Tag Archives: Christopher Nolan

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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Snow White and the Hunstman

I’m pretty sure I saw this movie in its last leg of showings in theaters. I had wanted to see it for a while (bar people hating on it for having Kristen Stewart) and was happy to finally see it. My overall impression was good of the film, but for different reasons other than the typical for liking a movie. But I’ll get to that in a second. On an average Friday, in an average theater, among other couples who seemed they wanted to do nothing

Ah yes, a Twilight reference.

more than make out for $10.50 at a poor film, I watched Snow White and the Huntsman.

The story is a bit different than your average Disney movie. Based more on the darker version of events from the Grimm Bros., this movie attempts to scare more than romanticize. I think that’s why people had a problem with the plot because they were expecting this all too romantic kissing scene, and they didn’t get it because that’s not what this movie was about. A strong female character is created to battle an even stronger female character, not really making it about the Huntsman at all (a character

Lookin’ pretty fierce there, Thor.

I developed a liking for from Rutger Hauer’s surprisingly good performance of it in The Tenth Kingdom). And for those of you out there who labeled this a Twilight-like movie from the start, you were wrong. Just because Kristen Stewart is in a film does not mean it has anything to do with Twilight. Shame on you.

So, plot. (As if there were those of you out there who didn’t have a semblance of Snow White.) So one day Snow White’s mom has a little inkling to go out in the garden when it’s snowing. Pricks her finger, 3 drops of blood, bam! You have a baby and a dead mother during

Maybe if I scream they’ll appreciate my performance…

childbirth. King Magnus (Noah Huntley, I thought I recognized him from 28 Days Later…) raises her and loves Snow White to no end. Then, after a cinematically striking 2 minute fight, Magnus finds his new Queen, Ravenna (Charlize Theron). Snow White (Stewart) grows up to be sooooo beautiful that the Evil Queen can’t stand it. Wanting to eat her heart for immortality (remember this is a fairy tale, you adults out there), Snow White escapes and the Queen sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) after her. Let the pursuit begin.

Oh, the wonderful textures…

The casting in this movie was really hit or miss. Kristen Stewart did what little job she could to hold the lead role together, putting on a weak English accent. I can’t blame her when other lesser known actresses were up for the part and they weren’t given it. Sadly, that’s what happens when you’re popular, you steal all the roles. Charlize Theron thought screaming for no reason at certain points would get her acting across more powerfully. That childlike antic won’t get you far, I’m afraid. She was constantly trying to create this Shakespearean demon witch that just came across as weak and sad. Chris Hemsworth was as macho and boring as usual (sorry Thor, but if you are in every movie with a cleaving/hammering device of some sort, you’re typecast. Just like Orlando Bloom as Legolas. Has anyone seen the archery scene in the Musketeers remake?) as the Hunstman. Sorry, that was a long side note. Okay, let’s go through the list of people they chose before they decided on Hemsworth.

A Viggo Mortensen stand in? Perfect!

Tom Hardy. I can see him in the role after the trailers from the new Batman movie. Not a huge fan (he has the Christopher Nolan brand all over his ass. Of course he’s gonna get work…) but he would’ve done the job. Johnny Depp. Never appropriate for an action role. He did well in the POTC movies, but what the Hell kind of offer is that? As Daniel Tosh said, “Cool should have a cutoff, and my vote is 48.” Sorry John Depp, you’re out. Then there was Viggo Mortensen. Now there’s a fantasy actor. The quintessential Aragorn. He has been looking for a reason to come back to fantasy/action films, I’m sure. But he turned it down as well. Maybe the age difference when it comes to Stewart? Who knows… Hugh Jackman. The last one asked before Thor. Wolverine? Sure, he’s pretty ballin. But he declined as well. So, after all these turn downs, the studio turned to a man who’s good with hammer like objects. Great goin’ there, Chris Hemsworth.

But there is a silver lining to this movie. The dwarven cast. The second I saw who they cast as the Seven Dwarves, I was in Heaven. You couldn’t pick a more perfect English cast to play all 7! You got Bob Hoskins leading the group. Elderly and

Mayhem while you work.

blind, he’s good no matter if he’s Smee or Roger Rabbit’s partner. Ian McShane, the Deadwood master. I was surprised he was pretty damn good. Johnny Harris from Black Death. Word. Toby Jones, the infamous voice of Dobby the House Elf. I’d rather remember him from other roles, but he was great as well. Eddie Marsan, another great English actor. I like his smaller roles in V for Vendetta and The Illusionist. People will know him from Sherlock Holmes. Ray Winstone, the gruff talking Mr. French from The Departed. Now he’s a good actor. And Nick Frost of the Pegg/Frost duo. Need I say more? And I’d also like to give a little nod to Brian (pronounced Breen) Gleeson. He’s an up and coming English actor who actually made me shed a tear in this one. Wow, that paragraph was a mouthful of excited English actors.

I like touching silky things.

And now I come to my main point of why I liked this movie. It was pretty to look at. Every scene had some special effect or interesting texture that I wish I could’ve reached out and touched in the film. As it is Rupert Sanders first film, it is understandable that it looks this way. He started off as a English commercial director. He has to sell a product based on look. That’s why this movie is so visually appealing. The fur, the white paint you see in the film, the forest scenes, everything looks so good you could eat it in Willy Wonka’s candy room. And that’s something you don’t always see in every movie. So a bit of a bravo for that.

So you may not be able to see this movie in theaters now, but check it out when it gets its DVD/Blu-Ray release in September of 2012. It was an enjoyable watch for the sights and sounds, but always remember that can only take you so far in a film. 6.4 out of 10.

Get some of that troll…


Marvel’s The Avengers

In this culmination of the Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Hulk series of movies comes The Avenger’s movie, produced by Marvel and Disney Studios. Okay, let’s be realistic about how much I know or care about the Marvel series and any of its connected works. There’s very little. I never really read  comic books when I was younger, other than Ghost Rider and Spawn. I always had a thing for the darker characters and (other than Ghost Rider) not a lot of Marvel characters caught my interest that much. So I was apathetic as to the plight of the superheroes in this movie. Didn’t mean I wasn’t converted into a huge fan in less than 2 hours. This movie alone makes me wanna go back and watch all the others, just to know what went down.

Now it’s not that I’m completely ignorant of the superhero world. I love Batman (not so much these latest installments that showcase Christopher Nolan as the be all end all of Batman with his same cast from every movie that he loves so much)

Lookin’ good there, Evans.

and Spiderman (again, why are they making another one in less than 5 years of the last one? Yes, it may be “more true” to a comic, but Sam Raimi doesn’t need to be spit in the face. My favorite director doesn’t need to be shown up for no damn reason.) and Ghost Rider (we don’t need to get into the whole Nicholas Cage issue, just read my blog on the second movie). I followed the Blade films and even checked out a Hulk or two. I was a kid once, and cartoons are all about superheroes.

The Hulk. Become a fan.

Which, I find, comes at a fault. To realistically shape and morph comic superheroes into people and set them in a different medium is a bit weird to me. You got these groups of superheroes coming together and nobody finds it odd or strange in a modern society that all of this is coming up out of sci-fi fantasy make believe. To depict these dark characters for what is considered to be something that children collect and watch and slap a PG-13 rating on it so the younger kids who like this stuff can’t see it? It seems strange to me. If my little 5 year old cousin can’t see The Avengers and he loves Iron Man, what kind of a situation is that? Yes, there are those comics geared towards an older audience, but you’re still appealing to something meant for those who are younger. Just something to think about.

Enough of my rant about the paradox that is comics and comic book movies. The Avengers is a particular story that has been in the making for a while now. All of these movies were put out in anticipation of one film that would unite all these superheroes in a huge clash of good versus evil. I can tell you though, I have

Some egos clash right here.

no idea who the bad guys were or what their purpose was in coming to Earth other than to destroy it. Nothing gained, a planet destroyed I guess. But you bring together all these clashing egos and you have yourself a more dynamic and interesting squad than the Justice League or any other huge star superhero teams out there.

Go on and use those “superpowers” guys…

Meanwhile, at some underground base that S.H.I.E.L.D. runs…

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has heard some terrible news about this source of power/reactor thing that is going to change the world, known as the Tesseract. Talk about throwbacks to Madeline L’Engle and A Wrinkle in Time. Loki (Tom Hiddelston) transports from this sinister looking purple planet and steals away Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and this scientist, Erik Selvig (Stellen Skarsgard). They plan to use the Tesseract for some nefarious deeds, and take down Thor and all the other superheroes who have done them wrong. Loki has a score to settle with his brother and he is seeking revenge through some freaky deaky alien people.

So Nick Fury decides its time to assemble the team. He gets Captain America (Chris Evans) who was frozen in some ice in the ocean from way back when. There’s Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) who has been working on some new energy sources and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) who has been helping sick Indian children before he’s picked up by Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Rounding out the team is Thor (Chris Hemsworth), come to find his brother and stop him. With these ultimate superheroes (and those like Black Widow and Hawkeye who really aren’t anything special thrown in) comes ego clashing, fights on an epic scale, and one of the coolest final battles shot in Cleveland and made to look like NYC that you’ll ever see.

Looks like Cleveland to me…

I didn’t have a lot of problems with this film. Overall, it set out what it wanted to do, entertain and tell the story of the Avengers, and make as much money as possible off of the series. I mean, a BILLION DOLLARS?!?! That’s pretty redonkulous. The dialogue wasn’t too bad and cheesy like a stuffed Ritz or anything, although Samuel L. Jackson got the short end of the stick in this movie. He was really bad in comparison to everyone else. He came off as incompetent and not a hardass at all. For shame Samuel L., for shame. I really enjoyed Mark Ruffalo’s acting in this movie as The Hulk. He was witty and laid back enough to believe that he was truly holding back a beast. And when he finally let out all that anger, I instantly became a Hulk fan. On the spot when he punched that alien dirigible thing in the face.

Thanks for this one Joss Whedon. Not so much Nick Fury over there…

There were some stunning visual effects in the film and some free flowing action. Unlike other movies that have a lot of cheesy comedy for the fans, this movie was far different than those. This movie has some good humor for a bit of an older audience. And every character has their own comedic scene. This movie is a pretty good balance of comedy, violence, and full throttle action. At no point in the film was I bored, and that’s a good achievement for a 2+ hour film. And a setup for a sequel? I wouldn’t mind that at all. If it’s still in theaters (and at the time of posting, it is) go check this out. It’s got a good range for a film that a lot people will find fun and exciting. So suit up and join The Avengers, it’s a cinematic ride you don’t wanna miss. A solid 8.5 out of 10, perfectly good action/superhero movie.


Paprika: The Inception Anime

So based on my new obsession with anime, my mom picked this little anime film up for me from the library. I had not expectations and I was delightfully surprised. This anime film, which got positive reviews across the board in 2006, is an anime about dreams. In my opinion, anime is one of the few mediums that can accurately depict dreams. (Nice attempt Christopher Nolan, but this film came 4 years earlier than your Inception.) If I had seen this before I had seen Inception, I would’ve considered Inception a rip-off (sort of is). But it’s comparing apples to oranges. And that’s the way in which this anime stands out.

Paprika is a story that appears to take place in modern day. A Japanese technology company has created a piece of technology known as the DC Mini. These apparatus is used by psychologists to analyze the dreams of patients firsthand in order to diagnose and treat their patients. The one problem? The machine hasn’t been finished. And then it’s stolen. So the members of the company must go on what appears to be a wild goose chase in order to find who stole them before dreams become fused with reality.

That’s what makes this film unique. At any moment, the characters in the film could be dreaming, awake or asleep, and the

What's going on here? Probably why it's rated R...

mind-bending elements that present themselves in this film as the characters navigate the dreams is done beautifully. The film incorporates a love of parades, movies, and the thrill of flight all in one. Although I myself do not dream in terms of surreality, I could appreciate the elements of dreaming used that most people experience. The vivid colors and feeling of a warped reality and drawn beautifully and the movements of the characters are animated fluently and gracefully, something I’ve found that some anime have trouble with. (I guess it all depends on the budget and skill of the artists…)

Yuri Lowenthal. Fat, but good.

The voice actors are decent, most notably is Yuri Lowenthal. I didn’t pick up on his voice immediately, but he is one of those A-list voice actors that get a lot of work today. I think now would be a good time to explain voice acting in terms of skill. In the past (1970’s to 1990’s I believe) voice actors were picked more often for the sound of their voice rather than their acting skills. (It’s like choosing a sports announcer.) But in recent decades, voice actors are being chosen for their versatility and their acting skills. It’s this change that has given a lot of credit to an industry that is not seen as all that credible in America. In a more dramatic sense, in comparison to cartoon voice actors, these actors can perform dramatic as well as comedic and everything in between. And this gives us a better viewing experience because sound is half the battle in anime. Big league hitter companies in anime dubbing are ones like Funimation and Aniplex.

Paprika. Worth the jump.

Other than that, there is a certain cute element to Paprika. If you watch the ending romance you’ll understand. Characters are thrown into each other’s dreams and the underlying feelings that are discovered help bring a happy ending. I do enjoy those snapshot films where a problem arises and returned to normal through understanding and conflict resolution. A “slice of life” if you will. And that’s what Paprika is. A little slice of dreams. 8.1 out of 10.