The Dark Knight Rises – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman

Synopsis: It almost seems ridiculous to write a synopsis for the most anticipated film of the blockbuster season, but here it goes.   The final chapter in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, the film is set eight years after the events of the Dark Knight.   Bruce Wayne became a recluse, and retired his masked alter ego.   Gotham City is in an era of peace, but all that is set to be ruined by Bane, a character ex-communicated from the League of Shadows.   All this, and many subplots, result in Batman being needed once again.

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Great Treasures at Gametraders – 20th April 2012

There has been a load of new stock arriving this week at Gametraders Blacktown.   Whether your preference is plush, figures, games or anime, you are all catered for.   Here is a selection of some of the new items available in store.

Witcher 2

This game has been popular for months on the PC and has now made the transition to consoles with this version for the 360.   Will it be the next Skyrim?   Early reports do look promising.

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Great Treasures at Gametraders – 26th January 2012

New Headset range

This week, Gametraders Blacktown got in a new stock of headsets for the auditory pleasure of their customers.   There is quite a range of styles and price ranges available, so if you are looking for a headset without breaking the bank, come in and see if this new range is for you.

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School Ties – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Robert Mandel

Cast: Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Chris O’Donnell, Ben Affleck

Synopsis: David Greene (Fraser) has received a place in a prestigious high school due to the fact his skills as a quarterback can revive the school’s sporting glories.   Given the period setting however, it is recommended to him to keep his Jewish Heritage a secret.   His popularity within th school is widespread, while making an enemy of Charlie Dillon (Damon), who was supposed to take the quarterback position.   Fate would have it that Dillon learns Greene’s secret.

A review by Film Nerd.

Every time I revisit this film, the impact of it never diminishes.   These are all very early lead performances from Fraser, Damon, and O’Donnell, but each showed a talent that exceeded their years at this time.   In addition, you have a classic but all too recognisable story, of seeking acceptance within a different culture, and the choices made to gain this acceptance.

For Greene, he opts to hide his background.   The script is intelligent enough to make this not just an obvious decision.   Greene struggles with this, trying to still observe cultural rites in privacy, at times having to make choices between his culture (religious observance) and the culture he has been introduced to in this Ivy League sighted school (football and success).   In the end, it is the school that is made to appear more ridiculous, with misplaced priorities (to be the first in five generations of a family not to get into Princeton is a failure).   The film realistically portrays the [pressures on each of its protagonists, and makes the audience reflect on how they themselves rate success.

As alluded to before, the performances are uniformly brilliant.   Fraser is clearly believable in the role of popular quarterback, earning the trust of his colleagues prior to the truth being revealed.   He has shown on many more occasions how brilliant he is at comedy compared to his dramatic roles, yet this is one of those roles that it is clear he is equally adept at both.He is young, and he is a hot head, but his decisions are all made on moral grounds, and as such is clearly the better of all his colleagues.    Damon here also gives one of those performances that first shot him into the A-List.   You put this film alongside Good Will Hunting and Courage Under Fire, it really is quite a trifecta.   Though his character does become the villain of the piece, it is a well-played character arc that moves from admiration, to jealousy, to vengeance.    Dillon is not a likeable character, but nor should he be, emphasising how well Damon plays it.   Mention should also go to O’Donnell, who plays Greene’s room-mate.   He perhaps plays the most conflicted character when he learns Greene is a Jew.    He is clear-sighted enough to see that the fact did not change the person, yet this was in contradiction to the prejudice with which he had been raised.  Perhaps the role treads very closely to the character O’Donnell played in Scent of a Woman, but it is a good reminder of the pedigree he is capable of, especially in the face of the debacle that was the Schumacher Batman films.

If you have seen the film before, I urge yo to revisit it, as it is an understated but genuine masterpiece.   If you have not, and you consider yourself a movie fan, do yourself a favour and repair this oversight!!

4 stars out of 5


School Ties on IMDB

School Ties on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]



Director: Matthew Vaughn

Cast: Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Moretz

Synopsis: Curious as to why no one has ever really donned a costume and fought crime just like in the comic books, teenager Dave Lizewski buys a wetsuit online to become “Kick-Ass”.   He suddenly finds himself a minor celebrity after taking a beating, however he gets mistaken by crime boss Frank D’Amico as the person interfering with his operations.   The ones responsible, however, are more genuinely highly trained vigilantes, Big Daddy and Hit Girl.

A review by Film Nerd

A lot has already been said about this film, and it gained a reputation, particularly among parental groups, over the level of swearing and violence.   Ok, this is a valid point, if you think you are taking your child to your average Spiderman or Batman feature.   However, allow me to stand on my soap box a bit and say LOOK AT THE RATING PEOPLE!!”   This is a film for mature audiences, despite the presence of an 11 year old assassin.   And if the parental stance is that you have employed an 11yo to drop the c-bomb, Chloe Moretz took on the role of Hit Girl with her own parents’ consent, and watching her on screen shows a performer wise beyond her years, and she strikes me as the type of kid that can distinguish acting from reality!!

Soap box rant over.   I feel it important to cover those facts first, as this is a film that “kicks ass”,  and will be my first ever 5 star review for Film Actually.    If I were to give this a defining genre, it would have to be comedy.   Yes there is violence, as brother of Bride of Film Nerd once stated, scaring Bride of Film Nerd from joining me to see it.   A shame, given her love of comedy.   I feel that she would have enjoyed this film, as despite the violence, more often than not it is done in a comedic way and there is no excess of gore to turn the weak stomached away.

Aaron Johnson takes on the title role, and makes Kick-Ass his own.   Despite some intentionally cringe-worthy moments, you can’t help barracking for the guy.   Mark Strong once again portrays one of the most delightful of villains, and Christoppher Mintz-Plasse as his son trying to make dad proud shows there is more to this guy than Superbad’s McLovin.   The show however, belongs to Cage and Moretz, who chew up the scenes together and give the real entertainment backbone of the movie.   Moretz even outshines a back in form Cage, but when he dons the Big Daddy costume and channels Adam West’s 1960s Batman, it is absolutely priceless.

So yes, this is a violent, cuss-heavy film.   But did that ever turn anyone awat from Tarantino, whose films generally contain a lot more of both??   If you like comedy, and you are not easily offended, see this film yesterday!

5 stars (out of a possible 5)

Kick-Ass on IMDB

Kick-Ass on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]