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Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Mike Finkelstein just saw the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy. He was so excited, he decided to run through lower Manhattan in his Batman pajamas. Adam West soon joined him. Here is his review of “The Dark Knight Rises”.

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Mike Finkelstein just saw the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy.  He was so excited, he decided to run through lower Manhattan in his Batman pajamas.  Adam West soon joined him.  Here is his review of “The Dark Knight Rises”.

PLOT: It has been eight years since the death of Harvey Dent, and the city of Gotham is thriving under a new criminal law passed in his name.  Batman has completely disappeared after being labeled Dent’s killer and menace to society, and without his alter-ego, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a lonely recluse looking for a purpose.  But when a new threat arrives in the form of an exiled, carnage hungry League of Shadows member too dangerous for even Ra’s Al-Ghul, it is time for Batman to return and save the city of Gotham from its greatest threat yet.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW:  Here it is.  The final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy.  Ever since we walked out of the theater during the midnight showings of THE DARK KNIGHT, we’ve been waiting to see what Christopher Nolan would bring us next.  He already created a comic book universe unprecedented in film…could he possibly finish off the trilogy in a way that would do justice to not only Bruce Wayne and Batman, but all the fans waiting for nothing short of perfection?

While it may have only been three years since THE DARK KNIGHT, eight years have passed in Gotham City.  Batman is a fugitive, blamed for basically all the chaos the Joker created, including the death of Gotham’s D.A., Harvey Dent.  Bruce Wayne, still mourning over not only the loss of Rachel Dawes, but of his alter-ego, has all but given up on the outside world, and instead spends his time as a recluse in Wayne Manor.

When Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) is critically injured in a sewer attack, word comes that a new army is developing underneath the streets of Gotham.  Led by a villainous mercenary named Bane (Tom Hardy), a creature so threatening and powerful, he had to be excommunicated from the League of Shadows, the army has only one goal: fulfill Ra’s Al-Ghul’s mission to destroy the filth that is Gotham City, and crush the spirit of its 12 million souls in the process.

It is safe to say that Christopher Nolan has given us, by far, the best possible finale he could have made.  Just like THE DARK KNIGHT before it, we start with a rousing, pulse pounding introduction to our star villain that can only be described as one of the best hijack scenes put to film.  And while there are a few lulls afterwards as we are reintroduced to Bruce Wayne (it’s a three-hour movie…what do you expect?), when the mask and cape finally appear, you realize that what you’re watching is the definition of a blockbuster, with every chase, brawl, and battle leaving you breathless.

Don’t get me wrong…there is nothing wrong with a reintroduction.  The real story here is not about Gotham or its people…it’s about Bruce.  And while the man may have gone through a lot over the past two movies, it is here that he goes through the wringer both physically and emotionally.  Nolan’s writing challenged Christian Bale to go to a completely other level this time around, ranging from a man who feels like he has nothing left, to a man who feels like he has everything to lose.  Bale rises to the challenge beautifully, taking us with him the entire way until we finally end with both he and the audience physically and mentally exhausted.

None of those emotions could have been felt, however, if it weren’t for Nolan’s choice of baddie.  Heath Ledger’s Joker was a methodical, twisted challenge for Bruce Wayne’s mind, while Tom Hardy’s Bane is nothing but brute force.  Yes, Bane knows what he is doing (and manipulates beautifully), but let’s focus on the real threat: he can rip Batman in two without a care in the world.  Even though Hardy’s face is covered for 99.99% of the movie, you could see the ruthlessness in his eyes, feel his maniacal supremacy by a slight touch of his hand, and hear the power in his calm, almost numbing voice. The Joker may still be the peak of the series, but the contrast between the two allows Hardy to stand out and get his due, which is greatly deserved.

As for the rest of the new supporting cast, there are not enough words.  Anne Hathaway is the sexiest Catwoman/Selena Kyle put to screen yet, easily switching from whatever façade she wants to put on to a sultry and very cunning little thief.  She is a worthy adversary/partner to Batman (depending on what‘s best for her at the moment), and shows us the depth the character needed to survive in Nolan’s universe.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings a fresh innocence to Gotham as the young “hothead” John Blake, and Marion Cotillard is beautiful and charming as always in her role as Gotham philanthropist Miranda Tate.  The usual suspects—Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman—also return in their respective roles (along with two nice surprise visits…), but sadly, our time spent with Alfred and Lucius Fox are cut pretty short this time around.

Now while I said Nolan gave us the best possible finale he could have made, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t a nice amount of issues and inconsistencies to go with it.  Without spoiling anything, let’s just say that Nolan took a lot of liberties with what everyone was doing during the countdown to Gotham’s destruction.  Add onto that some very heavy political undertones (I don’t go to see Batman for political commentary), and some loopholes that Nolan should be better than, and you have to wonder why, for such a highly anticipated film, such issues couldn’t have been cleaned up more.  Luckily, the characters, action, cinematography, and score all overshadow any flaws, leaving us all with a slightly bad aftertaste, and nothing more.

It is safe to say that Christopher Nolan has done the impossible.  With nothing but a metaphorical pen and paper (aka complete creative control with no studio interference), the man has created a very satisfying conclusion for Bruce Wayne, Batman, and Gotham.  While it may have a few flaws (a factor that is very common when we hit the third film in a series), beautiful character development, obscenely intense action sequences, stunning visuals (especially with over an hour shot in IMAX), and a score that makes your blood pump just a bit quicker per second makes THE DARK KNIGHT RISES not only an action packed thrill ride for comic book movies, but an epic finale to arguably the greatest superhero trilogy of all time.

GRADE: B+

Mike’s LIKES:

1) MOST EMOTIONAL BATMAN YET: Christian Bale gives his all, both mentally and physically, this time around.  You see the fear and pain in his eyes, whether it be because of Rachel, Bane, or his city being destroyed.  You almost can’t go five minutes without feeling the emotion, and I loved every second of it.

2) BANE AND CARNAGE: The Joker may have been the mental challenge for Bruce Wayne, but Bane is the physical.  Nothing but sheer ferocious carnage, the power behind those fists (almost like cement blocks coming down on you), and the brute force that Bane uses against his enemies and anyone that crosses his path leaves us breathless. Tom Hardy did a beautiful job in the role, giving us so much fear with just his eyes and one hell of a voice.

3) ACTION PACKED FINALE: While there may have been a lull in the first hour, the last 45 minutes do not let up.  The fists and bullets fly and the explosions ring out, all culminating in a final ten minutes that’ll stop your heart cold.

4) SUPPORTING CAST: All the rookies, from Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Marion Cotillard, were perfectly cast, and despite initial worries, Anne Hathaway was the perfect Catwoman.  All the returning players delivered yet again as well.

5) FINAL TEN MINUTES: I will not give anything away, but as I said in number three, the final ten minutes of the film deliver the perfect conclusion to the Batman trilogy…exciting, emotional, and satisfying in every way.

Mike’s DISLIKES:

1) POLITICAL UNDERTONES: I could have done without the political messages floating throughout this entry.  We have so many art forms and people speaking out against the 1%…I really didn’t need to hear about it during my Batman movie.

2) SOME MAJOR INCONSISTANCIES: As previously mentioned, there were some areas that required some major questioning from its audience.  Nothing was too drastic enough to destroy the entire film, but it definitely knocked it down a peg.

3) ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD: Again, I won’t give anything away, but I find it ridiculous that Gotham is going to be gone soon, and Bruce Wayne still has time to shave and do some arts and crafts.

EXTRA FACTS:

1) Cinematographer Wally Pfister wanted to shoot the entire film in the IMAX format.  Due to IMAX cameras being too noisy for dialogue scenes, he and Nolan ultimately shot about 50 minutes of IMAX footage, the most incorporated into any film so far.

2) Gary Oldman stated that Christopher Nolan told the actors the ending of the film verbally to avoid any leaks.

3) Christopher Nolan wanted Marion Cotillard so much for the role of Miranda Tate that he modified the filming schedule to accommodate her pregnancy.

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The Pentagon Has Released Official UFO Videos Because 2020 Is The Absolute Worst

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Aren’t swarms of locusts supposed to be the next installment of this plague?!

Can we finally declare 2020 as the worst year ever? In January there were fears of a third World War. In February the coronavirus began its rapid spread. In March the world essentially shut down due to social distancing and quarantining. And now in April…with only two days left in the month…we have official government footage of unidentified flying objects. I’m sorry but Milton Bradley’s game of “Life” never prepared me for any of this!

The Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of three videos that have been circulating the web but didn’t really answer what is visible in them. In the videos, now declassified by the Department of Defense, navy pilots capture “unidentified aerial phenomena” aka unidentified flying objects aka UFOs! Pentagon officials were sure to state that the videos do not show “any sensitive capabilities or systems,” meaning we probably won’t be seeing any little green men any time soon.

The first video dates back to November 2004 and the other two from January 2015. Of the Pentagon’s confirmation of authenticity, Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the videos were released “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

So great. We now know that these strange videos are real but what exactly are we looking at? Well, the Department of Defense says it has no concrete answer as to what might be floating around the skies and has classified the phenomena as “unidentified.” And…just like that I suddenly feel less defended.

Social media is having a field day with this revelation of course. The #AliensAreReal has been trending high on Twitter since the news broke. One user referenced Independence Day and said the aliens are “getting ready for July 4th.” Of the bad timing, another wrote “Et tu aliens?” And finally one user couldn’t help avoid sarcasm and wrote”Where’s the space force when you need it?”

Well 2020, you have worked your awful black magic once again. What’s next, cat videos get banned from the internet?! You’ve taken everything else from us!

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Priest Accidentally Forgets To Turn Off Filters Before Live Streaming Mass

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The internet is having a field day with the innocent mistake of biblical proportions.

With new social distancing guidelines, many churches have closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And while that doesn’t justify all the wine you’ve been chugging during your self quarantine, it does have many people practicing their faith from their homes. One Italian priest was just trying to recite a little prayer for his followers when he accidentally left a filter feature on during the broadcast! In the clip the priest is digitally adorned with a space helmet, workout gear, a fedora and sunglasses and more.

Social media went nuts for the video, which has now gone viral. One comment reads “He just doubled his holy power.” Another reads “Father, Son and Holy Influencer.” One commenter couldn’t resist a good pun and said the video is having a “Mass effect.”

Enjoy your daily blessing and take a look at the funny video below!

 

Priest in Italy live streams mass, activates filters by mistake from r/funny

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Danny DeVito Passionately Urges New Yorkers To Stay Home…And Twitter Agrees!

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For the love of Danny DeVito, stay home!

The world is in a dark place right now and I am not sure how much more bad news we can handle. That’s why when I saw Danny DeVito’s name trending on Twitter I froze. Our great nation could very well crumble if anything bad was to happen to such an icon right now. With extreme trepidation I clicked on the social media link and was relieved to see that good ol’ Danny boy is just strumming up hype because he is passionately urging New Yorkers to stay home.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been driving New Yorkers to stay home and has taken every precaution short of shutting the state down completely to help prevent the virus from spreading. Because New Yorkers can be hard headed, it doesn’t hurt to have some famous friends reiterate your message. Big names like Lala Anthony, Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller have all made appearances on Cuomo’s social media pleading with New Yorker’s to heed the governors warning. Only one celebrity was able to make it to Twitter’s trending page however and that was none other than Danny DeVito. DeVito’s message is simple…stay home! In the two minute video, DeVito reminds fans that it’s not just up to the elderly to isolate themselves. “Young people can get it and they can transmit it to old people and the next thing you know – I’m out of there” says the actor. We must save him!

Twitter went into a frenzy with many users agreeing that we need to stay home for Danny. One user wrote “When Danny speaks, I listen.” Another passionately wrote “If you idiots kill Danny DeVito I SWEAR TO GOD.” One promoted DeVito from the icon status I previously awarded him and said “WE GOTTA PROTECT WORLD TREASURE DANNY DeVITO.” 

Take a look at the video below and for the love of the newly minted national treasure, stay home!

 

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