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Movie Review: Total Recall

Mike Finkelstein wants to be a cowboy. Sadly, he is not a cowboy. But then, one day, some random, skeevy looking place gives him the chance to make him think he’s a cowboy. Instead of working, though, the process really, really, really messes with his mind, and now, he looks like Jack Nicholson at the end of One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest. Next time, maybe he’ll just go to the movies. Here is his review of “Total Recall”.

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Mike Finkelstein wants to be a cowboy.  Sadly, he is not a cowboy.  But then, one day, some random, skeevy looking place gives him the chance to make him think he’s a cowboy.  Instead of working, though, the process really, really, really messes with his mind, and now, he looks like Jack Nicholson at the end of One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest.  Next time, maybe he’ll just go to the movies.  Here is his review of “Total Recall”. 

PLOT: Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a factory worker in a futuristic, post WWIII wasteland who is fed up with his life.  To add some spice, he decides to go to Rekall, a corporation designed to give its customers artificial memories of whatever life they wanted to lead.  Soon, Quaid is thrown into a world of espionage and spying as he “finds out” that he’s really a secret agent whose memory was erased to keep him from the rebels.  But while he’s trying to save the day, he has to decide…is this reality, or just Rekall?

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW: When you’re remaking a sci-fi action flick from the 80s like TOTAL RECALL, it should be like shooting fish in a barrel.  Look at what Len Wiseman had at his disposal: twenty years worth of SFX, the intelligence and resources to cut some great fight scenes together, and some excellent actors ready to breathe new life into a classic.  All you need to do now is come up with a deeper script that adds onto the original a bit, and you have a remake that’s worth going to see.

Heh…I think somebody forgot about that script part…

It’s the year 2084.  After a widely destructive World War III, the Earth has become largely inhabitable except for the rich and powerful Federation of the British Republic and the poor, downtrodden Eastern Colony.  Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a tired, restless factory worker living in said Colony.  Despite protests from his beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) and best friend, Harry (Bokeem Woodbine), Quaid decides to try Rekall, a corporation that promises that if you bring them your fantasy, they’ll give you the memory.  But when a malfunction supposedly reveals that Quaid is actually Hauser, an important secret agent fighting with the rebel force against the president of the Republic, it’s up to Quaid to figure out if what he’s seeing is reality or all in his mind, and either way, how to save not only himself, but the people he loves.

If the plot synopsis sounds a bit familiar, it’s because it is.  For the first half hour, we hit beat by beat every step of the original film, and it’s welcomed with a nice hint of nostalgia and excitement for what’s next.  Hell, even the three-breasted prostitute stopped by to say hi, hi and hi (even though this time it was a bit strange to see her in a world with not one other mutant).  We never actually get to Mars this time around, but the views of the wasteland that is The Colony is breathtaking (obviously an ode to BLADE RUNNER), and the special effects hint that the technology may have finally caught up to the story.

But the second our new Quaid dives into his new Rekall reality, any and all feelings of hope turn to dread.  What made the original TOTAL RECALL so much fun was that it was blatantly obvious Quaid was sitting in Rekall chair all along.  Even though we wanted him to save the day, we also have the extra weight of not wanting him lobotomized in the process.  This time around, all that extra weight is lifted and replaced with non-stop action.  Forget about any depth for Cohaagen, love interests, or rebel leaders…they get maybe two minutes each to explain themselves.  Forget about the fun moments of Quaid picking his perfect girl and the technician talking about the “blue sky on Mars”.  Hell, forget about Benny the cab driver!  All that is replaced with running, shooting and killing that tries to make the film bigger and grander, but ultimately kills it by leaving us absolutely nothing memorable.

As for the actors, I almost feel bad for anybody involved because of the amount of talent wasted.  It was nice to see Colin Farrell headlining a movie again, and the guy plays a great Quaid, both as an action star and when he’s able to squeeze a few lines in.  Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel do a beautiful job complimenting each other, with Beckinsale being absolutely ruthless and Terminator-ish as Quaid’s imposter wife (a role super extended from the original), and Biel being the sweetheart, bring-home-to-mommy girl everyone wants.  Even Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy show up briefly as the evil president Cohaagen and rebel leader Matthias Lair, respectively.  (It’s important to mention that Cranston had to act with the weirdest hair I’ve seen since Donald Trump.)  Sadly, while all of them did what they had to do with what they were given, nobody really had much to work with.

It almost pains me to say it, but while TOTAL RECALL should have been a sure thing, it became anything but.  With an overload of action and special effects in lieu of any character development whatsoever, the remake became exactly what Rekall guaranteed it wouldn’t be: forgettable.  If anything were a redeeming factor for this film, it would have to be the special effects, with everything from the flying car chase to the elevator chase to the Fall looking absolutely magnificent.  (Don’t get me wrong…we never for a second thought our heroes were actually in trouble, but aesthetically, you couldn’t help but be impressed.)  But in the end, if you want to see what TOTAL RECALL should be, go rent the original with Ah-nuld, which still holds up today.  It’s more fun, fleshed out, and dare I say…smarter than its imitator twenty years later.

Who knew?

GRADE: C

Mike’s LIKES:

1) COLIN FARRELL: It’s good to see the man back headlining a movie, especially a jam packed action flick.  Granted, there weren’t many lines and a hell of a lot of running, but for what he was given, Farrell did a great job.

2) THE LADIES OF TOTAL RECALL: Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel…do I really have to say any more?  Like a good cop/bad cop comparison, Biel brought the natural, sweetheart beauty, while Beckinsale could have given the T-800 a run for his money with the way she moved.  Easily the best part visually of the entire movie.

3) ACTION SEQUENCES: Yes, it was way too much and left no room for any of the dislike list below, but you have to give Len Wiseman credit…the man can film a hell of a chase scene, and blow stuff away like it’s nobody’s business.  If you turn off your mind and are just there for visuals, you’ll be happy.

4) SFX/SET PIECES: The Colony, The Fall, and an entire chase scene with flying cars…all absolutely stunning to look at and take in as a universe all its own.

5) OBAMA MONEY: Maybe, someday…

Mike’s DISLIKES:

1) NO DEPTH: In the original TOTAL RECALL, we knew that Quaid was still in Rekall.  That’s what made the movie so exciting…the fact that this man we’re rooting for to win may win in his dreams, but lose everything in his life in the process. This entire film was one long chase scene that never had a chance to dive into that psychological battle.  And without that, all the running in the world couldn’t help make this remake good.

2) NO CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: Forget even any exposition!  We get absolutely NOTHING to go on in terms of backstories!  At least in Ah-nuld’s world, Doug Quaid was a real man with dreams and conflicting feelings.  Cohaagen was a fully fleshed villain that had his reasons instead of just popping up at the end.  Here, we never had any time to breathe to get to know any of them!

3) NO SENSE: Yes, I know you have to suspend your disbelief for an action flick, but there were so many moments of “wtf?!” from a guard-less headquarters to a ridiculously easy-to-access military plane, that I threw up my hands about halfway through and waved my white flag.

4) S***: Seriously?!  How many times can someone say S***?!  After a while, I felt like I was counting them like the “South Park” episode when they say the same word on television.  Now that I think about it, it can make a PERFECT drinking game…

EXTRA FACTS:

1) Ethan Hawke was cast as Doug Quaid before his time at Rekall, and actually filmed a glorified cameo in the form of a five-page monologue.  However, his scene was cut due to pacing, and will be included in the DVD release.

2) Colin Farrell filmed the one-shot fight scene in Rekall 22 times before he did it perfectly.

 

Editor's Pick

VIDEO:Rolled Ice Cream, Cheetos Bagels And Grasshoppers Are Just Some Of The Unusual Things Brian Balthazar Has Eaten On ‘The Wendy Williams Show’

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You’ve seen pop culture expert, Brian Balthazar, appear on The Wendy Williams Show quite a bit over the last few years. He even co-hosted the show on three separate occasions. It wasn’t until his last visit where he and Jason Biggs chowed down on a KFC Cheetos Chicken Sandwich that it hit me: Being on the daytime talk show makes Brian Balthazar hungry!

The proof is in the pudding…pun definitely intended. Carla Hall made sure to bring some snacks for Brian when they cohosted together.

Sure, Wendy is known for telling us to “grab a snack and come on back”…

But you’d have to be absolutely famished to want to eat fish sliders at 10am.

He’s gotten so hungry he resorted to eating GRASSHOPPER TACOS on the show!

Could it be that Brian isn’t actually hungry though? Could he just be a brave soul willing to be the taste tester so we don’t have to? Could my theory be flawed?!

I suddenly feel like maybe we owe Brian a big thanks…

Either way, it’s fun to watch! Click below to take a look at a compilation of all the fun stuff Brian Balthazar has eaten on The Wendy Williams Show!

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Britney

LISTEN: Britney Spears Wants Her Life Back – Full Testimony Details Claims Of Prolonged Abuse

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For the first time, Britney Spears is speaking publicly about the conditions surrounding her conservatorship. In a powerful 23 minutes, she claimed the conservatorship does way more harm than good, detailing punishments and bullying from her father and a team of people on her payroll.

The full testimony is below.

In one instance she referred to her previous statements to her social media following where she claimed she was ‘okay’ and ‘happy,’ revealing that the statement was a lie.

“Now I’m telling you the truth, OK? I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane.”

Another hearing is scheduled for July, but the exact next steps remain unknown.

Watch the full clip:

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Design

Get The Look! A Buyer’s Guide To Brian Balthazar’s Philadelphia Home Redesign

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As the world was forced to spend more time at home, Brian Balthazar found himself in a position where he had sold a house before the lockdown and had to find a new one.

“We sold our home with all the furniture in it, so not only did we find ourselves struggling to find a new place, once we found one we didn’t have any furniture to put in it.”

And so, Brian and partner Dennis got resourceful, turning to refurbishing and buying store floor models. They were inspired to make bold, fun choices in color and style when they started shopping around for wallpaper.

Below is the segment as it appeared on the Today Show, and further down, a rundown of where you can find the pieces or ones with a similar look!

THE DINING ROOM

Let’s start with the Dining Room!

Move the slider dividing the image to see all of the before or all of the after!

Brian saysThe dining room was the first space we wanted to do. I haven’t had a true dining room since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted a big table for dinner parties! There were no tables within the price range we wanted, so we found a floor model at one of our favorite go-to stores, Arhaus. We easily saved 75 percent on this table by getting the one that they weren’t going to carry anymore. The chairs are from Wayfair.  On each side of the fireplace (not seen in the photo, but visible in the Today Show video) are two black tall lanterns flanking the fireplace. I got them at Target. I can’t currently find them on their app, but similar versions pop up every year. Get thee to Homegoods! Homegoods and Homesense (same parent company) are my go-to spots for home accessories for virtually every room in the house. You never know what you’re going to find, which is part of the fun.

But let’s focus on the real WOW element to this room – the wallpaper! This pattern is called Bellewood, by RebelWalls.   As you will soon see, I’m sort of obsessed with their patterns. To me, this room is magical with the added whimsy of this forest pattern. (They also have a more muted version with grays and even one with blues.) I also love that by hanging the paper from the chair rail up, you almost get the feeling that you’re standing on a balcony overlooking the forest. I surrounded the whole room with this paper, which I love, but you could easily add the same magical feeling by just doing one feature wall. Their website shows how it can translate to a bedroom or office. You might be intimidated by hanging wallpaper but don’t be! This pattern has so much going on that it really looks perfect when it goes up!

ON TO THE GUEST BEDROOM!

GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE
GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE
THE GUEST BEDROOM

Brian says: The guest bedroom is on the top floor of the house, so it’s got roof lines on two sides that make it a tricky space to navigate if you’re not careful. The planning of this space alone resulted in a few bonked heads. On the upside, the wall where the bed goes is tall, so it was an obvious place to create some visual pop. Again, the wallpaper takes the spotlight.  Called “Nude Roses,” also by RebelWalls, I love this design. Floral wallpaper was ‘big’ in popularity back in the 1920s when this house was built, but the patterns at that time were smaller, repeated more often, and were often really bold in color. This interpretation is so fun to me! Gone are the small roses in favor of oversized blooms, and the bold colors are more subdued pink and gray hues, with touches of dark green and creamy whites.

While roses can inherently feel feminine, the plaid bedding (30 dollars for a queen set from Target) are a surprising complement that keeps everything from feeling a little stereotypical. The side tables are mismatched – partly because we didn’t want to go too “matchy=matchy” – but also to save some money – the one on the left side (hard to catch here) was from West Elm. Normally $199, we got it for half off as the floor model. The one on the right we found in the trash. It was perfectly fine, clearly someone had just gotten tired of it! Nothing some disinfectant can’t fix. That gave us some extra money to spend – To reduce the softeness we went with industrial lamps and edison bulbs. The lamps  are called “Ginyard,” from Wayfair. The headboard was on sale at Arhaus. The dark gray takes balances out the pink hues well. The pillows are from Target and Homegoods.

For the 360 degree view of this room, watch the Instagram reel below!  You’ll see the dresser, on sale for $599 from Arhaus, a lamp from Homegoods, and mobiles from Amazon which we fashioned into a ‘piece of art’ that keeps you from hitting your head on the angled wall opposite the bed. Watch the video to check it out!

 

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THE GAME ROOM

BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT BEFORE
BASEMENT BEFORE
BASEMENT / GAME ROOM

Brian says: The idea for the basement game room was to create a space that feels like a lounge you might find if you went out with friends. When you go into this basement it definitely feels like you’ve gone someplace unique! Believe it or not, I found out the Today Show had invited me to to record my house tour just a few days in advance, and so we turned around this spot in just THREE days! There was literally no pool table at the time, (although it had already been scheduled to come on Friday, the wallpaper came on Saturday, (as well as the floor tiles!) and by Sunday we were covered in paint and glue and drinking wine to celebrate it’s completion! I recorded the final video that Monday.

Some people might not think to take a bright basement and make it dark, but that was our first instinct. Clubs are dark and moody, and we wanted this to feel like that. We painted the walls Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore, which is a very dark gray that seems to take on different hues based on where you paint it and the light that shines on it. We painted the ceiling black. This was Thursday night! Then Friday the pool table came. The floor tiles (“Tweed Indeed” in black by Flor) hadn’t arrived until the next day, so when they did arrive I meticulously trimmed four tiles to fit around the pool table legs so it looks like they were there the whole time. I had ordered the pool table online weeks before from PoolTables.com and by sheer coincidence it was scheduled to arrive in time for me to shoot the redesign. This was the second time I have ordered a pool table from them (which was initially scary because you’re not even seeing it beforehand!) but it always arrives in perfect condition to your specific selections. I love that the felt jet black and keeps things dark and moody. In the time that has passed since this photo was taken, I’ve added more of the carpet tiles to make the carpeted floor area darker and bigger.

But once again, the wall mural steals the show in a marvelous way! This mural is called “A Priori” from Rebelwalls, and is inspired by The Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power, a famous fresco by Italian artist Pietro da Cortona. Fitting, because this house is Italian in style on the outside. You can’t see it from this photo but the wallpaper runs up part of the ceiling as well. It truly gives the room a wow factor when you enter it. The lamps are from Homegoods, (we’ve since added some industrial floor lamps for extra mood lighting) and the piano was something we brought with us. The bar tables are from Amazon ($72 each) and the stools we brought with us – they were discards from someone who didn’t like their original bright colors and thought they were dated! We covered them ourselves with gray plaid fabric and they’re better than they were new!

 

So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the rooms and find something you like!

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