Archive for September, 2008

The Dark Knight, It Gets Better Every Time You See It

September 14, 2008


I have to say, I absolutely love “The Dark Knight”.

It’s just an incredible movie. Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about this movie. In fact, the second podcast started out as a full review on “The Dark Knight” and become a look at Batman through the years. However, I just saw the film on an IMAX screen and I was just stunned.

I know all about the brilliance of IMAX, but before Friday night, I’d yet to experience it for myself. After seeing it I can only say one thing…

OH MY GOD!!!

Seriously, and in every since of the term, this movie took my breath away. That is the most honest I’ve ever been using that phrase. When those 70mm cityscapes appear on that enormous screen, it feels like you are actually in a helicopter flying over them. I literally lost my breath for a moment during those scenes.

And the action…

When those explosions rock the floor beneath your feet, you think it’s actually happening right in front of you.

However, I must digress, the simple fact of seeing this movie on an IMAX screen isn’t what makes it such a great film. The acting, the directing, the script; there’s plenty to like about “The Dark Knight”.

Of course, you can’t talk about the acting in this movie without mentioning the stellar performance of Heath Ledger. He is, hands down, the greatest Joker ever captured on screen. Prior to this, I always considered Mark Hamill the ultimate Joker for his part in the Batman animated series from the 90s. That was brilliant, but Ledger completely owns the part. If there hadn’t been so much news about Heath before the movie was released, you wouldn’t even know it was him.

I could write pages alone on the performance of the late Mr. Ledger in this film, but I will not. I will say this though; Heath Ledger will receive a posthumous Oscar for it. And it will be entirely deserved.

This franchise has given me hope for movies based on DC Comic properties. Now, if only they could get the Superman movie franchise completely back on track.

Thank you Mr. Nolan, and thank you Mr. Ledger. It would not have worked without either of you.

 

William, the Movie Nerdfighter

who strangely found some words of wisdom in the Joker’s dialogue and is a little concerned…

Advertisements

Blood, Guts, Bullets, Octane, and A Whole Bunch of F-Bombs

September 10, 2008


This review could best be summed up with one sentence:

Joe Carnahan, you demented f&*king genius!

If you’ve seen “Smoking Aces”, you know how incredibly violent and insane Joe Carnahan can take a story, but if you haven’t treated yourself to “Blood, Guts, Bullets, and Octane” you’re denying yourself one of his best works.

The premise is actually similar to Aces in a lot of ways.  It starts out seemingly simple in telling the story of a pair of used car dealers down on their luck, and quickly turns into a violent race to the finish.

This was Carnahan’s first movie, and I was introduced to it when I was on my independent kick in the late 90s.  This is the kind of movie that makes me love independent films and it is one of the films responsible for my current career path.

For comparison, it’s similar to Robert Rodriguez’s “El Mariachi” in tone and slightly in the style, but with Tarantino’s dialogue choices.

Just trust me on this, if you like Carnahan’s work in “Smoking Aces”, or just cool action films in general, do yourself a favor and check out “Blood, Guts, Bullets, and Octane”.

You’ll be glad you did.

 

William, the Movie Nerdfighter

who wants to just run out and shoot a feature after seeing this movie again

Absolutely Gonzo

September 6, 2008


I must start this review by saying that Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is one of my heroes.

Honestly and truly, he is one of the people who has made and shaped me through the years.

So, you know I went in to “Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson” not expecting to learn anything new about the man, but expecting to see how director Alex Gibney handled the life of this remarkable individual. This force of nature.

And he handled it quite exceptionally, I’m happy to say.

Now, one complaint I heard form several people outside after the screening was the running time. Most said, “it ran a little long at parts.” But what they fail to consider is that this man wrote about his life in a series of books that catalog so much incredible detail, it is hard to tell his story any other way.

This documentary is a very detail oriented portrait of the man who inspired me to do what I love regardless of the risk. He also inspired me to become an ordained minister (mail-order, the same way he was).

Some will complain that this is a spoiler, but since it’s a matter of public fact I’ll say it:

When the time came to discuss Hunter’s suicide, I teared up. It was a very painful moment for me to hear his family and friends talk about losing him. They had a connection with him that I wish I could have, and in another life probably would have. He went out on his own terms, but I fear he went too early.

Jimmy Buffet is one of the friends interviewed for the movie, and he sums it up best:

“I think he could have wielded a pretty effective sword against what’s going on right now.”

 

And I definitely have to agree.

I almost wrote a very gonzo-esque version of this review, and I still might.

So, do yourself a favor and see this movie when you get the chance. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never read any of his books, or even if you’ve seen the movies based on his life. Just watch it so you are more aware of the misadventures of this true american independent.

 

 

William, the Movie Nerdfighter
who’s planning a trip to the Owl Farm to see the incredible memorial erected for the good Doctor

Comic Book Movies Part 02: The Dork Knights

September 1, 2008

In episode 2, originally posted on July 22, 2008, we deal specifically with Batman after seeing “The Dark Knight”.

Download this episode (106 min)


William, Jason, and Seth discuss the Batman phenomena from the 60s live action show all the way up to “The Dark Knight”.

Comic Book Movies Part 01: Rise of the Movie Nerdfighter

September 1, 2008

My friend Jason and I started a podcast where we talk movies and other stuff.  The first two episodes were all about comic book movies.  The first one was posted on March 13, 2008.  Now that this blog is up, I’m going to repost both of them, and all subsequent podcasts, here as well.

Download this episode (82 min)

 


William (the Movie Nerdfighter) and Jason talk about comic book movies in the first episode of the 5 Regular Guys new podcast: Movie Talk!

This is the first, trial episode. Please pardon our progress…

Objects in “Mirrors” Are Better Than They Appear

September 1, 2008


When I saw the trailer for “Mirrors” I thought it was going to be another in a long line of horrible remakes of good Japanese horror movies (like “The Ring”).

But, I was pleasantly surprised.

I think one saving grace was Alexandre Aja (director of “High Tension” and the 2006 “Hills Have Eyes Remake”). He handles creepy horror extremely well, and this… is very creepy horror. Next, instead of remaking another Japanese horror movie, they moved on to a Korean movie called “Geoul sokeuro” (“Into the Mirror”). I haven’t seen the original, but I definitely want to now that I’ve seen “Mirrors”.

Now, I’ve read other reviews that have said the movie is cliche. Firstly, all horror is slightly cliche at this point, but I disagree, there are similarities to other movies. But, having a male protagonist is a big step in the right direction. I have gotten very tired of seeing the female horror protagonist who never knows what’s going on until half of her friends are dead, and even then she has to have it spelled out for her.

Here we have a disgraced cop, down on his luck, taking a security guard job and winding up being tormented by some evil force that uses mirrors to watch, and if necessary harm those it follows.

Of course, unlike most horror protagonists, our hero (Kiefer Sutherland still giving us Jack Bauer) gets to work as soon as he fully accepts what is happening.

I did feel Amy Smart was kind of wasted as Kiefer’s sister in the movie, but she does a solid job.

One thing I felt they did right in this movie was the back-story for what is happening. Instead of the usual “angry spirit” Japanese horror movie cliche, they go for full-on demonic entity. This makes the horror feel a little more real for me because angry spirits are SO much easier to handle than demons. Spirits are lost souls that can be dealt with, demons are just pure evil.

Also, I won’t give any major spoilers, but I really like how they handled the ending.

So, if you’re a fan of horror, check out “Mirrors”. I think you’ll enjoy it.

William, the Movie Nerdfighter
who’s probably a little over-confident in his abilities handling angry spirits