The X-Women

Sunday, July 29, 2012


This is the start of a new series entitles Women Who Kick Ass. Subtle, right? Actresses who specialize in roles where they get to show their male counterparts that they can be just as hardcore as them. I got the idea after reading about Comic Con's panel they had dedicated solely to women who kick ass in film and TV. Let's begin with Lucy Lawless, a recurring theme on Hero Worship. Having played Xena, Warrior Princess for six years back in the mid to late 90's, she more than earned her stripes for kicking much ass on a regular basis. From her excellent sword fighting skills to her hand to hand combat to that fabulous war cry, Xena was amazing. Lucy would then pop up in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series in the mid 2000's as the ruthless and conniving D'Anna Biers. Which was quite the departure from Xena. But was still another strong female character to contend with. Of late she has appeared on the series Spartacus as the manipulative Lucretia, a woman who you would not want to cross. And one more reason Lucy Lawless is a woman not to be trifled with...the name itself. Lucy Lawless...what a great name!

 as Xena

as D'Anna

as Lucretia

Monday, July 23, 2012

Is DARK KNIGHT RISES the best third movie in a film series?....why yes it is!

Upon a second viewing of The Dark Knight Rises, I truly believe it to be the best third film in a trilogy...ever! Now while I still like The Dark Knight a little bit more..not by much mind you, I will give Dark Knight Rises props as being the best third film in a movie trilogy ever. You know sometimes when a film series gets to that third chapter, it loses some of it's luster. Like The Godfather Part 3 and The Matrix: Revolutions. Or tries to pack so much into the concluding chapter that it feels bloated and overwhelming ala Austin Powers 3, Spider-Man 3 and X-Men: The Last Stand. Now some third chapters get the job done like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, The Bourne Ultimatum, Toy Story 3 and Return of the King, but they are rare and few between. So it is with a sigh of relief that the third chapter in Christopher Nolan's excellent Batman series scores big time and becomes the best third movie in a trilogy of all time. Well at least to me it is. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012) wraps up an epic trilogy with an amazing finale!

Let me get my review started by immediately making this statement: The Dark Knight Rises is really good but it's not better than The Dark Knight, in my opinion. Sorry, had to go ahead and say that. Now onto my review.

*Just got back from seeing Dark Knight Rises for the second time and my initial rating holds up. As with most midnight screenings it's hard to be objective as the crowd is so into and amazing. Some films I have watched at midnight showings do not hold upon a second viewing..Phantom Menace and Superman Returns are good examples. But Dark Knight Rises does. With that said onto my full review.

Bruce Wayne about to suit up again for the first time in 8 years

The Dark Knight Rises picks up 8 years later after the events in the last film and Gotham is a much better place. Well crime wise it is. Batman has hung up his cape and cowl and resides in his alter ego guise of Bruce Wayne at his mammoth mansion. Christian Bale ratchets up his acting and is the best he has ever been in this series. Especially as Bruce, he comes across more wounded and human. And his Batman voice is much improved, thank god. But he is not the same Batman, as he has been away from the game for 8 years. His body is wracked as he needs surgery on his knee and shoulder and walks around with a cane. When you first see him, you think holy shit, there is no way this guy can take on Bane, the new villain played by Tom Hardy who terrorizes Gotham. This guy is a freak of nature as he is stronger and faster than Batman and is just as smart. Watching footage of this guy even Alfred says what we all are thinking.."Look at him Master Wayne, his speed and strength. You can't win!" Reminds me of what Adrian use to tell Rocky before a tough fight. 

Bane wreaking havoc in Gotham

Anyway Batman doesn't just have to worry about Bane's attack on Gotham's finest and richest but he is also attacked by a rival businessman who aims to take down Wayne Enterprises. So it is a two pronged attack that our hero doesn't see coming. And then there's the loose cannon in the form of Selina Kyle (played by Anne Hathaway) a sophisticated cat burglar who is at first a pain in the ass for Batman but then comes through at the end when he needs her help. By the way, Anne rocks as Selina. To all those naysayers who thought she was a bad choice for this role..I say, take that. She is dangerous, funny, smart and sexy as hell. Dare I say it, but she is my favorite Catwoman. I know other fans may take offense to that but she is. She pulls off an incredible performance that has you guessing which way she is going go. 

Selina Kyle/Catwoman

Bane on the other hand is a little different. While Tom Hardy is perfect in this role, his voice is sometimes hard to understand and when you do understand him, it's kind of weird sounding. I really can't describe it but once you see the film, you will immediately know what I'm talking about. After seeing it a second time, it still sounds weird.

Batman rides again

So back to the film which like I said is really good. But it falls just a little short of The Dark Knight. Which I knew would be pretty hard to top. But Chris Nolan and company give it their all and go for broke. The action is amped up with some intense fight scenes and shoot-outs. There is a tense hostage situation at the Gotham Stock Exchange where Bane and his cronies take over that is quite riveting. Which leads to a very cool chase sequence involving Batman on his Bat-pod and those bad guys on motorcycles and about 50 police cars. And Hans Zimmer works his magic music score once again as the theme swells every time things get a little tense and exciting.

John Blake on the job

All the regulars return and give solid performances again such as Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. Newcomers Joseph Gordon Levitt as cop John Blake and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Fox, a woman who has to bail out Bruce Wayne's struggling company are top notch. And it's very cool seeing Aidan Gillen in a role as a CIA operative dealing with Bane in the opening scene. Fans may remember Gillen from The Wire and recently Game of Thrones. Matthew Modine as the acting police commissioner is dreadful. Every time he speaks he says the most stupid and unbelievable things. Reminds me of Paul Gleason from the first Die Hard movie. Both are totally ridiculous characters.

Bane and Batman in the brawl of the decade

The film does have a few slow spots but considering it is 2 hours and 45 minutes long that was expected. But it never drags and you're are never checking your watch. You are caught up in everything that goes on. I will say that the plans the villains use to take down Bruce Wayne/Batman are methodical and strategical. Lots of planning and execution from a lot of parties. That being said, it makes The Joker's plan all that more amazing in The Dark Knight because he really didn't have a plan as he stated.  And he damn sure didn't have all the resources these baddies had. Either way, this was a worthy follow-up to that film and a great wrap up to an amazing film series. Long live Batman!
Say what again! I dare ya!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is a fun summer movie!

I know there were a lot of naysayers out there saying it was too soon for a reboot after Sam Raimi had just delivered the divisive Spider-Man 3 five years ago. But I for one was thinking bring it on. A new director in Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer), a new Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Andrew Garfield and a slight spin on the origin story of our web slinging hero. Add all that up and you have one hell of a movie.

Peter just hanging out on his roof

The movie opens up with a young Peter being whisked away by his parents in the middle of the night and being left with Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (a really good performance by Martin Sheen). Peter's parents are then killed under mysterious circumstances and he grows up in the care of May and Ben. Flash forward a few year years and Peter is in high school dealing with bullying jocks, namely Flash Thompson. While at home he stumbles across some of his dad's old papers which lead him to Dr. Curt Connors (a surprisingly engaging Rhys Ifans) who worked with Peter's dad on some very hush hush secret experiments. One like cross-breeding animals genetic codes to other animals. Connors work at Oscorp, which will be familiar to all Spider-man fans and will have a teaser at the final credits. 

Peter suited up

It is here where Peter gets bitten by a radioactive spider and soon gains some really cool powers. But as the adage goes, with great power comes great responsibility which is a hard lesson Peter must soon learn. After a tragedy strikes his family, Peter makes himself a costume with some really cool web shooters and starts doing heroic deeds all over New York City. Meanwhile Dr. Connors is fired for not coming up with the formula that could help the company and he ends up using the highly dangerous formula on himself and turns into a raging reptilian creature called The Lizard. 

Doc Connors about to go through a serious change

Spider-Man and The Lizard have some particularly awesome fight scenes which has our hero constantly wise-cracking even though he takes quite the beating. Also going on is a potential love interest in Gwen Stacy (a winning performance by Emma Stone) that showcases some really good quiet moments between her and Peter.

A quiet moment between Gwen and Peter

Things collide with one hell of a smack down at Oscorp Tower between Spidey and The Lizard that will have you cheering by the time the credits roll. Like I said this is one great fun filled summer movie. Maybe not as good as The Avengers, but it is by far the best Spider-Man movie yet. Top notch performances by the entire cast, especially Garfield. He slides into the role of Peter Parker as if he was born to play him. No slight to Tobey Maguire but Garfield owns it. The visual effects are quite amazing too. If you see this film, see it in 3D. It pays off when Spider-Man starts swinging all over the city and you feel like you are swinging with him. A thrilling music score adds to the greatness of this film. I can't wait to see it again.
The Lizard playing a little game of hide and seek

Garfield has got the moves and some game as Spidey