Don’t get Total Recall

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I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised by Total Recall, a remake of a movie with the same name by Paul Verhoeven, but I wasn’t.  Instead I was just bored.  It is easy to see how this movie was made, Sci-Fi is big again thanks to Avatar, and it is based on a well liked short story by Philip K. Dick, but it is laking that spark that makes a good movie.

The basic plot is that a factory worker dreams he is something more, and he decides to go to Rekall to make memories to support his dreams, but when he goes there he finds out that he is indeed a double agent on a mission to save The Colony, post bio-war Australia, from the British Federation, post bio-war Britain (why do they get to keep their name?).

This movie screams, “made in a boardroom”.  A bunch of executives got together and went through a check list: find a Sci-Fi script, “Hey what about Total Recall?”, check.  Find cheep director that can handle action, “Hey Les Wismen did Underworld!”, check.  Get beautiful known actors that don’t demand a lot of money, Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, and Jessica Biel, check, check, and check.  Set design, “Didn’t Philip K. Dick also write the story Blade Runner was based on? So lets steal that look!”, check. Film, print, and release.

What do you get after all of that?  A film that lacks passion.  When watching this movie I could just tell that no one on this project really wanted to make a new Total Recall.  They were just doing their jobs and picking up a pay check, and because of that it is hard to care about what is happening on the screen.  It is like a pretty flip book.

The movie is competently made, and I don’t think anyone embarrasses themselves, but they should all pick projects they truly want to do in the future.  I am going to do my best to forget about Total Recall.

Tucker and Dale vs The Cabin in the Woods

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In late 2011 and early 2012 two movies with a similar premise came out.  Kids go up to the woods find a cabin and bad things happen.  Now I know what you are thinking, this is the plot to a ton of movies why pick these two to talk about, but they both take this basic plot and turn it on its head.  They are also both entries in to the seldom used genre of horror comedy.

It is interesting that both creators, Eli Craig, and Joss Whedon/Drew Goddard, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, and The Cabin in the Wood, respectively decided to pay their respects to foundations of horror and horror comedy, with very unsubtle homages to the Evil Dead series.  They have the same cast of characters for their victims: an easy girl, a jock, a smart kid, an idiot, and a girl of virtue.  Tucker and Dale throw in a couple extra just so they have people to setup their gags.  But that is where the similarities stop, and they both decide to make different points.

Tucker and Dale has one reason for its existence: to make you laugh, and it succeeds.  It makes the real enemies the kids’ prejudice and stupidity, and poor Tucker and Dale are just trying to enjoy their new summer home.  The way they setup every gag is spot on, and it uses what the kids think they know about these horror like situations against them.

The Cabin in The Woods on the other had is all about you, and why Joss thinks you need horror movies, and why they all have to be pretty much the same.  Thanks to his great writing and Goddard’s good directing it just happens to be very funny as well.  I would love to tell you more but that would just spoil things.

It was great to see two movies take a shots at all the standard horror tropes, and succeed.  I would say that Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is the funnier of the two movies, but The Cabin in the Woods is smarter, but in the end it is a character flaw of mine that I like to laugh more then I like to think, so I like Tucker and Dale better, but not by much.  Hopefully Hollywood takes notice and more of these genre bending movies come out.  I think it would be fun if Joss did a The Cabin in the Woods type movie for all the major genres, and it will interesting to see if Eli can use this movie to build his career.

Also I would be remise if I didn’t link over to my buddy Daniel’s reviews of The Cabin in the Woods and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.

Windows Phone 7.8 has Arrive’d

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Recently Microsoft has pushed a new update out to its Windows Phone 7 users.  It is not Windows Phone 8 like we were hoping, but at least they decided to throw us a bone.  Sprint decided to block the update to its users running the HTC Arrive like me, but there are ways around them, thanks to Microsoft releasing the updates to the public.

As far as the backend of software goes not much has changed, but the front end got a pretty major upgrade.  As you can see in the picture above you can change the size of your app tiles, so they can show you more or less info on what is going on inside that app (like little Windows go figure).  It makes the screen much more personalized for the individual, instead of a boring row of lifeless icons.

The front screen is pretty much the only difference, but there are a lot of bugs that have been fixed: My power button that was acting up is working, so that is pretty great, and I get a longer battery life which is always appreciated.  All in all it is a solid update for old phones, so if you have an old Windows Phone you should defiantly find a way to update it.

I am glad I went with Windows Phone for my device.  It keeps me updated on my info with one swipe.  It doesn’t have that Toyota Corolla feel of an iPhone, and it is not one of the myriad of Android devices.

Spending time with My Little Pony

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So I go to a lot of events with a lot of nerds, and it may surprise you to find out that dudes that watch ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’ is a thing.  They are called ‘Bronies’.  At first I was wondering if it was some kind of joke, but it is not.  It turns out there are grown guys and girls that just like to watch the show, and support one of their own: Lauren Faust.  So I decided what the heck it is on Netflix, and it will only take twenty-two minutes of my time to see what all the fuss is about.  I have now watched two seasons of the show.

The show’s basic premise is that a young pony named Twilight Sparkle is great at her studies and magic but has no friends and is lonely.  So her teacher and ruler of the land, Princess Celestia, sends her to Ponyville to make friends. Of course she does, and she and her friends go on adventures and learn life lessons.

Now unlike the Bronies I am not totally enthralled with the show, but it is nice to watch something charming and sweet once in a while, and it is completely inoffensive.  The show is smartly written, and has well formed characters which is amazing for a children’s show.

Most of that is due to the creator of this reboot, Lauren Faust.  Lauren Faust got her start on the shows: The Power Puff Girls, and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and she is married to Craig McCracken who created both of the previous shows and Dexter’s Laboratory.  These are all shows that geeks like myself have come to know and love, so some of us watching a cartoon about ponies due to their involvement seems less far fetched, and add in that the show is good and you get success.

Now I am not saying that everyone should run out and watch this show, but if you are looking for something fun and will make you smile it might be worth a shot.  You could do a lot worse.  Unless you are allergic to pink because this show would probably kill you.

Go Speed Racer Go!

Speed Racer The Movie

Last night I re-watched one of my favorite movies.  Please don’t judge me: Speed Racer.  If you look at a lot of other reviews of this movie you will understand why people tend to give me dirty looks when I admit my love for this movie out loud, but I think it is a misunderstood masterpiece and I am going to try and explain why I feel this way.

Speed Racer is a movie based off a Japanese Cartoon from the mid-sixty’s.  Speed Racer is the name of the main character and all he wants to do is be the best race car driver in the whole world, and his dad runs Racer Motors, and builds his cars.  The basic plot of this movie is that small independent race car companies are good and the big sponsors and builders are bad.  Oscar worthy I know, but the plot is not what makes this movie great.  It is the visuals, and the slavish devotion to the source material.

This movie is like cotton candy for your eyes.  There are shades of neon in this movie that you didn’t even know existed.  And the way they make the cars move, is like how every six year old makes his Matchbox cars move: turning three-sixties, jumping, spinning, sliding around every corner.  It is the stuff of every little boy’s dreams.  Fantastic.

The Wachowski’s also took a risk by turning a live action movie in to a cartoon with real people in it.  All the sets are animated, and so is the entire world around them. They made characters in the movie exactly as they are in the show which is amazing since the show was never that popular, and I don’t think any but a few of us got all the references.

Like I said before in this movie is like cotton candy.  I know this movie is pure visual sugar, and I can’t watch it all the time, but sometimes there is just nothing better then giving your eyes a treat.  Even if you disagree with me about if  this movie is good or not, I still think everyone should own this on Blu-Ray, not on DVD or streaming but Blu-Ray, because watching this movie puts your Hi-Def screen through its paces, and seeing those crazy colors pop and spin will make your jaw drop.  I can’t wait for the 4K Ultra Hi-Def screens to come out, so I can melt my eyes out with this movie.