Movie Quote of the Week – 4/15/16

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Answer to MWL 4/13/16: Alfred (Michael Caine) – The Dark Knight

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Bruce Wayne: Targeting me won’t get them their money. I knew the Mob wouldn’t go down without a fight but this is different. They’ve crossed a line.
Alfred: You crossed the line first, sir. You squeezed them, you hammered them to the point of desperation. And in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn’t fully understand.
Bruce: Criminals aren’t complicated, Alfred. We just need to figure out what he’s after.
Alfred: With respect, Master Wayne, perhaps this is a man you don’t fully understand either. A long time ago, I was in Burma and my friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones but their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never met anyone who traded with him. One day, I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.
Bruce: So why steal them?
Alfred: Well, because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Thanks for everyone’s submissions and a ruby the size of a tangerine to the following people for answering correctly:

Marta (Ramblings of a Cinefile)
P6 (Prime Six Blogs)
Cindy (Cindy Bruchman)
Jabrody (Jabrody’s Movielog)

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Interstellar Review

Interstellar movie posterSynopsis
When mankind is on the brink of extinction, Docter Brand (Michael Caine), sends Cooper (Mathew McConaughey) and a small crew consisting of Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway), Doyle (Wes Bentley), Romilly (David Gyasi), and the robot TARS (Bill Irwin (voice)), on a mission to find a new planet for the human race to inhabit.

Review
Christopher Nolan is up there as one of my favorite directors. Every one of his films is dazzling and feels unique. Interstellar is no different. It may even possibly be his best looking movie to date. Nolan once again teams up with his brother, Jonathan Nolan, to create a wondrous piece of cinematic art.

When I first saw the run time was almost three hours I grumbled. I thought this movie would take forever to get through. Much to my surprise, the time was not a factor at all. Despite being ten minutes shy of The Godfather‘s run time, it flew by. The only time I was shocked there was more to go was at the end of the second act. The second act is the most action packed of the film and felt like it was going to be the movie’s climax. Even after it continued on, I still stayed engrossed in the story. Unlike Transformers: Age of Extinction, every minute was put to good use.

As I said, Nolan’s films have always looked amazing, but Interstellar is by far his best looking film yet. The special effects, the black hole in particular, are visually stunning and a real treat on the eyes. Nolan likes to use computer generated images (CGI) to enhance an experience rather than create an experience and it shows. And it wasn’t always the CGI that stood out. Most of the physical effects looked great, too.

Sound work is always an important part of a movie, whether you realize it or not. Interstellar‘s sound work is top-notch. As with most space movies, there are points where it becomes totally silent. This effect can greatly increase the dramatic effect of the scene and Nolan uses to great effect. Hans Zimmer, a frequently composer for Nolan’s films, once again does the score. And, not surprisingly, does an amazing job. His score superbly enhances the emotion seen on screen. Combine Zimmer’s score with the first-rate sound work and you have the perfect sound mixture.

The robots in the film, TARS and CASE, voiced by Bill Irwin and Josh Stewart respectively, are more whimsical than I had anticipated. They offered much of the movie’s comic relief. The cynical movie goer in me expected them to go crazy, a la HAL 9000, but thankfully that never happened because they are two of my favorite characters. Their look is interesting, too. Definitely a unique and versatile design.

I would have to say, though, that my favorite part about Interstellar is its range of emotions. There was humor, from the previously mentioned robots, TARS and CASE. At one point I was worried for the characters, I became scared for them. I was happy, their successes made me feel overjoyed with them. There was heartbreat, I was sad to see some of the characters who were killed. But the most important, and the emotion that drove Cooper and Murph, was love. Everything that Cooper did was for the love of his daughter Murph and it was well executed.

Interstellar is once again a great entry into Nolan’s unique film catalogue. It looks great, it sounds great, and it goes through a wide range of emotions. Even with a daunting run time, it flies by and is worth every second.

Rating
4/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Christopher Nolan – Director / Writer
Jonathan Nolan – Writer
Hans Zimmer – Composer

Mathew McConaughey – Cooper
Mackenzie Foy – Murph (10 years old)
Timothee Chalamet – Tom (15 years old)
John Lithgow – Donald
Anne Hathaway – Brand
Wes Bentley – Doyle
David Gyasi – Romilly
Bill Irwin – TARS (voice)
Josh Stewart – CASE (voice)
Michael Caine – Professor Brand
Jessica Chastain – Murph
Casey Affleck – Tom
Leah Cairns – Lois
Liam Dickinson – Coop
Topher Grace – Getty
Matt Damon – Dr. Mann
Ellen Burstyn – Murph (older)

Inception (2010) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Drew of Drew’s Movie Reviews. Thanks for joining in, Drew! Now let’s see what he has to say about Inception, IMDB rank 14 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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Inception Review
Watched: 2/28/2014

Synopsis
Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are “extractors,” a type of thief who enters a target’s dream to steal information. Japanese businessman Saito (Ken Watanabe) hires them and their team to plant an idea inside someones head, or “inception,” a task many consider to be impossible. The target is Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy), son of Saito’s dying competitor. Arthur tries to refuse the…

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The Dark Knight Rises Review

The Dark Knight Rises movie posterSynopsis
After taking the fall for the death of Harvey Dent eight years ago, Batman disappeared and Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) went into seclusion inside Wayne manner. But when Bane (Tom Hardy) takes Gotham City hostage, Batman will need to appear again to save the city. But this time, he has the help of the skilled cat burglar Selina Kyle (Ann Hathaway) and police officer John Black (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

Review
Christopher Nolan crafted some character defining stories in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and looks to do the same with The Dark Knight Rises. It’s almost impossible to do better than The Dark Knight, but The Dark Knight Rises is able to continue the momentum of awesomeness that began in Batman Begins and offers a satisfying conclusion to Nolan’s Batman epic.

This film is influenced by the 90s story arc “Knightfall,” which introduced Bane. Bane is a villain who able to match Batman both physically and mentally. The version of Bane in this movie was very faithful to his comic counterpart. Not only does he develop the plan to take over Gotham City, but he also takes Batman head on (and wins!). The only thing missing is Bane’s signature Venom serum to give him his super strength. Instead, this was replaced with the mask you see in the film.

The purpose of Bane’s mask isn’t explained real clearly. His mask was described to help ease pain he continually feels from a previous injury. But when it gets damage, Bane’s punches take huge chunks out of a stone pillar. So it appears his mask seemingly holds his strength back. I think they should have done something more along the lines of the Venom serum that augments his strength, maybe as something he inhales through the mask.

Another character they took an interesting interpretation of was Catwoman. She was never once called ‘Catwoman.’ The closest thing to Catwoman was ‘Cat Burglar.’ And she wasn’t dressed like a cat. Instead, her super cool burglar glasses create cat ears in her silhouette when they were not in use. I liked it because it was like “Hey, it’s Catwoman!” but they never said, “Hey, it’s Catwoman!”

The League of Shadows played an integral role in Batman Begins, and they play a strong role in this film, bring the trilogy full circle. It’s pretty cool that they were able to bring back such an important group from Batman’s beginning for his finale. And and the center of the League is Ra’s al Ghul. In the comics, for those unfamiliar with the character, al Ghul is immortal. Now immortality in the traditional sense does not fit into the more realistic settings of The Dark Knight trilogy, but there are other ways to live forever, which this film plays with. It is a nice nod to the source material, while still staying within the trilogy’s continuity and realism.

As I have pointed out in my reviews for the previous films in the trilogy, Hans Zimmer’s score is one of my favorite parts of the movie, and it has only improved in each film. A lot of the music is recycled from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, but there is new music for Bane’s Theme and a few others. Once again, the music is well balanced with the dialog. There are moments that the score is silent, making these moments even more emotional. Not everything moment needs a strong score behind it; sometimes the lack of sound is just as powerful.

The Dark Knight Rises offers a satisfying conclusions to Nolan’s Batman epic. Finally, Bane has a big screen appearance that properly portrays his genius and strength in the comics onto the silver screen. The Dark Knight trilogy finishes just as strong as it began.

Rating
4.5/5

For the rest of The Dark Knight trilogy, check out my reviews for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight Review

The Dark Knight mo vie posterSynopsis
One year after Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) started fighting Gotham City’s criminal underworld as Batman, a new menace has surfaced. The Joker (Heath Ledger) is bent on spreading chaos throughout the city. Working with Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and the new district attorney, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman must bring down the Joker before he brings all of Gotham to its knees.

Review
Batman Begins gave us a strong Batman origin story. The casting was spot-on, the story was great, and the characters were well fleshed out. All of these aspects carry over into The Dark Knight and add some new cast members that are just as on-point as the returning cast. The Dark Knight is darker and grittier than its predecessor, and triumphs not just as a great superhero film, but as a cinematic masterpiece.

Heath Ledger received a ton of flack when he was announced as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Now it’s hard to envision anyone else in the role. Ledger completely embodied the Joker, from his voice to the character’s mannerisms, including freaky body twitches and lip licking. It looks like the Joker is barely on the edge of maintaining his sanity, and it’s all feels real. This is without a doubt my favorite portrayal of the character.

One noticeable difference is Rachael Dawes is played by Maggie Gyllenhaal this time around, instead of Katie Holmes. Holmes turned down the role due to scheduling conflicts with Mad Money. As I said in my Batman Begins review, Holmes wasn’t awful, her performance just wasn’t as strong as the cast around her. Gyllenhaal, on the other hand, has no problem standing toe-to-toe with the likes of Bale, Ledger, and Michael Cane. She also does well bring across the emotion necessary for some of her more dramatic moments. As much as I don’t like to see cast changes in the middle of franchises, this one was probably for the better.

We didn’t get to see much of the detective part of the “World’s Greatest Detective” in Batman Begins, but we do this outing. Wayne uses his skills and resources to find the Joker’s hideout. It was only a few, short sequences, but it was nice they acknowledged that side of Batman since often it’s neglected in favor of action.

The Dark Knight has a long running time, but it doesn’t feel like it at all. Part of the long running time is due to the focus on two villains. Unlike most movies that try to focus on more than one antagonist, this film does not feel claustrophobic. It does extremely well balancing both Joker and Two-Face, who comes in about halfway through the movie. Although it is two and a half hours, it moves along at a quick pace, while still developing the character of Bruce Wayne and the supporting cast.

Not only is The Dark Knight one of my favorite comic book movies, but it is one of my favorites of all time. With superb casting, great balance of characters and character development, not to mention great action, it is hard not to love this movie.

Rating
5/5

For the rest of The Dark Knight trilogy, check out my reviews for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises.

Batman Begins Review

Batman Begins movie posterSynopsis
After being away for eight years, Bruce Wayne returns to his home in Gotham City. Using what he learned from his time training with the League of Shadows, he takes up the mantle of Batman and begins a crusade to rid Gotham of crime and corruption, starting with Scarecrow and his drug operation.

Review
I grew up with Batman: the Animated Series in the 90s and Justice League in the early 2000s (or Batman and his Amazing Friends as I like to call it). And although I don’t read the Batman comics, I try to stay up-to-date with what is going on in his books. So you could say Batman is pretty close to my heart. As good as Michael Keaton’s Batman was, it wasn’t really an origin story for the character. Batman Begins looks to establish a definitive Batman origin story, and create a dark and gritty Gotham City that is less exuberant and more grounded than the Joel Shumacher Batman films.

The Gotham City in Schumacher’s films evolved into a place full of neon signs and cartoonish characters. It may have started out strong, but it become a mess that tried too hard to display its comic book roots. The Gotham City presented in Batman Begins returns to that grittiness of the 1989 Batman, but doesn’t become overly stylized. You can imagine this Gotham is a real place. Not only is the setting more grounded, but Batman’s equipment is as well. His suit, gadgets, and vehicles are all more realistic than those in previous Batman movies. It’s more fitting with the movie’s more serious tone.

Scarecrow and Ra’s al Ghul are not iconic Batman villains, but I liked the fact they used lesser-known members of his rogues gallery. They could have played it safe and done someone like the Joker or Catwoman, but instead chose B-list villains (Well Ra’s may be considered A-List, but he hasn’t had much mainstream exposure). They took a risk and it payed off because it allowed for a great set-up for Batman’s take down of Gotham’s crime.

I don’t think there could have a better cast assembled for this film. Christian Bale is perfect as both a young Bruce Wayne and Batman. It’s funny how none of the previous actors didn’t change their voice when they were portraying Bruce versus when they were portraying Batman. Now after Bale took the part, it seems like it should be a no-brainer. Michael Caine does great as Alfred and Bruce’s mentor. Gary Oldman as Sargent Gordon (not commissioner yet), Liam Neesan as Henri Ducard, and Cillian Murphy as Dr. Jonathan Crane, all fantastic. And Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, well, when isn’t Freeman awesome? Only one I am a little iffy about is Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. She doesn’t do terrible, but she doesn’t step up and basically is just not as great as the rest of the cast around her.

Han Zimmer’s score as become iconic and really adds to the atmosphere. I instantly recognize his Batman scores when they come on my Pandora station. And the best part is it balances well with the rest of the sound work. Sometimes a film’s score is too overpowered and covers up the dialogue. But not here. It’s regulated to quiet background when necessary, and loud and prevalent when it needs to be.

I can’t think of very many negative things to say against this film.  With a superb cast, a more grounded world, and an amazing score, Batman Begins is the perfect superhero origin story and first entry in a Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.

Rating
4.5/5

For the rest of The Dark Knight trilogy, check out my reviews for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.