Sometimes it seems that long-dead visionary sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick is still the hardest working scribe in Hollywood: not only do they keep digging up his lesser short stories to turn into movies, they are now doing remakes of previous adaptations. It is doubtless that well-aged sci-fi fans have excellent recall of Total Recall, the flashy 1990 special-effects extravaganza that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. The new Recall isn’t precisely a remake, insofar as it has a more somber tone and hews quite a bit closer to Dick’s original story.
In this version, set about 100 years in the future, most of Earth lies in smoking ruins; the most successful survivors live in Britain, whose fascist government exploits the workers in The Colony (what once was Australia). Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a hard-working Colony drone trapped in grubby poverty. Desperate for distraction, he visits a boutique where they implant fake memories. But instead of becoming a fantasy spy as planned, something goes terribly wrong and Douglas finds himself on the run from the police for real. Even worse, his beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) tries to kill him, claiming that she’s actually a government agent and he’s an assassin from the Colony resistance movement and has had his original memories wiped. Let the games begin!
The standard tropes of a dystopic future world are trotted out with lots of CGI panache, especially the mostly-ruined cityscapes that are pure Blade Runner. The guerrilla warfare between a brutal police state and the exploited Colony evokes contemporary terrorism concerns while providing a backdrop for what is essentially one long and kinetic chase scene. The action rips along — including some innovative aerial car battles and cat-and-mouse games in a futuristic elevator complex. But there are tedious scenes to wade through as characters make droning speeches, and some of the plotting is B-movie nonsense. Still, the acting is strong enough to patch over most shortcomings.
Total Recall ★★½
Directed by Len Wiseman
Starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale
PG 13 – 121 minutes
Continues at the Capitol, SilverCity & Westshore
Step UP: Revolution
Step Up: Revolution is the fourth iteration of the popular series involving acrobatic hip-hop dancers who perform radical “street” choreographies in between acting out banal boy-meets-girl scenarios in storylines that are amusingly third-rate. Here the action is set in Miami, and involves a group of dancers who function like a flash mob while creating eye-popping performance art that can temporarily shut down a main street . . . or startle the culturati at an art gallery when the paintings and sculptures come to life.
One of the co-founders of “The Mob” meets a rich girl who is trying to get accepted into one of America’s most renowned dance companies. Sparks fly, and then things get a bit weird when it turns out that her dad, a huge real estate developer, is planning on leveling the dockside neighborhood where all the dancers live in order to build a swank hotel. Hey, anybody for a big public protest? The plot creaks on from there, leaving no cliché unexplored before all sorts of contrived conflicts are resolved at a happy-making climax involving about 100 dancers and some pretty amazing choreography.
Revolution has a couple of fun ideas, especially turning the Occupy Movement protests into a crazy dance project. Although this is the kind of movie that critics love to sneer at, it will likely provide a lot of pleasure for an easy-going summertime audience. M
Step Up: Revolution ★★
Directed by Scott Speer
Starring Cleopatra Coleman, Stephen Boss
PG 13 – 99 minutes
Continues at the Capitol, Westshore & SilverCity
Those with a good recall for cocktails will remember that ’90s sinsation, Sex on the Beach. Classic if not classy, it includes 1.5 oz vodka, .5 oz peach schnapps, and 2 oz each of orange juice and cranberry juice, served over ice. But should the name give you any lewd notions, remember that shagging in the sand is more gritty than great.
VIctoria’s Movie Listings Aug. 9-15
HOPE SPRINGS -(Odeon/SilverCity/Uni 4) Meryl Streep can’t endure her boring marriage any more and drags her reluctant husband (Tommy Lee Jones) off to intensive couple’s counselling to try to revive intimacy and romance. Starts Wed.
THE CAMPAIGN -(Odeon/SilverCity) A well-established congressman (Will Ferrell) who is used to running for office unapposed is shocked to find himself facing an inexperienced but effective challenger (Zach Galifianakis). Let the hostilities begin! Starts Fri.
THE BOURNE LEGACY -(SilverCity/Westshore) The hyper-kinetic spy series gets a reboot with a new director and new actor (Jeremy Renner). The trailer looks pretty sensational. With Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton. Starts Fri.
★★★½ THE AMAZING SPIDER–MAN -(Capitol/SilverCity) Little-known actor Andrew Garfield suits up as everyone’s favourite webslinger in a super hero movie that’s smart enough to know that a great coming-of-age story is more compelling than routine action scenes. Co-starring Emma Stone.
★★★ ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT -(Odeon/Westshore) After their continent is set adrift, Manny, Diego, and Sid have some crazy, rollicking, humour-filled adventures. This is very fine family entertainment.
★★★ THE AVENGERS -(Caprice) A mob of Marvel-ous superheroes comes together to help prevent a global apocalypse, in a decent but uninspired orgy of one-liners and special effects.
★★★★ BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD -(Odeon) Nothing but raves have greeted this unusual and touching drama, which uses moments of magic realism to portray the inner life of a young girl who is part of a small community of poor Louisiana folk who live entirely “off the grid.”
★★★½ THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL -(Uni 4) A diverse group of British seniors seek out an affordable retirement hotel in India, only to find it in shabby disarray. But despite the initial disappointment, India’s exotic charms win them over.
★★★ BRAVE -(Capitol/SilverCity) Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson provide the voices for Pixar’s animated tale that is set in ancient Scotland and tells of a headstrong young princess who must rely on her courage to undo a beastly curse. ★★★ THE DARK KNIGHT RISES -(Capitol/SilverCity/Uni 4/Westshore) A diabolical terrorist named Bane poses a terrible threat to Gotham, as Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy comes to an exciting but rather bloated conclusion. With Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Anne Hathaway.
★★★ INTOUCHABLES -(Odeon) This funny and heart-warming French film features a wealthy aristocrat, a quadriplegic after a hang-gliding accident, who gets more than he bargained for when he hires a rough-edged black man from the projects to be his care aid. Based on a true story.
★★★ MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED -(Capitol/Caprice) Those mouthy NYC zoo escapees are up to their usual colourful antics in a wittily entertaining animation romp.
★★★ MAGIC MIKE -(Capitol/Caprice) Channing Tatum stars as a male stripper who takes a protegé under his wing, then eventually has to rethink his lifestyle. Directed by Steven Soderbergh.
MEN IN BLACK III -(Caprice) Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reprise their roles as alien-bashing crime fighters in a third outing for this wacky sci-fi comedy series. And thanks to a time travel aspect, Josh Brolin has fun playing the younger version of Jones’ character.
★★★½ MOONRISE KINGDOM -(Odeon) The ever-quirky Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Fantastic Mr. Fox) is in fine form as he tells a tale about two very young lovers who run away, thus sparking an unusual search.
★★ STEP UP: REVOLUTION -(Capitol/SilverCity/Westshore) The series about hip hop dancers shifts to Miami, and has lots of fun choreographing flash mobs of radical dancers who are trying to defeat a rich developer who wants to trash their neighbourhood. See review.
★★½ TOTAL RECALL -(Capitol/SilverCity/Westshore) Colin Farrell stars in a remake of the sci-fi thriller about a man who ostensibly takes a fantasy “brain trip” only to get caught up in real life-and-death adventures. See review.
★★½ TED -(Odeon/SilverCity/Caprice) Mark Wahlberg stars in a twisted — and sometimes laboured — comedy about a young man whose best friend is a foul-mouthed teddy bear that is a very bad influence on him. Written and directed by Seth MacFarlane, most famous for the TV satires Family Guy and American Dad!
★★★½ TO ROME WITH LOVE -(Odeon/Uni 4) Woody Allen’s winning streak with glamorous European cities continues with his latest comedy, which takes a sly look at adultery, fame, and self-delusion.
★ THE WATCH -(Odeon/SilverCity/Westshore) In this alleged comedy a quartet of guys forms a suburban watch group after a strange murder, only to find themselves defending Earth from an alien invasion.
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS -(Capitol/SilverCity/Westshore/Uni 4) Greg is totally ready for summer when suddenly his plans all fall apart. What’s the poor guy gonna do now?
★★★½ THE AMAZING SPIDER–MAN – (8 pm)
★★★★ BORN TO BE WILD – (10 am, 4 pm)
DINOSAURS: GIANTS OF PATAGONIA – (11 am, 2 pm, 7 pm) Those “terrible lizards” come back to life in a feature that complements the fascinating dinosaur exhibit currently on at the RBCM.
★★★½ ROCKY MOUNTAIN EXPRESS – (1 pm, 5 pm) Here’s a patriotic account of the many daunting challenges behind building the CPR railway: part history lesson, part glorious travelogue.
TO THE ARCTIC -(noon, 3 pm, 6 pm)
MOVIE MONDAY – Screening Doppelganger Paul. This challenging indie comedy from Vancouver investigates ideas of identity and making connections, in a meta-film style reminiscent of works by Charlie Kaufman. By donation. 6:30pm MONDAY in the 1900-block Fort. 595FLIC. moviemonday.ca
BEACON HILL B MOVIES -The Victoria Film Festival returns with their annual Free-B Film Fest in the Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park. This week: Harry In Your Pocket, a sly comedy about a pickpocket starring James Coburn that was filmed here in Victoria in 1973. SATURDAY, 9 pm.
MAYFAIR MOVIES -Mayfair hosts its annual Summer Drive-in Movie Series, which are projected onto a three-storey inflatable screen. First up: Princess Bride, Rob Reiner’s touching and very funny spoof of classic fairy tales. WEDNESDAY, 9:30 pm at the corner of Blanshard and Finlayson.
Cinecenta at UVic screens its films in the Student Union Building. Info: 721-8365. cinecenta.com.
HEADHUNTERS -(Wed.-Thurs., Aug. 8-9: 7:00, 9:00) Based on a crime novel by the great Norwegian thriller writer Jo Nesbø, the story features an executive headhunter who moonlights as an art thief — but his grand life slips sideways when he crosses the wrong man, a ruthless ex-commando
WHERE DO WE GO NOW? -(Fri.-Sat., Aug. 10-11: 7:00, 9:00) This inventive Lebanese film mixes drama, comedy, and even a few musical numbers as it tells of a small village where the women try everything to minimize hostility and religious tensions amongst the menfolk.
MARLEY -(Sun.-Mon., Aug. 12-13: 7:00 only) I’ve heard serious raves about this in-depth portrait of reggae god Bob Marley. Directed by Kevin Macdonald (Last King of Scotland). Back by popular demand!
★★★★ WALKABOUT -(Tues., Aug. 14: 7:00, 9:00) One of the most acclaimed art films of the ’70s was this beautiful and enigmatic account of two white kids stranded in the Australian outback who meet an aboriginal youth on a “walkabout” quest that is his path towards manhood. Directed by Nicolas Roeg (The Man Who Fell to Earth, Don’t Look Now ).
CROOKED ARROWS -(Wed.-Thurs., Aug. 15-16: 7:00, 9:00) Despite some amateurish touches, this tale of a wealthy aboriginal who reconnects with deeper values when he begins to coach his tribe’s lacrosse team is definitely a crowd-pleaser.