100 movies: The Dark Knight Rises

100 movies of 2012

[yellow_box]Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy![/yellow_box]

WARNING: This is a spoiler warning! I was going to attempt writing up my thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises without plot points about the film. But that’s proved somewhat impossible. So, if you’ve not seen the film but will be at some point and don’t want to be spoiled, go look at some of my photos. Oh and also, in case you didn’t already guess. This one is going to be a long one. I can’t make myself succinct about this film!

The Dark Knight RisesThe Dark Knight Rises (20/07/12)

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.

Before I begin with sorting out my thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises, let’s go back to the beginning with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. See, in the run up to the release of The Dark Knight Rises I did what any sane person would do and did a rewatch of both. Sane or weirdly obsessive. I’ll let you decide. Anyway. Before this rewatch I was certain that The Dark Knight was the better film. It was beautifully dark. Serious. Unforgiving. It was everything a comic book film had never been.

As you might be able to guess. After the rewatch, I changed my mind. I’m not saying that The Dark Knight is a bad film or in any way a poor sequel to Batman Begins, but I just want to argue that it is actually a better all round film. Batman Begins sets up the universe. Gives us Gotham. Its heroes and villains. Sets the tone. It’s well structured. Has a fantastic score. It begins with a purpose and by the end, you’ve got it. The Dark Knight I found a little messy on my rewatch. I think the film is overshadowed by the epic performance given by Heath Ledger. It’s all anyway sees or talks about when it comes to that film. There is more to it than that, but it’s all anyone can really take note of. The Dark Knight also ends about 3 times before the actual ending.

So there you have it. Now you know where my mindset is in terms of the trilogy, let’s get into my thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises.

120+ movies: Getting behind!

120+ Movies of 2011

I think I’m running a bit behind this year if I hope to get to over 120 films for the year! Need to pick up the pace.

A Beautiful MindA Beautiful Mind (01/05/11)

After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn to the nightmarish.

Beautiful film. Really great film. Great performances from everyone and I think Russell Crowe’s best since Gladiator. Jennifer Connelly completely tore me up as John Nash’s world started falling apart. I completely and utterly believed what John Nash was seeing and doing. I didn’t really think that he might be hallucinating. Well, until things started going really crazy.

Loved the James Horner score. Think it’s my favourite score of his since Titanic. It doesn’t sound like a lot of his other scores, most of the time! The biggest problem I have with Avatar and Troy’s scores.

Very touching film that had me in tears!
Rating: 4/5

ExtractExtract (05/05/11)

Joel, the owner of an Extract plant, tries to contend with myriad personal and professional problems, such as his potentially unfaithful wife and employees who want to take advantage of him.

Thanks to my new love of Arrested Development I have a bigger love for Jason Bateman. Seeing his name listed in the credits for this film made me think it’d be worth a watch. Him and Mike Judge of Office Space fame, which was one of my favourite films I’d seen last year.

Extract just bored and irritated me sadly. There were some funny moments. JK Simmons made me laugh as did Bateman. But overall it just felt like a painful film to watch with none of the fun or wackiness that Office Space had.
Rating: 2/5

HannaHanna (06/05/11)

A 16-year-old who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.

Loved this film. I really like my action-thriller type films. This one had the added benefit of Eric Bana. Even with a slightly unidentifiable accent he was very good in the film. However all the credit in this film goes to Saoirse Ronan. Fantastic young actress who can play a ruthless assassin as well as a very naive young girl who’s never been out in the world. Think the weakest character in the film was probably Cate Blanchett’s Marissa. She just felt a little one-sided to me.

At times the film felt a bit schizophrenic, but in a good way! Flipping from fast paced action thriller to an indie feeling film about a very innocent girl.

Loved the British family played by Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng. They weren’t caricatures, instead felt like real people. Funny people at that.

The score was awesome! I’m loving this trend of DJs scoring films. There was Daft Punk and Tron, Basement Jaxx and Attack the Block, and now we have The Chemical Brothers and Hanna. Loved some of the pieces they did during the action sequences.

I know there are talks of a sequel. I hope there isn’t one. Well, unless they can top this one!
Rating: 4/5

CatfishCatfish (07/05/11)

In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel’s brother.

A lot of hype surrounding this film and it’s hype I got caught up in. However, it still took me a long time to watch the film. I think the hype ruined it slightly.

I did enjoy the film but I think I was expecting a bit more of an ‘OMG’ twist towards the end. I kept hoping something else was going to happen. Though, after I’d watched the film and thought about the events a bit more, I did see the madness of it all properly.

Ariel really annoyed me throughout the film. I just got more and more annoyed with him. I can’t remember why, but I remember the annoyance!
Rating: 3/5

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesPirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (20/05/11)

Jack Sparrow and Barbossa embark on a quest to find the elusive fountain of youth, only to discover that Blackbeard and his daughter are after it too.

I’m one of those weird people who enjoyed films 2 & 3 in the POTC series. Yes, they were long and convoluted. But they’re fun to watch and get lost in.

I did not get lost in On Stranger Tides. Johnny Depp is still fantastic as Captain Jack Sparrow and new additions Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane were great, but there were some other new additions who weren’t so great. The main plot line of the fountain of youth was a fun bit of adventure. The love story between Philip and Syrena felt a bit pointless and was just in there for extra padding. Neither character had much depth to them and I couldn’t get behind either of them.

There were some good set pieces, but none of them felt like they were as big in scope as any of the ones in the first three films.

I sadly did spend some extra money and see this film in 3D, due to lack of 2D screenings. There were some attempts at some things pointing out into the audience, but for the most part, like Thor, it just wasn’t necessary. Especially during the action and fight scenes where things are moving so quick it makes me feel slightly cross-eyed with 3D glasses on!

Wasn’t impressed with the scoring on this film either. I was looking forward to some good stuff from Hans Zimmer – I’ve loved his previous work with this franchise. But it just didn’t feel like this film had its own theme.

I hope there’s not a fifth film!
Rating: 2/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

120+ movies: The Big 3-0

120+ Movies of 2011

Wahey! I’m up to 30 films this year already. I do believe I’m right on track for 120+ films this year. Barring any unforeseen happenings.

RangoRango (09/03/11)

Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.

It’s only March but I feel like I already know this is the animated film of the year. Fantastic animation and a great story with some unique characters. On the surface you’d think this is just your run of the mill non-Pixar animated film with animals replacing humans. Below the surface Rango’s a western with a lot of heart. I dare anyone not to fall completely in love with Rango.

I had no clue going into the film who was voicing various characters, apart from Johnny Depp as Rango. As the credits rolled on I was surprised to see such names as Alfred Molina, Timothy Olyphant, Vincent Kartheiser and Bill Nighy, among others! You wouldn’t recognise a single one from the characters they play. Which is why Rango works so well – it’s not a vehicle for a star. The actors are just simply there for their voice talent.

Talking of the credits, the post credits animation is amazing. Beautiful animation combined with stunning typography. Stands up alongside’s Buried‘s opening credits.

Just before I repeat how much I loved this film a couple of things which robbed it of a 5/5 rating from me. The score – which is a brilliant Hans Zimmer score. But when I was watching the film, all too many moments sounded like they were from a Pirates of the Caribbean score soundtrack. Listening to Rango’s soundtrack on its own, there was even more Pirates of the Caribbean than I initially thought! Though one good thing was that the score doesn’t sound overly ‘western’. Favourite track is definitely ‘We Ride, really!’.

The second thing was that the film was probably just a little bit longer. Things slow down a fair bit before the end and my mind began to wander away from what was happening onscreen.

Rango’s definitely an animated film that’s a whole lot more entertaining for the adults than it will be for the kids. Go see it!
Rating: 4/5

The CraziesThe Crazies (11/03/11)

About the inhabitants of a small Iowa town suddenly plagued by insanity and then death after a mysterious toxin contaminates their water supply.

I like a good horror film. I like a good zombie film. The Crazies was both of those with the lovely Timothy Olyphant playing a very convincing hero just trying to survive with his wife.

I’ve not seen the original, so I don’t know how it compares or how similar the storylines are. I was entertained for the duration. There weren’t any major jumps from me, but the initial scenes when the military swoops in and takes everyone into their quarantine zone was pretty harrowing. Loved the scenes in the service station/garage too.

Have a feeling with the success of The Walking Dead, reckon we won’t be seeing a decrease in zombie films any time soon.
Rating: 4/5

Lakeview TerraceLakeview Terrace (12/03/01)

An LAPD officer will stop at nothing to force out the interracial couple who just moved in next door.

Am wondering what drove me to watching this film. Maybe it was the thought that perhaps it would be fairly watchable stuff with Samuel L. Jackson in it. Just like Snakes on a Plane was. Think I was ever so slightly wrong.

The main problem for me was Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson’s characters. I felt sorry for them with this crazy of a neighbour, but they were just slightly bland and marginally awful people. To me, I couldn’t feel sorry for them long enough to get into the story. Then Samuel L. Jackson was such a one-sided character, I couldn’t care that a lot of what he was doing was down to his inability to forgive what his wife did. Just a boring thriller which goes on one hour too long.
Rating: 1/5

Battle: Los AngelesBattle: Los Angeles (13/03/11)

A Marine Staff Sergeant who has just had his retirement approved goes back into the line of duty in order to assist a 2nd Lieutenant and his platoon as they fight to reclaim the city of Los Angeles from alien invaders.

I would also describe this film as a mash-up of Black Hawk Down, Independence Day, a little bit of Saving Private Ryan and a dash of War of the Worlds. It wasn’t a terrible film. Very watchable stuff with some characters you can really get behind. You’ve got lose your cynicism and just watch the film. At times I had a couple of problems doing that.

Some of the battle scenes are pretty impressive. They feel as hard as they look. Though if you’ve seen Black Hawk Down and you’re anything like me, your mind won’t be able to help comparing. Black Hawk Down’s win out, hands down.

The rag-tag bunch of soldiers and the unwilling leader in Aaron Eckhardt are a fun bunch to get behind. With some deaths thrown in you do feel as though the film could swing either way. I felt a bit robbed by the end of the film. Wanting something a little more depressing and less easy. But you can’t have everything.
Rating: 3/5

SubmarineSubmarine (14/03/11)

15-year-old Oliver Tate has two objectives: To lose his virginity before his next birthday, and to extinguish the flame between his mother and an ex-lover who has resurfaced in her life.

Now here’s a surprising little film. Charming, funny, touching and beautifully shot. There were so many moments throughout the film where I wanted it to just stop so I could take a photo of the frame.

I wasn’t expecting it to be as funny as it was. Lots of great comedy moments in dialog as well as some great scenes. Paddy’s character’s a little bit of a caricature but not enough for it to taint the film.

It feels like a very real film. From the characters to the setting and the story. It took me a while to warm up to Jordana, but turns out she wasn’t a completely heartless girl.

Fantastic film!
Rating: 4/5

The Adjustment BureauThe Adjustment Bureau (16/03/11)

The affair between a politician and a ballerina is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart.

Another film listed on IMDB with a rating far too high. In my opinion.

Before I saw any trailers or posters, this sounded like a good little sci-fi film based on a Philip K. Dick story. Once I saw some footage I started to get a little more excited. Also Roger Stirling in a film! Well, of course it’s not him, but he’ll always be Roger Stirling to me. The film went a little downhill in my eyes, before I saw it, when I saw it was being touted as this year’s Inception. Sigh.

If you suspend your belief and just watch the film, it’s fairly entertaining. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt hold the screen well, they’ve got great onscreen chemistry – you really buy their relationship. It’s just he main concept of the film I had real trouble believing. The whole notion of fate and free will – that everything that was happening to the characters was planned out and no one had any free will to make their own decisions. Buying into that was hard for me.

This would probably make a good film for TV on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Rating: 2/5

Percy Jackson & the Lightning ThiefPercy Jackson & The Lightning Thief 18/03/11)

A teenager discovers he’s the descendant of a Greek god and sets out on an adventure to settle an ongoing battle between the gods.

I was hoping this would be one of those kids-ish films that adults would have a fun time watching. I was really wishing it was that for me, but I just got slightly bored towards the end and was wishing for the film to just finish.

It started out with promise. Nothing mind blowing, just a fun little film to watch with your typical story of a teenager learning of some great and fantastical secret leading to some great adventure.

I can’t think of anything in particular I didn’t like, just didn’t entertain as much as I wanted it to. Though I spent a large amount of time wondering where I recognised Annabeth from. It hit me like a brick wall after an hour or so – White Collar!
Rating: 2/5

The HappeningThe Happening (19/03/11)

A strange, horrible and unprecedented crisis begins in Central Park. A high school science teacher, his wife and a young girl do what they can to survive it.

Wow. What a shockingly bad film. I was fully expecting it to be bad but I was expecting so much bad in one film. I feel really bad for Zooey Deschanel and Mark Wahlberg – two actors who are capable of far better. They did the best with what they got.

There was some shocking dialog in the film. All I remember is sitting on the sofa listening to some of the lines and just wondering how in the hell those lines made it into the final script.

The message in the movie was a nice subtle message, until you get to the end and you’re punched with it in your face.

M. Night did some good stuff with The Sixth Sense and my favourite of his films – Unbreakable. Where did it all go wrong?
Rating: 1/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

100 movies: Some goodies

100 movies of 2010

[REC] (09/07/10)
I had no expectations of this film other than I could potentially have a jump and it was in another language so I would be reading some subtitles. I sat and watched and got sucked in. Very good horror movie which actually did make me jump a couple of times. For me that’s rare. I liked the fact there they didn’t feel a need to explain things. Things happened and you just get caught up in the events and go along with it like the characters in the film did. Quite like to see the sequel now.
Rating: 4/5

Inception (17/07/10)
Chris Nolan is awesome. He picks the best cast, creates the best films and makes my mind explode and implode. I loved Inception. My brain did hurt a little while watching and after watching. I’m not going to say too much so as not to give too much away but it was awesome. JGL needs to be in more films. Please. And have guns. Also Tom Hardy was a nice surprise, he was very good! And the score was brilliant. LOVED!
Rating: 5/5

Moon (18/07/10)
This was also nothing like i was expecting, though I had very few expectations. Just that I was meant to love this. And I did. Sam Rockwell was brilliant. He carried the film amazingly well.
Rating: 5/5

Read more to see the full list of movies I’ve seen so far this year.