Film Review – THE BATMAN (2022)

THE BATMAN (2022, USA, 175m, 15) ****
Action, Crime
dist. Warner Bros.; pr co. Warner Bros. / 6th & Idaho Productions / DC Entertainment; d. Matt Reeves; w. Matt Reeves, Peter Craig (based on the comic book by Bill Finger & Bob Kane); pr. Dylan Clark, Matt Reeves; ph. Greig Fraser (Colour | 2.39:1); m. Michael Giacchino; ed. William Hoy, Tyler Nelson; pd. James Chinlund; ad. Grant Armstrong.
cast: Robert Pattinson (Bruce Wayne / The Batman), Zoë Kravitz (Selina Kyle), Jeffrey Wright (Lt. James Gordon), Colin Farrell (Oz / The Penguin), Paul Dano (The Riddler), John Turturro (Carmine Falcone), Andy Serkis (Alfred), Peter Sarsgaard (District Attorney Gil Colson), Barry Keoghan (Unseen Arkham Prisoner), Jayme Lawson (Bella Reál), Gil Perez-Abraham (Officer Martinez), Peter McDonald (Kenzie), Con O’Neill (Chief Mackenzie Bock), Alex Ferns (Commissioner Pete Savage), Rupert Penry-Jones (Mayor Don Mitchell, Jr), Kosha Engler (Mrs. Mitchell), Archie Barnes (Mitchell’s Son), Janine Harouni (Carla), Hana Hrzic (Annika), Joseph Walker (Young Riddler).
Dark, violent and noirish take on the DC comic book hero exceptionally well directed by Reeves. Here, The Riddler is a sadistic serial killer who begins murdering key political figures in Gotham City thereby uncovering corruption. Batman helps Lt. Gordon of the Gotham Police Department investigate, but questions arise about his family’s involvement in the city’s dark dealings. Long, but not rambling, the story’s mystery plays out well with the Riddler’s clues joining the dots. Pattinson is a brooding Batman and Dano gives a wonderfully unhinged performance as The Riddler. Along the way, there is a re-invention of other villains from the series too. The action scenes are well-staged and excitingly punctuate the plot. The running time is excessive but there is enough psychological drama and story development on the screen to sustain interest. Only in the grandiose finale does the story drop in quality and follow convention.

Film Review – MILLER’S CROSSING (1990)

Image result for miller's crossing 1990 posterMiller’s Crossing (1990; USA; DuArt; 115m) ***  d. Joel Coen; w. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; ph. Barry Sonnenfeld; m. Carter Burwell.  Cast: Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, Albert Finney, Jon Polito, J.E. Freeman, John Turturro, Steve Buscemi, Mike Starr, Richard Woods, Al Mancini, Sam Raimi, Frances McDormand. In the 1920s, an Irish gangster and his trusted lieutenant and counsellor find their domination of the town threatened by an ambitious Italian underboss. The Coen Brothers mix traditional gangster movie tropes with very black comedy to produce a lively but ultimately frustrating tale of false loyalties. It starts out well, establishing the key character of Byrne as he plays off Finney against Polito, but the story descends into an increasingly implausible sequence of double-crosses. Good period detail and handsome photography, along with frequently sharp dialogue, are the highlights. Based on the novels “Red Harvest” and “Glass Key” by Dashiell Hammett, which previously were filmed as or inspired ROADHOUSE NIGHTS (1930), YOJIMBO (1961) and FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964). [15]

Film Review – THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 (2009)

Image result for the taking of pelham 123 blu-rayTaking of Pelham 123, The (2009; USA/UK; DeLuxe; 106m) ∗∗½  d. Tony Scott; w. Brian Helgeland; ph. Tobias A. Schliessler; m. Harry Gregson-Williams.  Cast: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, Michael Rispoli, James Gandolfini, Victor Gojcaj, Ramon Rodriguez, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, John Benjamin Hickey, Alex Kaluzhsky, Gary Basaraba, Katherine Sigismund, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Jake Richard Siciliano. Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day’s work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime. Scott’s dizzying visuals and frantic editing sucks the tension from this inferior remake that lacks the sardonic wit of the original. Washington, as usual, adds class, whilst Travolta over reaches as the chief villain. Based on the novel by John Godey. Previously filmed in 1974 and 1998 (for TV). [15]