Welcome to the Screening Room, I'm Russ Simmons
Cinemagasims don't happen often. Last time for me was while screening "The Dark Knight." And although "The Dark Knight Rises" isn't as good or exhilarating as "The Dark Knight" it still produced a cinemagasim and firmly confirmed that this franchise is the best trilogy ever.
While I can't agree that Christopher Nolan's Batman series is the best trilogy ever, "The Dark Knight Rises" is still a terrific, rousing entertainment and it's title is an example of truth in advertising.
The themes remain intense as Batman's new adversary Bane is more of terrorist than a psychotic maniac like The Joker. Tom Hardy as Bane delivers a menacing performance but you can't help but miss the absence of Heath Ledger as The Joker which is oddly never referenced. And although very good. Anne Hathaway as Catwoman is interesting but no Joker either.RUSS
While the sociological & political subject matter may spark debate, don't make too much of them. The only real theme is that there's good and bad in everyone.
The movie is over-long and exhausting but never falters. It's less of a comic book movie like the playful "The Avengers" and more like a deadly serious crime drama, think "Chinatown" with a dude who wears costume and a cape.
It's 2:45 minutes of smartly rendered pulp fiction.
What has always set this comic book inspired franchise apart from the rest is the superb acting and brilliant directing by Christopher Nolan.RUSS
Once again the tone is gothic, the mood is dark and overall scope so realistic it will have you re-examining today's post 9-11 culture of fear, economic despair and global collapse. Oh, the power of cinema. I need a cigarette.
It's the best mainstream movie so far this year.
5 Popcorn Bags
BEAST OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (PG-13)
A pretentious mess that's weird, overly artsy and unwatchable except for the brilliant performance by the six-year-old lead, Quvenzhane Wallis . She was incredible. The movie was awful.
This winner of major prizes at the Sundance and Cannes festivals is a poetic, dreamlike fantasy set during Hurricane Katrina. It's alternately brilliant and frustrating. "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is over-reaching and sometimes puzzling.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags
If the lurid thrills of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” appealed to you, then a new suspense thriller from Norway is right up your alley. “Headhunters” is a beautifully made action drama about an art thief who poses as a corporate headhunter. Things get out of hand when he attempts to steal from the wrong man. “Headhunters” is a decadent guilty pleasure.
RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags