Tag Archives: Gary Oldman

Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Hype is great, especially with this industry, but if you’re going to play the role of the most anticipated film of the summer, you’ve got your work cut out for you. And that’s on top of having to live up to an Academy Award winning predecessor.

After a brief look at Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) speaking at Harvey Dent’s funeral, “The Dark Knight Rises” takes us eight years into the future. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is a recluse and Batman is nowhere to be found having been blamed for Dent’s murder, but, as Batman and Gordon hoped, the resulting Dent Act successfully keeps criminals at bay in Gotham City – that is until Bane (Tom Hardy) arrives.

Why not answer the big question right off the bat – does “The Dark Knight Rises” live up to the hype? Yes and no. What? You didn’t actually think it’d be a clear-cut answer, did you? Perhaps this little carrot diagram might help – “Batman Begins” < “The Dark Knight Rises” < “The Dark Knight.” While “The Dark Knight Rises” may not be the movie of all movies, lead to world peace or even just be the best of the best of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, it’s got a lot going for it.

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Review: Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy

If critics rave about a film, there will still certainly be some folks who aren’t into it and the same goes for a movie that gets panned; every movie out there is going to appeal to some, even if it’s a very select few. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a rather frustrating film to review as it’s a piece of immense quality, boasting impeccable performances, a strong sense of tone and a stellar score, but, in the end, there’s just no denying that this simply isn’t a film for me.

In 1973, in the midst of the Cold War, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6 and code-named the Circus, is desperately trying to stay ahead of other nations via espionage. When the Circus’ top dog, Control (John Hurt), sends Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) to Hungary and the mission goes horribly wrong, both Control and his #2, George Smiley (Gary Oldman), are forced out of the Circus.

Later on, after Control’s passing, Smiley is pulled back into the game in secrecy, asked to look into the government’s concern that a Soviet mole may have infiltrated the Circus. With the help of another agent, Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), as well as key information brought home by the long absent field agent, Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy), Smiley strives to reveal the double agent who, thanks to Control, has been limited to just five options, Tinker – Percy Alleline (Toby Jones), Taylor – Bill Haydon (Colin Firth), Soldier – Roy Bland (Ciarán Hinds), Poor Man – Toby Esterhase (David Dencik) and Smiley himself.

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The Most Appropriately Hilarious and Ridiculously Bad Haircuts on Film

It’s September and you know what that means: Halloween is right around the corner! No, we don’t want to rush the year away, but once Labor Day comes and goes, stores start to load up on Halloween gear and those seasonal costume stores begin to pop up everywhere.

This past weekend we had a potential costume craze bomb on the big screen in Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star. In the film, Nick Swardson leads as Bucky, a small-town guy who wants to follow his parents into the porn biz.

Bucky’s a bit awkward from head to toe, but the most striking element of this guy’s look is certainly that hair. Should you opt to pick up a Bucky-like wig and toss that on for Halloween, we doubt many people will know who you are, but if you’re in the market for a hairpiece-based getup – appropriately hilarious or ridiculously bad – some of these might serve as inspiration.

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Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

After ten years and seven films, it’s a near impossible task to wrap up the Harry Potter franchise. As someone who’s never read the books, I sat down for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 expecting to say goodbye to the gang in their graves or living happily ever after. Ultimately, the piece does find an appropriate spot on that spectrum, making for a great series conclusion. Then again, that’s great as compared to something that I hoped would be excellent – just short of excellent that is.

Harry, Ron and Hermione (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) are back and in the midst of their Horcrux hunt. With Griphook (Warwick Davis) the goblin’s reluctant assistance, the trio infiltrates Bellatrix Lestrange’s (Helena Bonham Carter) vault at Gringotts where they suspect yet another Horcrux containing a piece of Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) soul hides. From there, it’s on to track down and destroy the remaining items, both of which are suspected to be at Hogwarts.

The trio arrives back at school to find Snape (Alan Rickman) has assumed the late Albus Dumbledore’s (Michael Gambon) position. Once Harry arrives, Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith), Neville (Matthew Lewis), Ginny (Bonnie Wright) and all of his old Hogwarts pals abandon their efforts to simply submit to their new headmaster’s oppressive regime and join Harry to fight back. Soon thereafter, Voldemort arrives, massive army in tow, and the Battle of Hogwarts begins.

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Review: Red Riding Hood

Twilight fans and haters alike beware; the big bad wolf is coming. It isn’t good-looking like Taylor Lautner and isn’t frightening in the least. Basically, it has no place being in a horror film or in a Catherine Hardwicke movie. Then again, after Red Riding Hood, Hardwicke might have a tough time holding onto whatever clout she has left. Who’d have thought going to grandma’s could be such a nightmare?

Amanda Seyfried is Valerie, Hardwicke’s version of Little Red Riding Hood. She lives in a remote village of the woods plagued with fear courtesy of the local werewolf. When Valerie’s sister becomes the beast’s latest victim, the men arm up and head out to hunt it down. They return triumphant, or so they think. Amidst their celebration, Solomon (Gary Oldman) and his men barge in to inform the townsfolk that that’s no werewolf head they’re dancing around, rather that of a standard wolf and that the real beast is still among them.

Whether the residents like it or not, Solomon is here and now he’s in charge. He takes it upon himself to track down the beast by any means necessary. Further complicating the situation, the town is under a blood moon and should anyone be bitten by the werewolf under that moon, they’re destined to become one themselves.

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Review: The Book of Eli

Religion in film is always a testy subject. Even if a movie isn’t directly about faith, organizations manage to find minute details to point fingers at. The Book of Eli isn’t one of those movies. Denzel Washington’s name may be plastered all of the posters, but the Bible is at the film’s core. It’s a hypothetical story that makes no harmful allegations, yet its religious connotations will make it impossible for some to accept. On the other hand, for those willing to completely dismiss reality, it’s an enjoyable and action-packed dose of illogicality.

The Book of Eli is about just that, Eli’s book. Okay, it’s a little more complex. Thirty years post-apocalyptic occurrence, Eli (Denzel Washington) stumbles across a bible. Why is this so significant? Because after the apocalypse the men and women remaining turned their back on religion and destroyed every copy. Well, every copy except one and that one belongs to Eli, a seemingly indestructible wanderer wielding a massive machete.

The first twenty minutes of the film are fantastic. The Hughes brothers’ attention to detail is astounding. Everything from the contents of Eli’s pack to the beads of sweat glistening on his forehead makes him endlessly fascinating. But there’s just so far sequences of close-ups and dreary landscape shots can carry you and the brother know it. The first action sequence combines extraordinary choreography with mesmerizing cinematography to show that Eli is capable of far more than moping about the desert.

Eli is all serenity and pacifism when he arrives in the rickety town run by Carnegie (Gary Oldman) obsessed with finding a particular book. Naturally, it doesn’t take long for someone to push Eli’s button forcing him to brandish his weapon and give the townsfolk a serious beat down. Carnegie catches a glimpse of Eli’s talent and tries to enlist him in his team of goons. While hanging out with Solara (Mila Kunis), the daughter of Carnegie’s wife (Jennifer Beals), Eli mutters some verse of the bible, which she innocently repeats in front of the boss man. Oops! That book Carnegie is so desperate to get his hands on? The Bible. And now he knows Eli has the sole copy.

Yes, the plot sounds ridiculous and what I’m about to say is going to sound cliché, but IT’S A MOVIE. Eli walks around with a semi-busted iPod, the country is packing major artillery and everyone has a trendy pair of sunglasses, yet the Bible is nowhere to be found? If you get past the impossibility of the scenario, it’s endlessly entertaining. There’s few people left who know of life pre-destruction and the old-timers left share zero information about the concept of creed. Carnegie thinks that if he can get hold of a Bible, he can spread the word of God but not for the betterment of humanity, so that he can expand his empire.

Oldman is the ideal villain. He’s creepy and ruthless leaving you uneasily awaiting his every move. Carnegie’s every hope and dream relies on getting a copy of the bible and you feel his burning passion for domination. Oldman’s ability to bring Carnegie to life so vividly leaves Washington in a haze. You’re content with Eli muttering and milling about at first, but once more vibrant characters are introduced, like Carnegie, he’s kind of boring. Luckily Solara befriends the brooding hero bringing out more the buried elements of his personality. Kunis is also responsible for infusing the film with some much-needed heart. The battle between Eli and Carnegie keeps your heart races, but it’s Kunis’ story that makes it endearing. Solara’s portion of the film is really a coming of age story. You want her to survive and thrive, which ultimately makes you deeply concerned for Eli’s safety.

Solara’s story gives The Book of Eli some heart, but in the end it’s just a nonsensical action movie. The finale will be extremely difficult, if not impossible for some to digest, but for those who can push practicality aside, it’s a rewarding culmination. Having to put your brain on cruise control to appreciate a movie is never a good sign, but in The Book of Eli’s case, letting yourself go for two hours is well worth it.

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Review: Planet 51

I don’t care how mature you are–everyone loves a good cartoon once in a while. Sometimes you just need to leave the adult world behind and relax with some youthful hilarity. The problem with Planet 51 is it’s not youthful, it’s infantile. Planet 51 is so inane that not only is adult enjoyment unattainable, even younger audiences will be on to its lack of intelligence and novelty.

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