Batman Begins (90%)

Batman Begins (90%)

The death of Bruce Wayne… the conception of something bigger, something iconic, something that can’t be destroyed or corrupted … the birth of Batman.

 BeginsThis film brilliant portrays how the rich billionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) decides to face the corruption and criminality that is running rife in the city of Gotham City after the murder of his parents. Before he can stand up to mob bosses and the corrupt law-men, he must first train and face his own fears. Fears that stem from a childhood accident. Fears that also take him back to the night of his parents murder.

Trained and guided by the secret society ‘The League of Shadows’, Bruce learns how to use ninjitsu, theatrics and fear as tools and weapons. He learns to be invisible even in plain site. He learns the skills to take on numerous foes single handily.

After a conflict of ethics with the League, Bruce leaves the order and returns to Gotham to find that the years away has been very rough on the city. The city is now in a worse position than ever imaginable. The poor are without hope while the rich are corrupt and self-centred. Even the company Bruce’s father built has been turned into a weapons manufacturer.

By reinstating himself into Wayne Enterprise, Bruce teams up with ‘experimental science’ overseer Mr Fox (Morgan Freeman). This loyal friend of Bruce’s father allows Bruce to ‘borrow’ some of the Wayne Enterprises more far-fetched products (items that later become Bat-suit, his gadgets and the Bat-mobile).

With the help of good cop Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), Batman sets to work fixing Gotham. Investigating and taking down the big crime boss of the city unearths a larger plan at work. A plan to reduce Gotham to ruins, a plan to cleanse the city, a plan that is almost already at fruition.

Can the Wayne family save Gotham? No

Can Batman? Just possibly

This film brilliantly portrays the billionaires transition to detective / vigilante and hero of Gotham. It’s genuinely quite dark and scary in places (namely scenes with the villain Scarecrow) although Bale, Freeman and Caine do have the occasional line in conversations to lighten the atmosphere and make you chuckle.

The scarecrow is psychotic and deranged, played chillingly perfect by Cillian Murphy.

It shows how Bruce must make decisions and sacrifices to turn Gotham around. He must drag the prestigious family name through dirt. He must put loved ones in the way of danger. He must being hunted by the people he is trying to save.

This film is probably in my top 3 films and I can’t recommend it enough. The story, script, setting, music, characters and actors are all near flawless. Plus in hindsight this is ‘sequelled’ by The Dark Knight… what a brilliant combo of two films

A must watch by anyone and everyone.

The 5 Best Films of 2012

The 5 Best Films of 2012

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Well it’s nearly the end of 2012 and the cinemas are pretty much closed for business for another calendar year.

I thought I’d take some time to look over the best 5 films I caught at the cinema this year. If someone wants to sponsor me in 2013 to watch and review even more films… I won’t say no!

Hopefully you’ll agree about at least some of these movies. In no specific order the best 5 films of 2012 are:

The Grey

The Grey with Liam Neeson

A plane crash in the Arctic leaves a crew of oil-workers stranded with little means of rescue. Unprepared for extreme cold, injured and without basic supplies – the forecast for their survival looks as bleak as the snow-covered landscape. Shortly before nightfall, the seven survivors realise the temperature and injuries are the least of their worries, as they’ve crashed in the centre of an Arctic wolf hunting area.

Carnivorous eating machines stalk and pick them off, can they find shelter or a way to survive the wolves? Can they even survive their hostile group of lowlife’s and criminals.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and Liam Neeson’s performance is as strong as it can be. The other members of the group also put in great performances, inspiring emotions of hatred and compassion at the right times.

Definitely worth a watch, although perhaps avoid if you’re planning a trip to the Arctic!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

 in The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyPerhaps the biggest film of the 2012; The first third of the Hobbit trilogy!

Most of us have seen at least one film of The Lord of the Rings films but An Unexpected Journey tells us of how a reluctant Bilbo originally came to own the almighty one ring. With a cast full of Dwarves, as well as Gandalf the Gray, the party of amateur adventurers start on one of the most perilous and important adventures to ever take place in Middle Earth.

Their mission is to reclaim a great lost city of Dwarves, taken by the fire-breathing Smaug dragon. The Lonely Mountain lays full of Dwarven gold and guarded by the beast that forced their ancestors from their empire. Can a bunch of fiery and high-spirited Dwarves really take back the mountain?

Although its long at almost 3 hours, and perhaps a touch on the slow side to begin with, once the action arrives its relentless until the end. Of course the end isn’t actually the end, it’s just a set up for the 2nd film, but you don’t feel cheated of your money.

With a lot of action, sparingly used 3D effects to complement beautiful scenes, and quite a bit of humour, this is a great film.

Sir Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Andy Serkis (Gollum) and all the others really make this film, with solid performances. Not to mention the spectacular visual effects that fill this film from the moment it starts.

In fact it’s so good, I’m off to see it again at the cinema, only days after watching it the first time. A cinema first for me I think.

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises - Its been some time since Gotham City got its new night-time, black clad saviour. However times are changing.

Bane, a new super terrorist, has emerged to bring Gotham back to its knees. What’s worse is Bane has also turned the cities populous against themselves. More daring and more deadly than Batman ever could be, how can our favourite Bat face up against this new foe.

One of the biggest and most anticipated films of 2012, it should be no surprising that this film made it into the list. Perhaps a touch too long, but then so much happens in it how could you remove any of the scenes.

I’m a massive fan of Christian Bale (Batman) and Tom Hardy (Bane) films, both of them put in epic performances again in this new film classic.

Skyfall

 Skyfall with James Bond is back and this time he’s not entirely playing by MI6’s rules. Left to die out on a mission, Bond is less than pleased with the agency and country he’s tried so hard to protect.

Now the United Kingdom is under attack, specifically MI6 and M (Judi Dench) herself.

Washed up, ragged and out of the loop – can Bond even get his clearance back, let alone stop the terrorist Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem).

From China to Scotland, quite a few different locations pop up in this great film, including the bizarre Battleship Island off of Japan’s coast.

Perhaps one of the best films I’ve seen, the plot to Skyfall is both engaging as well as secretive and twisted. The trailers I saw left half of the film completely unknown to me, which was brilliant and rather refreshing. Daniel Craig‘s rough-edged version of Bond is my favourite rendition of this character, being more true to how I think a highly strung yet still emotional engaged spy could be.

Definitely worth a watch. Definitely worth a Blu-Ray purchase too!

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games with Jennifer LawrenceIn a dystopian future a realm of 12 districts put forward a pair of lottery chosen people to fight in a brutal series of televised survival matches, ‘The Hunger Games’. The games were derived for part entertainment purposes, mainly for the wealthy Capitol population, and part retribution of a past rebellion uprising. Allowing no-one to forget that the Capitol control everything in the 12 districts – from life to death itself.

Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) nominates herself as the female participant for her district when her younger sister is original chosen by lottery. From the poorest of the districts, Katniss teams up with her male district counterpart to challenge not only the other contestants, but the very nature of the games themselves.

This film was probably the one I was least expecting to like. I saw the trailers and couldn’t help but think they’d just taken the powerful Japanese film of Battle Royale and slapped Hollywood all over it. Added a blatant romance plot line, removed the 18-certificate hard-hitting graphical realism and weaved in an ending that you could see coming from the first 15 minutes.

Well to be honest the ending shouldn’t really come as a surprise, but this film was well shot and reasonably well scripted. It also has a great cinematography feel to it, with strong resemblance in both footage and style to world war 2 POW films. Perhaps the most important sign it was a great film was the fact it inspired such deep conversations among our group immediately after viewing it. I don’t think any of us were expecting to be debating society or worldly morals – but we sure did afterwards.

2012 Movie Summary

Looking back, I think it was a fantastic year at the cinemas. From desolate Arctic suspense to horrific dystopian societies, it was quite a mix! The only major let down I thought, was the Alien prequel Prometheus. Perhaps it was an okay film by itself, but the fact it was meant to be part of the amazing Alien franchise, it fell significantly short in my eyes.

How about you though?

What one film would you add to this mix if you could?

Perhaps you rated the action packed Avengers or fairy-tale Snow White and the Huntsman higher?

Let me know, I’ll definitely need some DVD inspiration in 2013