto trilogy’.
The World’s End pub crawl route:
- The First Post
- The Old Familiar
- The Famous Cock
- The Cross Hands
- The Good Companions
- The Trusty Servant
- The Two-Headed Dog
- The Mermaid
- The Beehive
- The King’s Head
- The Hole in the Wall
- The World’s End
PFR is marking the 500th post by putting up a bunch of DVD extras this week. This guest paragraph review is from Edinburgh-based Rebecca at The Thrifty Chick; a site about books, travel, music, movies – and everything else.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: finds Judy Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith and a host of others playing a group of fed up retirees whose desire to avoid becoming invisibly old in the UK leads them to Jaipur in India. The plan is to age with grace amid the splendour of a luxury campus for “the elderly and beautiful”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, life among the marigolds is not quite the haven of tranquility our intrepid travellers had been expecting. The hotel is crumbling to the ground, and despite his best efforts the erratic management style of owner Sonny (Dev Patel) is in all likelihood making matters worse. Given time, however, this hilariously shambolic building and its colourful surroundings find their way into the hearts of (most of) the residents. The film is a little predictable in plot and at times a touch too reliant on harvesting comedy kicks from a field of well-worn “are we really still doing this” stereotypes. It did, however, do what I thought was a stellar job of highlighting some of the more emotional aspects of growing old, and it has to be applauded for putting the spotlight on an age demographic that we see so little of in the cinema. In terms of performance, Dench and Smith stood out as did Penelope Wilton, whose portrayal of Nighy’s jealous, uptight spouse was brilliantly grating. Nighy himself turned in one of those goofily endearing performances that are fast becoming his trademark. He does it well, but it would have been good to see him play one of the other strings on his bow this time. Overall, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is lighthearted and fun, spirited and colourful. It’s laugh out loud funny but it also manages to punch above its weight in emotional terms. More than anything, it left me with a real hankering to visit India. And on that note, it’s off to Trip Advisor…
Valkyrie: There’s only one WWII movie faux pas that’s more insulting than Nazis “Telking Leik Zeis” amongst each other, and that’s Nazis that speak full-blown “Jolly good, tally ho” English – especially Adolf Hitler. Listen out for American and Irish accents in the mix too. What’s more infuriating is that they type, read and sing in German to make it more ‘authentic‘! Accents aside the dialogue’s pretty naff, and predictable – not unlike a 60s/70s WWII movie you’d see on TV through the day. There were also too many scenes with dozens of similar uniforms and names to keep on top of. A stumpy Tom Cruise doesn’t really set the world on fire, and Bill Knighty was the only real standout for me. There are some good moments when the tension builds up, but that’s about all this had going for it. Until I saw this I wouldn’t have thought that such a major, and potentially exciting, chapter of history could be so boring – especially when it’s marketed as ‘action packed’.