Is MICHEAL CAINE pulling a Charles Bronson?
This is one of those trailers that practically came out of nowhere. After watching it I can’t wait to see the film simply because I have always loved the revenge genre and this one stars acting legend Michael Caine. With Clint Eastwood and Liam Neeson kicking ass at the box-office in Gran Torino and Taken this past year it’s kind of cool to see another of the silver screen’s most respected actors taking on this genre, especially at 76!
Other films in this genre that I enjoy – Charles Bronson’s Death Wish series, especially the 1974 original and the 1985 wildly over the top but very entertaining third entry, Death Wish 3. The Exterminator from 1980 is strictly B-movie fare and I haven’t seen it in quite some time but it worked in its time. It starred an actor named Robert Ginty. There was also a sequel. I’m also a fan of a 1982 movie called Fighting Back that starred Tom Skerritt. It’s actually a pretty good movie but not available on DVD. Kevin Bacon’s Death Sentence (2007) works well for its first half but goes off the rails big time in its ridiculous second half.
The CBS Television series The Equalizer which ran from 1985 to 1989, starring the late Edward Woodward, was a terrific piece of television that is must see TV. That property has been optioned as a big screen motion picture.
Take a LOOK at the trailer to Harry Brown.
It’s always tricky going into a film with the type of hype Warner Bros new Batman movie, The DARK KNIGHT, has received. It almost feels like July 18th, 2008, the day this film opens on a record 4366 screens, should be declared a national holiday.
First, let me point out I’m a big fan of the bat and, based on my love for director Chris Nolan’s Batman Begins, and the tremendous advance buzz, my expectations were mighty high. Having said that, Chris Nolan does not disappoint as The Dark Knight is a highly ambitious and tremendously intense movie going experience that must be witnessed on the big screen. In so many ways director and co-writer Nolan have opened the scope of the comic book movie by such a wide margin that any future films in the genre will have an almost impossible task to outdo it. Although it’s being sold as a pure comic book movie The Dark Knight has the feel of a great crime drama similar in tone to Brian DePalma’s classic 1987 movie “The Untouchables” with Batman and the Joker taking the parts of Elliot Ness and Al Capone.
What makes this film so satisfying is that it plays liked a perfectly executed ensemble piece with all the main characters getting rich and equal screen time. Christian Bale is once again terrific as Bruce Wayne/Batman and really proves there could be no other actor better for the part. The screenplay fleshes out the character’s inner conflict of dealing with the ramifications of the things he’s set in motion. Aaron Eckhart is perfectly cast in the role of Gothams white knight; district Attorney Harvey Dent, who ultimately evolves into Two-Face (the make up work is stunning). I was pleasantly surprised how much I loved his story arc of Dent, a man set out to finish the job Batman has started. Eckhart is so good in the role that you’ll actually wish he never takes the turn. In terms of Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker, there’s nothing else to be said that hasn’t been said already – it demands to be seen by all movie fans. Nothing in his previous work prepared me for his demented take on the famed character, here written as an insane terrorist. As the story goes on and the criminal threat continues to escalate, the tension mounts to a pulse pounding level and the Joker is the mastermind behind it all. The character is given just the right amount of time on screen and every second he’s on it is absolutely memorizing. There’s one sequence where he’s alone in a room with Gary Odlman’s Lt.Gordon that’s beautifully acted and shot with the director using a brilliant choice of lighting. It’s one of the films best scenes.
Oldman is once again terrific as the conflicted Lt Gordon. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a big upgrade from Katie Holmes in the role of Assistant DA Rachel Dawes and still sweetheart to Bruce. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine once again give the proceedings their usual class as gadget man Lucius Fox, and Alfred, the confidant and butler of Bruce Wayne. The action set pieces are pretty impressive with the highlight being a confrontation between Batman on a high tech bat pod motorcycle and the Joker driving a huge Mac truck. It’s a real showstopper! If there is one minor flaw it might be that the movie goes on a tad too long. At 152 minutes, I wish it were shaved down by about 15 minutes toward the end but that’s a minor point in an overall great movie going experience! POST your comments and let me know what YOU think!