For "Batman" devotees, if you have not seen it, you must. For the rest of the movie-going crowd be forewarned that it is bleak and massively "dark"; possibly because director Christopher Nolan was astute enough to throw in a heavy dose of reality; daily, we witness the fanatics, armed with nuclear might, threaten world security.
Christian Bale is "Bruce Wayne" ("Batman") suffering from agoraphobia, who can fault him after the vicissitudes he experienced in "The Dark Night". He is cared for by the ubiquitous, faithful "Alfred" (another seasoned performance by Michael Caine); is forced back to the battlefield, as protector, savior of Gotham from the menace of profound annihilation, perpetrated by a demon, an amoral psychopath "Bane" (Tom Hardy) whose face is disguised by a grid resembling a radiator; his voice imbued with the tenor of someone trapped in the bowels of a colossal cave; he was unsatisfying as the horrifying nemesis, the "bane" of Batman's and Gotham's survival.
The film serves gargantuan portions of death, destruction and mayhem; gore enhanced by digitization; viewers lampooned by one gruesome demise after another. Blackness alleviated by the electric levity of "Catwoman"; Anne Hathaway, with quirky panache, gracefully fells the vilest of deviates; with a ballerina's finesse she leaps, flies, laughs as she defies gravity, crumbling buildings, searing pyrotechnics; her immortal feats, a homage to a cat's nine lives.
Minor roles are worthy of mentioning: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is "John Blake" ("Robin") a young police officer, with incredible perspicacity comes to the aid of Batman; Marion Cotillard, "Miranda" Batman's love interest, a philanthropist with an untoward agenda; Gary Oldman, soulful, diminished Police Commissioner "Jim Gordon"; Morgan Freeman with his iconic voice is "Lucius Fox", the wizard behind disabling the fiendish. A teaser: Cillian Murphy has a cameo role; hint, not a trace of his Irish accent can be detected.
The last half hour shines; if you have paid the price, stay; compensates for the mental straying one does to shake the gravitas, suffocating gloom, relentlessly crushing hope. In hindsight "The Dark Knight Rises" should have been titled, "The Dark Night Rises", and never brightens.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!
Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen star as a couple ("Margot", "Lou") so devoted to each other that their endearments are flavored with untoward, torturous sentiments. She is aimless, rootless, devoid of ambition; he cooks and writes about chicken for a living. Enter Luke Kirby ("Daniel") as the distraction that temporarily stimulates the seemingly drugged, comatose Margot. Many might recognize these doomed couples but with alacrity and insight flee their negative energy.
ONE & 1/2 STARS!
A French film starring the sensually titillating Monica Bullucci as "Angele" an actor married to "Frederic" (Louis Garrel) a mediocre, dissipated artist; chemistry between the two is neither "hot" nor "burning", just boring. Frederick invites his best friend "Paul" (Jerome Robart) and his partner "Elizabeth" (Celine Sallette) to spend the summer with him and Angele; instead of the plot thickening it is diluted, thinned in trying tedium and triteness. I gleefully exited into a real and much more viable "burning hot summer", preferring the heat to this vapid scenario; questioning, puzzling why this film was ever made?
ONE & 1/2 STARS!
If you are a Marvel comic book fan or simply enamored with the "Spider-Man" mystique you will be satisfied with the newest rendition of, to say the least, "The Amazing Spider-Man"!
Andrew Garfield, replacing Toby Maguire, is excellent as the sensitive, seventeen-year-old "Peter Parker/Spider-Man". With misty-eyed sincerity he imbues the duality with likeability, believability; and is galvanizing in his transformation from man to insect.
Emma Stone as love interest "Gwen Stacy", seems a touch too mature, wise, as a high-school-senior prodigy; but she radiates intelligence and garnishes respect with each scene she controls, empowers.
The plot in essence is insect versus reptile; good pitted against malevolent. There are approximately 40,000 species of spiders and Peter, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, is pounced upon and bitten by one that miraculously manifests "amazing" revolutionizing effects; great filming and digitization contribute stunning sequences of wonder.
There is nothing more satisfying than a deliciously evil villain and Rhys Ifans is yummy as "Dr. Curt Connor/Reptilian Rascal"; he leaps buildings with a single bound; Olympian marathon between the forces of Heaven and Hades.
Good fun and "flights" to be had by all.
Oliver Stone's latest flick can be summed up in a brief sentence. Good drug dealers versus bad drug dealers. It is engrossing, more than minimally entertaining; not as bludgeoning with the message as the usual Stone scenario; still in a month's time will be a vague, shadowy memory of a mindless two hours spent in a refrigerated cocoon; a blessed respite from the hellish temperatures, melting minds and bodies on the streets of this major metropolis.
Two boyhood friends run the "good", medicinal side of the equation: "Chon" (Taylor Kitsch) hardened, Iraqi War veteran, and "Ben"(Aaron Johnson) the sensitive, pragmatic partner. They are so intuned to each other that they unselfishly share "O" (Blake Lively, the beautiful, sensually slutty, storyteller; the tenor of her seductive voice is massively effective, reason enough to stay in your seat.)
Enter the evil dealers, powerfully and pivotally depicted by Selma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro. Ms. Hayek plays "La Reina" the cold, calculating diva of the Mexican cartel, attired in designer clothes and a million- dollar- plus diamond necklace; she is immune to guts and gore and callously uses any weapon to maintain control of her insidious, lethal empire. Mr. Del Toro, "Lado", La Reina's consigliore, is deliciously vile, wantonly diabolical, skilled, intuit in the art of interrogation; master of mean and manipulative; cruelty, self- aggrandizement, his only commandments.
John Travolta as the compromised law enforcement officer, "Dennis" is scintillating, sinful as he banters obsequiously with both sides of the drug culture; no matter his deviations, from the moral code of his profession, it is impossible not to root for him.
Frequently predictable but enough curves to hold your interest; WARNING do not leave assuming the film is complete; wait for the "Savages" to reveal themselves.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!! (SOMETIMES IT SUFFICES)