As many movie lovers are frequently wont to complain, Hollywood's been on a recycling binge for quite awhile now, with studios raiding the vaults for films and franchises that they can dust off for a new generation. Whether you call them remakes, reboots, or re-imaginings, they're ever more common -- but what's slightly less common is to see one of them getting a sequel, so when Wrath of the Titans popped up on the schedule for this weekend, we thought it might be fun to take a look back at some other examples of movies whose do-overs were popular enough to warrant a follow-up. Get ready to see a lot of Steve Martin, because it's time to Total Recall -- requel style!
Jennifer Lawrence hits the ground running this weekend with The Hunger Games, carrying a teen-friendly franchise-in-waiting that Hollywood's hoping will pick up where Harry Potter (and, later this year, Twilight) left off. And as a contestant in the titular games, she also joins a long film tradition of protagonists playing fictional sports -- one we decided would be perfect to discuss in this week's list. From action to fantasy, comedy to drama, it's time to play some fake games... Total Recall style! We've got BASEketball, Death Race, Quidditch, Rollerball, and plenty more cinematic athletic competitions that you should definitely not try at home!
When Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum take to the screen with 21 Jump Street this weekend, it will mark the first time a television series that once starred Richard Grieco has ever been turned into a movie. But that doesn't mean this adaptation is wholly without precedent -- from cops to spies to bootleggers and everything in between, action series like Jump Street have been crossing over to the big screen for decades, and this week, we're holstering our weapons, revving our tricked-out custom wheels, and striking a series of "spontaneous" poses during the opening credits before we count down some noteworthy examples of TV action heroes who got their own movies. It's time for Total Recall!
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Mar. 07 2012, 04:20 PM
It's Taylor Kitsch's handsome mug that's plastered all over the John Carter trailers and posters, but he isn't going to Mars all by his lonesome this weekend -- he's surrounded by a great supporting cast that includes Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Haden Church, Dominic West, and... drum roll, please... two-time Academy Award nominee Willem Dafoe, whose appearance as the brave Barsoomian warrior Tars Tarkas was just the excuse we needed to devote this week's list to the critical highlights from one of the more admirably eclectic filmographies among today's working actors. Action blockbusters, dramas, even animation -- as we're about to demonstrate. It's time for Total Recall!
Danny DeVito has been in a pair of long-running sitcoms, produced and directed some major hit movies, and turned in notable cameos in some of the most critically adored films of all time (including One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Terms of Endearment) -- and all those achievements don't even include most of his filmography, which expands this week to include his turn as the grumpy title character in The Lorax. Clearly, it's high time that we paid him tribute, and that's exactly why we decided to (ahem) DeVote this list to the irascible, irrepressible Mr. DeVito. It's time for Total Recall!
Much has been made of the fact that when this year's Best Picture Oscar nominees were announced, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close -- currently sporting a rather sad 45 percent on the Tomatometer -- ended up making the cut. All that consternation got us to thinking about previous Best Picture nominees that ended up on the Rotten end of the spectrum -- and made us wonder where Extremely fit on the list of movies that the Academy enjoyed more than the critics. So is it the worst Best Picture nominee of all time? Read on to find out -- it's time for an all-rotten, all-Oscar Total Recall!
Nicolas Cage and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance might be getting most of the press this week, but for animation lovers, it's no contest -- the biggest release of the week is The Secret World of Arrietty, Studio Ghibli's spin on the classic children's book The Borrowers. Stateside fans have been waiting for Arrietty to reach these shores since the movie came out in Japan way back in July of 2010, and to celebrate its arrival, we're taking a fond look back at every other Ghibli movie that's received an American release. Get ready for lots of strange creatures, magic spells, and mysterious journeys -- it's time for Total Recall!
Ready or not, it's time for another 3D Journey. Only this time instead of Brendan Fraser making his way to the center of the earth, we've got Dwayne Johnson muscling to the shores of The Mysterious Island in the company of Michael Caine, Vanessa Hudgens, and the inimitable Luis Guzmán -- who's been stealing scenes throughout his career, and now gets his first chance to upstage some giant bees. In honor of Luis' latest role, we decided to dedicate this week's list to some of the best films in a résumé filled with memorable moments. It's time for Total Recall!
Superhero movies, how do they work? For decades, the only answer seemed to be "license a popular comic book franchise, then add cheesy special effects and loads of camp," but there were occasional exceptions to the rule -- and over the last decade and change, a growing number of filmmakers have gone beyond corny humor and F/X flash to explore other areas of the superhero mythos. With the found-footage/superhero hybrid Chronicle heading to theaters this weekend, we decided now would be the perfect time to draw up a supersized list of other non-traditional entries in the genre. We hope you're ready to take flight, because it's time for Total Recall!
A prolific character actor with leading-man chops and four Oscar nominations under his belt, Ed Harris has been entertaining audiences for decades -- so when we saw his name in the credits for Man on a Ledge, we knew exactly what we needed to do with this week's list. From supporting parts to leading roles, from action to comedy to drama, Harris has done just about everything -- and done it well. The Tomatometer agrees, giving us a top 10 that bottoms out at an impressive 87 percent. Which of your favorites made the cut? It's time to find out, Total Recall style!
With some directors, you pretty much always know what you're going to get (paging Michael Bay to the red awesome button next to the white courtesy phone); with others, you can depend on certain stylistic sensibilities regardless of the genre they're exploring (come on down, Danny Boyle!). And then there's Steven Soderbergh: restless, eclectic, award-winning, and equally at home in the arthouse and the megaplex. With Haywire, Soderbergh is aiming squarely for the latter, but bringing his own unique style to the ever-popular action genre -- and making this week's Total Recall the perfect place to look back at some of his brightest critical highlights!
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Jan. 11 2012, 04:02 PM
Having a hard time shaking off the post-holiday blues? Alcon Entertainment has just the thing for you: Joyful Noise, the Queen Latifah/Dolly Parton musical drama about a newly instated small-town choir director (Latifah) whose battles with the former director's widow (Parton) threaten to derail the choir's performance in the annual Joyful Noise competition. In other words, we'll get to see a rafter-raising musical number in the final act -- which means we had no choice but to dedicate this week's feature to a look back at some other movies that culminated in a Really Big Show. Whether they're saving the orphanage or chasing a dream, the characters in these films have one thing in common: they all ended up on stage. Take your seats and turn off your cell phones, because it's time for Total Recall!
Beelzebub. Ol' Scratch. The Lord of Darkness. The Dark Prince. The devil has no shortage of nicknames -- and no shortage of opportunities on the big screen, where he's surfaced repeatedly over the years, adding a dash of brimstone to some of our favorite (and not-so-favorite) dramas, comedies, and horror flicks. With the supernatural mockumentary The Devil Inside wending its way into theaters this weekend, we decided now would be a fine time to take a look back at some of Lucifer's previous adventures in Hollywood. Grab your Bible and unbutton your coat -- just in time for the January winter chill, it's time for a devilishly super-sized Total Recall!
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Dec. 28 2011, 02:28 PM
She's earned seven Golden Globes, a pair of Oscars, two Emmys, and a Tony nomination -- almost a real-life EGOT! -- but Meryl Streep has somehow never gotten the Total Recall treatment. We're rectifying that this week, in honor of Meryl's star turn as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, Phyllida Lloyd's biopic about the former British Prime Minister that seems primed for a busy awards season run. From comedies to dramas, Meryl's done it all -- and tried on countless accents along the way. Let's take a look at the best-reviewed films from her illustrious career, Total Recall style!
After six years, Cameron Crowe has finally delivered his (non-doc, non-music video) follow-up to Elizabethtown -- and he's brought with him an impeccable cast that includes Matt Damon, Thomas Haden Church, Elle Fanning, and... drum roll please... the subject of this week's feature, Scarlett Johansson! A multiple Golden Globe nominee, tabloid fixture, and object of desire for a sizable segment of the population, Johansson stars opposite Damon in We Bought a Zoo as a character who may nor may not be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. We aren't sure yet -- but we do know we like Scarlett, and it's about time we paid tribute to some of her finer film moments. Let's go Total Recall!
by Jeff Giles
on Wednesday, Dec. 14 2011, 03:55 PM
This weekend, Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law return to theaters in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, reuniting the duo that sleuthed up more than $520 million in worldwide box office receipts during their 2009 debut. But it isn't just Robert and Jude who deserve credit for all this blockbuster detecting -- there's a whole team behind Hollywood's latest incarnation of Holmes and Watson, including director Guy Ritchie and screenwriters Kieran and Michele Mulroney (not to mention the characters' creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). But today, we're here to pay tribute to someone else: Joel Silver, a co-producer on the Holmes franchise and someone whose instinct for developing major movie hits has made him one of the industry's most sought-after talents for the last 30 years. You know his name, you've seen it on the credits of countless films, and now it's time to take a look at some of the most critically successful of the bunch. It's time for Total Recall!
The words "from the makers of Valentine's Day" may not fill you with excitement, but judging from the star-studded cast of Garry Marshall's New Year's Eve, most of Hollywood felt differently: this weekend's biggest wide release features a Who's Who of famous faces, including Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Abigal Breslin, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Hilary Swank. Naturally, we knew we had to dedicate this week's list to New Year's Eve movies. Those of you with sharp memories may remember that we did a New Year's Eve list just a couple of years ago, but as a number of commenters were all too happy to remind us at the time, it only scratched the surface -- so here's another batch of films for your 12/31-centric viewing pleasure. From comedies to dramas, from sci-fi to romance, there's something here for cineastes of all tastes. Let's watch the ball drop together, Total Recall style!
In order to help differentiate between high art and cheap thrills, the MPAA introduced the NC-17 in 1990, and although it hasn't done anything to improve the box office prospects of films receiving the rating, it has given an alternative to filmmakers who want to create challenging and/or provocative movies for grown-ups without dealing with the "rated X" stigma. With Steve McQueen's Shame heading for limited release this weekend (and already courting controversy), we decided now would be the perfect time to pay tribute to the NC-17. Get ready for plenty of skin, violence, and broken taboos -- and bring your ID, because it's time for an adults-only Total Recall!
The Muppets isn't the only movie opening this week -- but it might as well be, at least for a generation of filmgoers who grew up watching Kermit and his pals on The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and at the movies. For a lot of people, the Muppets really mean something, and although nobody can reasonably expect the new Jason Segel-led Muppet movie to truly recapture the franchise's original magic, it seems like an awful lot of us are rooting for it to come close. (If the advance reviews are any indication, The Muppets will mark a very welcome return indeed.) In honor of all this Muppet love, we decided to spend this week's Total Recall paying tribute to the guy who brought them to life way back in the 1950s: writer, director, performer, and puppeteer Jim Henson. Although his role fluctuated from film to film, Henson's presence can be solidly felt in every Muppet-related movie -- even the ones made after his untimely death in 1990 -- and together, they form an enduring tribute to the power of imagination. Let's play the music, let's light the lights... it's time for Total Recall!