Tag Archives: Christian Bale

The Prestige is an underrated film

14 Sep

THE-PRESTIGE

Christopher Nolan has been known to trick and challenge his audiences to think, but he explores new ground in the underrated film, The Prestige. Two magicians Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) have turned a friendly competition into a bitter rivalry that consumes each of them with obsession and jealousy. Both actors give convincing performances. Their preparation for the roles of magicians are obvious and not lost on the audience.

Magicians are not supposed to reveal their secrets and Nolan continues to amaze audiences with his ability to direct or should I say misdirect the obvious from the mind and eye. Wally Pfister’s camera work and use of dark-lighting sets the tone for Nolan and his brother Jonathan to adapt a story that is full of mystery from start to finish. Every great magic trick consists of three acts. The Prestige has all three parts and has audiences leaving the theater asking, “How did he do that?”

WORD COUNT: 160

Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: B

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-

Equilibrium loses its footing

8 Jul

EQUILIBRIUM-MOVIE

History has a tendency to repeat itself and director Kurt Wimmer’s film, Equilibrium uses familiar subject material that has been introduced by the likes of literary greats, Ray Bradbury and George Orwell, while borrowing contemporary sci-fi style from The Matrix and THX 1138 in this futuristic tale about fascist governments and mood controlling drugs. I do not have a problem with the subject material, but the film’s script is not very good and actor Christian Bale (John Preston) finds himself mired in one predictable scene after another. Besides Bale, I thought the art direction, fight choreography, and stunts were the strongest points, but in the end it always comes down to a good story, and although this one had some great source material it does not deliver a word-of-mouth movie that I would recommend to my sci-fi geek buddies. Equilibrium loses its footing and falls into the pile of forgettable DVDs.

WORD COUNT: 150

Adam’s Grade: C+

Chuck’s Grade: C

The Fighter is worthy of a title shot

21 Nov

The Fighter is based on the true story about boxer, Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his brother/trainer Dickey Eklund (Christian Bale). Ward spent years fighting, but his efforts were overshadowed by his brother, who’s known as the Pride of Lowell for going toe to toe with Sugar Ray Leonard in 1978.

The film begins with Ward stuck in a rut because of his mother’s micro-managing his career and his brother’s destructive crack addiction. This film is more about family than it is about boxing, but director, David O. Russell finds a balance between these two worlds. He successfully captures the time period and location, as well as the Ward family’s strengths and weaknesses.

Mark Wahlberg holds his own in the ring, but the Academy Award winning performances by Bale and Melissa Leo (Ward’s mother) are championship caliber. The Fighter was worthy of a title shot (Best Picture Oscar), but the film falls just short of greatness.

WORD COUNT: 155

Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: B+

Reign of Fire is not very hot.

4 Sep

When you hear the leading male cast assembled for this film (Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, and Gerard Butler) you automatically think that this film is going to be amazing.  On the contrary, the trio’s chemistry does not work in this film because I believe the roles were miss-cast. In my opinion, I think it would have been a much better film if we McConaughey played Bale’s role, and Bale play Butler’s character, and Butler play McConaughey’s part. Even so, I am not sure these new roles could save this post-apocalyptic script of fire breathing dragons decimating the Earth to the point of mankind’s extinction. Director Rob Bowman’s prolific television success has not translated over to the big screen yet, but I think he is a talented artist that should have done much better with these three actors. Reign of Fire is something you can watch late night on the television, but on the big screen it wasn’t very hot.

WORD COUNT: 159

Chuck’s grade: C

Adam’s grade: C