Encapsulated Cinema: The Man with the Iron Fists, ParaNorman, and Total Recall


The Man with the Iron Fists (2012) Movie Image

I had very high hopes for RZA’s “The Man with the Iron Fists.” The rapper’s directorial debut appeared to be a love song to the genre, one that was packed with an impressive cast and a staggering amount of violence. However, there’s something about the film that didn’t connect with me. While RZA’s direction isn’t solid — the fight scenes are a little too choppy for my liking — it isn’t the worst aspect of the feature. While I’m used to martial arts films having ridiculous storylines, this one seems a little too convoluted for its own good. At the end of the day, “The Man with the Iron Fists” wasn’t the kung fu movie I was hoping it would be. I do think RZA is going places as a director, and I’ll probably pick up the film when it lands on Blu-ray next February. Be that as it may, I can’t help but feel the experience was just mediocre.

ParaNorman (2012) Movie Image

ParaNorman (2012)
Directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell’s animated horror/comedy “ParaNorman” is one of the biggest surprises of 2012. Although the movie is obviously geared towards kids, the story is actually much more adult in nature. The film tells the delightful story of a boy named Norman who can communicate with ghosts. According to his crazy uncle, this unusual supernatural gift will be instrumental in preventing the dead from coming back to life. However, once the zombies make their appearance, Chris Butler’s script takes an unexpected turn towards darker waters. What starts out as a light-hearted comedy becomes something else entirely by the time the end credits roll. “ParaNorman” is intelligent, hilarious, and, at times, downright scary. What’s more, the film looks exceptional on Blu-ray; the attention to detail is astonishing to an almost overwhelming degree. One of the best movies of 2012, hands down.

Total Recall (2012) Movie Image

Total Recall (2012)
Did you request a remake of director Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 sci-fi actioner “Total Recall?” Did your friends or family ask Hollywood to tinker with a film that should have been left alone? I didn’t think so. However, that didn’t stop “Underworld” director Len Wiseman from taking a crack at the story. Outside of a few cosmetic differences, the plot is essentially the same. Here’s the problem: Wisemen’s version is hollow. Verhoeven’s flick was sleazy, violent, and darkly funny. The remake ditches all of that stuff for glossy special effects and Kate Beckinsale’s shapely million dollar ass. It feels unnecessary, a sensation that becomes much more apparent as the film wears on. Am I allowing nostalgia for the original “Total Recall” to cloud my judgment of the remake? Maybe a little. Even if I’d never heard of Verhoeven’s movie, I’d still think Wisemen’s misguided effort was nothing more than mediocre. Bryan Cranston, I’m sorry.

Author: Todd Rigney

Todd was raised on a steady diet of Hollywood blockbusters, late-night Cinemax programming, and USA’s “Up All Night,” which may explain why his taste in movies is more than a little questionable. When he isn’t providing news and reviews for Beyond Hollywood, he can be found lounging lazily on his couch, perched in front of his television, or dwelling in places where direct sunlight can be easily avoided. He's happily married, in his 30's, and totally badass. If you'd like to reach Todd, you can follow him on Twitter or send him email/scoops to todd (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • http://twitter.com/BrentMMcKnight Brent McKnight

    I had almost the exact same take on both PARANORMAN and TOTAL RECALL. Loved the first one, the other is an empty, unnecessary remake.

  • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

    Okay I own 2 out of three of these but will own all 3 when Iron Fists hit. I did a review of Iron Fists so for my two cents on that just read the review. I absolutely LOVE Paranorman. I will be doing Coraline and Paranorman double features for life now!!!! As for Total Recall, I enjoyed it. I wasn’t expecting it to be completely different as both films are based on the same short story, but I would’ve liked more use out of the very good cast they assembled. Both Bill Nihy, and even moreso Bryan Cranston were criminally under used. That said the action was well done, the story was actually clearer and a bit better written and focused on the political stuggles in the world. Visually it’s also pretty nice to look at in Blu-Ray. The extended cut is also a better experience in my opinion. I’m a huge fan of the original but I have to say Bekinsale’s Lori was a much better character than the SHaron Stone version, and could probably kick Richter’s ass also! Farrell is better as the everyman hero, but Arnie was built better for their version. I don’t really compare remakes as it’s always going to be an unfair comparison for the most part as nostalgia overshadows everything. But I will say as a stand alone action sci-fi flick it’s good. One part Blade Runner, one part Minority Report, one part Fifth Element,it takes everything that was cool about all those films and mixes them up with the original short story “We can remember it for you wholesale” and pays dome VERY GOOD homages to the original as well.