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Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan

CAST:

Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman

REVIEW:

WARNING: WHILE I HAVE ASPIRED TO AVOID OUTRIGHT “SPOILERS”, THIS REVIEW WILL MENTION SPECIFIC ASPECTS OF THE FILM’S PLOT

Along with Joss Whedon’s The Avengers earlier this summer (and to a lesser extent, Jon Favreau’s Iron Man films before it), Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has redefined the possibilities of what to expect from a “comic book superhero movie” and raised the bar to a level that future entries in the genre will be hard-pressed to equal, let alone surpass.  Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

DIRECTOR: Marc Webb

CAST:

Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field

REVIEW:

The road to this reboot was a twisty-turny one.  Originally, despite the general opinion of Spider-Man 3 as a disappointment, Sony intended to forge onward with a fourth installment with director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire still attached.  But due to reasons including Raimi’s clashes with the studio during the making of Spider-Man 3 (he did not want to include the villain Venom in the film, who was essentially forced on him by producer Avi Arad), Maguire’s hefty salary requests, and possibly other behind-the-scenes issues we’ll never know about, Sony eventually completely dropped Raimi, Maguire, and company and decided to start fresh with another Spider-Man movie that, like Batman Begins, had nothing to do with those that came before.  Many, including myself, were highly skeptical of the news of a reboot again showing us Spidey’s origin story, considering we’d seen it in theaters a mere decade ago, and I still haven’t 100% made up my mind whether the reboot has justified its existence, but viewed on its own, it’s an entertaining (if not quite “amazing”) addition to the masked webslinger’s onscreen adventues. Continue reading

Prometheus (2012)

DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott

CAST:

Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green, Rafe Spall, Sean Harris, Benedict Wong, Patrick Wilson

REVIEW:

WARNING: THIS REVIEW WILL MENTION SPECIFIC ASPECTS OF THE FILM’S PLOT

One’s appreciation of Prometheus might be heavily-influenced by what one goes in expecting.  Despite Ridley Scott’s attempts to downplay Prometheus‘ description as a prequel to his 1979 sci-fi horror classic Alien and have it viewed as a stand-alone story, many were disappointed by its loose connections and markedly different aims to its predecessor.  While it does contain elements of horror, Prometheus is less single-minded in its intentions than Alien and has far broader themes it’s trying to tackle.  Chief among Prometheus‘ flaws is that it bites off more than it can chew, but it’s still an intriguing sci-fi entry for those not expecting too much xenomorph action. Continue reading

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

DIRECTOR: Rupert Sanders

CAST:

Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan

REVIEW:

What one makes of Snow White and the Huntsman might hinge a lot on expectations.  Don’t be fooled by it sharing a title character with the Disney cartoon; this is not a movie for small children.  In fact, it might have more to offer for fans of The Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones than those longing for dwarves singing “HI HO, HI HO”.  The dark fantasy tone and some visual aspects (and even occasional scenes) bring to mind The Neverending Story and especially Willow as probably its closest cinematic cousins.  Continue reading

The Avengers (2012)

DIRECTOR: Joss Whedon

CAST:

Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stellan Skarsgard

REVIEW:

I don’t think there’s ever been a movie with as much set-up as The Avengers, for which Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America all, to greater or lesser extents, served as prologue.  It was a risky gamble (any of the four movies leading up to The Avengers flopping badly enough could have derailed the whole endeavor), but it has not only paid off, it has done so with flying colors.  The Avengers is a virtual comic book movie fan’s wet dream from start to finish, and crafts an epic spectacle on a level that might surpass that of any existing comic book film.  As entertaining as Iron Man and Thor are, The Avengers easily climbs to another level.  The Dark Knight may deal with darker, deeper themes, but the two movies’ tones are different enough that it seems unfair to compare them, and both represent the genre at its crowning pinnacle.  The Avengers is delirious levels of fun from beginning to end, and provides any Marvel comic fan with two hours in cinematic candyland. Continue reading

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