Category Archives: anne hathaway

Homeland

I’m a latecomer to this show. I tried watching it during its first season and just couldn’t get into it. My mom-in-law was enjoying it, so I gave it another shot, this time, getting through two episodes, and not digging it because I found t too predictable.

Then Emmy time came around just before the start of the second season of “Homeland.” The show was a big winner, and I had friends who were surprised I wasn’t watching, saying it was right in my television wheelhouse. I relented, and watched the whole first season streaming in about a week.

I was wrong. It’s really only predictable for about four episodes, after that I was irrevocably hooked. The second season has been as just as good as the first, something I wasn’t sure it could keep up.

There are problems however. The first was something I thought only I was seeing, but as a recent “Saturday Night Live” sketch brought to light, Claire Danes’ overacting and crazy unblinking eyes when having an anxiety attack skate the thin line between reality and over the top almost to the point of laughing out loud. Her crazy face jumps the shark every time she makes it.

Brody’s daughter is the current equivalent of the daughter in “24,” where you have to ask, why do we care? It’s subplot just for the sake of subplot, rather than efficient storytelling. These last two points make me wonder if we’ll get a third season despite how amazing everything else on the show is.

Time will tell. Despite what I’ve said, I’m glued to my TV every Sunday night.

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The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises ~ In recent weeks I have developed quite an internet reputation as the guy who hated The Dark Knight. Exhibit A can be found here. That said, I actually liked Batman Begins, the first movie in the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy, quite a bit. Lucky for me, The Dark Knight Rises has more in common with the first movie than the second.

The Dark Knight Rises picks up eight years after the events of The Dark Knight. The unholy pact between Batman and Jim Gordon at the end of that movie, creating the deceit that Batman killed not only Two-Face’s victims but also Harvey Dent himself. This results in the Dent Act securing a crime-free Gotham City for nearly a decade, during which Batman has vanished.

Bruce Wayne has been a recluse, Howard Hughes style, but is brought out of exile by a slick cat burglar named Selina Kyle. Rookie cop John Blake figures out Wayne’s secret and wants to know what happened. Meanwhile the terrorist Bane plots the destruction of Gotham City. There’s your set up. I figure I could have saved myself the trouble of seeing the second movie and gone from one to three pretty easily.

The cast is excellent this time out. Head and shoulders above the rest are Gary Oldman and Michael Caine who get far too little screen time. Oldman’s subtle intensity as Gordon and Caine’s guiding worry as Alfred are the gold standard of the film. Similarly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake is the star of this flick, he shines.

Tom Hardy is a suitably menacing Bane in both appearance and intelligence. Anne Hathaway, while never called Catwoman by name, is magic every second she’s on screen. I couldn’t get enough of her. Even Christian Bale puts in his best Bruce Wayne appearance so far in the series.

The story of The Dark Knight Rises borrows liberally from the comics, specifically Knightfall, The Dark Knight Returns and No Man’s Land – and that’s all right. It works. It’s a very complex story of epic proportions, unexpected plot twists and multiple endings and it works.

Oh, to be sure, there are problems here, but nothing like there were in The Dark Knight. I hated the mumble twins – Batman and Bane. Batman still growls, but it’s nowhere near as bad or ridiculous as it was in the last flick. Bane has a breathing mask that garbled his voice as well, but at least there seemed to be some improvement over how it sounded in early previews.

The third quarter of the film drags for me, and probably for everyone else who read Knightfall, but I did like the obvious and literal reference to the Lazarus Pit. I did love the endings, and the Bat was cool despite it bending director Nolan’s grounded-in-reality rule.

All in all, despite the tragedy in Colorado, The Dark Knight Rises is a great film, better than Batman Begins, and it more than makes up for The Dark Knight. See this film, don’t let anything or anyone keep you from going to the theaters.

More Coming Soon…

The Dark Knight Rises, the final installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Anne Hathaway, opens Summer 2012.

The remake/re-imagining of Conan the Barbarian opens in August, in 3D.

And if you just can’t get enough Dark Knight, Batman: Year One is released on DVD and Blu-Ray this September.

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Get Smart 2008

Get Smart ~ It is really really difficult to screw up a “Get Smart” movie. Looking at the past attempts – The Nude Bomb in 1980 and Get Smart Again for TV in 1989 – two of the worst movies ever made, you would really have to try diligently to make something worse. Despite the shadow hanging over this film, the 2008 remake of “Get Smart” isn’t bad, it’s not bad at all.

The cast is fun. Steve Carel is a comedy genius, and has yet to fall into any of the traps Jim Carrey (who incidentally was originally cast) did when he was on top. Anne Hathaway is always a delight on screen, and her chemistry with Carel is delicious, inspiring positive comparison to the originals, Barbara Feldon and Don Adams. Always good to see Alan Arkin, and The Rock, Dwayne Johnson rules every scene he’s in. Bill Murray makes an embarrassing cameo while James Caan shows a real flair for comedy as the President. Terrence Stamp does an interesting impression as the typical Malcolm McDowell villain. Even Masi Oka of “Heroes” and Nate Torrence are fun. I wish however that Patrick Warburton as Hymie had been throughout the film rather than half a minute at the end. There is even a quick but great cameo by Bernie Kopell, who played the original Siegfried. But it’s not the cast I take issue with.

Why does this have to be a “Get Smart” movie to begin with? Name recognition? Surely not. No one who was alive when the program first aired or even when it was in syndication is among the major movie-going demographic these days. Is it to make more money for poor Buck Henry, the creator of the series? Maybe. That’s really the only reason I can see. And let’s face it, unless we count “Quark,” Buck does deserve it.

The reason I question this is because really the only weak parts of this film are the “Get Smart” gimmicks and where Carel does his bad Don Adams impression. That’s where it falters, when it tries too hard to be “Get Smart.” If you removed all of those references this would be a fairly strong but simple spy comedy. Really, if you needed name recognition that didn’t make sense to the demographic anyway, why not make it a sequel or remake of Spies Like Us? It works just as well. Worth watching, but I don’t know if I would feel good about paying for it.

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