Premium Rush (2012)

Premium RushPremium Rush

Release Date: August 24, 2012

Director: David Koepp

Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dania Ramirez, Michael Shannon

Runtime: 91 min

Tagline: Ride Like Hell

Premium Rush is filled with fun one-liners, reckless characters and a fast-paced story; all the characteristics of a fine action flick. That’s just what this is: a fine action movie that passes the time. It’s fun entertainment following Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) run away from a rogue cop (Michael Shannon) trying to steal a package Wilee is carrying. That’s really just the plot (In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city), but there are smaller sub-plots throughout. Another cop is chasing him, as Wilee pulls some quick ones on him time and time again. That sub-plot is sometimes funny but it gets tedious; as does an extremely competitive fellow bike messenger, Manny (Wolé Parks). The relationship between he and Wilee, however, allows some fun bike races. This is a movie that shows us that bike racing movies can be nearly as exciting as car racing flicks. Emphasis on the nearly. I guess four wheels are better than two. The movie sometimes feels like it doesn’t do enough with its cool premise, and the sort-of twist with the package reveal is rather bland and one of the movie’s more forgettable moments. Dania Ramirez and Jamie Chung offer good supporting roles. Levitt is solid (even this is his weakest performance and movie of 2012, but his other two films were the great The Dark Knight Rises and Looper) as an extremely reckless character who refuses to use his brakes, but Michael Shannon is the most memorable part of the movie. One of his scenes near the end of the movie is high-larious in a strange way. The only fairly groundbreaking material it offers is some fascinating cinematography, where Wilee imagines different biking routes in New York traffic; where some routes lead to death, and others lead to safety. This is a taut, fast-paced action flick that offers some good late summer entertainment.

73/100

Lincoln (2012)

Lincoln

Release Date: November 16, 2012

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn

Runtime: 149 min

Lincoln is a film that is much easier to respect or admire, than it is to enjoy and be thoroughly entertained. While it does have sparks of humour here and there, it goes more for fascination than anything else. Speaking of the humour, it is quite impressive that the writers threw that in because of the serious subject matter. Lincoln follows Abraham Lincoln’s endeavours, during the American Civil War, to pass a constitutional Amendment to free the slaves. The performance by the great Daniel Day-Lewis adds layers to Lincoln. His reserved and kind voice makes him seem quite real – and he is. The relationships he has with everyone are all very kind, and he even treats his enemies with respect. He’s the sort of guy one would want as a neighbour, or maybe even the president of the United States of America. Oh wait, he was.

The cast is great (especially Day-Lewis, Fields, Tommy Lee Jones and Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the cinematography is great, just about everything that is done here is impressive. Steven Spielberg feels like a director, at this time that is not interested in directing blockbusters like Jaws or Jurassic Park, but ambitious biographies like this. With past works like War Horse, Schindler’s List, or Munich, it is evident that he [Spielberg] possesses a flaring interest for history. Though, those audience members who don’t share at least a small interest for history, may not like this all that much. It is impressive, but at times it is difficult to grasp the events that are unfolding. In that way, it’s a film better watched in a home setting – so one could pause the film after most scenes, and absorb and make sure they can comprehend the information that was just told to them. Monologue after intelligent monologue just gets packed on, and sometimes they can be hard to follow. There’s a bunch of movie buffs out there, but there may not be as many history buffs. That’s why this is quite the impressive achievement that shall be an Oscar front-runner, but it simply may not be the right choice for a casual moviegoer. Make sure your mind is fresh before you see it, and be open to having two and a half hours of information intricately thrown your way.

80/100

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises

Release Date: July 20, 2012

Director: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway

Runtime: 165 min

Tagline: A fire will rise.

This one was quite impressive.

   Eight years after Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent’s crimes, a new terrorist leader has come to the surface in Gotham. There hasn’t been a spotting of Batman for eight years, and Bruce Wayne has become a recluse around the same time. Wayne must overcome his own personal turmoil and once again protect the city that has branded him an enemy.

It’s a great summer blockbuster that offers many incredible thrills great plot execution, some great twists and turns, and great direction and writing from Christopher Nolan.

The character of Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) wasn’t all that great. She offered a nice presence, but she wasn’t developed well enough as the other characters. The other new characters, like Bane or Officer John Blake or Miranda, are really good, and got solid character development. Although, other new characters like Daggett or Stryver, weren’t very interesting at all and weren’t extremely well-developed. The old characters are, as expected, as great as always.

The usual great Nolan atmosphere is offered, and it is one heck of a super-hero film. Its only possessive flaw is the sometimes slow build-up, and the plot feels a little too overused. Of course, what can you expect from a super-hero film? It will obviously have the whole hero vs. villain play-out, and this one has an extremely memorable climax. Its length may also feel like a flaw to some, but really and truly it doesn’t feel nearly as long as it actually is. Also, some of the realism of the whole thing feels off in areas.

This was obviously highly anticipated, and it really does live up to its hype. The cast is stellar, and Tom Hardy delivers a great performance – considering all he must act with are his eyes, voice, and gestures. His British drone and sometimes barely-audible dialogue make his character cringe-worthy, but the majority of his dialogue was understandable – if you listen very well. The subtitles should be helpful to those who will watch it on home media.

Now, here come the inevitable comparisons to the first two films, and the villains before Bane. The Dark Knight Rises isn’t nearly as great as The Dark Knight, but it is much better than Batman Begins. The atmospheric action was greater in D.K., and it had more memorable scenes. Though, this was still amazing. In this Nolan trilogy, Bane is better than Ra’s Al Ghul (as Ken Watanabe), but not Cillian Murphy’s The Scarecrow, Two-Face or especially not The Joker. All Bane has really is a frightening stature, strength, and the whole mystery of why he’s wearing that freaking eerie inhaler thingy-ma-bobber. That isn’t very scary, right…? He’s probably not the best villain because he doesn’t use a whole lot of psychological warfare. Heath Ledger’s The Joker used that all-too-well, and he was downright terrifying with his extreme psychopathic nature. The Scarecrow was just really cool, and he obviously used psychology as a weapon as he poisoned his victims with that gas to make them hallucinate like crazy.

This flick stars Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, with Liam Neeson and Juno Temple.

The Dark Knight Rises is an extremely impressive piece of cinema that may be flawed, but still awesome. The length may threaten some, but it is an experience that should be had, and even people who don’t like super-heroes can enjoy this. It isn’t as great as The Dark Knight, as [it was] expected, but this is still quite must-see. This is a summer blockbuster at its finest which should snatch up an extremely respectable amount of awards.

90/100

New film poster for the movie ‘Lincoln’.

 

I like the look of this poster. Simple, but effective. The ‘A STEVEN SPIELBERG Film’ (which is barely eligible here), and the credit for Daniel Day-Lewis should bring in quite the crowd.

I’ve read about the film before, but was just reminded of it now. It’s a film that I’ll wait to get when it gets released as home media, but it does seem like an interesting flick.

It’s about how Abraham Lincoln (evidently), the sixteenth President of the United States, guided the North to victory during the Civil War. It gets released on November 16, 2012. It seems like a really interesting biopic, and Day-Lewis seems like he’d be great in this role.

The film also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jackie Earle Haley (who played Freddy Krueger in that awful Nightmare remake), David Strathairn, Sally Field and James Spader, to name a few. Pretty stellar cast I’d say.

I’m also quite excited to see what Spielberg will bring to the project; he’s such a great director.