Saturday, July 19, 2008
The Dark Knight ****
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Caine, Aaron Eckhart, and a shit load of famous actors
Everybody came out of the theater satisfied. Everybody. If you think about it, it's ironic. Ten years ago nobody saw much of the Batman franchise. Those movies relied on nostalgic kitsch. They were hit or miss. Now the current crop of Batman movies are not just movies, but real artistic films. And The Dark Knight solidifies this status, but how? Is it the writing? Is it Christopher Nolan's expert direction? Or is it the actors? Hell, it could be all three. The Dark Knight transcends the comic book genre and becomes a movie on it's a own. A film that tests our emotions. A film that reflects our current times.
The Dark Knight shows how surprisingly easy it is to make a once alternate universe type film, into something that strikes close to home. Gotham can be any city in America. Batman may be a real vigilante marching through streets, and the Joker may be a real terrorist lurking in the alleyways. It opens up possibilities. One way the Nolan Batman films have realism is how they make the characters into real people. This Joker does not have a strange facial deformity, but has scars on his face caused by abuse. He sends out threats trough videos and is two steps ahead of the police. Remind you of some specific group.
Another great thing about the film is how it is not about the special effects and the explosions, but the story. The Caped Crusader is not a hero, but seen as a ruthless vigilante. A city is on the verge of anarchy as a humble district attorney, Harvey Dent, takes control. Batman see him as the only true hero for the city. At the same time, a maniac in clowns' makeup is double-crossing everybody, even the mob. Now he wants to see the true Batman. If not people will die. Bruce Wayne might have to sacrifice his duty as Batman to save lives, but he might never save the city again from sure chaos. The following events are about morality, justice and pure evil. It's unexpected human drama.
Christopher Nolan has turned something from simplicity into a monumental work of art. He makes brilliant sequences and a has perfect timing. He makes a 2 1/2 hour movie feel like a fast swift punch. The actors are phenomenal. Heath Ledger is obviously the films center. He becomes the Joker. He laughs, talks and moves like somebody who just plain lost it. He is mysterious and mesmerizing. Mezmerizing in the way you want to see more of him in the film. He may just rightfully win the Oscar. Oh, what talent is lost. Not only that, but Aaron Eckhart, as Harvey Dent, delivers a powerful and tragic performance. He is the other great man in this film. For once, an action movie has actors upstaging the action. From Bale to Caine to Oldman, we have nothing but talent.
The Dark Knight is a film that will surprise even the greatest of skeptics. It is a powerful tour de force of the human spirit and will have you on the edge of your seats. You will not forget the performances, the direction and everything else about The Dark Knight. Brains and Brawn. Good stuff. Feel bad for the sequel though.
R.I.P. Heath Ledger 1979-2008
Batman Begins (2005) ***
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine. Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, and a shit load of actors you heard of.
Among the superheroes in superhero world, Batman has the reputation for being a rogue. He isn't the type that saves the day when the city begins to shit their pants. While the people of Metropolis is generally stupid when something bad happens, the people of Gotham are soooooooo New York when it comes to suspicious vigilantes who go bump in the night. Batman has a unique mystique about him. His story is unique and I don't need to recap the obvious story of Bruce Wayne in this review.
In this reboot of the series, director Christopher Nolan goes with method-actor extraordinare Christian Bale. And Bale fits the role like a glove. anyways when Bruce Wayne strats training himself to fight crooks in a Chinese prison, he is discovered by a mysterious man named Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson). In some psychedelic sequences where Wayne is supposed to face his fears, he becomes a fighting master and destroys the society Ducard is apart of. Their plan is to the destroy Gotham, the city of great decadence.
When Wayne returns to Gotham, he sees the city as a city griped in feat. Th mob, run by Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson is once again awesome), owns every law man, except for a few, especially Rachael Dawes (an underrated Katie Holmes) and James Gordon (Gary Oldman). With the help of these broskis, Batman stops Carmine, but he only the start of puzzle, that invloves a creepy asylum director (Cillian Murphy) and some surprise twist.
Compared to other, non-Tim Burton Batman movies, Batman Begins is solid way to reboot a series. Sure, it's only good, and Christopher Nolan is only just understanding how to make action movies. Like his other films, Nolan makes Batman Begins into a big montage of endless action. It's art meets action. Bale is also good, but needs to understand being a big action star. However, it's better than the not Keaton Batmen. Some of the actions sequences pack some serious puch, but once again, it's indie film trying to be Hollywood. A good film to watch. But wait until The Dark Knight bros. Good luck.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Laziness, Work, and The Dark Knight have stalled my progress. I haven't even given myself time to enjoy movies. The only movies I have seen in the last month have been Wall-E, Three Colors: White, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, and I have rewatched Terminator 2. So here's my review on the run.
Though dwarfed by Ratatouille, Wall-E will delight the kids, and the adults will like the reference to the Iraq War, and other references. The animation is once again amazing and you will not be disappointed. A slight nod to silent comedies and the movies Wall-E loves. Good fun.
I promise you I will write a Batman Begins review in preparation for The Dark Knight.