Sunday, July 29, 2012

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises - PG13

Warning: Possible Spoilers 

TDKR opens about 8 years after "The Dark Knight"  left off.  Gotham City is honoring Harvey Dent with Harvey Dent Day, and Bruce Wayne is a recluse, taking the blame for what Harvey did (after he became Two Face) and for killing Harvey.   the whole city thinks Batman is the bad guy.   This part made absolutely NO sense, and started TDKR on a negative note.  When an evil terrorist terrorist named Bane arrives and threatens to destroy Gotham City, Bruce decides to return as Batman.

For starters,  Batman spends almost half the movie, which was 2:40 long,  recovering/rehabbing: first, when he returns to Gotham, and also after his first battle with Bane.  Most of the rest is pure destruction. There is also a bed scene which is completely unnecessary to the story (no nudity).

The two bright spots are Anne Hathaway, who steals the show as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is excellent as Detective John Blake, one of the few who believes in Batman.
There is a nice plot twist toward the end, but it is too late to save this morbid  story.  I  really hope they meant it when they said this is the end of The Dark Knight story.

2 words: DISAPPOINTING and DEPRESSING.  Very over-rated.  Save your money.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Can Brave-ry be Overdone?

The wee bairn Merida, is a Scottish medieval princess who is irresistible as a tyke, romping with her parents, yet sadly morphs into a Disneyesque stubborn, roughneck runaway teen who wants to remake her queenly and gracious mother Elinor.
Rejecting the ridiculous suitors which according to clan tradition,  she must choose from, Merida flees into the woods on her gigantic horse, shooting arrows from her bow as a cowboy would shoot rounds into the air.
Oh please!

I was frustrated with the triteness of the plot and the heavy-handed feminism until Merida's wishes come true and she finds a way to change Mom.
Then, things got interesting, and a bit less dogmatic.
Brave is a traditional fairy tale story, with dark woods, fairies and witches, crafted  with a Tangled-like modern edge, but Merida is  missing Rapunzel's charming blend of boldness and vulnerability. She's too bristly and brash to be likeable, even if she IS a redhead. Bravery as a character trait is overplayed and ends as a tragic flaw.
Perhaps Merida's willowy, tender mother,  Elinor is the truly brave character.
Interesting discussions will ensue between mothers and teenage daughters who see this together, and for this I thank Pixar. Just don't condescend to women, we can enjoy wearing our dresses and riding horseback, just not at the same time. Dramatic highland scenery, and a fair-to-middling soundtrack don't make up for the fact that there is not one decent-looking man in the film who is sober and can shoot straight. Merida's father Fergus  is given shabby treatment as a boorish oaf, but the man-bashing is rescued by a good-natured parody of Braveheart. Sorry, Mel, you had it coming!
It might not be for under seven set. They have higher standards for princesses and those are some terrifying bears! They might want to wait till it comes out on DVD. 

Hyperactive little brothers add a few welcome moments of levity in a  somewhat dark film. King Fergus,
 make for a satisfying film with an acceptable 'lesson'.
But it coulda had a wee bit more class, than to show the cleavage on the servant woman, ya know what ay mean?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Movie Review: The Amazing Spiderman - PG13

Peter Parker lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben.  One day, he comes across a suitcase of his father's and starts to look into his father's work, which leads him to his father's workplace (where he gets bit by a genetically-altered spider) and  his father's research partner  Dr. Curt Connors.  Dr. Connors is researching reptile DNA in order to re-grow his severed arm.  Eventually, this leads to his turning into a lizard.

As I watched, I couldn't help but compare this reboot with the earlier Spiderman trilogy.  Andrew Garfield is much more natural in the role of Peter Parker.  Andrew's Peter Parker is quicker to adapt to his new abilities and powers than the earler portrayal portrayal was.  But Peter is still torn between sharing his secret with his girlfriend Gwen and wanting to keep her safe.

Overall. much better than the earlier trilogy.

The special effects are stunning, and there is tons of action.  They somehow make the concept of Spiderman vs. a lizard somewhat plausible.

A excellent movie...don't miss it!  At the end, the whole theater applauded.