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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Alright. No more reboots!

After being recruited by the one and only Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and kicking all sorts of ass in the so-called “Civil War”, 15-year-old Peter Parker (Tom Holland), when he isn’t in school, cutting class, or crushing hard on his fellow classmate (Laura Harrier), he’s throwing on his red and blue jumpsuit, shootin’ webs, and yes, stoppin’ crime. The only issue is that he was given specific instructions not to act out in this manner, or else, he wouldn’t be allowed in the Avengers, something Peter has wanted since day one. But Peter thinks that he can keep a low-profile, until real bad stuff starts happening, like when a low-level arms-dealer (Michael Keaton), begins selling highly illegal and dangerous weapons to all sorts of criminals on the streets. Sure, he was supposed to stay cool and calm, but after awhile, Peter just can’t stand by and let this happen, which means that it’s time for him to get involved and kick some butt. The only issue is that he’s got so much pressure, both at home and at school, that he doesn’t quite know how to juggle everything with his personal life and still, at the end of the day, save the world.

Just your friendly dorky neighborhood Peter Parker, everyone!

Such is a daily dilemma for all superheros, I presume.

So yeah, first things first: Spider-Man: Homecoming is, get this, not necessarily an origin story. Believe it or not, what we got to see of Spidey in Civil War was basically all we needed to know about him; he’s fun, goofy, quick-witted, and oh yeah, brash. That’s basically. Co-writer/director Jon Watts, as well as the five other writers here (Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers) are all smart enough to know that by now, we’ve seen and understood all that there is to know and understood about Peter Parker, his upbringing, where he came from, and all of the backstory that usually plagues another origin-story such as this.

Instead of showing us his first steps, or better yet, the first time he learned how to swing a web, we actually get character-development for Peter, as well as all of those that surround him. Sure, there’s plot about growing up, this baddie lurking somewhere in the distance, and of course, all of the tie-ins to previous Marvel stuff, but really, the movie is all about the characters, how they work with one another, and how exactly they work in this universe. It’s the small things that make these mega-budget, loud, and bombastic summer blockbusters so worth while and it’s why Marvel’s got a solid formula to keep on working with.

Which means that, yes, Homecoming is a swing and a hit. It’s not a home-run, but it’s definitely a solid piece of Marvel entertainment that feels like it’s not just giving us a nice peak inside this already large universe, but also allowing us to get used to these characters for future installments to come. For someone such as myself, who grew up on and adored the Sam Raimi Spider-Man flicks, it’s a little difficult to fully take in this new band of trustees, but after this first showing, they could grow on me. They’re easy-to-like, charming and yes, different enough from the original to where it doesn’t feel like we have to sit down, compare and contrast the two products the whole time.

Wait. Batman? Birdman? Some dude called “Vulture”? What’s going on?!?

Instead, it’s just nice to sit down and appreciate a popcorn superhero flick for being, well, exactly what it sets out to be: Fun.

End of story.

And if we are going to compare, then yes, it’s safe to say that Tom Holland more than fits into the role of Peter Parker because he’s not playing a total and complete dweeb. Sure, Maguire’s take is still heartfelt enough, but really, Holland’s Parker is portrayed more as of a bit of a smart-ass, who also happens to be incredibly smart. Holland’s fun to watch as Parker, but it also helps that he feels and looks like an actual kid; Maguire and Andrew Garfield were both nearly 30-years-old, playing a high-school-aged Parker, seeming like they were just doing dress up for October the 31st. With Holland in the role, he seems like an actual high-school kid, stuck in this sort of situation and because of that, it helps to relate to the kid a bit more.

And really, with our superhero flicks, isn’t that all we want? Someone we can root for, sympathize with, and even identify with? Probably not, but hey, it works for me.

Consensus: Fun, quick, and pretty smart for a superhero flick, Homecoming proves that Spider-Man doesn’t need another damn origin-story, but does need/get/deserve a solid bit of players to look forward to seeing in the near-future.

7.5 / 10

Brought to you by Jansport.

Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz

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Riddick (2013)

It’s been 13 years now, and the dude still can’t get normal eyes?

A lot has happened in the 9 years since we last saw our favorite anti-hero Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), and not all of it’s good. After becoming the sole ruler of a planet he learned to hate, he soon finds himself feeling too odd for the job, and is soon kicked off this planet and left to scrounge for himself in a more dangerous, grungy planet (much like the one he was running around on in Pitch Black). For awhile, things seem to be looking alright for Riddick; not only has he found a way to keep after himself, but he’s even got a newfound friend in some sort of dog/creature/thing. He’s as happy as he can be and knows when he has to get down a dirty, but he also knows that he has to get the hell off of this awful planet before it’s too late. That’s when he decides to call for help to a bunch of bounty hunters, in hopes of stealing their ships, but little does Riddick know that these bastards are all here for one thing and one thing only: Him. And trust me, they aren’t going to leave until they get him.

As you all have probably seen on this blog in the past couple of days, I’ve been doing a little bit of meet-and-greet with the past two entries of the Riddick franchise and suffice to say: I’m not all that impressed. Yes, the first one is good in a type of dumb, B-movie way, but that second one? You know, that over-bloated, over-long, over-budgeted mess? Yup, that’s the one that really left a sour taste in my mouth and had me expecting the worst, but hoping for the best. Because when you think about it: No movie starring Vin Diesel is really going to be considered “good”. It’s mostly going to be entertaining, and mainly in a dumb way.

Not only is it a crappy sci-fi flick, but it's sequel to one that he did before, so of course Karl Urban's got to show up, even if it is for about 2 minutes.

Not only is it a crappy sci-fi flick, but it’s sequel to one that he did before, so of course Karl Urban’s got to show up, even if it is for about 2 minutes.

So, with that in my mind, I’m glad to tell you that this is the best of the franchise, even if I do say that with a whole slew of reservations. Great, so where do I begin? Oh yeah, that’s right: Writer/director David Twohy himself.

I’ll give Twohy some honest credit, he’s one of the very rare directors that will take a rather “crappy” franchise, and continue to come back to it each installment, adding a little something new here and there, just to spice things up. However, I think the spice that he delivered with the last two, weren’t anywhere to be found here, and if they were around, lingering, then they were terribly misguided. Take for example, the opening 20-25 minutes of this movie. When we first meet Riddick here in this flick, we see him all alone on this planet, looking for food, finding shelter, and basically just reminiscing over the decisions he’s made in the past, good or bad. It’s very intriguing because it starts off slow, small, and with barely any dialogue from Diesel. It’s just a lot of heavy-staring, male-posturing and fighting; and I didn’t have a problem with that really. It was just weird seeing this come from a big-budget, relatively mainstream movie in a major franchise.

However, I get what Twohy was doing this all for, he wanted to get us all familiarized with the character once again and give us plenty of time with him, because once the first 20-25 minutes are over, then the bounty hunters come swooping in, and things start to get away from Riddick, and more towards these less interesting, far more annoying characters. But the problem isn’t mainly the shift in the middle (even though it’s clearly evident when watching how drastic of a change in pace and story-telling it is), it’s mostly that the flick is close to being 2 hours long, but it feels like 4. No movie like this should be a near-2 hours; that is unless it’s fun, exciting, and keeps the pace going at a nice speed to where you don’t even bother checking your watch or cellular device. But the pace here is slow, meandering, random, and very uneventful, even when it should be.

The moments that Twohy obviously wants to pack a heavier punch with than before, don’t really hit hard or have you feeling the full adrenaline-rush like the first one did. I’ll give Twohy credit for giving us some time with this character and laying down the groundwork for what was to be his story, told once again on the big screen, but when it comes to actually giving us a story that pops, snaps, and delivers when it needs to, I just can’t. Too much time is spent focusing on these characters, and putting even more of an eye on a premise that should have been done in practically 90 minutes or less. It would have been that simple, but seeing as how Twohy and Diesel rarely get to work their assess off in Hollywood nowadays, it’s no wonder why they wanted to spend as much time and money in front of our eyes, just in case we never see them together again.

Who knows, this may just be the last Riddick movie we ever get? Keep an open mind, folks.

But as much bashing as I am doing of this movie, I can’t say that I didn’t have fun and at least enjoy the loud brashness of this material. Yes, it’s god-awfully dumb, stupid, innate and corny as can be, but could have I expected anything different? Or, scratch that, anything more “sophisticated” to make my brain do a little work? Hell no! I mean, look at it: The summer season ended not too long ago and I’m still reeling for some loud-ass explosions, nasty brawls, hot girls, even hotter locations, and some extra cheese added on, in any way I can get ’em. If this is the movie that’s going to give them to movie, then that will suffice. God, man! I’m going to miss summer!

The testosterone is just killing me!

The testosterone is just killing me!

And even though this may or may not be his last outing as Riddick, Vin Diesel still knows how to play this character, and still make him interesting and fun to watch on screen. This time around, we get to see more of a humane-side to him than ever before, and he’s actually a lot dirtier now too. And I’m not talking about the fact that he doesn’t take showers, I’m talking about his potty-mouth. Seeing him actually talk and interact with actual human-beings and use all of his wit to his advantage made this movie a whole lot more enjoyable to watch, and made me feel like Riddick himself was the smartest guy in the room, no matter how determined the other characters around him were. Diesel always seemed like his heart was in this character, and it’s glad to see that he can still pull it off, last outing or not.

While Diesel does do his whole “low-volume delivery” thing that everybody knows, and I guess, love him for, the rest of the cast ain’t so bad either, it’s just that they’re characters are sometimes so bad and so thinly-written, it’s damn-near offensive. One of the most glaring examples of that statement is Jordi Molla as the sleazy creep-of-a-leader of the bounty hunters who (literally) wants Riddick’s head in a box. No joking, you see the box many of times! And when he’s not trying to intimidate the hell out of Riddick, however that’s humanly possible, he’s losing control of his boner over Katee Sackhoff’s character, who makes many mentions of being a lesbian, but still seems to get all hot and ready for Riddick whenever he comes around, so I don’t know. Maybe I’m over-thinking it a bit too much, but at least she’s good, and isn’t as terrible as Molla’s character was. Honestly though, does every Mexican baddie have to speak a line of Spanish at least twice in every movie? Better yet, does it always have to be non-subtitled? I know, I’m a spoiled, middle-class American. Just saying though.

Consensus: All obvious flaws with pacing, running-time, and direction aside, Riddick never fully takes itself seriously, so neither should you and instead, should just embrace it for being one of the last big, stupid summer blockbuster, even if it is September already.

6.5 / 10 = Rental!!

"I can see clearly now, the sun-proof goggles are gone."

“I can see clearly now, the sun-proof goggles are gone.”

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

The Rock (1996)

Well, at least he didn’t apologize for this movie.

General Francis X. Hummel (Ed Harris) feels as if he has been wronged by the country that he served for so damn long and decides to prove his dissatisfaction. How? Well, he rounds up a group of fellow troops who feel the same, get them into Alcatraz, take it over, hold hostages, threaten to use a bomb on the whole city of San Francisco, and keep a countdown of when the shit goes boom. There to save the day is explosions and chemicals expert Dr. Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage), but he has a special guest with him, retired agent John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery). Mason is the only man who knows his way in and out of Alcatraz, and uses the government’s help to his advantage. Bastard.

We all know Michael Bay. Love him, hate him, adore him, disagree with him. No matter what, we all know a Michael Bay movie when we see one. Explosions, skinny-clad women, macho-posing, bad one-liners, and a whole shit load of action. Nothing more, nothing less. Good, now you know what you’re getting yourself into, let’s get this ride going.

Everybody considers this to be Bay’s best and even if that isn’t true (I’m still a fan of the first Transformers, don’t ask me why), I can still see why people have thought so, even up until today. It’s one of those movies that has such a solid premise, that it’s almost hard to live down the bad-assery. First of all, you got Alcatraz as the setting and any time you have your action and craziness occurring there; you can’t blow it. Secondly, the cast is pretty top-notch with a bunch of dudes that may not have been the biggest and the best box-office names at the time, but still showed you that they could beat some beef when they had to. And no, not that type either.

What he has in his hand right there could destroy everything on this planet. Yerp, we're boned.

What he has in his hand right there could destroy everything on this planet. Yerp, we’re boned.

And lastly, and probably the most important: it’s just fun. It doesn’t matter how much detail I get into this flick, all that matters is that this movie is all the fun and excitement that it should be and that’s it. You got the usual car-chases, the explosions, the gun-battles, the bombs, and even a Mexican stand-off in case anybody thought that not everything was possible. In Bay’s world, anything is possible and he’ll show you too, just with enough craziness and nuttiness to go along on the side. If you can’t handle it, then you shouldn’t have even bothered giving it a look in the first place. You can say that about most directors, but Bay is the prime-example where you have to know if his name is attached or not. Sounds crazy, I know. But there are people out there that hate him THAT much. Poor guy. Just needs a hug. Maybe Megan Fox will lend a hand?

Does that mean it is anywhere near the type of film you want to see to tease your brain and make you think? Absolutely, positively not! Then again, with the name “Michael Bay” attached, you couldn’t and probably shouldn’t expect anything more. That said, this movie is pretty stupid and some situations did make me laugh, albeit the unintentional ones. One of the goofiest gags throughout this movie is how the countdowns always seem to change drastically. At one point, we are stuck watching as the movie reads “9 hours till detonation”. That’s fine. Seemed reasonable and it seemed like time did pass on. Then, out of nowhere, about five minutes later, the movie reads “52 minutes till detonation”. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! What the hell happened to the pass 8 hours and 8 minutes? Did they just suddenly go by as soon as the people closed their eyes? Once again, maybe I was thinking a bit more than the movie, but that’s just a personal, random nitpick from yours truly. Once again, don’t think too much of it. I didn’t, and I had a great time.

Most of that good time is courtesy of the fine sets of bad-asses that Bay was able to assemble in almost every role, short to large. Sean Connery has always been known as one of the biggest and best bad-asses of our generation, and he totally proves that as John Mason. Some will laugh their asses off once they initially see the ged-up Connery’s decking, but after awhile, you get by it all once he gets a shave, a shower, and ready for action. After this hits, then it’s all feet-to-the-floor with him and the charm never stops. Even when Connery isn’t beating the shite out of somebody, he’s always finding a way to burst-out some snappy line that either he made up himself, or it was written for him so beautifully. There’s this whole subplot about him and his daughter that’s touched on a tad bit much, but who cares! It’s Sean Connery, in a movie, playing a bad-ass. Pipe down and enjoy!

Then, on the other end of the spectrum: there’s Nic Cage. If any of you out there know and love Nic Cage, the way that I know and love Nic Cage, then this is going to be one hell of an entertainment-ride for you. What’s so funny about Cage here is that since his character is such a dweeb-a-tron that doesn’t really know how to move in hand-to-hand combat and is as nerdy as you can get, then that means Cage gets to play around with that aspect, the way we all know Nic Cage loves to do. It’s hilarious to see him act like a total and complete nut, and even though there isn’t much else underneath this guy other than the fact that he’s get a preggo girly-gal at home and a pretty suit car, we still love the hell out of the guy. Then again, if you aren’t a fan of Nic Cage; you’re most likely going to hate every second he speaks. Yep, it’s like THAT.

Hes angry, in case you couldn't tell.

Hes angry, in case you couldn’t tell.

Last, but certainly not least is Ed Harris as the army general who calls this whole thing on and tries to go through with it. Harris is another actor that can be a nut when he chooses to be, and this role is no different. At first, you automatically think that he’s just an idiotic dick that has no real reasoning for doing the things he’s about to do, and you pretty much write him up as a unsympathetic dude right from the get-go. But, as time goes on and people start to piss him off more and more, you see a conscience come out of this guy and it’s believable. Well, at least as believable as you can get in a Michael Bay movie. But that’s still enough credit to Ed Harris who can almost do no wrong. That’s not just in my book, but a lot of others’ as well.

The rest of the cast is filled with a bunch of character actors that you have seen a hundred, million times before but just have never been able to match the name with the face. David Morse, Tony Todd, and Bokeem Woodbine play some of Harris’ fellow soldiers that help him out and do whatever they can to go through with their plan; whereas Michael Biehn and William Forsythe are among the ones that try their hardest to help out Connery and Cage. Whether or not it’s actually successful, I’ll leave to you. But, there’s plenty more where this came from and it’s always fun to play the old-fashioned, “name game” every once and awhile. Even if it is, once again: a Michael Bay movie. Okay, now I’m starting to get serious about that hug, dammit!

Consensus: Everything you’d want in a fast-paced, fun action film, is exactly in The Rock. You got guns, bullets, blood, cheese, bombs, explosives, corny one-liners, and a rare but fun Cage and Connery team-up, just to make sure you have as much enjoyment as you can, without having your brain intact.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

Look how much fun they're having!!

Look how much fun they’re having!!

The Host (2013)

In the future, everybody has weird-looking eyes.

In the distant future, humans are taken-over by alien forces that attack the minds, brainwash them, and put them all against figuring out who the final humans left alive are, and where they reside. Problems arise once a young lady named Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan), is having a problem where her “human-self” is coming back to fight her, and making her do what she would do as a human. This means, she goes back to her old home-land, where humans live and survive in perfect harmony, but the problem is that she’s still an alien and people have no clue as to trust her or just kill her on the spot.

Last November, teenage girls and out-of-the-closet males all wept, teared-up, shouted, and said by to their beloved Twilight franchise as they witnessed the end of the Taylor, Jacob, and Bella saga that most people, myself included, didn’t give two shits about. But the biggest question on people’s minds was not whether they would make more sequels or re-boot the franchise, but whether there would be another, Twilight-like movie in the works. Well, the answer to that is yes, and sadly: this is it.

Apparently, the messiah of young adult readers right now, Stephenie Myer figured out that it’s time to due away with the werewolves and vampires, and in with the aliens. Because honestly, let’s face it, everybody loves aliens, even the weepie girls under the age of 18 who will most likely be venturing out to see this. It sounds like it’d be a relatively cool premise to have a face-off between aliens and humans, but that premise is nowhere near to being fulfilled, let alone even coming close. And that’s really a sad thing because this is coming from the same writer and director who gave us such sci-fi classics as Gattaca, The Truman Show (to an extent), and even last year’s In Time. Wouldn’t call that last one “a classic” per se, but compared to this shite; it’s the nearest thing to 2001 right about now.

Yeah, not noticing that much of a difference.

Yeah, not noticing that much of a difference.

Here’s the problem with this movie: it’s painfully boring. Nothing really entertaining happens here, and despite a couple of eye-candy to be viewed in the background, you may be very tempted to just pass-out and think about how great that Easter dinner was. I saw this on Easter, and could not stop myself from thinking about all of that glorious ham, corn, and mashed potatoes that I was going to chow-down on very, very soon. The problem with that was I had to kill 2 hours of my life to get there, watching this junk.

What makes the movie so damn boring is that there is nothing going on here, other than a bunch of people talking about why they don’t like aliens, who they are, where they are, and the world they live in. Can’t sound all that terrible if you have a smart, insightful script, but this movie does not have that. There are so many moments where people just start moping around as if the fact that they cannot be with their loved one is the most terrible thing in this godforsaken world. Uhm, hello! You people live in a world where aliens are constantly hunting you down, trying to erase your memory, and worse of all, most likely going to wipe-out your whole race of humans. Then again, that’s just me. Take your time with the hanky-panky I guess.

And that’s another problem, aside from the terrible script where people use sayings that would get them nowhere close to bed if they saw a chick in a bar (or vice versa), the premise never makes any sense nor does it’s happening that follow it. The premise is based around the fact that these humans and aliens just do not like each other and can’t live with one another in peaceful, perfect harmony, but yet; it’s never explained as to why. One character says because they are evil, always getting in fights, killing nature, and not taking care of the grateful word, but is that really it? Why do you feel the need to take over the whole world and get rid of the lasting-race while you’re at it. Never made sense to me, and it only gets worse once the romantic-aspect of this movie kicks in, big time, and we’re supposed to believe that these three people would get caught in a love-triangle, and even go to the extremes of kissing the same girl, seconds after the other person kissed her. It gets incredibly dumb by the end, but it was that way even before it.

Even though she's an alien, I'd still tap.

Even though she’s an alien, I’d still tap.

The only element coming even close to saving this movie has to be the cast, although, once I begin to say more, you’ll realize that it doesn’t mean much. At age 18, Saoirse Ronan has really grown into a very credible-actress, as well as a very attractive young woman (1 year younger than me, holla!), but she’s got to watch herself when it comes to taking crappy flicks like this. Ronan’s good at making Melanie a sympathetic character, and one you can always trust, but her character is the one that has the most problems. Since Melanie is an alien, with the human-mind on the inside, whenever we hear her alien-self speak, it’s through Ronan in-person, but when it’s the human-side of Melanie speaking, it’s an over-the-top narration that is always loud, always annoying, and never, ever funny, no matter how hard the movie makes her try to sound. Even when we feel like Melanie is finally winning us over and allowing us to make sense of this all, the narration has to come in out of nowhere and ruin everything.

Jake Abel and Max Irons play her possible love-interests and are okay for the most part, but look both similar in terms of appearance and personality, it’s hard to understand just what the hell Melanie sees in them, and even worse, how she doesn’t accidentally kiss one, when she really meant to kiss the other. If I was her, I’d just take full-advantage of this matter and get it on with both, at the same time, and let the future come a rollin’. That’s just my take, anyway. Probably wouldn’t garner the same type of audience, anyway. William Hurt is here as the cooky uncle of Melanie and is pretty good, but isn’t enough to carry this flick on his own, broad shoulders. And lastly, Diane Kruger is as sexy and gorgeous as they come, but she literally has nothing else to do in this flick other than look angry, determined, and pissed the whole time as the one alien that’s on Melanie’s trail and constantly trying to make a name for herself. Just show your boobs, and then you’ll win us all over. That’s all I gots to say about that.

Consensus: Even if it is a tad better than those wretched Twilight movies, that still isn’t saying much at all when The Host is that movie you speak of. It’s dumb, contrived, dull, and just plain boring, without ever bringing anything new or cool to the table, despite the promising premise may have implied from the start.

3 / 10 = Crapola!!

Good thing they still do DUI check-points in the future. Even if you aren't driving.

Good thing they still do DUI check-points in the future. Even if you aren’t driving.

Total Recall (2012)

Hey, at least we got the three-boobed hooker.

Colin Farrell stars as Doug Quaid, a factory worker who decides to turn to undergo a procedure to turn his dream of being a super-spy into real memories to escape his frustrating life. But when the operation goes terribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man and the line between fantasy and reality gets blurred.

The original 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger/Paul Verhoven sci-fi classic Total Recall, was a great movie but it was never screaming “Remake!”. Actually, it holds up pretty well on its own terms but I was able to give this film a try all because of the cool look, awes0me special effects, and two sexy leading ladies involved. The latter one never comes into play unless its with unnecessary remakes like this.

This remake is directed by Len Wiseman and his visual direction, is spectacular. This whole film is one big CGI-trip right from this dude Wiseman’s mind but it looks superb, almost like you’re in this futuristic Earth with these characters. Some people will be bothered by the CGI and special effects and say that it’s there too much, but it never looks goofy and it always makes everything look a whole lot cooler than I expected. Something exactly this film needed in the first place, and thankfully, had.

Other than looking pretty, Wiseman also makes this remake a whole lot of fun that just would not quit it with the action scenes. There’s a lot of mono-e-mono fights that happen here, plenty of shoot-outs, a cool car-chase, and even a chase through an elevator shaft that seems to never end, and they all add a whole bunch of excitement to this film and it never seems boring because of this. Wiseman brings an element of fun to these action set pieces, and because of that, my attention never fully left the screen. Sometimes here and there, it felt like Wiseman was just adding another random scene of action in here just to keep things alive and well, but I can’t really get on his case too much for that since it did so well with what it had and there’s never, ever a problem with just trying to have some fun every once and awhile. It’s not your typical, old Arnie fun, but it’s fun none the less.

Problem is, as fun and exciting as this action may be, there’s always one element that makes it all feel somewhat empty: tension. Seeing the original, knowing everything that happens, and why it does in that movie, I went into this flick expecting no surprises either, which is exactly what I got. There’s only a couple of things that are different from this movie and that movie (no Mars, the explanation of what happens to this guy Quaid and why, etc.) but never was there some sort of twist/turn in the story that I wasn’t already expecting. There was probably only one scene where I actually felt some type of tension in this story as I didn’t really quite know was going to happen next in this situation these characters got caught up in, but sadly, it ended predictably, as this film did. Everything just happened and went by the same exact-formula the original went by and even though not all remakes can just totally change all of their source material just because they want to be different, there still has to be a level of unpredictability to what’s going to happen next and how. But if you don’t have that, then just feast your eyes on plenty, and I do repeat, plenty of eye candy.

It’s also weird that this film is almost exactly like the original, because everybody involved with this film has gone on the record to say that they aren’t going to make this like Arnie’s classic film at all, which is obviously bullshit. The only times that this film actually tries to connect with the original, is when they randomly have the three-boobed hooker show up even though it makes no sense in this story because there are no mutants in this world. Just some very sad and poor people. But what that scene brought, was a certain level of humor to it, the rest of this film has barely any or none of that. It’s a shame too, because as cheesy as some of the humor in the original may be, they still has some classic Arnie lines that are worth reiterating almost 22 years later, but that’s what this film never brings to the table. There’s never any of that wry humor that livens things up quite as well as those classic lines did in the original, and I get it, it would have totally seemed misplaced in a film like this but there could have been something a little light that could have shown up.

I can’t remember the last time that Colin Farrell has ever been the main actor in a mainstream flick, but I can say that I have at least missed him in these types of roles since he’s good here as Douglas Quaid. Let’s face it, Farrell is not as colorful or wild as Arnie, but for what it’s worth, Farrell does a good job at making us like this guy by what he can do with his fists and also at least care for him just a teentsie-tiny bit when the shit starts to hit the fan for him. His character was maybe a little more dull than the original, but then again, I wasn’t expecting to just fall in love with this guy and almost tear up whenever danger came his way. Maybe that’s a little too drastic for a film like this, but you get what I mean.

Jessica Biel cooked some behinds as Melina and may not be as bad ass as I would have liked for her to have been, she still at least had some sympathy to her that made me care for her character and understand why she would do everything in her power to protect this Quaid guy; Bryan Cranston appears in his 200th film this year here with his performance as the evil mofo, Cohaagen, and it’s sad to say that we don’t get enough of him but with what we do get from him, it’s pretty good; and Bill Nighy shows up for about a scene and is good, but just like Cranston, not enough of him either. Still pissed to hear that Ethan Hawke got his cameo cut but hopefully he’ll all show them when it comes time for him and his movie Sinister.

The one high-spot of this whole cast would probably be Kate Beckinsale who plays Quaid’s wife/hunter, Lori. Beckinsale is a chick that I’ve never been too fond of when it comes to her acting, but she’s able to do something great here and that’s play a villain that you can never trust. Beckinsale actually seems like she’s having a ball with this role as the baddy and gets to use a lot of her bad ass fighting skills to show it off and also have that sexy little change in her accent from American to British that always works when it comes to villains. I would like to say that I look forward to seeing Beckinsale in the future, but the fact is, I don’t really care all that much because as good as she may be here, she’s still going to churn out another crappy Underworld movie within the next year or so and I’m going to be sitting there wondering what all of this fascination about her is. Oh wait, she’s really, super-duper hot. Never mind!

Consensus: With plenty of fun action to keep your mind wired and wonderful special effects to keep your eyes glued onto the screen, Total Recall does it’s job in being an entertaining piece of Summer action, but what it does suffer from is barely little or no surprises whatsoever in the story, and just sort of pales in comparison to the original Arnie classic that is still fresh in peoples minds, believe it or not. It’s like re-booting Spider-Man, oh wait….

6.5/10=Rental!!

Devil (2010)

That’s why I take the stairs.

Five strangers in Philadelphia begin their day with the most commonplace of routines. They walk into an office tower and enter an elevator. As they convene into this single place, they are forced to share a confined space with strangers. They’ll only be together for a few moments. But what appears to be a random occurrence is anything but coincidental when the car becomes stuck. Fate has come calling.

Being a flick that’s from the crazy-mind of M. Night Shyamalan, you have to go in expecting creepiness, monsters, and a fun little twist at the end. And even though the guy hasn’t had a film worth worshiping in say about 10 years, he still somehow makes this film better.

Directed by John Erick Dowdle, the film has a very simple premise where you don’t quite know what’s going to happen next and you wait patiently as you climb towards the climax of the flick. Dowdle does a relatively good job at keeping this mystery and suspense going on throughout the whole film considering there is a lot of weird things that happen for no reason, other than the fact that there just may be Devil’s play at-hand.

As the whole plot unfolds we get to discover more and more about these characters backgrounds and realize that just about everybody we are watching here, are just a bunch of shady people. We also get to see how each one responds with the stress they feel of being all cooped up in this small-space and all of these crazy things happening. The real fun of the film was this factor considering we never know who just may be the Devil in disguise and when I thought I had it all figured out as to who it was by the end, M. Night pulled the rug right from underneath my feet and gives me a little twist that I was not expecting in the least bit. That damn M. Night. He can still make shitty films but somehow trick me.

Where this film really fails is in its way of showing the Devil off with its constant religious talk. We get all of these types of different versions of how the Devil is shown off in this flick: as a cartoon version we usually see in Hollywood, as one that goes around killing people non-stop until there’s no blood left anymore, and as one that is usually talked about in myths around a camp-fire. This annoyed me considering that the film didn’t know how to show off the Devil in one certain way so they tried with all of these other ways and then try to supply some religious ideas on us.

The film tries its hardest to go deeper with these moral and religious ways but in the end, just comes off as hokey and very forced upon the audience. The story frequently goes over towards this Latin security guard that is obviously very religious heavy because he has a cross around his neck, and constantly talks about the Devil and all of his ways. There were actually a lot of scenes showing him doing these things and they came off as dumb considering nobody in their right minds would act the way he does towards a real-life situation like this. Then again, this is a film and an M. Night Shyamalan film at that so I guess it can’t be that realistic.

The cast was also a bit of a bummer as well considering everybody here is one-dimensional except for Chris Messina as Detective Bowden. Messina is pretty good in this role and I can say easily seems like the voice-of-reason throughout this whole film. Even though his story arch doesn’t quite work to make me feel too much for his character, I thought Messina still handled this role very well and made it seem like he was a real person rather than just another “cop with a problem” cliche. Other than him though, everybody else is pretty unmemorable even though I like how the film didn’t really cast any big names, which gave me the feel as if these actually were real people.

Consensus: Devil has a simple but cool premise with a lot of cheap thrills, chills, and a nice little twist at the end but too many times does it try and get religious, which may feel necessary considering the subject matter but also feels incredibly cheesy and unrealistic.

5.5/10=Rental!!