The Dark Knight Rises

This will be a very brief review.  There’s very little I can say about this film without giving away spoilers.  All I can say is that THIS FILM WAS EPIC!!!!!!!!!

It ended well, for the viewer and the characters.  We got closure, the characters got closure.  The way they ended Batman, if they wanted to, and if done right, they could easily carry on Batman without Christian Bale and his character Bruce Wayne.  Poor Bruce, they really tortured him in these three movies.  The way his story ends, it’s bittersweet, and you don’t want him to come back as Batman.  He has done enough, suffered enough.

When I asked my friend what she thought of Batman, her answer was:  ‘It was long!’ Yes Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is LONG!  But you’re never bored and you’re always kept guessing.  Especially in The Dark Knight Rises, woof so many twists!  Personally, if you haven’t loved the previous two films, invested time in dissecting them and a fan of the comics you won’t really enjoy the third.

So, my opinion on Bane.  Awesome villain, ridiculous accent. I’m sorry, but if you create a character with such a menacing look, that whole face gear, huge hulk look, muscles everywhere, you can’t have this high pitched weird Irish accent. It just doesn’t work. It has to be low, rumbling and deep. Like Darth Vader. I enjoyed the evilness of Bane and his intelligence, and his insanity, it was terrifying.  But ye gads the accent.

I was surprised by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character.  I thought he was going to be a villain!  Well he isn’t, he’s a cop, and a very likable character.

Here’s a little trivia, Christopher Nolan managed to assemble the majority of the Inception cast in this film!  We have Michael Cain, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Miranda Tate, Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy.  Also, for Stargate fans, you might spot an evil henchman played by Christopher Judge aka Teal’c.  YAY he finally figured out that he looks better bald!  I loved Teal’c it’s a pity he didn’t get more screen time, even if he just pitched up behind Bane in a couple of scenes looking menacing.  Also if you’re a Criminal Minds fan you may have noticed JJ’s husband, Detective William LaMontagne Jr., aka Josh Stewart as Banes right hand man. >< He is so yummy, pity he didn’t get more dialogue.

Oh my gosh, I haven’t spoken about Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/ Catwoman yet! 0_o wow, she was AMAZING!!!  She made the role her own, and was fantastic in it!  I especially loved her shoes!  A very clever accessory. I wanted her to have a whip, the fighting style they gave her was gorgeous, and the movements she made would have been complimented very nicely with a whip!  I liked her chemistry with Batman, I liked her saucy hardboiled attitude, and you could see that very, very, very deep down she had a slightly gooey centre.

I didn’t have much issue with this film, it was a fantastic watch, but there was one piece of logic that really, really irritated me because it was so unrealistic.  It’s the whole situation with Gotham PD.  And that’s all I can say, it’s a clever idea, but a bit unrealistic.

In conclusion: poor Bruce, he went through the ringer.  Bruce Wayne can’t be happy and be Batman, he can’t retire and be happy, he just can’t be happy ever!  I wouldd like to think of The Dark Knight Rises as the Batman ending and closure which the comic series will never have, because a comic series like Batman can never end.  A fantastic ending to an amazing trilogy.

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The Amazing Spider-Man

It’s strange, I was so not excited for this remake.  I loved the original Spiderman movies, except the third, I don’t think anybody liked the third. I felt it a bit of insult to remake the film so close to the originals.  What’s next remaking Lord of the Rings? Having said that, I really was pleasantly surprised by this film.  Heck it blew the original out of the water!  I loved this film.  This was a Spiderman movie.  They got it right, well action wise. Not that I’m saying that the action was bad in the original, but they’ve made Spiderman even more flexible. I’ve always imagined Spiderman’s movements with a touch of parkour.

This was the better Spider Man film, but I mean no disrespect to the originals, they were amazing, and proved superhero films could be done and done well. (except for the third film.)

I must admit that it’s irritating that every time they reboot the franchise we have to start with the origin story.  Its getting a bit tired, but Spider Man gave us something a bit fresher, a bit different than the same tired old story that every Spider Man fan knows.  I will be honest, when I saw the first trailer for the film, with Peter wearing his hoody up, I thought ‘Oh goodness they’re making him emo.’  Which Peter can be, often, like every second or so issue, but that’s not really the case.

I like that they seem to be drawing a lot of their subject matter from the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series.  I started following later on in the series, but it’s a fantastic read, really well developed characters, really cool revamps of classic and somewhat hammy Spider Man villains and the resurrection of certain ‘dead’ characters.  For example Gwen Stacy. Now I will have to say, I wasn’t very happy with the casting of Gwen Stacy.  I liked Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, don’t get me wrong, but she is far better suited for Mary Jane.  She has a very strong presence, and she has this fantastic sweet yet saucy attitude, which is what Mary Jane is.  In the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series Gwen Stacy is goth!  She is a fantastic character, strong, no-nonsense, kind, she’s even best friends with Mary Jane which is funny since both girls date Peter at different times.  In the Ultimate Spider-Man series it is really funny how well all three of Peter’s girlfriends get along with each other.  The third is Kitty Pryde, Shadowcat, from the Ultimate X-men comic series.  Now she and Peter were a surprising match and she was such a fun character when she joined the main cast in the Spidey series.

Oh man, way off the point.  What I was trying to say is that the Gwen Stacy character could have been so much more than a smart, preppy blonde with access to Oscorp.  The way they created her didn’t have to be what moved the plot along.

As for Peter, daw he’s such a honey.  I loved how Andrew Garfield portrayed Peter, he was a quirky, shy, awkward character.  He felt far more real than Toby Maguire’s Peter Parker, who was far more subdued in his personality, which isn’t Peter Parker.

My favourite awkward scene is when Peter is trying to ask Gwen out. It’s the most disastrous conversation EVER!  Nothing gets said, it’s mumbled, no numbers are exchanged or arrangements made, they’re so nervous that the whole conversation is just trying to get out the line ‘Wanna get together?’  It was so funny.

I found it interesting that this is the first Spiderman film/ cartoon/ comic (that I have read/watched) that doesn’t immediately have Norman Osborn and Harry Osborn.  I wonder who will play Norman Osborn.  I loved Willem Dafoe as the Norman Osborn/ Green Goblin.

I liked that Aunt May and Uncle Ben didn’t look like they were suddenly going to drop dead.  I found the original couple too old.  I guess it made Uncle Ben’s death all the sadder.  I enjoyed Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, but then I have loved Martin Sheen since the West Wing.  I loved him as the President.  So when Uncle Ben dies, this is not a spoiler, everyone knows he dies going in, so when he died, I bawled my eyes out.  Andrew Garfield’s performance also helped.

Apparently there was this huge stink over not using the Spider-Man iconic line ‘With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.’  It is a good motto, but by continually referring to it over and over again for the last fifty years it loses it impact. They didn’t create and exact equivalent of the phrase but Uncle Ben gave a speech with the same message, which made far more impact in the film, than the time honoured classic.

So Amazing Spider-Man is an AMAZING watch. I can’t wait to see what they do with the next movie. Who knows maybe Gwen Stacy will go goth!

On another note go read Ultimate Spider-Man, it’s a fantastic read and a new spin on an iconic Marvel character. I enjoy this series because it is brilliantly written, it has great artists and its’ supporting cast of characters are just as enjoyable as the young Peter Parker. It gets even more enjoyable when Shadowcat, Iceman and the Human Torch join the series.

Red Dawn

1984

2012

So, they finally got this film off the ground!  It was filmed in late 2009 for a 2010 release, but then MGM hit financial difficulties, and didn’t have the money to release and promote it.  Considering the cast, it’s a pity; it would have brought them to the attention of the world a lot quicker.  We have the lovely, the handsome, the twinkly smiling THOR aka Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck from Disney’s Drake and Josh fame, Josh Hutcherson who went on to star in Hunger Games with Liam Hemsworth – TEAM PEETA, Jeffery-Dean Morgan aka Daddy Winchester from Supernatural, Adrianne Palicki also from Supernatural, Isabel Lucas – Athena from The Immortals and Conner Cruise famous for being Tom Cruise’s adopted son.

So, Red Dawn is a remake of the 1984 movie of the same name. The original was about Soviet and Cuban troop’s invading Colorado, forcing a group of teens to become rebel freedom fighters – called the Wolverines.  It starred a young, very young, Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen and a cast of other well know young actors (I just don’t recognise them).  I know that Baby from Dirty Dancing is in it.  I really enjoyed the original, but it was a fairly bleak movie story wise, and not much character development happened, so sometimes, when the kids were all wearing the same army fatigues, you couldn’t tell them apart!  From the looks of the remake, that doesn’t seem to be a problem, but it also looks more sensationalised.  While in the original the Wolverines fight didn’t make a difference to the bigger picture, this version makes it appear that this small band of kids will save the day for all America!  Which is completely stupid.  It makes the film your typical Hollywood blockbuster. I hope I’m wrong.

Interesting fact, the original villain for the remake was the Chinese!  But because the Chinese are slowly taking over the world and because MGM want better box office sales for the China release, every Chinese symbol and reference was digitally removed, altered or dubbed, and the new villain is North Korea.  Which they should have just gone with from the beginning!

Now here’s an interesting fact from the original film that tickled my funny bone.  Apparently the Soviet T-72 tank replica made for the film was so accurate that while it was being transported to the set, two CIA officers followed it and wanted to find out who they got the tank from!

Snow White and the Huntsman

Oh I suck it took me a month to get this review out.

My movie experience was a little different this time.  Nu Metro Waterfront held a pre-release screening on Thursday, 31st May. It’s their Ladies Night event, where ladies have a night out, being served by shirtless men and eating glittery cupcakes and having free things thrown at them and entering a raffle for a small army of fantastic goodies. My friend made this awesome discovery and we went together along with her sisters and two of their friends.  My ambition was to be served pretty cupcakes by shirtless men that I could ogle.  Sadly the shirtless men arrived late, and by then I had already eaten a glitter drenched cupcake and received a free box of Jaffa Cakes.  It was easy to see who had eaten cupcakes because suddenly almost everyone had glitter on their lips and cheeks.  It was very cute.

On entering the cinema we were given a magic show followed by the raffle.  I had made jokes about winning a prize, and had a horror filled moment were I might have won 3 six packs of booze, but thankfully it was a slightly different surname to mine.  So I was over hoping to win something when my name was drawn.  Well I was completely shocked, yes I entered and I joked about winning but I didn’t really expect to, especially when someone else who has the same first name as me had already won the booze.  I won a huge packet of fantastic goodies, lots of biscuits, more Jaffa Cakes, and toffees.  Mmmm I like chocolate covered toffees, I did have visions of my filling getting ripped out, but fortunately that didn’t happen.  So, with a packet full of nummie goodies on my lap, I proceeded to watch Snow White and the Huntsman.

It should really be called The Huntsman and Snow White or Thor 2 or Thor was involved in the medieval tale that will give rise to the Snow White fairy tale!  I’m totally in love with Chris Hemsworth, his death at the beginning of JJ Abrams Star Trek movie still makes me cry, and he is fantastic at playing a god. He plays the warrior role well; I foresee a new action star with more acting talent than Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris …. basically the entire cast of the Expendables 2, (which I am so excited for) put together. Unfortunately, while Snow White and the Huntsman was a treat to watch, the script had some serious issues.

Firstly may I say that Charlize Theron is a FANTASTIC Evil Queen.  She and Regina, the Evil Queen from Once Upon a Time TV series, are the most evil and fleshed out fairytale Queens I have ever seen.  You could see that Revanna had a warped view of the world due to a trauma in her childhood, and that while her motives for what she does and her hate for Snow White are unfounded, you can see they stem from her own insecurities and neuroses.  That being said she yelled a bit to make her point, which I guess might be to indicate that her moods aren’t entirely stable.  But if you are an all powerful witch queen you wouldn’t need to yell.  If she were as scary as everyone around her is acting, she would have no need.  Her yelling makes her look weak, like she has no control over her subjects.

As I’ve said I love the Huntsman.  So yummy, so…….. unwashed!  He played the semi drunk warrior well.  At one point in the film my friend got the giggles, all she could see when he was fighting was Thor, not the huntsman.  The poor prince, he really didn’t stand a chance with Thor in this film.

Kirsten Stewart.  I really want to be nice about her, but she was really wooden.  Don’t get me wrong, she is good at showing grief and pain, but I don’t think she knows how to convey any other emotions, so all that’s left is this confused constipated look on her face. (very many of my friends have used the word constipated to describe Kirsten Stewart, it’s not just me who see’s it.)  I also think that she wasn’t given much to work with in this film. I think her dialogue is even less than the rest of the cast, like they didn’t want her to talk, they just needed someone to look pretty and sad.  Her accent was very good, I quite enjoyed her sounding different, but the personality wasn’t a big enough change from what we saw in Twilight or in her interviews.

When all’s said and done my biggest gripe with the film is the script.  It’s as though they weren’t entirely sure what kind of narrative they were trying to create.  They’re trying to build up this magical lore around Snow, like she’s holy, but they can’t really decide what, so they call her the ‘One’ in several different ways, imbue her in magic but don’t indicate whether it’s something she can use; she’ll bring balance to the force; her mere presence heals people; which is then followed by a character dying, make up your bloody mind.  Then we get some Lord of the Rings visual references, which I get. They created the iconic travelling over the mountains scenes but one of the earlier horse chase sequences was too similar to Arwen’s horse chase in Fellowship, right down to the camera angles. Then there’s a Narnia reference when they walk into a magical hidden forest. There are several walking over the mountain travel scenes that again look straight out of Lord of the Rings, granted when it comes to fantasy forest travel scenes they will all look a tad similar, the birds eye shot used to give a sense of how big the forest/ world your travelling in.  Truly the only thing that differentiated those travel scenes from the Lord of the Rings scenes was that you could see the terrain was different.  Well I would because I try to watch the trilogy extended edition at least once a year.  Then we get something really interesting, the magical creatures. The fairies are different, and oh so cute. They remind me of something, but I still can’t figure out what just yet.  We get some moss covered tortoises, nice and ancient looking, and then we get a white stag, who can turn into butterflies and has antlers that look like huge tree branches.  It’s a very cool visual, but not one that really fits itself into any western mythology.  I don’t know any stories, myths or fairytales about magical/holy stags with weird antlers.  So the stag was nice and different, not necessary to the story, but I’m pretty sure some people watching it thought, ‘huh it’s the Forest Spirit from Princess Mononoke’.

I think in general there wasn’t enough in this film. It fell short on its characters except for the Huntsman and The Queen.  The rest of the cast wasn’t given enough to work with. Sometime’s all it takes is one perfect line to bring a character across.  Especially the dwarves, they had a group of really good actors, and they could have done a lot more with their characters, but they just weren’t given a chance to shine.  However, I enjoyed the movie, but I seriously can’t see how they can turn this into a franchise.

Mirror Mirror

This movie is definitely an acquired taste. It’s what I call a ridiculous fantasy, and more often than not, films like this miss the mark, like Ella Enchanted. (they butchered my favourite book in the entire world) Having said that, I really enjoy Mirror Mirror, while it was a ridiculous fantasy, I found it enjoyable. In my opinion the comedy was good, the characters likable, and the costumes and sets lavish and colourful, a tad over the top but in a way that works.

The film is by Tarsem Singh who has made a name for himself directing movies that are visually very colourful and detailed, and fairly surreal. He directed The Cell, with Jennifer Lopez, The Fall, which I plan to watch, but it looks amazing, and The Immortals, which as I have said is remiss to 300 and people died in it in a beautiful explosively gory way.

Mirror Mirror is a loose interpretation of the Snow White fairy tale, which I like. It doesn’t follow the typical Snow White story arc, which means you can’t exactly predict where the story is going to go, and gives the story a uniqueness.

As Snow Whites go Lily Collins was nothing special, in fact I think she’s pretty much the Disney version come to life, albeit a less squeaky version. When they announced Lily Collins as Snow White I looked her up and didn’t find her looks very memorable. Interesting how dying her hair darker made her look beautiful! Now I find her stunning! Oh wait there she goes back to her normal hair colour, never mind.

(I am so mean, she’s the daughter of Phil Collins, I should be a bit nicer.)

The love interest was hot, very dashing, very nice teeth. He was so funny as a love sick puppy.

The highlight of this film was Julia Roberts, she was hilarious, she looked gorgeous in all those beautiful over-the-top frilly dresses and she was just so cute when she was evil! The Evil Queen’s magic and her mirror were also an interesting take on magic.

And let’s not forget Nathan Lane. It was enjoyable to watch him suffer at the hands of the Evil Queen especially his misadventures as a cockroach. (no that is not a spoiler, it was in the trailer!)

Finally the dwarves. Firstly, they didn’t have the Disney names, YAY! They were an enjoyable group, they had a natural lively friendly dynamic with each other, and they were so sweet around Snow White. The worst Seven Dwarves cast were the ones in Kristin Kreuk’s Snow White: The Fairest of Them All. Ok they weren’t great, but they were bumbling, and I can’t stand bumbling when done badly. I found these dwarves to have the most personality ever in a Snow White film that I have seen.

I really loved the prologue in the film, it’s 3D animation of porcelain puppets, I just love the style. It like the prologue in Hellboy 2, with the wooden puppets; or the Deathly Hallows tale that was done with shadow puppet styled animation. It has this eerie disturbed quality to it that I just love.

I think my friends enjoyed Mirror Mirror, it wasn’t great but it was fun, unfortunately that all ended when they began singing at the end of the film! My one friend put her head in her hands and began to moan over and over again ‘No, no, no’, and the other exclaimed that the film had suddenly become a Bollywood film. I think audiences would have enjoyed the film more, of thought more kindly towards the film had the director not put that Bollywood number in. It was just plain WRONG!

Unfortunately I suspect I was the only person who really enjoyed this film, but then I like ridiculous colourful fantasy films like this. I mean I love Speed Racer, and I have yet to meet a person who saw it, let alone liked it. I can’t even begin to think why I love Speed Racer so much and watch it so often, although I suspect it’s the colourful ridiculousness of it. Mirror Mirror is a fun, colourful, ridiculous movie.

Dark Shadows

When this movie was first announced, I thought it sounded like some really warped, twisted horror film. It’s the title. When the first trailer came out I was pleasantly surprised, and giggled all the way through it.

I enjoyed the film, however I did feel it lacked something. Maybe it needed a little more character development, I don’t know. What’s sad is that the trailer is fantastic, and the movie just misses the mark, maybe because the scenes in the trailer, when taken out of context are hysterical, but in the movie they fizzled a bit.

I did love that it was set in the 70’s, it gave the film a marvellous flavour and vibrant aesthetic. I also loved the Collinwood Mansion, it was an incredibly detailed set, over the top ornate carvings that so easily could have been gaudy and over the top, but managed not to be. I mean seriously, giant Seahorse statues on the outside of the mansion, can easily make it look kitschy but for some reason didn’t.

I enjoyed Johnny Depp as Barnabus Collins, you couldn’t see any Captain Jack Sparrow in his mannerisms. However I did find him a bit lacking. Maybe because they didn’t deal with Barnabus’s self hatred of what he is, and his inner turmoil with feeding on humans to live. In this regard I have seen these problems dealt with better in the Twilight Saga and Vampire Diaries, plus the golden oldies, Angel, Blade and Interview with a Vampire. Now these films and shows knew how to deal with the vampire with a conscience. Dark Shadows dealt lightly with the issue, and Barnabus fed too easily, and with not enough self loathing and remorse. Edward and Angel had it in spades.

I enjoyed Eva Green as the evil witch who Barnabus spurned. She was a fun villain. She also had great clothes. The way her immortality was dealt with reminded me of Death Becomes Her (1992) starring Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis with hair, and Goldie Hawn. Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn’s bodies become similar to that of a doll, their movements rigid and spastic, the same kind of movements Eva Green starts to make in the final battle.

I also enjoyed Chloe Moretz as Carolyn Stoddard, she was fantastically monotone with lots of lip. Sometimes I wondered if the character was high or not. She had spunk and sarcasm galore.

This was an enjoyable movie; it also aroused my curiosity about the original series made in 1966. What’s interesting is that this series is credited as the first day time soap show to have supernatural elements. The first supernatural element was the appearance of ghosts, six months into the shows airing and Barnabus Collins only made an appearance in the show a full season in. What I find very interesting is that during its five year run, Dark Shadows managed to produce 1,225 episodes, since it was a daily show; the series has the most episodes in a sc-fi / fantasy series produced for television, surpassing Doctor Who and the entire Star Trek franchise! (And there’s a lot of Star Trek) The series has it all, vampires, ghosts, witches, werewolves, zombies, a Frankenstein named Adam, drama, mystery, long lost loves, flashbacks, time-travel, parallel universes –  it sounds like the 60’s version of my favourite shows Buffy, Angel and Supernatural. This series sounds like a fun watch, but it would be a daunting undertaking to first locate the series and then sit down and watch it!

The Avengers

Only the most anticipated movie EVER! Fans everywhere have been waiting since 2008, when at the end of Iron Man not only did we get Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury, but the hint of an Avengers movie! Iron Man was Marvels first movie that was written and produced by them, so fans accepted that if they were going to make such a promise they would try their hardest to ensure that it would happen. Four years later and an Iron Man sequel another Hulk movie, a Thor and a Captain America film with a sneak peak of the Avengers film later, The Avengers was finally released a week earlier world wide than its American release. I don’t know why this appeals to me, it just does.

So we have a star studded cast, an amazing director and the assurance of stellar special effects. So the question is does Avengers do justice to the hype that surrounds it? My answer is: HELL YES AND A BAG OF CHIPS!! It’s been a long time since I went to a film that not only lived up to its hype, but surpassed it! The Avengers hit the spot, with equal blends of action, comedy, suspense and gob-smacking special effects. I guess that’s the only thing that has really been holding back the superheroes movie genre, the special effects, but Iron Man, Thor and X-men movies have proved that they can been done.

I was really worried that the Avengers wasn’t going to live up to the mass amounts of hype started for it until Joss Whedon was brought on board. Then I didn’t have a single worry, why because: JOSS WHEDON IS GOD. Now not only was I getting and Avengers movie I was getting an Avengers movie scripted and directed by Joss Whedon. We know his genius from Buffy, Firefly and Dollhouse, and I’ve read his run on Astonishing X-men and the Buffy Season 8 comic series, so I know that this guy will know how to deal with superheroes.

One thing that really irritated me was the advertising campaign for the Avengers. Ok so here in SA we didn’t really get much of it, but the internet was lit up lit a Christmas tree with all the trailers for America, Russia, Japan, all the TV spots, there was just too much. I didn’t watch any of it, well maybe 4 no 5 of the earlier trailers, but you have to stop at some point before you spoil the movie for yourself. Like I tried very hard not to watch trailers with the alien enemy in them because I wanted to be surprised, I still haven’t managed to figure out who they are. Obviously alien villains I haven’t read. Oh well. BUT I have finally figured out who the villain is that was shown during the credits! Would you like to know?

So I can’t really speak about the film because most of my favourite bits are kind of spoilery. One of my absolute favourite little moments is during the epic battle at the end of the film, between Thor and Hulk, in Grand Central Station. Let me just say, it was taken straight out of the Avengers cartoon series. Which by the way is a fantastic series, brilliant stories and character development, I can’t wait to watch the second season. I also loved the Shield Base. Was such an epic scene to see in live action!

I loved this film; I cannot wait to see what they have planned next! What would really make my day is if Luke Cage and his wife Jessica Drew, Spiderman and Wolverine were on the cast for the next film. This won’t happen because Marvel doesn’t have the film rights for Wolverine. Wolverine and Spiderman on the Avenger’s roster are such fun. Spiderman is such a fan boy, and brings a lot of witty one liner’s that eases the tension. Wolverine is just awesome, and can be quite funny in his own dark and brooding way. Well one can hope and dream.