Tag Archives: Gary Oldman

The Dark Knight Rises, but only so high

30 Aug

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.


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


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.


Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: A+

Batman Begins an amazing franchise of films

28 Aug


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.


Chuck’s Grade: A

Adam’s Grade: A-

LAWLESS delivers the goods

23 Sep

Most gangster films show the finished “product” of the infamous Prohibition era criminals: Capone, Schultz, etc…but audiences forget about where the illegal alcohol came from in the first place. Lawless takes place in the hills of Virginia where moonshiners make their valued product. It follows the “true” lives of the Bondurant brothers (Shia LaBoeuf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke) refusal to succumb to the  demands of a corrupt District Attorney and his Special Deputy (Guy Pearce).  Each brother has a different talent that makes them successful moonshiners and interesting characters to watch.

The film moves along methodically only to be interrupted by scenes of brutal violence that reminds audiences that this is a life or death business. I thought the actor’s did a good job with the material, but it was hard for me to imagine LeBoeuf as a backwoods bootlegger.  Ironically, this interesting part of American history is played by three Englishmen and one Australian actor. Lawless delivers the goods.


Chuck’s Grade: A-

Adam’s Grade: N/A

TONY SCOTT’S TRUE ROMANCE (director’s cut)

22 Aug

As an undergraduate Theatre major in the 1990s, director Tony Scott’s film True Romance (director’s cut) was one of those films that wanted me to become part of the film business in some way. My classmates and I would quote lines from this film and talk about the scenes between Hopper and Walken or Oldman and Slater. There were so many little things in this film that made us root for Clarence and Alabama.  From the moment Clarence asks a barfly stranger to go see three Sonny Chiba films–I was hooked!  What was this film that had all the things in it that I loved. Today, I am still loving Tarantino’s script and it would be hard to argue that this film boasts one of the greatest casts ever assembled. The director’s cut has always been one of my favorite films of all time and Scott’s cut demonstrates his gift for telling a great story.


Chuck’s Grade: A+

Adam’s Grade: B+