PHILm Review: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Composed (almost) entirely of awesome.

So here we are. At long last the third coming of the Bale-Bat is upon us and we can finally decide for ourselves whether Nolan and company have given Batman the finale he deserves, or merely the film that Warner Brothers needs right now.

I don’t envy Christopher Nolan the weight of expectations placed on The Dark Knight Rises. Where do you take Batman after successfully realizing perhaps the most iconic iteration of Batman’s arch-nemesis… ever? How do you match, let alone surpass yourself with every audience member suddenly a critic out to judge not just whether the movie is good in and of itself, but if it’s good enough to follow on the heels of one of the most highly acclaimed, culturally impactful, and dearly beloved films of all time?

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Posted by on August 3, 2012 in Movies


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PHILm Review: Robin Hood (1938)

Robin Hood (1938)

Cinematic ‘First Girlfriend Syndrome’. Nothing else can ever compare.

This film was the first I ever owned; a VHS copy that was gifted to me by my brother John upon his arrival in this world. My parents must have loaned him the cash, but how he got to the video store I’ve never been able to work out. Now add the fact that the leading man (and quite understandably my childhood hero), Errol Flynn, was a fellow Australian, and I’ve already exceeded my nostalgia quota for this review before even reaching the second paragraph.

But this film really is the definition of a classic. This movie contains such potent Hollywood magic that even Maid Marian’s horse became famous simply for starring in it! (“Golden Cloud” was purchased by Roy Rogers and subsequently become his faithful steed, Trigger.) The tights are so crisp and tight, the feathered caps so jaunty, the crimson reds, royal blues and glittering golds of Basil Rathbone’s tunic so impressively vibrant.  The film is a celluloid dream from the golden age of swashbucklers; back when Technicolor was synonymous with technology.

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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Movies


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PHILm Review: Captain America

Click to visit Captain America @ Rotten Tomatoes

More like Captain AWESOME!

I was entirely charmed and enthralled by Thor, the previous offering in the Marvel cine-verse (to coin a phrase), and so had high expectations for Captain America: The First Avenger. I especially hoped it could help make up for the somehow lacking X-Men: First Class.

When the lights dimmed after the credits for the little teaser Marvel always leave, I was still in afterglow from the movie. They ran the trailer for The Avengers. With Iron Man, Thor and now Captain America set on their own firm cinematic ground, I can’t wait to see what happens when you add Hawkeye, Black Widow and Hulk into the mix. Come the end of it, I was frothing with excitement… but that’s a review for another day.

Captain America is cohesive as a narrative, endearing as a period piece, and a great deal of fun. I think that’s what Marvel have finally figured out about how to make these movies work; they have to be fun. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Movies


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PHILm Review: Battle-Los Angeles

Battle: Los Angeles – no magnum opus, but certainly entertaining.

I think there’s a lot to be said for going into a movie with appropriate expectations. Do your research ahead of time, know what you’re in for and you’re much more likely to enjoy a film.

That said, I have to say I’m quite surprised that the reviews for Battle: Los Angeles are so scathing. What did people expect from a movie that never claimed to be anything more than Aliens vs America?

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Posted by on May 22, 2011 in Movies


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PHILm Review: Paul

While not quite an ‘out of this world’ comedy, the lovable characters and smart set pieces will delight

One of the things I love about the film industry is discovering an actor, director or creative team who consistently deliver quality. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are such a team. In addition to their individually flourishing careers they seem to be quite successfully working their way through their favourite genres, adding their own unique, British spin as they go.

Their comical send-up of the zombie / horror genre Shaun of the Dead was the utterly hilarious breakout hit that brought them to the attention of the cinema going public. Next they lampooned buddy-cop films in Hot Fuzz and have now turned their attention to alien movies with their latest Paul.

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Posted by on May 9, 2011 in Movies


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PHILm Review: Thor

Click to visit Thor @ Rotten Tomatoes

A THOR-oughly enjoyable movie!

Initially, I was rather dubious about this film. Marvel’s successful track record tends to waver as they move away from their A-list heroes (X-Men, Spiderman, etc.) to their second tier characters. Take The Hulk for example; a hero who has twice failed to connect with audiences despite admirable efforts by both Eric Bana and Edward Norton. Witness also the complete waste of celluloid that was Ghost Rider.

However, Marvel seems to have finally perfected their formula. Iron Man has risen in popularity into sequel-land from the ranks of second tier of Marvel characters thanks to the solid direction of Jon Favreau and the inspired performance of Robert Downey Jr. And with Thor, Marvel have wisely relied on those two same strengths; the right cast and a strong director with a clear vision.

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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Movies


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PHILm Review: Sucker Punch

Leaving the theatre, I felt like a sucker… for having paid to see this.

You will doubtless know director Zac Snyder for 300 and Watchmen, his two comic book adaptations. The first was critically acclaimed and the second… well, not so much. His latest, Sucker Punch, is the next step down on his now steady decline.

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Posted by on April 9, 2011 in Movies


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