Inside Pulse » Jessica Biel http://insidepulse.com A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:21:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » Jessica Biel http://insidepulse.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://insidepulse.com Blu-ray Review: Playing For Keeps http://insidepulse.com/2013/04/04/blu-ray-review-playing-for-keeps/ http://insidepulse.com/2013/04/04/blu-ray-review-playing-for-keeps/#comments Thu, 04 Apr 2013 12:30:55 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=327134 The Bounty Hunter.]]> Gerard Butler is stuck in an odd rut when it comes to the choices of films he makes. On the one hand, after 300 we keep waiting for Butler the movie star to emerge with a big hit that’s equal parts daring and unique. On the other hand he keeps making films that lesser actors, more popular people who happen to act, take to earn a living. For all the failures of his indie films and indie wannabe films to find an audience, from Machine Gun Preacher to Chasing Mavericks, the studio fare of romantic comedies he’s been in haven’t done significantly better either. He seems to be stuck in that area between being a popular person who acts and being a movie star; he has all the tools but hasn’t quite had the breakout hit to cement it following 300.

And Playing For Keeps could’ve been that film but winds up being the same exact drek like The Bounty Hunter.

George (Butler) is a former world class soccer player trying to become the father his son (Noah Lomax) and ex-wife (Jessica Biel) never had. Relegated to weekend guardian status as his ex-wife’s new beau (James Tupper) has seemingly taken over his former role. Broke and trying to become a sportscaster, he finds a common ground with his former family as he coaches his son’s youth soccer team. Shenanigans ensue as he tries to become a sportscaster and apparently ESPN wants him as part of their soccer coverage.

And for the bulk of the film’s running time George is an interesting character in what amounts to a screwball comedy. He’s a man who knows he’s done wrong and is trying to find a way to keep food on the table while rectifying the sins of his past. The comedy format allows him to essentially play the straight man in a series of wacky characters; Butler is in his element reacting as opposed to having to have good one-liners. His reactions are rather hilarious in good chunks; there’s also a sweet family subplot going on as well. And as just a screwball comedy about a man trying to be a good father, trying to mend fences and be a good human being for once, it could be the sort of interesting character piece that would cash in on the promise Butler has shown in the past.

The problem is that the film’s final act shoehorns in a romantic comedy plot about George trying to win his ex-wife back on the eve of her wedding to another man. He and Biel have enough chemistry to make it interesting but unfortunately it’s such a dramatic turn from the film’s first two acts that it’s tacked on at best. This is a film that seems to be angling towards George accepting that you can’t change the past, only your present, and then undercuts it entirely by having this predictable end to it.

It’s such a poor choice that it takes the wind out of the sails of the film completely. It’s not a brilliant film by any means, and marginally a good one at best, but everything that’s interesting about the film is taken away in one fell swoop by a storyline that doesn’t belong. The choice feels shoe-horned, as if an ending where George winds up a better man but not necessarily with the girl was such a bad idea that the decision was made to compromise the film with a tacked on ending that doesn’t work in any aspect.

Playing For Keeps‘ first two acts are about a man trying to find himself and become a better man after being a rich sports star, with all the spoils that entails. This is a film about his redemption and there’s nothing in the first two acts that points to he and his ex-wife needing to be together; if anything it works better as an emphasis to that he screwed it up and needs to be a better man now because he wasn’t then. Trying to get the girl back is something a full film explores, not as a third act that is unexplored for more than an hour of screen time in a film that barely stretches past the 90 minute mark, and Playing For Keeps winds up falling flat after starting out as interesting if flawed comedy.

In terms of extras, there are two features about the film’s production as well as a handful of deleted scenes.

Sony presents Playing for Keeps. Directed by Gabriele Muccino. Written by Robbie Fox. Starring Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Noah Lomax, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, James Tupper, Judy Greer. Running time: 105 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released: March 5, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.
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Playing For Keeps – Review http://insidepulse.com/2012/12/08/playing-for-keeps-review/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/12/08/playing-for-keeps-review/#comments Sat, 08 Dec 2012 13:00:26 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=319596
Mediocre film that could’ve been much more

Gerard Butler is stuck in an odd rut when it comes to the choices of films he makes. On the one hand after 300 we keep waiting for Butler the movie star to emerge with a big hit that’s equal parts daring and unique. On the other hand he keeps making films that lesser actors, more popular people who happen to act, take to earn a living. For all the failures of his indie films and indie wannabe films to find an audience, from Machine Gun Preacher to Chasing Mavericks, the studio fare of romantic comedies he’s been in haven’t done significantly better either. He seems to be stuck in that area between being a popular person who acts and being a movie star; he has all the tools but hasn’t quite had the breakout hit to cement it following 300.

And Playing For Keeps could’ve been that film but winds up being the same exact drek like The Bounty Hunter.

George (Butler) is a former world class soccer player trying to become the father his son (Noah Lomax) and ex-wife (Jessica Biel) never had. Relegated to weekend guardian status as his ex-wife’s new beau (James Tupper) has seemingly taken over his former role. Broke and trying to become a sportscaster, he finds a common ground with his former family as he coaches his son’s youth soccer team. Shenanigans ensue as he tries to become a sportscaster and apparently ESPN wants him as part of their soccer coverage.

And for the bulk of the film’s running time George is an interesting character in what amounts to a screwball comedy. He’s a man who knows he’s done wrong and is trying to find a way to keep food on the table while rectifying the sins of his past. The comedy format allows him to essentially play the straight man in a series of wacky characters; Butler is in his element reacting as opposed to having to have good one-liners. His reactions are rather hilarious in good chunks; there’s also a sweet family subplot going on as well. And as just a screwball comedy about a man trying to be a good father, trying to mend fences and be a good human being for once, it could be the sort of interesting character piece that would cash in on the promise Butler has shown in the past.

The problem is that the film’s final act shoehorns in a romantic comedy plot about George trying to win his ex-wife back on the eve of her wedding to another man. He and Biel have enough chemistry to make it interesting but unfortunately it’s such a dramatic turn from the film’s first two acts that it’s tacked on at best. This is a film that seems to be angling towards George accepting that you can’t change the past, only your present, and then undercuts it entirely by having this predictable end to it.

It’s such a poor choice that it takes the wind out of the sails of the film completely. It’s not a brilliant film by any means, and marginally a good one at best, but everything that’s interesting about the film is taken away in one fell swoop by a storyline that doesn’t belong. The choice feels shoe-horned, as if an ending where George winds up a better man but not necessarily with the girl was such a bad idea that the decision was made to compromise the film with a tacked on ending that doesn’t work in any aspect.

The film’s first two acts are about a man trying to find himself and become a better man after being a rich sports star, with all the spoils that entails. This is a film about his redemption and there’s nothing in the first two acts that points to he and his ex-wife needing to be together; if anything it works better as an emphasis to that he screwed it up and needs to be a better man now because he wasn’t then. Trying to get the girl back is something a full film explores, not as a third act that is unexplored for more than an hour of screen time in a film that barely stretches past the 90 minute mark, and Playing For Keeps winds up falling flat after starting out as interesting if flawed comedy.

Director: Gabriele Muccino
Writer: Robbie Fox
Notable Cast: Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Noah Lomax, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, James Tupper, Judy Greer

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New International Trailer For Hitchcock Released http://insidepulse.com/2012/11/12/new-international-trailer-for-hitchcock-released/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/11/12/new-international-trailer-for-hitchcock-released/#comments Mon, 12 Nov 2012 12:00:25 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=317515 The latest trailer for Hitchcock has been released. You can view it below.


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Gerard Butler Is A Washed Up Footballer In Playing For Keeps Trailer http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/08/gerard-butler-is-a-washed-up-footballer-in-playing-for-keeps-trailer/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/08/gerard-butler-is-a-washed-up-footballer-in-playing-for-keeps-trailer/#comments Wed, 08 Aug 2012 08:00:41 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=308240 Gerard Butler stars in a romantic dramedy that has just gotten a trailer.

Plot Summary: Acclaimed Italian director Gabriele Muccino (Seven Pounds, The Pursuit of Happyness) returns with “Playing for Keeps,” a new romantic dramedy starring Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dennis Quaid and Uma Thurman. In the film, which a trailer has debuted, Butler plays a washed-up soccer star who moves to his ex-wife’s (Biel) hometown where he becomes his son’s soccer coach. As he tries to mend his relationship with his estranged family, Butler receives a second shot at a career in sportscasting which jeopardizes everything. You can look for “Keeps” to hit theaters on December 7th.

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Demythify: The Dark Knight Rises Ending & Sequel, Total Recall 2012, 1990, 2070 & NASA Mars Mission (Spoilers) http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/06/demythify-the-dark-knight-rises-ending-spoilers-sequel-total-recall-2012-1990-2070-nasas-mars-mission/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/06/demythify-the-dark-knight-rises-ending-spoilers-sequel-total-recall-2012-1990-2070-nasas-mars-mission/#comments Mon, 06 Aug 2012 04:01:31 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=307890 It has been a tragic few weeks in the United States.

First, we had the senseless shooting rampage in Colorado at the film debut of The Dark Knight Rises.

Now, this past Sunday, there was a senseless shooting rampage in Wisconsin by another crazed gunman at a place of worship, a temple of the peaceful Sikh faith. Up-to-date information available at Time.com.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those killed in Wisconsin and I pray for a speedy recovery to those injured. I also continue to mourn with those impacted by the Colorado shootings.

Tragic. Sad.


This week’s Demythify column is a potpourri edition tackling bits about The Dark Knight Rises, Total Recall, and NASA’s current Mission to Mars.

And, fear not, I’ll be explaining why it makes sense to include these two films in the same column.

Read on…


The Dark Knight Rises Novelization Answers Key Question?

Since The Dark Knight Rises hit theatres and marked the end of Director Christopher Nolan and actor Christian Bale‘s work with the franchise, questions have been raised about whether Warner Bros. will reboot the movie franchise or continue the Dark Knight continuity. The discussion about a The Dark Knight Rises movie sequel gained more ground based on the ending of the film.

Not sure if I need a spoiler warning, but I did include one in the title of this column.

Anyhow, in it, ex-Detective John Blake played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose real name is Robin John Blake, is guided to the Batcave behind the waterfall. There is no dialogue or exposition in the movie scene. That left many to wonder whether Blake would become Batman, Nightwing or Robin. It also led to a debate whether a sequel featuring Blake in a lead role could or would be next.

The possibilities, teases, and words of the creative team were dissected and led to heated online chatter.

With all that, it would appear that the official The Dark Knight Rises novelization penned by acclaimed writer Greg Cox for Titan Books, enhances that movie scene with some interesting internal monologue by John Blake. He is in the Batcave contemplating the future.

    The bats were everywhere, screeching in the dark. [John] Blake crouched defensively as their wings and bodies swirled around him like a living cyclone. An instinctive sense of panic bubbled up inside him, but he forced it back down.

    He knew why [Bruce] Wayne brought him here.

    Bats were more than symbols of fear. In Gotham, they had come to stand for hope and justice and a legend that was bigger than just one man. A hero who could be anyone. He raised his head as the bats welcomed him to their abode.

    He rose and was swallowed up by the darkness of their wings.

It would appear that the definative intention of Christopher Nolan’s ending for The Dark Knight Rises film would have Robin John Blake assuming the cowl of the Batman. Will this see the light of day on film? I hope so, but it seems unlikely. What does seem likely is that a John Blake as Batman could be continued in novel and/or comic book form. DC Comics is doing this kind of thing already with Smallville Season 11 – following the TV series characters post finale – as an online comic first and print comic too.

Time will tell, but I certainly hope to experience the next chapter in John Blake’s pop culture existence somewhere. I also think he’d be a great addition to the Batman Family – in costume or not – as part of the DC Comics Relaunch’s New 52.

Interestingly, beyond the enhancement of that John Blake / Batcave scene, the novel also alludes to the Joker as has been reported across the internet. The novel noted the following.

    The worst of the worst were sent here, except for the Joker, who, rumour had it, was locked away as Arkham’s sole remaining inmate.

    Or perhaps he escaped. Nobody was really sure. Not even Selina [Kyle].

Despite the tragedy surrounding Joker actor Heath Ledger’s death, his interpretation of the Clown Prince of Crime could return to any John Blake as Batman adventure in novel or comic book form, with a silver screen return unlikely.


Total Recall 2012, 1990 and the TV Prequel – Does Mars Matter?

I just watched the Total Recall: Ultimate Rekall Edition on Blu-Ray. I remember why I enjoyed the film when I saw it 20 or so years ago. We get sci-fi and action, the latter in a way that only Arnold Schwarzeneggar and director Paul Verhoeven of Robocop can deliver. It was also nice exeriencing actress Sharon Stone in her prime dishing out action and exuding massive amounts of sexiness.

What got me as well was how integral to the movie plot the planet Mars was for the 1990 film. In fact, the TV series that spun-off from the movie – the TV series was a prequel set in 2070 (actually called Total Recall: 2070) while the film was set in 2084 – also had a core element of it being Mars.

Why is this a concern in 2012?

Well, Total Recall’s 2012 installment by Director Len Wiseman does NOT involve Mars at all! In Total Film #196 magazine, Wiseman notes the below as it relates to his initial reading of the new Total Recall’s script.

    “I was like, ‘Holy Sh*t, if it doesn’t go to Mars, then what’s happening?’ I was turning the pages so fast that by the time I got done, I was almost leaving the offices going, ‘Call my agents, I have to do this.’”

I haven’t seen the new Total Recall movie yet, but it is on agenda for this week. Since my wife and I enjoyed the Blu-Ray edition of the 1990 film, we’re both intrigued by what a Mars-less Recall film would be like. Plus, for me, I have enjoyed Wiseman’s Underworld films, so his sci-fi / fantasy geek credentials are established for me.

In the new film, Colin Farrell plays the role(s) of bored blue-collar grunt Douglas Quaid who, after a Rekall memory vacation mishap, believes he is a former spy Hauser. And, as the tag lien of the film goes, the whole raison d’etre of the film is to determine: “What is Real? What is Rekall?”.

Farrell’s Quaid is married to Lori, played by Kate Beckinsale, whose character in the original film was an enemy spy who becomes at odds with Quaid / Hauser after his Rekall mishap.

The third wheel in this relationship is Jessica Biel‘s Melina who was a love interest for Quaid’s Hauser personality and whose character in the earlier film was part of revolutionary forces against a politico businessman Cohaagen, played in the 2012 film by Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.

Actress Kate Beckinsale describes the new film and the absence of Mars in the film as noted below.

    “That was one of the things we made differently from the original… Arnold [Schwarzeneggar] and Sharon [Stone] have this extremely sexy marriage that seems, like, why would anyone need a mission to Mars when you have that? We wanted to give more of a sense of two people who were nor in love.”

And, to ensure that lumping Total Recall and The Dark Knight Rises together in one column can make some sense to you, below is how actress Jessica Biel describes 2012′s Total Recall film with particular attention to a more significant political backdrop than the original film.

    “I feel kind of what [Christopher] Nolan did for Batman, Len [Wiseman] is doing for Total Recall.”

Big props and bigger comparisons indeed!

I’m intrigued by Cranston’s Cohaagen, who is the head of Euromerica in the new film not the Mars colony the character led in the original film, and other supporting actors that pop up in the 2012 Total Recall offering: John Cho as a Rekall employee McClane, Bill Nighy as rebel leader Matthias and Ethan Hawke in a cameo as a scientist.

I’m glad I saw the original film recently, in advance of my viewing of the new film iteration this week. I may have to pull out my Philip K. Dick anthology to see how integral the source material, his “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” short story, is to the new and old Total Recall films.

While Mars may be absent from Total Recall’s 2012 film edition, it is interesting on the same weekend that the film debuts, NASA was planning on landing a rover on the red planet!


NASA’s 2012 Mars Mission!

Total Recall 2012′s loss is NASA’s gain? :)

In November 2011, NASA sent the rover Curiosity on its mission to Mars. The last status update, as of the writing of this column, from NASA on their mission was as follows:

    Curiosity Closes in on its New ‘Home’
    Sat, 04 Aug 2012 07:20:24 PM EDT

    With Mars looming ever larger in front of it, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft and its Curiosity rover are in the final stages of preparing for entry, descent and landing on the Red Planet at 10:31 p.m. PDT Aug. 5 (1:31 a.m. EDT Aug. 6). Curiosity remains in good health with all systems operating as expected. Today, the flight team uplinked and confirmed commands to make minor corrections to the spacecraft’s navigation reference point parameters. This afternoon, as part of the onboard sequence of autonomous activities leading to the landing, catalyst bed heaters are being turned on to prepare the eight Mars Lander Engines that are part of MSL’s descent propulsion system. As of 2:25 p.m. PDT (5:25 p.m. EDT), MSL was approximately 261,000 miles (420,039 kilometers) from Mars, closing in at a little more than 8,000 mph (about 3,600 meters per second).

At the time of the writing of this column, the results on the landing were not known.

For updates on the NASA mission, check out their dedicated official webpage here.

For those of you that will stay up late into Monday morning and want to watch history in action, NASA will be streaming live here.

UPDATED (2 a.m. Eastern Standard Time)

It looks like the Curiosity Rover landed in the Gale Crater as planned. Below are the first two images from 2012′s Mars landing released by NASA!

Congratulations to the fine folks at NASA for a job well done! Anything is possible.



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Total Recall – Review (2) http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/04/total-recall-review-2/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/04/total-recall-review-2/#comments Sat, 04 Aug 2012 16:00:03 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=307850
Misfire of epic proportions

When it comes to establishing mood and tone, Len Wiseman is one of the best when it comes to genre films. It’s never difficult to find yourself immersed in one of his worlds; from Underworld to the last Die Hard sequel Wiseman has a particular knack for allowing oneself to be immersed in his cinematic world. Even the latter two Underworld sequels were marked by his producer’s touch as they felt like his work, despite his lack of directorial authority over them, and could almost reasonably pass as something he’d done.

Unfortunately the one thing Wiseman doesn’t do all that well is actually tell a story once the plot kicks in. And it is at its worst in his reboot/remake of Total Recall.

Scripted off “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” by Philip K. Dick and a quasi-remake of the classic Schwarzenegger film of the same name, Total Recall follows Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) as he goes through a life crisis of sorts. Having nightmares of a woman (Jessica Biel) he’s never met, his machinist position is unfulfilling. He has a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) and a decent life, if not one he always dreamed of for himself.

Thus it leads him to Rekall, a place that gives you a fantasy memory that feels real. The problem begins when his selected fantasy, of a secret agent, turns out to be his actual identity. When his wife turns out to be a government agent keeping tabs on him, and the dream woman all too real, Quaid finds himself trying to figure out who he is with people constantly waving guns in his face.

As a visual work Total Recall is an absolute splendor. Jettisoning the Mars aspect of the Schwarzenegger film, keeping the film set on an Earth divided into two areas (Britain and Australia respectively), Wiseman instead creates this magnificently dystopian future. Ravaged by chemical warfare leaving most of the world uninhabitable, the world of the future is a slightly different version of the Mega City of Judge Dredd lore.

Wiseman has spent a reported $125 million budget well; this is easily his most involved world. And he shoots in remarkably well to boot; this is a world you can get lost in easily. He hasn’t created a dystopian version of today; he’s crafted an entirely interesting and unique new world evolving from major events. Everything makes sense in its way from the flying car system eventually winding up in a traditional highway but with some unique new features to it. Everything looks great but there’s one small problem.

It feels like the collection of other film’s parts as opposed to anything unique and original.

There’s enough recognizable elements in his film from Minority Report, Blade Runner, The Fifth Element and every other major science fiction film of the past 20 years or so approximately. Wiseman has spent well recreating other people’s ideas but there’s nothing wholly original to it; it’s gussied up versions of other people’s visions. One credits Wiseman in a way for taking other people’s visual and stylistic elements and incorporating them all together, of course, but it’s not creative to rip off the look of other films for your own without adding anything to them.

Even his own film has enough callbacks to the prior adaptation of the novel that you have to wonder if any original thought was put into this film. It’s a perfectly acceptable action thriller otherwise; it knows which notes to hit and hits them solidly. Unfortunately there isn’t anything that he does that looks original; it’d be one thing to give him credit for crafting a solid action thriller that looks spectacular in a new and unique way.

The 2012 Total Recall is just Len Wiseman adapting the story again but with the look of other people’s films.

Director: Len Wiseman
Writers: Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback, based on “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” by Philip K. Dick
Notable Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho and Bill Nighy
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Total Recall – Review http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/03/total-recall-review/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/03/total-recall-review/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 16:24:30 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=307810
Remake should have gotten its ass to Mars

In the future foretold by Len Wiseman’s remake of Total Recall, geeks haven’t just inherited the earth, they’ve remade it in their image. The movie exists in a world reminiscent of a video game. The plot is simplistic, the architecture is detailed from a distance (though curiously devoid of life upon closer inspection) and, most telling, the characters exist only to drive the plot forward through their actions and words but never though anything struck deeper than a string of 0s and 1s. Total Recall is a soulless, joyless return to the ideas and plot points of Paul Verhoeven’s deceptively thoughtful actioner. Without the satiric edge or playful tugs of ambiguity of the original, though, Wiseman’s film is a chore to slog through but is, by no means, a terrible film.

Despite earlier claims from the production team that this new version of Total Recall would pay more debt to the Philip K. Dick story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” that inspired the original film, it is fairly obvious right away that Wiseman’s remake is a flopping lizard tale – cut from the vibrant animal that was Verhoeven’s film and expected to survive on its own without a head or heart to guide it.

Colin Farrell plays Douglas Quaid, a factory worker stuck in a life he never dreamed of. Despite being married to the impossibly beautiful Kate Beckinsale and being in what appears to be great health, Doug Quaid is unhappy with where his life is at and seeks more. Unfortunately, in the future Earth that Doug calls home, there just isn’t much room left for those who seek. Decimated by World War III, Earth has only two remaining geographical locations left inhabitable. Each location is on the opposite side of the world and the working class must commute by literally falling through a hole in the world. An admittedly clever way to replace the original film’s Mars setting, this vision of the future is perhaps the only truly original idea this version of Total Recall has to offer – and it’s a good one. As commuters ride a bullet train through the Earth’s core, they must strap in to giant harnesses due to the reversal of gravity halfway through the trip – causing the train’s inhabitants to experience momentary weightlessness. This, of course, provides ample opportunity to explore some great action set pieces later in the film but – unfortunately – to get there audiences are going to have to wade through a listless recounting of the first film’s story beats.

Unhappy with his life, Quaid visits Rekall, a company that specializes in providing their customers with false memories of vacations that would be impossible to experience. For those with the right amount of cash (an undetermined amount but apparently the process is cheap enough that a factory worker forced to live in a hovel with his wife can afford to impulsively partake), Rekall can send you to Mars (wink, wink), beaches that assumedly no longer exists or, if you’re feeling extra frisky, they can let you cosplay inside of your mind as a spy. Seen reading an Ian Fleming James Bond novel early into the film, Quaid naturally chooses the spy mission and, in the process, encapsulates everything misguided about this film.

The original Total Recall was memorable for two things: an extreme amount of violence and a sense of joy and humor that permeated the film. The future wasn’t pleasant (as is the case with most futures) but there was still room for people to smile. Schwarzenegger’s Quaid, upon being thrust into his fantasy, was hunted by his wife, shot at, blown up and generally mistreated (as is Farrell’s Quaid). Despite all this, Schwarzenegger never forgot that this was his character’s fantasy. He wanted to be a spy. He enjoyed the thrill, the danger, the close encounters with death and he took to it like a duck in water – finding time for one-liners and romantic entanglements with femme fatales. Farrell’s Quaid spends the entirety of Total Recall moping about and acting super dour. This is completely out of synch with the character and his motivations. But Wiseman has no room for the ambiguity that Verhoeven wove so well. He doesn’t want to tease audiences with the idea of whether or not Quaid is truly a spy or if he is just experiencing the fantasy he purchased at Rekall. Wiseman is much more concerned with creating stunning action set pieces and at that, at least, he is halfway competent.

Kate Beckinsale (Wiseman’s wife and star of his Underworld series) is given most of the heavy lilting when it comes to action scenes. Made to kick, leap, slide and squeeze her way through an hour and a half of nonstop chase scenes and close encounters with the husband she’s chasing, Beckinsale’s character is an unstoppable assassin and, thankfully, she is the only actor involved with the project who sees the film as a chance to have some fun. It is Beckinsale that has all the one-liners and she is the only one with true life coursing through her eyes.

Jessica Biel, as a resistance fighter who teams with Quaid, is the opposite. Like a ragdoll being lifelessly tossed around by the director, Biel is playing a paint-by-numbers character who serves the plot instead of the other way around. There is nothing memorable about her performance nor is she given any room to shine. She’s not alone, though, Wiseman’s Total Recall manages to waste performances by Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy and John Cho with equal abandon.

Besides Beckinsale, there is another shining light. Bokeem Woodbine, as a factory worker who is friends with Quaid, takes charge of his character by force and, through sheer willpower, makes it his own. There’s something magnetic and powerful about Woodbine’s performance – and something gleefully self-aware. If only Colin Farrell had shown the same kind of enthusiasm. Farrell has proved in the past that he is a charismatic actor but in Total Recall he is a black hole of audience interest – sucking in any trace of curiosity and leaving behind absolutely no evidence of an audience connection. There is no rooting for Farrell’s Quaid because ne never proves to the audience that he is anything more than a character in a video game. We are never shown evidence that, should Quaid die, he won’t just respawn in the last save point. He follows the beats of the film as outlined by the script of the original, but without the excitement and joy Schwarzenegger provided with ease.

Wiseman’s Total Recall is a PG-13 film, a shock considering the original’s reputation as one of the bloodiest films ever made. Despite the lower rating, Wiseman manages to squeeze in copious amounts of gunplay (and, yes, even a three-breasted alien). Despite this, the film’s violence is very much lacking any real depth. Critics complained that the original Total Recall displayed cartoon amounts of violence but at least the film showed the true consequences of gunplay – blood, death and dismemberment. The remake glosses over any real consequences of violence – never showing the deviation that comes with the film’s heavy artillery count. A robotic army exists to dehumanize the violence even more – allowing Quaid to have plenty of faceless, emotionless goons to dispose of without the film having to get bloody. This whitewashing of the film’s violence leaves the audience no choice but to gloss over the rest of the film’s action scenes. There’s no weight to the choreography as there are never any consequences shown to the actions of the characters. Cars crash, trains explode and bystanders are sniped at but the movie never takes a moment to stop and reflect on what’s happening. The audience is too busy being bussed along to the next action scene and the whole experience can be a bit exhausting.

Total Recall has no mutants, no mars, no real violence and no humor. It is Verhoeven’s Total Recall in name and story only – like a coma patient who has shriveled up into a shell of its former self. Despite all this, Wiseman’s slick sense of scale and the beautiful set design help make sure Total Recall at least isn’t a terrible movie. It’s inoffensive and unfun, a dangerous combination if you have a refined taste in action films, but it is more than up to the task of entertaining those that seek bland and generic action films to chew through and immediately digest without a moment of reflection.

If the 1990 version of Total Recall was a groundbreaking action epic (and it was), Wiseman’s version of the film is the cheap video game adaptation – designed to milk a few extra bucks out of fans and be quickly forgotten about a few months later.

Director: Len Wiseman
Writers: Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback, based on “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” by Philip K. Dick
Notable Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho and Bill Nighy
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Total Recall (2012) Extended International Trailer Wants You To Get Your Ass To Mars http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/01/total-recall-2012-extended-international-trailer-wants-you-to-get-your-ass-to-mars/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/01/total-recall-2012-extended-international-trailer-wants-you-to-get-your-ass-to-mars/#comments Wed, 01 Aug 2012 13:00:38 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=307667 A new international trailer for Total Recall has been released. You can view it below

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New Total Recall Trailer Debuts http://insidepulse.com/2012/06/29/new-total-recall-trailer-debuts/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/06/29/new-total-recall-trailer-debuts/#comments Fri, 29 Jun 2012 08:00:42 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=303767 The latest trailer for Total Recall has been released. You can watch it below.

Plot Summary: “Total Recall” is an action thriller about reality and memory, inspired anew by the famous short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he’s got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life – real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police – controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world – Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen. The line between fantasy and reality gets blurred and the fate of his world hangs in the balance as Quaid discovers his true identity, his true love, and his true fate.

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Full Total Recall Trailer Debuts Online [Video] http://insidepulse.com/2012/04/02/full-total-recall-trailer-debuts-online-video/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/04/02/full-total-recall-trailer-debuts-online-video/#comments Mon, 02 Apr 2012 15:00:36 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=294988 The full trailer for the remake of Total Recall has been released. You can view it below.

Plot Summary: “Total Recall” is an action thriller about reality and memory, inspired anew by the famous short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he’s got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life – real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police – controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world – Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen. The line between fantasy and reality gets blurred and the fate of his world hangs in the balance as Quaid discovers his true identity, his true love, and his true fate.


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