Tuesday Releases: Resident Evil Retribution & Total Recall

DECEMBER 18TH, 2012

ARBITRAGE // Richard Gere takes a villainous character and delivers a performance so captivating, and accompanied by such a well-written screenplay, that you’re often cheering for him to get away with his transgressions, no matter how severe. Tim Roth is excellent as the obsessive investigator, while Brit Marling proves gorgeous and brilliant with the little screen-time she is allotted. “Arbitrage” is with the times, bringing to light more hedge-fund scandals, along with the price that comes with having a mistress. Ambiguous endings are exclamation points when placed on already above average films, and though this felt similar to the ending of “Solitary Man”, starring Michael Douglas (which is extremely similar to this film), there was enough to go off of from Gere’s directives to draw the appropriate conclusions.

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KILLER JOE // What can only be described as a twisted, dark comedy, “Killer Joe” catapults several careers, including Juno Temple and Thomas Haden Church, to levels unseen in their previous body of work. Matthew McConaughey steals the show with a multi-level performance, which is both entertaining and scary, all under the brilliant direction of William Friedkin. Though unrelentingly graphic at times, the pay-off is worth the venture, with a style that stands out amongst its peers.

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PREMIUM RUSH // “Premium Rush” builds its moments with precision, delivering a high-end bike messenger film with non-stop action sequences. Made stellar by its big name cast, notably Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the driver’s seat and Michael Shannon giving an outstanding bad-guy performance, the film is able to get past its off-kilter sense of style and recycled, chase scene after chase scene storyline, to deliver a worthwhile action flick.

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RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION // Paul W.S. Anderson returns to write and direct the fifth film in the franchise, and “Resident Evil: Retribution” becomes something completely new and different from all the prior films. For starters, this is the first film to actually feel like a video game, and sometimes to a fault, at the expense of the acting. Most of the conversations and dialogue feel completely out of a video game, set up to describe exactly what you’ll be facing in the scenes to come. With that comes completely “dead” responding, where character’s responses cease to play off one another and becomes people standing in a futuristic setting, coldly delivering lines from a script. The video game plot is also set, with the adventure laid out in a map in front of you. Each world is nicely differentiated from the prior and each has their own challenges, relating back to the monsters from the video games and previous films. The fight scenes are hit or miss, with an amazing opening zombie fight in a hallway following the Japan reenactment. However, the end battle is overdrawn and way too one-sided, falling uninteresting and underwhelming. Milla Jovovich has the look of Alice down, but beyond that, there is little ever added to her performance. The addition of the little girl felt way too much like “Underworld: Awakening”, to which I already draw an unwholesome comparison. Kevin Durand steals the show with a very impressive performance as Barry Burton. Worried how they would explain bringing back Michelle Rodriguez’s and Oded Fehr’s characters, I felt this was done within the plot structures and actually helped build a convincing clashing of good versus evil.

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TOTAL RECALL // “Total Recall” is completely a science fiction action film, but that’s all it needed to be. Comparing it with the 1990 version with Schwarzenegger is comparable to comparisons between Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” and the recently released Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man”. The differences make them completely different films in their own right, but still hit many of the key moments. [spoiler] Uncle Ben always dies, just as Dennis Quaid goes to Rekall and finds out he’s not who he thinks he is. The action scenes are fantastic and every last actor fits their role and plays it well, resurrecting multiple actors back to roles we want to see them in, especially Farrell and Biel. Though the film is getting bad press, had this year’s “Total Recall” been a complete re-hashing of the original, with a trip to Mars and pithy, Macho-Man humor, critics would complain that it brought nothing new to the table. I enjoyed “Total Recall” for everything that it was and nothing more.

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TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE // While it tries to be both smart and sincere, “Trouble with the Curve” relies wholly on its A-list cast, Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams, to carry the film. About a stubborn old man pushing his only daughter away, the motives behind his absentee-father excuse are paper thin, as is the backdrop of baseball which sadly holds little stake in the actual plot and could have been any sport. Unlike a more solid baseball drama like “Moneyball”, Eastwood’s latest film is all performance with no depth or originality.

New Releases

  •     10 Years  
  •     Arbitrage   07threehalf-stars-black
  •     Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days  
  •     Killer Joe   08four-stars-black
  •     Liberal Arts  
  •     Pitch Perfect  
  •     Premium Rush   08four-stars-black
  •     Red Hook Summer  
  •     Resident Evil: Retribution   07threehalf-stars-black
  •     Sleepwalk with Me  
  •     The Good Doctor  
  •     Total Recall (2012)   08four-stars-black
  •     Trouble With The Curve   08four-stars-black


TV Box Set

  •     Army Wives: Season Six Part Two
  •     Blue Lagoon: The Awakening
  •     Californication: Season Five  
  •     Funny or Die Presents…: Season Two
  •     He-Man & Masters of the Universe: 30th Anniversary
  •     Here’s Lucy: Season Six
  •     House of Lies: Season One  
  •     Quincy M.E.: Season Four
  •     Shameless (US): Season Two  
  •     The Life and Times of Tim: Season Three
  •     The Sarah Silverman Program: Season Three

Special Editions/Other Releases

  •     Bro’  
  •     Fernando Di Leo Box Set: Volume Two
  •     Fred and Vinnie
  •     Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet 
  •     Late Autumn
  •     Millennium Bug
  •     The Grand Theft

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