Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises: A Perfect Ending

I can’t remember the last time I waited for a movie with such anticipation as I did the Dark Knight Rises. Sure, I remember waiting anxiously for the Dark Knight when it came out four years ago, but something about the final movie in a trilogy that’s been done so brilliantly, really had my interest to piqued (to say the least).

There were so many aspects I worried about: its set eight years in the future? Anne Hathaway is Catwoman? How will anyone understand Tom Hardy in that Bane mask? After having seen the film twice on its opening weekend, I see now there was no reason to worry – with Christopher Nolan there almost never is. The movie was brilliant – dark complex, and enthralling. Look out for a few familiar faces too. Never before has a trilogy seemed so circular and complete to me.

Everyone is at their best.

Christian Bale is as emotionally and physically tormented Batman as he’s ever been before. His desperation to save his city only drives him further. As John Blake, Joseph Gordon Levitt brings a new, young cop’s perspective on Gotham’s dire situation wrapped in a determined, tough and likable character. But Anne Hathaway deserves serious recognition for this film. Never before has Selina Kyle been exciting and more interesting. She is morally ambiguous – continually straddling the lines between right and wrong, never quite sure where she falls. Anne Hathaway’s ability to change Selina’s body language and attitude on a dime prove true to her conning ways. While she also deserves credit for the physicality of the role (and that suit!) it’s the emotional, inner torment that makes her such a strong, complex and relatable character. Tom Hardy’s Bane is a much more reserved villain compared to Heath Ledger’s Joker.  But despite their differences in attitude and personality, they are equally cunning and delightful villains. Tom Hardy is excellent as Bane. Not only was his physical appearance remarkable (his arms are HUGE) but he conveys so much through his only means of facial expression -his eyes. It really is a testament to Hardy as an actor that he was able to do so much with a character we so little facial expression from.

Without giving away plot or story, I will simply say that you must go and see this movie. I even offer to babysit your kids so you can go – you won’t be sorry. I know I’ll see Dark Knight Rises again for a third time at least – before it leaves theatres, and I honestly cannot remember the last time I saw a movie in theatres that many times. Some people may have issues with the ending, but I didn’t – I thought it was strong, well done and quite a fitting end to Christopher Nolan’s outstanding trilogy.

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The Art of Making Friends

I appreciate the potential of a blank page. I can just blurt out everything I’m thinking and feeling, leave it all there without judgment and it’s pretty nice. I guess that’s what I love about friends too; being able to unload on them (and vice versa) without fear or judgment. They accept you, good and bad and I try to practice the same.

Over the last year I’ve lost contact with someone who I considered to be one of my very best friends, one I certainly planned to have for life – and it weighs on me. Without going into an emotional sob story as to why this situation occurred, it leads into an issue I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: how does one make new friends at this age?

A few years ago I moved to a new city and it’s been a tough transition. My husband, outstanding guy that he is, has done anything he can think of to make me feel better when I feel far from my friends. At times it’s felt worse than others, just like anything else.

But, a few weeks ago, I started a new job and left somewhere I’d worked for five years. I worked in a lot of different departments and made a lot of friends, and I miss them. It’s just not the same not to see them everyday – in the hall, for a lunch date, whatever. Don’t get me wrong, the people at the new place are nice, and they’ve done everything to make me feel welcome – but I haven’t made any friends. It feels solitary at work and sometimes, at home. I can’t remember the last time I went out on a weeknight!

It just feels like when I was younger, in school or working part time, I went to parties, met new people constantly and my friend group grew wider and wider – but as I get older I feel like its shrinking beyond my control and I hate it.

This passed weekend we had a bunch of people over for my husband’s birthday party and I had such a good time, it occurred to me after I couldn’t remember the last time I had so much fun and felt in the company of such good friends. I don’t want that to be a selective feeling in my life. I’d like to get out more, preferably locally, but how?

I’ve met a few people recently that I’ve thought were really great and wanted to get to know better, but it all seems so strange. How do you approach someone you hardly know and attempt to strike up a new friendship with them without seeming like a weirdo?

I feel a lot like Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) in I Love You Man, looking for friends as an adult and feeling ridiculous. I don’t know how I got here, but I know I’d like to fix it. Problem is, I’m not really sure how. How do you make new friends at this age?

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This is my Spiderman

Every Saturday morning as a kid in the 90’s I’d watch Spiderman and Batman the animated series’ and loved them. Today, I still love them and my beloved superheroes have of course, been given the movie (and re-boot) treatment. I never loved the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman franchise. I liked Michael Keaton, but all in all it just didn’t feel right. But when Christopher Nolan came along seven years ago with Batman Begins, my mind was blown. It was like I was seeing the story again for the first time in the way I’d always imagined it.

It’s curious that something similar has happened with the Amazing Spiderman. I always loved Spiderman’s easy humour and sarcastic commentary in the animated series, which was something the previous franchise starring Tobey Maguire really lacked. Tobey Maguire was never my Spiderman -through no fault of his own, he just wasn’t what I pictured and much too old. Kirsten Dunst lacked the sassy pizzazz (and the natural red hair) of my Mary Jane Watson. Despite James Franco and Willem Dafoe being well cast, with each sequel the movies got worse and worse.

Now, only a handful of years later – comes Andrew Garfield to take on the role of Peter Parker/Spiderman.  I loved it, I really did. It didn’t have the epic quality that can only be found in a Christopher Nolan Batman film, but it was a really great superhero movie.  Andrew Garfield was what I always imagined Peter Parker to be. Cute, smart, flawed, sarcastic, funny – but also angry and conflicted, we saw it all on Garfield’s face and he laid it bare for the audience to see. His torment over the loss of his parents, his guilt over the loss of his uncle, he embodied the character of Peter Parker honestly and completely.

Not to mention the outstanding chemistry between Garfield and real life girlfriend Emma Stone – it was off the charts. Stone’s Gwen Stacy was smart, brave, strong willed and a typical teenager in love – but let’s be honest, those knee socks were ridiculous. Obviously the producers were going for the sexy scientist look here, it just seemed a tad unrealistic to me. Socks aside, I really enjoyed Gwen’s character and bravery, her willingness to save others over herself and be a confidant for Peter.

Rhys Ifans was a flawed but sympathetic villain, as a scientist who wanted his other arm back and went about it the wrong way. Who knew Hugh Grant’s roommate from Notting Hill could be so evil and dark? I love Martin Sheen in everything and this movie was no exception. The casting was all very well done.

My only major criticism would be the rallying of the cranes to help Spiderman reach Oscorp. It was reminiscent of the New York subway scene in Spiderman 2, (the Tobey Maguire franchise) and it just seemed unnecessary. It didn’t advance the plot and there was nothing to be gained from it. We already know some people love Spiderman and some people don’t – so what was the point?

Andrew Garfield carried this film on his shoulders and the success of it should be largely if not totally attributed to him. He was the perfect choice in casting, a fan playing the superhero they grew up loving. From the Social Network to Spiderman, I just can’t wait to see more movies (Spiderman, and otherwise) from him.

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