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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Supanova Sydney 2012 – Saturday

As per usual, it is with the Saturday session that the Supanova expo really ramped up into full swing.   There were many great and interesting stalls, a few of which I hope to spend more time exploring tomorrow.   I barely had the opportunity to scan the artist’s alley in any great detail.   I am sure most readers are here though to see some cosplay pics, of which I have taken many.   Following those, I will report on the panels I attended (Mercedes McNab, Natalia Tena, Tricia Helfer) before finishing the post with some of my general thoughts of the day.

Also, don’t forget to check out my report on the preview night, featuring more great examples of fantastic cosplay.

Cosplay Pics

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Marvel’s The Avengers – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Joss Whedon

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom, Hiddlestone, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Lou Ferrigno

Synopsis: Really?   I need to give a synopsis for one of the two most anticipated comic book films of the year??   What rock could people be living under?   Okay, okay, I’ll be serious.   When a major super-powered being and his army threaten Earth, no one hero alone can face it.   So Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., assembles a team of super powered good guys, along with some highly skilled assassins, to defend Earth.   In short, he assembles THE AVENGERS!

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Fright Night (2011) – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Craig Gillespie

Cast: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Synopsis: An update of the 1985 film of the same name, Fright Night sees a vampire named Jerry (Farrell) move next door to teenager Charley Brewster (Yelchin).   He refuses to heed the warnings of former best friend Ed (Mintz-Plasse), only to end up with Jerry not only terrorising him, but his mother (Collette) and girlfriend (Poots) as well.   When out of all other options he seeks assistance from celebrity vampire killer Peter Vincent (Tennant).

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The First Avengers trailer is live…

In the past with this site, I have largely focussed on reviews of new and old films, with rarely a focus on what is happening in the future.   I am going to break trend today, and review a trailer.   Why?   Well, this trailer happens to be for the film that I have anticipated the most ever since the Lord of the Rings trilogy concluded.

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Thor – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddlestone, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Rene Russo, Ray Stevenson, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Clark Gregg, Jeremy Renner, Stan Lee

Synopsis: This film continues the run of Marvel Comics films that are building to the release of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers next year.   Loosely based on Norse mythology, Thor, son of Odin, is banished from Asgard to Midgard (Earth), following his brash actions that threaten the realm now with war.   He is stranded here until such time as he can be worthy to once again wield the power of his mighty hammer, Mjolnir.

A review by Film Nerd.

Anyone who may follow this blog would be well aware of the level of fandom I have for Marvel comics and the films adapted from them.   As such, you may be prepared for an entirely biased review of this particular film, and you would be absolutely right.   For me, this film was a nerdgasm waiting to happen, ever since the first sight of Mjolnir following the closing credits of Iron Man 2.

Thor as the headline character of his own film was always a prospect I approached with trepidation.   When I was an avid comic reader, I only really followed him as a member of the Avengers, if anything.   It is a very difficult character to get a grasp of, always speaking in Ye Olde English, and having an almost antiquated sense of nobility.   The fact he is a god made him pretty cool, but I was never sure of his film potential.   As such, Kenneth Branagh could not have been a better choice to bring him to the big screen.   Being himself familiar with more antiquated drama such as Shakespeare, he was able to put together a film that provides entertainment without necessarily drifting into the area of farce.   A wise choice was to discard the Old English, yet keeping the flavour with an English accent for the realm of Asgard.   I had also read in interviews that Branagh recognised themes common between this story and Shakespeare, such as the corruption that comes with power and relationships between parent and child.   It is when these themes are focussed on in the film that it is at its strongest.

The film is not without flaws.   Despite Portman’s talent, the love story developed between her Jane and Hemsworth’s Thor does feel somewhat forced, as well as a little rushed.   Okay, so the point is he learns maturity and compassion through his dealings with humans, but I feel this could have been achieved by introducing some mutual interest that would be allowed to simmer.   The simple fact is with everything else going on, the romance itself does not need acting on.   However, if this is my only quibble with the film, I admit it is a minor one, and something needs to be there to please that half of the crowd that is more interested in Hemsworth’s abs than they are the development of the Marvel Universe on film.

The performances are uniformly brilliant.   Hemsworth does have real charisma, in addition to the bulk he gained to look the part.   Following his breakthrough role on the international market with Star Trek, he is building a very strong CV.   Portman as always is lovely,and errors in scripting cannot take away from her on-screen allure.   Hopkins as Odin brings a gravitas to proceedings, and introduces a depth to the father-son relationship that may have been lacking in a lesser actor.   Hiddlestone’s Loki also successfully walked the very fine line as the double-dealing half-brother,showing how the character could take so many in without appearing immediately slimy and self-interested.   The remaining cast introduces some more fun and humour.   Also keep eyes open for a few cameo appearances, the big hint being to stay after the credits once again.

As far as comic adaptations go, this is one of the better ones, and I was more than once stupidly grinning in the big action scenes.   The romance detracts somewhat from the rest of the story, but otherwise this is a brilliant popcorn flick that should entertain most audiences.

4 stars out of 5


Thor on IMDB

Thor on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOddp-nlNvQ]

Upcoming Genre Films for 2011 Part Deux – A Preview by Film Nerd

First of all thanks to Urban Fantasist for that awesome post.   Consider my appetite whetted.   As you referred to yourself though, there are certain tastes of mine that were not catered to, so here is a preview of 2011 from the perspective of someone who collected comics in high school.

I will be using the same list as Urban Fantasist from io9, but I will extend from there a little bit from a post by blastr featuring the top 55 trailers for films coming out in 2011.   I will of course avoid overlap between these lists.

The Green Hornet (io9, blastr)     January 14

A remake of the series that first captured hearts on radio serials then on television, featuring a rich guy turned vigilante.   The character was created by the guy who brought us The Lone Ranger, and at one point in the radio series it was indicated that the Hornet is descendant of the Ranger.   Directed by Michael Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame, it could prove interesting.

I Am Number Four (io9, blastr)     February 18

A group of nine aliens hiding out as teenagers on Earth are hunted down for extermination by the government.   With three down, this film follows the story of the fourth to be targeted.    Based on a novel of the same name.

The Adjustment Bureau (io9, blastr)     March 4

Matt Damon plays a congressman destined for big things, before he meets and falls for Emily Blunt’s ballerina.   He was supposed to never meet her again, but somehow does, and falls in love with her.   The mysterious agency of the title steps in to prevent the relationship, and put our heroes life back on the set path.   Escaping, running, and hiding ensues….

Battle: Los Angeles (io9, blastr)     March 11

Gritty war film with hand-held camera work with visceral closeups, etc.   Oh yeah, and humans are fighting aliens.   Sounds like a great big B-movie, but with a cast headlined by Aaron Eckhart, may prove a hidden gem.

Red Riding Hood (io9, blastr)     March 11

Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman star in this retelling of the classic tale, with the wolf recast as a werewolf connected the past of she with the hood.   Don’t know how Urban Fantasist missed that one, sounds like her cup of tea!!

Paul (io9, blastr)     March 18

Comedy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, as two mates on an American road trip that meet foul mouth alien Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen.   Some of the gags on the trailer are foul, but delightfully so!!

Sucker Punch (io9, blastr)     March 25

A film by Zack Snyder, who previously brought us 300 and Watchmen.   He does have a talent for absolute visual splendour on-screen, and the trailers indicate this will be no different.   It is hard to get a grasp on what it is about, but seems to be the story of five girls attempting to escape the clutches of evil authority in a mental asylum…or is it a war zone???   Or a bordello??

Super (io9, blastr)     April 1

Okay, so the concept of this sounds very similar to Kick-Ass… average bloke dons a costume to fight crime.   So lacking in originality on that count perhaps.   Just watch the clip posted on blastr though and I dare you not to show some interest!!

Hanna (blastr only) April 8

Eric Bana’s ex-CIA agent trains daughter Saoirse Ronin to be the perfect assassin, with the goal to target Cate Blanchett.    A lot of talent there in that sentence, and a pretty cool concept to boot.    The trailer also kicks butt!!

Your Highness (io9, blastr) April 8

Danny McBride and James Franco reteam with the director of Pineapple Express to star as royal brothers on a rescue mission… a comedy that drags Natalie Portman and my favourite Zooey Deschanel along for the ride.   I am still giggling at the trailer… “What a coincidence, I was just about to finish thinking of you!!”   Hehe.

Thor (io9, blastr)     May 6

The Norse god is exiled to Earth, as reimagined by Marvel Comics.   Mjolnir was spotted after the credits to Iron Man 2, resulting in my second Nerdgasm for that film.   Those that don’t know that this is part of building towards Joss Whedon’s The Avengers should be stripped of their geek badge immediately!!

X-Men: First Class (io9 only)     June 3

The second Marvel movie for 2011.   With James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and January Jones on board, and Kick-Ass’ Michael Vaughn directing, can we put the travesty of X-Men: The Last Stand behind us???

Green Lantern (io9, bkastr)     June 17

A film based on a DC universe second tier hero.   Ryan Reynolds is good casting, but the CGI costume is still a little off-putting for me.   However, has the potential to be the next Iron Man, whom was one of Marvel’s second tier heroes.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two (io9, blastr)     July 15

You really want a synopsis for this one?

Captain America: The First Avenger (io9 only)     July 22

The source of my first Nerdgasm in Iron Man 2 was spotting Captain America’s shield partially constructed in Tony Stark’s work room.   Like Thor, this is building to Whedon’s The Avengers, and has Chris Evans donning the tights in what can only be called great casting!

Cowboys and Aliens (io9, blastr)     July 29

James Bond and Indiana Jones!!   The old west!!   Aliens!!    Daniel Craig waits from unconsciousness with a strange device on his arm.   Harrison Ford plays the villain of the piece, that teams with Craig when the bigger threat arrives.   Why didn’t they think of this earlier???

The Thing (io9 only)     October 14

Prequel to John Carpenter’s iconic original.   Stars Joel Edgerton, and personal favourite Mary Elizabeth Winstead, last seen in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Sherlock Holmes 2 (io9, blastr)     December 16

Downey Jr. and Law return to 221B Baker Street, this time to face the infamous Professor Moriarty.   Be warned, blastr screwed up, the trailer from the first film, not the first trailer for the second!!

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (io9 only) December 23

Steven Spielberg directs his first fully motion capture film.   Peter Jackson produces.   They will be swapping roles for the sequel!!   Stars Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.   Some writing was even done by Doctor Who‘s Steven Moffatt!! Add that element of retro charm and I am sold!

Man, that is a lot of movies…. I hope Bride of Film Nerd doesn’t kill me when we need a second mortgage!!

 

Supanova 2010

On the weekend just past, Film Actually attended Supanova 2010 at Sydney Olympic Park.    For a look at our experience of the event, please visit the blog page Supanova Sydney 2010.