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Agent Provocateur: The Films of Paul Verhoeven

With the Robocop reboot about to kick down the doors, it’s time for a retrospective of Paul Verhoeven, the Dutch provocateur responsible for the original and a handful of other classics. “Classic” might seem a bit rich, but with poor cyborg Officer Murphy, Total RecallBasic InstinctStarship Troopers, and Showgirls, Verhoeven’s carved out his own gaudy niche of violence and eroticism. He’s certainly brought a bruise or two to the surface of popular culture. TIFF is taking a look at the breadth of his career in their new program Flesh + Blood: The Films of Paul Verhoeven, showing his early Dutch movies all the way through to his Hollywood home-runs. Join me after the jump for a pair of his earliest, the WWII epic Soldier of Orange and the medieval depravity of Flesh+Blood. Read the rest of this entry


The Bourne Legacy Rules – Biff Bam Pop’s Box Office Wrap-Up Report

Matt Damon may not be onboard, but audiences still responded in a huge way to the latest entry in the Bourne franchise. Meanwhile, two other new releases posted some excellent number. Here’s how the weekend went down.

As predicted, The Bourne Legacy, starring Jeremy Renner, did great business, grossing $40 million for its opening weekend, beating back middling reviews and the absence of Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne. Not only does the film’s opening number signal the continuing health of the franchise, but it also cements Jeremy Renner as a leading actor that audiences will pay money to see. I wonder how this bodes for a Hawkeye film?

Find out how the rest of the weekend turned out after the jump:
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Saturday At The Movies – Total Recall 2012 vs Total Recall 1990

Dear movie studios,

I hate to say this because I like the guy, but if you’re looking to make a splash at the box office during the summer movie season, you must not put Colin Farrell in your tent pole release. No matter how great your film is, no, scratch that. No matter how good or even average your movie is, it will severely underperform if Colin Farrell is your leading man.

It’s a fact. Find out why after the jump.
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The Bourne Legacy vs The Campaign vs Hope Springs – Biff Bam Pop’s Box Office Predictions

Three new films are looking to claim dibs on the top spot at the box office this weekend. Will it be a new edition to a solid franchise, a comedy team-up between two big stars or a romantic comedy looking for some summer counter programming success? Here are our predictions:

The Bourne Legacy is the first edition of the increasingly succesful franchise to not feature Matt Damon aka Jason Bourne. In his place is Jeremy Renner as another Treadstone operative but who is equally as badass. Renner may not have the box office clout on his own that Damon possess, but he’s well on his way. Trailers for The Bourne Legacy have received great notices, making clear that this story takes place in the same established Bourne world. Action fans and Avengers fans will likely help make this film a decent sized hit. Look for The Bourne Legacy to debut in the top spot with $40 million.

Find out how the rest of the top five will shape up after the jump.
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The Dark Knight Rises Above Total Recall – Biff Bam Pop’s Box Office Wrap-Up Report

Two new films debut this weekend but neither could shut down the success of The Dark Knight Rises, which held onto the top spot at the box office for the third weekend in a row. Find out what went down at theatres after the jump!
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Big Ideas On The Big Screen – Phillip K. Dick In Hollywood

Words like “imaginative”, “mind-bending”, and “psychologically unsettling” are often applied to the science-fiction novels of Phillip K. Dick. He wrote stories with big ideas.

At the same time, his novels have been almost uncomfortably fertile ground for adaptation into big-budget Hollywood films – some faithfully, and some very, very loosely. And while we’re on the subject of Total Recall, let me mention Dick’s short story, “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale”. The story of a quiet, unassuming man who tries to book a virtual vacation only to find out that it’s actually happened has become a massive, explosive, ultraviolent action movie not once, but twice.

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Total Recall vs Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Biff Bam Pop’s Box Office Predictions 08/03/2012

This weekend, a sci-fi remake and the third entry in a family friendly franchise look to topple The Dark Knight Rises from the top of the box office. Do either of them have a chance, or will the numbers recall the last few weekends?

Let’s be real – I don’t think anybody has been waiting for a Total Recall remake. The original, a classic, über violent sci-fi flick with Arnold Schwarzenegger, is still well-regarded, even if it did have very little resemblance to its source material, the novel We Can Remember It For You Wholesale by Phillip K. Dick. A remake with Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, and Jessica Biel and directed by Len Wiseman was a hard sell for me…and then the trailers started hitting the web. And they look good. I think Total Recall could be a decent hit – not a blockbuster, but it could find an audience that hasn’t particularly been well served with pure science fiction this summer. What the film has going against is none of the leads can really open a film. On that note, I’m predicting a second place showing for Total Recall with $28 million.

Check out the rest of our predictions after the jump!
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Mat Langford’s Gaming World – Total Rubbish…er, I Mean Recall For The NES.

With the remake of Total Recall coming out, I figured I’d take a look back at the NES game. It was released to tie in with the original movie, released in 1990, and, well, it was an interesting take on the franchise…and not in a good way.

Let’s get this out of the way: this game is awful, and for a number of reasons. First of all, the game didn’t look or sound like the movie. The soundtrack was upbeat and the visuals were generic and boring. Yeah, I know that the NES wasn’t exactly the most powerful system out there, but at least try! There were certain levels in the game that would claim to reference locations in the movies – like the Last Resort bar (remember the woman with 3 boobs?) – but none of these places actually looked anything like the movie sets. The Last Resort bar was basically a cave with karate skeletons in it. I mean really?

Find out what else went wrong with the game after the jump!
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Summer Movie Preview From Guest Blogger Scotty G – July and August

Yesterday, former Biff Bam Pop box office expert Scotty G returned to the site to run down what films will be hitting theatres this May and June. Up next, what’s to come in July and August along with Scotty’s final thoughts on which films will be the winners and losers of the summer of 2012. 

July 3rd – The Amazing Spider-Man

This is another highly anticipated film, and it is also another re-boot of a franchise.  Andrew Garfield takes over from Tobey Maguire as the title character and we once again get a film about the origins of Peter Parker and Spider-Man.  When the trailer first got released, co-workers of mine did not like the dark tone that was on display, and thought it was trying too hard to be like Christopher Nolan’s take on the Batman character.  I disagree as I think this is a smart move by director Marc Webb (best known for directing 500 Days of Summer).  Distance yourself from the original trilogy as much as possible.  Make something that is unique and your own.  How this film does will be of interest to me, and I have my doubts about it attaining the levels of the original trilogy.  The first Spider-Man was a once-in-a-lifetime film, and it was for my generation a film that was awe-inspiring.  We believed a man could fly in the 70’s when Superman hit theatres, and in 2002, we believed a man could swing from buildings with his spider webs.  The second film was the best reviewed film in the franchise, scoring a 93% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and was considered to be an improvement on the original, even if it did not gross as much.  The third film had a ton of hype going into it, but the last hour of the film alienated fans, causing Spider-Man 3 to have the lowest box office total in the trilogy.  See below: 

2002 – Spider-Man – $403.7 million domestic gross
2004 – Spider-Man 2 – $373.5 million domestic gross
2007 – Spider-Man 3 – $336.5 million domestic gross

Average Domestic Gross – $371.2 million

I hold Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy in very high regard, but I think it was the right decision to inject new life into the character by rebooting it.  The question I have is how to get audiences interested in the character again?  Well for one, the casting has me interested.  On paper, the producers have assembled a great cast lead by Andrew Garfield as well as Emma Stone, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Rhys Ifans, Sally Field and Campbell Scott.  They have also changed the back story of Peter Parker to be a little different than the one that is used in the Raimi trilogy.  The plot of The Amazing Spider-Man revolves around Peter Parker teaming up with his father’s old partner, Dr. Curt Connors, which leads to secrets about Peter’s past as well as the birth of a new enemy.  The release date for the film shows how much faith the studio has in it, and I think The Amazing Spider-Man will rule the multiplexes for a couple of weeks, until The Dark Knight Rises is released.  I think the film will be third highest grossing film of the summer, and with any luck, it will gross around what Spider-Man 3 had. 

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Trailer Time: Total Recall

I can’t possibly be the only person who thinks we really didn’t  need a remake/reboot/whatever of 1990’s Total Recall, am I? That movie may be 22 years old but it still kicks some serious ass. That being said, the trailer for the Len Wiseman directed, Colin Farrell staring flick due out this August does look like a hell of a lot of fun, and it has a stellar cast, including Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biehl, Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy. Perhaps this version will incorporate more of the Philip K. Dick story? Time will tell.

Check out the trailer after the jump and let us know if this is a film you’ll be adding Total Recall to your list of summer blockbuster flicks to see.

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