The Dark Knight Rises

   Director: Christopher Nolan, Warner Bros Pictures, Rated MA, 164 mins

The much anticipated conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy has exceeded all expectations and is a masterpiece in filmmaking even excelling his incredible production of Inception in terms of amazing action, enthralling entertainment and spectacular scenes.
   Nolan’s final movie begins with the ominous rise of a fearsome enemy in the form of the menacing, muscle bound Bane (Tom Hardy-Warrior), hell-bent on destroying Gotham city, unaware that the caped crusader has been missing for some eight years, having retired and become a recluse following his killing of Harvey “Two-Face” Dent that results in the death of Rachel the love of his life, depicted in the concluding scenes in The Dark Knight.
The Dark Knight Rises
   Reverting to his alter ego, Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Christian Bale) is now seen with a walking stick, relying on his butler Alfred (Michael Caine) and Lucious Fox (Morgan Freeman), head of Wayne Enterprises which is beginning to crumble due to some bad investments in clean energy which is potentially a weapon of mass destruction that interests board member, Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard-Midnight in Paris).
   The theft of a valuable family necklace which Bruce traces to cat burglar Selena Kyle alias the Catwoman (Anne Hathaway-One Day) also coincides with the dramatic assault on Gotham by Bane and his henchmen, compelling Bruce to don again his Batman outfit in response to calls from Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and his protégé Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt-Inception).
   The brutal encounter between the Bat and Bane is a major highlight, resulting in a battered and bruised Batman being placed in an underground pit, leaving Bane to commence his destruction of the city after imprisoning thousands of police officers and stealing the clean energy device that he has transformed into a nuclear bomb.
   Before long the determined Batman escapes from the pit and with the help of Catwoman, Gordon and Blake begin his dramatic fight back against Bane.
   Nolan has crafted a brilliant blockbuster and storyline, blending his spectacle with a human story- showing the stirring struggle of a hero who has to experience defeat before rising again.
   Once again Caine, Freeman and Oldman are exemplary in their roles with Bale and Hardy delivering powerful performances not to mention the inclusion of Gordon-Levitt, Cotillard and Aussie actor Ben Mendelsohn as a corrupt businessman, in particular scene-stealer Hathaway.
   In many respects Nolan has succeeded in transforming Batman into a cult figure through his grand scale production (including his surprise ending), ultimately providing an enduring cinematic experience and a fitting finale to the Dark Knight.

VIC'S VERDICT:         4 ½ Rubber Stamps


DVD Review

Battleship

   Release Date: August 2012
   Director: Peter Berg, Universal Sony Pictures, Rated M, 131 mins

The latest in a series of alien invasion movies comes from director Peter Berg which sees an alien armada taking on the might of the American navy, with some spectacular special effects being the major highlight of Berg’s blockbuster production.
   Despite Liam Neeson headlining the cast as Admiral Shane, it is Taylor Kitsch playing the key character of Alex Hopper, the brash brother of commander Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard) who drags Alex into the navy.
Battleship
   The alien attack sees many commanding officers killed, with Alex suddenly finding himself acting as commander of a battleship and facing the technologically advanced weaponry of the aliens.
   Using his ingenuity Alex is ably assisted by a determined crew which includes pop-singer Riahanna in her first acting role as the gun-toting Raikes, as well as girlfriend Samantha (Brooklyn Decker), Admiral Shane’s attractive daughter, a Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales (disabled actor Gregory Gadson in his debut role) and Japanese Captain Nagata (Tadanobu Asana) who is invaluable in helping Alex combat the aliens.
   Despite Berg’s Battleship being based on a board game there is plenty of action, great CGI effects and some pretty good performances from Kitsch, Decker and Canales.
   Berg also provides a touching tribute to the Pearl Harbour warship the USS Missouri (a 70 year old museum ship) by involving it in the final battle scenes against the aliens.
   Battleship is an enjoyable epic adventure that is both entertaining and lots of fun to watch.
VIC'S VERDICT:         3 ½ Rubber Stamps

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