Category Archives: christopher nolan

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.

Inception

Inception ~ I had wanted to see this flick in the theatres and I wish I had because the special effects would have looked amazing on the big screen. Unfortunately in a decision I think I will regret for some time, and my friends will not let me forget – I chose Predators instead. Sorry, guys.

Yes, Inception would have looked great on the big screen, and like many of the newer animations, and the big one, Avatar, it suffers on the small screen. One hopes that the new special effects technology, and the various forms of 3-D might save the theatre industry, but only if folks get the idea of waiting for home viewing out of their head. This was one of those you should not have waited for.

Special effects aside, this wasn’t really anything special. Well, it was tons better than Predators but that’s not the point. Once you get the concept of dream intrusion into your head and know the rules, this is really just a big budget, world tour, old school James Bond flick. No better, no worse. Lots of action and insane chases, lots of exotic locales – it’s a good popcorn flick that is seriously toned down on the big screen.

The cast is flawless, director Christopher Nolan leaning on a few of his regulars, including Cillian Murphy and Ken Watanabe. Leonardo DiCaprio is in fine form as well, except for the similarities between this character and the one he played in Shutter Island. And much like that movie, his partner, Joseph Gordon-Levitt this time, out-acts him. It’s a good flick, not a great one.

It’s nominated for a few Oscars this time out, some deserving, some not. I can see music and cinematography easily, but Best Picture? I think not, unless it’s up against Predators

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