MOV120: “Suck It, Douchebag!”

In this episode of COL Movies it’s a veritable world tour as the boys head around the globe. First, it’s off to Hong Kong where the boys head back in time to check out the 1993 martial arts super-heroine film, “The Heroic Trio”. From there we’re back in the USA where we head to NYC to see how the bike messengers operate in “Premium Rush”. Finally we’re off to jolly old England to review the trailer for the much anticipated Bond film, “Skyfall” (not to be confused with that piece of junk, “Skyline”). All this and news about the upcoming film adaptation of the “Metal Gear Solid” game, more “Robocop” stuff, and how you might be able to catch “The Avengers” on the big screen again if you missed it the first time around. All this and more on this 120th reel of COL Movies – “Suck it, Douchebag!”

News:

The Past: The Heroic Trio (1992)
Rotten Tomatoes 88% Fresh; 61% Audience

Director: Johnnie To

Staring: Michelle Yeoh, Anita Mui, Maggie Cheung

Trivia:

  • The film has a huge cult following
  • Maggie Cheung was a recent Miss Hong Kong when she filmed the movie.
  • Anita Mui died in 2003 from cervical cancer after a long movie and singing career, through which she earned the moniker “The Madonna of Asia” for being very controversial with her content.
  • Lots of comparisons are made to this and the McG movie, “Charlie’s Angels”

Talking Points:

  • What the hell did I just watch?
  • Did they just blow up a sewer full of babies?

What We Learned:

  • Chinese superhero movies can be really wacky!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: *blink, blink, blink* What did I just watch? Wait, there’s a sequel? Why did Michelle Yoeh do this movie? /cry. Plus side, Retrograde is still worse.
Ray: I love me some old Kung Fu / martial arts movies..many of hours of my childhood were wasted watching Samurai Sunday! Something about this just didn’t hold up… Maybe back in 1993 this would have been more entertaining to me, but something about the production comes off like a bad 80’s kung fu soft core porno, I can see why people seem to like this though.There are plenty of unintentionally funny moments. So maybe
Steve: I always remembered seeing this movie and wondered what other people would think. It’s fantastical, of course – but an interesting play on female superheros. It’s a movie where you have to just let go and enjoy the ride.

The Present: Premium Rush
Rotten Tomatoes 74% Fresh; 70% Audience

Director: David Koepp

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez

Trivia:

  • While filming, Joseph Gordon-Levitt rode his bike into a cab and smashed into the rear windshield, shattering it. He managed to block his face with his arms and needed 31 stitches on the right. Despite the large amount of blood streaming down his arm, he thought it was “f**king cool.” He took responsibility saying, “No, but it was my fault, I was going too fast.” Footage after the accident is shown in the end credits before the cast is listed.
  • Premium Rush was shot simultaneously as “Triple Rush” the TV docu-reality series about bike messengers in NY was wrapping up. And many of the stunt doubles and characters from the underground TV series appear in the movie
  • Bobby Monday’s use of the alias Forrest J Ackerman is a tribute to the real Forey Ackerman, noted (literary) science fiction and horror movie fan and memorabilia collector (and coiner of the term “sci fi” (1959)). He appeared in 48 movies in either bit parts or cameos, represented Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and even Hugo Gernsbeck (the “Hugo” after which the award is named) as their literary agent, and was widely regarded as a first-person source of historical veritas within Hollywood (due to his personal relationships with the the likes of Vincent Price, Karloff, and George Pal), and the Science Fiction community (see above).
  • Although some of the scenes are filmed at Columbia Law School, as stated in the movie, most of the interior and exterior scenes supposedly there are actually filmed in Lerner Hall (the student center).

Talking Points:

  • Does the film send a mixed message about illegal human trafficking?
  • “Sherlock Holmes” moments
  • 90% riding, about 10% dialogue
  • The Asian Bodyguards – woofy!

Critic Notes

  • Positives: The pace doesn’t give you much time to think about plausibility; The riding is thrilling through realistic NYC traffic; Not that it’s exactly Shakespeare, but it is entertaining; Michael Shannon is definitely a memorable bad guy; an adrenaline rush
  • Negatives: (not many negatives) Writers should have “put on the brakes”; Too cartoonish and unbelievable; Just never comes together because of a lack of consistent tone; While interesting, it just gets repetitive

What We Learned:

  • You can’t be zen if you’re wearing a gold chain.
  • Snorting Ritalin makes taking the Bar Exam a cakewalk
  • Brakes are death
  • The Hawala settles it’s own problems
  • The city is not your village.
  • The Bike wants to go fast.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I was never sure exactly what to expect in this movie but did seem like it would at least be somewhat fun. Wow, it was better then I thought it would be. The bike riding gave me a similar feeling to Run Lola Run. It was exciting at times but the bad guy was just annoying. But that could have also been the point. See it as a Matinee or wait for DVD.
Ray: Went in with really low expectations, but ended up really enjoying it. Is it as smart as everyone has been saying? Production wise for sure.. not so sure that the story is all that smart, but it’s not bad for a turn your brain off and enjoy the ride kinda flick. Great for a $5 Matinee
Steve: I didn’t think I would like this, but I have to admit that I wound up really enjoying it. I liked seeing it in the theater for the feeling as though I was watching it in one of those video rollercoaster rides. I don’t know how much I cared for the whole “cops are stupid or murderers” vibe, but I got how it was part of the plot.

The Future: Skyfall

Release: November 9, 2012

Director: Sam Mendes

Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Judi Dench

Summary:

Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost

Talking Points:

  • How big of a bond fan are you?
  • Does it feel like a blend of Bond and Bourne?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: It’s Bond. There’s no reason why I wouldn’t see this. I’m excited for the new Q.
Ray: Sort of torn.. I like Daniel Craig, and i loved Casino Royale.. but Quantum was a big stinker for me… I’m hoping for good things though. I’ve seen almost every Bond flick multiple times.. even if this wasn’t already on the list I know I would see it eventually.
Steve: Comes off a bit of Bond and Bourne mixed. I’ve never been a super Bond fan, but this one does seem like I’d be more interested because it’s not the standard “Bond’s on a case” type film.

The Past: Noises Off!

The Present: Lawless

The Future: Wreck-It Ralph

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MOV119: “So, you were havin’ sex with the little fellow, then”

On this next reel of COL Movies we take a trip back to 1987 via the 1996 critically acclaimed “Fargo” Whats our take on what some would call a Coen Brother Masterpiece? Do we think it’s deserving of all it’s praise or better off getting run through the wood chipper? Next up we come back to the present to look at “ParaNorman” a 3D stop motion puppetry extravaganza brought to us by the creators of the much loved 2009 film “Coraline” Has lightning struck twice? or is this movie and it’s viewers cursed to a slow agonizing death? Last but certainly not least we Look ahead to this November’s upcoming Kung-Fu blood-letting of “The Man with the Iron Fists” Is this RZA directed martial arts epic getting us excited to head to the theaters? All that plus updated casting news on Robocop, and Interesting Rumor about John Travolta’s next project and some possible comic book ensemble action in store for the Wachowskies. All this and more on the next COL Movies reel 119, “So, you were havin’ sex with the little fellow, then”

News:

The Past: Fargo (1996)
Rotten Tomatoes 94% Fresh 91% Audience

Director: Joel Coen

Staring: Frances McDormand, William H, Macy, Steve Buscemi

Trivia:

  • When working on her Minnesota accent for the film, Frances McDormand worked with Larissa Kokernot, “Hooker #1.” McDormand referred to her accent and mannerisms as “Minnesota Nice.”
  • The region was experiencing its second-warmest winter in 100 years. Filming of outdoor scenes had to be moved all over Minnesota, North Dakota, and Canada.
  • In the kidnappers’ cabin, Bruce Campbell can be seen on the fuzzy TV screen. Bruce Campbell was in the Coen Brothers’ The Hudsucker Proxy and has been in various films by Coen buddy Sam Raimi. The footage was not shot for this film, but was actually old footage of a regional soap opera in which Campbell appeared.
  • The seal for the Brainerd police department has a silhouette of Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox.
  • Approaching Brainerd from the south, you see a statue of Paul Bunyan with a sign reading “Welcome to Brainerd.” In reality, Brainerd has no such statue. Paul Bunyan Amusement Park, located just outside Brainerd, had a huge statue of Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. The park is now at ‘This Old Farm,’ between Brainerd and Garrison.
  • In the Lundegaard’s house, the magazine rack by the toilet holds a Playboy magazine. It’s visible when Jerry comes back home and sees the aftermath of the kidnapping.
  • William H. Macy begged the directors for the role of Jerry Lundegaard. He did two readings for the part, and became convinced he was the best man for the role. When the Coens didn’t get back to him, he flew to New York (where they were starting production) and said, “I’m very, very worried that you are going to screw up this movie by giving this role to somebody else. It’s my role, and I’ll shoot your dogs if you don’t give it to me.” He was joking, of course.
  • None of the movie scenes, either exterior or interior, were actually filmed in Fargo. The bar exterior shown at the beginning of the movie is located in Northeast Minneapolis.
  • William H. Macy stated in an interview that, despite evidence to the contrary, he did hardly any ad-libbing at all. Most of his character’s stuttering mannerisms were written in the script exactly the way he does them in the film.
  • Jerry Lundegaard’s last name comes from Bob Lundegaard, movie critic for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune from 1973-1986.
  • The reference to “Midwest Federal… talk to ol’ Bill Diehl” is a nod to film critic Bill Diehl, who wrote for the St. Paul Pioneer Press-Dispatch and interviewed the Coen Brothers shortly after the release of Blood Simple..
  • The airplane seen just before Carl goes to the airport parking lot to steal a license plate, is a Northwest DC-9.
  • The irate customer’s name is Bucky (you can hear his wife say his name under her breath).
  • The role of Carl Showalter was written specifically for Steve Buscemi.
  • The duck paintings briefly shown in the Gunderson home were painted by “those Hautmanns,” who are close friends of the Coen brothers. These three brothers frequently win federal and state wildlife stamp competitions.
  • The snow plow that drives past the motel at the end of the film was not part of the script. Signs in the area warned motorists not to drive through due to filming, but a state employee ignored them.
  • The film is not actually “Based on a true story”. The Coens later admitted that they added that disclaimer so the viewer would be more willing to suspend disbelief in the story. (An urban legend even says that people have gone to search Minnesota for the briefcase of money.) While the specific crimes in the movie didn’t happen, the plot has elements of two well-known Minnesota crimes. In 1962, a St. Paul attorney named Eugene Thompson hired someone to kill his wife, Carol. Unbeknownst to Thompson, his man hired someone else to do the job. The second man fatally wounded Mrs. Thomspon in her house, but she managed to escape him. She went to a neighbor’s house for help while her assailant fled the scene. The sloppiness and brutality of the crime attracted great attention. The murderers were quickly caught and gave up Thompson, who denied knowing anything about the crime for many years afterward. In 1972, Virginia Piper, the wife of a wealthy Orono banker, was kidnapped. A million-dollar ransom was paid, one of the largest in U.S. history. Mrs. Piper was found tied to a tree in a state park. Two men were convicted of the crime, but were acquitted after a re-trial. One of them later went on a shooting spree after his wife left him, killing her, their 5-year-old son, her son from a previous marriage, her new boyfriend, and one of his sons. Only $4,000 of the money was ever recovered.
  • Joel Coen had Frances McDormand and John Carroll Lynch conceive a back-story for their characters to get the feel of them. They decided that Norm and Marge met while working on the police force, and when they were married, they had to choose which one had to quit. Since Marge was a better officer, Norm quit and took up painting.
  • The morning talk show hosts on the TV right before Mrs. Lundegaard are kidnapped were actual Minnesota morning talk show hosts for many years during the 80s and early 90s. They hosted a show called “Good Company”.
  • About thirty minutes into the film when Peter Stormare’s character Gaear Grimsrud chases after the eyewitnesses in the car, he says, “Jävla fitta!” which in Swedish means ‘fucking c*nt!’
  • A Danish band called “Diefenbach” has taken their name from the character Riley Diefenbach in this movie.
  • All of the scenes that show Margie (Frances McDormand) with her husband Norm (John Carroll Lynch), they are either eating or lying in bed.
  • During the interview process at the Blue Ox where Frances McDormand interviews Melissa Peterman “Hooker #2”, she mentioned she’s from Le Sueur (MN) but amplifies her answer to include the high school she attended in White Bear Lake (MN). White Bear Lake Area High School (complete with bear mascot – “Go Bears”), formerly White Bear Lake Mariner High, is approximately 75 miles northeast of Le Sueur but significantly closer to Chaska (MN); the birthplace of Larissa Kokernot “Hooker #1” and the probable rationale behind the erroneous association. Although, Hooker #2 never says that White Bear Lake is near Le Sueur.
  • In the scene where Margie asks about the Blue Ox trucker’s stop she says it’s off I-35. In reality I-35 is over 80 miles to the east of Brainerd.
  • There is an enormous amount of pig statuettes, and little pig adorns scattered around Jerry’s house.
  • Bruce Paltrow and Robert Palm wrote a 1997 pilot for a proposed TV series featuring the characters of Marge Gunderson and Officer Lou. It eventually made it to TV as Fargo.
  • When Jerry meets Wade and Stan to discuss the ransom, the restaurant muzak system is playing “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione.
  • ‘Frances Mcdormand’ wore a “pregnancy pillow” filled with birdseed to simulate her pregnant belly. She says that she didn’t deliberately try to move in a “pregnant” way, it simply came as a natural response to keeping the extra weight balanced.
  • Peter Stormare had regretted turning down the Coen Brothers for a role in Miller’s Crossing, and so was glad when they offered him a role in this film.
  • Early in the movie Wade is watching a University of Minnesota hockey game. At one point an announcer can be heard saying “goal by Ranheim” and the TV shows the Gophers playing Wisconsin. The goal scorer would be Paul Ranheim, who scored 88 goals for Wisconsin from 1984 to 1988 and later played in the National Hockey League with Calgary, Hartford/Carolina, Philadelphia, and Phoenix.
  • Director Trademark
  • Joel Coen: [Stanley Kubrick] Carl says he’s in town for “just a little of the ol’ in-and-out,” a reference to A Clockwork Orange. When Carl and Gaear are driving outside Minneapolis, the song ‘These Boots are Made for Walkin’ can be heard on the radio, a reference to Full Metal Jacket, which features the same song.
  • Spoilers
  • The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
  • Fuck” and its derivatives are said 75 times, mostly by Carl Showalter. He says 10 of these during the scene where Steve Buscemi shoots Harve Presnell.
  • Body count- 7 (the state trooper, the 2 passers-by, Wade Gustafson, the parking-lot attendant, Jean Lundegaard, and Carl Showalter)
  • Although Frances McDormand’s character is the film’s central role, she does not appear on the screen until over 33 minutes (or 1/3) into the film.
  • Despite hints to the contrary at the time of the film’s release and in the closing credits, Prince does not play the Victim in the Field; this is J. Todd Anderson, who was actually a storyboard artist on the film. This was yet another Coen Brothers in-joke, since Prince was a famous native of Minneapolis, Minnesota. To further muddle matters, this moment in the film was memorialized in a “Snow-Globe” promotion included with a special edition version of the DVD, subtly hinting that the dead victim in the snow was a famous cameo.
  • The opening scene contains what might be a hint at the coming mayhem. In the bar scene, there are seven open beer bottles on the table and the body count by the end of the movie is seven. Empty beer bottles are often called “dead soldiers”. Also, Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) is finishing the last beer, number seven, and he is the seventh one killed in the movie.

Talking Points:

  • What do you think makes this movie resonate so strongly with critics.
  • Favorite Character

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Great characters; interesting plot; fun murder mystery with blundering crooks and cops; unique take on the genre
  • Negatives: too low browed, just poking fun at Minnesotan accents – just do the movie; the characters didn’t have enough punch to love or hate them

What We Learned:

  • Second hand smoke is cancerated
  • Steve Beuscemi is funny lookin in a general kinda way.
  • Woodchippers are not the most discrete way to dispose of a body.
  • Theres more to life than a little money, ya know.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Well, ya know, this is one of those movies with a bunch of start and stopping and hiding and such. The only really character I liked in this movie was Marge. I really would have preferred to seen a version of this movie that was just her story and leaved the rest out of it.
Ray: It’s a quirky dark “comedy” that certainly isn’t for everyone. If you are a fan of the crime drama though you should definitely take a look at this. Some people cant seem to process the way this movie combines some over the top ideas with a matter of fact delivery, I on the other hand love it.
Steve: I love this movie. It has some intellectual moments where you have to look past the strange looking and/or sounding characters. It’s a solid “this could happen anywhere” type movie – which is the whole point.

The Present: ParaNorman
Rotten Tomatoes 87% Fresh, 80% Audience

Director: Chris Butler, Sam Fell

Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Casey Affleck, John Goodman

Trivia:

  • The film was shot using a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR Camera. To generate the 3D effects, the camera was mounted on a special rig that would take one shot, then slide to a slightly different viewpoint to take another shot.
  • The film company Laika used 3D printers to generate all of the different faces needed for the characters.
  • During the last few weeks leading up to the film’s release, Laika sent 49 packages to 49 people (including Neil Gaiman and Kevin Smith). Each package consisted of a wooden crate from “Blithe Hollow” full of “grave dirt” which recipients had to dig through to unearth a coffin. Inside the coffin was one of the seven cursed zombies, complete with background information and name.
  • Save for Judge Hopkins, the seven cursed zombies are not referred to by name, but they did have names: the aforementioned Judge Hopkins, Eben Hardwick, Thaddeus Blackton, Lemuel Spalding, Amelia Wilcot, Goodie Temper, and Wile London.

Talking Points:

  • The dying art of stop motion?
  • Why was this movie not released at Halloween? Should that matter?
  • “Your gonna love my boyfriend”
  • Bullying message

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Good for them for taking on a scary concept; Good for adults and kids; Visually stunning; Laika has the market cornered on stop motion
  • Negatives: Too slow; too many holes in the plot; relied too much on the look and story wasn’t as interesting

What We Learned:

  • Sometimes people say mean things when they are afraid
  • There is nothing wrong with being scared as long as you don’t let it change who you are.
  • Firing guns at civilians is the Police’s job

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Ooo, this was a delightful fun movie. The plot is not really told at all in the trailer, kinda reminded me of the Brave situation but not quite. The animation was amazing, the voice acting spectacular, the story was . . . okay. I think it’s worth seeing in the theater. 3D not a requirement.
Ray: While I felt the movie was gorgeous to look at I felt somewhat disappointed by this film, although I did like the overall message of the movie. It could just be that I went to see it after only getting a couple hours of sleep, but I had a hard time staying awake. As a warning I think this may be a little too dark and scary for some younger viewers, the PG rating is there for a reason folks! Oh and I would say skip the 3D.. it’s not necessary for this one. I think I need to get a few more hours of sleep and go see it again.
Steve: I really wanted to love it. However, I only liked it. It looked amazing, but I think the story itself lacked somewhere.

The Future: The Man With The Iron Fists

Release: November 2, 2012

Director: RZA

Starring: Russel Crowe, Cung Le, Lucy Liu

Summary:

In feudal China, a blacksmith who makes weapons for a small village is put in the position where he must defend himself and his fellow villagers.

Talking Points:

  • Not a whole lot…lol

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Quentin Tarantino involvement, lots of over the top violence, magic-ish armor. I’m sold. Not expecting amazing movie but super fun to watch.
Ray: Possibly one of the most over the top, ridiculous trailers I have seen in a great many years….. I’m so there!
Steve: Clearly, Quentin Tarantino is only making self-indulgent movies these days. I’m not sure about the whole mixing of hip-hop and martial arts, but Batista looks hot! Any Lucy Liu, always awesome!

The Past: The Heroic Trio

The Present: Premium Rush

The Future: Skyfall

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MOV118: “I Aim To Misbehave”

In this reel of COL Movies, Ray and Jeff lament again for the missing Steven. When, WHEN will he come back. In the meantime they discuss the ever Shiny Firefly movie, Serenity. After a bit of reminiscing on show that never should have ended, they bring themselves to the present for The Bourne Legacy. In the future, they take a peak at Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. This and . . . and . . . well nothing else. It’s the 118th reel of COL Movies “I Aim To Misbehave”

The Past: Serenity
Rotten Tomatoes 82% Fresh 89% Audience

Director: Joss Whedon

Staring: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Morena Baccarin, Sean Maher, Ron Glass, Summer Glau, Jewel Staite

Trivia:

  • When the Operative reviews Mal’s file, it shows his birth date as 9/20/2468. Firefly premiered 9/20/2002. Writer/producer Ben Edlund’ was born 9/20/1968.
  • According to Adam Baldwin, Jayne’s mini-gun is nicknamed “Lux”, after LuxLucre, devoted fan Kerry Pearson’s message board handle. Pearson, who died of complications of diabetes, was best known for creating fan art featuring characters from Firefly in a South Park cartoon style.
  • In the cargo bay, just after a Reaver is shot, some of the crates behind River have the message “Reusable Container: Do Not Destroy” printed on them. It’s an inside joke. The ship set had to be rebuilt from scratch for the movie because the original, from the show, was destroyed.
  • Universal Studios took the unusual step of allowing early previews of the unfinished film. The first preview was in November 2004 in California’s San Fernando Valley, when the release date was still early 2005. Further previews happened on May 5, 2005 (10 cities), May 26, 2005 (20 cities), and June 23, 2005 (35 cities). On July 22, 2005, a preview was held on Queensland, Australia’s Gold Coast.
  • The first Universal film released on HD-DVD (High Definition DVD).
  • The coffee maker in Serenity’s dining room/kitchen is an F.A. Porsche Design, made by Siemens.
  • EASTER EGG: From the main menu screen, keep clicking “left” until you light up a triangle with a dot in the center on the right side of the screen. The icon will take you to the full Fruity Oaty Bar commercial. In the DVD commentary, Joss Whedon admitted that he wanted the commercial to be as odd as possible. He said it was heavily inspired by the “Mr. Sparkle” advertisement from The Simpsons: In Marge We Trust The uncredited actor in the commercial and the Easter Egg segment is Robert Michael Lee.
  • Malcolm’s Social Control number is 099,836,5,4112.
  • The keyboard Mal uses to transmit the signal from Mr. Universe’s basement is a Micro Innovations Web Office Pro Keyboard.
  • This is the first film for which a digital cinema distribution master was made using the new DCI standards using JPEG2000 compression and a 12 bit 4:4:4 XYZ color space.
  • The cannon the crew mounts to Serenity is a WW2 German 20mm Flak 38.
  • Among the buildings shown in the opening sequence (where voice-over narration describes the “terraforming” process) are the Emirates Towers, key features of the skyline of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. A skyscraper in the foreground of the same shot is based on designs by Sir Norman Foster (Lord Foster), including the Commerzbank headquarters in Frankfurt and the HSBC building in Hong Kong.
  • Morena Baccarin provides the voice for the security terminal in the records room.
  • To put River to sleep, Dr. Simon Tam says, “Eta Kooram Nah Smech!,” Russian for “This is very ridiculous” (literally “This is for hens to laugh!”).
  • Concept art for the film reveals that many of the weapons are based on paintball markers, with a propellant-tank mount point at the bottom of the rear grip, and an “expansion chamber”-style fore grip.
  • The DVD of Serenity was flown up to the International Space Station by astronaut Steven Swanson on board the shuttle Atlantis during its June 2007 STS-117 mission.
  • Mal’s drink of choice, Ng Ka Py, is a Chinese brandy. it appears in his quarters, and he ordered it in the first scene of Firefly: The Train Job.
  • The cast had a running gag where they would yell Summer Glau’s name whenever any of them flubbed a line or forgot to do something. It originated on Firefly when she forgot her line at the end of a very long and difficult scene. (Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarin and Sean Maher can be seen doing this on the DVD blooper reel.)
  • Joss Whedon’s feature film directorial debut.
  • In his DVD commentary, Joss Whedon said Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau and Sean Maher performed many of their own stunts. Glau, a trained dancer, used her dancing skills in River’s two fights. For the second fight, the cameraman, who was also a dancer, moved through a gap around the combatants to achieve the movie’s dynamic camera angles.
  • According to the director commentary, Mal’s line “Faster would be better” was ad-libbed by Nathan Fillion when Joss Whedon told him to “say something Mal would say.”
  • Though the Trade Agent (the elderly man in the Trade Station who unlocks the safe) is played by Weston Nathanson, his voice was dubbed by Joss Whedon. According to Whedon, several of the stand-in voices from the early post-production stage remain in the final film, among them this and Morena Baccarin’s voice as the computer at the beginning of the film.
  • The events of the film take place six months after Firefly: Objects in Space, the final episode of the TV series. “Those Left Behind,” a three-issue comic book series written by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews, published by Dark Horse comics, and released during summer 2005, bridges that six-month gap.
  • The first nine minutes of Serenity were made available online as a promotion in advance of its theatrical release. Between the online release and the theatrical release, the brief cut to Alliance security personnel was changed from blue to red.
  • Ranked #5 in Rotten Tomatoes “50 Best TV Adaptations of All Time”
  • Though she did say all the lines, the actress that plays young River was dubbed over by Summer Glau to make the connection easier.
  • In addition to Book’s Christianity, which was established during the series, characters also practice Buddhism (Inara lights “incense” in front of a Buddha shrine in her room) and Judaism (Mr. Universe steps on a glass at the end of his wedding). In Firefly: The Message, the Postal Agent was wearing a yarmulke (kippah), which is worn by Orthodox Jews.
  • According to visual effects supervisor Loni Peristere, the Reaver ships are conceived along the lines of “muscle cars that look like Leatherface,” each representing a mask the Reavers wear. [Paste Magazine interview, October 4, 2005]
  • According to commentary, the crew made a mistake when building the mule hovercraft seen during the first chase sequence with the Reavers at the opening of the film. Zoe, Mal, Jayne, and River were all riding in the mule during the chase. In dialogue, when Zoe asks Mal why he didn’t save the man who begged them to take him with them during their escape, Mal responded that “The mule won’t run with five”. The production crew had accidentally built the mule with five seats, an initial oversight.
  • Summer Glau trained intensely with the fight choreographers for three months before principal photography began.
  • Originally, Joss Whedon wanted Greg Edmonson, who had scored the TV series, to score the movie. Edmonson couldn’t, so Whedon brought in composer Carter Burwell. After discussing the movie and submitting some demos, Burwell left the project due to differing opinions. Music executives at Universal insisted that Whedon hire a more familiar composer. Eventually David Newman was brought on to score the movie.
  • During Mal’s conversation with Inara over the wave, four of Mal’s scars are visible. All are from wounds he received during Firefly. The one on his chest was inflicted by Crow in Firefly: The Train Job. The one near his diaphragm is from a gunshot wound inflicted during Firefly: Out of Gas. The one on his side is from his duel with Atherton Wing in Firefly: Shindig. The one on his left shoulder is from the bullet graze in the pilot.
  • The opening credits appear 10 minutes into the film. They are shown in a 4 minute, unbroken take through different decks of Serenity.
  • According to the Official Serenity Companion, Whedon said that there was a “strong possibility” that Wash and Book would return if there was a Serenity sequel, although he acknowledged that it would have to be done in a way the audience would buy.
  • Mal mentions a poem that he has read about an Albatross. This is a reference to “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
  • Spoilers
  • According to a Q&A with Joss Whedon and the cast after the premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, there were at least 20 separate takes of Simon and Kaylee’s final make-out scene in the engine room. Take #20 was used in the final cut.
  • The futuristic-looking handcuffs used on River are Clejuso Number 13s, the second heaviest handcuffs in use at the time.
  • During the funeral scene, Kaylee wears a medallion with the doubled Chinese character for joy/happiness/cheer, a symbol often used in weddings.
  • Summer Glau has said that she pitched the idea of River becoming a pilot during the Firefly television series. In this film, River finally becomes a co-pilot of Serenity.
  • Body count: 74
  • After they find the first body in the white city, a strange kind of stairway with a ramp appears. It’s an exact copy of the stairs in Robson Square in Vancouver, BC, Canada, designed by Arthur Erickson.
  • Several of the Reaver ships in the final battle are Alliance ships with different paint schemes.
  • On Miranda, the crew discovers dead citizens in a sealed room. The body of an old man in a lab coat wearing golden shoes appears just before River starts talking in Chinese. The shoes are Nike Flightposite III basketball shoes designed for Kevin Garnett, introduced around 2001.
  • According to Joss Whedon’s DVD commentary, the most difficult scene for sound was Simon and River’s final scene, after Simon is shot. Sean Maher and Summer Glau developed a strong bond during production of Firefly. Sean’s acting was so good that Summer kept bursting into tears whenever they attempted to shoot the scene.
  • According to his DVD commentary, Joss Whedon said the planet Miranda would’ve been discovered at the end of the second season if the show had been a success.
  • The funeral scene includes several real funeral customs. Zoë wears a white dress, the traditional Chinese color of mourning. Small rocks are placed on the grave markers of Mr. Universe, Book, and Wash, from the Jewish tradition of mourners placing a small stone on the grave at every visit.
  • Shepherd Book’s tombstone reveals his first name, Derrial. Wash’s tombstone shows that his full name is Hoban Washburne.
  • After Mr. Universe betrays the crew to the Alliance, he turns to the Operative and demands his “thirty coin,” a reference to Judas betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
  • Joss Whedon revealed that the reason Wash and Book were killed off in the movie was because Alan Tudyk and Ron Glass could not commit to sequels. Universal Pictures wanted all the main actors who would appear in the sequels to be contractually available, meaning Whedon had to find a way of getting Tudyk and Glass out of the story. (In his original script, before he knew they couldn’t commit, all members of the crew survived, with Zoe and Wash promising to have children together.) Despite this Whedon has also revealed that there was a “strong possibility” that Wash and Book would return if a sequel ever was made — indicating that he had plans to find a way to bring them back.

Talking Points:

  • Did you watch the show?
  • Does this movie appeal to non fans?
  • Favorite Character?

What We Learned:

  • People don’t like to be Meddled with.
  • A hero is someone who gets other people killed
  • Half of writing history, is hiding the truth.
  • If you can’t do something smart, do something right.
  • Can’t stop the signal

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: This was an excellent end to the Series that should not have ended so soon. A little upset about the deaths in the story but otherwise Whedon just can’t do wrong with this universe. Watch the Series, then watch the movie.
Ray: It’s a fun movie, and a nice send off to a very entertaining TV show. If you’ve never seen it then do yourself a favor and take the time to watch the series first.

The Present: The Bourne Legacy
Rotten Tomatoes 54% Rotten, 60% Audience

Director: Tony Gilroy

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton

Trivia:

  • Before this movie was seriously considered, director Paul Greengrass jokingly suggested to make a fourth Bourne movie called “The Bourne Redundancy”.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Alex Pettyfer, Joel Edgerton, Taylor Kitsch, Kellan Lutz, Josh Hartnett, Paul Dano, Luke Evans, Michael Pitt, Oscar Isaac, Benjamin Walker and Erryn Arkin were considered to play the lead role.
  • When asked about his most difficult scene, Jeremy Renner revealed that it was the motorcycle ride with Rachel Weisz behind him in Manila, because he was responsible for the two of them. At the press conference of the film, Weisz was asked about this particular stunt, “How was it to ride on a motorcycle through Manila with Jeremy Renner?” and she said that “It was really terrifying! Jeremy never told me when we were in Manila, but that was the scariest stunt for him because he was responsible for my life. He didn’t tell me that in Manila, thank god, because I would have been like, ‘Oh, my god!’ I just had to surrender and hold on. I didn’t have to act. It just was terrifying”.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I think this was a very . . . nice movie. I got bored at points and felt like the movie was dragging a little but it also didn’t feel like a 2 hour movie. Liked the action, story was okay, it was fun. It was alright.
Ray: Very much like good Chinese food, tastes great while your eating it, but your hungry again an hour later. I think Renner did a great Job and can totally hold an action movie on his own, it’s unfortunate that it was this movie.

The Future: Django Unchained
Release: December 25, 2012

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio

Summary:

Django is a slave living in the Deep South after having been separated from his wife Broomhilda. When Django is held for a slave auction, Dr. King Schultz, a bounty hunter, frees Django from his vicious masters, the Speck brothers and gives him the option of hunting down and killing the Brittle Brothers, a ruthless gang of killers whom only Django has seen. In return, Schultz will free Django from slavery completely and help rescue Broomhilda from the plantation of the charming but ruthless Francophile owner, Calvin Candie.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Quentin Tarantino, revenge movie, alot of killing, sold.
Ray: It’s going to be a very interesting Christmas!

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV117: “Two Weeks”

In this reel of COL Movies, Jeff and Ray are all by their lonesomes as Steven takes the week off. They start off in the past trying to remember the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger flick “Total Recall”. The memory implant falls and they only find another 3 breasted woman in the present day Colin Farrell version of “Total Recall”. In the future, they discuss if “Sinister” is sinister at all. This and Bob Hoskins Retires and utterly unsurprising news from the No Shit Sherlock department. It’s the 117th reel of COL Movies “Two Weeks”

News:

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The Past: Total Recall (1990)
Rotten Tomatoes 85% Fresh 70% Audience

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Staring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Ronny Cox, Rachel Ticotin, Dean Norris

Trivia:

  • As many as seven directors were considered for and even hired to direct the movie, including Richard Rush, Bruce Beresford and David Cronenberg. Cronenberg had even written a few drafts of the script before Paul Verhoeven took over the Total Recall project.
  • Over 40 drafts of the script were written, some of which depicted Quaid as a mild-mannered accountant (instead of a construction worker). According to Paul Verhoeven, although there were many changes made to each of the scripts, the final draft of the script was very similar to the first draft.
  • Johnnycab whistles the Norwegian national anthem.
  • Robert Picardo was voice of and facial model for the “Johnnycab” robot.
  • When Quaid is dressed up as the fat lady, the passport he hands the guard is the actual passport of Priscilla Allen (who played the fat lady).
  • The subway scenes were filmed in the Mexico City subway system, specifically, the Insurgentes station of the Line 1: Constituyentes-Pantitlan.
  • Some of the large ads seen after Quaid gets off the subway were real signs featured above the Insurgentes subway station in Mexico City, most noticeable the Fuji Film and Coca Cola signs, the Coca Cola sign still stands today
  • The original cut of the movie was given an X-rating by the MPAA for excessive violence. Some violence was trimmed and different camera angles were used in some of the more over the top scenes and the movie was then re-rated R.
  • On the graph that Quaid is shown at Rekall, it appears that traveling by space shuttle has been getting more and more dangerous as time goes on!
  • The short story on which it was based was first optioned in 1974, 16 years before the film finally was released.
  • Patrick Swayze was signed to play Quaid when the movie began preproduction in Australia with Bruce Beresford as the director. However, early in preproduction, Dino De Laurentiis’ company went bankrupt. After Arnold Schwarzenegger heard about this, he persuaded Carolco to buy the script for him.
  • The concept of Quaid being a physically-buffed construction worker was suggested by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. In the earlier drafts of the script, Quaid (originally named Quail) was originally described as an average-looking accountant-type person. Because of this detail, when the movie was originally going to be produced by Dino De Laurentiis, he was adamant about not letting Schwarzenegger audition for the role of Quaid. It was only after Schwarzenegger convinced Mario Kassar to buy the script rights from De Laurentiis (whose production company went bankrupt) that the later drafts were re-written to change Quaid’s character into one more suitable for Schwarzenegger to play. Schwarzenegger said that he felt this helped the story even more, giving a much stronger contrast to it by turning a character who is otherwise powerful physically into a character that becomes vulnerable after having his mind stolen.
  • Quaid’s metal briefcase contains the following items: a worker’s ID for the Pyramid Mines on Mars under the name “Steve Leonetti”, a driver’s license under the name “James D. Brubaker”, several other miscellaneous ID cards, a large sum of pink Martian dollar bills, an unusual medical device (later used to extract the bug from inside Quaid’s head), a portable wrist-worn hologram generator, a laptop-like video communication device, various clothes (possibly the fat lady outfit), and a piece of paper with the name “HOFFMAN” written on it, who’s purpose is never revealed (possibly Quaid’s passenger ticket to Mars?).
  • All of the crew fell ill due to food poisoning during production, with the exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Shusett. Schwarzenegger escaped because he always had his food catered from the US. This was because three years earlier, he had fallen ill due to drinking tap water in Mexico during production of Predator. As for Shusett, he took extreme health precautions, such as only brushing his teeth with boiled or bottled water and insisting on getting a weekly vitamin B12 shot. Shusett was even mocked by the crew until they all got sick themselves.
  • The miniatures used for shots showing Martian geography were based on Martian photographs.
  • One of the heavily re-edited scenes to get an R-rating was the escalator shootout where Quaid uses a human body to shield himself from bullets.
  • Body count: 77
  • Kurtwood Smith was offered the role of Richter, but he turned it down because he felt the role was too similar to his character in RoboCop.
  • Christopher Reeve was offered, but turned down, the role of Douglas Quaid.
  • Both the adaptation of the screenplay (written by Piers Anthony) and early drafts of the script had the main character’s name as Douglas Quail. The original Philip K. Dick story has the name Quail as well. The film was being made during the Bush administration, with Dan Quayle as Vice President and it is presumed that this was the reason for the change.
  • During Quaid’s Rekall orientation, a monitor momentarily shows an illustration of a green Martian from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Martian novels.
  • Richard Rush was initially hired by Dino De Laurentiis to direct the project, but he left when they couldn’t agree on the script. Rush was replaced by Bruce Beresford. Lewis Teague was also under consideration to direct around this time.
  • The escalator chase scene was filmed in Mexico City’s “Chabacano” Subway Station (Intersection for Lines 2, 9 and 8, though 8 wasn’t operating at the time). The only changes made are direction signs in English, and the station names replaced.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally going to play the title role in RoboCop but problems with the costume caused producers to drop the idea. After Schwarzenegger saw Robocop, he expressed that he loved the movie and wanted to work with director Paul Verhoeven. When he and Verhoeven heard about Total Recall, they decided to work on that.
  • Originally to be directed by David Cronenberg, who turned down the chance to direct The Fly in order to work on this film. Cronenberg was replaced on The Fly by Robert Bierman, but Bierman later pulled out of that project due to the death of his daughter. Around the same time, Cronenberg left Total Recall when it was placed into turnaround, which left him free to return to direct The Fly.
  • As it is often done in futuristic movies, this one also uses contemporary design objects to depict future settings – among other things, the small cups with the black plastic ring, used by Quaid while preparing his breakfast smoothie, are Bodum Bistro coffee mugs from Denmark, and a desk lamp at Rekall is the Tolomeo from Italian manufacturer Artemide.
  • Although never mentioned in the film, the cover of the VHS-edition of the movie mentions that the movie takes place in the year 2084 AD.
  • The Spanish title for this movie is “Desafío Total”, which translated to English means “Total challenge”. This movie was also released under another Spanish title, “El Vengador del Futuro”, which translates to “Future Avenger”
  • It took 15 puppeteers to control Kuato, whose name is from the Spanish word: cuate (twin). In Imagining ‘Total Recall’, Director Paul Verhoeven said that special makeup effects designer Rob Bottin had made the Kuato puppet look so real, that he was approached by 2 people on the street asking if he (Marshall Bell) was a “real freak” or possibly a semi-born Siamese twin.
  • In the featurette Imagining ‘Total Recall’, production designer William Sandell tells about the brutal conditions the cast and crew experienced while shooting in Mexico. Aside from most of the cast and crew suffering from food poisoning, Sandell also talks about the poor air quality in Mexico City, comparing the breathing conditions to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. He also mentions that at one point, the air quality had gotten so bad that associate producer Elliot Schick had to be transported via MEDEVAC copter to a nearby hospital.
  • Jeff Bridges, Matthew Broderick and Richard Dreyfuss were each considered for the role of Quaid.
  • The portable locator used by Michael Champion (Helm) was built by Casio
  • In the featurette Imagining ‘Total Recall’, editor Frank J. Urioste said that most of the external shots of Mars almost didn’t make it into the final cut of the movie, much to his dismay. The producers felt that those shots would be too expensive and would make the movie go over-budget. Urioste then addressed his concerns about those shots with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was able to influence the producers to not cut the external shots from the final film.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger suffered several hand-related injuries during the shoot. When filming the scene where Quaid smashes a train window, a tiny explosive in the glass was supposed to shatter the glass a fraction of a second before Schwarzenegger struck it, but it didn’t go off and Schwarzenegger hit the glass for real, badly cutting himself. When filming the fight scene inside Quaid’s Hilton suite (immediately after Quaid shoots Dr. Edgemar), Schwarzenegger broke a finger on his right hand and had to get a cast fitted. As a result, most of his scenes shot afterward kept his injured hand off-screen.
  • Robert Davi turned down the part of Richter.
  • When Quaid is going through the items in the silver suitcase, he picks up a stack of fake ID cards. The name on the first ID is Steve Lionetti, who was a production assistant for the movie.
  • Approximately 3 weeks before the movie’s scheduled theatrical release, it only had 43% public awareness of the movie, which Arnold Schwarzenegger described as being “absolutely disastrous”. Arnold was able to convince Mario Kassar and the rest of Carolco to pump in more money for advertising, and as a result, the movie ended up opening with 99% public awareness.
  • In the DVD commentary, Paul Verhoeven said that for the love scene after Quaid wakes from his nightmare, he wanted Sharon Stone to show off more skin for the scene, but Stone had refused to do so. He settled for shooting the scene as it is shown, but mentions that he “got her back” while shooting the movie Basic Instinct.
  • Towards the end of filming in Mexico, Paul Verhoeven got so sick from food poisoning that he would have an ambulance nearby on set at all times, and in between takes, they would administer fluids and medication, so that Verhoeven could keep directing in spite of his illness.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger was so impressed by how much dedication Sharon Stone had in training for her character role, that he even referred to her as the “Female Terminator”. Stone was even inducted into the Stunt Woman Association as an honorary member.
  • Total Recall was one of the last major Hollywood blockbusters to make large-scale use of miniature effects as opposed to CGI, and at the same time, it was also one of the first major Hollywood blockbusters to use CGI (mainly for the scenes involving the X-Ray scanner) and have it look “photo-real”.
  • Though the location of the city in which Quaid lives and works is not revealed, the phone number featured in the Rekall ad he sees in the subway shows an area code of 915, which suggests the movie is set somewhere in western Texas, possibly El Paso. This is later confirmed if you look carefully at one of Quaid’s fake IDs that he pulls out of the suit case inside the old cement factory, which lists him as “James D. Brubaker” of “El Paso, TX”.
  • David Cronenberg was set to direct and even wrote a few drafts of the script before Paul Verhoeven took over. Cronenberg stated that he wanted to cast William Hurt as the lead, and was displeased by the producers’ decision to reimagine the lead for an action star such as Schwarzenegger.
  • When Quaid fights with Harry and his men after visiting Rekall, the sounds of bones being broken are actually celery being twisted and snapped.
  • To coincide with the movie’s release, Sharon Stone posed nude for ‘Playboy’ magazine, showing off the buff body she developed in preparation for the movie (she pumped iron and learned Tae Kwon Do).
  • When Ronald Shusett and Dan O’Bannon first started working on the screen play for this movie back in the 1970’s, they realized at the time that the movie would probably be too expensive and difficult to make (by the standards of special effects and budget in the 70’s). So they delayed working on the story and instead worked on an idea O’Bannon had about a space monster terrorizing a spaceship crew. This became the movie Alien.
  • According to Bob McClane and the display screen, Quaid’s Mars Vacation Package includes the following: Private cabin on the Mars-bound shuttle, Two weeks accommodations at a deluxe suite at the Mars Hilton, three meals a day at a 5-star restaurant, romantic encounters, personal tour guide to Mt. Olympus, Pyramid Mountain, the Grand Canals, and Venusville. Counting the Secret Agent Ego Trip addition, Quaid’s vacation costs a total of 1199 credits (899 for the standard vacation and 300 for the Ego Trip addition), which would later be refunded after Quaid’s schizoid embolism incident.
  • After seeing Sharon Stone’s performance as Lori in this movie, director Paul Verhoeven got the idea of making an entire movie based on a similar character with many of Lori’s traits (most notably her ability to change from a timid charming sweetheart to a diabolical person and back again at a moment’s notice). This idea would form the basis of the character of Catherine Tramell (who would also be played by Stone) in the movie Basic Instinct.
  • When filming the fight scene between Lori and Melina, director Paul Verhoeven asked 2nd unit director Vic Armstrong to choreograph the fight not as a “cat fight” but more like a martial arts fight, to give the feel of two “warriors” fighting each other and not simply two women. Verhoeven remarks in the DVD commentary that this is probably the first time in a feature film where we see two women fighting each other normally, as opposed to a cat fight.
  • Although the specific location of Mars City on the planet’s surface is never mentioned, the fact that many of the habitable structures are built on the sides of a massive canyon could lead one to sufficiently assume that Mars City is located along a section of the Valles Marineris canyon near the Martian equator. Valles Marineris is a massive canyon that stretches over 2500 miles, many times longer than any canyon on Earth. The idea for having the structures built along canyon walls was taken from information gathered by production designer William Sandell when he traveled to various universities to find out how one might go about living on another world (as well as gather ideas for the sets), and a popular idea was to build structures half-inside rocks to protect from solar radiation.
  • Paul Verhoeven and special effects supervisor Rob Bottin had had constant disagreements during the making of RoboCop, so it seemed unlikely that the two men would ever cooperate again. However, when they saw how good Robocop had turned out, they changed their minds, and Verhoeven gave Bottin full freedom to make his own Martian creature designs.
  • The software that was intended to be used to fully computer-animate the X-ray sequences didn’t work, so the animators had no choice but to do the animation by hand, using the live-action filmed sequences as reference.
  • Writer Dan O’Bannon had a falling out with director ‘Paul Verhoeven’ when Verhooven replaced the satirical humor with extreme violence. In the original screenplay, dark humor was much more prevalent.
  • Composer Jerry Goldsmith had said that he had received some criticism about the movie’s score that “the movie had no theme”, to which he strongly disagreed, stating that the movie did in fact have a theme, but it wasn’t the kind of theme that “people left the theaters whistling after”. Goldsmith had modeled some of the movie’s score after the score from Conan the Barbarian composed by Basil Poledouris.
  • All of the men portraying guards on Mars are Marines and sailors from San Diego’s 32nd Street Naval Base, Marine Corps Recruit Depot and Miramar Naval/Marine Corps Air Station (except for stunt men).
  • The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
  • During filming, Sharon Stone complained to director Paul Verhoeven that she wasn’t sure whether her character really was married to Doug
  • When Quaid is being shown the monitor in the implant room, some of the drawings scrolling by are concept drawings of the reactor on Mars.
  • The final scene fading into white is intentionally done by Paul Verhoeven to leave some question marks regarding whether everything was a dream and Quaid got lobotomized in the end.
  • As director Paul Verhoeven is careful to explain on the DVD commentary, when Dr. Edgemar (Roy Brocksmith) visits Quaid, he outlines the entire third act of the movie. He says that if Quaid kills him: “the walls of reality will come crashing down” (moments after Quaid shoots Edgemar, the walls of the apartment literally crash down); he says that Quaid will believe himself the savior of the resistance only to discover that he is in fact Cohaagen’s “bosom buddy” (which is exactly what happens); and he says that he will have visions of an “alien civilization” (which Quaid experiences during the mind meld with Kuato). Verhoeven points out that if a viewer believes the whole film is a dream, then Edgemar’s prediction that Quaid will end up being lobotomized is fulfilled in the fade to white which ends the movie.
  • Marshall Bell had a full-body make-up for the Kuato scenes. The head of Kuato was fully animatronic.
  • CASTLE THUNDER: Can be heard mixed with other sound effects during the scenes where the alien reactor is melting the ice, and the mountain explodes.
  • The design for the alien reactor which melts the ice and gives Mars air at the end of the movie, was based off of a nuclear reactor. According to Paul Verhoeven, he wanted to “be inside a nuclear reactor” (with poles going into water), but wanted to make it to a much grander scale, with the poles being as big as skyscrapers. Both he and William Sandell found a book with showed pictures of skyscrapers that were built around the turn of the 20th century, which had potential for the reactor design, but initially neither of them were convinced that idea would work, so they threw the book on the ground, but the book landed in a way with the skyscraper pictures upside down, and both Verhoeven and Sandell looked and realized that upside down, the skyscrapers had the right look for the alien reactor.
  • In the scene where Quaid shoots Lori, afterwards he says “Consider that a divorce.” According to Dan O’Bannon, in the original script, Quaid says “Consider THIS a divorce” and then shoots Lori afterwards. This was ultimately changed to what appears on film because O’Bannon and the others thought it was “a bit too cold-blooded”.
  • According to Ronald Shusett, back when the movie was originally being produced by Dino De Laurentiis, Shusett said that di Laurentiis had planned to shoot the ending completely different from the original script, because he felt the concept of Mars getting air was just “too difficult to visualize”. This didn’t sit well with Shusett, and the two had many arguments over it, even escalating to the point that Shusett had threatened to cancel the movie altogether, stating that he’d rather not see the movie get made if it’s not in the way he intendeded it to be made. Di Laurentiis eventually saw the error in his judgment when he suggested to director Richard Rush about altering the ending, to which Rush told him that he was “full of shit” and convinced him not to cut or alter the ending. Di Laurentiis even approached Shusett, apologizing for giving him such a hard time and saying “Ron, you so stubborn I kiss you in the mouth! You save me!” Di Laurentiis never did get to produce the movie, because his production company went bankrupt shortly after, and the project ended up being sold to Mario Kassar and Carolco (at the request of Arnold Schwarzenegger).
  • On three separate occasions, if you pay close attention, various characters give the ending of the movie away: 1) When Bob McClane pitches the Secret Agent Ego Trip to Quaid, he tells him that by the time his trip is over he’ll “get the girl, kill the bad guys, and save the entire planet!” 2) When Dr. Lull tosses Ernie a computer chip, he looks at it and says “That’s a new one! ‘Blue Sky on Mars’.” And finally 3) When Quaid threatens to shoot Dr. Edgemar in the Hilton suite, Edgemar describes the events that will happen almost verbatim throughout the rest of the movie.
  • There are a few references to the fate of Benny the cab driver. Twice Benny is nearly killed by the giant drill machines. When he is exposed as a traitor, Benny tries to kill Quaid with a drill machine. Quaid then kills him by stabbing him with a portable drill.
  • Director Paul Verhoeven wanted to make the ending of the movie completely ambiguous so as the audiences would still not know even at the end of the movie if it was all a dream or if it did really happen. According to Verhoeven himself, he believed the ending was in fact a dream, but at the same time, he also said that the casting of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the lead role was also leaning towards reality, as most audiences who go to see a Schwarzenegger movie would be in favor of a ‘reality’ ending as opposed to a ‘dream’ ending.
  • Regardless of whether people believe the movie as a whole is a dream or reality, according to Paul Verhoeven, the first 20 minutes or so of the movie (from the beginning up until the point where Quaid first undergoes the implantation of his Rekall vacation implant) is all reality.

Talking Points:

  • The Use of Miniatures
  • The Violence (especially compared to the new one)

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Crass, Violent, Gratuitous, but in a good way
  • Negatives: Mediocre, Pointlessly Violent

What We Learned:

  • When hiking on mars, best to watch where you are walking.
  • Guns on mars… also a really bad idea
  • A man is defined by his actions not his memories
  • Monologuing will get you nowhere..excepted sucked out into a vacuum

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Classic Schwarzenegger movie. I always enjoyed watching this one but it’s never one on top rewatching movies. Good for a rent here and there.
Ray: Throw Schwarzenegger and Verhoeven in a room together.. and this is what you get, Classic Scwarzenegger one liners and Verehoeven violence I only wish the once X-Rated version was available somewhere. I have seen this movie more times than I’d like to admit.
Steve:

The Present: Total Recall (2012)

Rotten Tomatoes 31% Rotten 50% Audience

Director: Len Wiseman

Starring: Colin Farrell, Bokeem Woodbine, Bryan Cranston, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel

Trivia:

  • Colin Farrell previously appeared in Minority Report, which was also adapted from a Philip K. Dick short story, and had originally been developed as a sequel to the original film version of Total Recall.
  • Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender were considered for the role of Quaid.
  • Kate Bosworth and Diane Kruger were considered for the role of Lori, and Eva Green, Rosario Dawson and Paula Patton were considered for the role of Melina. Eva Mendes was considered for both roles.
  • According to Ethan Hawke, his character has a lengthy monologue that lasts around five pages in the shooting script. However, his scene will not be in the final cut and will be part of the film’s viral marketing.
  • The first film that married couple Len Wiseman and Kate Beckinsale have worked on together that isn’t Underworld related.
  • The one shot fight scene was performed by Colin Farrell himself and was shot 22 times before Farrell did it perfectly.
  • The front desk clerk at Rekall tells Quaid, “We can remember it for you.” The film is loosely based on a short story by ‘Phillip K. Dick’ called, “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.”
  • Actor Colin Farrell actually spent a night on the set because he wanted “to see what it would be like to wake up in the future”.
  • While building the set for Total Recall, the builders spent $10,000 a week on wood screws alone.
  • When Quaid retrieves his safe-deposit box, bills with the picture of president Barack Obama can be seen.
  • When Quaid attempts to pass through the security check at the entrance to UFB, he is wearing a holographic necklace that produces the image of an Asian man’s face. Moments before, a woman with a chubby face, wearing a yellow coat, can be seen. The woman was the image produced by Quaid’s holographic necklace in the 1990 original.
  • The bank that Douglas goes to is called the First Bank of New Asia. New Asia was the original title for “The Colony”, but was changed to “The Colony” in order for people to get the impression that it was more of a melting pot.
  • While riding The Fall, Quaid is reading “Ian Fleming’s 007: The Spy Who Loved Me”.

Talking Points:

  • Comparisons
  • Original Film co.

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Pretty, Production design worthy of blade runner, Enjoyable but brainless.
  • Negatives: Toned down, dumbed down version of the original, Seen it all before, Shiny but not fun, Too much action not enough mind games

What We Learned:

  • Dubstep is alive and well in the future
  • Don’t mess with your mind
  • It’s each mans quest to discover who he is.
  • The heart wants to live in the present
  • Never underestimate the power of one man
  • remember to have fun

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: In interesting different retelling of the Total Recall story, really shows how the location doesn’t really matter for telling the story. I really liked Colin Farell better than Arnie but Arnies version was still good.
Ray: Pretty to look at, and much more faithful to the source material. I liked it, but I think id have liked it more if I had never seen the 1990’s one. If your a big fan of the old one.. you may want to skip this until you can rent. If you have never seen the old one, then this one will probably be very entertaining.
Steve:

The Future: Sinister

Release: October 5, 2012

Director: Scott Derrickson

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, James Ransone

Summary:

Found footage helps a true-crime novelist realize how and why a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity.

Talking Points:

  • Can we still call it a “found footage” movie?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: You know, I’m really getting tired of these type of movies. It’s another spin on the hold haunting story but it’s really not my thing. I’m sure Steven will still put it on the list though.
Ray: Looks scary, but not sure I’d run out to see it. I enjoy my scary movies much more at home in an intimate setting.
Steve:

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV116: “Allow It!”

Up on this Reel of COL: Movies we do a double take of alien Invasions! First up it’s back to the not so distant past to watch 2011’s Low Budget Sci-Fi thriller “Attack The Block” Then we Dubstep our way to present day Glenview Ohio to watch ….The Watch. Finally we look to the not so distant future to discuss our excitement for the upcoming Time Travelling mind bender of Looper. All this plus X-men and Prometheus Sequel news, plus a follow up on some hobbits taking a very unexpected journey.. all that plus more on Reel 116 “Allow It!”

News:

The Past: Attack The Block (2011)

Rotten Tomatoes: 90% Fresh; 74% Audience

Director: Joe Cornish

Staring: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail , Leeon Jones, Nick Frost

Trivia:

  • The movie takes place on Guy Fawkes night, November 5th, which is traditionally celebrated with fireworks and bonfires in England
  • Writer/director Joe Cornish was inspired to make this film after actually being mugged in real-life one night (much in the same way Sam was as portrayed in the film). He noticed his five young assailants were as scared as he was, and started researching their lives.
  • Writer/director Joe Cornish grew up and lives in South London, where this film is set.
  • Members of the gang compare the film’s aliens to various fantastical creatures, all British in origin, namely: Dobby the house-elf from J.K. Rowling’s series of Harry Potter novels; Gollum from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien; and Gremlins, who while they are now best-known for the two American films by Joe Dante, were born out of the imagination of RAF fighter pilots during World War II, and were initially popularized by author Roald Dahl in his first novel.
  • In the scene where the meteorite breaks open, a female alien cocoon is revealed. Director, Joe Cornish has expressed his wishes of keeping this prop as a back garden decoration.
  • The areas and surrounding roads are named after well-known British science fiction authors: Wyndham Tower (John Wyndham); Moore Court (Alan Moore); Huxley Court (Aldous Huxley); Wells Court (H.G. Wells); Clarke Court (Arthur C. Clarke); Ballard Street (J.G. Ballard); Adams Street (Douglas Adams); Clayton Street and Clayton Estate (Jo Clayton); and Herbert Way (Frank Herbert). James Street may allude to horror writer M.R. James.
  • In this movie, Nick Frost still wears the long hair he grew for Paul.
  • Writer/director Joe Cornish has stated that watching Signs and imagining what would happen if it took place in south London was an inspiration for Attack the Block.
  • Franz Drameh, who plays Dennis, was originally under consideration for the role of Moses.
  • Most of the teenage actors were found through their schools and online open audition calls.
  • The film-makers only used CG effects when absolutely necessary, and to enhance practical effects for the creatures rather than replace them completely. Even the smaller female alien that appears before the credits was a petite woman in a creature suit. A puppet-type head was used for some of the attack shots wherein Moses is suddenly bitten. The creature’s head was a carefully constructed mask that had no eyes, and even the glowing mouthful of large, carnivorous teeth were achieved by animatronics (including twelve “servos”) rather than added in post. The film-makers admit that it did help save money, but also had an unexpected benefit. The actors, rather than reacting to something that wasn’t there, admitted that they were genuinely and unexpectedly frightened by the look and movements of creatures actually present (especially during chase sequences when a creature/creatures would pursue them at full speed). Nearly every actor said they felt especially intimidated– many surprisingly so– by the physical presence in a way they would not have if the creatures had been added digitally later. The same went for the majority of the settings; the director said it added authenticity and atmosphere to shoot on a set rather in front of a green screen.
  • Feature film debut of director Joe Cornish.
  • All the interiors were done on sets.
  • Only two suits were built for the aliens.
  • John Boyega found out about this film from an ad placed on-line.
  • This film was pretty much shot in chronological order.
  • The marijuana cigarettes several people smoke in this movie were actually made out of herbal tobacco.
  • The scene in which Alex Esmail throws fireworks underneath a police van took three takes to get right.
  • Writer/director Joe Cornish interviewed various kids in youth groups in order to find out what kind of weapons they would use if an alien invasion occurred.
  • The walkway chase set piece took ten days to shoot.
  • Simon Howard did his own stunt when his character Biggz jumps on top of a van.
  • The scene in which the police van smashes into the BMW was done in a single take.
  • The bulk of this film was shot in 67 days.
  • Writer/director Joe Cornish did in depth research on language to accurately convey the way South London street kids speak.
  • The mugging scene was filmed on the first day of shooting.
  • Joe Cornish based the character of Brewis on himself when he was in his 20s.
  • Film debut of Alex Esmail.
  • Writer/director Joe Cornish had to remove fifteen pages of the script prior to the shooting of the film because of budgetary constraints.

Talking Points:

  • Did you find them hard to understand?
  • The Use of Practical Effects
  • The use of regular kids vs actors
  • The social satire

Critic Notes

  • Positives: brings wit, energy, cheeky insolence to the alien invasion genre; full of surprises; imaginative social satire; fans of British Sci-Fi and pop culture shouldn’t miss it; a good example of an indie film that tries to get a point across without taking itself too seriously; a decent younger sibling to “Shaun of the Dead” (same producers)
  • Negatives: Thin characters, weak dialogue, confusing ending; the heros are uninspiring; the monsters just aren’t great

What We Learned:

  • There is no FBI in England
  • Rockets go up before they come down
  • The proper pronunciation is Tesssticleeeeeeease
  • No one will call you Mayhem if your a pussy.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: This is a mediocre movie, leaning towards good. The acting wasn’t so great, but still felt very British Sci-Fi TV. Which has it’s own charm. I think it’s definitely worth seeing once but not everyone is going to like this. I had a good time watching it.
Ray: Allow It. enjoy this film immensely although I am not intimidated as much by the strong urban south London accents. I think it’s a fun creature flick. I especially liked the believability of the kids they were not cringe worthy at all. Definitely worth a watch..If your having a hard time with the accent turn on the subtitles.
Steve: I thought it was cute, although I probably didn’t get some things because of cultural references. Films like this are funny to me because I always wonder what would happen if every day people got confronted by crazy situations like this – not cops, military, or survivalists…just every day kids.

The Present: The Watch

Rotten Tomatoes: 16% Rotten; 70% Audience

Director: Akiva Scaffer

Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayode

Trivia:

  • David Dobkin was originally going to direct with Will Ferrell in the leading role, but the duo fell out in summer 2009.
  • Chris Tucker was considered for the role of Jamarcus.
  • The movie was originally titled “Neighborhood Watch”, but was changed due to sensitivity over the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida.

Talking Points:

  • Phoning It in?

Critic Notes

  • Positives: It may not be all funny, but there are some memorable moments and it is a fun comedic “adventure” comedy with the boys; perfect for a boys night out; it’s just amusing, that’s all
  • Negatives: Lazy, predictable, and full of “penis” humor; uninspired, it’s just one long Costco joke that gets old; comes off as a long, annoying SNL sketch that doesn’t know when to stop

What We Learned:

  • It takes a couple of hours to put up police tape properly
  • Laughter is a common expression of grief
  • Doo-Wop Groups were all about closing ass
  • Death makes you ineligible for a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award
  • Costco truly does have everything you need under one roof
  • Alien blood feels like cum

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: In general, I hate you Ray. However, the ending 10-15 minutes were okay and somewhat interesting. I still hate you, Ray. Stay away, folks.
Ray: I so wanted this to be good if only so more people could get to know Richard Ayode who was basically the archetype for Sheldon Cooper.. Unfortunately with the script and direction he was given his performance was the only thing even passing for mediocre in this mess. Unless you enjoy watching a train wreck, stay away or wait for it to come to netflix.. Watch Richard Ayode in The IT Crowd instead.
Steve: The mostly improvisational (or at least seemed so) dialogue was trite and most of the characters were very surface and annoying. However, I have to admit that I enjoyed it overall. Maybe I was just having a bad week and needed to laugh, but I didn’t hate it. Just be prepared for something just slightly above toilet and drug humor.

The Future: Looper

Release: September 28, 2012

Director: Rian Johnson

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

Summary:

In the year 2042, a man working for a group of killers called “Loopers” (they work for the mob and kill people who are sent blindfolded back in time from the year 2072 by their bosses) recognizes a victim as himself. He hesitates resulting in the escape of his older self.

Talking Points:

  • A unique spin on the ol’ time travel plot device

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: It wasn’t until some of the later trailers that I finally got into the mindset that this looks like a freaking awesome movie. Of course, it’s also a Bruce Willis movie, outside of The Expendables, I’ll see him in anything.
Ray: When I realized the somewhat unique premise of this film I got excited. It’s always interesting to see how smart particular writers are at explaining away temporal mechanics. I’m definitely excited to see it.
Steve: Interested in seeing what twists are going to be thrown in, but honestly not something I would personally run out and see on my own.

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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