anne hathaway

[Mega Movie Review] Catching Up on 2017

13886469_1267046413328617_7042198926381498825_nBusy time of year folks, so apologies to anyone who actually looks forward to my latest reviews. I didn’t want everything I’ve seen to fall by the wayside, so here are some brief thoughts on everything I’ve seen so far in 2017 but haven’t had time to sit down and put full write ups on. Sit back relax and “enjoy” some candid hot takes on these 2017 releases!

Kong: Skull Island – Come for the star studded cast then shove them aside for the awesome creature fights. Kong is visually impressive, but it lacks humanity in a pretty comical way. The characters very much feel like empty shells taking us from one place to another to be bait for the eventual breathtaking spectacle of the Kong fights. In spite of the lack of characters to hang your hat on this was still a pretty tremendous and crowd pleasing theater experience. Rating: B+

Gifted – Sort of let this one get lost in the shuffle. This is a very understated film. There was almost no marketing push and it just sort of appeared in theaters with little to no fanfare. If its still out there though, get out and see it. I could have used a little more closure for some of the relationships and perhaps a little more emotion out of Chris Evans’ character, but this has been the most affective dramas so far this year that also happens to have a pretty delightful sense of humor. Rating: A- (more…)


Movie Review: Interstellar

interstellar_posterI suppose it was only a matter of time Christopher Nolan would come out with a movie, I’d see that movie,  I’d not completely fall in love with it and not want to immediately see it again. I’m the guy who still loves THE DARK KNIGHT RISES in spite of the fact that it’s my least favorite of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. I will still claim INCEPTION as one of my absolute favorite movies. I often won’t go to bat that Nolan’s movies are the best that have ever been made, but for my tastes specifically they fall perfectly into place. And then there’s INTERSTELLAR, a movie that should hit that proverbial sweet spot for me- Nolan, science fiction, drama and Anne Hathaway. So what went wrong? Well, before I get ahead of myself let me clarify that I did not hate this movie, but so far in the Nolan canon (granted it will take a few more viewings to say indefinitely), it’s very close to my least favorite.

The film begins in a non-disclosed future where the Earth and its inhabitants are in a real struggle. Farmer’s are Earth’s most valuable profession as the food supply is dangerously thin and the farmer’s struggle to keep crops alive. Violent dust storms roll in and eventually wreak havoc on people’s lungs. School curriculum trashes human exploration and only a certain percentage of kids are even allowed to go to college- the rest are designated farmer status. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is one of those farmers with a scientist’s brain who hates his profession. Cooper’s son is well on his way to taking over the family business while his daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy), has her father’s curious nature. Murph clues her father in on a strange gravity anomaly in her room which leads them to coordinates to a facility in the middle of nowhere that turns out to be the defunct remains of NASA. The folks there have secretly been carrying out space explorations in search of a planet that can facilitate human life. Naturally Cooper has history with NASA and is then recruited to pilot a crew to the many planets other explorers have been staking out. (more…)

Last Call Spoilers: The Dark Knight Rises


Last Call Spoilers is a post on which I talk about a movie- usually a current release- where I go in-depth to describe every book and cranny of the film and attempting to leave no stone unturned. This edition of Spoiler Corner might be a bit different as I discuss the spoilers of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES- different only because I’m not going to start at the beginning and go through every plot beat of the film and instead I’m going to spend a moment summarizing the biggest spoilers in reference to my initial predictions about the film and then talk in a more detailed way about what I liked or God forbid didn’t like about the film.

Before we get too far into the discussion, I want to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends affected by the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado during the midnight screening of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. I’ve read more than I care to about the monster responsible and hope for nothing more than swift justice and feel the guy deserves anything bad thing coming to him. I’ve had a chance to read about all the last acts of heroism on the part of several victims that moved me to no end and the reports coming out are heartbreaking and incredible. It is a sad day where something that is there to bring us all hours of joy and escapism can also be the setting for something so tragic and even sadder when our enthusiasm for the art form can be exploited by the seriously disturbed for seemingly no logical reason. I would hate to see this tragedy dim the light and passion of those involved and if any that has been affected happens to see this, know that as someone who attended a midnight screening you have nothing but my deepest sympathies and I hope that you all find peace as quickly as possible from this senseless tragedy. It could have happened to any number of us that ventured out that night and know that even though those of us in other locations were not there, we all suffer collectively with you (though most can’t possibly fathom the depth of your personal losses).

On with the spoilers…

So if you want to remain unspoiled about THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, first off why did you click on a link that features the word spoiler and second how have you gotten this far in a post that clearly states the word spoiler several times to this point. You now have no excuse to still be reading so from this point on, let the spoilers fly.

I wrote a few weeks before release about what to expect from THE DARK KNIGHT RISES- or what I was expecting and anticipated seeing just how right I was going to be. At this point I am both excited and only slightly discouraged to say, I told you so. Excited because few moments in my life as a married man can I literally say I was right about something, but discouraged because if I can call some of the plot beats that means a lot of other people probably could too- plus I’m not even well versed in everything involving Batman from the comics- it also means that a few things didn’t come as big of a surprise that me and many others would probably like.

So what was I right about, well here’s the main things- Bane being a member of the League of Shadows, Marion Cotillard’s character actually being Talia Al Ghul and Bane being her tool for destruction, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character possibly taking over as Batman or maybe being revealed as Robin and the possibility that Batman would be killed off. All of these things happen in some form or another. Some of them hit harder than others and I have my issues with some of it, but for me, I refuse to let minor nitpicks drag down an otherwise phenomenal experience.

I would like to start the more detailed discussion off with Bane as played by Tom Hardy. The thing about Bane approaching this movie is just how he would stack up to Heath Ledger’s Joker from THE DARK KNIGHT. I will preface everything I’m about to say by first pointing out that I believe that even Nolan knew he could not replace Ledger or have lightning strike twice- so what I feel he did essentially with Bane was take the Joker character and reverse almost everything about him. I feel that Bane as a character anchors the first two thirds of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES just like the Joker, but their differences are also what make their respective movies work. I loved Hardy’s performance, though I don’t think it’s quite the Oscar caliber performance Ledger gave- this comes mostly due to the fact that he spends the whole movie with more than half of his face covered in a mask and that you can’t always tell how much of the performance comes in the moment during the scene and what has been enhanced or added ADR since it is blatantly obvious adjustments were made to make Bane easier to understand.

Bane much like the Joker is psychotic and both have levels of intelligence, but what where Joker lacks the physical aspect as a foe to Batman, Bane more than compensates for. However, what Bane lacks is the sheer unpredictable nature of Joker’s psychosis and Bane is unflinching in his efforts to destroy Gotham based on a meticulous plan that has been over a decade in the making by Talia. The biggest thing that took Bane from being an extremely intimidating force was by making him the lesser of two evils in the overall plan and making Talia the mastermind- rendering him mostly as a goon that simply is pointed in a direction and he executes. It doesn’t necessarily negate his physical presence in the first half of the film especially in that first fight with Batman where he just owns Batman and breaks his back, but sort of feels like he is then second wheel in the last act and then removed completely when Selina Kyle/Catwoman straight up murders him- or so it seems

The last thing I want to say as Bane is that say what you will about the voice, but I personally loved it. The muffled sound combined with the accent and the way that is sticks out so distinctly from everyone else I found incredibly effective. It works to single out his character the same way that the Joker’s strange and deranged manner of speaking did in THE DARK KNIGHT- because without it, he could have easily been written off as generic British sounding buff bad guy, where his backstory and headgear give him the intimidating look and presence. Aside from the voice, Hardy does a lot with just his eyes and body language ranging from just a relaxed “I’m not scared of anything” look, anger and then something of a crazed disgust when he’s giving the speech about corruption in Gotham. I again won’t say it’s Oscar worthy and doesn’t hit the absolute brilliance of Ledger, but it’s close and I find it nearly as memorable.

Some of the only other complaints I have about the film have to do with the editing and how time is conveyed, but doesn’t harm the film overall to me as I was eventually able to catch myself up and find ways to connect the plot without it being layer out for me. I also have some issues with the way Talia is set up and revealed- I called it before the release, but I feel like it was telegraphed pretty easily during the film so the reveal itself wasn’t near as shocking. Showing the scar on her back when “Miranda” and Bruce were in the nude after conducting hanky panky by fireside was a pretty stark hint at showing this character might be more than she appears. It may very well be a calculated move and that the reveal is supposed to be known by the audience so that we are then screaming at the screen for Batman to not turn his back on her before she stabs him- I don’t know for sure, but that’s my take on it and also why it just doesn’t bother me like it does everyone else. I also feel like the telegraph of her possibly being Talia is there to serve the fact that with all the new characters it was hard to get a lot of her character in the film to flesh her out so the rushed romance and scar reveal is the compromise Nolan basically had to make in order to get the finale to where it has to go.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES also hints several times how it isn’t hard for some people to connect Bruce Wayne to Batman as is evident in the John Blake character. So for me the whole film has tension that hinges on his identity falling apart altogether especially since Bane knows Bruce’s identity, Selina Kyle finds it out and of course Batman giving Gordon the hint and Gordan finally putting it together. In many ways Batman/Bruce Wayne seemingly giving his life by flying the bomb over the water is just a pitch perfect way to end the legend of Batman. Of course it is revealed quickly that Bruce survived because he fixed the autopilot feature in the Bat and fulfills Alfred’s wish of seeing him happy with a girl, Selina Kyle. I couldn’t have been more satisfied by that ending.

Now on to the John Blake character, which it is revealed that his first name is actually Robin in the end, was a nice nudge to fans- though I’m so happy he didn’t ever suit up and fight side by side with Batman. Instead, the ambiguous nature of all the set ups leading to seeing Bruce still alive leave hope for the future. There appears to be confusion that Gordon replaced the Bat signal in the end, but the way I read it was that Bruce replaced it with the intention that Blake was going to take his place- which to pat myself on the back once more I also speculated before the release. There is a line that Batman says to Blake saying that he needs to wear a mask in order to protect his family and loved ones- then there’s a moment of realization when Blake watches Batman fly away with the bomb and sees it explode and he then takes off his badge and throws it away. He then retrieves a bag and finds the entrance to Bruce’s Batcave- if none of that adds up to Batman/Bruce basically handing the reins to Blake I don’t know how else to clear it up for you. I don’t think Nolan is setting you up to think Blake will now be Robin, but instead just a set up for Night Wing- his name being Robin I feel is just a way to get the name recognition into the series.

I can agree that the film wants the audience to take some massive leaps of faith in terms of storytelling, time jumps and suspension of disbelief, but they are all leaps I was more than willing to take. The storytelling because in the 8 year gap we miss the development of Miranda into Bruce’s life when she helps to finance the tech that is then turned into a nuclear weapon, Bruce’s ability to fall so in love with Miranda in such a short period of time and trust her with control over his company and the fusion device and the extent in which Bane and company are able to seemingly make and place all these explosive devices all over the city. Suspension of disbelief comes from the creation and placement of the bombs and how some people seem to connect the Bruce Wayne/Batman dots easily and others just can’t or don’t care to, plus why Bruce continues to talk in Batman raspy voice to Blake even though Blake already knows who he is. The time gaps in addition to the initial 8 years since THE DARK KNIGHT are the amount of time from the initial plane heist, emergence of Bane in Gotham to when he finally blows up the stadium, activates the bomb to when Batman heals, returns and flies it out of harm’s way. There is never a time it tells you on screen how much time has passed, but if you pay attention time frames are expressed and it’s up to the audience to put them together.

Now getting into some of my favorite moments in the film- I really loved the first fight between Bane and Batman where absolutely no score is used. That scene is nothing but sound effects of two dudes throwing and landing fists leading up to the moment where Bane gloriously utters the line about wondering what of Batman/Bruce he would break first- his spirit or his body- before promptly breaking shit out of Batman’s back and pounding his face until the cowl breaks off. That whole fight I was in glee and even a little disturbed by the brutality Bane displayed when he was pounding Batman’s face as he was basically unconscious.

The biggest set piece of the film minus the final battle is the explosion on the football field. The lead up is fantastic even though if anyone saw the trailer, most knew it was coming, but what I wasn’t expecting was that all the explosions you see in the trailer happen simultaneously- including the bridges. The CGI there wasn’t as seamless as in Nolan’s previous films, but looked pretty damn good. It was also really cool to take that all in context since we got a snippet of Bane’s dialogue to the crowd in a spy video well before the release so seeing it all come together was pretty spectacular.

The final battle improved on what I didn’t love about THE DARK KNIGHT. I loved how escalated the stakes were for the film and overall how it was shot. I didn’t care for the entirety of the final battle against the Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT and the only aspects I enjoyed were the two boats deciding if they were going to blow each other up and the hostages dressed up like bad guys. The Bat sonar and darkness of the fighting kind of ruined that part of the finale and the actual abbreviated fight between Batman and Joker felt weak. Here there is just an all out war with Batman fighting with the cops against the thugs Bane has converted to his side and it was all just awesome to see in spite of some shaky editing.

I want to end on two other sequences that I enjoyed- one on a spectacle level and the other on an emotional level. The emotional scene is when Bruce is working toward healing his back and making the climb in the “Hell on Earth” prison Bane leaves him in when Bruce says he’s not afraid but angry and he’s continually failing at the climb. The moments leading up to his successful trek to the top I found to be absolutely triumphant and emotionally satisfying even if you knew he was going to make it and then his heroic return to Gotham when Gordon lights the flair that then ignores the Bat logo in flames to signal to Bane and his army that he was back perfectly capped those sequences. The spectacle scene I am referring to, though there are many is the scene where the Bat is dodging the missiles shot at it- though I didn’t see my screening at an IMAX I can imagine how awe inspiring that sequence is because I just loved it on a regular screen. Side note though, I do intend to see this again on an IMAX screen before too long.

I think for now that’s a about all I have to say as far as spoilers and discussion go. There’s been a lot of flack given for negative reviews on the film and all I have to say to anyone bummed about negative reviews is that the only opinion that matters is your own. Do not let someone else tell you what you like and definitely to not let someone else’s opinion drive you to the point of sending death threats- nobody wins in those situations. From what I can tell, expectations have been every viewer’s common enemy- the only advice I can give is to keep them in check because if you come out not liking it saying your expected more then what I will say to you is that its you’re expectations that let you down, not the film. It may not be the popular opinion, but always expecting something to be better than it actually is, ends with disappointment more than it doesn’t.

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)


It’s been four long years waiting for Christopher Nolan’s return to Gotham City. A wait that has held in the balance where exactly he would take the series in the wake of Heath Ledger’s death and rather or not the expectations could possibly be met without the vice grip of a villain like the Joker to anchor the film. THE DARK KNIGHT set an incredibly high bar for comic book movies and in my opinion if anyone was up to the task it would be Nolan. So then, was Nolan able to follow up the masterful THE DARK KNIGHT with the concluding chapter in his series, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES? Read on to find out.

The film takes place 8 years after the events in THE DARK KNIGHT, where Batman shoulders the blame for the actions of Harvey Dent/Two-Face and has exiled himself. While Batman’s absence is obvious due to the allegations, the man behind the mask, Bruce Wayne, has also secluded himself from the world. Wayne still sulks about the loss of Rachel and has also let his company slide into financial trouble. Meanwhile, a new madman, Bane (Tom Hardy) has his sights on breaking Gotham into rubble and has forces Wayne’s hand to once again dawn the cape and cowl to attempt to take control of the city from Bane’s grip.

Wow, that was my first reaction, not necessarily to how incredible the film is, but first and foremost about the amount of story and set up this film has to sift through in order to come up with a finale and ending that does indeed invoke the wow factor. A handful of new characters that all have quite a bit to contribute to the plot, so much so that I can easily see how overwhelming and seemingly clunky it all can seem. During the extremely deliberate buildup I too had my worries about everything tying itself up, but in my opinion it all comes to an incredibly satisfying end, one that justifies its slow plodding first hour or so and rewards those who have patience. For some, I have no doubt it will test their limits of patience as well as how well hearing is due to some of the audio for Bane’s character.

If you’ve seen the film and are reading this and are livid about how much of the story I’ve left out of the premise, it is for good reason. For all the marketing material it felt like maybe we had seen far too much of the film. I am here to say that most of everything in those trailers is only the tip of the iceberg. I wrote about and speculated what may be going on in the film and while I did call out a few things that I’m sure a lot of other people probably also deducted, I also couldn’t have possibly predicted all of the different plot points and turns it takes throughout as well as the final hour. This is an extremely ambitious film and any suspected flaws in its storytelling might hinder certain folk’s enjoyment, it did not deter me at all- this film had me riveted from beginning to end.

Not to be outdone in creating a formidable foe for Batman, Tom Hardy as Bane really does command the screen. His presence is undeniable and in a moment where he asks a to-be victim if he really believes he is in control it is almost like Nolan asserting his own control over the audience. Bane is most certainly am overwhelming force that really makes you fear for the well being of Batman, let alone anyone else in his path. Hardy owns the role in a way that couldn’t be more different from Ledger’s role as Joker. Theatricality is what separates them, which is something Bane audibly voices his displeasure of and because of that and his physical presence and sheer brute force is almost just as memorable as the Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT. Bane’s voice will no doubt be a point of contention and I will admit to having trouble understanding every single word- but man oh man when he speaks does it resonate and demand attention. The dread and intimidation I felt at his presence was really what started to endear me to the whole experience.

So what of all those other huge names that returned or were added to the cast? Well in fear of giving away too much for how involved they are in the plot, I will keep it vague. Bale is just as good as in the previous films, although now people will have all sorts of new jokes to spout off in the gravely Batman voice. Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine all do their part well enough, but it’s the newbies that had the bigger question marks. Anne Hathaway is surprisingly great, given I wasn’t excited one bit about the idea of Catwoman in Nolan’s Batman universe- plus she’s never once referred to as Catwoman, but she is Selina Kyle after all. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a great actor and with all the mystery surrounding his role does a great job of bridging some of the emotional arcs surrounding Bruce Wayne and Batman. Finally, Marion Cotillard- used little in the marketing, is perfectly adequate, though I don’t feel like she’s fleshed out well enough- then again that may very well have been the point.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES once again makes incredible use of a thumping score that make all the action scenes pop and create a tense and exciting tone that really takes hold for the last half of the film. Nolan again makes scarce use of CGI, but when he does they look phenomenal and nearly seamless. The film is overall just shot magnificently, with shot after shot of beautiful cinematography, wonderful set pieces and action that has improved quite a bit since BATMAN BEGINS.

I’m not here to sell anyone on the idea of the perfect movie- or to defend any type of bias I have to the franchise. I am here to do one thing and that’s express my opinion on how well this film worked for me and how it made me feel. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is a near perfect end to a legend that is more emotionally satisfying and groundbreaking than any other comic book franchise I’ve seen to date. Christopher Nolan has put together a film that’s so ambitious and epic in scope that some may not be able to stomach the immense buildup and storytelling. In the end, when everything comes crashing down and the dust settles THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is dark, emotional and incredibly heroic.

Rating: A

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer Breakdown

Lots and lots of news, chatter, rumors and speculation about many things involving the highly anticipated THE DARK KNIGHT RISES lately. Topics ranging from casting, possible characters in regards to casting, villain talk, trailer premieres, poster reveals and poster controversy; one thing’s for certain, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is a hot topic with lots of fan interest twisting in the stirring maelstrom. This post will address everything I’ve followed to this point and my opinion/breakdown of what I know…or as you’ll see, don’t know.

Cast & Characters
I don’t even want to pretend to know if any character will or will not be a supplemental villain or catalyst of some sort, rather or not Batman will die or have some very tragic end of any kind or if the new Bane will be embarrassingly bad. I have complete faith in Nolan and as long as Bane’s character is anything more than “URRGH BANE SMASH” type dialogue as in BATMAN & ROBIN then I have no worries. I love Tom Hardy and I believe the film will be of very high quality even if it doesn’t come to surpass THE DARK KNIGHT.

I really like the teaser poster. It has shades of TDK’s poster with the Batman logo in flames on a building with Batman standing beneath and even shades of the fan posters. I have ZERO reaction to any of the claims as to if the poster copies any other poster in the movie universe, because I do not care. This is a poster for an entirely different movie, I see a Batman logo with falling debris from fractured buildings, and I don’t see morphing robots or a title card that says INCEPTION. Even if I were to admit or care about similarities it doesn’t matter because this is a THE DARK KNIGHT RISES poster and nothing more, so just like it or don’t on that merit alone.

Teaser Trailer
This is the biggest piece of recent news for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and the most surprising for me, because I never expected to see any footage for this movie a year away from the release. I realize TDK had footage well before the release, but given the success that film had going into this release I wasn’t expecting anything footage/trailer wise for quite some time.

The truths of my reaction are that the footage did not completely blow me away; I do love it though. Nothing in this trailer hits the spot in me that makes me double over in excitement that the first Joker footage gave me, but there is quite a bit here that gives me goosebumps.

The beginning of the teaser is little more than footage that looks similar to that of images from BATMAN BEGINS along with dialogue Liam Neeson gave from that film with text indicating every hero has a beginning and an end. From there we see Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) lying on a hospital bed on his side seemingly in a lot of pain basically begging who we can only assume is Bruce Wayne to bring Batman back. This begs the question that apparently Gordon now knows Bruce is Batman? Also, we assume that Bruce will hang up the suit at some point or perhaps right from the beginning and will be pushed back into action with the powerful threat of Bane now terrorizing the city.

From here Gordon says Batman must come back, followed by a blurry image of Bane and then a much clearer image of him starring into the camera, wearing what looks like a leather jacket. Then we see the teaser poster image with actual falling debris as it zooms in until the screen is completely white and the title card fades in. The final shot of the trailer is an awesome and brief glimpse of Batman backing away and getting into a weak fighting position as Bane lumbers in from the left side of the screen and then cuts to text that indicates we will see the end of the Batman legend.

I’ve watched the trailer over and over, but specifically the last shot trying to soak every inch of it in as I possibly can. I kept wishing I could see more of Bane, more of whoever that is standing in the background of the right hand side of the screen, but more importantly, just wish that I could watch more of this scene play out. I don’t have a single answer for any of the questions the trailer presents and that’s why I love it and believe it succeeds as a teaser trailer. Teasers are not supposed to provide closure or give you everything you want, they are supposed to do exactly what it’s called, a tease.

I have read lots of descriptions about the trailer before it was released, and lots of post reactions now that it’s been released and here is my take of the last shot in general. I’ve seen a lot of people say that what they interpret is Batman backing away scared or terrified that Bane is approaching him; that’s not what I see. What I see is Batman backing away completely exhausted and trying weakly to get his footing to try and fight off an impending attack and Bane walking relentlessly towards him unconcerned about Batman’s defense. The look on Batman’s face to me says “I have no clue what to do” where as the look of Bane’s walk is that of determination and no fear whatsoever of Batman. This gets me excited because if that’s the case I think we are in for some really tense stuff for the finale. I also don’t think that what we see here is the final battle between Bane and Batman. We are a year from release and to think the first footage we see would be part of the ending would be disappointing to me and unlikely. I would call this similar to when the Joker crashes Bruce’s fund-raiser looking for Harvey Dent in TDK and ends up in a tussle with Batman; so I would think this is an early tift between the two.

My last assessment of this scene is what I think the context of the scene is. There were viral videos released depicting a mass escape of Arkham Asylum and chaos with lots of chanting, which can be heard in the trailer as well. I believe this scene to be Batman going to intervene with what might be a riot at Arkham only to be overpowered by an escaped Bane and that the guy in the corner is a guard or another prisoner maybe. My problem with my own assessment is that Commissioner Gordon appears to have been injured severely by Bane and is begging Batman to come back, which wouldn’t quite fit with my thoughts and would be a conflict in the timeline of events.

Regardless, I think the teaser is great, Bane looks awesome so far and I love the integration of the teaser poster into the trailer. It’s still too early to tell how the film is taking shape, we have yet to see Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard or Joseph Gordon-Levitt to see how they fit in, let alone how the dialogue of Bane will sound. I did see some shooting notes about scenes taking place in snow, which we haven’t seen in a Batman film since BATMAN RETURNS, which coincidentally featured Catwoman, but again I have no reason to believe Catwoman will be in TDKR. I always love scenes integrating weather elements like snow just because it gives all kinds of dynamics to the scene, so seeing Batman fighting and charging through snowy streets of Gotham has me pretty stoked.

What are your thoughts about the trailer and the final shot of it?

Movie Review: Love & Other Drugs (2010)

Romantic comedies tend to be a rough sell when it comes to talking me into watching it and be excited about it. I tend to be more accepting of the R rated efforts as the comedy is often less retrained and in some way more honest; anything less than R winds up being very vague and watered down, leaving very little to make it memorable. The last two I’ve had the chance to see have left me with fewer regrets than I normally have after watching them. GOING THE DISTANCE landed several big laughs and leaned heavily on jokes where as LOVE & OTHER DRUGS did most of the same but also features the two leads wearing nothing but their birthday suits through the majority of the movie. I will say LOVE & OTHER DRUGS attempts to be much sexier with its comedy but as it slowly mixes in the sappy elements in the last half it started being a bit of a chore, but overall there is enough humor and sex abound to make it enjoyable for men watching it under protest.

Set initially in the mid 90′s, starts with Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal) as a smooth talking and confident salesman working magic in an electronics store before a violent falling out with management. From there he is coaxed into entering the competitive world of drug reps by his successful younger brother. Jamie becomes a rep for the drug company Pfizer and sent to relentlessly sell Zoloft to doctors that are hesitant to switch from the more popular drug, Prozac. His new profession facilitates a run in with Maggie (Anne Hathaway), who is a free spirit not looking to settle down or ask anyone else to feel anything deeper for her than brief sexual encounters, due to the fact she is in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. The two’s relationship gradually evolves to the point that Jamie and Maggie both have to analyze how their future will be and where they both fit in each other’s lives.

What caught me by surprise was the very light and playful first half of the film. The first hour or so leans heavily on sex and sex jokes that’s common is most R rated comedies, but if you knew nothing else about the movie the extent to the amount of sex is surprising if you’ve only seen the trailer. The banter between characters feels a lot like another 2010 comedy, GOING THE DISTANCE, except I felt it was a little less effective with this group of characters. The film is funny and there are a few big laughs but aside from the two leads everyone else becomes blurred in the background.

Gyllenhaal is likable and charismatic but Hathaway’s performance becomes the more memorable aspect. Hathaway is funny and cute but she’s also very good at delivering the dramatic elements even though in the last half hour or more it seems a bit heavy handed. The relationship between the two is believable and charming as it is and would have worked even if Hathaway’s character wasn’t suffering from Parkinson’s. Once that part of the story starts to force its way to the center of attention the mood of the film drops severely from fun and charming to sad and over dramatic. The emotional beats are there and are effective to some extent but at the same time feels like a cheap way to illicit the responses.

The performances are all decent enough but no one stands out as much as Gyllenhaal and Hathaway. Josh Gad is there for a lot of the comic relief especially in the second half, but looks and acts kind of like a young Jack Black. I enjoyed what was there of Hank Azaria and Oliver Platt but both of them feel criminally underused.

Third act collapses are more common than not and while I would call the last act of LOVE & OTHER DRUGS a failure I do feel like it tainted a lot of the good it had established early on. The film is not without an abundance of heart and good intentions but it forces itself on you like a drunken prom date clumsily frisking near the hot spots before passing out in the home stretch. Gyllenhaal and Hathaway are both endearing and charming and there are plenty of good jokes to go around but the heavy handed emotional baggage towards the end has the potential to severely dampen one’s enjoyment.