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Total Recall

Thursday, Dec. 27 2012, 10:32 AM

Since making his debut with Reservoir Dogs 20 years ago, Quentin Tarantino has enjoyed one of the fastest-rising -- and consistently critically lauded -- careers of any director in modern Hollywood. He's back this weekend with the Jamie Foxx-led revenge fantasy Western Django Unchained, and the reviews are typically solid -- which means now is the perfect time to dedicate a feature to taking a fond look back at his earlier efforts. So cover the kids' ears and keep an eye on Marvin in the back seat, because this week, we're serving up Total Recall Tarantino style!

Wednesday, Dec. 19 2012, 04:20 PM

I grew up in a household that owned four Christmas albums -- Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Dean Martin, and the Boston Pops. And that was it. So part of what I enjoy about Christmas as an adult is the discovery of the vast thicket of vintage holiday music out there, from Pearl Bailey and Lena Horne to the Ray Conniff Singers and the Three Sons. Same deal with movies; I came of age in the 1970s, the golden era of It's a Wonderful Life being in the public domain and airing all day, every day, throughout the month of December. As I got older (and wrote the book Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas), I was delighted to find that I had as many new buried treasures among Christmas films as I've had with music.

Thursday, Dec. 06 2012, 01:17 PM

The rest of the heavy hitters Hollywood has planned for us in 2012 are being stored away until later in December, but Gerard Butler can't wait -- he's back in theaters this weekend with his latest rom-com, Playing for Keeps. Although its Tomatometer fate can probably be guessed by the fact that it isn't being screened for critics, don't feel too badly for Butler -- his filmography has plenty of critical highlights to fall back on, and this week's list offers proof. From period drama to family-friendly fantasy and bone-crunching action, he's stayed plenty busy over the last 15 years and change -- and now it's time to pay tribute, Total Recall style!

Tuesday, Nov. 20 2012, 07:54 PM

Over the course of his Academy Award-winning career, Ang Lee has crossed over from Taiwanese box office successes to American arthouse classics and Hollywood blockbusters, proving his hand with family drama, comedy, period pieces, epic martial arts action, romance, and even superheroes along the way. But up 'til now, he's never tried making a 3D adventure about a shipwrecked boy and his CGI tiger -- so in honor of this weekend's Certified Fresh Life of Pi, we decided to take a look back at Lee's wildly eclectic filmography, and came up with a list that has something for pretty much everyone. You know what that means: It's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Nov. 15 2012, 09:21 AM

For the last couple of years, Kristen Stewart has been The Twilight Saga's Bella Swan -- and the middle of one of the most hotly contested love triangles in recent pop culture history. The debate between Team Jacob and Team Edward reaches its senses-shattering conclusion this week, with the release of Breaking Dawn Part 2, but no matter which side you're on, there's no denying that Stewart's film career has always been about more than vampires and werewolves. Over the last decade, she's assembled a crowded, surprisingly eclectic filmography, and Breaking Dawn Part 2 is only one part of a busy year that also includes her turn in On the Road, debuting December 21; we decided to join in the fun by celebrating her work with this week's Total Recall. Without further ado, here are Kristen Stewart's best-reviewed movies!

Thursday, Nov. 08 2012, 03:21 PM

There aren't many actors who have the depth and sensitivity to carry indie fare and enough charisma to lead a blockbuster franchise, but with one foot in the art house and the other firmly planted at the multiplex, Daniel Craig is one star who can have his Layer Cake and eat it too. With his third Bond outing, Skyfall arriving in theaters this weekend, we decided now would be the perfect time to take a fresh look at some of his critical highlights. However, our list doesn't count a handful of brief appearances and cameo roles that are also worth checking out.

Thursday, Nov. 01 2012, 01:51 PM

Hollywood can't get enough of that state-of-the-art 3D CGI, but this weekend, Disney issues a proud tribute to our 8-bit past with the classic arcade throwback Wreck-It Ralph. If you're anything like us, Ralph's Q*Bert and King Koopa cameos will trigger long-buried arcade flashbacks, but even if you've never lost a quarter (or hours of your life) to a game, you've probably seen at least a few of the movies on our latest list. Yes, this week, we're paying tribute to movies whose plots hinge on video games, and you know what that means -- limber up your thumbs, because it's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Oct. 25 2012, 01:35 PM

Co-starring in a short-lived sitcom about cross-dressing friends generally isn't the most direct path to superstardom, but there's an exception to prove every rule -- only one, though; sorry, Peter Scolari -- and after racking up over $3 billion in domestic ticket receipts, winning a mantel full of awards (including back-to-back Best Actor Oscars), and starring in some of the best-reviewed films of the last 25 years, Tom Hanks has demonstrated that he's pretty darned exceptional. With his latest project, the Wachowski-engineered spectacle Cloud Atlas, arriving in theaters this weekend, we decided now was the perfect time to take another look at an impressive body of work by twirling the dials on the Tomatometer, making a list of Hanks' best-reviewed films, and playing Total Recall!

Thursday, Oct. 18 2012, 07:25 AM

Most American filmgoers didn't know who he was prior to The Professional in 1994, but Jean Reno was already a CÚsar-nominated titan of French cinema at that point -- and his filmography has only broadened in the nearly 20 years since, with comedies, dramas, and big-budget action pictures being added to the list along the way. With Reno making an appearance in this weekend's Alex Cross, we decided now would be the perfect time to take a look back at some of his brightest critical highlights, and you know what that means: It's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Oct. 11 2012, 04:00 AM

From junior soap star to Oscar-winning film actor, Saturday Night Live mainstay, and music video legend, Christopher Walken has carved out one of the most cheerfully inimitable career paths in Hollywood since making his screen debut nearly 60 years ago. This weekend, the amazingly prolific actor -- who's acted in nearly 30 films over the last 10 years alone -- pops up in Seven Psychopaths, so we decided to take the opportunity to take a fond look back at some of his most critically beloved performances. Break out your cowbells, it's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Oct. 04 2012, 04:37 PM

For 25 years and counting, Tim Burton has been one of the most successful directors in Hollywood -- and he's done it his way, presenting filmgoers with an ever-growing list of films that celebrate the strange and macabre, from comedies (Beetlejuice) to dramas (Big Fish) to thrillers (Sleepy Hollow), with a few stops for big-budget blockbuster fare along the way (Batman, Planet of the Apes). Heck, Burton's even proven his mettle as a director of animated fare (Corpse Bride) and served as a producer on at least one movie he didn't direct, but you probably thought he did (The Nightmare Before Christmas). This week, Burton brings his unique style to bear -- in 3-D, no less! -- on a feature-length, stop-motion animated expansion of his early short film Frankenweenie, and to celebrate, we decided to take a look back at his 10 best-reviewed films. Let's Total Recall, shall we?

Thursday, Sep. 27 2012, 02:51 PM

He's been a television star, recording artist, wine cooler pitchman, and Idaho real estate tycoon, but Bruce Willis is best known for his films -- and his latest, this weekend's Looper, looks to be one of the most critically renowned of the year. Not too shabby for a guy who's been cranking out movies for 25 years -- and whose filmography includes some of the most beloved hits of the last quarter century. In honor of this latest achievement, we decided now would be the perfect time to take another fond look back at some of Mr. Willis' brightest critical highlights, and you know what that means... yippee-ki-yay, it's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Sep. 20 2012, 03:56 AM

He's done some pretty terrific work as a director -- in fact, we devoted a previous Total Recall to it -- but for our money, there's nothing quite like seeing Clint Eastwood squint and growl in front of the camera, so when we saw that he'd be starring opposite Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake in this weekend's Trouble with the Curve, we knew what we needed to do. If you like your guns big, your action mean, and your protagonists strong and silent, this list is for you. Do you feel like Total Recall? Well, do ya, punk?

Thursday, Sep. 13 2012, 03:00 PM

Sequels! We love to complain about them, but clearly, we can't get enough of 'em -- or at least that's the message we keep sending at the box office, where they seem to take up a greater percentage of the grosses every year. Of course, nothing lasts forever, and when it comes to film franchises, the audience's fondness for the characters tends to run out around the third film -- but there are some notable exceptions, such as the Resident Evil series, which makes its fifth(!) trip to the big screen this weekend with Resident Evil: Retribution. In honor of this momentous achievement, we decided to take a look at other fifth installments, and came up with a list that's more impressive (and less reliant on horror sequels) than you might think. One, two, three, four, five: this Total Recall's working overtime!

Thursday, Sep. 06 2012, 01:57 PM

In this weekend's The Words, Bradley Cooper plays a struggling young writer who stumbles across a terrific unpublished manuscript and makes the fateful decision to pass it off as his own -- an impulsively dishonest act that brings him the career success he's dreamed of, but triggers major consequences along the way. Of course, Cooper's character isn't the first to pretend to be something he isn't -- and with that in mind, we decided to dedicate this week's list to some of the many noteworthy plagiarists, imposters, liars, and frauds from films of the past. Lock up your valuables and don't believe everything you're told, because it's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Aug. 30 2012, 06:37 AM

Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy are the stars of this weekend's Prohibition drama Lawless, and we don't have anything against either of them -- but we're just as intrigued by the involvement of a certain Mr. Gary Oldman, whose (by most accounts too-brief) appearance adds another chapter to one of Hollywood's most fascinating careers. From indie flicks to blockbuster franchises, Oldman's done it all, and we knew we couldn't pass up the opportunity to look back on some of his filmography's brightest critical highlights. It's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Aug. 23 2012, 03:18 PM

Like the Pink Floyd song says, "I've got a bike/You can ride it if you like." With Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who was the subject of his very own Total Recall recently) pedaling like crazy for this weekend's Premium Rush, we decided now would be the perfect time to peer into the cinematic past and find some other pedal-powered films. It's probably no surprise that bicycles aren't exactly the greatest source of screenwriting inspiration, but that doesn't mean there haven't been a few noteworthy entries in the genre -- and besides, it's hard to complain when a list gives us the opportunity to write about Rad. Grab your helmet -- it's time for Total Recall!

Thursday, Aug. 16 2012, 11:57 AM

He's been a bodybuilder, a bricklayer, a politician, and a restaurateur -- but for our purposes, Arnold Schwarzenegger has always been at his best when he's blowing stuff up in front of a camera, so it's with great enthusiasm that we greet his return to action in this weekend's The Expendables 2. Sure, Arnie isn't really the star of the movie, but with his political career putting his acting ambitions on hold for most of the last decade, we haven't had many chances to celebrate his greatness, and we couldn't resist taking the opportunity here. It's not a tumor, it's Total Recall!

Thursday, Aug. 09 2012, 12:52 PM

Since making his big-screen debut in Love Story more than 40 years ago, Tommy Lee Jones has carved out one of the most eclectic, idiosyncratic career paths in Hollywood, going from soap opera star to cinematic leading man -- and appearing in an impressive array of critical and commercial successes along the way. He helped kick off the summer of 2012 with Men in Black 3, and now, with this week's decidedly more mature Hope Springs, he's helping usher it out; in appreciation of his efforts, we decided to dedicate this week's list to some of the many critical highlights from Jones' distinguished filmography. Get ready to squint into the distance and give us your best world-weary sigh, because it's time to Total Recall, Tommy Lee Jones style!

Thursday, Aug. 02 2012, 12:49 PM

After many months of examining cinematic history under the Total Recall banner, our column meets its destiny this week with the release of Len Wiseman's Total Recall remake. Of course, we knew we needed to dedicate this week's list to recall -- specifically, movies featuring protagonists who have lost their memory. Amnesia is a popular topic for filmmakers, leaving us with enough material to make this a special super-sized edition that features examples from pretty much every genre -- and we're still sure we managed to (ahem) "forget" at least one of your favorites. It's the total partial recall you've been waiting for!


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