Review: The Dark Knight Rises

At long last, Christopher Nolan has delivered the final installment in his highly acclaimed, semi-realistic trilogy featuring everyone’s favorite caped crusader, The Batman.  With “The Dark Knight Rises” Nolan attempted to bring the threads woven throughout the previous two films together to craft a fitting, climactic conclusion worthy of the praise and adoration the series has garnered to date.  It is a daunting task for any film maker; one that demands at least a courteous nod of appreciation toward everyone involved in the production of this series, despite how you felt about how the movie itself turned out.  Expectations for this film were extraordinarily high, and it takes a great team of individuals with incredible spirit to rise to the challenge.  My hat goes off specifically to Tom Hardy for having the guts to follow in the footsteps of Heath Ledger’s iconic performance as The Joker.  The film itself largely sidesteps the events of the previous film to form a strong link between itself and the first chapter in the series.  Despite being a very fitting conclusion to the series as a whole, “The Dark Knight Rises” does have its shortcomings, and choosing to mostly ignore the second act in the series is only the beginning. Continue reading

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Review: Brave

Disney and Pixar have done it again.  I don’t know what those people put in their coffee every morning, but I would wager it is derived from magic, and not the kind promoted by haggard, clever old women who spend their days carving wooden figurines. It is always a joy to be surprised by the introduction of a new Pixar masterpiece. Pixar’s latest film, Brave, introduces another lovable princess into the hearts and minds of Disney and Pixar fans across the world along with a brand new story of adversity between mother and daughter and how the strongest bonds can be broken by pride and arrogance.  It is a film born from the spirit of adventure and the desire to rise up against archaic tradition, to become the master of our own destiny and make life-changing decisions for ourselves. A cast of adorable characters, spectacular music, a witty screenplay and a little bit of magic bring the tale of Brave to life.   But is the movie any good?

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Review: Prometheus

Fans of Ridley Scott’s previous films rejoiced at the idea of a new entry into the Alien saga, even if it was a prequel and had very little to do with the events of the original and subsequent films.  Unfortunately, as commonly happens, expectations were built up to unreasonable proportions, and Prometheus, despite being a film that begs to be judged on its own merits, was destined to be judged with the question “how does this compare to Alien, and what does it bring to the saga?”  The answer to both is not what Alien fans expected, or wanted.  But does that mean the movie isn’t any good?  Absolutely not.

About 100 years before the events of Alien and the horror that was star system LV-426, primitive, ancient drawings are discovered in caves all over the world that date back thousands of years.  These paintings depict a very large humanoid pointing to a particular group of stars in the sky.  After careful analysis, it is theorized that this being is the creator of human life on Planet Earth, and the star system indicated in the drawing, LV-322, is where our maker comes from.  Money is spent, and inevitably a manned voyage to LV-322 is made to discover the answers to the most fundamental questions about the origin of humanity.  Who made us?  Why are we here?  Where did we come from? Naturally, the hard line religious fans of the series will no doubt be rolling their eyes at this point in the film.  It is these questions that form the back bone of the story Prometheus wants to tell, and sets the tone for the rest of the film. Continue reading

Review: Chernobyl Diaries

FROM OREN PELI, CREATOR OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY

These five words instantly had me interested in Chernobyl Diaries. A film with an interesting premise, a beautifully drab color palette, and a screenplay written by Oren Peli, the mind behind the Paranormal Activity? It had to be a surefire slam dunk, right? Think again.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day Chernobyl Diaries is a film that falls well short of capitalizing upon its substantial promise. Where did it all go wrong?

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Assembling the Avengers: Ranking the Five Films

In 2008, film fans with a small amount of patience were treated to an “after the credits” sequence at the very end of Iron Man Lasting less than thirty seconds, the scene featured Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) slowly entering the living room of his sprawling Malibu mansion to find an unknown man, facing away from him, gazing out of the large bay window overlooking the ocean.  “You think you’re the only superhero in the world, Mr. Stark?”, asks the stranger.  “You’ve become part of a bigger universe…you just don’t know it yet.”  Stark, looking both alarmed and confused, asks, “Who the hell are you?”  The man steps from the shadows.  “Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D.  I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative”.  Four years and four (more) films later, the wait is finally over.  Marvel’s The Avengers opened in theaters across the nation this weekend, and shattered box office records, grossing a mind-blowing $200.3 million in just 3 days (estimated..final numbers will be in on Monday).  In celebration of the film’s release, I thought it would be fun to rank the movies that introduced the Avengers to audiences (I’ll keep this as spoiler-free as I can, just in case you may have missed one or two of these…). Continue reading

Review: Scream 4

I’m going to begin this review by prefacing my own personal bias towards this series of films.  I grew up on the Scream franchise – these films were my go to scary movies throughout my early teen years.  Ghost face was my Michael Meyeers, and it is difficult for me to think of any slasher film franchise that I have enjoyed as much as I did the Scream franchise.  Unfortunately, Scream 3 left a bad taste in my mouth – perhaps I was getting too old, or perhaps it was just a bad movie.  Either way, years later, the fact that I did not enjoy the third film on the same level as the previous two is what ultimately kept me from seeing Scream 4 on the big screen.  This is a decision I wish I could take back.

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