The Dark Knight Rises

Director: Christopher Nolan

Lead Actors: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard

Producer

Plot Synopsis
On the eighth anniversary of "Harvy Dent Day", Commissioner Gordon rethinks whether or not the whole myth around Dent was a good idea, as it put the real hero, batman, in a dark light. This lie has kept batman and Bruce Wayne hidden even further in the shadows.

Gotham has celebrated several years of low crime rates due to the work done by Harvy Dent, when he was not "Two Face" and Batman. But, as always in Nolan's Gotham - trouble is a brewing. This time, it's underground with a new foe for batman - Bane!

Who Would Like it and Why
Everybody. Tons of action and plot development Great acting by all the key players and the supporting players. Action sequences to die for. The opening sequence was one of the best of all time!


Who Might not Like It and Why
Those sensitive to gun violence or other types of violence. Especially in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado shootings wherein 12 people died at the premiere of a midnight Batman showing. Several people have linked the violence of Nolan's past three batmans to the violence of the real life shootings. This has also caused Hollywood itself to reflect on the effect its movies has on children and impressionable young adults.

Top Scenes
The opening plane high jacking scene was incredible and I sure hope that scene has no real life copy cats. Any scene with Ann Hathaway or Gary Oldman, as they both steal the show! There is also a scene wherein a running back for Gotham's football team - yes Gotham has a football team - runs a touchdown in as the ground explodes beneath him. He then looks back at the wreckage after he scores. This would be good for any team's promo video!

Some of Batman's new gear, such as his new plane, are great. There is also a prison sequence that is a small movie in and of itself wherein Batman must learn to trust himself all over again in order to escape. This bit was very inspiring!

Summary
All in all, this movie was a real coup and very entertaining. Too bad the intersection with the immeasurable tragedy in Colorado, but don't let that dampen your enjoying this movie! Just the way once you got over Heath Ledger's death, you could enjoy the Dark Knight Rises as a truly great movie! This one is not far behind.




Just Heroes by Aaron Louie

Just Heroes (1989)
Oft-described by die-hard John Woo fans as the action auteur’s lost feature (at least so the Internet suggests), it’s been said to be a Hong Kong shoot’em up, update of Akira Kurosawa’s Ran, which incidentally/ironically in itself, a Japanese/samurai update on Shakespeare’s King Lear, only here, it’s one aging Triad boss (Ng Ma) trying to pass the mantle of ‘corporate leadership’ to one of his 3 adopted sons, (Danny Lee Hsiao-Yin), Wai (60’s/70’s wuxia staple veteran, David Chiang).
And oh yeah; did I fail to mention an early, pre-comedic role by future comedy superstar, Stephen Chow Sing-Tse? Yup, it’s a far cry from Shaolin Soccer or Kung Fu Hustle…  More on Stephen later…
Made back in the heydays when Hong Kong cinema seemed to have the best job security an actor can ever dream of (the average, pre-1997 handover output for such thespians and stunt crew tends to be like 5-10 movies yearly!), it bears all the hallmarks of the sort of standard HK film production values; the usage of the same voice-over actor for some leads (it was considered more cost-efficient to film the action without a sound crew before they add the voice-overs during post-production), the schmaltzy OST, bordering towards campy soap opera level, and oh yeah…  the constant recycling of the same sound effects on various scenes (read: the rapid gunfire, punch/kick can be heard a few shots/clips later—pardon the action film pun), etc… But to anyone raised on a consistent diet of ready-made Asian cinema, albeit Hong Kong, or more recently, Japanese V-cinema, these sorts of things tended to be glossed over as little quirks you tend to forgive and get used to, sort of like getting used to a significant other’s ‘idiosyncrasies.’
But in going back to the quality dept., the acting can be overly dramatic, to sort of match the stylized bullet ballet, which probably does more to burlesque the whole movie-viewing experience of the time; ‘can’t say that we Chinese of the time, are synonymous with high-brow tastes, pre-1997… The pacing of the film’s plot development and action sequences (clocking in around 97 minutes or so), seems to be in synched, leaving the audience’s attention span relatively intact, to not necessarily have the need to fast-forward towards the more ‘exciting parts,’ read: 9mm action.
So in a way, the story editing seems pretty high up there, with only Scorcese’s Casino and Goodfellas as the platinum standard.
The only major complaints of Tsui Hark’s Triad adaptation of King Lear is that, while Shakespeare (and for that matter, Kurosawa) maintained the central theme of having good judgment of character, i.e., knowing whom your real friends/family are when everybody else is too eager to throw you under the bus , Tsui seems too eager to cater towards Hong Kong Chinese proclivities by having the audience almost figuring out whom the real friends and (Triad) family are, as in who’s the most handsomest of the all, something thematically antithesis to the original Shakespearean text.
The other is that regional, self-referential ‘joke,’ of having one deluded/na├»ve side character quoting John Woo movies a la A Better Tomorrow’s Mark Gor.
…and oh yeah; I haven’t mentioned the fate of Stephen Chow’s character! You’ll know exactly what I meant when I say it’s a far cry from his more well-known, comedic forays a la Shaolin Soccer—or for that matter, his subsequently star-making role in All For The Winner (a.k.a, Saint of Gamblers)…





Jet Pilot ( 1957 Classic Movie )


Review by Ty McLemore


Director

Josef Von Sternberg

Lead Actors

John Wayne, Janet Leigh, Paul Fix

Producers

Howard Hughes, Jules Furthman

Plot synopsis

At the height of the Cold War in the late 1950s, a beautiful Russian pilot named Anna Marladovna (Janet Leigh) defects to the United States by landing her plane at a military air base in Alaska. Colonel Jim Shannon, (John Wayne) the commander of the base, is assigned to escort her to Washington for further instructions. Ultimately, he is given free reign in accompanying her to various parts of the country to gain valuable military intelligence.

 The two eventually fall in love, but complications arise when Jim learns that Anna is to be deported in a few days. They elope to Arizona for a brief wedding with the hope of delaying her departure. Upon their return, Jim learns from his superiors that Anna is in actuality a spy and was ordered to gather information on specific military planes and their maneuverability. Heartbroken, he agrees to escort her back to her homeland under the guise of a STILL married couple to see what strategic intelligence HE can now gather.

The two engage in a psychological cat-and-mouse dance in an effort to outmaneuver one other. Jim is allowed to fly newly developed Soviet aircraft in the hope that he will unwittingly reveal U.S. military tactics. Anna truly loves Jim, realizes that he feels the same and learns that he will be killed once he is no longer useful. She devises a plan to rescue him during a test flight and the two escape by jet to the safety of Vienna.

Who Would Like It

Anyone who is a fan of The Duke or Howard Hughes. This is my FAVORITE John Wayne movie in that he is out of his normal element as a cowboy. Wayne and Leigh’s acting is top notch in this heavy and emotional tale that at the time mirrored how many Russians and Americans viewed one other – with both fear and intrigue. In fact, the film was not released until 1957 – seven years after its completion because of the political climate between the two superpowers.

In addition, the air acrobatics in this movie are breathtaking and renowned test pilot Chuck Yeager was enlisted to perform many of them. Howard Hughes ultimately spent $9 million on this epic film – which some have dubbed a grand, supersonic ballet in the sky.

Finally, Anna’s perky, sweet, yet sexy and determined personality may have driven thousands of American men to contemplate defecting to the other side.  

Who Might Not Like It

Non-John Wayne fans or those bored by military types of movies.

Highlights

In one scene, Jim and Anna fly two F-86 Sabres to Palm Springs for a much needed weekend of leisure. Along the way, they practice aerial maneuvers – including a game of “hopscotch” where they roll over one another in a mind-blowing scene that must be seen to be believed.

In another, Jim and Anna take their final flight home as she will be deported the next morning. The two converse over the radio in a gut-wrenching, dreadful and fatalistic tone as they attempt to say goodbye to one another. This scene nearly brings me to tears as one can feel the weight of their grief and pain.

On a trivial note, actor Paul Frees, who plays Lieutenant Tiompkin and who is appointed as Anna’s assistant once she returns to the Soviet Union, was also a voice-over artist. His association with Disney led to the use of his voice in both the Haunted Mansion and The Pirates of The Caribbean attractions at Disneyland.