Thursday, August 2, 2012

In Theaters: "Total Recall (2012)"

There are few things this world needs less than a remake of Total Recall, and walking in with that skepticism (and its resultant low expectations) actually works in the favor of Les Wiseman’s new remake, which surprises merely by the act of not being terrible. Sure, the set-up is clunky and the climax is a mess, and though it seems inconceivable, they’ve managed to make a movie that diverges from the 1990 original yet still isn’t a proper adaptation of the Philip K. Dick story they’re both ostensibly based on. But if you put all those issues aside, there’s about an hour in the middle of this Total Recall that is, plain and simple, crackerjack action filmmaking, and that’s a rare enough commodity that it’s worth noting.

In Theaters: "Celeste and Jesse Forever"

Still photos, sweet music, snappy byplay, and lots of “I love you”s: the interesting trick in the opening scenes of Lee Toland Krieger’s Celeste and Jesse Forever is that we don’t realize we’re watching a couple at the end of a relationship, and that’s why their friends are freaked out. It’s not right that a couple on their way to a divorce are still hanging out with each other every day, sharing their inside jokes and intimacies. They object: “It’s the perfect break-up!” insists Jesse (Andy Samberg), and for a time, it looks like he’s right. He’s not, of course; he’s hanging on to the relationship for dear life, hoping that Celeste (Rashida Jones) will change her mind. Maybe she will, and maybe she won’t, and either way, it might be too late.

In Theaters: "The Babymakers"

Jay Chandrasekhar’s The Babymakers is a happily low-rent, cheerfully dirty sex comedy, raw and ribald but nowhere near as mean-spirited as what tends to pass for sex comedy these days. Director Chandrasekhar hails from the Broken Lizard troupe, and a few members of that group (including him) pop up, but it’s not a “Broken Lizard movie,”; it’s a fairly conventional love-and-marriage comedy, with some sperm theft thrown in.