Dark Knight Rises

Director Christopher Nolans latest Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises, received it’s premiere recently. It is the final part in the trilogy and stars Christian Bale as Batman, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, Tom Hardy as a masked terrorist named Bane, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as police officer John Blake and Michael Caine as faithful butler Alfred

The film starts eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, when Batman (Christian Bale) vanished into the night, Assuming the blame for the death of DA Harvey Dent (who went insane after an unfortunate accident and became the villainous Two-Face), since stopping Two-Face, the Dark Knight has been living a self-imposed Howard Hughes-like existence in his Manor.

Luckily Criminal activity in Gotham City is at an all-time low having been crushed under the weight of the the draconian anti-crime Dent Act, which was passed in the wake of the Joker’s crime spree and the city’s streets have been cleaned up, and the need for a costumed crimefighter is no longer the priority it once was

However everything changes with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar named Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) who manages to infiltrate Wayne Manor and swipes a priceless necklace and once again  Bruce finds himself spurred back into action as the Caped Crusader.

Then things go from bad to worse when a really dangerous and rather large masked, terrorist, named Bane (Tom Hardy) manages to escape from prison in central Asia and later turns  up in Gotham  issuing a call to arms to the recession-struck citizens of Gotham, to rise up against businesses and institutions that grew fat at their expense and then proceeds to cause even more chaos by causing a riot Gotham’s Blackgate Prison and freeing all the violent inmates during the confusion

However Just when you think Batman may be no match for Bane and his violent rampaging cohorts, he discovers that he has allies in the form of Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) and John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a beat cop whose integrity impresses Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and who becomes a key figure in the fightback against Bane’s weaponised masses.

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Hugo

I’ve recently watched the DVD of the film Hugo again. Directed by Martin Scorsese, written by John Logan, and based on the Carnegie prize-winning novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick (whose Great Uncle David “O” Selznick was involved in many great Hitchcock thrillers. The film has won many awards including 2 BAFTAS and 5 Academy Awards (Oscars) including a Best Director Oscar for Martin Scorsese, it was also named Best Film by US National Board of Review

It is an exciting adventure story about a young boy called Hugo (Asa Butterfield) whose father(Jude Law) works at the rather splendid looking Gare Montparnasse in Paris making sure the clocks in the station all tell the correct time (Well it was splendid looking until they added that extension). In addition his father is also working on an clockwork Automaton which he found amongst a pile of junk and was trying to repair, sadly though His father dies in unfortunate circumstances before he can complete it and Hugo finds himself  dragged to the Gare Montparnasse by his wicked uncle (Ray Wintone) to look after all the clocks in the station, which plays host to all sorts of wierd and wonderful characters, including Emily Mortimer as a florist, Christopher Lee as a friendly bookseller, and an unlikely pair of tentative lovers in Richard Griffiths and Frances de la Tour. (I just can’t get used to the idea Of Christopher Lee playing a friendly character lol 🙂

Soon after being dragged there, Hugo is Abandoned by his uncle, living within the walls of the station and having to lead a rather precarious Hand-to-mouth existence, often having to resort to stealing food in order to survive, which often brings him into conflict with the comically inept and accident prone Station Master (Sacha Baron Cohen).

When not winding clocks Hugo decides to finish the Clockwork Automaton which his father was trying to repair, however acquiring the parts to repair it brings him into conflict with the stations Toy Shop owner as well, a bad-tempered stall holder named Georges (Ben Kingsley), though Hugo manages to make friends with Georges’ orphaned niece (Chloe Grace Moretz – Kick Ass/Let Me In) and eventually finds that his destiny is inexplicably linked to Papa Georges by the Automaton.

The film is described as a “Magical Masterpeice” and From the flamboyant opening shot onwards, you can see why, Hugo shows Martin Scorsese in his prime, making a movie he cares about passionately. There are also a few Steam Punk elements in the film which are evocative of Tim Burton (especially the love of old-fashioned machinery) and Terry Gilliam (Dystopian nightmare world). The film also shows a fascination with early cinema that’s joyful and infectious, and has a worthwhile lesson about the importance of preserving old film for future generations.