Friday, August 3, 2012

Your Totally Recalled Weekend at the Movies

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 8:58 AM

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Total Recall: The main thing watching Len Wiseman's version of Total Recall made me want to do is buy the Blu-ray that came out this week; I'd congratulate Sony on possibly wringing some money out of me even though I saw the movie at a press screening, except the Blu-ray is put out by Lionsgate. Another major studio hornswaggled by a game of Lionsgate three-card monte! The other thing it made me want to do is watch a movie about Kate Beckinsale hunting down her fake husband, only from her point of view, because there is something super-appealing about Kate Beckinsale playing a nominal human who behaves more like a Terminator. As its best, Total Recall allowed me to imagine I was experiencing that movie, even though I was actually watching a pointless but handsome-looking PG-13 gloss on a twisted Paul Verhoeven spectacular.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days: Puberty looms over the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series; Jeff Kinney has plenty more books in the pipeline, but erstwhile kids Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron are going to shoot up a foot or two any day now, so the movies get prematurely trilogized, X-Men style! As I mention in my review, I'm not entirely sure if this series really has gotten incrementally better with each installment, or if it's just wearing down my resistance to a less nuanced, less painful onscreen pre-adolescence. (Despite being a sci-fi thriller, Super 8 has funnier and more vivid evocations of middle-school/junior high purgatory than any of these Nickelodeon-y efforts.) Regardless, I did chuckle affectionately through much of Dog Days, and I can only imagine the gratitude of parents watching this after 10 or 12 years of nonstop yammering animals.

360: Steve Macfarlane's review does a succinct job of asking: just what happened to Fernando Meirelles? His City of God synthesized Scorsese and Danny Boyle and a whole bunch more into a dizzying package, yet since then he seems mired in the kind of pan-global dourness that felt more in vogue around the time City of God arrived as a breath of fresh air. I know seemingly everyone loved The Constant Gardener at the time, but I'd suggest it wasn't so different from the intriguing but ultimately thin Blindness, which is to say neither of them really fulfill the promise of his previous film. I haven't seen 360, but I did watch the trailer in front of two movies in a row a few Saturdays ago. The first time, I thought: huh, I kind of missed what that movie is actually about. The second time, I thought: okay, here it is again; pay attention this time! And then realized about halfway through that I'd tuned it out. That's kind of how it's gone with this movie's very existence; I keep forgetting it's coming out, and then when I realize it, I'm deeply unexcited.

Celeste and Jesse Forever: This movie looks like a repository for talented supporting comedians sick of playing the best friend and/or wife. Andy Samberg—whose movie-star debut Hot Rod flopped (but gloriously!) and whose second shot (That's My Boy) stalled out—gets his first semi-serious role, while perpetual supporting gal Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation; I Love You, Man; Our Idiot Brother) steps out of the crack ensembles to write herself a lead. Ari Graynor, though, still gets stuck playing the best friend; you'll have to wait another few weeks for For a Good Time, Call... to maybe break her out. If it also looks a bit like comedians thinking they can try their hand at this mumblecore thing, well, I don't really blame them for giving it a shot.

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