Christian Bale

Reign of Fire

Year: 2002
Directed By: Rob Bowman
Written By: Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka, and Matt Greenberg

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie came out during my senior year in high school and I was really surprised by how much I liked it. When I had heard about this movie coming out about dragons I specifically remember talking about how stupid it sounded. At that time I still worked in the upstairs of the movie theater part time and also at a video store. I lived and breathed movies with a snobbish mentality about what was and wasn’t good. I felt like I knew whether something was going to be good or not before it came out and had a really arrogant attitude about it. I remember feeling like I had been distinctly wrong about this movie and I have never forgotten that.

As odd as it is, the fact that I found a lesson with a lasting impression in this of all movies is ironic I know. A movie I have learned something from always has a place in our collection no matter what it is about. I have heard this movie receive a lot of criticism over the years but I have always felt like it was unjust. Yeah it’s a movie about dragons but it was taken seriously enough and it’s a well made movie. It has been part of our collection for more than ten years now going all the way back to the beginning and I still feel like it belongs.

I like this movie because it is a different type of post-apocalyptic story. Yeah some might think it silly that the setting is brought on by dragons but at least it is a unique idea. I love the scene early on in which Christian Bale and Gerard Butler are acting out a classic scene from Star Wars and the children are shocked and awed by the story. It’s cute how the kids react and how Bale jokingly takes credit for making up the story. You have all the necessaries for a post apocalyptic scenario here. Food is a need getting more and more difficult to come by as well as other basic supplies like bullets. Communication has broken down to the point that our main characters wonder if they are the only people left. Throw dragons into the mix and I have never quite figured out what people didn’t like about this movie.

This movie put Matthew McConaughey on the map for me. As Van Zant he was more of a badass than I thought he was capable of. I really liked his tattoos in this movie. I also has little knowledge of Christian Bale at this time. He, in time, would prove to be quite the capable actor to my surprise. Something I never realized until this viewing is the pre-300 Gerard Butler. Looking at him here you would never believe the guy had it in him to be King Leonidas.

Truthfully, I somewhat think this movie falls apart as it comes to a close. I still like it and think it offers plenty of excitement but I guess I understand the criticism now that I’m not 18 anymore and humbled in my own arrogant assumptions. The effects are cool and there is some creative action worthy of watching. The scene when the Americans take on a dragon in air is specifically nice. If you missed this one over the years though I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it. If you happen upon it randomly there are worse ways to spend your time. I’ll always consider this worth my time but I’ll leave it to you what you do with yours on this one.

NEXT MOVIE: Remember the Titans (2000)
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The Prestige

Year: 2006
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Priest (novel)

RYAN’S REVIEW

After Christopher Nolan knocked our socks off with the start of a brand new Batman franchise in 2005 he immediately followed it up with this little nugget. A film with a spectacular cast, a story that kept us guessing the whole time, and an ending that blew us away. This movie, more than any other at a time when I was just learning who Nolan was, convinced me that this guy was for real and somebody to keep an eye on. I had yet to see Memento at that time, and while I had seen Insomnia I gave it little thought and made no connection. In 2006 I was young and eagerly looking for a new favorite filmmaker two years removed from both Oliver Stone and Quentin Tarantino disappointing me in the worst of ways. There were the Coen Brothers of course, and I liked several others as well but this movie officially ushered in a new player to the ball field.

Christopher Nolan is not my favorite director today but he is part of a handful of directors I am always excited to hear have something new coming out. Nolan is a smart director who keeps his filmmaking crew together for most of his films. That continuity, as much as his mind and capabilities, goes a long way in making his movies a head above the rest. I have recently been disappointed by Nolan as I thought Interstellar was painfully awful. However I still have faith in him despite that long and uneventful film I anticipated so much. There are people out there who have the audacity to call Interstellar great but they are only lying to themselves. That movie was garbage, but Nolan’s prior track record speaks for itself. This movie was awarded to Nolan over others because Christopher Priest, the author of the book, specifically wanted him. Nolan took it and hit the ground running to produce another good film in the downtime between the groundbreaking and moneymaking giant of his Batman franchise. Aside from his Batman films, Nolan’s movies are typically the type that make you think and will keep you guessing. What better story to do that with than one about magic and illusion? As we come to the actual prestige of the movie what we find is not only shocking and surprising but a haunting reality for both magicians.

This movie also played a big part in my becoming a fan of Christian Bale. Bale had been around for some time but I had never given him any credit until after I saw Batman Begins for the first time. I still wondered then if he was just good in that particular movie but this film proved he could do more. Bale has since gone on to achieve even greater success over the years but I will always remember this role as the one that officially caught my eye and made me realize his potential. In this film I couldn’t get over how awesome it was simply to see Batman and Wolverine on screen together. This movie came out the same year as the ultimately disappointing X-men Last Stand, but it wasn’t Hugh Jackman’s fault that movie sucked. Jackman is always great as Wolverine and I thought he was great as the charismatic side of the two feuding magicians in this film.

The rivalry between Jackman and Bale in this movie progresses into darkness early on. Their hatred and competitiveness drive the intrigue of the movie as much as the mystery of their magic does. As each man raises the stakes the audience edges closer to the edge of their seats. Ultimately the climax of this feud is satisfyingly dark and perverse with neither of the two winning but only destroying one another. Magicians and showmen who become what they practice are such interesting men. The pressure on the showmen like Jackman to continue to impress and keep the audience interested can drive them to dire straits. Then there are the true wizards, like Bale’s character, who have an early understanding in how to fool the entire world with an act that is always on. Magicians have to keep you guessing and a movie about them has to do the same.

As good as Jackman and Bale were in this movie their performances are made even better by a stellar supporting cast. In the sunset years of his career Michael Caine only seems to shimmer brighter. An obvious favorite of Christopher Nolan, Caine has been able to stay in the spotlight with great parts in most of his films. I am a huge fan of Caine and love every opportunity to see him on screen. He has an aged dignity and air of respect to him that often reminds me of my own grandfather who is very endeared to me. They are the exact same age and while they don’t look or sound anything alike it’s about the way they carry themselves and the presence that they hold that make me connect the two.

Andy Serkis plays an important part in the film and for once we actually see him, as opposed to simply his movements and voice via motion capture suit. Serkis is one of the most talented actors out there that nobody ever actually sees. He has an extraordinary talent for acting in the advanced technologies of the modern movie era. Among his resume are roles like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series, King Kong in the 2005 remake, Caesar in the new Planet of the Apes franchise, and he will be adding a new one at the end of this year with a role in J.J. Abrams new Star Wars film. I once saw a behind the scenes look at Serkis performing in the motion caption suit as Gollem on the set of the second Lord of the Rings film. It was like more than ten years ago when I saw it but to this day I still marvel over watching him perform that scene. An incredibly talented actor who has such unique skills. It’s nice to see him in the flesh now and again though. In this movie he brings an eerily creepy character to the film that adds to the intrigue of it all.

The part Serkis plays is the main assistant to a real life man of mystery, Nikola Tesla, played by a man who himself is oddly mysterious, David Bowie. As an undertone to the movie is the battle of minds that went on at the time between the electrical pioneers of Thomas Edison and Tesla. I know little about both of these men in truth but this movie does motivate me to look into the real history. Seems like there is a really interesting story there that I missed out on along the way.

I suppose it shouldn’t go unnoticed that Scarlett Johansson plays a significant role in the film. She is a very beautiful actress but I have never really felt there was anything that set her apart from say Piper Perabo who plays a smaller yet equally as important part in the movie. Johansson has found much more success than Perabo but I tend to think this is the work of agents more than it is talent. In the movie industry pretty faces are a dime a dozen and at the mercy of whatever popularity they can mustard in the years given to them. The window is short when time is the enemy of what keeps you in the spotlight. I find most people consider me crazy when I mention not being a big fan of Johansson. I don’t really know what it is but I just don’t see it. I tolerate her in the Marvel films as Black Widow but I can’t even get behind her in a role like that. There is nothing wrong with her performance in this movie, but I just don’t see her as anything more than a pretty face. However, that being said, this film can only be considered a success for her.

This is a really cool movie but I don’t love it with multiple viewings like I do most of my favorite movies. I don’t think that has anything to do with the film though and everything to do with its content. Magic and illusion is an art that is only really effective the first time. The more you see it the more you figure it all out and the excitement is gone. This movie is a terrific film to watch for the first time. The intrigue will draw you in and the climax will knock you back a few steps. This movie is important to me because it got my attention and encouraged me to see more from Christopher Nolan. It’s not his best but at par with what he is capable of and the par for Nolan is a step above the norm for the rest. This is an interesting movie with terrific performances and great all around effects. It is more than worth your time to see and I think it’s one anybody will enjoy.

NEXT MOVIE: The Princess Bride (1987)

 

 

 

American Hustle

Year: 2013
Directed By: David O. Russell
Written By: Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell

RYAN’S REVIEW

When we watched this movie for the first time it immediately had me with the initial caption: “Some of this actually happened.” This movie goes against the grain and doesn’t claim to be based on a true story but simply admits “some” of it actually happened.  That’s incredible because nothing annoys me more than a movie that promotes itself as “based on a true story” despite how many several liberties that were taken with the truth.  So right off the bat this movie makes a statement.  It’s honest and that says a lot about the type of filmmaker David O. Russell is.  This is another stellar movie added to his already impressive resume.

I don’t know what parts of this movie are true and what parts are fiction.  In truth I don’t care and won’t look it up to find out on principle.  I don’t think it matters what really happened in this story.  All that matters is this story.  This story is awesome and it is brought to life by some actors that turn in some really impressive performances.  I think this movie looks and feels like David O. Russell’s version of Goodfellas. Christian Bale reminds me so much of Robert De Niro in this movie both by his mannerisms and voice.  The content may be different but the way these two stories are told are similar with the voice over and biographical feeling.  Nevertheless, I’m not criticizing, when something is great it is great and there is no disputing this one.  Both films are great and I can’t think of any scenario in which the two of them being similar is a bad thing.

I wasn’t a fan of Bradley Cooper when he first came around. I remember seeing him for the first time, in the days before The Hangover, playing Aiden in one of the later seasons of Nip/Tuck. The show had really gotten awful by that point and his character didn’t leave a good impression with me.  Despite the initial impression I received this guy has never ceased to distinguish himself, especially in collaborations with David O. Russell. I really like the character dynamic Cooper brings to this film. He is kind of brilliant but kind of stupid at the same time.  He is a goofy looking guy with his curls but he might snap and go a little crazy at any moment. Men who get into cocaine are like that, spur of the moment insanity. They start slow but over time it goes to their head before they know it. Cooper pulls it all off nicely. Great performance from an actor who has earned my respect over time.

Amy Adams continues to be flawless and incredible.  She is a beautiful woman who brings true talent to all her performances.  She has specifically shined in David O. Russell films as she was also great in The Fighter. She fits into his films so deftly, and brings it each and every time. In this film she looks so incredible in those dresses. She plays such a dominant female role and I specifically like that about her.  She isn’t just a pretty face in this movie she is another badass in a film about badasses.  She plays Bradley Cooper for a chump and owns him at every turn.  She is a strong female lead and she should have won the Academy Award for the part.

Christian Bale, second greatest Batman after the first, never fails to be incredible no matter what he does. Despite not having an upper lip the man has done well for himself. As I mentioned earlier, in this film he reminds me implicitly of one of the greatest. I do not know if it was intentional or not but it is so spot on that I feel like it had to be. It’s amazing the things he does to his body for his roles.  We have seen him on each edge of the spectrum and in between.  He has been anorexic in The Machinist and The Fighter, he has shown the in between as a muscular Batman, and we have seen him put on the weight for this film. He put on over 40 pounds for this film. Bale continues to build what has already been an impressive career.

Jennifer Lawrence is phenomenal, plain and simple.  I wanted to be on the edge, I’m weird when it comes to trendy things and nobody has been trendier than Jennifer Lawrence for the last several years.  Nevertheless her performance speaks for itself.  Her accent is what shocks me so much in this film, it’s incredible.  Not only that but I refuse to acknowledge how hot she is because when she first came around I thought she was too much younger than me. I’m weird about that and it’s different as the years have passed. Nevertheless she makes it hard not to notice with this performance and I doubt anybody did. She plays the kind of woman that all men and women fear alike.  The unpredictable kind that can pretty much get whatever she wants and knows it.  She is intimidating in all the ways that only a beautiful woman can be.

For this whole film I kept telling Amber how much Christian Bale reminded me of De Niro.  Imagine my surprise when he actually showed up in the film.  I didn’t know prior to this although I should have.  I love his part in this movie and I love what he brings to this film.  Nobody does mobster like De Niro and I am happy to see how exceedingly well he can still pull it off. De Niro is just one of many gems playing a smaller role in this film. I remember an episode of Louie that was all about how uncomfortable Louis C.K. was acting in films.  I thought there was something to that episode and I had seen something into his real persona.  I doubt that now because he brings so much to this film with his performance.

The only thing that got Jeremy Renner on the poster for this film was that hairdo.  Otherwise I think his role in the film isn’t all that different than the ones turned in by De Niro and Louis C.K. and maybe they could have just as easily been that fifth person headlines for the film. Now don’t get me wrong, that hairdo is a thing of awesome and maybe he deserved that listing. Not only that but he is in the now, really hot at the moment and he does bring something significant to the film.

It’s not lost on me that two significant actors from Boardwalk Empire are in this film about Atlantic City. Shea Whignam, who plays Nucky Thompson’s brother Eli, and Jack Huston, who plays the assassin with no face Richard Harrow, both appear in the film.  That is another connection between Martin Scorsese, who serves as Executive Producer of the HBO series, and David O. Russell.  I am now inclined to think that Russell may be the second coming of Scorsese and if that is true then this man is only getting started.  We have a lot to look forward to from him and the actors he has drawn to himself.  In a time where marketable drives the movie industry it is nice to know that there are still men out there making art.  Making films that are more than just about making money and about lasting forever.  That is what we have in David O. Russell, a director that will make something unique and exceptional no matter what he has decided to do.  I have faith that he will continue to make the great films of the future and I can’t wait to see them.

This isn’t a movie that I need to recommend because it’s too recent to have been overlooked. It was a great film that received a lot of well deserved attention and respect.  It has no real connection to the 4th of July theme I suggested earlier other than having “American” in the title.  It might be a bit of a stretch but I was just looking for any excuse to watch this movie again and write a review about it.  I love it and I think it is proof that extraordinary films are still being made. This movie is worth your time to see.  If you somehow missed the boat then it’s never too late to climb aboard and see what you were missing.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I really, really enjoyed this movie. It is put together in such a beautiful, artistic way. Everything about this movie is beautiful. I think the entire cast was incredibly on point and the story keeps you interested until the end.

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The poster on the other hand, it could be better. Honestly, we like to say that everything could look better, and because I like this movie so much I am finding it hard to actually bash this one. I think it does what it needs to, but it also depicts some of the classic “no-nos” that I have been preaching to you guys for years. There is a MONTAGE of the cast. I hate to admit, but with a cast like this you almost have to put them all on the poster. Some people are going to come simply because they see Jennifer Lawrence’s name and others the same for Bradley Copper. Still, I think there were other ways they could have gone about it instead of putting them in the Mighty Ducks “flying V” and then feathering out the edges into black. The typography is intentional and it works for this period piece.

I still kinda of like it which makes me have some serious inner fighting people. I can’t decide. What do you guys think? I need your thoughts on this one!

 

The Fighter

Year: 2010
Directed By: David O. Russell
Written By: Scott Sliver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, and Keith Dorrington

RYAN’S REVIEW

Amber brought this movie home from a trip to Wal-Mart a couple of days ago and I was glad to see she had picked it up.  We watched this movie when it became available a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it.  It clearly belonged in the collection and it was only the matter of time waiting for the price to be reasonable enough for purchase.  Amber found it in the $5.00 bin and I will say that the movie is much too new to be marked down that much but can’t argue with the opportunity.

This movie surprised me in many ways, as boxing movies often do.  I think boxing movies are great and I have written why several times now.  They all follow such a similar story line yet usually manage to bring something new to the table.  This movie is as much about drug addiction as it is about boxing but the two are blended together in a great way that gives the film a clear direction.  I am unfamiliar with most professional boxers and knew of neither Micky Ward or Dicky Ekland before watching the movie.  I don’t know how accurate their portrayal is in the movie but given they were both involved with the making of the film I think it’s a safe bet it got their stamp of approval.

Of course the strength of this film comes from the performances of the cast.  Christian Bale is absolutely incredible in this movie and it is probably his finest role.  Bale won the Academy Award for his role in the movie and it doesn’t take long to see why.  Something about the look he has in his eyes all throughout the film says it all.  I am a big fan of Bale and continue to be impressed with the performances he gives.  I despise Mark Wahlberg but he continues to make good films.  He is well cast in this movie and does a good job but he is the weakest link of the cast.  He plays a character in this movie that is so much like a victim at the mercy of his overbearing family. For more about why I don’t like Wahlberg you should see our review of The Departed.  It has nothing to do with his talent but only the person he was before hitting it big.  I think Amy Adams is a terrific actress and she was robbed of the Academy Award for her role in this movie.  She is a beautiful actress and as an awesome perk you can see her in a great scene in this one where she is wearing see through undies.  Her accent in this movie was great and she had a look of a real hometown local.  Her diversity as an actress continues to be impressive and I look forward to what else she has to offer.  This summer we will be able to see her playing the part of Lois Lane in the new Superman movie.  I have never seen Melissa Leo before but she was incredible in this movie playing the tough and no-nonsense mother.  She rules her family with an iron hand and intimidates the hell out of everyone.  I also want to mention Jack McGee because I think he is awesome.  I was a big fan of his character in Rescue Me, and I have enjoyed many of his roles in film.

David O. Russell directed this movie and although he doesn’t have a large body of work under his belt he has plenty of success to back himself up.  He hit it big this year with Silver Linings Playbook being nominated again for Best Director but not winning.  He was also nominated for this film but lost like many did to The King’s Speech which I didn’t think was that impressive.  The only other movie I know by Russell was Three Kings and I have always like that one as well.  I look forward to seeing Silver Linings Playbook when the opportunity comes and I’m confident it will be great because it was made by such a good director.

This is a movie that follows two themes that are usually always redundant but it manages to set itself apart nevertheless.  Movies about drug abuse and boxing always tend to follow the same patterns but not in this one. We see the damage drugs can do to a person’s life and the lives of those who care about the person while also following the inspiring struggle that boxers go through. The struggles in this movie also extend to the family and how they affect Micky Ward in his effort to make something of himself.  Movies about struggles like this always have something to teach us and give us a chance to learn from the experiences and enhance our own lives. Not everybody sees movies like this but I always have and try my best to learn from the experience.

There is apparently a sequel for this movie in the works that will follow the next stage of Micky Ward’s career and I think there is a lot of potential there.  You don’t often see sequels to movies made based on a true story but I think it’s a good idea in this case.  If we learned anything from the Rocky franchise it’s that the audience is more than willing to see a boxer glove up and do it again, and again, and again. So I hope the sequel to this is made and look forward to seeing what happens.  This movie is good enough for a sequel I think.  This movie is more than worth your time and I would recommend it to anyone.

The Dark Knight Rises

Year: 2012
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, and David S. Goyer

Like many people I have been a huge fan of this franchise over the years.  I have spent over three years waiting patiently for this movie and had every certainty that it would be awesome.  The news that broke with the release of this film was tragic.  It was hard to sit down in the theater today without thinking about what had happened to the innocent people in Aurora.  To make matters even worse there is hardly anything this film will ever be able to do to distance itself from that tragedy.  It will be forever remembered as the movie that people were watching when that mad man decided to do something so awful.  It’s unfortunate that a second Batman movie has come with such darkness looming over it.  No matter how great this franchise has been I fear it will always be shrouded with sadness and disaster.  We did our best not to think about the news when sitting down to watch the movie, but it wasn’t easy.

In all the time I spent following this movie through production I never had any doubt that it would be awesome.  I have absolute faith in Christopher Nolan after seeing his first two installments.  I also thought the cast is too great to disappoint. Bale makes a great Batman and guys like Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldman can only make a movie better.  I also liked all the new characters made up of several actors from Inception and Anne Hathaway. I watched all the trailers as they were released and they served to build my anticipation even more.  It looked just as good as the others and seemed to offer more adrenaline and excitement as well.  However I have to admit that after sitting through the TWO HOURS AND FORTY TWO MINUTES I left feeling more disappointed than anything else.

I think this movie was far too long, and there was not enough action, or Batman for that matter.  Thinking back over it on the way home I don’t even know that I would even say this movie was about Batman at all.  I hate that he was so Howard Hughes like in the beginning. I think it is ridiculous that he goes from needing a cane to walk around to suddenly suiting back up as Batman.  I won’t go too far in this discussion because I don’t want to share spoilers.  I am not out to discourage others from seeing the movie I am just in straight up SHOCK right now. I am in shock at the fact that I find myself so disappointed, I really believed it would be otherwise.  There is just not enough of Batman in this one, he has no new gadgets to work with aside from “The Bat” and we do not see enough of the rebuilt Batcave.  Batman is almost like a side character in this one jumping into a larger story about Gotham as a city.

I thought Tom Hardy was great as Bane but I do not think Bane was really great.  I think he could have been great but we don’t really get to know him well enough.  What are his actual motives anyway? I understand the why in the end but it doesn’t seem good enough to me.  I think Anne Hathaway was terrific as Catwoman too but like Bane I think she could have been better. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman both saw smaller roles and I don’t think either shined as they have before.  Caine more so than Freeman. I love Michael Caine, but he is usually the comic relief in this franchise and here I only saw him as a bleating drama queen.  These great characters were pushed to the background to an extent in favor of the newbies Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard. I think this was a mistake but I do think Gordon-Levitt was great.  He continues to rise as an actor and he stole the screen for most of this movie.

If the franchise does not intend to make a fourth installment then much of the story in this movie seems unnecessary.  I have read time and time again that this is the last film of this franchise. Both Nolan and Bale have both said they were done no matter how much money is on the table and I believe it coming from them. So why did they waste so much time in this story the way they do?  I know without doubt we will see more Batman movies in the future but I don’t see much reason to have hope for them at the moment.  The studio will look to make more money and the film will suffer for that reason alone. They will “reboot” it again and we will see a whole new cast the next time around.  That is what will most likely happen but at the end of the day anything is possible.

I think if you are a Batman fan you should go see this movie, and I sincerely hope you enjoy it more than I did.  I am shocked and at a loss of words over how disappointed I am. The word flabbergasted comes to mind.  The more I think about it the more disappointed I am.  I think the movie lacked the intensity of the first two films, and the clever writing that tied everything together so smoothly.  I think that we would have seen a much more incredible film had Heath Ledger never died because I think the story obviously would have continued with the Joker.  We will never know though, and this will be what we always have.  If you are reading this and disagree with me please reply with an argument.  I might need to be talked into seeing this one again, and that too is so disappointing.

I would like to mention as well, The Avengers was a better movie and I think it is now without doubt the best movie this summer had to offer.  Click on the title to read our review of that movie, and if you haven’t seen it there might still be time to catch it in the theaters.

UPDATE #1

This movie was easier to stomach a second time around when my expectations weren’t so high.  I still stand by everything I said above but I can see now that it is not as awful as I implied the first time.  I think my biggest problem is that I just didn’t like the story in general and expected more.  Bruce Wayne is just so weak in this movie.  I think a movie that directly followed its predecessor involving a Batman in his prime fighting some new villain as well as cops would have been much more exciting.

I have read that there is a possibility of Joseph Gordon-Levitt taking on the role of Batman and continuing the franchise.  I really like this idea although Gordon-Levitt really doesn’t have the stature to don the cape and cowl. I think it would be a much better plan than him simply being a Batman-less Robin despite his size.  I do not know what Warner Brothers is doing as far as their Justice League movie goes but I think they have to find a way to connect everything in order to compete with what Marvel did with The Avengers.  Using Gordon-Levitt as Batman would be a good way to get that done.

Equilibrium

Year: 2002
Directed By: Kurt Wimmer
Written By: Kurt Wimmer

RYAN’S REVIEW

I think in 1999 Kurt Wimmer saw The Matrix, and shortly after suddenly figured out how to put the finishing touches on his futuristic 1984like story that he was writing.  I saw something in this film when I was in college, but I found the opening sequence a little silly this time around. As the movie has progressed I haven’t been able to get into it at all and have found it all a bit much. I think I must have bought this movie in the aftermath of Batman Begins when I was on an exaggerated Christian Bale kick.  That or maybe when I was younger the gun fu was more appealing, but this time around it just isn’t enough.

Christian Bale does have his moments in this movie but overall I think his character was more than obvious throughout most of the film.  The obvious nature of his character doesn’t really go along with the story well and in fact makes the whole thing impractical altogether. What I mean is, in this society where nobody feels, every single person in that society would notice the minute that Bale’s character began to do so. He is running through the streets, looking dolefully at puppies, weeping when he hears music the first time, and even breaking down crying in the streets of the city. It doesn’t matter what is practical with a movie like this though, it’s only good for the action sequences.  Sean Bean is wasted in this movie; he is an awesome actor and should have gotten a larger part.  Taye Diggs just isn’t any good in this one. He spends most of the movie overacting but he has a great ending. The rest of the cast wasn’t necessarily impressive either and that doesn’t help the film out any.

Christian Bale kills 118 people in this movie, giving him the third highest death count of all time in a movie.  Most of those 118 come in the climax at the end of the movie, but that’s about the only thing that makes this movie memorable. I did not enjoy watching it this time around and don’t know any more if it even belongs in our collection at all. By the end of this one the whole story just seems stupid and a revolution is covered in a matter of seconds after the climax.  I like certain things about this movie like the action and the style, but that all seems like a rip off from The Matrix. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anybody at this point and don’t think it is even worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Oh Christian Bale. He is one of those actors that I really would never like to meet because he just seems to not really be a nice person in real life. But, he is also one of those incredible actors, and I have to admit that he is awesome even though I really don’t like him. (Unlike Ryan. He won’t watch a thing with Sean Penn in it.) I like this film okay. I seem to really get in to anything that is set in a different time on Earth. I like to see what people can come up with. I think it could be really hard for us to imagine a world without feelings, art, books among anything that provokes a feeling. It has action, intrigue and mystery. I like that in a movie. If you haven’t seen it, it’s an okay pick.

NEXT MOVIE: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

The Dark Knight

Year: 2008
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: David S. Goyer, Jonathon Nolan, and Christopher Nolan

RYAN’S REVIEW

A good sequel should be a bigger and better version of the original.  One would think that Batman Begins would present a challenge because it was such a great film in its own right.  It seems small in hindsight now, and that’s why The Dark Knight is so great.  It’s so overwhelmingly awesome that you forget how great the first film was.  Christopher Nolan has been on fire and this movie was just another great movie he’s made along the way.  Every movie he has made has been incredible, the only reason this movie was so much more successful was because people love Batman, just as people love Spiderman.  The reboot of Spiderman will probably make just as much money as the original trilogy when it is all said and done.

I remember when I heard Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker I could not believe it.  I had been hoping for Paul Bettany who had been rumored for the role and had just played a great villain in The Da Vinci Code.  Brokeback Mountain dominated jokes and cultural references around the time of the announcement so the choice wasn’t well received all around.  Then his death came out of no where only months before release, it was so sudden, it was almost too hard to believe it was true.  Then his performance hit the theater screens and he went from the Brokeback Mountain guy to a legend, a martyr for the movie industry just as James Dean was.  He received a post-mortem Academy Award that was well deserved but he probably never would have received had he lived. Heath Ledger was one of the greatest bad guys of all time, he actually scared me with his portrayal of the Joker, it was the master stroke of his career.  His death is unfortunate for many reasons but especially for this franchise because Nolan could have made this movie another 10 times with Ledger and Bale again and again and it would have continued to be incredible.

Ledger was so good in this movie that his performance tends to make you forget how good everyone else was. Bale is great again as Bruce Wayne and Batman, his Batman voice was again criticized. Maggie Gyllenhaal filled in nicely for Katie Holmes who turned down more money to reprise the role. Aaron Eckhart was great as Harvey Dent and then later as Two-Face. Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman all return to their respective roles. It is easy for actors to shine when they are part of something so great.  The Dark Knight is such an all around good film, and as always it starts with a great story.  The Nolans and Goyer came up with a great idea and they packed it full of action from beginning to end.  Nolan has a great talent for making something look and feel R-rated without it being so.  His movies have little profanity and little graphic violence. The consequences in all are great and the violence is there but it isn’t graphic.  No doubt that is a skill Warner Brothers has noticed and will continue taking advantage of for as long as possible.

You don’t need me to tell you that this movie was great, no doubt you have already heard that from others.  If you haven’t seen it you should see this and its predecessor.  They are both great films and I look forward to the closing of the trilogy.  The early teaser for next summer’s finale is short but offers a lot to look forward to.  Bane is the villain seen in the trailer, played by Tom Hardy.  The third installment will also feature Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard in roles that are probably misinformation.  Most likely they are playing the son and daughter of the villains in the first film, Carmine Falcone and Rhas Al Ghul. No matter who they are I have no doubt that Nolan will impress us again with his third Batman film. Liam Neeson is rumored to have a cameo return to the franchise which should make my wife happy.  Either way Rhas Al Ghul will return, Josh Pence has been cast as a younger version of the character, giving merit to the notion that Marion Cotillard is actually playing Talia Al Ghul. I have added the teaser trailer to this post following Amber’s review, if you haven’t seen it yet then definitely check it out.  The Dark Knight Rises will be awesome.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I LOVE this movie. This was a no questions asked, we are going to the theater on opening day to see this movie. The hype was already crazy for the movie because of the death of Heath Ledger. What a sad story. If he could have only seen what an amazing job he did all put together. He was one of the scariest bad guys of all times, hands down. If you didn’t know who he was before the film, I very much doubt you could have guessed it was him during the movie. This role, in my opinion, was his greatest. It was intense and thorough and he played the role with such precision.

The story line is very strong and leaves you wanting more in the end. The makeup was out of control amazing, especially for two-face. I know they probably used some computer animation for that, but still I thought it was believable and by far the craziest two-face I have ever seen.

My one and only problem for this entire film is the Batman voice that Christian Bale uses. I am not picking on him, it is true that I am not his biggest fan, but c’mon…that Batman voice was WAY to over the top, I really hope that he tones it down for the next one.This movie is worth watching over and over, and you can bet your bottom dollar we will be in line opening night for the next installment. I am becoming a Christopher Nolan believer.

NEXT MOVIE: Beetle Juice (1988)