Monday, July 23, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Over the weekend I saw The Dark Knight Rises and I was really impressed. I actually liked this movie more the prior two installments. I thought the Dark Knight was a great movie, but it was so dark and emotionally draining that I didn't really care to see it again.

The Dark Knight Rises picks up where the other one left off. Gotham city has been enjoying a very low crime rate for some time. Bruce Wayne is living a secluded life completely withdrawn from society and as a result, Batman has been in retirement for 8 years and is out of practice. It finally takes an attack on Gotham by the villain Bane to get Batman to come out of retirement.

After seeing this movie, I have yet again confirmed that Christopher Nolan rocks! He took 5 of the great actors he obviously liked working with in Inception and they are all featured in this film in very different roles. Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, Marion Cotillard, and Cillian Murphy all have great performances. Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and obviously Christian Bale all return to the cast and resume their prior roles. Anne Hathaway was a surprisingly good addition and I think Catwoman stole several scenes.

Bane who is a merciless and calculated villain with committed followers, attacks Gotham city and holds it's residents hostage and isolated from the rest of the country. He is able to capture Batman and torments him by making him watch from an isolated underground prison cell as he frees criminals from Gotham's prison and they overthrow the orderly government with a mob rules mentality. Not only was this story interesting, but it also featured some interesting twists at the end which I should have known to expect from Christopher Nolan. The movie was quite long, but it didn't feel like it to me.

I give The Dark Knight Rises 9.0 stars and am glad to see such a good ending to a great trilogy of Batman movies that have put all of the other ones ones to shame.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Artist

I recently saw The Artist and I really liked it. I thought it might be a challenge sitting through a silent black and white movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. I think it is ironic that in an age of amazing special effects, 3D, and technology, a simple film like this could be so entertaining.

The performances were great. Berenice Bejo who played Peppy Miller was vivacious, energetic, and fun to watch. Jean Dujardin did a great job of playing a charismatic movie star who is on top of his game. James Cromwell had a minor role, but I liked him more in this than I have in any other movie I've seen him in.

This is a touching story about an unknown actress who makes friends with Hollywood's biggest star. As the entertainment industry evolves, silent movies lose their appeal and the great Valentin ends up not only losing his popularity, but everything during the depression, while at the same time his young friend gains popularity and becomes the biggest star of the "talkies".

I give The Artist 8.2 stars. It pays homage to the silent film era, which I imagine, is something that few people remember these days. It's a refreshing movie with a great storyline and it's something the whole family can watch together.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Jar Jar Binks Factor

Last week my daughter wanted to watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom since it was the only movie in the series she had not seen. I warned her that it has always been my least favorite installment despite having an exciting start.

As we watched the movie and Indiana's little sidekick, Short Round came on screen, I warned her that he was a little bit annoying and was there for comic relief kind of like a Jar Jar Binks. After watching the movie for another 20 minutes I realized I was mistaken. The real Jar Jar in this movie was Kate Capshaw.

I was surprised to see scene after scene of her pulling silly faces, complaining, over reacting, and being frightened by animals and creatures in the jungle. She may have been prettier than Marion was in the first movie, but her annoying personality detracted from the movie. I'm sure Capshaw was told to ham it up for the movie so she's not the only one to blame.

Having an annoying character in a movie is nothing new. I love The Fifth Element, but I cringe each time Ruby Rhod, who is played by Chris Tucker, gets screen time.

The next time you are bothered by an irritating character in a movie, just remember there have been many over them over time, but I'll admit Jar Jar Binks raised the bar when it comes to being obnoxious.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Amazing Spider Man

It's about time someone made a Spider Man movie, there have only been 4 of them in the last ten years! I guess this most recent movie is technically a reboot with a different cast and storyline, so it makes it a little more interesting than just making another sequel.

I really liked Andrew Garfield as Spider Man. He was quiet and unassuming and I thought he was a fresh alternative to Toby McGuire. I also enjoyed Emma Stone much more as Gwen Stacy than I did Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane.

Despite this movie being a re-boot, you still get the basic story of Peter Parker living with his aunt and uncle, getting super powers, and then acting as a vigilante as he protects the citizens from criminals. You also get the customary Stan Lee cameo appearance.

I liked this version, but I still struggled with a couple details like his endless supply of mechanical spider webbing and the convenience of having a teenage girlfriend who happens to have a part time job with high security access to Oscorp. I also felt the villain was kind of lame. I liked Curt Conner's character, but his turning into a giant lizard didn't do much for me.

The cast was good and also featured Dennis Leary, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field. I think Garfield is a good actor and brought some emotion to the role of Peter Parker that I haven't seen before. Despite some minor hangups, I still give The Amazing Spider Man 7.7 stars. Now I just wish we could get someone to finally make an Iron Man movie.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Men in Black 3

Men In Black 3 continues the series as an alien named Boris the Animal escapes from a lunar prison and is able to go back in time and alter history by killing Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) before he is was able to capture and imprison him. Agent J played by Will Smith also goes back into the late 60's in an attempt to save his partner. As a result, he and ends up meeting and working with a younger version of agent K.

This third installment is fairly consistent with the other movies since it features the same cast and director as the prior movies. If you enjoyed the other MIB movies and like comedy mixed with silly science fiction effects and gags then you will probably like this movie.

I always enjoy time the concept of travel in movies, but this movie also had a touching twist at the end I was not expecting. I also got a kick out of Jermaine Clement who played the villain Boris the Animal. I give Men In Black 3  7.2 stars. I got exactly what I was expecting from this movie.
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