Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

“Gotham, take control… take control of your city”

If there’s one thing that I loathe, and the internet is full of, it’s hyperbole. The effervescent nature of the constantly channeled and linked highway that we all are almost useless without nowadays is just so disgusting at times. It finds more and more ways everyday to over sell what are already amazing things to us so that we can then feel disappointed about thanks to aforementioned sales pitch. Allow me to take this moment to attempt to present some contextual additions as it relates to my thoughts about this film, sans hyperbole, if I may.

Since 2005 Christopher Nolan has been pushing his take on the Batman character and his progression. What’s made his films so beloved isn’t so much the stories or the action – two elements that are almost crucial to any comic-book movie, I’m sure – but rather the idea, I can almost hear someone playing the clip from Inception now. The idea of this, as he puts it, “elemental” being who stands for something greater than any one man. In the previous Batman films, while the thought was there it was never truly discussed at any point. What makes Nolan’s films so much more interesting, more than the idea of Batman, is the idea of the men he has to go up against. While the day to day goings on of the likes of Spider-Man who spends a lot of his time taking down liquor store thieves and saving kittens from trees – I still love you Spidey – Batman has always been a case of being needed for a greater kind of villain.

In Batman Begins we were facing Raz Al Ghoul (Liam Neeson) a man who felt that balance was needed in the world and that it would be achieved by taking Gotham (good and bad) out of the equation completely, in The Dark Knight we had The Joker (Heath Ledger) a man who just wanted to watch the world burn because he thought it’d be fun, and now we have Bane (Tom Hardy) a man who believes in making the world suffer in order to realize that all they believe they had achieved was nothing in truth. All these bits are what make this franchise stand out in comparison to what superhero films are today. Most other superhero films, while I still adore them, are pretty much two hour versions of a Saturday morning cartoon show in which we see clearly drawn out lines of good and evil (with little discussion as to what makes either) and then the eventual final battle scene. The Dark Knight films do somewhat fall into that category, but at the same time thanks to the very aforementioned elemental pieces of this particular puzzle it makes it so much more.

As I step back and take a moment to look back at my then initial reaction reviews at The Dark Knight as well as Inception I notice a pattern, a pattern that is so eloquently put in this comic strip that was shared earlier last week over at /Film. As time went by both of those movies have lost that initial amazing reaction in place I find myself appreciating them, flaws and all, or what they represent. That is the joy that movies give me. It’s hard for any film to be “perfect”, while I may sling that word around from time to time in reviews, and this movie is not that. It has a lot of plot holes and leaps that had to be made. However, regardless of those trappings the film remains a brilliant effort and even more amazing time spent in a dark room for over two and a half hours, which something 90% of the films released in any year cannot claim to be.

I spoke already about Bane and a little bit about what he represents. The reason why I enjoy that so much is that it’s what Batman needed to shine. Not only are we dealing with a slightly aged Batman (now teetering on forty-years of age and feeling the effects of his previous jaunts as the caped crusader), but we’re finally dealing with a villain who is actually more physically than he could ever dream of managing, even eight years ago.  Previously the question was whether Batman could be what was needed more in an emotional and psychological sense to defeat his upcoming opponent, now it also entails his physical limitations and that proves to be a worthy period in the realm of Nolan’s trilogy.

While others are surprised, I remain expectedly gleefully smitten with Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. I do feel that some of the Catwoman/Batman plot was rushed for the sake of the final half hour of the film, but regardless every time we saw Hathaway make that shift from Catwoman the burglar to whateer role she played to get out of a predicament or two, visa versa, was just a moment where a smile made its way across my face.

Rating: 10/10

Movie Review: One Day (2011)

Romance is a genre of filmmaking which isn’t quite overused as much as it’s expected. No matter what kind of movie you’re making there usually is at least one romantic subplot. So when it’s actually the main focus of a film we get lost in all the grand gestures and adorable moments between characters that we almost forget that we’re watching a film.

Unlike the more than the staple light subgenre of the romantic-comedy, where everything is always fine and dandy, here we’re actually able to examine a real relationship. This however is not new to cinema. We saw the same over a span of a number of years with When Harry Met Sally and we most recently saw the “real relationship” in The Notebook and that’s what this movie does so well. It reminds us what’s truly important in a relationship, whether it be a friendship, acquaintance or the love of our lives, are those small moments that we share sometimes.

One Day allows us to follow the ever changing relationship of Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) as we see where they are, as two friends and as people, on July 15th (the anniversary of the day the first met) every year over the span of more than two decades.

Some films would use that premise as an excuse to say that they knew each other truly over a span of a month in total when you add up all the time that they actually spent in the same room together, but it’s pretty much understood (since this takes place in the real world) that we’re just seeing snippets of a much grander romance.

Each scene that we are privy to of Emma and Dexter interacting becomes more and more interesting as we can see one obviously feeling for the other while the other is completely oblivious and we’re left sitting on the edge of our seat wondering whether either the other is going to figure it out, stumble into it or she/he’s finally going to say something. These scenes work not just because we know something that the characters don’t, but rather because while the characters may not be completely honest with each other, and at times even themselves, but the film is always honest with its audience.  There’s never a time when we are not in a complete understanding of what’s going on with these characters. It does make the whole scheme of things predictable at times but due to chemistry and brilliant acting on screen we never worry about that but rather just enjoy the dance that is Emma and Dexter’s relationship.

The true test of a romantic film is, I believe at least, if at the end of it all you wish that it was the story of you and your significant other to be. We don’t live in a perfect world, not every moment of our lives (together or apart) is all roses and lilies. However, at the end of it all, all we can ever hope for is that the bitter that happened in our lives exists not just to make us stronger and a better person but to accentuate to wonderfully sweet moments and make them so beautifully memorable. That’s what this movie was. It was a series of bitter and sweet moments which eventually ended up making the sweet ones ever sweeter.

Rating: 8.5/10

The Unnamed Movie Podcast [Episode 12 - Unforgiven]

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Andrew & Douglas decide to talk about Clint Eastwood’s Oscar Winning 1992 film, Unforgiven Continue reading