Tag Archives: mixed feelings

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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Trick ‘r’ Treat

Trick ‘r’ Treat is a movie where you can in fact “Pick Your Treat” when it comes to a movie that has four mini stories within a circular plot. (You’ll see by the end what I mean by circular.) Created by a Ohio director, Michael Dougherty, (born and raised), there’s a little something for everyone in this traditional horror genre flick. (I would in fact liken it to Halloween, exactly. I was waiting for Michael Meyers to start roaming around.

I know this film has a cult following and films like that are usually for me. You can put the whole film under the blanket of horror/suspense, but I didn’t really get too much of a

What a lovable little sack-demon.

comedy feel (as it is categorized as well) from this film, other than a movie that follows the old ways of horror so well that by this point it’s beaten to death and comic for that reason. There are parts I liked and parts that didn’t really tickle my horror bone fancy, which kept this as a middle of the road film for me. Let me kinda break it down for you.

The reets on the bus get all wiped out… All wiped out…

It has the creepy iconic pumpkin headed freak, Sam (Quinn Lord). His Halloween antics come across as brutal at the same time that his height and means of slashing are quite childish. Either way, there’s a figurine of him. There’s the threat of razor bladed candy, haunted stone quarries, and smashing pumpkins. People get away with murder at the same time that there’s the classic “I’m a girl, it’s Halloween, I’m gonna dress up as a slut” theme going on. In a small town (with the Haddonfield feel goin’ all through it) where Halloween is taken seriously, it’s an offense to break the traditions that protect people from evil, all the way back from the Pagan days. I thought that’s where the movie was going, but I was a bit wrong…

There were parts I liked and parts I didn’t. I kinda wanted to be scared when I watched a film about the scariest day of the year. It was more of a comedic tribute. Sam kinda made me laugh far more than cringe in terror (I guess that’s where the comedy comes from?). The second I saw Anna Paquin onscreen, I was thinking, “Oh no, where’s the Louisiana vampires?” (I wasn’t far off…) I was happy to see Dylan Baker (the orig Dr. Connors of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series) make an

I am Agamemnon, fear me!

Word!

appearance as a dastardly principal out to get children. And classic Brian Cox (I’ll always remember him as Agamemnon from Troy) as the crazy old coot. Nice appearances in an otherwise bizarre horror movie.

I have mixed feelings about this one. I normally love all horror movies. I don’t have any major problems, but I was just looking for more of a linear plot. I loved the original idea that this movie starts up with about breaking Halloween traditions. Then it wasn’t about that anymore. It went off in different directions, trying to cover all sorts of sub-genres of horror, which I didn’t mind, it just became a big jumble to me. For me, horror movies are about exploring one genre of horror and twisting and creating it into your own vision of what frightens and terrifies. Just a thought. 6.1 out of 10.

 

 


Insidious: The Downward Slope

I cannot speak highly enough of Saw creators Leigh Whannell and James Wan, but this movie in the horror genre is in a whole other ballpark. I had been wanting to see this movie since the day it came out but I could never rouse any of my friends to locate that spine and see it with me. So I sat down with my girlfriend and watched it instead. I was rather surprised with my final impressions.

The movie starts out like any other haunted house film. Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) are loving parents of three children: one baby girl and two

Old decrepit ladies scare people, right?

young boys. Foster (Andrew Astor) is their other son, but they don’t care about him. He gets one scene. The son they do care about is Dalton (Ty Simpkins). Some strange things are going on in the house, and one day Dalton decides he’s got some explorin’ to do. He climbs up into the attic and tries to turn on the light. He fails, falls off the ladder, and screams the most unconvincing scream you could ever think of. Long story short, he ends up in a coma that is just actually an extended slumber.

A dad in peril.

Here’s where things get good. Renai is being constantly bombarded by evil spirits and apparitions that appear to her and freak her right the hell out. Josh, the high school teacher husband, avoids his comatose son and the evilness in the house at all costs. He wants his son to be okay, but the months drag on (meanwhile their other son is nonexistent. The baby girl gets more face time than he does…) He can’t handle it and the wife is becoming fed up.

With some evil man presence being the last straw, the family moves out into another house, only to experience the haunting all over again. So what could it be? It must be something…

I like the direction that Leigh Whannell was taking this movie, despite the deliverance onscreen. James Wan did a good job of some scary pacing and using shadows to his advantage. The scene everybody talks about? If I had been in the

Save us, Lin Shaye!

theater, I may have jumped. The scaryness aspect that sold me though was the use of shadows and tricks on the eyes. Many times in the film, and everyone has experienced this, you see things in the shadows that are tricking your mind. A coat on a chair in the right light looks like a menacing sitting figure. A space behind a door hides demons. All that sorta thing. James Wan played that up so well that the main focus of the camera wasn’t even on these things. It left images for your mind to wander over and think, “Wait a second, didn’t the camera just miss that evil demon there in the corner?” That’s a first for a film I’ve seen.

Classic Leigh Whannell hipster move.

After this haunted house first half, comes the strange second half. In a strange way to explain away these occurrences, the family employs the help of a psychic who talks with the other side (Elise Ranier played by Lin Shaye). With her gas mask in hand and Specs (Leigh Whannell) by her side, it’s only a matter of time before the movie gets into exorcism and spectral beings. People with fears of 50’s ghosts in proper attire, beware.

I really felt the movie was carried a lot by the music it employed. There were plenty of scenes that were enhanced by the shrill violins and pulse pounding beat. Hell, I was scared of the movie’s use of Tiptoe Through the Tulips. That song and the voice it is sung in are freaky. But, at other times, the music came across as overdramatic and ruined the seconds after the scary moment happened with this over the top dramatic piece. You have to know when to play your hand.

The demon as it should have been.

What really ruined the movie wasn’t the reveal of the main monster, but the constant use of him. What is not seen as much is more frightening than what is. To describe the demon and then see him cheesily chasing the young boy through the house is just the kind of B-rated to C-rated antics that caught this movie so much flack. And the ending as well. Just when you didn’t want another twist, they throw you back in.

The acting was 50/50. I am a huge fan of Patrick Wilson, have been since I saw him in Watchmen. He has an understated way of acting that comes off as truthful. In this movie I considered him one of the best, and it showed in his dad-like ways and regretful attitude towards the end. Rose Byrne could have been better. I’ve been hesitant about her acting since Troy, and maybe that was right to doubt… Ty Simpkins, the main plot point of the movie does not know how to sell

GTFO, Barbara Hershey…

acting. Especially not a horror movie. He made it more comical. Pretty unremarkable. Also, get Barbara Hershey out of these dark thrillers. She may have had a heyday in films, but it has past. And these movies (I’m including Black Swan) are not meant for her. It needs to stop.

So with all these mixes of good scares and ample acting with a strange ending leads to an overall disappointing reaction from me about this movie. My girlfriend especially was disappointed. Sad. I’ll give this movie an A for effort, but when it comes to an actual rating, it’s pretty average. 6.1 out of 10.


Wrath of the Titans

I had never seen the first of what may be a trilogy. I had no expectations for the second one. My friend asked me to go see it and so I did. And I have mixed feelings about Wrath of the Titans. A movie series sparked from the 1981 version, this is just one of those typical action movies. It may have some flair and epic qualities to it with its mythology come to life for Perseus, but I’m not really sure where this series is headed. I’ll just let time and some 3-D/CG effects ride the tide until the next Kraken-like creature bubbles up from the Netherworld.

What guy doesn’t like a bit of mythology with his films? I enjoyed it somewhat, but I wasn’t sure how accurate the film was to the myths. You got your Zeus (Liam Neeson), your Poseidon (Danny Huston), and you got your Hades (Ralph Fiennes). Throw in some Sam Worthington for good measure and you got yourself a film about defeating a Titan. Although it is strange this series is following the titling of Star Wars, I won’t complain too much. What I don’t get is where people get off considering Sam Worthington a quality actor. He’s good in what he does in action films, but I dunno if Avatar gave him a big head or not. Same goes for you too Thor…

Metaphor for acting career? (Hint, it’s a struggle.)

So this movie takes place a decade after Perseus killed the Kraken (thanks Wikipedia). He’s got a son now and that damn kid can’t stop crying and making all these weird faces and noises throughout the film. Even when he’s supposed to be brave at the end, he ends up yelping like a beaten dog. Where did they find this kid? So he is almost killed by the initial attack on Perseus’ shanty town by a pair of Chimeras. This scene was rather basic and didn’t really get me too hyped up yet. It doesn’t really look like Perseus/Worthington is in rare form yet and hell, it doesn’t look like he’s interacting with the beasts at all. Heads up there Warner Bros., you’re behind the ball on that new wave tech shit.

A couple of old bro’s slanging some magical spells.

Meanwhile, in the Netherworld, Kronos, king of the Gods is all tied up by his snotty young hoodlum children. But there’s a twist! Hades and Zeus’s son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) are planning on draining Zeus in order to unleash Kronos and reattain immortality. They’ve become weak because of some comment on religion and how paganism isn’t popular anymore. Things get heated and its up to Perseus, a scraggly, yet funny Agenor the Navigator (Toby Kebbell), and Andromeda (Rosamund Pike). Of the three, I’d place my best bet on Agenor. That Toby Kebbell is a relaxed, naturalistic actor who I now appreciate because of this movie. He definitely deserved his father’s trident for that one.

So there are some cyclops, some lava slanging behemoths, and some molten crusted, two-headed beasts. I would almost say that the trailer built up the movie a bit too much for how much they suggested was action in this film. There’s even a disappointing fight between Perseus and the Minotaur in this film! That beast is just as big as Perseus is, how is that possible? But there’s a lot of old man Zeus grunting and some anticlimactic fighting in what is a strange ending with Perseus and Pegasus. Worthington passes on the torch to his son and one of the only things I can say about this movie is that Gods died in this movie. Who is gonna be left to make this a trilogy with so many mythical beings gone? We’ll see if Titans makes a strategic move and decides to pit Christianity against Paganism. I’d watch that. For this, I’ll give it an entertaining watch with a 4.6 out of 10.

Set him free Sam, set him free…