Movie Review: Interstellar

InterStellar

Details from IMDB:

Interstellar (2014)

169 min  -  Adventure | Sci-Fi  -  7 November 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 8.9/10 from 329,512 users   Metascore: 74/100

Reviews: 1,565 user | 530 critic | 46 from Metacritic.com

A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in an attempt to find a potentially habitable planet that will sustain humanity.

Director:

Christopher Nolan

Writers:

Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan

Stars:

Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

I had heard a lot of good things about this movie, lately Matthew McConaughey has been doing some amazing acting and of course it’s Christopher Nolan (I enjoyed all the Batman movies and Inception) so I plunked down $17.50 for IMAX and went with a friend last week.

Main Points:

The movie is an interesting mixture of science and science-fiction, along with some great performances and a study of human nature and our behavior. The special effects (once they leave earth) are amazing, Nolan has a talent for doing these wide shots that can really bring out the beauty and majesty of a scene. In this movie really look out for when the spacecraft goes by Saturn, it looks incredible and the ship is so small it really helps but man’s insignificance in perspective.

Mcconaughey shines in this movie with a truly interesting character that goes through a lot. Michael Caine is quite good as is Anne Hathaway (who plays his daughter in the film). As it’s in credits I don’t mind saying Matt Damon is here and also is quite good in a smaller role.

Enough about the story and performances though, so there are ideas that leave you to think about long after you’ve left. How much damage have we really done to the earth? Will there come a time when humanity will have to leave? Will governments try to re-write history for our supposed benefit? (This has already happened several times in history). What would a wormhole be like? What would a black hole be like close up? How far away are we from putting people in suspended animation for a long trip? (Or to extend their life)

What will robots look like in the future? The movie has a robot that is basically one solid block with two other blocks on each side for moving (it can extend arms from all pieces as well). The robot is very functional and has an important part to play at several points. Is there dimensions that we can’t perceive? (Like a time dimension for example) While the movie answers a couple of these questions (and it’s fictional context) the rest I don’t know, I hope that we do better as a species to preserve the earth and eventually explore more of the solar system but sometimes with the state of the world I have doubts.

Final Thoughts:

This was getting really long so I’ll stop. Overall I really enjoyed this movie and would highly recommend it (though not for young children). Some of the concepts are wacky and strain credibility of the movie and it is on the longish side at almost 3 hours (all of Nolan’s movies are long though). I give it a strong 8/10. Next will be my thoughts on St. Vincent (which was on Netflix France), until then.

Movie Reivew: Man of Steel

Details from IMDB:

ManofSteel

 

Man of Steel (2013)

143 min  -  Action | Adventure | Fantasy  -  14 June 2013 (USA)

Ratings: 7.9/10 from 125,899 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 1,326 user | 460 critic | 47 from Metacritic.com

A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.

Director:

Zack Snyder

Writers:

David S. Goyer (screenplay), David S. Goyer (story), 3 more credits »

Stars:

Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon | See full cast and crew

Initial Thoughts:

You knew this review was coming Smile. I will pretty much see any comic book movie and of course I’d seen the previews and read all the good stuff about this one, so once the crowds died down a little I went. I should also note here that I’m not a big fan of the comics, I read them around when Superman “died” and came back but then lost interest. I am a fan of the movies but had been waiting for a good Superman movie for over 30 years, thankfully my wait is finally over. Hot smile

Main Points:

First off, I think Henry Cavill did a great job as Superman/Clark Kent. Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner also were excellent as both of his father’s. Michael Shannon also was quite good as Zod and Amy Adams did a respectable job as Louis. But enough about the acting. I thought the story was solid, there were some nice surprises and more was shown of Krypton than ever before.

As always I’m not going to do a plot summary, the movie clocks in at almost 2.5 hours but aside from about 5 minutes in the middle (you’ll see what part I mean) I thought it moved along well. I thought the flashbacks with young Clark were especially well done, the idea that he would have to constantly reign in his powers and even let himself get picked on was a good idea. Clark ends up a loner and a outcast, always hiding his powers and having to move on when his good nature leads him to do something that could get him noticed.

All the rest of the movies I always felt they action was held back and there was not enough of it, not here! Open-mouthed smile Superman gets to kick some serious ass! There is plenty of destruction and of course during that product placement (they have been doing that since the Christopher Reeve movies, so I don’t mind).

Superman has to make tough choices and they have consequences. Like a friend of mine said the old movies, which I loved at least until Quest for Peace and the horrible Superman Returns, where quite cheesy. This movie takes the character seriously while still working in a few laughs.

Final Thoughts:

There’s not much at fault with this movie. Lots of action, good story, great special effects, good acting, it’s the movie I’ve waited for since ‘83! I hope this leads to more DC movies. I think the Green Lantern needs another chance and of course there’s always Justice League. Oh on a final note look closely for a Lexcorp truck and a Wayne Industries satellite, those and some other references were good indications of a new tied-in DC Universe. If you’re any kind of a Superman (or even comic book fan) you need to see this movie.  A strong 8/10 from me and a hearty recommendationThumbs up. Until next time I am, as always…

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Movie Review: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns 1 & 2

NOTE: Of course I’m aware of the Boston bombings. It is a sad, tragic event and shows both the worst and the best in people. My sympathy and thoughts are with those reading this who may have been affected. Stay strong, good will always triumph over evil.

Details from IMDB:

BatmanTDKR1

 

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (Video 2012)

76 min  -  Animation | Action  -  25 September 2012 (USA)

Ratings: 7.9/10 from 11,557 users
Reviews: 40 user | 37 critic

Batman has not been seen for ten years. A new breed of criminal ravages Gotham City, forcing 55-year-old Bruce Wayne back into the cape and cowl. But, does he still have what it takes to fight crime in a new era?

Director:

Jay Oliva

Writers:

Bob Goodman (screenplay), Bob Kane (characters), 1 more credit »

Stars:

Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, David Selby | See full cast and crew

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 (Video 2013)

76 min  -  Animation | Action  -  29 January 2013 (USA)

BatmanTDKR2

Ratings: 8.1/10 from 6,232 users
Reviews: 17 user | 24 critic

The Batman has returned after a 10-year absence. The Gotham authorities want to arrest him. An old foe wants a reunion. The Feds want the Man of Tomorrow to put a stop to him.

Director:

Jay Oliva

Writers:

Bob Goodman (screenplay), Frank Miller (comic book)

Stars:

Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, Michael Emerson | See full cast and crew

Initial Thoughts:

You may have noticed that this is my first combo review! (exciting I know Winking smile) I didn’t see the point in splitting up the reviews as this is really 1 movie spilt into two parts (like Kill Bill). So this is an obvious choice for me, I’ve always loved Batman and these two graphic novels (by Frank Miller of course) are wonderful, some of the very best Batman comics ever written in my opinion.

Main Points:

Where to even start? Everything is done so well here, the animation, the voice work, the faithful adaptation of the comics. Peter Weller is excellent as Batman (he was Robocop after all and certainly Frank Miller’s choice).Michael Emerson (from Lost) also does an amazing job as the Joker.

When you know a story well it’s such a thrill to see it brought to life, with a comic book its completely natural for it to be made into a movie and these two movies hooked me instantly. I found it hard to even stop the movie to have my lunch or use the bathroom, even though I knew what would happen next I still couldn’t wait to see it Smile. Rather than talk about a lot of individual scenes I’ll just talk about some feelings and a couple of my favourites, so that means…

SPOILER ALERT!

In the beginning of part 1 Bruce and Gordon are having a drink together. Gordon knows his secret and Bruce retired Batman 10 years ago. Gordon himself, now 70, is stepping down as Commissioner in a month. After the drink and some strained conversation Bruce leaves and notices all the crime everywhere. Two gang members approach him and get ready to attack. Bruce just says “come on!” and waits for them but they back down. Back at the house he watches the news and thinks about the state of Gotham and a Batman comes through the window (which was done in Batman: Year One). Bruce thinks “you’ll never leave me alone”. I loved how the Batman identity is part of him, a calling her can’t ignore. He must down the cowl once more and fight crime.

Later in part one Batman gets his ass kicked by the mutant leader, the new Robin (a young woman he saved earlier) puts him back in the super-Batmobile and Alfred patches him up. Once he’s brought back to the batcave she asks Alfred “where’s he gone?” and he says “To find his strength.” Bruce goes into a cave, hobbling and bleeding slightly to stare at a Bat. It sounds silly but it works really well as is touching. Bruce Wayne is human and flawed but his strength of will and body is amazing and he can always just summon up what he needs to fight on.Thinking smile

Then there’s the final fight with the mutant leader. Bruce fights smarter, targeting muscle groups, fighting in mud to slow him down and making him bleed to obscure his vision. He beats him in front of all his gang members, thousands of them, so they will become his army. Even when the fight is over he punishes him and says “this isn’t a fight, this is my operating table” breaking his noise, an arm and a leg (the leader had it coming). It was a great scene in the comic and I loved it here Smile. Even older Batman seriously kicks ass.

Part 2 brings the Joker back in action. The Joker kills hundreds of people in one night and Batman decides that he must break his rule, the Joker must die. It all gets down to Batman and the Joker alone in a tunnel of love ride, it’s a brutal fight where Batman takes out one of the Joker’s eyes and finally breaks his neck. The Joker shots him in the side and stabs him many times in the chest. Even beaten he says “It doesn’t matter, I won. I made you lose control. I’ll see you in hell.” The Batman, near death himself, then has to escape from the cops and his haunted by the Joker’s body, burning but still somehow smiling at him. I love Batman so much it was hard to watch him fight once more for his life, so hurt and just barely escaping with Robin’s help.

As Alfred says as he once more lies near death “He’s too stubborn to die.” He recovers just as Superman, summoned by an incoming nuclear missile sent by the Russians, just manages to detonate it in space. Supe is terribly wounded by the nuke and the lack of sunlight which follows. Meanwhile all the power is gone in Gotham, from an electromagnetic pulse, and Bruce is forced out of bed by the chaos that ensues on the street. Batman and Robin on horseback was such a great idea and seeing them stops the riots was another moving scene. The new commissioner, who issued a warrant for Batman’s arrest, finally has her chance but doesn’t take it. She finally takes Gordon’s advice and says “He’s bigger than us” recognizing that Batman doesn’t just fight crime, he’s a symbol of hope and he inspires people to find the best in themselves.

Of course perhaps the best part of both movies is the fight between Batman and Superman. The President has had enough of Batman’s antics and orders Supe to deal with him. Batman puts on a super-suit and hatches a plan to beat him. Superman fights him reluctantly but when Green Arrow (now with only 1 arm) hits him with an arrow filled with Kryptonite dust Batman beats him down the ground. He shows Superman mercy and says “Remember in years to come of your long life that I beat you”. Bruce then executes the last part of his plan, he knows the government will not leave him alone and he fakes his own death. Sadly Alfred cannot handle the stress anymore, as Wayne manor burns to the ground he dies and Bruce is left with Robin and his army of gang members.

Final Thoughts:

I loved what Christopher Nolan did with the Batman movies but I have to say these movies, in particular part 2, is better. It is closer to the comics (obviously Winking smile) and gets more into Bruce’s head. Shows more of what Batman really is and lets him be more of a detective. Plus Superman! I mean come on, even with help Bruce is human and he beats Superman, I think that alone shows how amazing a person he really is.Open-mouthed smile These movies have the emotion, the action, the story, they have it all. I was excited, I was moved, I was enthralled. If you are a Batman fan (and at least 14) you HAVE to see these. There are Frank Miller’s masterpiece and while the movies could have been better (not enough of Bruce’s thoughts and vulnerability with age are shown I thought) there are still amazing. A very strong 8 and 9 out of 10 respectively Thumbs up. Next will be a better than than never movie review of J.J.’s Star Trek. Until next time I am as always…

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Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Details from IMDB:

The Dark Knight Rises Poster

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Certificate: PG 164 min   -   Action | Adventure | Drama | Thriller

Metascore: 78/100 (45 reviews)

Eight years on, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham’s finest, and the Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy.

Director:

Christopher Nolan

Stars:

Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman

Initial Thoughts:

First off I have to address the horrible tragedy of the Aurora shooting. I’m not much for anything political so I’ll just say my hearts goes out to the people and their families affected by it and I hope the perpetrator gets what he deserves.

Now as for the actual movie I had been looking forward to seeing it for months. As you may have know (especially if you read my book “The Newfoundland Vampire”) Batman is my favourite superhero and Christopher Nolan, IMHO, gets him like no other director I’ve ever seen before. Christian Bale has also done an excellent job as Batman/Bruce Wayne as well as all the other cast (sorry Tom Hardy you’re no Heath Ledger but you were good). I’m getting ahead of myself though so onto…

Main Points:

As usual no plot summary from me, plus there are some surprises that I won’t spoil (breaking with tradition I know, exciting! Smile). For a serious movie there are some light moments and I particularly enjoyed the first meeting of Selina Kyle (played quite well by Anne Hathaway) and the when he meets again with Lucius Fox (played with the usual excellence of Morgan Freeman) for the first time.

Commissioner Gordon is given plenty to do in this movie and Gary Oldman continues to portray him just as I always imagined he would act from the comics.

Despite all this glowing praise there were a few things I didn’t like. Batman is so devastated by the events from The Dark Knight that he becomes a recluse for 8 years? This seems rather out of character for him.

I also thought Batman is entirely too trusting of Catwoman and due to the previews revealing a little too much this brought us to Bruce’s journey to a physical/mental/spiritual triumph for him.

The action scenes are top notch and the inclusion of “The Bat” (Batman’s super-manoeuvrable plane) was a very cool thing. Bane is a significant challenge for Batman and Hardy does do quite a nice job with him.

Final Thoughts:

Ah another great summer to be a geek Vampire bat. With Avengers and this movie I would dare to say the best comic-book/geeky summer that I can remember (I haven’t seen Spider-Man yet either! Hot smile). The ending is very good and certainly fitting. It manages to both tie up a lot of lose ends and yet still leave plenty of room for more story (even if it is only in our imaginations). I am just sad Nolan sad this is his last time with Batman, I would certainly love it if he reconsidered. A very strong 8/10 from me. I would urge any Batman fan to see this ASAP. Until next time (and it will be another movie review! Open-mouthed smile) I am as always…

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