The Dark Knight
Wow! Now this is what movies are made of! This is how filmmaking was intended! Anyone who says that The Dark Knight was worse than they thought it would be is either lying or stupid. You do not have to be a fan of action movies or ‘superhero’ movies to appreciate The Dark Knight. If you have read any of my past reviews, you will know that I am not usually a fan of superhero movies. Of course, I loved this year’s runaway hit, Iron Man. However, I did not really like this year’s The Incredible Hulk all that much. The Dark Knight was different.
The Dark Knight brings back Batman to fight the evil being created by the Joker. The Joker is to Batman what dark is to light. They hate each other. Honestly, that really is all you have to know to know what the film is about.
The Dark Knight is the sixth Batman film. However, it only the second one made since revamping the superhero. Batman (1989), directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader, was such a huge hit that spawned three sequels (However, most people would agree Batman and Robin and Batman Forever were terrible). This may have been the reason Batman was given a facelift in 2005 with Batman Begins. With the new film came a new director (Christopher Nolan), and new Batman (Christian Bale), and a completely new look.
The previous Batman films all made Gotham City look like a futuristic universe; something that was often confusing to the audience. Batman Begins created a relatable Gotham City and making it look like any other city in the world. Batman Begins does exactly that; it begins with Bruce Wayne’s transformation into Batman. All of this made the film relatable and helped the audience to sympathize with Bruce Wayne and his reasons for fighting the evil of Gotham City.
The Dark Knight continued this tradition with keeping the same director, same core characters, and same feeling of normalcy. Nevertheless, the film would not have been nearly as amazing if it weren’t for one mammoth addition to the cast: the late Heath Ledger as the Joker. I am sure that most people would agree with me when I say that his portrayal of the Joker was one of the most spectacularly creepy characters they had ever seen in any film. There is one scene in particular that stands out in my mind. While questioning the Joker at the police station, Batman beats the living daylights out of the Joker. As the Joker is being beaten within a breath of his life, he continues to laugh hysterically. This scene is a perfect example of how psychotic the Joker is and the realism Heath Ledger brings to the role. It just made everyone realize what an amazing talent Heath Ledger truly was. Heath Ledger died this past January of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs in New York City. Anyone who knew who Ledger was could not believe, or even accept, the fact that Heath Ledger was no longer living (including me). Mr. Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker truly is timeless and performance that will remain a part of film history for generations to come. Without any hesitation whatsoever, I give The Dark Knight a solid A+.
Date Night showcases two of the biggest comedic stars on television as The Fosters, a married couple who feel that they need to spice up their relationship. To do this they have a night out in NYC. Fey’s character, Claire Foster, thinks her husband Phil (Carell) does not take enough chances so when they decide to dine at the finest restaurant in NYC, they hit a bit of a snag. The Fosters find out that they cannot eat at that restaurant without a reservation. Phil, in turn, ends up stealing a reservation for another no-show couple. All is well until it turns out that the couple who had initially made the reservation is wanted by some very made men.
It comes as no surprises that Steve Carell played his part perfectly and with such hilarity. He always has me rolling on the floor (Except, maybe, his turn in Evan Almighty). Fey, on the other hand, has not had as much big screen success but you would never know it by watching her in Date Night. Her comedic timing is right on par with Carell’s. Another surprise was Mark Wahlberg. He has never been funny, but then again, he has never really had the chance. He does the best he can with his role in Date Night but there is not much he could do. He was mainly there as fodder for Carell’s jokes.
The story was not the most creative, and it seemed to jump around a bit with it’s pacing but overall it was very well done. The comedic aspects of the film (basically the whole hour and a half) would have fallen flat without Fey and Carell’s own brand of humor.
Even if you are not a fan of Carell’s “The Office” or Fey’s “30 Rock” (Both on NBC Thursdays) you can still enjoy this film. It is your typical, funny, mainstream, American comedy but has plenty of wittiness and charm to entertain everyone. I give Date Night a B.
Daybreakers takes place ten years after a plague turned almost the entire world into vampires. Since the plague, vampires had been harvesting the remaining humans’ blood. Now, in the year 2019, the vampire race is running out of human blood to feed on and they are forced to look for other options including letting the few remaining humans breed so that there will be more human blood. Ethan Hawke, a vampire with a conscience, decides he must find a way to cure the problem without more humans dying. He ends up meeting a band of humans and joins forces with them.
This movie is pretty awesome. As some would say, it is such a ‘guy’ movie. Blood and profanities are abundant. The only thing missing to make this movie a cliché is a sex scene. The story was fairly strong for a movie in this genre. Most vampire movies either take place in the present or the past, never the future. This one, however, is able to make the transition quite smoothly. This is probably because the landscape has not changed much in the ten years since the plague. Some of the inventions the vampires create for themselves in Daybreakers are pretty smart. Vampires cannot come out in sunlight. Consequently, in order to drive, cars no longer have windows. Instead, cars are mounted with cameras and the driver uses what he sees on a screen to drive.
It may just be that I like Ethan Hawke and that he has not starred in a big screen film since 2005’s Assault on Precinct 13, but I thought Hawke performed pretty well in a role that one would think wouldn’t require much talent. Also, some people have said that Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) should not have been cast as the evil leader of the vampires but I think he was fairly creepy. He definitely made the audience hate him, which is what he was supposed to do.
Daybreakers is a fun film for anyone who loves movies involving classic-looking vampires, rather than ones that glittery ones (can anyone say Twilight?). The gore in this movie is equally amusing. It is pretty gross but it works well with the film. The bloody scenes doesn’t seem as overdone as one might think. However, if you are prone to queasiness do not see this movie. Otherwise, I say go for it. I give Daybreakers a B.
Not many thrillers these days can combine as many aspects of film in the manner that Disturbia did. Judging by the previews it seemed that Disturbia was going to be a scary thriller. Granted, this film had its scary, seat-jumping moments but this aspect of the film was not the most prominent. The love story between the hero and the heroine is what filled the majority of the 104 minute film. Surprising, the best part of the film was the humor created by the main character’s best friend, Ronnie. Honestly, if I had to create the tagline for the film it would read something like this, “A romantic comedy tha thas a serial killer living next door!”
Just so the viewer knows what to expect, you should go into the film in the mood to see less scary stuff and more funny and “lovey” stuff. After a horrific tragedy shatters Kale’s life, he goes into a downward spiral and ends up in house arrest for the entire summer. Since he cannot leave the house, he fills his time doing mindless activities such as playing video games and spying on the new sexy neighbor, Ashley. Soon, Kale suspects that his next door neighbor, Mr. Turner, is a notorious serial killer that hides his victim’s bodies in his house. Since he is on house arrest, he cannot act on his suspicions and he has cried wolf one too many times so he cannot go to the police. He decides to take matters into his own hands so he enlists Ronnie and Ashley to do the deeds that he cannot.
Disturbia met my expectations and my expectations were that it would be a bit better than your average run of the mill mystery thriller. There was not as much of the suspense and eeriness that I had expected and this cost some serious points in its coolness rating. The film would have suffered even more if it had not been for the quick humor and compassionate romance.
The movie is could easily be broken down into three categories: mystery, romance, and comedy. Disturbia mostly incorporated romance and comedy into the film even though the previews make it seem that you are going to watch a scary movie about a killer. This is true, but the parts of the film that dealt with the mystery and suspense were few and far between which was disappointing. The last half hour of the film is the most intense so I won’t give anything away.
It was refreshing to see a leading cast that composed of mainly new-comers and up-and-comers. Our hero of the film, Kale, is played by Shia LaBeouf. You may recognize his face or his unusual name from the popular Disney channel show, “Even Stevens” (1999-2003). Since then he has been in other films that received critical acclaim but not much viewer popular such as Holes and The Greatest Game Ever Played. Kale’s love interest in the movie is played by gorgeous newcomer, Sarah Roemer. Kale’s hilarious best friend, Ronnie, is played by another newcomer, Aaron Yoo. The films two main adult actors were Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) as Kale’s concerned mother. The best performance of the movie was delivered by David Morse the supposed killer, Mr. Turner. Morse is one of the best character actors in the business and has perfected his craft over the years with memorable performances in The Green Mile, The Negotiator, The Rock, and countless others. He was perfect for the role. His tall figure and expressionless mannerisms proved that he could play an eerie killer seamlessly.
Disturbia is mainly a film for young adults. Many aspects of the film are directed toward my generation such as the use of XBOX 360 and Itunes throughout the course of the movie. Older audiences may find Disturbia a bit reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s suspenseful classic, Rear Window. Both Disturbia and Rear Window incorporate aspects of a house-ridden main character who suspects their neighbor of foul play. Also, Disturbia is more of a younger generation film because much of the dialogue is youth-based and older audiences many not understand (no offense ya old fogies!). I may have given Disturbia an R rating even though there is foul language or nudity. The movie has some of the most horrific images I’ve seen in film in a long time (Rotting corpses aren’t the most attractive things to look at). If the movie had taken a more adult approach to the film I would be more inclined to give it a better score. Even so, Disturbia is a very entertaining, popcorn-ish film to see with your friends. Just don’t see it with a packed crowd like I did because the unnecessary screaming by teenage girls takes away from the shows potential experience. I give Disturbia a B.
Drag Me To Hell
Drag Me To Hell is the first horror/comedy from director Sam Raimi since he did the Evil Dead series. As many may know, Raimi had been busy directing all three of the Spiderman movies. His first venture back to the unusual horror/comedy genre is nothing short of an all-out good time.
Drag Me To Hell stars Alison Lohman (Matchstick Men) as a banker who is trying to impress her boss enough to give her that promotion she wants so badly. Her boss tells her she must learn to take more initiative and be able to make the tough decisions. Low-and-behold, later that same day an elderly woman begging for an extension on her house payments comes into the bank. Unfortunately, she had already been given two extensions before. Thus, Lohman denies her the extension. The old woman then puts a curse on Lohman and it’s all downhill from there.
Drag Me To Hell is such a great movie for a number of reasons but mainly because it does not take itself too seriously. Many of its greatest moments stem from outrageously gross moments. I’ll leave it to you, the viewer, the find out what I mean by that. For the first 20-30 minutes of the film I could not figure out if people were laughing at the movie or with the movie. I quickly figured out it was the latter response. I must put a disclaimer on this movie though. If you are easily grossed out by old ladies gumming people you should definitely NOT see this movie.
While the acting in this movie is nothing to write home about, a movie like this really does not require much talent. That must be why Justin Long plays Lohman’s boyfriend (Oh, snap!). However, the actress who plays the creepy old lady was just that…creepy but in a funny kind of way.
With the world the way it is right now, we need more movies like this. Not the violent aspects of it but the parts that are so outrageous in every way that they make people forget about their problems, even for just two hours. I give Drag Me To Hell an A-.