Sunday, January 27, 2013

Movie Review - Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence

I saw a making of for this movie before it released into the theatre.  They talked about how they were doing innovative shots with hand held cameras.  After having watched the film I would translate that to mean low budget.  The film is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence.

I am certainly glad I didn't watch this film in HD.  Everything I have seen in HD makes me a touch queasy when the camera moves, pans or tilts.  This camera in this film almost never stops moving.  There are entirely too many tight shots where the film would have benefited from having a stationary camera.

While the acting was pretty good overall, even for the relatively unknown actors in the film, the poor writing and shaky cameras made this film really feel much less like a sequel to the amazing first Ghost Rider film with Nicolas Cage and more like a B-Movie rip off.  While I will admit I liked some of the special effects in this film better, effects alone don't make a movie.  In fact given the overall poor quality of the script I'm surprised that Nicolas Cage even agreed to be in this film.

There was a really bad scene where you first see Ghost Rider.  He rides into the middle of a gang of bad guys and takes his sweet ass time getting off his motorcycle and stands there posing while the bad guys stare at him.  Perhaps you should, I don't know, kill them or something.  It gets worse, once he manages to get his hands on one of the bad guys he proceeds to do what appears to be the penance stare in this close up shot with the bad guy.  What it feels like is Ghost Rider's attempt to kill the guy with his bad breath.  The scene is just way too long, kudos to the actor playing the bad guy for his performance, however he should have died much sooner.  Not to mention if he was performing the penance stare his eyes never turned all ashen like in the first movie.

The film goes on in pretty much this same manner, there is no real transition between any of the scenes.  It feels like the location scout said, "Hey I found all these cool locations" and the writers said "hey, lets write a reason for them to go there into the story."  In the end I just wanted the film to be over.  Who cares if the bad guys wins just put me out of my misery.

Near the end of the film there is a chase scene just as the sun is starting to rise.  Of course you are expecting that the Ghost Rider will be banished by the light.  They film it all dramatic like the good guy are going to lose, yet  Ghost Rider walks out into the daylight and chases after the bad guy on his bike.  Did I miss something? I'm pretty sure that Ghost Rider cannot ride in the daylight.  They established this in the first film, and even hint at it in the beginning of this film.  Apparently shooting a cool scene is more important then sticking to the rules of your own universe.

If you are a sucker for super hero movies and you don't mind a sub par flick then this might just be for you.  While I did enjoy a few scenes, and there were a few special effects that were really well done, this is just a case where the sum of the parts does not make the whole great. 

I rate this film three smiley Mike heads, it wasn't great, but I have seen much worse films.  Perhaps you should watch this film first and then the original, you will be much less disappointed that way.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Movie review - The Dark Knight Rises

It has been six movies and over a month since my last post to my movie review blog.  I figured if the Dark Knight could rise, so could Baatezuu, to write a review for this film.  The movie of course is The Dark Knight Rises.

This film truly tells a story, it is not simply a bunch of spectacular action scenes tied together with a thin string like other superhero movies have been.  Like The Dark Knight before it this film feels much longer than it really is.  There is so much going on that you really feel like you are living through it with the characters.  This film however doesn't have the same creepy overtone that The Dark Knight seemed to have.  Christopher Nolan has done an amazing job throughout this trilogy making the mythos of Batman believable, and fresh.  The story really comes to life on screen for all of us to experience.

The acting is amazing, Christian Bale's performance as Bruce Wayne is phenomenal, he really brings an emotional pain to the character.  Christian's performance as Batman was pretty good as well.  This is a hard feat to accomplish too, others have tried in the past and only one has succeeded in playing both roles equally well.  Batman actually has more dialogue in this movie than any of the other films in this trilogy.

The always beautiful Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (Catwoman).  Not the person that I would have expected them to cast in this role; however she was amazing in her performance.  She brought a great strength to the character that was really needed to make her feel genuine.  She was the yin to Batman's yang, willing to do what he wasn't to get the job done.  Her moral flexibility certainly made Selina a much darker character then Batman was.  In the end of the film she felt much like the character of Han Solo in Star Wars.  Not used to playing as a team, and conflicted between doing what's right and saving herself.

There is such a strong cast of supporting characters in this film.  Their stellar performances really draws you into the film and make you feel like you are apart of the city.  My short list of amazing actors is as follows; Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordan; Tom Hardy as Bane; Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox; Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake; and Michael Caine as Alfred.  The actors in this list were simply fabulous at portraying their characters in a believable and realistic fashion.  The emotion they put into their roles was well worth watching.

Unlike the last time we saw Bane on the big screen, this character was very much a proper villain.  Plotting, scheming, and even outsmarting Batman along the way.  This film really does the character of Bane justice on the big screen.

The costumes of course were amazing.  I was perhaps most impressed with that of Selina Kyle's cat burglar costume.  You can tell that much thought was put into its creation.  Sexy but functional, it was never too revealing but every part seemed to serve a purpose, right down to her heels that she was wearing.  She had goggles on that when flipped back on top of her head looked very much like cat ears.  I found this to be a very clever trick of the costume.  Considering this trilogy has seemed to completely rethink things like the Batman costume and vehicles this only seems fitting for Catwoman.

This film has seemed to really expand on the events of the last two movies in a truly unexpected way.  This really neatly tied up the story arc while simultaneously leaving things open for the imagination to wander in new directions.  Christopher Nolan is a true master of his art, having co-authored the screenplay with his brother Jonathan Nolan, produced, and directed this film.

I rate this film five out of five smiley Mike heads.  If you are at all interested in superhero movies, or if you simply like a good action movie, then this one is for you.