Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Seen in August

Bane confronts Batman in The Dark Knight Rises, image via

It's the dog days of summer and I've been spending more time on my (bike) tan and less time watching films. Though I've wanted to escape to a theater with A/C on full blast I just haven't had the time. Why do they start movies so late now? Who wants to get out of the cinema at 1 in the morning? And why are movies so damn long anyway? For those reasons and more I haven't seen much this month but here is what I saw.

The Dark Knight Rises
Batman got old and retired, then a new (old) bad guy showed up. The strange thing about this Batman series of films from Chris Nolan is the delicate suspension of disbelief he manages. Batman is just a well trained guy who seems impossibly strong and has expensive military grade prototype weapons that are straight out of a science fiction comic book. His opponents are equally physically impossible but in this movie the fear and chaos they create feels visceral and real. These villains behave much like modern terrorists. Their motives are idealistic and abstract, they attack the most vulnerable and they use our own weapons against ourselves. It's a world where the 99% are up against the 1% types like Bruce Wayne, whose own fortune has evaporated (like so many in recent years) though, just like a true 1-percenter, Bruce Wayne, like Batman still had one parachute saved up. This is great entertainment but the PG-13 rating is mild. Though there is no cussing or actual bloodshed, there's plenty of dark, malevolent violence that might be too much for some.

I can always count on old Woody Allen films for the sort of laugh I need. This story of Woody's alter ego accidentally becoming the dictator of a banana republic is campy fun and the scene where Howard Cossell calls a wedding night consummation like a championship bout is classic.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
These movies are always dependably and slickly entertaining though I watched this on television so a lot of the mojo was lost - broadcast television is dead to me. I was sort of confused why Davey Jones had the head of an octopus and pretty much hated the cliff hanger ending with the segue setup for the next movie but I should've known it was coming.

True Blood: Season Two
More weird violence and sexuality with only a tiny portion of winking humour. Now that I think of it, this series could use some winking humour. More strange beasties in Bon Temps, Louisiana than is actually believable but then again it is all about vampires so I guess that's not a good argument. I think the writing has improved but I can't say how other than I watched more back to back episodes so clearly I was enjoying something.

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