Tag Archives: action film

The Dark Knight Rises: I Was Born In It…

Sorry I’m a bit late on the uptake with reviewing this movie, but I did see it, so I do need to review it. This movie, as the whole series does, holds a lot of mixed feelings with me. People moan and complain about the past Batmans (never had nipples, I get it), and rant and rave about how this series is the end all be all of Batman fandom. That’s great, neat-o. People have all different kinds of preferences when it comes to comic book

Hello there, Mr. Batman (in a Sean Connery voice).

heroes and the types of ways that they’re represented, but get off my back when I say I am a bit more nostalgic and partial to the original Tim Burton films. Jesus…

But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy these movies. We all must remember that these are movies about fictionalized characters from comic books made mostly for the demographic of children to teenagers. Being in college, I can claim, just on the border, that it still applies to me. And hell, these movies only apply to people my age they’re so damn dark these days. I never read The Dark Knight series, and I don’t plan to (not a big comic person). Christopher Nolan can do what he wishes, but just because he made Memento that film kids orgasm over, doesn’t mean he’s the best director and visionary of all time.

A worthy, catlike foe.

And therein lies where my grudge starts. I enjoyed Batman Begins for its iconically classic cheesy action lines and origin story. For a lot of other fans, that movie is shit in comparison to The Dark Knight. Sure, in hindsight, any movie is better than its predecessor (very rarely). But please, respect the originators. The Dark Knight was good as well. Great story, not the best film of all time, because remember, only dramas and artsy films win Oscars, and as much as I would like that to be changed, it won’t. So stop pretending that this movie deserved Oscars, it ain’t gonna happen Nolan.

And then, it all started. Nolan made Inception. The stupid dream within a dream jokes started. This film may be visually pretty, but in lacks when all the hype built around its release left it wanting something. And then, as if to pay homage to a film that has nothing to do with the Batman series, to service the fans, Nolan does something I find strange and deplorable. He puts Marion

The Dark Inception Rises?

Cotillard, Tom Hardy, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt all into the Batman series. With plenty of other candidates out there to try out, he did that whole in-circle movie inclusion thing. All I’m saying is, if I were a director, I would want to work with lots of varying talent and not stick the same old actors into every movie. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Nolan replaced Christian Bale with DiCaprio…

Now that my rants over, let me start a conflicted review about The Dark Knight Rises that people probably won’t read because I’ve already forced out everyone who lives and dies for this series anyways…

So, I gotta say this movie was really hit or miss for me. I love Christian Bale. Plain and simple. His depiction of Batman is

Christian Bale, may you never change.

satisfactory, and one of the only things that keeps me watching these movies. Sure, he does the whole deep voice thing, but isn’t that to entirely mask his identity from other people? He messes up once in the movie by continuing to do the voice although Catwoman knew who he was. But maybe it’s just a mentality thing.

The other thing that made me watch this movie, an amazingly and surprisingly good performance from Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. I’ve loved her ever since The Princess Diaries, and this movie solidifies that she is an actress of all genres. She’s witty and sensual in a way I didn’t know she could be, but not a pushover or bimbo as some comic book villainesses are depicted. A perfect counterpart and conflicted villain of Robin Hood status for this movie.

The only other reason I liked this movie? My adoring nature for

She even makes the orange look classy.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I’m talking Brick, even throwbacks to when I used to watch 3rd Rock From The Sun occasionally. The Lookout, 50/50, his hits just keep rollin’ on. He was one of those sleeper actors that, once given the chance, showed he could do great things. And his twist reveal at the end of this movie was worth waiting for.

Now come the hang-ups I had about this film. First off, it was too long. I don’t know what makes Christopher Nolan pack so much material into a movie I felt could be 2 hrs tops, but he exhausts every single thing he can thing to put in a script and doesn’t understand the meaning of “edit”. Once it hits Batman in the prison of doom, I started to fall asleep. After the last battle, I woke up for the unnecessarily long wrap up ending.

Do you see the likeness, brother?

Bane. Plain and simple, the way Bane is represented in this movie. It’s a big step up from the poison addled Bane of the Clooney times, but it ends up amount to little better than a lackey. I had a friend tell me all about how Bane was so smart and could beat Batman physically as well as mentally in the Dark Knight Series. What do I find out? Bane is a pawn in a much bigger game. And what’s with that voice? Did Sean Connery get a Vader mask and forget to go through puberty? This comically funny voice ruined any chance at making him a legitimate contender for good villain in this movie. Cillian Murphy’s appearance again as Scarecrow in this movie was more entertaining and evil than Bane was. Sad.

Marion Cotillard. Her twist ending as yet another villain biatch in a Christopher Nolan film saddened me. It felt like an unnecessary cop out and exhaustive effort on the writer’s part to make this a cyclical film. Even if this is how the Dark Knight comics went, change it. It sucked.

Throw in a bunch of unnecessary explosions that would make Michael Bay proud and you have a fireworks ending to this

There’s a lot of debris in this movie…

film with a cliffhanger stuck on for good measure. (Seriously, people complain about how explosions take over substance in Bay’s films? Nolan should take a quick peek in the mirror.)

That’s not to say the movie wasn’t entertaining. As most action films for me (and this is nothing more than a “psychological” action film) there are good and bad parts. This was really divided down the middle for me. I would watch it again, and it would become one of those classic movies me and my roommate quote to pass the time. I don’t mean to over emotionally disrespect on anyone who really liked this movie. It may have just hit me at a bad time. Only time truly will tell. But, as for the overall delivery of this movie, in all its components, I’ll give it a 6.6 out of 10.

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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

I feel that deep down, if anyone has ever been wronged or hurt in some way by another, they seek revenge in some form on that person. So, you could say, that revenge is a very human thing to pursue and wish to deal out. I would say that’s why these films have been so successful (although box offices mighy say pshaw). After having seen Oldboy in a film class a few years ago, I knew I had to see more of Park Chan-wook’s films. He has a great sense of story and emotion coupled with a visual style you don’t often see in action films.

So I started off Park Chan-wook’s Revenge series at its logical point, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. This story follows a deaf mute man named Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun) who is down on his luck. His sister (Lim Ji-eun) has kidney failure and is in dire need of a new one. Ryu is fired from his job at the factory and now seeks a new way in which to raise the

This was an interesting scene involving a mirror.

money. In finding a black market organ gang, Ryu is swindled and left without a kidney himself. With no other way to raise the money after not being a suitable donor himself, Ryu must turn to desperate measures with his anarchist girlfriend, Cha Yeong-mi (Bae Doona).

Stunning visuals.

What’s most interesting about this movie is the way that revenge and its plot in the film shifts from character to character. You think it’s all about Ryu and seeking revenge against the organ dealers (and to a point, it is). But it turns into something bigger when Ryu’s ex-boss gets involved. What is intriguing about this movie is that everyone has a motive, and usually for good reason. Ryu wants to save his sister and others want to correct past wrongs (don’t wanna spoil the movie). So there’s no definitive bad and good character, and this is even apparent in Oldboy. (Haven’t watched Lady Vengeance yet, we’ll cross that bridge soon.)

Another thing that leaps out at you in this film is an insanely new way of dictating tempo and focus with camera angles and amount of time spent on one shot. Kim Byung-il and the director, Park Chan-wook must have collaborated together to get such a unique style of story telling through showing. In dealing with a deaf mute character, sound was at times taken for granted. At others, sound played an important part, more

Song Kang-ho is one legitimate actor.

importantly what couldn’t be heard. The story fluctuates in such a way that plot mixes with circumstances, and chance happenings lead to development.

More about the visual style. Amazing work with angles you wouldn’t think of. This movie can take a simple handshake shot to a new extreme. It leaves on things you wouldn’t think of as the events unfold from a single angle (one take shots are hard to do…) and tilts the cameras to gain new perspectives. Light and dark shows its place when the characters walk up an abandoned parking structure in an almost comical way. I think the creators of this film really took a brand of their own outlandishly dark comedy and injected it into their film with just visual aspects.

Also touching.

And another important part of this movie. Song Kang-ho who plays Park Dong-jin, Ryu’s ex-boss. When he gets roped into this story, things start happening. It’s not such a quirky action film anymore. The emotions come out and you see the true face of vengeance. Song Kang-ho is an incredible actor, especially by American Cinema actors. You don’t feel like he’s fooling you with his emotions and actions on camera. You feel like you’re actually feeling for another human being. He didn’t have any classical acting training before he started getting involved with acting, but he has done such a wide range of characters that it shows he has depth. A comedic, bumbling, good hearted Dad in The Host. A bloodthirsty vampire priest that I’d like to see in Park Chan-wook’s other film, Thirst. A comedic and tormented thief in The Good, The Bad, and the Weird. And he’s won awards for his work. Get a load of that.

You bring together excellent acting (and I’m talking to the whole cast about this), stunning visuals, and a bit of violence

Who is seeking vengeance on who?

and revenge, and you have an American A+ caliber action film. What’s different though? This one has heart and emotions that put it at drama level. And so far, with having watched this and Oldboy, Park Chan-wook has hit all the good points on the head. He even puts a bit of violence and gore in there for me too. Violence and a great foreign action film? I think this was made for me. 9.3 out of 10.


Immortals: My First 3D Experience

If you ever feel like having a stick of dynamite stuffed in your ear and detonated, see this movie. It won’t just blow your mind, it will blow your head off. From the same producers that brought you 300, here comes a slightly updated version. Based on the mythology of Theseus and the gods, comes an epic tale of one man versus a league of Hyperion’s horde. Combine the zero to hero life of Hercules with Theseus’ humble peasant background and subtract 299 troops and you have Immortals. Here’s the drawback to my plan. I saw this the day it came out and I was pumped. My birthday movie (Nov. 12th) and The 11.11.11 date release was epic. But… it was only in 3-D. Major crisis could not be averted.

And here is where I gripe about 3-D. There are logical reasons that Hollywood won’t acknowledge about the flaws of 3-D because of how much money it is unfortunately raking in. First of all, coming from generations upon generations (basically back to the 1900’s) who have enjoyed and watched films, these 3-D films look fake. The cheesy effect of things coming out at you from a film (i.e. a bow or sword) takes you out of the movie watching experience. Being constantly conscious of things popping out at you at all

The questing group. Nice.

moments of the film puts it in a realm of disbelief about what is being portrayed onscreen. The headaches it creates from an unprepared audience (and from those who must wear glasses beneath glasses, *ahem* me) and the cost headache it creates is just too much. And everything, even movies that hold next to no 3-D value/scenes, are released for the sake of money. That shouldn’t be what the film industry is about, but, alas, it is.

So, let’s talk about every single good thing about this movie, and then I’ll give you my one problem with the movie. Okay, here we go.

Henry Cavill as Theseus. Check out that butt-chin.

Alright, Henry Cavill as Theseus. In an action film, I, for the most part, forgive the acting of those involved. For most who view these movies, they know no Oscars are coming its way and its for the entertainment value. A movie that sticks to its genre/guns is something I truly appreciate. And Henry Cavill, a relative newcomer to films (first big thing, The Count of Monte Cristo, other notables, Tristian and Isolde and The Tudors) performs in what I would consider an above average performance. Not on par with King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) but a similar gusto. He may come from Jersey (the original) but that doesn’t make him a horrible person, this English bred actor delivers and will hopefully deliver in Zack Snyder’s new Superman film, Man of Steel. I really wish these superhero movies would stop though…

Alright, here’s something that might surprise you. I’m a big Stephen Dorff fan. This dude, despite starring more often in action films and such below the Oscar radar, he has won my affection. Let’s talk Blade. Deacon Frost, the head of the vampires. Witty and evil as most comic book villains should be, Stephen Dorff delivers as the best villain in that series. Luke Goss in the second, a close second. Feardotcom, another good one. A little bit of an underrated horror film, this held some of the inspiration for the Saw series if I’m not mistaken. Throw in World Trade Center and Public Enemies, and you have a character actor with some pizzaz. As Stavros, the longest surviving of Theseus’ homies, the comic relief emanates from him.

Stephen Dorff. What a master.

We got Freida Pinto for the sex appeal. I gotta warn you, a 3-D nude ass in your face is something quite strange. With a similar sex scene to 300 with the plot device of The Scorpion King (let’s see who gets that), this scene had me laughing because of how uncomfortably cheesy it was. Here’s someone I wasn’t familiar with. Luke Evans as Zeus. He played Apollo in Clash of the Titans (ironic, and also a sad film) and was recently a very similarly looking character in The Three Musketeers. I am looking forward to the new Hobbit film, something it seems Evans will have a small part in. So, as Zeus, Luke Evans delivers a very intense character who can theatrically deliver lines. Probably picked more for his youth than skill, I wasn’t really disappointed at all. (All the Greek gods are supposed to be redonkulously good looking, right?)

All of the Greek gods: Zeus, Ares (Daniel Sharman), Athena (Isabel Lucas, niceee), and Poseidon (Kellan Lutz) were all good in their roles. Chiseled bodys of gods (reminds me of 300…) and a brisk demeanor places them above the mortals. And then there’s the special effects. The fight scenes were brutal. Just check out Ares taking out all of those slave overlords like Gallagher. The spear throw and the bow use is pretty ridiculous. These surge of films (Troy, 300, and now Immortals) are really bringing back the badassness of the spear. Combine this with the most important factor, the director. Tarsem Singh is the amazing visual director of two amazing films, The Cell and The Fall. Especially in The Fall, I can really see the resonance this movie holds with its director’s predecessors. Check those movies out if you haven’t already.

Damn you, King Rourke.

Alright, the downfall of this film. Two words. King Hyperion. Also, and more importantly, Mickey Rourke. This Disney named fool needs to stay in obscurity and out of films. The person he has become because of the drugs and addiction has created a monster. I didn’t like him in Sin City, The Wrestler, or Iron Man 2. The only movie I like him is is Diner from way back in 1982. Back when he was a real person and not a shell of the man he is now. It’s quite a sad thing. Oh well, like all actors, he will fall someday.

With a basic, easy to follow plot of the quest, this movie creates amazing landscapes for fight scenes (including the Gate of Mordor) and a fight scene towards the end with the locked away Titans that will blow you away. Created after so many years, it was almost too long of a lull between Immortals and 300. This movie needed to happen and it delivered. Not exactly a copy off of 300, but well worth the watch. Just avoid the 3-D and you’ll be fine. Maybe even skip over the mind-addled mumblings of Rourke while he eats his nuts, but we’ll see. This movie deserves a 8.4 out of 10.

This scene was ridic.