‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Review

The Opposite Sexes Rise Up to Review the Newest Batman Movie

by Jason Harris and Stacey Longo

The Dark Knight Rises movie poster. (courtesy of Warner Bros.)

HE SAID: The Dark Knight Rises does not advance Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise. It’s the weakest of the three movies. In his defense, it’s hard to outdo yourself when your last endeavor included Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker.

The movie starts eight years after The Dark Knight with a memorial for Harvey Dent in front of Wayne Manor. Batman hasn’t been seen since the fateful night of Dent’s death and Bruce Wayne has become a recluse with a limp.

Director Christopher Nolan portrays main villain, Bane, with the right respect, unlike Bane’s portrayal in Batman & Robin. This is the character that in Batman: Knightfall, the serial that ran in 1993, orchestrated the assault on Batman, then broke his back.

Nolan chose Tom Hardy (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) to play the ex-communicated member of the League of Shadows, the organization created by Ra’s Al Ghul. Hardy was superb as Bane. He was the right size and had the right muscle mass. The only problem is you can’t understand him 90 percent of the time. Since Nolan and his brother Jonathan wrote the screenplay, you would think they would want their words heard and understood by the audience.

Anne Hathaway (Alice in Wonderland) dons the mask and claws of Catwoman in Nolan’s franchise. Her portrayal is right up their with Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance in Batman Returns. Nolan captures the character quite well. There should have been more of Catwoman, though.

L-r: Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ action thriller The Dark Knight Rises. (courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Nolan’s script abounds with in-jokes such as when Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox shows Bruce “the Bat” and he tells him it does come in black. This is in reference to the scene in Batman Begins where Bruce asks Fox if “the tumbler” comes in black. It also brings the franchise full circle by mentioning Ra’s Al Ghul, who was the villain in Batman Begins. Nolan also shows scenes from the first two movies to show how his trilogy is connected. It’s just too bad the movie couldn’t have had a better connection to the greatest of the previous two movies.

SHE SAID: The Dark Knight Rises clearly draws from the very first scene of the first movie, in which Thomas Wayne asks “And why do we fall, Bruce? … So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” Everything takes a tumble in this film – Commissioner Gordon’s reputation falls, Bruce Wayne has a spiritual fall, and the city of Gotham itself is set up for a fall. What’s a dark knight to do? Get up and save the day, of course. The problem is that all of these redemptions take waaaaay too long.

This movie spends too much time cutting between the looming threat of Gotham’s destruction and Bruce Wayne’s climb out of the depths of darkness, only to emerge a better man (with a hot new girlfriend in a catsuit to boot.) Anne Hathaway makes the Catwoman character all her own, and I have to agree with Jason that she could’ve used more screen time. Michael Caine (Inception) is still formidable as Alfred, but his presence is sorely missed for a good chunk of the movie. Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) and Gary Oldman (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) are also still fantastic as Lucius Fox and Commissioner Jim Gordon, respectively. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is introduced as John Blake, a troubled cop who wants to do the right thing. While his performance is fine, it’s not difficult to figure out where he fits in with the Batman legacy.

L-r: Tom Hardy as Bane and Christian Bale as Batman. (courtesy of Warner Bros.)

It would be hard for any D.C. Comics villain to follow in the footsteps of the late Heath Ledger’s delectable Joker, so don’t hold it against Tom Hardy that his Bane falls short. This baddie goes from terrifying to tepid in an instant once his full backstory is revealed; plus, it doesn’t help that his face gear makes him practically unintelligible. However, if it’s hand-to-hand combat and things blowing up that makes a movie great for you, this one has plenty.

Jason and I concur: three out of four stars.

Oscar Nominated Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Coming to DVD in March

PRESS RELEASE

AN ALL-STAR CAST LED BY OSCAR® NOMINEE GARY OLDMAN AND OSCAR® WINNER COLIN FIRTH CAPTIVATES IN THE BRILLIANT ESPIONAGE THRILLER TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY

NOMINATED FOR THREE ACADEMY AWARDS® – BEST ACTOR, BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY, AND BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

AVAILABLE MARCH 20, 2012 ON

BLU-RAYCOMBO PACK WITH UltraViolet, ON DVD AND ON-DEMAND

FROM UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT

“PERHAPS THE GREATEST SPY TALE OF OUR TIME”- KENNETH TURAN, LOS ANGELES TIMES

OVERVIEW:  Things aren’t always as they seem in the Oscar®-nominated, suspenseful, and stylish thriller from director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In), based on the classic novel by John le Carré. Focus Features’ Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy will be available on Blu-rayCombo Pack with UltraViolet,on DVD,on Digital Download and On-Demand March 20, 2012, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.  At the height of the Cold War, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), a.k.a. MI6 and code-named the Circus, has been compromised.  An ever-watchful former top lieutenant and career spy, George Smiley (Gary Oldman, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ), is called out of retirement by the government to help identify and track a suspected mole at the top of the agency.  The list of suspects is narrowed to five men.  Even before the startling truth is revealed, the emotional and physical tolls on the players enmeshed in the deadly international spy game will escalate…Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is Academy Award®-nominated for Best Actor (Gary Oldman), Best Adapted Screenplay (Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan), and Best Original Score (Alberto Iglesias); and is nominated for 11 BAFTA Awards including Best Film and Best Actor.

Also starring Oscar® winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) with Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”), David Dencik (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Tom Hardy (Inception), Ciarán Hinds (The Debt), Oscar® nominee John Hurt (Midnight Express), Toby Jones (The Hunger Games), and Mark Strong (Robin Hood), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is “a pleasurably sly and involving puzzler” (Manohla Dargis, The New York Times) and showcases “easily one of the year’s best pictures – Gary Oldman gives a performance that is flawless in every detail.” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone).

Included with the Blu-ray Combo Pack is an all-new UltraViolet copy of the film. UltraViolet is the revolutionary new way for consumers to collect movies and TV shows, put them in the cloud and download and stream instantly to computers, tablets and smartphones and soon, consumers can download to devices of their choice too. The Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Blu-ray Combo Pack also includes a Digital Copy of the film which is compatible with iTunes®, iPad®, iPhone®, iPod touch, Android or other retail partners.  So now, consumers can truly enjoy their movies and TV shows anytime, anywhere, on the platform of their choice!

BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVE TO Blu-rayTM :  Unleash the power of your HDTV with perfect hi-def picture and perfect hi-def sound.

  • TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY: FIRST LOOK
  • DELETED SCENES
  • INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JOHN LE CARRÉ
  • BD-LIVETM : Access the BD-Live Center through your Internet-connected player to watch the latest trailers and more!
  • pocket BLUTMapp:   The groundbreaking pocket BLU app uses iPad®,iPhone®, iPod®  touch,  Android, PC and Mac®  to work seamlessly with a network-connected Blu-ray player.  Plus iPad® and Androidtablet  owners can enjoy a new, enhanced edition of pocket BLU made especially to take advantage of the tablets’ larger screen and high resolution display.  Consumers will be able to browse through a library of Blu-ray content and watch entertaining extras on-the-go in a way that’s bigger and better than ever before.  pocket BLU offers advanced features such as:
  • Advanced Remote Control:  A sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray player. Users can navigate through menus, playback and BD-Livefunctions with ease.
  • Video Timeline:  Users can easily bring up the video timeline, allowing them to instantly access any point in the film.
  • Mobile-To-Go:  Users can unlock a selection of bonus content with their Blu-raydiscs to save to their device or to stream from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi network, enabling them to enjoy content on the go, anytime, anywhere.
  • Browse Titles:  Users will have access to a complete list of pocket BLU-enabled titles available and coming to
    Blu-rayHi-Def.  They can view free previews and see what additional content is available to unlock on their device.
  • Keyboard:  Entering data is fast and easy with your device’s intuitive keyboard.
  • uHEAR:  Never miss another line of dialogue with this innovative feature that instantly skips back a few seconds on your
    Blu-ray disc and turns on the subtitles to highlight what you missed.

BONUS FEATURES (BLU-RAY and DVD):

  • INTERVIEWS  WITH ACTORS GARY OLDMAN, COLIN FIRTH, TOM HARDY; DIRECTOR TOMAS ALFREDSON; AND SCREENWRITER PETER STRAUGHAN
  • FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR TOMAS ALFREDSON AND ACTOR GARY OLDMAN

TECHNICAL INFORMATION – BLU-RAY:

Street Date:  March 20, 2012

Copyright:  2012 Universal Studios.  All Rights Reserved.

Selection Number: 61120849

Running time:  2 Hours, 8 Minutes

Layers:  BD-50

Picture Format : Widescreen

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Rating:  Rated R for violence, some sexuality/nudity, and language

Languages/Subtitles:  English SDH, Spanish, French

Sound:  DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish DTS Surround 5.1, French (EU) DTS Surround 5.1

TECHNICAL INFORMATION – DVD:

Street Date:  March 20, 2012

Copyright:  2012 Universal Studios.  All Rights Reserved.

Selection Number: 61120847

Running time: 2 Hours, 8 Minutes

Layers: Dual Layer

Picture Format: Anamorphic Widescreen

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Rating:  Rated R for violence, some sexuality/nudity, and language

Languages/Subtitles:  English SDH, Spanish, French

Sound:  Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1

CAST AND FILMMAKERS

Cast:  Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Dencik, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Ciarán Hinds, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong

Directed by:  Tomas Alfredson

Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Robyn Slovo

Screenplay by: Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Based on the novel by: John le Carré

Executive Producers: Debra Hayward, Liza Chasin, Olivier Courson, Ron Halpern, John le Carré, Peter Morgan, Douglas Urbanski

Co-Producer:  Alexandra Ferguson

Director of Photography:  Hoyte van Hoytema

Production Designer:  Maria Djurkovic

Costume Designer:  Jacqueline Durran

Film Editor: Dino Jonsäter

Music by:  Alberto Iglesias