Tag Archives: Scarecrow

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.


Howl’s Moving Castle: My First Miyazaki

Oh, woe is me for not having seen a Miyazaki film sooner. I’m back again for a few reviews (after vacation back home) and I thought I’d start with a film that, for me, was a revelation and fan-creating film. If only Disney hadn’t have put its grimy paws all over this film and let Studio Ghibli find English voice actors, this movie could’ve surpassed even my expectations. (But Disney is all about them big bones.) But it had Christian Bale, so it’s all good. This wonderful film about growing up

A house with a view.

and finding what you believe in is a more mature answer to the childish wonder we all find in cartoons and fantasy.

In this steampunk-like adventure story, we come across Sophie (Emily Mortimer), a young woman and local hatter in a town ruled by an aristocracy and the army. Magic is an agreed upon phenomenon and witches and wizards roam the countryside. After an encounter with a young, dashing, magical man named Howl (Christian Bale), Sophie finds herself swept away by the man’s charm. After encountering another witch later that night, The Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall), Sophie is turned into an old woman (voiced by Jean Simmons) and is not allowed to speak of her curse.

After this terrible twist of “Big”-like events, Sophie travels off into the countryside to escape her mother and what people would think of her. She encounters a wonderfully fun and lovable scarecrow on a stick, and, eventually, Howl and his Moving Castle. Accompanying Howl are his associated fire demon, Calcifer (Billy Crystal), and his apprentice in waiting, Markl (Josh Hutcherson). Acting as a makeshift nanny/homekeep, Sophie attempts to gain everyone’s trust, all the while searching for some way to reverse her curse. It ends up being one wild ride, indeed.

Look at that redonk detail.

I was overall impressed with this film. Like I said, I’ve never seen a Miyazaki film before and my girlfriend owned this one and wanted me to watch it. She was totally right and I wasn’t disappointed. It was a great film. Miyazaki’s style for me is completely original, unusual and quirky. His plot may have been taken from a book of the same name, but it was such a unique and off kilter movie/story/plotline that I loved what was going to happen next. It wasn’t action packed, it wasn’t magic performance filled or anything like that. It was what it was. And I appreciated that immensely.

For the most part, the voices in the film were accurately matched to each of the characters. Christian

Cosplays waiting to happen.

Bale, for the kind of frail character Howl was, was a bit of a stretch. And he wasn’t even allowed to use his British accent! What kind of crap is that when a decent percentage of the rest of the cast was British? Oh Christian Bale, will you ever be able to use your own voice? I enjoyed Billy Crystal and his comedic portrayal of Calcifer. And I was spot on again at recognizing voices when I heard both Josh Hutcherson and Crispin Freeman’s guest voicing of Turnip Head towards the end. Some of the supporting cast and background voices were a bit iffy, but overall I wasn’t disappointed.

Masterful Miyazaki.

I loved the overall feel and message of this film. The style it was going for was just right for the way this movie presented itself. The music was whimsical and the animation is above and beyond a lot of cartoon films that are done here. Why? That’s because of the attention to detail and colorful style that Miyazaki and his animation crew have created with all their projects. The film is beautiful to look at and is a visual journey in itself. Hell, this movie didn’t even need much dialogue did it? I would’ve watched it just as a silent film and enjoyed it just as much. The creative ways in which Miyazaki created a world with unique aspects and inventions left me awestruck. I’m definitely in for some treats with the rest of Miyazaki’s films. I’ll give Howl’s Moving Castle a 8.7 out of 10.


Tron: Legacy

So, as it was described to me, Tron: Legacy is “an orgasm of light and sound”. I’d tend to agree. Knowing next to nothing about Tron other than what I know from Kingdom Hearts II (Kingdom Hearts fans know what I’m talking about), I don’t know how thorough I will be in credibly reviewing this movie. But I’d love to throw in my two cents here.

So from what I got through a first watch of this movie: Sam Flynn is the son of Kevin Flynn, the guy who created this digital world back in the 1980’s.His goal was to create a sort of free space for programs and such to grow in a free grid. (What I kind of thought of it as was like the Internet. Free and you can get¬†anything off of it.) But one day, when Sam was a young’in, Kevin Flynn promised him another game of Tron or something or other, and never came back. 20 years later or so, Sam is on a mission to make his father’s company free from greedy businessmen, and what he stumbles upon is the world his father created. But things are a bit different.

Upon entering the grid, Sam is entered into the games, and these games kill you. It’s not like how steroids kill you, it’s more like how Murderball could kill a

Sam Flynn. He has a Bugatti.

person not in a wheelchair. By playing these games, Sam discovers Clu, the alternate grid-ego that his father created to help him create the cyber world he’s in now. And he’s gone completely evil. (Also, he’s completely digitally animated. Think Beowulf, the newest version.) And unfortunately, so has Tron. And these two have taken over the cybernetic world and have destroyed the one thing that came about from Kevin’s creation. *Secret* Don’t wanna spoil it.

So yeah, as some critics might say, it was a bit flimsy on the plot. I say, what do you expect from a PG Disney movie. No, it’s not necessarily geared towards children. But older children can appreciate this movie, knowing nothing about the movie that came out 20 years before they were born. You have to look at the demographic and the time it was created in. (I don’t feel like critics ever take that into account. Just harshly compare it to the classics.) At face value, I’d take this film to be quite visually pleasing. The lights and visual effects that went into this movie give it a very sleek and appealing look. And to accompany this? Daft Punk. These guys were great in the creation of this soundtrack, and coincidentally make a cameo appearance as the two masked DJs in the in Zeus’s club.

Acting wise? Some big acting chops are brought to the table in this film. Of course we have Jeff

Well that's certainly a change...

Bridges as Kevin Flynn/Clu, reclaiming his original role in the Tron film. There’s also Garrett Hedlund who plays Sam Flynn, the bad boy hacker and heir to his father’s company. I’ve seen Garrett Hedlund in other movies (Troy, Four Brothers, Eragon) and now I realize he’s an actor who is typecast in certain roles. Either the bad boy or a minor character, I feel as if he might/might not break out of these roles. (I haven’t/won’t see Country Strong, but that’s a change of pace, right?) Olivia Wilde plays Quorra, nothing special there (not a big fan).

And then there are the special appearances. Bruce Boxleitner plays Tron, one of the biggest badasses that makes me want to see the original. Michael Sheen makes an amazing appearance as the slightly flamboyant and hilarious Zeus, the club host with the most. I love how much work Michael Sheen gets ever since he was in Underworld, and I think it’s really great how much range he has. Oh, and really, don’t forget Cillian Murphy, the badass Scarecrow back to strike again as always, performing amazing role after amazing role. I love his work and, even in the smallest part, I feel he never lets me down.

Michael Sheen. Master.

So I’d have to say that first time director Joseph Kosinski did quite a nice job on touching up and updating the Tron movie that so many came to love in the 1980’s. The lights, the sound, the actors all came together for one nice 2 hour thrill ride that was quite entertaining to watch. And if it was nothing more than entertainment, not a tribute to the Tron “legacy” at all, then I apologize to all you diehard Tron fans out there. Sorry to disappoint. But I wasn’t disappointed. 7.3 out of 10.