Gordon Dunn is found dead shortly after he unveils his latest invention – a machine that can extract, record and play back a person’s memories.
No long after that, a mysterious man appears, steals the machine and sets out to find out who killed Dunn.
Rememory stars Peter Dinklage and the mysterious man, Julia Ormond as Carolyn Dunn and Martin Donovan as Dunn. It premieres free, for a limited time, on GooglePlay on August 24th, and in theaters on September 8th.
One of the more interesting of Dean R. Koontz’s creations is the clairvoyant short order cook, Odd Thomas. Now, Odd Thomas has been adapted for the big screen, starring Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) as the titular character. Directed by Stephen Sommers and with a supporting cast that includes Willem Dafoe (The Spider-man Trilogy, The Boondock Saints), Nico Tortorella The Following), Patton Oswalt (United States of Tara, Justified) and Gugu Mnatha-Raw (Doctor Who, Bonekickers, Undercovers), it’s almost certain to a quirky, fun horror flick.
Every time I see a remake that makes me cringe, I remember that Hollywood needed three tries to get it right with The Maltese Falcon. Then, when I see a good remake, like Fright Night, I feel ever so slightly vindicated for not giving up hope.
DreamWorks’ Fright Night remake, starring Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin gets its first trailer – and it’s a good one. The new Cars 2 trailer looks much better than the first three, suggesting that Pixar’s undefeated streak [eleven films; eleven hits] might well continue.
In a world where… movie remakes are common but good remakes considerably less so, the upcoming remake of horror/comedy classic Fright Night is looking better and better with every bit of new information released. From a stellar cast [Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, David Tennant, Toni Collette, etc.] and intriguing directorial choice Craig Gillespie [Lars and the Real Girl, United States of Tara] – and a screenplay by Marti Noxon [Buffy the Vampire Slayer], to a half-dozen freshly released photos, it really looks like this remake will be a good one.
The most impressive thing about Terminator Salvation is that it features only one character who actually earns our emotional engagement – and it’s not John Connor [Christian Bale using his Bat-voice]. Neither is it sweet, mute, cute, black girl Star [Jadagrace], a kindergarten-aged child who is so obviously planted to manipulate our emotions that the strategy fails, miserably; nor is it Connor’s pregnant wife Kate [Bryce Dallas Howard] whose worries about her husband are so underwritten that the character feels more like an add-on than someone from the original story. It’s not even Moon Bloodgood’s Blair, who follows her heart when it comes to dealing with the character who does earn our involvement, Marcus [Sam Worthington].
Y’see, we meet Marcus in 2003, just before he’s about to be executed for murder – and Dr. Serena Kogan [Helena Bonham Carter], who is dying of cancer, persuades him to donate his body to science by allowing him a kiss [“That’s what death tastes like,” he notes]. When he awakens, it’s in a desolate 2018 and he makes the mistake of attracting the attention of a T-600 – fooled by its bipedal appearance. He is saved by the teenaged Kyle Reese [Anton Yelchin] who exists, plot-wise, only to provide Marcus with directions and Skynet with bait to lure Connor to his death.
Other than Marcus, the human characters are of the “insert tab A into slot B” variety. Connor is one-note and utterly lacking in any real charm, or charisma; Star is but a blatant manipulation by the writers [who also wrote the disastrous T3]; Blair exists, primarily to convince us that Marcus is human; Kate is there to make think that John Connor can actually care about anything other than beating Skynet. Even the submarine-based Command exists only to make Connor look real – despite some vintage mugging by the extremely ill-used Michael Ironside.
The real star of the film the half-human cyborg, Marcus [which you probably figured out from the trailer]. Outside of Worthington, the movie’s real stars are, as in T3, the machines – and even then, all the quality FX in the world can‘t give them any sense of real intelligence. In The Terminator, and T2, the back and forth between humans and machines seemed like a game of Risk – each move was made within the structure of a plan. Move and countermove. In T3 and Salvation, there’s none of that. As good as look onscreen, the machines of Skynet are random and chaotic.
Even worse, for all its technical skill and well-executed action sequences, Salvation is a machine on virtually every level – excepting Marcus, who is not only engaging, but actually provides the film with its only genuine moment poignancy [if you see Salvation, you know it when you see it].
Sadly, for all its budget and high-powered cast, Salvation is little better than an empty, soulless, but well-made B-movie – which places it in the company of other beautifully made misfires like Max Payne and Punisher: War Zone. This series should died with T2 – and more people should have watched the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series, which honored those movies and built upon them.