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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
I loved it.
I feel as if this review is going to evolve into a rant and so I give my readers a fair warning. I love Christopher Nolan as a filmmaker, to me he is the biggest breath of fresh air and creativity working in Hollywood today. His 'Dark Knight' trilogy took Batman and turned it into something that is fresh and daring. His Batman although just as flamboyant and loud as other comic book pictures is built upon real emotion and characters. I can see why these films have become so popular because I dare to say that audiences are seldom if not ever treated to an entertaining comic book picture that respects their intelligence.
I thought this film was a solid finish to a great trilogy. It has flaws to be sure but I really think that as a part of a united whole 'Rises' overcomes it's shortcomings and becomes an integral piece of a brilliant opus. There are excellent performances all around. And most satisfying for me is that the film delves into the greater implications of how the concept of a Batman brought Gotham into a further hell that needed a life or death stake battle to save. The picture is thrilling and never dull.
What interests me even more though is the negative backlash and flaming that has brought around this picture. People are defensive about their love of it and haters are extra loud about their hate. It is unnecessary and stupid.
Skip the shave
Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd adaptation is an interesting production to look at in terms of really delving into the intricacies and borders of where musicals and spectacles begin. The film is a grand production with a lot of flair but almost surprisingly the musical numbers seem just stylistically out of place in a way. Johnny Depp is a talented actor but I get the feeling that his musical skills were not up to par or that they were merely directed wrong in creating this character. Instead of really feeling like a musical this kind of feels like a pretentious piece of theatre.
Depp's Sweeney Todd is a boring character pure and simple. He is very static and is fixed with some really self destructive point of view the entire film. When I see any piece of dramatic narrative I want some sort of character arch and he doesn't really have one. How does this effect his singing? Well it seems that no song has weight over the other. Depp has pretty much thrown all his cards out there. We know he is insane and we know he is homicidal but these are only as good as the reason why. Why does being insane and homicidal propel you into a song at one point and not another? I think Depp is playing a caricature and a lousy one at best. I think what this film needs is a Sweeney Todd who goes on a descent into greater madness and is not foaming at the mouth like Depp is. Unfortunately, I have to think that this production is all about iconography and this might have been what hurt Depp's performance. That is what it seems to be.
Depp has always been an actor that comes up with odd voices for his characters. This Sweeney Todd character has a kind of inorganic gruffer version of Depp's voice and so that already gives a negative attribute against his singing. A choice that generally is a problem with the film is that the scale of the singing is muted and drawn back to a point where it is almost nothing more than speaking rhythmically. So, Depp just sounds like he is reciting a beat poem to music for most of his numbers. This is particularly noticeable and very disappointing in the numbers 'No Place Like London' and 'My Friends' which are supposed to be grand numbers of the show and deep insights into the character. Couple this with the fact that Depp is playing a character who pretty much only statically sings about how much he wants to slice throats and we have a problem, a very boring one dimensional musical. The music just doesn't have the weight one hopes to expect from such a storied production and an actor of the caliber of Johnny Depp.
We get a kind of boring and really pretentious musical because since the singing and acting are off most of the film is about set design and flair. When we get a bad performance from our lead Depp at the forefront of this it just makes the entire experience awkward and almost needless.
The Evil Dead (1981)
Evil Dead is a film not for people with weak stomachs. As it is very gruesome and grisly. But it has a great story,good characters,and a great lead in Bruce Campbell as Ash. Five friends go to a cabin,where they find a recording of a few passages of the Book of the Dead. It resurrects flesh possesing demons,who take over the bodies of Ash's friends. Ash must brutally dispatch them all. The film is very scary. It has some jump out of your seat moments. This isn't your typical Jason/Freddy flick,this is much more gruesome,and can be a bit disturbing at times. But I like it a lot.
Army of Darkness (1992)
The Best Horror Comedy ever made!
Evil Dead is one of the most disturbing horror movies ever made. It's perfect for a scare. Evil Dead II is another first rate horror though not as excellent as Evil Dead. Army of Darkness takes place right where Evil Dead II left off,our hero Ash is in Medevil times. He must battle the deadites,and the Necronomicon's powers again,but this time its a lot more funny. Sam Ramini has created a first rate Horror/Comedy full of loads of laughs,great action sequences,and gore. Bruce Cambpell gives the best performance of the series,as the hero Ash who just wants to go back to working at S-Mart(Shop Smart,Shop S-Marts)'s Houseware department. He must retrieve the Necronomicon again,battle the Army of Darkness,and save his girlfriends soul,but he will have his trusty Boomstick,and chainsaw hand to help him. I highly recommend Army of Darkness for a fun time
Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
I really out to go back and re-review Hellraiser. I was a little rough on it. After re-seeing it I think I liked it better,and this sequel should be called Hellraiser Part 1 II. It continues the story perfectly,we learn a lot more about the cenobites,and it gives them a human feel,and we learn how they are created. The plot adds Dr.Channard an evil doctor who is obsessed with dimensions. When he meets Kirsty our hero from the first film,he resurrects the evil step-mother Julia,the same way Frank was. Kirsty plans to go to hell to save her father,who was skinned in the first film.The Cenobites,Julia,and Frank in a small scene stand in her way. Dr.Channard also becomes a mad cenobite,who looks neat,but has silly dialog. All in all 3/4
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)
Hellraiser III totally changes the direction of the series,and turns Pinhead into the main villain. We didn't get to know much about him in the first film,because Frank Cotton was the villain. Pinhead has plans to bring Hell on Earth,and the only person that stands in his way is Joey Summerskill,a reporter who is investigating the strange happenings. Maybe I am a little too harsh on the first Hellraiser.Maybe Clive Barker's story didn't appeal to me.I seem to like this entry a bit more,no offense.We get some creative special effects,and Pinhead is very scary,and bad ass. Most of all it is more fun,and fast paced than the first Hellraiser.I have yet to see Hellbound Hellriaser II,so I'll give it a try next trip to the video store...
Hellraiser isn't a bad film,but it isn't a good one neither.The film is very strange. The plot is strange,but interesting. It tells the story of Frank Cotton,an evil man trapped inside a puzzle box from hell. His only way to return is to have the blood of people. But the title character Pinhead is after him,and his demons are after him.He doesn't get much screen time for all the fuss about him. The film is very bloody,and disgusting at times,even for a horror film fan. Though it has it's enjoyable moments. See it for fun,though be warned it isn't a slasher like film.For horror film fans only,I wouldn't recommend it to people with weak stomachs.It is okay,nothing special.It has a good story but falls short
AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)
Alien Vs Predator SPOILERS BELOW!!!
As a fan of the Alien,and Predator series I've been waiting for this film for forever.And all though it didn't become the next Alien/Aliens/Predator its a great popcorn film. We get some very fun action scenes,and great characters,all though some are not developed well enough.Chuck Weyland is my favorite you feel sorry for him. The battles between our title characters are great.The Predators,and Aliens have never looked finer. And Anderson is clearly having fun making this movie,only this time he didn't screw with the audience,like his earlier sucky movies.It makes up for a lot of the crap hes done. Alien Vs Predator though not a great film,is a fun one,and is worth the price of admission. 3/4