The latest Geek Life podcast is up: Episode 160: “You Obviously Didn’t Grow Up Catholic.” In a big shocker, we talk about Batman!
My friend Rachel has had a challenging year. Her mother is fighting renal cancer, and will likely not be around much longer. Her neice, to whom Rachel is very close, was best friends with one of the girls murdered in River Falls, WI a few week ago. On top of that (on a much happier, yet no less stressful note), she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy named Sagan.
Rachel and Sagan live in Portland, Oregon. Rachel’s mother lives in Wisconsin. Rachel’s mother has never met Sagan, and her illness has entered the stage where she might never get the chance to do so. Cash is very tight, so Rachel is unable to foot the bill of travel costs alone.
Please help Sagan meet his grandma! Even a few dollars will help. The donation page and the full story can be found here.
Over the last week, I happened to see two new films that shared some interesting ground: Brave and Beasts of the Southern Wild. Both films are led by strong-willed, female children, in an age where American filmmaking still seems to struggle with the concept of a female lead. They are very interesting companion pieces as well as simply being decent films, so I recommend catching both, if possible.
(The discussion below is spoiler-free, so feel free to proceed if you haven’t seen one or either film.)
I’ll begin with the film you’re more likely to have seen already.
Brave is the tale of a young girl, Merida, who is the princess of a Celtic warrior clan. She is headstrong, uninterested in girly things, and skilled in archery. When her family proposes she choose a suitor for a future husband, she is completely uninterested. The plot goes from there.
Thanks to Fes Works and Twin Cities Comics, I got to see Christopher Nolan’s latest flick, The Dark Knight Rises, on Wednesday night. I expect most of you already have plans (and possibly) to see this movie, but that won’t stop me from giving my Completely Unsolicited Opinions upon it.
There has been a lot of fan rage recently about good reviews and bad reviews, mostly coming from people who haven’t even seen the film yet. So here’s my curveball:
It was okay.
Seeing it in the theater is an undeniable thrill, because this is a BIG movie. The plot, cityscapes, and thematic scope are all BIG. Epic is an overused word these days, but here it fits in a proper sense. This is an epic closure to the series.
It’s also really dark and grumbly. I’m fine with dark and grumbly stuff, but the film doesn’t seem to be much fun. In fact, the main characters have gotten so dark and grumbly, that I far preferred watching the plot aspects that didn’t involve Batman or Bane. The dark streak served the previous two films well, but you also got a sense of fun from those films. This one is pretty humorless.
Bane is a pretty uninteresting character, and Tom Hardy is lost behind the face-covering mask. I think the biggest flaw of this final trilogy entry is the fact that the villain isn’t very dynamic. At no point in the film, did I sit up and say, “Wow, this is an amazing moment.” The film was a series of very competent moments, but I didn’t feel transcended beyond the film. The Dark Knight, by comparison, was fuelled by a legendary performance from Heath Ledger, and thus yielded many truly iconic scenes.
There are some nice little bits in the latter third of the movie, mostly involving supporting characters that you may or may not have expected to turn up. One bit actually drew an audible cheer from the audience.
There are some nice story elements. There are a couple truly boneheaded things about the script. The way the ending tied up made me wanting to see more of that world, but I didn’t really want to know more about the one I just watched.
TO IMAX OR NOT TO IMAX?
I often get questions about which format certain films should be seen in, given that ticket prices are expensive enough without 3D or IMAX thrown in.