Total Recall (2012)
Columbia Pictures
121 minutes

They remade this R-rated Paul Verhoeven sci-fi masterpiece from 1990…

…into this PG-13-rated Len Wiseman movie from 2012…

…and this split screen tells you everything you need to know about the difference in quality between the two:

"IT'S NOT A TOOMAH."  ;Courtesy of Columbia Pictures"IT'S NOT A TOOMAH." YouTube ; Columbia PicturesSo to everyone who remade Total Recall and didn't make it awesome…

To be fair, no one was actually expecting the Colin Farrell version of Philip K. Dick's story to be as good as the Ahnold classic. But something this insipid and pathetically humorless? [Click here.]

The fact that the new film preserves the storied legacy of the triple-boobed hooker doesn't make matters better one bit. Here are the five absolute most shameful things about Total Recall 2012 edition:

  1. You have Kate Beckinsale (filling in for Sharon Stone) and Jessica Biel (filling in for Rachel Ticotin) kung-fu ass-kicking in the same movie, and you only have them engage in hand-to-hand combat with each other for a combined 40 seconds!?!?!?
  2. The living, breathing regime troops are largely replaced by lame, (literally) faceless karate robots.
  3. They never travel to Mars. Colin Farrell says the word "Mars" at the beginning of the movie in what amounts to one of the cruelest teases in recent memory, but no, they never go to Mars. Much of what makes the original so great is a direct consequence of Schwarzenegger and Ticotin mass-murdering henchmen on Mars. But since the Red Planet has proved lethal at the box office in a post-Total Recall world (Rocket Man in 1997, Mission to Mars and Red Planet in 2000, Ghosts of Mars in 2001, Doom in 2005, John Carter in 2012, etc.), Colin Farrell stays put on boring, drab Earth.
  4. Whereas the original was a mean-spirited laugh-riot, this is damn-near stone-faced. The only humorous thing about the remake is the blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment that shows the future's Obama currency.
  5. The new Total Recall has dubstep in it.

I'll let New Yorker editor Ben Greenman take it from here:

For those looking for something less infuriating, stick to this video of the charming and funny Beckinsale chatting with Conan O'Brien about the bizarre fight choreography in the futuristic action flick:

The nonawesome, non-Schwarzenegger edition of Total Recall gets a wide release on Friday, August 3. The film is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity, and language. Click here for local showtimes and tickets.

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Juno Temple as Dottie Smith.

Killer Joe
LD Entertainment
102 minutes

Killer Joe is the best film of 2012 thus far—provided that you don't mind pervy, blood-caked, nihilistic, claustrophobic, morally deviant, unstoppably depraved, ultimately pointless fare. To give you a taste of what you're in for, allow me to paint a picture of one of the movie's tamer sequences:

In a desolate town outside of Dallas, a blonde preteen wearing a tight black dress from an outlet store stands in her dad's trailer. Their home is covered in litter, muck, and grease. The girl, Dottie Smith (played by British actress Juno Temple), proceeds to model her new outfit for her father Ansel (Thomas Haden Church), who tells her, "You look like a goddamn movie star." Her giddiness quickly evapporates as her dad informs her that tonight she is to be pimped out as "retainer" to Dallas detective Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a part-time hitman who craves young flesh. Dottie rushes back into the bedroom, repeatedly screaming "I have to change!" as tears and snot run down her face. Ansel practically kicks down the door in his effort to brutishly pull her out of the room. Soon enough, "Killer Joe" arrives, beaming with a cold, lustful stare. Soon enough, he casually orders her to strip.

The feel-good movie of the year this is not.