Written by: Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan, based on a story by David S. Goyer & Christopher Nolan, which was based in turn on characters created by Bob Kane
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman
My Advice: Don’t miss it.
Batman (Bale) has been doing a good job cleaning up the streets of Gotham. In fact, he may be doing too good a job. Or too bad a job, depending on how you look at it. The organized crime collective is getting backed into a corner. Not only do they have Batman after their asses, but a new DA, Harvey Dent (Eckhart), actually wants to clean things up. And of course, Jim Gordon (Oldman) and his crew are fighting the good fight as well. Seeing no other way to deal with the situation, they accept the assistance of a newcomer: The Joker (Ledger). Trouble is, they don’t know what they’ve unleashed.
Written by: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, based on a story by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan, based on characters created by Bob Kane
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Review: The best part of this movie wasn’t the fact that it was kickass in every way, or Heath Ledger‘s mythical performance as the Joker, and his “disappearing pencil” magic trick. It was the fact that I was sitting next to a five year old whose father obviously thought that a Batman movie would be perfectly safe for children. Ha. Chump. Now that child is traumatized forever. One more in the movie’s favor.
Time: 15 seconds (more…)
So I found this papercraft version of Howl’s Castle from Miyazaki‘s latest film. This was pointed out by the fine folks at MAKE Blog. (Update: It’s been taken down and re-found at its new home thanks to PaperKraft.)
An excellent fantasy that marks a return to coherent form over Spirited Away (of which I was one of perhaps five Miyazaki fans who didn’t dig the movie–c’est la guerre), it’s about a young woman (Emily Mortimer) who runs into the Howl (Christian Bale) of the title and winds up with a curse placed upon her by the Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall). Her quest to return to normal leads her to meet an array of fantastic characters and of course, the normal other-things you run into in a fantastical quest: danger, villains, mayhem, and hijinks. Not necessarily in that order.
While it’s nowhere near the special edition we’re sure this thing got in Japan, this Buena Vista release gives you the most important part: the movie looking damn good. There’s also a short “behind-the-mic” featurette, interviews with Pete Docter and John Lasseter, a visit by Miyazaki to Pixar Studios, trailers, and the complete storyboards of the film.
Written by John Le Carré, based on his novel
Directed by Gavin Millar
Starring Denholm Elliott, Joss Ackland, Glenda Jackson, Billie Whitelaw, David Threlfall, and Christian Bale
- Biographies and filmographies of selected cast
- John Le Carré’s biography and bibliography
Released by: A&E Home Video
Rating: NR (some violence)
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: At the very least rent it. Hard core anglophiles will want to add it to their collection
George Smiley (Elliott) has been asked to look into a letter received by a friend of his. The letter is from a Mrs. Rode who states that she is afraid that her husband is trying to kill her. However, the first phone call looking into the issue discovers the fact that she’s dead. So, Smiley and his friend Ailsa Brimley (Jackson) are off to Carne to investigate. It just so happens that the headmaster of the Carne school, Terence Fielding (Ackland), is the brother of a dead war buddy of Smiley and Brimley’s. As the investigation continues, the murders keep happening. So it’s up to Smiley, Brimley and the local constabulatory to solve the mystery.
As is the case nine times out of ten, this BBC production is filled with some amazing performances and some incredible writing. The most unfortunate part of this whole affair is that this was one of Elliott’s last performances. A quick check of IMDB shows he was active in his career up until the very end. He and Jackson play off each other very well and create a very deep relationship. Ackland is creepy as always, but he’s more than just creepy this time. He creates a rather sympathetic character with more going on that’s revealed at first. Bale is as moody as you’d expect from his work in earlier roles and he is very good with the relatively small role that he was given. Just to be clear, he’s crucial to the story, but his role is written to be rather vague on purpose.
It is also rather unfortunate that the DVD is not better than it is. The biographies provided are text-based only. Seeing as how this is a TV movie and they’re not exactly known for being laiden with bonus bits–rather, we’re just glad they’re even available–I shan’t beat A&E up too much for this. Of course, some sort of focus featurette on Elliott would have been nice, or even more information on Le Carré and adaptations of his work would have been nice. But ah well.
However, if you are looking for a good murder mystery and are into the whole British TV thing (and who isn’t?), you will definitely want to pick this one up.
Written by: David S. Goyer & Christopher Nolan, based on a story by Goyer, which was in turn based on the character created by Bob Kane
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Gary Oldman, Rutger Hauer, Katie Holmes
Review: We were all cautious about a new Batman movie, because its predecessors were below utter and complete crap (are you thinking bat-nipples? of course you are). But hey, I liked this one. They did a good job going dark, and I don’t care what any traditionalist says, the new Batmobile kicks jolly amounts of ass over the old one.
Time: 14 seconds
Written by: Richard Price, Shane Salerno & John Singleton, based on the 1971 movie written by John D.F. Black & Ernest Tidyman and the novel by Ernest Tidyman
Directed by: John Singleton
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Vanessa Williams, Richard Roundtree
My Advice: Rent it.
Police detective John Shaft (Jackson) walks onto a pretty heinous crime scene. Racist uberbastard Walter (Bale) has just caved in the skull of a young black man who talked back to Walter’s tauntings in a bar. Open and shut case, yes? Well, not quite. Walter’s the son of a VIP rich real estate mogul, and can afford lawyers and bail out the ying yang. And hey, there weren’t any witnesses…or were there?
This is a film where if you decide to take it too seriously, you will be seriously disappointed. It’s pretty much just a vehicle for Samuel “Badass” Jackson to work his magic–and work it he does. When he’s not pistol whipping drug peddlers he’s breaking the nose of Christian Bale’s character–and the fun, winking aspects of the movie (along with the action sequences) work really well. Bale himself is suitably malevolent and Wright is acting up a storm as Peoples Hernandez, the second villain of the piece–it’s just a shame that he seemed to drown in his own accent at times. Williams does reasonably well as Shaft’s police backup and Busta Rhymes does not annoy in the role of the wise-cracking driver. As for Richard Roundtree? Even as Uncle Shaft, he’s still the man.