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Friday, 20 July 2012 ,  Written by Daniel Hirshleifer
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The runaway success of The Dark Knight could be attributed to many things, such as the audience’s excitement of seeing The Joker back on the big screen, or Heath Ledger’s unfortunate passing just before the film’s release. Ultimately, though, what drove the massive box office was quite simply that Christopher Nolan had crafted an exquisite picture. It delivered everything fans wanted, but did so in unexpected and memorable ways. It transcended its comic book label and became something like Heat with capes. That’s one hell of a trick, and topping it seems almost impossible. Still, that’s exactly what Nolan tries to do with The Dark Knight Rises, the capper to a trilogy that collectively will go down as one of the seminal Batman experiences.The Dark Knight Rises begins eight years after The Dark Knight. Harvey Dent’s death leads to new ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 11 May 2012 ,  Written by Daniel Hirshleifer
Dark Shadows (2012)
There’s something to be said for channel surfing. I remember being much younger, bored on a summer day, flipping through TV stations and finding nothing worth sticking with for more than a few moments. Then, suddenly, I was caught in a time warp. The screen went black and white and almost fuzzy. The title card informed me I was watching some show called Dark Shadows. I was quickly entranced by the gothic atmosphere and the mix of soap opera dynamics with supernatural entities, including the hypnotic anti-hero Barnabas Collins (originally played with true flair by Jonathan Frid). I devoured every episode of the show, even tracking down the ill-fated 1991 revival. And now Tim Burton has once again joined forces with Johnny Depp to bring Dark Shadows to the big screen.Depp plays the infamous Barnabas Collins, head of the Collins ...
Editor's rating: 
Thursday, 03 May 2012 ,  Written by Daniel Hirshleifer
The Avengers (2012)
Thinking about it, it’s amazing The Avengers even exists. In 2008, the world was gearing up to have its collective mind blown by Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Nolan had taken Batman, and by extension the very idea of comic book movies, into a serious dramatic arena. What people didn’t expect is that Marvel Comics intended to go in an entirely different direction. At the end of the first Iron Man, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr. is now his defining role) stumbles home from the climactic fight to encounter a mysterious man with an eye-patch. Introducing himself as Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., this man, impressively played by Samuel L. Jackson, then drops the words “Avengers Initiative.” And cut to black.Any comic fan will remember seeing that scene for the first time. It was just a small, thirty-second clip after ...
Editor's rating: 
Monday, 16 May 2011 ,  Written by Daniel Hirshleifer
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Jack Sparrow--sorry, Captain Jack Sparrow--is undeniably one of the best action characters to come out of the movies since Indiana Jones traded an idol for a whip. World renowned actor Johnny Depp plays Sparrow as a man out of his own head, and yet always in command of a situation, even when it feels like he isn't. Over the course of three movies, Depp has made Sparrow into one of the most recognizable figures in modern film. And yet, despite international fame and record box office numbers, critics and even fans were turned off by the last Pirates sequel (if not both of them). Too long, too complex, too many supporting characters. The criticisms are varied and often valid. To bring Sparrow back to the screen for a fourth time, Disney ditched previous director Gore Verbinski in favor of Rob Marshall (Chicago). But can ...
Editor's rating: 
Friday, 25 March 2011 ,  Written by Daniel Hirshleifer
Sucker Punch (2011)
In Batman and Robin, the disastrous film that almost killed Batman, a lot of people criticized director Joel Schumacher's fetishization of the bat icons over basic storytelling elements such as character or dialogue. In particular, people pointed to the "bat nipples" on the costume as representative of everything that was wrong with Schumacher's vision. Sucker Punch, the latest film from Watchmen and 300 director Zack Snyder, is all bat nipples.Institutionalized by her abusive stepfather, Baby Doll (Emily Browning, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events) discovers the only way she can fight back against the evil orderlies is to escape into a fantasy world inside her mind. She's joined in this endeavor by Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish, Limitless), her sister Rocket (Jena Malone, Donnie Darko), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens, High School Musical), and Amber (Jamie Chung, Sorority Row). They're guided in their fantasies by The Wise Man (Scott Glenn, The Silence of the Lambs) , ...
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