sethspopcorn.com

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Review

Going into the summer, this was the only film I really wanted to see. Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have created a Batman that may never be matched and perhaps, never should be. So, to say I was eager to watch “The Dark Knight Rises” would be an understatement. But on the day of its release, all of that changed. A horrific and cowardly act of violence at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado forever linked itself to this piece of cinema. Now, this wasn’t about me enjoying myself or being entertained. This was about lives lost, families torn apart, hearts broken. Knowing how much pain those people were going through, the thought of seeing a movie just didn’t feel right. But after a few days passed, it occurred to me; this wasn’t about the film. It was about a gutless psychopath with a bunch of guns who targeted unarmed people. It could have happened anywhere, at anytime to anyone. For reasons we’ve yet to figure out, he chose a movie theater.

The movie theater for many is meant to be a sanctuary of sorts. A place of fantasy, whimsy and escape. A window into another world, if only for a few hours. So, I begrudgingly allowed myself to go. To try and flee from the harsh realities I hear about everyday in the news. The unlawful, the corrupt, the hateful. Ironically, that is exactly what this film is all about.

“Rises” begins 8 years after “The Dark Knight.” Gotham City is relatively peaceful and Batman has gone into hiding. Harvey Dent was credited for the city’s turnaround, while the caped crusader was blamed for his death and many others. Still, there is a darkness lurking underneath Gotham and his name is Bane. Tom Hardy from Nolan’s “Inception” plays the brute with brains. He wears a mask that could be mistaken for a tarantula exploding out of his mouth. Bane is singular in his mission, destroy Gotham. Performance-wise, Hardy’s Bane does not come close to Heath Ledger’s Joker, but in a lot of ways Bane is a better villain. While the Joker just wanted to cause chaos, Bane has a well-thought out plan to take down the infrastructure of the city. Plus, Bane’s physicality is relentless and cannot be matched. Bane is pure evil.

Anne Hathaway is another bright spot. She may look like the girl next door, but she’s nearly as vicious and treacherous as Bane. I’ve seen Hathaway in a few films where her acting comes off a bit hollow, that does not happen here. She’s believable as a conflicted woman caught between a life of crime and the crusade to get her life back.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (another Inception alum) gives a strong performance as police officer John Blake. Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman are also back and steady as always for the third go-around as Commissioner Gordon and Lucius Fox. 

And in my humble opinion (one the Academy will probably not agree with) Christian Bale and Michael Caine give Oscar-worthy turns as Batman and his loyal butler, Alfred. Bruce Wayne has fallen on hard times, partially crippled and on the verge of losing his fortune. Alfred begs him to give up the cape and cowl and focus on philanthropic opportunities away from his alter-ego. The rift creates several emotion scenes between the characters. And when Caine is not in the picture, Bale is perfect as a broken man (at one point literally) desperately searching to make things right.

I can’t reveal too much about the plot without giving away spoilers, but it’s epic in scope. Think class warfare, nuclear bombs and an exploding football field. My lone nitpick would be that it’s a tad slow in a few spots for an action movie, though it seems welcome after virtual non-stop action in “The Dark Knight.” In nearly every other aspect this film shines and then some. And gives an emotional, poignant and satisfying end to this series. It’s not easy to make one good film, let alone three.

So, as the final credits rolled, I was glad I went to see “The Dark Knight Rises”, despite what happened in Colorado. Because as a society, we need the movie theater and I say this without the least bit of sarcasm, we need Batman. He’s a human character just like you or I. He has no special powers like Superman, Spiderman or the Hulk. Yet, he still stands up against hate-filled thugs, against guns and the violence they inevitably bring. It seems more often than not, this world could use a dark knight of its own.

Please keep the victims of the Aurora shooting in your thoughts and prayers. Composer Hans Zimmer created a new song dedicated to the tragedy. You can listen to a clip here and donate any amount of money. 100% of the proceeds go to a fund for the victims.

 

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Batman,Comic Book Movies,Inception and have No Comments

‘Star Wars’ & ‘Lost’ Deleted Scenes, ‘Jurassic Park 4’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

When Comic-Con rolls around in San Diego each summer, it reaps some of the biggest movie news of the year. Tops on my list so far, this trailer of deleted scenes from the Original Trilogy of Star Wars. I have seen clips of some of it, but a few scenes like Han in the Endor bunker, R2-D2 being chased by a Wampa and parts of the sandstorm are definitely new. Check it out and thanks to Comingsoon.net for the imbed.

——————————————————————————————————————

This next clip started a fake fight between “Lost” producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse this week on Twitter. The pair went back and forth arguing over its release to hype things up. Then dressed as “Star Wars” characters, the pair answered questions about the show from fans at Comic Con. Finally, they unveiled this scene.

Obviously, it’s a joke. I think it’s the producers way of apologizing for their own work or at least poking fun at their own abstract explanation of all things mystical island. Kind of rings a little hollow for me. If they’ve been standing behind what they did with the show for this long, seems a little wrong to go back on it now. Or maybe I just didn’t think it was that funny.

——————————————————————————————————


It seems a fourth “Jurassic Park” movie is just a few years away. Although, I’m not sure I really care that much. The original was so groundbreaking because audiences had never seen anything like it before. Plus, the story was relatively strong with the kids probably being the most annoying part. However, “Lost World” and the third installment were less than stellar. Going for too much bang and too little story development.

Either way, the director of the first two films, Steven Spielberg told audiences at Comic-Con,

We have a story. We have a writer working on the script, and I think we will see a ‘Jurassic IV’ in our foreseeable future, probably in the next two or three years.”

————————————————————————————————————

And we got our first look at one of the most anticipated movies of 2012 this week. The teaser for “The Dark Knight Rises” was released. It doesn’t show a whole heck of a lot, but judging from the clip, Batman has gone into hiding and a new villain, Bane, is tearing apart Gotham City. And putting Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) in the hospital. I’ve never been a big fan of the character Bane, but in Christopher Nolan we trust, right? I thought casting Heath Ledger as the Joker was a mistake before seeing the final product. I could not have been more wrong on that one. Anyway, take a look.




posted by Seth Szilagyi in Batman,Jurassic Park,Lost,Star Wars and have No Comments

Help Wanted: Batman Seeks Leading Ladies

Deadline.com is reporting that director Christopher Nolan is interviewing six high-profile actresses for two big parts in the third “Batman” movie, titled “The Dark Knight Rises.” One role is a love interest, the other a villain. So who’s on the short list? Let’s take a look.

1. Natalie Portman


With roles in “Black Swan”, “No Strings Attached” and “Thor” all being released within the next year, Portman has blasted back onto the movie scene after staying out of the limelight for quite some time. While, I’m excited about Portman’s potentially Oscar-winning role in “Black Swan”, I feel like she fits best in art-house films. One only needs to look at her horrible performances in all three “Star Wars” prequels to see that she does not do blockbusters well. Plus, she’s already starring in “Thor” another superhero movie. But, the thought of her as Harley Quinn (the Joker’s girl)…may work.


2. Blake Lively


Lively is coming off a fairly strong performance in Ben Affleck’s “The Town” and is also starring alongside Ryan Reynolds in next year’s “The Green Lantern.” So, she is also a hot commodity in Hollywood. However, Lively seems a bit young to be a love interest for Christian Bale or the rumored villain of Catwoman. But, could she be playing Talia al Ghul, the daughter of the first movie’s villain Ra’s al Ghul? This comic book version of Talia from DC Comics looks an awful lot like Lively, so maybe.

3. Anne Hathaway

Hathaway doesn’t have too much in the pipeline right now, so this could be a good fit for her. I’ve really enjoyed both Batman films in this series, but both incarnations of Rachel Dawes, I could take or leave. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Katie Holmes were mostly filler. I think Hathaway might be able to bring something to the table. She would be a little foolish in the Catwoman role, but I could see her as a love interest.

4. Keira Knightley


Knightley is obviously good-looking and talented, as are all the women on this list, but of the six, this seems like the worst fit. I really hope it doesn’t happen.

5. Naomi Watts


I’ve never been a fan of the Catwoman character, but this seems like it could work. Watts is probably the strongest actress on this list and can play “dark.” She played a delusional actress in “Mulholland Dr.”, a drug addicted mother in “21 Grams” and an upper-class wife tortured by insane teens in “Funny Games.” (If you haven’t seen the “Funny Games”…don’t. Way too disturbing.) So, I could see her as a criminal. She is actually older than Christian Bale, so for her to be cast alongside a younger man in Hollywood would be rather unprecedented and frankly, refreshing.

6. Rachel Weisz


Weisz is in one of my favorite movies “The Fountain”, so automatic points there. Her other work is a tad more spotty ranging from the good “About a Boy” to the bad “The Mummy Returns.” That being said, I could see her in the world of “Batman” maybe as Poison Ivy? Another rather goofy female villain in the Batman comics. It should also being noted that Weisz does have several projects lined up right now, meaning contractually she may not even be able to fit it in.

So, with two spots available and these being the apparent choices, I vote for Naomi Watts as Catwoman and Anne Hathaway as his love interest. Although, the storyline I like the most would Ra’s al Guhl’s daughter Talia. Just makes sense to connect the first film with the last one, instead of having another random villain pop up.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Batman,Comic Book Movies and have Comment (1)

Headlines: ‘Smurfs’ Movie, Batman 3 and Scream 4

A few quick headlines on the first day of May…

Comingsoon.net has snapped a few photos of actor Hank Azaria as Gargamel in the upcoming “Smurfs” live-action/CGI film set to come out next Summer. The crew has been filming in New York City. Apparently, part of the plot revolves around Gargamel chasing the smurfs out of their smurf-ville and into New York. This sounds a lot like the storyline for “Enchanted.” I wonder if Smurfette will fall head over her blue heels for Patrick Dempsey? Anyway, here’s a pic below, seems like a good likeness to me…and you can read more here.

————————————————————————————————————————————————

The release date for the third installment of the latest Batman movie series has been announced. It will come out on July 20th, 2012. That’s shaping up to be quite a year for big budget films. The reboot of “Spiderman” will hit theaters just 2 weeks earlier and “The Hobbit” will come out later that year in December. Christopher Nolan is directing and his brother Jonathan is helping to write the script. Little is known about any type of plot or nemesis. The Riddler could provide some interesting twists, but that character always comes off as more jokey than sadistic, like The Joker ironically. I know Ah-nuld kind of ruined Mr. Freeze for everyone, but he came off as a very sad, tortured character in Batman: The Animated Series from the nineties (awesome show btw). His wife has a terminal illness and is cryogenically frozen. Freeze then turns to a life of crime to try and save her. More Sci-Fi than the other entries in this film series, but could be good. Thoughts?


——————————————————————————————————–

And finally, “New Decade, New Rules” a poster for “Scream 4” is out. It’s kind of interesting, but why is this a big deal? With the world fully encased in the Digital Age, do we really need advertising on tactile items like posters? On a personal level, I love movie posters. But, I am surprised, albeit glad, that they are still used. Just an observation.

Also, no surprise here. Wes Craven has announced he will indeed direct “Scream 4.”



posted by Seth Szilagyi in Batman,Comic Book Movies,Scream,The Smurfs Movie and have No Comments

Superman Reboot & the Dark Knight Returns

Deadline.com reports that “The Dark Knight” director Christoper Nolan is being tapped by Warner Bros. to oversee another re-imagining of the Superman character. Just a few years ago, “Superman Returns” came out, but was kind of boring as far as superhero movies go and has since kind of been viewed as a sub-par film. Nolan will apparently not be directing, but will have a so-called “Godfather” role. Should be interesting to see what happens. I’ve never been a huge Superman fan, so I’m open to whatever he wants to do with the character.

I’m much more interested in his third Batman movie. Nolan has come up with an idea for a third adventure and his brother Jonathan Nolan and David Goyer are currently penning a script. I guess the only real question is who the bad guy will be and can it top Heath Ledger’s Joker. I’m just hoping it’s not like anything described here.

Although, I wouldn’t mind a Riddler villain and anything involving Arkham Asylum would be cool. They need to stay away from the multiple villain scenario.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Batman,Superman and have No Comments