REVIEW | The Dark Knight Rises
This is not Spiderman 3. It is not Iron Man 2. But this is also not very good.
The final chapter of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is beautifully shot, with the cinematography and direction being superb throughout. The acting is excellent from those who have been with the trilogy throughout and even better from Hardy as Bane, JGL as the new Gary Oldman/spoiler and, best of all, Hathaway as Catwoman. These three, along with Bale, earn their moments of levity in this flick and they do so with aplomb. The major set pieces are just stunning, whether understated in the sense of the final scene involving the bomb or even the shots shown in the trailer of the bridges in the distance, or balls out crazy like that of the football stadium, they are created with the same level of detail and care.
Unfortunately everything else isn’t. There are far too many plot-holes in this movie to simply wave them off as being par for the course with a blockbuster (see another person’s excellent but spoilerific run through here for proof) but while I was sitting there in the cinema aghast at these utterly fucking bonkers moments, there are more fundamental problems. There is not a simple, central narrative to the story like those of the first films, making the entire middle section a mess. The editing is poor, even from the start where we are first introduced to Commissioner Gordon talking about Harvey Dent for a matter of seconds before cutting to Bane In A Plane for the entirety of that sequence before jumping back to Gordon talking about Dent making that initial moment entirely unnecessary. A daft nitpick but from that moment I knew that we were in for a bumpy ride. The now obligatory car chase is dumb as hell and serves absolutely no purpose. Bane is big but he is nowhere near as frightening as Joker.
This culminates in a film that, even if you were not acknowledging it as the final chapter of the series, has bigger stakes than the previous two and yet I felt nothing. No concern, no emotional tugs and no interest. It seems as though Nolan had a great many ideas for the film and, when the movie came in at over four hours, decided against cutting chunks to make it more linear and opted instead to trim, rendering the entire movie undeveloped. This not only makes it a disappointing end to the trilogy but a bad movie when considered as a stand-alone.
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29 June 2012
Beautifully dark, twisted and funny, this is one of those films that will be on end of years lists purely because critics won’t be able to forget it. Read our full review here.
Friends With Kids
'The Funnest Film Since Bridesmaids' says a quote in the trailer. So the funniest film in the last 371 days then?
This is a strange beast as it was made prior to Bridesmaids and yet will inevitably live in it’s shadow. It’s stars are Adam Scott who is best known for programmes that are awesome (Parks and Recreation, Party Down) but have never made it to the UK, and Jennifer Westfeldt who wrote and directed this also and yet is probably less well known for her roles in several TV shows and Jessica Stein in Kissing Jessica Stein, and more known for being Jon Hamm’s lady. This has led TV adverts to not even list their names in the UK and instead focus on the excellent cast of Bridesmaids/support cast here (Hamm, Wiig, Rudolph and O’Dowd) to sell the movie. If it’s a third as funny as Bridesmaids it’s probably worth a date movie.
It’s Belgian. It’s whimsical and twee. It is the story of a real life, fully grown female who possesses fairy-like abilities and grants a hotelier three wishes before vanishing after only granting two of them and leaving the hotelier having fallen in love and desperate to find her. It looks lovely and reviews have been strong but sadly it is showing almost nowhere.
Noel Clarke’s name attached to any kind of British property drains my enthusiasm for it. He certainly seems to be the selling point in the trailer, well him and the hot lass from The Inbetweeners Movie. It seems like a very similar premise to Attack The Block but replacing the block with a storage facility and the charming kids with a bunch of nonsense adults. So basically, it’s Alien in England but instead of being Ridley Scott we get Johannes Roberts who’s last four films have an average IMDB score of 3.25.
Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton battle it out and then inevitably become allies in an attempt to take their church to a Glee concert and win. If you make it through the trailer and want to see it then you’ll inevitably like it. Otherwise, it might be funny for the wrong reasons I guess?
Todd Solondz is back and, from this trailer, he seems to have lightened up a bit. Here we get a likable but unattractive dude failing to accept defeat in attempting to date Selma Blair. This looks funny in the same way that maybe Young Adult was funny earlier this year in dealing with a delusional character but, like The Fairy, you’ll be very lucky to find a theatre carrying it.
Your Sister’s Sister
The second mumblecore movie to hit the multiplexes this year (Jeff Lives At Home being the first) this movie has Mark Duplass (co-writer and director of Jeff… and one of the hardest working guys in Hollywood seemingly) heading to Emily Blunt’s lake house, where he fucks her sister and then, when Emily Blunt, his lifelong friend, turns up the next day seemingly wanting to be with him, he finds himself in a pickle. This might be a hefty foot into the mainstream but the story is still very simple and realistic so mumblecore fans should remain happy whilst also introducing the basic notions of the movement to a wider audience.
My Pick: Killer Joe (but Your Sister’s Sister would be my pick any other week of the year)
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REVIEW | Killer Joe
Gratuitous, yet not at all sexual nudity. Rare but relatively brutal violence. Unpredictable characters doing unpredictable things within a narrative outline that is as old as time. It’s the story of a father and son (Hirsch and Haden Church) hiring the titular character (McConaughey) to kill their ex-wife/mother for her insurance money so that Hirsch can clear a debt with a gang. A not exactly normal but not overly bizarre plot unt Joe requests and is granted the daughter/younger sister (Temple) as sexual collateral in lieu of payment up front. From there onwards it is a difficult to pin down, twisted movie that takes elements of genres and their conventions and splatters them all over the narrative to great effect. Hirsch is fine in the ‘lead’, Temple is mesmerising as the dippy girl, Gershon reminds us that she’s not just the one we wanked over in Bound, Haden Church is the one source of hilarious light and McConaughey delivers a career best performance that bears significant comparison to that of Bale’s in American Psycho.
This movie picks you up, shakes you around a shitload and then lobs you back out with its final shot. You will laugh and you will feel wrong doing so. You will judge characters and then find it impossible to continue doing so. You will leave the cinema unsure as to what you think and yet absolutely sure that you saw something that no one involved will ever let you un-see. And you will somehow still fancy some fried chicken.
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STREAMER | Cracks
You know what I don’t like? Films set in girls boarding schools. Sure that mere sentence loses me man points but, if you remove the porn caveat, then I would assume most men would agree. Seeing that I also dislike period dramas, I’m not really sure what led me to watch Cracks. Well actually I do, Eva Green. So stupidly hot whilst embodying a sense of crazy intensity and that accent which always seems to be as English as it is French, she manages to come very close to being my ideal woman as well as ideal actress.
This film, set in the 1930s follows a clique of girls at a remote elite school who become somewhat infatuated with their diving teacher (Green) who seems worldly and experienced in ways that they aspire to. When a Spanish girl joins their boarding room and starts to question the teacher and their way of life she is quickly the object of scorn and resentment from the children and admiration from the teacher that eventually leads to the hidden feelings of everyone coming to the surface. Thing is, that doesn’t sound half bad and in better hands it might have been something worth watching but instead it is one of those films where they manage to get a lot of interesting things going on below the surface but forget to put fuck all on screen.
Another boring period boarding school flick with nothing at all different to say to the few I have seen before. It is probably best summed up by Green’s nude scene where we see her only in silhouette; plenty going on but we get to see bugger all of it.