Frank Ockenfels 3/The CW
Supernatural is beginning its eighth season this October and the big question in my mind is: Is it going to get things right? The last we saw of it, the vast, vast, vast majority of angels had lost their grace and were plummeting to Earth while Dean and Sam could only look on in stunned silence. Misha Collins' Castiel, who had been recently bestowed series regular honors, is one of those now likely powerless angels on Earth. Will the show get off its track of its characters either immersed in self-pity or outright lying to each other?
Jared Padalecki's Sam is the one who was feeling quite sorry for himself last season, weighing down the show with what seemed like interminable flashbacks about a love that he found and then lost while Jensen Ackles' Dean was busy trying to survive in Purgatory.It got to the point where I was clenching my teeth when it became obvious they were going to do another one.
The thing that has always irritated me during the later seasons is the secrets the brothers keep from each other. Of course, it leads to something bad and one of them yelling at the other, "This almost ended the world! No more secrets!" Then it's like they get hit by the amnesia machine and DO IT AGAIN. I know that as seasons go by, things can get creatively stagnant. But I have hopes that this season will be a more refreshing one: the deus ex machina powers that the angels possess are gone, so maybe it'll be different.
What I'm hoping for is character development in both Dean and Sam. Dean has seemingly got it into his brain that he's nothing but a dumb grunt and that Sam has some vast intellect. (Guess who does the majority of the dumb things on the show, though. Go ahead, guess.) Sam has to get out of the whole self-pity mode.. and also let himself and his brother grow. They both have this weird symbiosis where one has to try to bring the other back down so they can be together rather than live separate lives.
I know that this show has some rabid fans, so arguing these points with them can be rather futile. I'll still be there watching the season premiere, so please put away those pitchforks. Leave them for the demons and devils on the show.
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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.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was so good, it almost poses a problem. That problem being, when the ape planet does eventually rise and overtake our oppressive human regime, it'll just seem kind of meh in comparison. But you know what won't seem kind of meh? The Rise of the Planet of the Apes Blu-ray and DVD, coming out on Dec. 13!
Andy Serkis, James Franco, John Lithgow, Freida Pinto, Tom Felton, Tyler Labine, Terry Notary, Karin Konoval and Brian Cox make Rupert Wyatt's new take on the classic series a wonderful ride.
And this ain't no monkey busin—um... tomfoolery. There is a hefty sum of intriguing special features (listed below the picture) to make you go bana—uh, moonstruck.
So stop futzin' around! Ape-proof your house, build up an immunity to the deadly pandemic, and make sure you hide all of your Draco Malfoy memorabilia. The best movie of the summer is coming out on Blu-ray and DVD, and the only question is...will you join the craze? Okay, maybe there is one more question.
Alpha Gets Shot Will's Meeting with Lab Assistants Will Discovers Caesar Has Solved Puzzles Caesar Plays with Bicycle Caesar Questions His Identity Caesar Bites Off Neighbors Finger Will Ignores the Risks of an Airborne Mutated Virus Rodney Gives Caesar a Cookie Rocket Gets Hosed by Dodge Caesar Destroys the Lab and Koba's Attempted Revenge on Jacobs Caesar Pushes Helicopter Koba with Shotgun Pre-vis for The Future
Capturing Caesar – Script to Screen
Studying the Genius of Andy Serkis
Multi-Angle: Rocket Cookie Scene
A New Generation of Apes
Breaking Motion Capture Boundaries
Breaking New Sound Barriers: The Music and Sound Design of Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Chimpanzee Gorilla Orangutan Audio Commentary by Director Rupert Wyatt
Audio Commentary by Writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver
Character Concept Art Gallery
Three Theatrical Trailers