Remember the titans. No, not the high-school football movie, but those top-shelf British thespians — among them Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Maggie Smith and Claire Bloom — who starred in Ray Harryhausen's 1981 campy "Clash of the Titans." in 1981.
The special-effects wizard, who made stop-motion animations fantasies like "Jason and the Argonauts" and "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad," had prevailed upon the English stars to roar and preen in a mythic tale about the Greek gods fighting among themselves and making life miserable for mankind, particularly Perseus, the half-human son of Zeus.
The remake of "Clash of the Titans" has its own top-flight Brit British actors, notably Ralph Fiennes as the envious dark lord Hades, who is causing trouble for heavenly brother Zeus (Liam Neeson), who like the other gods is petulant in his own ways. Thus the clash.
In the original, it was pretty-boy Harry Hamlin as was Perseus. The new one movie has Aussie actor Sam Worthington, who brings along the scowl and ruggedness he displayed in "Avatar" and "Terminator: Salvation." And there is eye candy, too, in Gemma Arterton as Io and Alexa Davalos as Andromeda.
Other than that, there are a lot of clashes, some decent action scenes, monsters (Medusa and the Kraken) and a few interesting moments (the Djinn, some kind of desert people).
There has always been a lot of affection for the original "Clash of the Titans," which with its use of stop-motion special- effects was already out of step in the post-"Star Wars" era. The new one, directed by Louis Leterrier ("The Incredible Hulk"), was turned into a 3-D film for the big screen — but not for the DVD, though,which is 2-D.
That's just as well, since the 3-D didn't add much and only made it darker. It's unlikely, though, in some 30 years that this "Clash" will be remembered fondly. As for now, it's a serviceable — if scattered and overwrought — action film.
Based on Eric Garcia's novel "The Repossession Mambo," "Repo Men" offers another dystopian vision. In it, a giant company named the Union, Inc., will provide you those little things your health insurance company won't pay for — a new heart, kidney, liver or other organ. For a price, of course.
Jude Law and Forest Whitaker are two repo men working for Union, hunting down those recipients of synthetic organ transplants who've fallen behind on their payments.
When the pair catch up with the delinquents, they get back the firm's property at the point of a surgical knife.
Law's Remy then begins to regret his life, and he hooks up with a torch singer named Beth (Alice Braga) with a scheme to get back at Union. You might be able to read "Repo Men" as a satire on the heartlessness of our health care system, but then the film would have needed some sharpness, like that scalpel.
It's great that they are able to prevail on David Suchet has been prevailed upon to return to the role of fussy Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. "Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Movie Collection, Set 5" is a handsome set of three mysteries that recently aired on PBS.
They all boast fine casts and the filmmakers have given the stories some relevant, modern touches. The collection includes: "Murder on the Orient Express," Christie's most famous Poirot novel, with Toby Jones, Barbara Hershey, Hugh Bonneville, and Dame Eileen Atkins; in "Third Girl," in which Poirot collaborates with a mystery writer (Zoë Wanamaker) to help a young heiress who is a murder suspect; and in "Appointment with Death," in which the detective is visiting an archaeological dig in the Syrian desert when the wife of a noble (Tim Curry) is murdered. It also stars John Hannah and Elizabeth McGovern.