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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30 Day Film Challenge Day 10 – A Film With Your Favorite Actor (Female)

Film Nerd’s Choice: (500) Days of Summer

Review:

Director: Marc Webb

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, GeoffreyArend, Chloe Moretz, Clark Gregg

Synopsis: Follows the entire course of one couples relationship, from the day they met to the eventual demise.   The story is told in a non-linear fashion, jumping from early to late days in the relationship, highlighting how the passage of time can alter what was once wonderful early to become something grating at the late stages of this particular partnership.

I have long been a fan of Zooey Deschanel, but it is perhaps in the last 18 moths that she has cemented herself as my favourite artist.    Not only is she an amazing actress that remains adorable in almost every performance, making almost any character she plays sympathetic, she is also quite a brilliant singer, making one half of the group She & Him, as well as contributing vocals to the soundtrack of a number of her films.   For me, she is much more talented than her doppelgänger Katy Perry, who criminally has more fame than Emily Deschanel’s (TVs Bones) sister.

(500) Days of Summer is perhaps the film that she is most recognised for to date, despite having been the female lead in films such as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Yes Man, and having bit parts in the likes of Failure to Launch and Almost Famous.    This is perhaps because, at least for me, Summer is superior to all the aforementioned films.   Deschanel is the titular Summer, though it would be more accurate to say that the lead role is Gordon-Levitt’s Tom.    Tom meets Summer at work, and is attracted not only to her beauty, but also to her very free-spirited nature and goofiness.   In short, the type of character Deschanel was born to play.

The relationship bubbles to a nice start, though hints are visible early as to the disparate elements in their personalities.   Tom is clearly keen for an exclusive commitment, whereas Summer is more in it to have fun while the fun lasts.   Perhaps she would have been more open to something lasting, but as time passes, the splinters between them develop very naturally.    I read in an early review that one of the interesting elements of this film is that it does not paint a picture of a “bad guy”, or in other words it does not demonise either partner for the sake of story.    I agree this is the case in the sense that the film represents a very natural dividing of ways, but Tom in the latter days does become borderline obsessive, which for me was a bit irksome, meaning I can’t blame Summer at all for drifting away.   Gordon-Levitt is amazing though in a difficult role.   He may be irksome, but he does not lack sympathy himself, and the role could have fallen apart in lesser hands.

I have not met anyone yet who has not enjoyed this film.   I highly recommend it, just as I highly recommend more audiences pay attention to Deschanel, as it would be a crime for her to disappear from our screens and airwaves through simple lack of recognition.

4 stars out of 5


(500) Days of Summer on IMDB

(500) Days of Summer on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsD0NpFSADM]

Inception – A review by Film Nerd

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine

Synopsis: The first movie to come onto our screens in a long time where the audience really has no idea what to expect.   Who am I to destroy this opportunity by filling in plot points here???

A review by Film Nerd.

Okay, so it was only a week ago that I complained about the stresses of reduced disposable income, restricting myself to writing reviews for my DVD collection for the near future.   But I am not a self-declared film nerd for nothing.   Hence, the allure of this film was too strong for me to resist.   This is one of those few occasions I actually feel rewarded by a lack of resolve.

Well, a reward in entertainment that becomes a hell to review.   About as much plot as I am willing to give away I can provide from the first 5 or 10 minutes of the two and a half hour running time.   DiCaprio’s character Cobb is an extractor, able to enter the dreams of people and extract information they are trying to keep secret.   That is until he is hired to plant an idea in a target’s mind rather than steal one, which many say can’t be done.

So clearly, we are in the world of the mind, with the only limits to the visual spectacle on-screen being imagination.   So why all the fuss??

The fuss is because we are in the world of the mind, combatting between conscious and subconscious thought.   It is a dream world that eschews the classic hazy edged image and grasps the fact that dreams have their own internal logic, that in terms of the real world makes no sense whatsoever.   Dreams are not linear, your location can change in a blink of an eye and yet all this is unnoticed by the dreamer.   To portray this on-screen successfully requires grasp of the material and a visual style that can pull it off.   This is the great success fo Nolan’s film.

Which could have gone to mud if the cast could not handle it.   DiCaprio has really reinvented himself over the last few years, and his trajectory continues its exponential climb here.   The film hinges on him and his relationship with Marion Cotillard, another absolute class performer who can do no wrong.   Watanabe has always impressed me (see my review for The Last Samurai), and both Page and Gordon-Levitt have both only recently hit star status, but have not put a foot wrong in their comparatively short careers since.   Then of course we have Nolan veterans Murphy and Caine, their standard never to be disputed.   For me though the performance that surprised me was Tom Hardy.   Last time I saw him in a major role, it was as Praetor Shinzon in Star Trek: Nemesis.   I was not a big fan of the film, being a lesser addition to the franchise, and in particular I had issues with the character Hardy played.   I am now tempted to rewatch it though and determine whether the mis-steps observed could have been more faults in direction than in the choices of the actor.

There is little left to say.   Prepare for a mind-blowing, and what at times feels like a mind-altering, experience.   You leave the cinema thinking, or even proclaiming, WTF???   But don’t get me wrong, it is WTF in a good way!!

5 stars (out of a possible 5)

Inception on IMDB

Inception on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3XzUYd6nrU]

G.I. Joe: Rise of The Cobra (2009)

Director: Stephen Somers

Cast: Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Christopher Eccelston, Sienna Miller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dennis Quaid.

Synopsis: An elite military unit comprised of special operatives known as G.I. Joe, operating out of The Pit, takes on an evil organization led by a notorious arms dealer. (Gakked from IMDB)

The synopsis doesn’t sound like much but if you like your action flicks mindless, with loads of explosions, tech and one-on-one fighting, then this is the movie for you. And me, as it turns out.

I have to start out by saying I had never watched the cartoon or read the comic. But that didn’t stop me from understanding this film and I think that’s what the filmmakers were hoping for.

Opening in 17th Century France, we’re given a quick family history of the McCullen clan and how it was accused of selling weaponry to both warring factions of the Scots and French. Rather than being hanged, the offender gets to wear a mask fused to his face by heat. Ouch.

Fast-forward to the present future, when the descendant of McCullen shows the NATO his wonderful nano-technology, warheads that eat metal. NATO likes, buys and arranges shipping. It’s pretty cool stuff, but you just know it’s all about to go to hell in a hand basket.

And it does.

I liked this movie on so many levels. After watching the movie I caught the ‘making of’ special feature which was sub-titled “The Big Bang Theory”.  As in, ‘I want some explosions here, but make them bigger’ as dictated by Stephen Somers (no relation to Buffy, unfortunately). I love me some explosions and this delivered in spades. Actual footage compiled seamlessly with CGI to the point where I couldn’t tell where one stopped and the other started and it’s usually my superpower to notice these things.

I also love me some tech and gadgets and, like a good Bond movie, this delivered. How I want an accelerator suit for my very own…

I’m not convinced about the science of the nano-metal-eating beasties as they worked too fast for the science to be believable, but they collapsed the Eiffel Tower. The bastion of Parisian tourist attractions fell in a heap into the Seine. How awesome is that?

Being the girl I am, I couldn’t help but notice the man-candy. There’s muscles aplenty. For the boys though, the Baroness (one of the bad guys) cuts a mean figure in a skin-tight suit and Scarlett (one of the good guys) is as strong, capable and bad-ass as the boys she has to work with.

That does lead me to the one flaw of the movie – lack of girls. The Baroness and Scarlett are the only women in the film. Admittedly, I didn’t notice this until about two-thirds through the movie, but it grated on my nerves once I did. It began to feel like they were both token females, doing a job (for the most part) that a guy could do, but were made female to appease the feminists.

Going into this film, I had no expectations. I saw the previews, squealed over the action, boggled at the effects, and drooled over the man-candy. When it came to the movie, I wasn’t disappointed.

Oh, and look for the cameo of the soldier who trains the newbies in polearms. It was many kinds of awesome, mainly because I had no idea that person was going to be in it! Bonus!

G.I. Joe at IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaNs64k_2xw&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6]