Archive for Gary Oldman

The Fifth Element

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1914, aliens known as Mondoshawans arrive at an ancient Egyptian temple to collect, for safekeeping, the only weapon capable of defeating a great evil that appears every 5,000 years. The weapon consists of four stones, representing the four classical elements, and a sarcophagus containing a fifth element in the form of a human, which combines the power of the other four elements into a divine light capable of defeating the evil. The Mondoshawans promise their human contact, a priest from a secret order, that they will come back with the element stones in time to stop the great evil when it returns.

In 2263, the great evil appears in deep space in the form of a giant ball of black fire, and destroys an attacking Earth spaceship. The Mondoshawans’ current contact on Earth, priest Vito Cornelius (Ian Holm), informs the President of Earth (Tom Lister Jr.) of the history of the great evil and the weapon that can stop it. As the Mondoshawans return to Earth they are ambushed by Mangalores, a race hired by the industrialist Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman), who has been instructed by the great evil to acquire the stones.

The Mondoshawans’ spacecraft is destroyed, though the stones are not on board; the only item recovered is a hand of The Fifth Element. Scientists take it to a New York City laboratory and use it to reconstruct a humanoid woman who takes the name Leeloo (Milla Jovovich). Terrified of the unfamiliar surroundings, she escapes confinement and jumps off a ledge, crashing into the flying taxicab of Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), a former major in the special forces.

Dallas delivers Leeloo to Cornelius and his apprentice, David (Charlie Creed-Miles), whereupon Cornelius learns that the Mondoshawans entrusted the four element stones to the alien Diva Plavalaguna (Maïwenn Le Besco), an opera singer. Zorg kills many of the Mangalores because of their failure to obtain the stones, but their compatriots determine to seize the artifacts for themselves. Upon learning from the Mondoshawans that the stones are in Plavalaguna’s possession, General Munro (Brion James), Dallas’ former superior, re-enlists Dallas and orders him to travel undercover to meet Plavalaguna on a luxury intergalactic cruise; Dallas takes Leeloo with him. Meanwhile, Cornelius instructs David to prepare the ancient temple designed to house the stones, then stows away on the space plane transporting Dallas to the cruise liner.

Plavalaguna is killed when the Mangalores attack the ship, but Dallas succeeds in retrieving the stones. During his struggle with the Mangalores he kills their leader. After shooting and seriously wounding Leeloo, Zorg finds a carrying case which he presumes contains the stones, and takes it back to his spacecraft, leaving behind a time bomb that forces the liner’s occupants to evacuate. Discovering the case to be empty, Zorg returns to the ship and deactivates his bomb, but a dying Mangalore sets off his own device, destroying the ship and killing Zorg. Dallas, Cornelius, Leeloo, and talk-show host Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker) escape with the stones aboard Zorg’s spacecraft.

The four join up with David at the weapon chamber in the Egyptian temple as the great evil approaches. They activate the stones, but having witnessed and studied so much violence, Leeloo has become disenchanted with humanity and refuses to cooperate. Dallas confesses his love for Leeloo and kisses her. In response, Leeloo combines the power of the stones and releases the divine light; the great evil, now dormant, becomes another moon in Earth orbit.

REVIEW:

In the 80s, there were countless clones, imitations, and blatant rip offs of Star Wars. That trend ended, though, and sci-fi focused on other films to steal from. Then the 90s hit and studios realized it was time for a new space opera. There were many failures, some epic in scope *COUGH* Battlefield Earth *COUGH*, but there was one that has gone one to cult status, The Fifth Element.

What is this about?

In this imaginative sci-fi epic, a 23rd-century cabbie finds himself involved with a fetching alien who may hold the key to saving the world. But it’s curtains for planet Earth unless the duo can stay a step ahead of a demented villain named Zorg.

What did I like?

Epic feel. What makes the holy trilogy so special is that it tells a story that on a huge scale. In some respects, this film follows that same formula. The evil, universal bad guys can only be defeated by this ragtag group of heroes, to sum it up in not so many words. It works, though. Also, there is just a certain look to the film in places that is very reminiscent of 70s and early 80s sci-fi, which I appreciated.

Friday. At the time this was released, Chris Tucker was an up and coming star because of Friday, a small role in Jackie Brown, and the Rush Hour films coming down the pipeline. Not being a big star, yet, Tucker was still hungry and willing to do anything to get noticed and bring home a paycheck, which explains why this overly flamboyant, obvious comic relief character of Ruby Rhod work. He is a contrast to the seriousness of Bruce Willis and isn’t off in la la land like Milla Jovovich’s character seems to be at some points.

Reconstruction. Some of our best technological achievements today have come from sci-fi films and television (and yet we still don’t have flying cars!) If there is something that should seriously be considered for real word use, I would say it is this reconstruction machine. Milla Jovovich’s character was nothing but a hand and this thing recreated her bones, tissues, muscles, everything. Obviously, this wouldn’t work in real life, but imagine if someone had their leg amputated for some reason and were taken to this machine. I’m just saying, it was impressive.

What didn’t I like?

Accent. I think I should just automatically make this a category any time I watch a film where someone is speaking in some sort of accent, because this seems to be a recurring theme. This time the culprit is Gary Oldman. Not only does he have this odd Texas-ish accent going on, but his character reminds me of the duke from Moulin Rouge, if he were really a bad guy. The accent, though, just makes no kind of sense. What was wrong with his normal accent, I wonder. Seems to me a British sounding villain is way more intimidating that one who sounds like he was an extra on Dallas.

Perfect? You could have a drinking game with as many times as Milla Jovovich was called perfect, especially when they first re-create her. My problem with that is she really isn’t perfect, at least to me. If you go by what the magazines and fashion industry want you to believe, then yes, she is perfect. However, as a red-blooded, straight American male, I can say that she needs some work before she can be called perfect. Personally, I like my women with curves and a bit more meat on their bones. Perhaps the next guy prefers blondes. The guy after that may have a thing for buff girls. What I’m trying to say is that if they really wanted her to be perfect, then she should have been an amalgamation of what guys tend to think is perfect, rather than just a random model.

Identity thief. Perhaps in this post 9/11 world we live in, seeing something like 3 or 4 guys claiming to be same person, as well as a woman who only seems to know a handful of words, would raise some red flags. For some reason, though, it is just business as usual at this terminal. At least it is once they catch the guy. Had this kind of thing happened in an airport today on Earth, all of those guys would have gotten a major beatdown, which would be followed by questions. That seems to be how things work over here in the US.

Apparently, people fall on one side or the other with The Fifth Element. They either love it or hate it. I think I’m the oddball, because I don’t really feel strongly either way. On the one side, I was expecting more action and outlandish humor, rather than some humdrum melodrama. On the flipside of that, though, there is a really good story that is easy to follow. So, do I recommend it? Sure, as a matter of fact, I think this is a film that needs to be seen more than once to truly cherish. I guess that means I need to go watch it again. HA!

4 out of 5 stars

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RoboCop (2014)

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 2028, multinational conglomerate OmniCorp revolutionizes warfare with the introduction of robotic peacekeepers capable of maintaining law and order in hot spots such as Iran. Led by CEO Raymond Sellars, the company moves to market its tech to domestic law enforcement, but the passage of the Dreyfus Act, forbidding deployment of drones on U.S. soil, prevents this. Aware that most Americans oppose the use of military systems in their communities, Sellars asks Dr. Dennett Norton and his research team to create an alternative. The result is a proposal for a cyborg police officer. However, Norton informs Sellars that only someone who is stable enough to handle being a cyborg can be turned into one, and some candidates are rejected.

A Detroit policeman, Alex Murphy, is chosen after he is critically injured in a car bomb explosion arranged by crime boss Antoine Vallon in revenge for Murphy’s investigation into his activities. Norton persuades Murphy’s wife Clara to sign off on the procedure. Upon waking up and realizing the extent of his transformation, Murphy flies into a rage and escapes the lab, but Norton is able to convince him to return. As Norton reveals to Murphy that the only remnants of his human body are most of his head (excluding parts of the brain), his respiratory organs and a hand, Murphy is disgusted, and asks for euthanasia. Norton reminds Murphy about his wife’s and son’s patience, and convinces him to live on. During combat training with trainer Rick Mattox, Murphy proves unable to compete with the standard OmniCorp drones in efficiency. Norton alters his programming to make him more efficient, but also less empathetic.

Shortly before he is to be publicly unveiled, Murphy has an emotional breakdown, forcing Norton to remove his emotions. During the ceremony, RoboCop identifies and apprehends a criminal in the crowd. He goes on to dramatically reduce crime in Detroit, wrecking public support for the Dreyfus Act. Aware that Clara has begun to ask questions, Sellars orders Norton to keep her away from her husband.

Clara nevertheless manages to confront RoboCop, telling him of their son David’s nightmares. The experience leads Murphy to override his programming and access the previously sealed files on his attempted murder. From them, he learns his son witnessed the explosion and was left traumatized. Murphy pursues Vallon’s gang for revenge. He takes heavy damage from their armor-piercing weapons, but manages to kill the boss and his men. Murphy returns to the station and joins with his old partner, Jack Lewis, to confront the two corrupt cops who betrayed him to Vallon, shooting one and tazing the other. Learning that the Chief of Police was also involved, Murphy moves to arrest her, but is remotely shut down by Mattox.

With the help of Pat Novak, a pro-OmniCorp talk show host, Sellars uses the incident to get the Dreyfus Act repealed. Clara goes to the press and angrily demands to see her husband. Fearful of being exposed, Sellars orders Mattox to destroy RoboCop while he’s being repaired. Norton is able to reach him first and reveals the truth. RoboCop narrowly escapes the building just as it undergoes lockdown.

Murphy returns and storms the building, destroying the ED-209 drones sent to stop him while Lewis and his fellow police arrive to hold off the rest of OmniCorp’s forces. Mattox subdues Murphy and prepares to finish him off, but is killed by Lewis. Murphy then makes his way to the roof where Sellars is waiting for a helicopter with Clara and David as hostages. Murphy’s programming initially prevents him from arresting Sellars, but he overcomes it long enough to kill Sellars despite being severely wounded.

OmniCorp’s parent company, OCP, shuts down the project. The President vetoes the repeal of the Dreyfus Act based on the testimony of Norton, to Novak’s anger. Murphy’s body is rebuilt in Norton’s laboratory, and he waits for Clara and David, who are coming to visit him.

REVIEW:

Here we go with another remake of a classic 80s property. Robocop aims to introduce new audiences to the titular character, while also creating a so-call hero for this generation, or some such crap.

What is this about?

When Detroit cop and family man Alex Murphy is critically injured in the line of duty, a robotics firm transforms him into an experimental crime-fighting cyborg, though he remains haunted by his human past in this reboot of the 1980s sci-fi classic.

What did I like?

Family life. Remakes are not my cup of tea. I believe they are just lazy filmmaking and show how un-creative Hollywood is becoming, especially with more and more of these being released every year. Don’t even get me started on how they besmirch the legacy of the original. Take True Grit, for instance. When the remake came out, the artwork on the original DVD cover was changed to look similar. Clash of the Titans, and many others I’m sure, had that same thing done to them. What I do like about remakes, though, is how they touch on some thing that just aren’t covered in the original. In the case of this film, we get more of a look at Officer Murphy’s family life. How the accident really affected his wife and kid and all that. I don’t believe the original Robocop gave us that. As a matter of fact, I seem to recall the wife leaving after he became a cyborg. So, that’s a change. Depending on your personal opinion, it may be for the better or worse.

Morality. From a morality standpoint, the picture takes a stand on how right or wrong it is to keep a man alive who is nothing more than a head and vital organs. Thinking about it now, that is a quandary. On the one hand, you’re keeping this guy alive after getting severely injured in the line of work, but on the other hand, what kind of life can he truly have now that he is more man than machine, from a physical standpoint, at least. The quandary is something that actually makes you think, that’s for sure.

Original theme. The original theme music from the original film had a heroic march feel to it, giving the audience the emotions of following Murphy on his mission to rid the streets of Detroit from the bad guys. The filmmakers actually snuck it in here a couple of time as an Easter egg, of sorts. There are other nods to the original, such as the pre-painted mechanical body, lines from the original, etc. Knowing how poorly the news of this being was received, I think the filmmakers wanted to extend an olive branch to the fans. It was a decent attempt, that’s all I’ll say about that.

What didn’t I like?

Mr. Roboto. I have two things to say about this. First, the new cyborg body isn’t impressive. It is almost like an insectoid exoskeleton, rather than something that would be used to fight crime. Last I checked, Robocop wasn’t going around doing parkour. Also, like the actors who play superheroes, Joel Kinnaman spends way more time with his visor off. As a matter of fact, I think this version it only comes down when he’s fighting. WTF?!? That thing needs to be down at all times, similar to Judge Dredd, where much of his design comes from. My other point is how wooden and robotic Kinnaman’s acting is. I felt no emotion, sympathy, or even connection to the guy, nor did I want to cheer for him when he became Robocop. He’s just unlikable. I won’t go so far as to say he was miscast, though, because the script didn’t do him any favors.

Satire subtraction. The original film was actually a big satire for the overabundance of excess violence, advertising, and cooperate greed that was commonplace in the 80s. There is little satire in this film, mostly by Samuel L. Jackson’s character playing a weird combination of Al Sharpton and Bill O’Reilly (doesn’t that though give you nightmares?), but the rest of the film doesn’t even try to hint at satire, instead going for the straight and narrow, dare I say safe, route.

Violence without blood. Some of the best scenes from the original involve the gratuitous violence. Limbs being shot off, guys getting mutate and then splattered on a windshield, it is glorious! If you’re looking for more of the same with this version, though, I must warn you that there isn’t even a drop of blood spilled. Does this film need gratuitous violence to be good? I wouldn’t say that, but when a person gets shot, they are going to bleed. When a guy get’s blown up, he is not going to still look nearly the same. That’s just the way things are

Robocop makes an attempt at being a new action franchise, but it just isn’t good enough. It doesn’t stand up to the original, feels like it was made just for a cash grab, has an inferior plot. Also, the fun of the original is drained out of this one as it becomes just another dry, forgettable action flick. There are some good points, though. As I mentioned, the extended family story was nice as was showing the Arkham City way Robocop can decipher clues and recreate crime scenes, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. Do I recommend this? No, unless you want to fall asleep in an action flick. I tried, I really tried to get into this, but just couldn’t and I’m sure there are others that have or will have the same reaction.

2 out of 5 stars

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Ten years after the worldwide pandemic of the deadly ALZ-113 virus (known as the Simian Flu), human civilization is completely destroyed following martial law, civil unrest and the economic collapse of every country in the world. Over 90% of the human population has died in the pandemic, while apes with genetically enhanced intelligence have started to build a civilization of their own.

In the ruins of San Francisco, Caesar leads and governs an ape colony located in the Muir Woods. While walking through the forest, Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and his friend Ash encounter a human named Carver, who panics and shoots Ash, wounding him. Carver calls for the rest of his small party of armed survivors, led by a man named Malcolm, while Blue Eyes calls for the other apes. Caesar orders the humans to leave. The remaining humans in San Francisco, who are genetically immune to the virus, are living in a guarded and unfinished high-rise tower within the ruined city. Prompted by Koba, a scarred bonobo who holds a grudge against humans for his mistreatment, Caesar brings an army of apes to the city tower where he conveys the message that while the apes do not want war, they will fight to defend their home. He demands that the humans stay in their territory and states the apes will stay in theirs too.

Malcolm convinces his fellow leader Dreyfus to give him three days to reconcile with the apes to gain access to a hydroelectric dam in their territory, which could provide long-term power to the city. Dreyfus, distrustful of the apes, arms survivors using an abandoned armory. Malcolm then travels into the ape village, but is captured by gorilla guards, who bring him to Caesar. After a tense discussion, Caesar allows Malcolm to work on the dam’s generator, if they surrender their guns. As Malcolm, his wife Ellie and son Alexander work, they bond with the apes. Mutual distrust of both sides gradually subsides; the truce is endangered when Caesar’s infant son discovers a shotgun smuggled in by Carver, but the two sides reconcile when Ellie offers to help treat Caesar’s ill wife Cornelia with antibiotics. Meanwhile, Koba discovers the armory and confronts Caesar, questioning his allegiance and taunting him over his “love” for humans. In response, Caesar severely beats Koba, but at the last moment refrains from killing him; adhering to his philosophy that “ape not kill ape,” Caesar hesitantly forgives Koba. The furious Koba then returns to the armory, where he steals an assault rifle and murders two human guards. Returning home, he secretly kills Carver, stealing his lighter and cap.

The dam is eventually repaired, restoring power to the city. During the celebration, Koba sets fire to the apes’ home, then, unseen to anyone else, shoots Caesar in the shoulder, causing him to fall from the settlement’s main tree. In the panic of the loss of the alpha and the fire, Koba takes charge, and having planted Carver’s cap at the scene of the shooting, urging the apes to fight against the humans. Malcolm’s group hides as Koba leads the apes into San Francisco. The apes plunder the armory and charge the tower’s gates. Despite heavy casualties, the apes breach the gates using a hijacked tank, overrun the tower and imprison all the humans as Dreyfus flees underground. When Ash refuses Koba’s orders to kill unarmed humans, citing Caesar’s teachings, Koba kills Ash and imprisons all those known to be loyal to Caesar.

Malcolm’s group finds Caesar barely alive and transport him to his former home in San Francisco. Caesar reveals to Malcolm that Koba shot him, realizing his notion that apes were better than humans was naïve and that apes can be as violent as humans. Malcolm leaves the group and heads to the city to find medical supplies for Caesar. While looking for medical supplies, Malcolm encounters Blue Eyes; disenchanted with Koba’s leadership, the young ape spares Malcolm’s life and returns to the house with him, where he reconciles with his father. Caesar grows nostalgic watching a video clip from his childhood of his former owner and father figure Will Rodman on his old camcorder as Malcolm learns of Caesar’s past. A plan is put into action: Blue Eyes returns to the tower and frees the caged humans and apes loyal to Caesar, then Malcolm leads the apes, unseen, into the tower from below. After accomplishing this, Malcolm encounters Dreyfus, who informs him that his men have made radio contact with more survivors at a military base to the north, who are on their way to help fight the apes. Caesar confronts Koba at the top of the tower, but as they battle, Dreyfus detonates C-4 charges he has planted beneath the tower. The resulting explosion kills him and collapses part of the tower. Caesar overpowers Koba, with Koba hanging over the edge of the tower. Pleading for his life, Koba reminds Caesar that apes do not kill apes, but Caesar states that Koba is not an ape and lets him fall to his death.

Malcolm informs Caesar of the impending arrival of human military reinforcements and both lament the lost opportunity for peace. Caesar tells Malcolm that the humans will never forgive the apes for the war they started and advises him to leave with his family for safety as the two of them acknowledge their friendship. As Malcolm disappears into the shadows, Caesar stands before a kneeling mass of apes, awaiting the war to come.

REVIEW:

As much as I hate and detest remakes/reboots, I will admit that sometimes they have a good idea, such as in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Because someone in Hollywood pulled their heads out of their ass and came up with an actual idea, we now have a franchise on our hands. The second film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, promises to be more action and less exposition, but is it worth watching?

What is this about?

A decade after their escape, Caesar and his fellow super-intelligent apes strike a tenuous peace with human survivors of the simian virus. But all-out war is on the horizon, a conflict that will determine which species will dominate the planet.

What did I like?

Little humans. In films such as the Transformers franchise and others where the stars are obviously NOT the humans, we get the opposite of what we paid to see. Instead, we are force-fed human characters in a veiled attempt to save money on CG. That is not the case with this film, as it spares no expense with the apes, nor does it shove humans down our throats. Sure, we get some human stuff, but it is just enough to create plot and conflict. Maybe some other films should take note, I’m just saying.

Mirroring viewpoints. Heading into the climax, I noticed that the faction of humans and apes were mirroring each other in their viewpoints. On one side, there was Caesar and Malcolm, played by Jason Clarke, who wanted peace and harmony, while on the other side there was Koba and Dreyfus, played by Gary Oldman, who wanted to bring about a great war. This is especially obvious during the final confrontation between Caesar and Koba because at the same time they are slugging it out, Clarke and Oldman’s characters are having a discussion about their opposing views and who is right and wrong. It really is a nice touch to show these things happening at the same time.

Apes. I’m more of a practical effects/stop motion guy. If you’re an avid reader of this blog, I think you can tell than by now. With that said, though, I cannot deny that CG technology is ever improving. Looking at the apes, I was impressed with how lifelike they were, both in design and portrayal. Tell me, when was the last time you looked into a CG apes eyes and saw raw emotion? Why is it Andy Serkis didn’t win an Oscar for this, again? The man was robbed!!!

What didn’t I like?

Wife and kid. Keri Russell and Kodi Smit-McPhee, who play the wife and kid to Jason Clarke’s character try to insert themselves and be relevant to the plot, but it just wasn’t happening for me. That isn’t my issue, though. As the film closes, they just suddenly disappear. Where did they go? It never is mentioned where they disappeared to, nor are they even mentioned. They were just here one scene and gone the next.

Apism. Not to sound like an ape racist (would that be an apist?), but all these apes looked the same to me, save for Koba and Blue Eyes. The only reason those two stood out was because of their scars. Do I think they needed name tags? No, but surely as these apes learn more and more to be their own society some individuality has to start to show, at least for the sake of the audience. At least the gorilla and the orange orangutan had no problem being recognized, as they are the only ones.

That one guy. Yep, there is always that one guy. You know, the one that just wants to see the world burn because he doesn’t like or is scared of something? The first human we see, turns out to be a giant asshole. He shoots an ape just because he was frightened, which becomes the catalyst for this whole film in some respects, around the campfire he talks about how much he hates them, and the next day he is shown to have smuggled a gun up to the dam, when Caesar had forbidden them (made worse by the fact that it was Caesar’s infant son that found it!) As far as being one of the most hated characters in the film, he succeeds. Was he necessary? Maybe for a couple of scenes, but that was it. I feel this guy got way too much screentime, while Gary Oldman was given just a couple of minutes more than James Franco’s clips from the first film!

Let’s see…the apes have risen and we’ve seen the dawn of their dominance. War is next! Seriously, that is the name of the next film. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had the unenviable task of serving as a sequel and filler until we get to said war. Not many films in this spot end up as successes, but there is one that stands out amongst all the others, Empire Strikes Back! Now, this isn’t in the same league as the piece of cinematic perfection, nothing is, but it does seem to be in the same ballpark. This is a film that has great direction, writers who actually care about the project and the people who will be watching it, and great actors. Mix those factors together and you’re sure to get a great film. The issues I have are few and far between, so do I recommend this? Yes, very much so, but I advise you to watch the first film if it has been awhile, if for no other reason than to refresh your memory.

4 3/4 out of 5 stars

Paranoia

Posted in Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) is a low-level inventor who works for a corporation run by Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman). After being fired for insubordination, Adam uses the company’s credit card to pay for bottle service for his friends at a club. Wyatt and his enforcer, Miles Meachum (Julian McMahon), blackmail Adam into becoming a corporate spy for Wyatt by threatening to have him arrested for fraud.

Adam is trained by Judith Bolton (Embeth Davidtz) and infiltrates a company run by Wyatt’s former mentor, Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford). He provides Goddard, who stole several of Wyatt’s ideas, with an advanced software able to hack into cellphones, with potential military applications. FBI Agent Gamble (Josh Holloway) interrogates Adam, revealing that three other employees of Wyatt who transferred to Goddard’s company were found dead, but Adam ignores him.

Adam finds out Emma Jennings (Amber Heard), a woman he met during the party, is the Director of Marketing of Goddard’s company. He initiates a relationship with Emma in order to steal files about Goddard’s upcoming projects. Wyatt threatens to kill Adam’s father, Frank Cassidy (Richard Dreyfuss), if Adam doesn’t steal a revolutionary prototype cellphone developed by Goddard. Adam later finds out Meachum and Bolton are monitoring him, so he destroys the cameras in his apartment. In retaliation, Meachum runs over Adam’s friend, Kevin (Lucas Till), with a car, nearly killing him. Adam is given 48 hours to steal the prototype.

Adam uses Emma’s fingerprints from a spoon to gain security access to the company’s vault. He is confronted there by Goddard, who intends to take over Wyatt’s company with evidence that Adam was acting as Wyatt’s spy. Emma finds out Adam used her. Adam recruits Kevin to help him. A meeting is set with Wyatt and Goddard, where it is revealed that Bolton has spied against Wyatt on Goddard’s behalf. Both men speak of the crimes they have committed to sabotage each other’s companies.

Adam has secretly used software to transmit their conversation to Kevin, whose computer recordings are turned over to the FBI. Goddard, Wyatt, Bolton and Meachum are arrested by Gamble, while Adam is released for contributing to the FBI’s investigation. He reconciles with Emma and opens a small startup store in Brooklyn with Kevin and their friends.

REVIEW:

I am no fan of cell phones. The only reason I have one is for emergencies and because work all but makes it mandatory. I swear one of these days, those things are going to take over the world a la Skynet! Is that what Paranoia is about? No, but the plot does involve a cell phone tracking/eavesdropping software that is sure to make us all paranoid.

What is this about?

Blackmailed by his company’s CEO, low-level employee Adam Cassidy finds himself forced to spy on the boss’s rival and former mentor. As Adam enjoys all the trappings of an executive position, he soon learns he can trust no one.

What did I like?

It goes both ways. The day is going to come in which technology overtakes us humans in every way. The fact that this film plants the idea, if it hasn’t already been made, that an undeleted e-mail on your cell phone can be a tracking device. The notion is something of a novelty, but most of the technology we have today came from sci-fi nerds reading or watching movies, books, and TV shows of their day, so you never know.

Enforcer. Julian McMahon seems to have made a career out of being the bad guy (or semi-bad guy). His character here is some sort of enforcer for Gary Oldman’s company. At first glance, you’d think he was some yuppie-type who was just waiting for the old man to keel over, but it turns out, he’s a loyal bodyguard type…and a brutally sadistic one. If this was a different film, we might have really seen him go medieval with some of his scare tactics.

Nerd love. Yeah, so out good looking leading man, Liam Hemsworth, gets the girl, Amber Heard, in the end. However, impressive to me was that the nerdy sidekick guy, Lucas Till, got the girl he was hitting on early on in the film. Aside from being the obvious brains behind the operation, as it were, manages to get the girl. The fact that this film takes the time to make a point of showing him with his new found love gets kudos from me.

What didn’t I like?

Accent. I’m no accent specialist, but the cockney (or whatever the correct name is) accent that Gary Oldman was using for his character wasn’t working for me. Perhaps it is because I’m so used to him using a more proper accent in the roles when he can talk like the proper Brit that he is. Who ever it was that told him to use this dialect gave him some bad advice.

Leading man he ain’t. Liam Hemsworth just can’t really catch a break. His older brother, Chris, was made a bonafide star with Thor, while he had a relatively small part in The Hunger Games (which grows in the sequels). Really, aside from that franchise and the short amount of time he was in The Expendables 2, Hemsworth’s career highlight has been his relationship with Miley Cyrus. The guy has the look and he is getting better as an actor, but unfortunately, he just isn’t leading man material, in my view, for this film. There is too much pretty boy and not enough discernible talent.

Excitement? This was billed as an exciting thriller, but I didn’t get that feeling of excitement. As a matter of fact, I was nearly dozing off for most of the film. The only thing that kept me awake was playing Candy Crush, which is an indictment of how boring this film managed to become. I wish it would have captured the excitement the trailer promised, but that wasn’t the case.

I wanted to give Paranoia the benefit of the doubt. It seemed as if the critics were a bit harsh towards it, but that was before I watched it. Many of the problems they had with it didn’t bother me, but I’m also not twisted and jaded by years of doing nothing but watching movies, either. I think this film’s biggest problem is that it is overly ambitious, wanting to tell a sophisticated story geared toward the adult audience, while using a leading man to bring in the younger demographic and capture the last remnants of the summer audience. A valiant attempt was made here, but in the end, there was failure. Do I recommend this film? Simply put, no. This really isn’t worth your time, save for listening to the truths Hemsworth’s character spouts out about our society, but you can see that kind of stuff on any of your political minded Facebook friends’ page.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Lawless

Posted in Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2012 by Mystery Man

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/a/a0/Lawless_film_poster.jpg/220px-Lawless_film_poster.jpg

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1931, the Bondurant brothers—Forrest, Howard and Jack—are running a successful moonshine business in Franklin County, Virginia, with the help of their friend, Cricket Pate, using their bar as a front for their illegal activities. One day, Jack witnesses mobster Floyd Banner shooting a competitor and they exchange looks before Jack returns to the bar, where Forrest hires Maggie Beauford, a dancer from Chicago, to be their new waitress. Shortly afterwards, the bar is visited by newly-arrived Special Deputy Charley Rakes, on behalf of the Virginia Commonwealth Attorney Mason Wardell, who informs Forrest that he wants a cut of all profit made by the county’s bootleggers. Forrest refuses and threatens to kill Rakes if he returns. Forrest later meets with the other bootleggers and convinces them to stand up to Rakes as well, though they eventually give in to Rakes’ intimidation tactics.

Meanwhile, Jack meets Bertha Minnix, daughter of the local Mennonite preacher. He attends their church drunk and makes a fool of himself, causing Bertha’s father to forbid her from seeing him, which only makes her more interested in Jack. Jack later finds Rakes raiding Cricket’s house in search of his distillation equipment, and Rakes brutally beats Jack to send a message to his brothers. Forrest learns of this and tells Jack that he needs to learn how to fight for himself. Forrest and Howard arrange to meet with potential clients from Chicago, but Howard gets drunk with a friend and misses the appointment. Forrest ends up beating the two men with Cricket’s help when they harrass Maggie. Later, after Cricket leaves, the men return, slash Forrest’s throat, and rape Maggie.

While Forrest recovers at a hospital, Jack decides to travel to Chicago with Cricket to sell their remaining liquor. Arriving there, they are doublecrossed by their clients but are rescued by Banner, who recognizes Jack. Banner already knows of the attack on Forrest, as well as the identities of the two assailants; he provides Jack with their address and advises Jack that they are working for Rakes. Forrest and Howard later find, torture, and kill the men to send a message to Rakes. Banner becomes a regular client of the brothers, who move their distillation equipment to the woods and have great profit. The money allows Jack to continue courting Bertha, while Forrest begins a relationship with Maggie after she moves into the bar for her safety, though she does not tell him she was raped. Jack eventually decides to show Bertha the distillation center, but they are ambushed by Rakes and his men, who had followed them. Howard and Jack are forced to flee from Rakes’s men with Bertha and Cricket, however Cricket is later recaptured and murdered by Rakes.

Wanting revenge for Cricket’s death, Jack goes to confront Rakes and his men at a roadblock at a local bridge. Howard follows after him, rallying the bootleggers to come to their aid. Forrest joins them, though Maggie tries to dissuade him, telling him that it was she who had found him with his throat slashed and took him to the hospital. Forrest realizes then that she was also attacked that night, though Maggie does not say so. The bootleggers engage Rakes’ men in a firefight, during which Rakes shoots Forrest multiple times before being shot in the leg and attempting to escape. Jack and Howard confront Rakes, shooting him in the chest with a gun, and stabbing him in the back with a knife to his death. With Rakes and his men dead, the Bondurants decide to save their money and retire after Prohibition ends. By November 1940, Jack has married Bertha, Forrest has married Maggie, and Howard has married a local woman, all having children. During a reunion at Jack’s house, Forrest walks to a frozen lake and falls into the freezing water, dying from pneumonia

REVIEW:

I love gangster movies, especially the ones that are set in the 20s and 30s and use tommy guns. When I saw the trailer for Lawless, I was excited, but reticent about seeing it in the theaters, for fear it may have been a total waste of my money. Not to mention, when this was released, I didn’t exactly have the time to rush out and see it upon its release. Well, you know what they say, “good things come to those who wait”.

What is this about?

This true-to-life action saga profiles Virginia’s bootlegging Bondurant gang, whose exploits during the Prohibition era made them outlaw heroes. The three Bondurant brothers tussle with the law and each other as they try to survive changing times.

What did I like?

Familiar. Brothers running moonshine, avoiding the cops, and also running their own bar. This sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it? A bit like The Dukes of Hazzard? The thing is, though, that this is apparently based on a true story…and there’s, unfortunately, no Daisy Duke. I was able to keep up with the goings on because of its familiarity, though, so this was a huge plus.

Brutal. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this film to be as bloody, brutal, and violent as it turned out to be. I’m not a big violence fan, but there are times when I do enjoy a good beatdown, or shootout, especially im westerns and films based in this era. Needless to say, this violence that we see is also filmed in such a way, that it feel natural and nor thrown in there just because it can be. For that, I give all the props in the world to the vision of the director.

Acting. The acting is mostly top-notch here, headlined by Tom Hardy. I’ve seen about 3 or 4 movies with this guy this year, most notably The Dark Knight Returns, and he has impressed me with each role. Jessica Chastain seems to be at home in these period pieces. I think I preferred her more in The Help, but she’s no less the bombshell here. Guy Pearce looks like Alfalfa from The Little Rascals grew up and became some slimy law officer, I forgot what his official title is. He lays it on thick and I loved every minute of it!

What didn’t I like?

Shia. So, he is trying to grow as an actor. That’s fine and dandy, but I just didn’t buy him as this character. Well, let me take that back. When he was just the so-called “runt” of the family who was trying to get into the business, that was working, but when it came down to the final act and he all of a sudden flipped out into some sort of vengeance driven madman, not so much. I’m not sure if it is because of his past work, the fact that he doesn’t have the look for such things, or just that he wasn’t able to convince me he was this character, it just wasn’t working.

Accent. Where in the bloody blue hell did these people get the idea for these accents? I haven’t talked to anyone from Virginia, but  I”m pretty sure they don’t talk like they’re from the back woods of Alabama. The accents used were very distracting, especially for those of us that here these kind of accents every day.

Immortal. Tom Hardy’s character survives the sickness that kills his parents, getting his neck sliced open, and getting shout about 5-10 times, but the thing that finally kills him just dumfounded me. Something so small, in comparison to the other things that have happened to him, offs him? It makes sense, but at the same time, it makes you go, “really?”

Lawless is a vastly entertaining gangster drama flick that I believe is one of the underrated gems that has been released this year. While I don’t believe it could have been a summer blockbuster, had this been released a couple of months later, it might have been a possible Oscar nominee. I highly recommend this. It is definitely something you should check out ASAP!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Unborn

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on September 8, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Casey Beldon has nightmarish hallucinations of strange-looking dogs in the neighbourhood and an evil child with bright blue eyes following her around. While babysitting Matty, her neighbor’s son, she finds him showing his infant sibling its reflection in a mirror. Matty attacks Casey, smashing the mirror on her head, and tells her: “Jumby wants to be born now”. She puts him to bed and leaves in shock.

Casey’s friend Romee tells her of a superstition that newborns should not see their reflections in the mirror for at least a year because otherwise they will die soon. Casey’s eyes begin to change color; a doctor asks if she is a twin, and explains the change as tetragametic chimerism and heterochromia, and that is completely normal. Her neighbor’s infant dies, supporting the superstition.

Casey’s father admits that she had a twin brother years ago who died while he was in the womb when her umbilical cord strangled him, and whom he and Casey’s mother had nicknamed “Jumby”. She begins to suspect that the spirit is haunting her and that is the soul of her dead twin wanting to be born so it can enter the world of the living as evil.

Casey meets Sofi Kozma—whom she later learns is her grandmother—who explains that as a child she had a twin brother who died during Nazi experiments in Auschwitz during World War II. A dybbuk brought the brother back to life to use as a portal into the world of the living. Kozma killed her twin to stop the spirit, and now it haunts her family for revenge, which is why Casey’s mother became insane and committed suicide.

Kozma gives Casey a hamsa amulet for protection; instructs her to destroy all mirrors and burn the shards; and refers her to Rabbi Joseph Sendak, who can perform a Jewish exorcism to remove the dybbuk out of her soul. Sendak does not believe Casey’s story until he sees a dog with its head twisted upside down in his synagogue. The dybbuk kills Kozma and, soon after, Romee. Casey and her boyfriend Mark—who both see the spirit after it kills Romee—realize that it is getting stronger.

Sendak, Mark, Episcopal priest Arthur Wyndham, and other volunteers begin the exorcism, but the dybbuk attacks them and several are wounded or killed. The spirit, having possessed the priest, chases Casey and Mark. Mark knocks Wyndham unconscious but gets possessed. Casey stabs Mark in the neck with the amulet; Sendak arrives and he and Casey complete the exorcism. The rite draws the dybbuk out of the human world, but Mark falls and dies during the separation.

Casey mourns her boyfriend but still wonders why the dybbuk became suddenly active in her life now, and why it didn’t attack her earlier. She takes the pregnancy test, and learns that she is pregnant by Mark, with twins.

REVIEW:

By the request of certain other people in this house, the horror films have been coming in on a regular basis, especially the supernatural ones. This explains why The Unborn came this week instead of something, anything, else.

What is this about?

A mysterious demonic creature called the dybbuk is tormenting Casey Beldon, but for unknown reasons. He eventually begins attacking her. It is later found out that it comes after twins, and something to do with lost souls. Casey was unaware that she was a twin, as her brother died either in childbirth or before he was even born thanks to being strangled by the umbilical cord. Better to try to catch it in the film than for me to  try to explain that mumbo jumbo. As the film goes on, Casey seeks out the help of a Rabbi to perform an exorcism. He is reticent about performing a task, but agrees to translate some ancient texts for her. What will he find out when he finishes the translation? Will Casey escape the dybbuk?

What did I like?

Dybbuk. I’ve actually heard about this thing before. Maybe it was in another movie, but I have heard about it somewhere before, but it was just some random scene that gave it a brief mention. This film makes it the centerpiece of everything, not to mention a borderline serial killer.

Twins. It seems like everytime I turn around these days, when there is something about twins, they are conjoined. Why can’t there be something about regular twins…even if one of them is killed before being born.

Odette. This girl is quite the looker! She’s actually been around for quite some time, but this is her biggest role to date. I guess in this kid of picture, you need to have someone who isn’t an eyesore.

What didn’t I like?

Acting. With the exception of Idris Elba, it seems like this entire cast is either phoning it in or just not that talented. This includes Gary Oldman, who we all know falls into the category of being able to read the phone book and make it sound like Shakespeare!

Not so good. Megan Good isn’t necessarily a household name, but she is a quality enough actress that she deserves more screentime than she got. I felt like they used her as the token black friend. Hell, she is even one of, if not THE first to die.

Effects. Apparently, when the dybukk takes over a host body, it turns their head upside down and makes them sound like the girl from The Ring. Actually, this probably would work if it hadn’t been done in so may possession films already. Someone needs to come up with something else, or find a new way to show it, because this is seriously losing its effectiveness.

The Unborn is not a good film, even for horror. It meanders along, barely keeping the audience’s attention. When it does get to something interesting, there isn’t enough of a payoff to validate the wait. I can’t say that you shouldn’t see this, as I know there are those that love this kind of stuff, but, honestly, it isn’t worth the time and effort.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars

The Dark Knight Rises

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Gotham City is in a state of peace. Under powers granted by the Dent Act, Commissioner James Gordon has nearly eradicated violent and organized crime. However, he still feels guilty about the cover-up of Harvey Dent’s crimes. He plans to admit to the conspiracy at a function celebrating Dent, but decides that the city is not ready to hear the truth. While following a lead in the abduction of a congressman from the function, Gordon’s speech falls into the hands of Bane. Gordon is shot in the process, and he promotes patrol officer John Blake to detective, allowing Blake to report directly to him.

As Batman has disappeared from Gotham City, so too has Bruce Wayne, locking himself inside Wayne Manor. Wayne Enterprises is crumbling after he invested in a clean energy project designed to harness fusion power, but shut the project down after learning that the core could be modified to become a nuclear weapon. Both Blake — who has deduced Batman’s identity — and Gordon implore Bruce to return as Batman, but Alfred Pennyworth objects out of concern for Bruce’s future and resigns in a failed attempt to dissuade him.

Bane stages an attack on the stock exchange and uses a stolen set of Bruce’s fingerprints to place a number of risky investments in his name, bankrupting Bruce and forcing him to relinquish control of Wayne Enterprises. Correctly suspecting that his business rival, John Daggett, has employed Bane to aid in this aggressive take-over of his company, Bruce entrusts businesswoman Miranda Tate to keep full control out of Daggett’s hands. Bane, however, has other plans, and kills Daggett to take control of his infrastructure.

Following a trail left by cat burglar Selina Kyle, Batman confronts Bane, who says that he has assumed the leadership of the League of Shadows following the death of Ra’s al Ghul. Bane reveals that he was using Daggett’s construction firms to stage a heist on Wayne Enterprises’ Applied Science Division. He steals three Tumblers before crippling Batman and detaining him in a prison from which escape is virtually impossible. The other inmates relate the story of the only person to ever successfully escape from the prison: a child driven by necessity and the sheer force of will, said to be the child of Ra’s al Ghul, leading Batman to believe that this child became Bane.

Bane lures the vast majority of Gotham’s police force underground and sets off a chain of explosions across the city, trapping the officers and turning Gotham City into an isolated city-state. Any attempt to leave the city will result in the detonation of the Wayne Enterprises fusion core, which has been converted into a bomb. Bane publicly reveals the cover-up of Dent’s death, and releases the prisoners locked up under the Dent Act. The rich and powerful are dragged from their homes and put before a show trial presided over by Jonathan Crane. After an attempt to sneak Special Forces soldiers into the city fails, the government blockades Gotham and the city further regresses into a state of anarchy.

Meanwhile, Bruce recovers from his injuries and retrains himself to be Batman. He successfully escapes Bane’s prison to return to Gotham, enlisting Selina, Blake, Miranda, Gordon and Lucius Fox to help liberate the city and stop the fusion bomb before it grows too unstable and explodes. Batman confronts and subdues Bane, but is betrayed and stabbed by Miranda as she reveals herself to be Talia al Ghul. It was she who escaped the prison as a child, before returning with her father and the League of Shadows to rescue Bane, the one person who aided her escape. Talia plans to complete her father’s work in destroying Gotham, while exacting personal vengeance against Bruce for Ra’s death.

Gordon successfully cuts off the bomb’s ability to be remotely detonated while Selina kills Bane, allowing Batman to chase Talia. He tries to force her to take the bomb to the fusion chamber where it can be stabilized, but she remotely floods the chamber. Batman shoots her truck off the road and Talia dies in the resulting crash, confident that the bomb cannot be stopped. Using a helicopter developed by Fox, Batman hauls the bomb beyond the city limits, where it detonates over the ocean and presumably kills him.

In the aftermath of the explosion, Batman is praised as a sacrificial hero and Bruce is believed dead as a casualty of riots. As his estate is divided up, Lucius is shown completing work on the Bat, realizing that Batman may have escaped the detonation after all due to the fact the autopilot was fixed by Bruce many months before. Alfred is also shown holidaying in Italy, where he sees Bruce and Selina having coffee together at a nearby table. It is also revealed that Blake’s legal first name is Robin (comics), as he inherits the Batcave

REVIEW:

When The Dark Knight came out a few years back, everyone seemed to all but bow down and worship it because it was supposedly the best film ever made. I was one of the handful of people who didn’t seem to see it that way. A few friends have wondered if I am going into The Dark Knight Rises with similar disdain. The answer is no, but I do have my reservations.

Before I go any further, I feel I should make a statement about the tragedy that has befallen the small town of Aurora, CO, following the shooting. For those that don’t know, a gunman went in the theater to see this film, and opened fire, effectively killing and wounding quite a few people. I don’t know if this film had anything to do with this happening, but it truly is a shame that it happened. My heart is heavy and mourning for those affected by this tragedy.

So, what did I like?

3D. Or should I say lack of 3D? With seemingly every film released these days being released, made, and/or post converted to 3D, for the sole purpose of making more money, not a better film, mind you, I tip my hat to Christopher Nolan and his decision to not film this in 3D, nor did he cave in and convert it. There are plenty of scenes that may have looked great in 3D, but, at least for me, there hasn’t been anything to justify making that switch. I really can’t tell the difference, other than paying for some rented sunglasses!

Tone. I had one major complaint with the last film, and that it was a little too dark and serious for my taste, which is kind of ironic, since they used the Joker as the main villain. This film, though, lightens things up, and actually feels like a comic book film. Yes, it has moments that are dark, but as a whole, this is a more pleasant viewing experience.

Continuity. Film series these days seem to think about moving forward and making more and more money, but not many of them seem to remember things that went on in their universe. So, you can imagine my delight to see some moments from the previous films as the trilogy comes to climactic conclusion.

Cerebral. Christopher Nolan is no dummy, and neither are his films. He brings this level of cerebral thinking to a villain that, for the most part, isn’t really known for his brains, Bane. The complex plots he hatches are impressive, to say the least, just watch the opening scenes and you’ll be more than aware of what this guy can do.

Bane. Speaking of Bane,  I remember when he debuted in the comics and broke Batman’s back, which led to a replacement Batman for a while, but that’s neither here nor there. I was wondering if they were going to use that in the film, and they sort of did, but not to the full extent, I would have liked, but I guess I shouldn’t complain. At least it was in there, unlike the venom that pumps him up, for instance.

Catwoman. I love Anne Hathway. I have since the first time I saw her in The Princess Diaries. However, I”m not quite sure  she works as Catwoman. That being said, I give her all the credit in the world for making this her own character and not trying to be Julie Newmar, Halle Berry, Lee Meriwether Michelle Pfeiffer, or Eartha Kitt. While this may not be the most memorable Catwoman, she is the closest to the source material in the Nolan universe.

Talia. Marion Cotillard is a vision of loveliness and if you ever seen Talia al Ghul in the comics, then it isn’t very hard to see why she was chosen to play her. I’m not too crazy about how little she was used, but the misdirection was quite impressive. It sure had me fooled!

Action. The action in the flick is awesome, if I do say so myself. They really upped the ante. I literally got goosebumps when they are driving though the tunnel and all of a sudden the light go out and Batman takes out the crooks one by one. The fight with Bane, the chase scenes, oh…and the scene at the stadium. Awesometacular, but the final fight, that was a thing of beauty!

What didn’t I like?

Voices. First we have Christian Bale doing that raspy thing. It didn’t work in the last film, what the hell possessed him to think it would work this time? He really should have gotten the memo. Also in the category of bad voicing is Tom Hardy’s Bane. When the first trailer was released his voice was a raspy and a little hard to understand, but it worked. For some reason, someone decided to change it and give him this Sean Connery-type voice that doesn’t really work. It comes off as cartoonish as Batman’s voice did annoying.

Batsuit. We’re in the third film, you’d think by now the Batsuit would look like something more than some kind of exoskeleton by now. The part that sticks out to me the most, though, is the next. Something didn’t quite look right, I think it was something to do with the neck piece and the way the cowl is made. It gives the illusion that Batman is a sort of bobblehead.

Alfred. He’s only in about 10% of the film, but that whole time he’s bitching and moaning about how he doesn’t want Bruce to be Batman anymore, and then leaves. WTF?!? Why in tarnation did the decide to make Alfred such a whiny little bitch? He’s never been one of those characters that kicks some ass, obviously, but he’s loyal and unquestioning. This just goes against everything Alfred stands for!

Too much Wayne. So, it is eight years after the events of the last film, and Bruce Wayne has hung up the cape and cowl. That’s fine, he has to get back to being Batman. Bane breaks him…same kind of thing. Somewhere in there, though, shouldn’t someone have thought there was a little bit too much Bruce Wayne? No one is interested in Batman because of Bruce Wayne. We got his story in Batman Begins, and that was enough. While I’m thinking about it, how is it that he can grow a fully stylized beard in a desert prison, yet it wasn’t that long ago, when he was in Tibet, that he had a full on, scruffy, shaggy beard.

Villains. In all the Batman films, there has been at least one villain that is a strong presence, be it the Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Ra’s al Ghul, Mr. Freeze, etc. However, I found that Bane, while physically imposing and such, he just didn’t come off as strong enough to carry the film. Catwoman and Talia were nothing more than villainesses with a purpose, but nothing more. Considering how much they shoved Catwoman down our throats during the whole marketing campaign, I was expecting more.

Ending. I’m not going to spoil the ending, but there is a character reference that just makes you wonder, wouldn’t it have been better to have it happen earlier on in the film, or maybe even at the end of the last film, rather than the last thing you see before the credits roll.

The Dark Knight Rises has apparently pissed some people off that have said anything negative about it. Why else would Rotten Tomatoes have shut down the comment section of their review of this film. Luckily, I don’t have much negative to say about this film. All my complaints are minor. I really did enjoy this film and think it may very well be the best Batman film since Batman (1989). Definitely a fitting end to the trilogy. Sure, some people are going to be disappointed, but that’s because they hold the last film to such impossibly, unwarranted high standards. I highly recommend this film and think you should get off that couch right now and go see it!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars