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The Dark Knight Rises, but only so high

30 Aug

THE-DARK-KNIGHT-RISES
Everything comes to an end in Christopher Nolan’s ambitious conclusion to his Batman Trilogy. Set eight years after The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a guilt-ridden recluse content with his tarnished reputation. A powerful, new villain, Bane (Tom Hardy) has a complex plan to destroy Gotham.

The Dark Knight Rises is a good film, but not a great film. Nolan tries to do too much with Bane. A “revolution” of convicts running around didn’t work well in the first film and it doesn’t work in this one either. Anne Hathaway as Catwoman was brilliantly played, but she became one of Nolan’s unnecessary moving parts, although she contribute in the end; she serves as Batman’s deus ex machina rather than something she can stick her claws in.  The expectations were unreasonably high for the third film, but it cannot be used as an excuse for some basic story problems. The Dark Knight Rises, but only so high.

WORD COUNT: 159

Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade for IMAX: B+
Chuck’s Grade for Standard Screen: B-

The Dark Knight is a diabolical masterpiece

29 Aug

THE-DARK-KNIGHT

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight raises the bar and turns the sequel to Batman Begins into one of the most memorable action films of all time. It exceeded most audience’s expectations because of its complexity, rich story, exhilarating action, and Heath Ledger’s legendary performance as The Joker. No one should ever put on the white make-up again after Ledger’s diabolical performance. Gotham will never be the same and Batman (Christian Bale) had to use everything at his disposal to combat his arch-nemesis.

Even at a running time of over two and a half hours the story and characters have no problem holding audiences’ attention. The visual effects combined with adept sound design/editing elevate the film and become an integral part of the unforgettable masterpiece. The Dark Knight is not only the best superhero film, but one of the most entertaining and satisfying films of all time.

WORD COUNT: 146

Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: A+

Batman Begins an amazing franchise of films

28 Aug

BATMAN-BEGINS

Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of the Batman character has replaced most audiences’ perception of the caped crusader. Thank goodness because I am tired of campy television references and Tim Burton’s expressionist take on the masked vigilante. Nolan’s first installment provides the origin of Batman and Bruce Wayne’s reluctant journey back to Gotham City. Christian Bale is ideal for the part and the film’s antagonists Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow) and Liam Neeson (Henri Ducard) are equally up to the task. The Scarecrow scares audiences with his ghoulish demeanor while Ducard’s cold-blooded crusade are formidable tactics that keep the film from falling into a one-note action flick. Batman is known for his utility belt and Batmobile. Lucious Fox (Morgan Freeman) provides the eye-catching vehicles and gadgets that raise the level of action to new heights for a comic-book film. Nolan creates a realistic superhero with human flaws and weaknesses that audiences can’t get enough of. Batman Begins an amazing franchise of films.

WORD COUNT: 158

Chuck’s Grade: A

Adam’s Grade: A-

Kick-Ass 2 gets its ass kicked

19 Aug

KICK-ASS-2

The original Kick-Ass surprised audience with its funny story, gratuitous violence, and vulgar language from a cute cast of kids. Three years later, the kids are not as cute and the violence is cartoonish, and the language seems appropriate for your typical high school teenager.

Dave aka Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson) joins forces with a group of costumed vigilantes led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), while Mindy aka Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) attempts to live a normal life. Elsewhere, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), seeks revenge against Kick-Ass.

The film mainly lacks a good story. The script tries to set up emotional moment after another and fails miserably. However, the action is entertaining and like the first film, Hit-Girl steals every scene she is in. Kick-Ass 2 gets its ass kicked by the original because it cannot defeat the expectations of its fans and ends up like most sequels, which is not much.

WORD COUNT: 152

Adam’s Grade: C+

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

Chronicle is a pleasant surprise

5 Jul

CHRONICLE-FILM

The title comes from the lead character’s (Andrew) pursuit of documenting his life with an HD camera. Everyday he is faced with bullies at school and at home, until me makes an unexpected discovery. Chronicle is another “found footage” film that could have been boring, but thanks to some fine performances by a young cast (Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan and Michael Kelly) the film successfully entices audiences to care about the protagonist’s incredible story. Coupled with some fine CGI wizardry the approach helps keep the film from becoming contrived and predictable mess. Instead, it is a unique and surprising piece of science fiction. It certainly has its moments where the script begins to fail, but the characters new-found special abilities awaken audiences’ imaginations and keeps them memorized as to see where these powers will lead them.

WORD COUNT: 139

Adam’s Grade: B-

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

Man of Steel fails to be super!

18 Jun

Man-of-Steel

Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

The Man of Steel is a re-interpretation of the Superman franchise. Under the guidance of Hollywood’s own superhero, Christopher Nolan produces the latest version by employing screenwriter, David S. Goyer and director Zack Snyder to bring this all to familiar story back to life. I am not going to bore you with the story of Jor-El (Russell Crowe), his newborn son, and the Clark family. Henry Cavill’s (Superman) most amazing feat was landing the role in the first place. His past projects and stiff performances were nothing special to warrant the red cape, but his chiseled body and good looks certainly fit the part.

The film’s main strength is Snyder’s ability to deliver thrilling action scenes, but it is the same old story with a predictable ending and one of the most annoying romances in comic book history. Not so super.

WORD COUNT: 160

Adam’s Grade: C+

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

The Incredibles is a super movie

7 Mar

The_Incredibles

At a time, when every other month another big star is donning a costume or exhibiting an unstoppable superpower, the animated film, The Incredibles continues to be one of the best superhero films of all time. Brad Bird’s inventive story mixes action/adventure along with humor to create a film that everyone can appreciate and enjoy.

Bob aka Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and his wife Helen aka Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) were forced into retirement and to live a “normal” life with their three “gifted” children Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack, but after 15 years, Bob gets his chance to come out of retirement. Shortly thereafter, he realizes that it will take a family effort to rescue the world.

This film connects with audiences of all ages because it is more about the “modern” family overcoming real-life problems and being there for one another than it is fighting evil villains. The combination of Bird’s story and Pixar’s dazzling visuals creates a “super” movie.

WORD COUNT: 160

Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: A

Kick-Ass movie

2 Sep

Another comic-book adaptation comes to the screen, but this one delivers on all points because it surprises audiences with its humor, vulgar language, and gratuitous violence performed by two young actors that look like they belong in a private prep-school rather than a cape and mask.

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is mugged, and then hit by a car. As a result of the accident, Lizewski has a high tolerance for pain. Even though he doesn’t have any real superpowers he is caught on film fighting bad guys and overnight he becomes an internet sensation known as Kick Ass. It is not long, until he teams up with a father/daughter crime-fighters, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), she is an eighty pound deadly assassin that ends up stealing the movie with her one liners and ultra violent action sequences.  The film works for audiences because it builds itself into a comic-book movie that lives up to its name.

WORD COUNT: 160

Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: A+