The Dark Knight (2008)
Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal & Morgan Freeman.
Written by Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan.
Directed by Christopher Nolan.
With the release of director Nolan’s Batman Begins, audiences and Batman fans in general were salivating at the re-imagining of a very dark tale. With the sequel, Nolan returns with an equally dark film, yet this time, somewhat more oppressive and less enjoyable. As the Joker (Ledger) revels in a sadistic wave of violence, Batman (Bale) considers a Gotham free of his services. This hope comes from Harvey Dent (Eckhart), a fearless prosecutor who spits in the face of organized crime. Much was said of Ledger’s performance in this film, especially after his death, and his overblown theatrics serve the movie well. But at almost two and half hours, The Dark Knight begins to lose momentum and limps along in the final reel to an expected ending.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan, Amy Adams, Gary Cole & Sacha Baron Cohen.
Written by Adam McKay & Will Ferrell.
Directed by Adam McKay.
Following on the heels of films such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights presents Ferrell in all his whacked-out glory. The success of these comedies relies heavily on the characterisations of the performers, and watching these actors do their comedic thing is a true guilty pleasure for some, and a total turn-off for others. It’s all a matter of taste, I guess. In Talladega Nights, Ferrell plays a NASCAR champion humiliated on the track by a French Formula One ace (Cohen). When his career seems over, he is given some encouragement by his estranged, boozehound father (an hilarious Cole). Admittedly, the film has some decidedly flat moments, but overall, Ricky Bobby is utterly infectious.
Prom Night (2008)
Brittany Snow, Scott Porter, Jonathan Schaech, Jessica Stroup.
Written by J.S. Cardone.
Directed by Nelson McCormick.
Here’s a good idea – let’s remake a film that was absolute crap the first time around and not do anything to improve it. In the 1980’s, audiences were treated to the original Prom Night and it’s rhyming sequel Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2, and then some years later, two more direct-to-video sequels. All four films typified what was wrong with the influx of cheap horror films in the 80’s particularly, and the remake typifies the kind of morally vacant and audience-contempt trash being released by the bucketload today. If you could distinguish a story from this mess, it would involve a group of murder-ripe teens at their high school prom being stalked by a crazed former teacher (played with wooden aplomb by Schaech). A good horror film will have the audience caring about and involved with the characters within the first five minutes, and this film fails miserably in that department thanks to some Amateur Hour writing. Oh yeah…and it’s important to make your horror movie scary too. Watch the rain instead.
(Wadrick Jones is a freelance writer for GritFX and will post weekly thirty second film reviews on this blog.)