A celebrated beauty in her native England, actress Patricia Medina enjoyed modest success in Hollywood during the early 1950s, most notably in Orson Welles' "Mr. Arkadin" (1955), before spending the r...
The remake of Total Recall never escapes the shadow of its Arnold Schwarzenegger-led predecessor — and strangely it feels like a choice. With a script that's nearly beat-for-beat the original film Total Recall plods along with enhanced special effects that bring to life an expansive sci-fi world and action scenes constructed to send eyes flipping backwards into skulls. Filling the cracks of the fractured film is a story that without knowledge of the Philip K. Dick adaptation's previous incarnation is barely decipherable. Those who haven't seen Paul Verhoeven's 1990 Total Recall? Time to get a few memory implants. 2012 Recall makes little sense with the cinematic foundation but it does zero favors to those out of the know.
Colin Farrell takes over duties from Schwarzenegger as Douglas Quaid a down-on-his-luck factory worker hoping to escape his stagnate existence with a boost from Rekall a company capable of engineering fake memories. Quaid calls the damp slums of "The Colony" home (one of two inhabitable parts of Earth) but he dreams of moving to the New Federation of Britain a pristine metropolis on the other side of the planet. When the futuristic treatment goes awry — caused by previously existing memories of our blue collar hero's supposed past life as a secret agent — Quaid emerges from Rekall with lethal power hidden under his mild-mannered persona. He quickly goes on the run escaping squads of soldiers robots and his assassin "wife " Lori (Kate Beckinsale) all hot on his tail. Total Recall turns into one long chase scene as Quaid unravels the mystery of his erased memories.
But when it comes to answers and heady sci-fi Total Recall falls short. Farrell isn't a hulking action star like Schwarzenegger but he's a performer that can sensitively explore any human crisis big or small. Director Len Wiseman (Underworld Live Free or Die Hard) never gives his leading man that opportunity. Farrell makes the best of the films occasional slow moment but the weight of Recall's mindf**k is suffocated in a series of fist fights hovercar pile-ups and foot chases pulled straight out of the latest platformer video game (a sequence that sends Quaid running across the geometric rooftop architecture of The Colony looks straight out of Super Mario Bros.). When Jessica Biel as Quaid's former romantic interest Melina and Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston as the power-hungry politico Cohaagen are finally woven into Farrell's feature length 50 yard dash it's too late — the movie isn't making sense and it's not about to regardless of the charm on screen.
The action is slick and the futuristic design is impeccable but without any time devoted to building the stakes Total Recall feels more like a HDTV demo than a thrilling blockbuster. The movie's greatest innovation is the central set piece "The Fall " an elevator that travels between the two cities at rapid speed. The towering keystone of mankind is a marvel but we never get to see it explore it or feel its implications on the world around it. Instead it's cemented as a CG background behind the craze of Farrell shooting his way through hoards of bad guys.
Science fiction more than any other dramatic genre twist demands attention to the details. New worlds aren't built on broad strokes. But Total Recall tries to get away with it in hopes that audiences will recall their own movie knowledge to support its faulty logic. The movie repeatedly prompts viewers to think back to the 1990 version with blatant fan service that's absolutely nonsensical in this restructured version (no longer does Quaid go to Mars but there's still a three-breasted alien?). The callbacks may have given Total Recall a "been there done that" feel but rarely is it coherent enough to get that far. By the closing credits you'll be struggling to remember what you spent the last two hours watching.
She died at Barlow Respiratory Hospital on Saturday (28Apr12), according to the Associated Press.
The British-born beauty began her acting career in England in the late 1930s and moved to Hollywood after marrying The Adventures of Robin Hood TV star Richard Greene.
Medina became a big star following leading roles opposite Fernando Lamas in Sangaree, Glenn Ford in Plunder of the Sun and Alan Ladd in Botany Bay.
Her additional film credits include Mr. Arkadin, Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, Phantom of the Rue Morgue, Fortunes of Captain Blood, Lady in the Iron Mask, and The Lady and the Bandit.
In 1960, the actress married Citizen Kane star Joseph Cotten and two years later she made her Broadway debut opposite her new husband in Calculated Risk.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
Co-starred with Karl Malden in "Phantom of the Rue Morgue"
Began playing lead roles in American films such as "Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion"
First film opposite Louis Hayward, "Fortunes of Captain Blood"
First American film, "The Secret Heart" with Lionel Barrymore and Claudette Colbert
Appeared a panelist on the NBC game show "High Low Quiz"
Returned to primarily stage work after "Snow White and the Three Stooges"
Retired from acting after final film appearance, the Mexican drama "El llanto de los pobres"
Released autobiography Laid Back in Hollywood
Successfully played in the drama "Calculated Risk" on Broadway opposite husband Joseph Cotten
Went to Hollywood (date approximate)
Acted opposite Cotten in the Japanese-American co-production "Ido zero daisakusen/Latitude Zero"
Began playing leading roles in British films with "Kiss the Bride Goodbye"
Cast in the adventure film "Timber Tramps"
Launched film career in "Double or Quits" and "Simply Terrific"
Returned to films to play a role in "The Killing of Sister George"
A celebrated beauty in her native England, actress Patricia Medina enjoyed modest success in Hollywood during the early 1950s, most notably in Orson Welles' "Mr. Arkadin" (1955), before spending the remainder of her career in episodic television and low-budget features. The child of Spanish and English parents, her exotic looks made her a natural for swashbuckling adventures like "Fortunes of Captain Blood" (1950) and "Botany Bay" (1953). By the 1960s, she had married actor Joseph Cotten and worked almost exclusively on television, save for a risqué turn in "The Killing of Sister George" (1968). Medina retired from acting in 1978 to care for Cotten in his final years before she, herself, passed away in 2012 from natural causes at the age of 92. Though never a celebrated actress, Patricia Medina remained an alluring favorite among fans of B-movies from the 1950s and early '60s.
Born Patricia Paz Maria Medina in Liverpool, England on July 19, 1919, she was one of three daughters by a Spanish landowner father from the Canary Islands and an English mother. Raised outside of London in the town of Stanmore, she spent a lengthy period in Paris, where she became fluent in French, Spanish and Italian. After winning top prize in a magazine beauty contest sponsored by Warner Bros., she began acting in her teens, and made her screen debut with an uncredited turn in the mystery "Dinner at the Ritz" (1937) with David Niven. She then found steady work in British features, rising quickly from bit player and supporting roles to the lead in "Don't Take it to Heart" (1944), opposite Richard Greene, whom she married in 1941. Though a sophisticated presence on the screen, her appeal was largely due to her exotic visage, for which English PR reps named her as "the most beautiful face in the whole of England."
Following World War II, she and Greene left England for Hollywood, where she signed with MGM. Initially, she found herself back as a supporting player in "The Secret Heart" (1946) and "The Foxes of Harrow" (1947) with Rex Harrison. But where many of her former British co-stars moved into A-pictures, Medina became a picture of second-on-the-bill programmers like "Francis" (1950), the first entry in Universal's much-maligned Francis the Talking Mule franchise. Save for a supporting turn opposite James Stewart in "The Jackpot" (1950), she was a fixture of both costume dramas and adventures set in foreign locales like "Plunder in the Sun" (1953) with Glenn Ford and John Farrow's seafaring drama "Botany Bay" (1953) with James Mason and Alan Ladd. She also co-starred with actor Louis Hayward in a string of low-budget swashbucklers, including "Fortunes of Captain Blood" (1950) and "Captain Pirate" (1952).
By 1954, Medina tempered her film work with appearances in television anthology series. The following year, she appeared as the female lead in Orson Welles' ill-fated "Mr. Arkadin" (1955). Having divorced Greene in 1951, Medina married Joseph Cotten at the home of power couple David O. Selznick and Jennifer Jones in 1960. Both actors experienced something of a career downturn in the following decade, working largely on television and in low-budget features like "Snow White and the Three Stooges" (1961), which featured Medina as the evil Queen. She made her Broadway debut with Cotton in a 1962 production of "Calculated Risk," then returned to an almost exclusive run on television until 1968, when she portrayed a predatory lesbian dominatrix in Robert Aldrich's scandalous "The Killing of Sister George" (1968). The following year, she joined Cotten in Japan for "Latitude Zero" (1969), a ludicrous science fiction adventure produced by Toho Films, makers of the Godzilla film series. Medina retired from acting in 1978, and spent much of the next two decades caring for Cotten, who retired in 1981 following a stroke and a laryngectomy. His death in 1994 prompted her to write an autobiography, Laid Back in Hollywood, in 1998. Medina would herself die of natural causes at the age of 92 on April 28, 2012.