The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
So, this is Christopher Nolan’s triumphant finale to this Batman trilogy. The interesting thing is, despite the title of the movie, The Dark Knight Rises really has more to do with Batman Begins than it does with The Dark Knight. There’s much more here about the League of Shadows and Ra’s al Ghul than there is about the Joker, though the deceased Harvey Dent does get mentioned on several occasions.
Not surprisingly, the core plotline here is that Bane and his minions, as representative of the League of Shadows, want to reduce Gotham to anarchy and destroy the city. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne hasn’t donned his Batman gear in years. He gets spurred on to return and mayhem ensues. However, there are several holes in the plot that will leave you scratching your head, wondering how that is at all possible.
For example, there is an underground prison in a faraway land and the only way that the inmates can escape is by climbing out of a long vertical tunnel. Strangely, though, this prison does not appear to have any guards or wardens, there are bars but there don’t appear to be any locks, and there is no sensible way for the inmates to get rations and supplies. I understand that the prison is more symbolic than real, but elements like this just bothered me. And there were many of them.
Yes, the Dark Knight Rises is still an enjoyable way to spend almost three hours in a movie theatre. The action is intense and the visuals are stunning. Bane’s voice is a little odd and you’ll be suspending your disbelief more often than you’d like, but this is Batman. And a pretty good Batman at that.
It’s clear enough that the writers of Chronicle borrowed a little bit of inspiration from comic books like the X-Men. Some teenagers find their way into a mysterious cave and then they emerge the next day with superhuman powers. They have telekinesis, for example, and they can fly.
The three boys aren’t necessarily friends in the beginning–you’ve got the dorky guy and the two cool kids–but they develop a common bond over their newfound abilities. Of course, we dive into the discussion of only using these powers for good, culminating in a city-wide destruction case. Chronicle doesn’t break new ground, tweaking some formulas we’ve seen before, but it’s far from being the worst teen superhero flick out there.
Let the Bullets Fly (2010)
If only they had the Internet… in 1920s China, a crook makes his way to a remote town, posing as the new mayor. He’s welcomed with open arms, but quickly gets into a conflict with a local nobleman who isn’t afraid to bend a few rules. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse with the two men smiling at one another, while simultaneously scheming about how to outwit the other.
The story takes several unnecessarily complex turns without adding any sort of sensible intrigue to the mix. Let the Bullets Fly is a period piece, but you should approach it more as a comedy than as an action film or a drama. Unfortunately, it falls flat in nearly every department.