Michael Ironside

Scanners

Year: 1981
Directed By: David Cronenberg
Written By: David Cronenberg

RYAN’S REVIEW

I’ve owned this movie since college and it’s only now I realize I’ve never seen it all the way through. I saw it for the first time in a college film class when we screened the famous head exploding scene. I was so impressed with the scene I sought out this movie to add to the collection. It seems now I never actually got around to seeing the whole thing.

This is not an easy movie to watch, and barring some interesting parts it really falls short overall. It’s not by any fault of Director David Cronenberg who had his back against the wall. Pressured by deadlines Cronenberg had to start shooting without a finished script and had to manage two feuding stars. For whatever the reason Patrick McGoohan and Jennifer O’Neil did not get along. I can’t recall the two of them sharing any scenes but I’m sure the problem was prevalent on set during shooting.

The hero in this film, Vale played by Steven Lack, is lacking in acting skills. As the hero of the film he simply doesn’t deliver and the part could have been better cast. On the other hand Michael Ironside in the part of Revok is awesome. I have always been a big fan of Michael Ironside, especially as a villain. He’s been acting for almost 40 years and this is the youngest I have seen him in anything. Even in his youth he had a sinister edge that makes him great for playing bad guys.

This movie is all over the place, and that’s part of what makes it hard to watch. The Scanners at times can’t deal with the thoughts of all those around them, at other times they are fully in control. The sudden expansion of their capabilities from human mind control to computer control was an odd change that didn’t work for me. I also thought the weird voice over in Dr. Ruth’s final moments to be a bit odd and confusing. Is he a scanner or are these simply crazy thoughts of a mad man? He suddenly turning out to be the father of both Vale and Revok is a twist I think was produced out of writing the script while shooting. It’s a weak plot twist and all too typical.

This movie is listed as a horror film but more for the shocks and content than any scary element. This one isn’t going to scare you at all or get you in the mood for the season but it’s not without some excitement. There have been talks of a remake for years but it has never materialized. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen though, Hollywood loves refurbishing old horror movies with a more modern twist. This movie probably could be improved with a remake though. The idea is sound and interesting enough albeit a bit of a bore to watch and too anticlimactic.

I don’t recommend this movie as a Halloween season film and I would avoid it if you are looking for a horror feature to watch this season. Despite its few merits it simply isn’t a scary movie and will do nothing to set the tone you are looking for. There are other horror films from David Cronenberg that are undoubtedly better and eventually we may check them out and review something he will be better remembered for. For the most this movie is remembered for check out the video below for the entire scene and you’ve seen all you need to see.

 

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Total Recall

Year: 1990
Directed By: Paul Verhoven
Written By: The original story was inspired by a short story by Phillip K. Dick and then there were several others.

RYAN’S REVIEW

We are on vacation right now and doing something out of the norm with the blog. As a onetime thing we are breaking the order of going through our collection as it sits on the shelf and reviewing a movie that normally wouldn’t come for a long time.  Since the remake of Total Recall is hitting theaters soon we felt this was a perfect time to make an exception. I’ll admit that the remake of this film does look really good, but this will really be a hard film to top.

I think this movie was ahead of its time in many ways.  It’s got a clever and twisted plot that has an interesting ability to suck the viewer in. That is the only reason I am interested in a remake.  This is the kind of movie that could be so much better had the actual technology of the future been incorporated into it.  I think the trailer for the new movie inspires a lot of hope, but as far as this one goes I think it is really interesting to see what they thought the future was going to offer.

I think this is easily one of the best movies Schwarzenegger made during his career.  In truth he made many great movies that I love dearly, but I do honestly think this one ranks right up there next to Terminator or PredatorThis movie is a nonstop thrill ride with plenty of twists and explosions, not to mention a lot of sex appeal (there is a chick with three boobs for crying out loud). That cast is great and the director was on a personal role at the time.  Paul Verhoven made Robocop prior to this film and one of my all time favorites after, Basic InstinctThose two and this film are all I will vouch for, but they are all three awesome.  I like these movies from Verhoven but his career went askew after Basic Instinct and since he has made many bust and even disasters (Starship Troopers).   I read once that Sharon Stone refused to show more of her body during a sex scene in this movie, and that Verhoven “got her back” in his next film.  I’ll admit a little nudity from Stone could have only made her part better but it was quite a role she played.  I have always been a big fan of Stone and I think she is great in this movie.  She is sinister and sexy.  The way she can change directions in an instant to try and manipulate Quaid is quite impressive.

I really like Ronny Cox and Michael Ironside as the bad guys.  Ronny Cox plays a much better bad guy than good guy in my opinion and this is a role he was perfect for.  When he chews out Rictor in his office for the first time he gave the performance of his career.  He is awesome in several movies though, I have always liked him. Bryan Cranston plays Cohaagen in the remake and I think he will be great in the role. Cranston has shown quite capable of playing a powerful villain as we have seen in Breaking Bad. Michael Ironside is an actor that was never used enough in my opinion.  He has such a nasty and serious look to him. I think he is great in the role of Rictor.

There is an incredible story to how this movie was actually made if I am not mistaken.  It was inspired by a short story by Phillip K Dick called “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.” Phillip K Dick of course is the writer that inspired movies such as Blade Runner and Minority Report. The movie was initially set with a different director and Patrick Swayze was attached to star.  Schwarzenegger had really wanted to play Robocop but was too large to fit the suit. He still wanted to work with Verhoven though and kept an eye out for something they could do together.  When he heard of this movie he thought it would be perfect for the two of them.  Now, if I remember correctly Schwarzenegger pretty much muscled this movie out the hands that it belonged in.  I remember specifically thinking there must be a fascinating story to the clout and power Schwarzenegger wielded during this time in the movie business.  What it must be like to actually be muscled by that guy, who would one day go on to become Governor of California.  Unfortunately this isn’t a topic of interest I ever followed up on but I suggest anybody interested look into it yourself.  There is a weird story behind the rights to this movie and how they were acquired.

This is an exciting movie that can suck the viewer in and the thrills keep coming for almost two hours.  This movie is somewhat outdated now but that doesn’t take away from its value. I think it is an incredible and cool action/sci-fi film, one of the best of an era.  I wasn’t thrilled to see Colin Farrell cast in the lead for the remake but I will give it a shot.  I don’t think this movie should have been remade because this one was awesome, but I do understand why they did it.  This movie is worth your time and you should definitely check it out before seeing the knock off version that will be hitting theaters soon.

AMBER REVIEW

I had never seen this movie before. As Ryan said above, we are on vacation. When we started watching this movie, I started drinking Skinnygirl Margaritas. (They are no joke, and apparently, I told Ryan as much “a million times”). In any case, I got immediately sucked in. I love the perception that the eighties had on what the future would hold. I think the writers of those movies just went wild with their imaginations instead of researching like most movies do today (i.e. I, Robot and Minority Report). We made it through half of this movie before I fell asleep and don’t remember the rest. We finally finished it yesterday. I was thoroughly impressed with this movie. I really liked it and I can’t wait for the new one. I hope that we have a chance to go to the theater and watch it.

 I kiiiiiinnnndddda like this design. I am struggling a little bit with it. It isn’t clean and is kind of cliché, but I guess it works for this movie. Arnold is all in focus on the front because he has such a recognizable face. The font is nice and extraterrestrial like which also works for the genre. Ehh, it’s alright I guess. I look forward to seeing the new one.