Archive for July, 2010

More often than not remakes are a bad idea. Once in a while they work out, everyone knows the classic movie, The Maltese Falcon (1941) is actually a remake of a movie of the same name form ten years before. They are based on a Dashiell Hammett novel and are both worth seeing although the Humphrey Bogart version is far superior to the original.

The remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is in pre production and Let The Right One In re-titled Let Me In is already in the can. Fortunately the proposed Americanisation of Oldboy appears to have been abandoned but Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) has been suggested for the remake treatment as has Battle Royale (2000) and The Orphanage (2007). If rumours are true there are remakes of Suspicion (1941) and The Birds (1963) on the way. I propose a new law making it a capital offence to mess with Hitchcock movies!

The proposed remake of one film did get me thinking though. Flight of the Navigator (1986) was a family film whose main objective was probably to cash in on the success of E.T. (1982). Not a bad family film, but I’m really not sure what a remake can offer. A movie that really should be remade however is The Last Starfighter, made in 1984 on the back of the success of the Star Wars Trilogy and utilising early CGI, the idea was far better than the resultant movie. It really is a fantastic concept let down by the limitations of the effects of the time and a commercial attempt to be too family friendly.

Teenager Alex Rogan (Lance Guest) lives in a trailer park with his mother and kid brother. Like Luke Skywalker he dreams of doing something with his life but finances stand in the way of his college plans. His only interests appear to be his girlfriend Maggie (Catherine Mary Stewart) and playing an arcade game called Starfighter. The aim of the game is to “defend the Frontier from Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada” When Alex achieves the record score on the game he is recruited by the games inventor to “defend the Frontier from Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada” for real!

With too much time spent back home and not enough in space the battles really lack any vision or imagination and animation although groundbreaking was still inferior to the model based space scenes from the original Battlestar Galactica TV show from the late 70’s. Despite all this the film isn’t without its charms. With the right casting and some decent space set action a remake could really work.


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After a breakthrough splicing together several animals, genetic engineers Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Adrien Brody) want to take things a stage further and introduce human DNA into the mix. After being refused permission by their financial backers the couple decide to do ahead regardless. Dren (Abigail Chu & Delphine Chanéac) the female creature that is created develops very quickly creating a range of challenges for Elsa and Clive.

Ten years ago the character Dr. Susan McCallister (Saffron Burrows) gave sharks heightened intelligence in a bid to cure Alzheimer’s, things did not end well in Deep Blue Sea, why should they be any different in Splice! As the relationships develop we learn a little about Elsa’s unhappy upbringing, this soon has an impact on the way she interacts with Dren. I had read before seeing the movie that the two main characters borrow their names from actors from Bride of Frankenstein (1935) (Colin Clive & Elsa Lanchester), this gives a great insight into the dynamic of the movie. The real question is who is the real monster? The one that is created or the people who created it. Elsa & Clive’s relationship to Dren is very different to Frankenstein’s relationship to his monster often making for a more sinister movie.

As a fan of writer/director Vincenzo Natali’s first two movies, Cube (1997) and Cypher (2002) I was hugely excited to see what he would do with the concept of this movie. To add to this Sarah Polley has been nothing short of sensational in even the most mundane of her roles. The darling of indie movies for the past decade her occasional moves towards the mainstream are always welcome (and in my book to be blacklisted by Disney is a greater achievement than winning an Oscar!). As much as I enjoyed the movie ultimately it was a little too disjointed to be a really good film.

The movie starts and ends with the morel question of the right and wrong of genetic engineering without the cliché of “playing god” coming up. It does lose its way a couple of times and lives up to its name in that it feels like a the third act from a different movie was spliced onto the more measured and thoughtful build-up. Overall the film does work despite its problems thanks to an suitable if predicable ending.

Three Stars out of Five

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Welcome to a special edition of Groovers & Mobsters Present. The saying “revenge is a dish best served cold” has probably been around since the nineteenth century a variation appeared in the classic comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets, it was popularised in the novel/film The Godfather and in Kill Bill Quentin Tarantino told us it is an old Klingon proverb. Park Chan-wook has his own ideas on vengeance and revenge:


복수는 나의 것 – Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)


What can I say? ANDY over there at the FANDANGO GROOVERS MOVIE BLOG must really like me cause he’s asked me back on to his ongoing genre study to discuss REVENGE FILMS. Today, we’ve narrowed it down even further to focus on Park Chan-Wook’s Revenge Trilogy which I recently picked as #4 of my Top 5 all time trilogies when I guest hosted the Matineecast (which you can hear by clicking here). This trilogy is not an ongoing story told over 3 films… rather it is 3 seperate tales of revenge as told by one visionary director. I have been tasked with talking about the first of the 3:

Here’s the basic idea behind this story:

Ryu, who happens to be deaf and dumb, loves and cares for his sister who is in need of a kidney transplant. He offers his own but their blood types do not match. Luckily, or unluckily, he meets a group of illegal black market organ dealers who offer to get his sister a kidney in exchange for his and a good chunk of cash… around 10 million Won. Ryu agrees but does not have the money. When he’s laid off from his job, his anarchist revolutionary girlfriend suggests they kidnap his ex-bosses daughter and use the ransom to save his sister. These events lead to a tragedy that sets off a series of unfortunate events.

Love to tell you more but don’t want to ruin this gem for anyone. Watching it again recently, I was blown away by how good and twisted it is even after multiple viewings. I will say this, Park Chan-Wook does not tell stories with happy endings. However, the guy can spin one hell of a yarn. This trilogy is his magnum opus. Each film even has it’s own style. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is the darkest, grittiest and most indie feeling of the bunch. A dark tale told in a dark way.

I do like to warn people as well that the Koreans are not afraid to show violence and sexuality in their films… and Chan-Wook even tends to take it one step farther. Still, if you can put that aside and watch this film, you will not be disappointed!

By Kai form The List


올드보이 – Oldboy (2003)

Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is kidnapped and locked up in a mysterious prison cell (that looks like a cheep hotel room) with no explanation why. Fifteen years later he is released as suddenly as he was captured and with equally little explanation. He is given a black suit, a mobile phone, a wallet full of cash and a challenge to discover who imprisoned him. But is the real question not why was he imprisoned but why he was released? The tagline read “15 years of imprisonment, five days of vengeance” but who is looking for vengeance, Dae-su or the people who imprisoned him?

In its simplest form the film explores the lengths people will go to for vengeance but there is so much more going on. Beautifully shot and impeccably constructed and paced, you take more from it every time you see it. Each twist and turn could have come across as ridiculous but doesn’t, the film always feels real and grounded, this is because each revelation is so perfectly timed. People talk about the now infamous live octopus eating scene or the often imitated corridor fight scene but the same attention to detail is present throughout the movie; to condense a key development down to the images in a photo album or show the passing of fifteen years through world evens on TV is pure genius in its simplicity. The action is simple and visceral but always effective, the visuals are beautiful and immaculately constructed and choreographed even when they are grim.

If you are not repulsed by some of the things that happen in this movie there is something wrong with you but the overall result is so compelling and enthralling that it really doesn’t matter. With an ending that simultaneously pulls the rug from under you and kicks you in the gut the movie is truly devastating, it will live with you long after you have seen it. And what does all this tell us about vengeance? That’s something you will have to decide for yourself but it certainly explores the lengths people will go to for revenge as well as the futility of it. A film Hollywood could never have envisaged and should never remake!

By Andy from Fandango Groovers


친절한 금자씨 – Lady Vengeance (2005)

There’s no better authority on revenge than Chan Wook Park. This master of Korean cinema has an excellent read on human nature, and he covers the whole range of this very powerful impulse with his Revenge Trilogy. In his various installments he covers the revenge of rivals, family, and those who’ve been wronged unintentionally. Each one approaches the topic of vengeance from a different angle—some instances being more understandable or justified than others. I find his final chapter, Lady Vengeance, to be the most morally black-and-white of the trio. The bad guys are pure evil and the good guys are given a carte blanche to take them down. In this installment Park addresses maybe the most merciless permutation of the lot: the revenge of a betrayed lover—specifically, the revenge of a woman. He knows that no one holds a grudge longer than a woman. There’s no slight she’ll forget and no offense she won’t take personally. A woman will mull over a betrayal for years, waiting for the perfect moment to exact her pound of flesh. But all that time and calculation makes her moment of reprisal all the more delicious.

But the unwavering intensity of Park’s revenge sequences isn’t what makes his trilogy so powerful. He has the gift of letting viewers feel the pain of his characters for themselves. There’s not one chapter of this trilogy that hasn’t broken my heart, but Lady Vengeance always has me crying openly. Geum-ja has been betrayed by her lover. He tricked her into taking the heat for a murder he committed—the suffocation of a 5-year-old boy—and she’s had 13 years in prison to think about how she’ll make him pay for it. But when she gets out and starts to put her plan into motion, she discovers just how deep his depravity really runs. And we wallow in despair right along side all his victims. I guess the empathy Park makes us feel is necessary since we’re supposed to approve of Geum-ja’s vigilante justice. Don’t worry—you will. You’d be next in line for your turn with this guy if you were given the chance. The catharsis is complete, and it provides perfect closure for this final installment in what I consider to be the definitive treatise on vengeance. But while Chan Wook Park does make a point that the drive for revenge may universal, his nonchalant use of ghosts throughout the trilogy emphasizes the fact that his stories are still uniquely Korean.

By Allison from My Film Habit

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The Graves (2009)

Two sisters from Arizona, Megan Graves (Clare Grant) and Abby Graves (Jillian Murray) go on one last road-trip before Megan leaves for a job in New York. After getting lost looking for a roadside attraction – the worlds largest thermometer –  they find themselves a small town. The waitress in the diner where they have lunch gives them directions to Skull City a local attraction, an abandoned mining town turned museum. It doesn’t take long before people start to die. The most pleasing and surprising thing about the movie is that just when you think it will be a Hostel style torture movie it becomes a supernatural horror with characters you want to see survive.

The thing that makes the movie work is the casting, Whilst Clare Grant and Jillian Murray aren’t great actresses, they are likeable and believable as sisters. It also features Tony Todd, best known as Candyman, Bill Moseley who has real horror credentials with parts in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), Army of Darkness (1992), House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and its sequel The Devil’s Rejects (2005) and Amanda Wyss who was Freddy Krueger’s first victim, in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

The story is hugely predictable and lacks originality and has no surprises. The acting is average at best and the photography isn’t great. It is basically a crappy B horror movie. It isn’t very good, but it really as no pretensions and doesn’t pretend to be any good and as such I kind of enjoyed it.  I have heard “Buffy meets The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” mentioned, its not a bad description although it lacks the humour of Buffy and the scares of Chain Saw.  The near epic eighty-four minute runtime flew by.

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“Non, Rien de rien, Non, Je ne regretted Rien”

When was the last time you saw a big budget summer blockbuster that didn’t treat its audience like idiots. Strangely enough it was two years ago and the movie was The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan has done it again. Inception is an intelligent and thoughtful movie with sublime acting, fantastic photography and a plot with just enough ambiguity to emphasise the existential themes.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a sort of corporate spy, he steals information from peoples subconscious via their dreams. He is hired to use the technology involved to do something believed to be impossible “inception” (you may know what inception is from the trailer or other reviews, if you don’t I won’t give it away). There is also in issue with ghosts Cobb’s past. To do this he recruit’s a team who all have there own ability: Point man, Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt); Forger, Eames (Tom Hardy); Architect, Ariadne (Ellen Page); Chemist, Yusuf (Dileep Rao). Playing out somewhere between a heist movie and a con-man man movie Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) is The Mark.

Early in the movie Cobb explains to Ariadne (Ellen Page) that “you never really remember the beginning of a dream, you always wind up in the middle of what’s going on”, that’s how the movie starts, right in the action, is that telling us something about what we are seeing? That’s something I really can’t give away! Cobb also mentions “the chance to build cathedrals and cities, things that never existed”. As well as an explanation of what they are doing in the movie this also sounds like a definition of filmmaking, and more importantly sci-fi/fantasy filmmaking. And that is what this is, as well as everything else this movie is Christopher Nolan’s love letter to cinema. Having made a billion dollars with The Dark Knight, he could have made any movie, who at Warner would have had the balls to say no to him? Where some directors would have gone for a small arty film and others an explosive blockbuster with a big budget, Nolan made both. What could have been a rambling esoteric mess is actually by far the best movie of the year.

There is a song that plays a recurring and significant role in the movie, there is nothing in the plot to suggest it has to be a particular song, but they use the same one throughout: Non, je ne regrette rien sung by Édith Piaf. Is this a reference to regrets the characters may have or is it an in joke (Marion Cotillard played Édith Piaf in La Vie en rose). Nolan is keen to play down both possibilities saying he chose it because of its distinctive sound.  Another nice touch is the amount of real action on display in the movie where it would have been cheaper and easier to achieve with CGI such as the rotating hallway, that that really was achieved by rotating the set, but we are dealing with the director who somersaulted a truck two years ago. That’s not to say there isn’t CGI in this movie, there is a lot of it but it is used in the right way and the right place to achieve what is impossible in the real world like a Paris street folding over on itself.

With the dark tone of the Batman movies Nolan is has gained an unfairly dour reputation. This movie also at times demonstrates a great sense of fun with Joseph Gordon-Levitt zero graffiti antics and Tom Hardy’s wonderfully over the top delivery. We also have Gordon-Levitt and DiCaprio running around in tuxedos looking like young versions of James Bond. Continuing that theme there is also a skiing scene reminiscent of 70’s Bond movies. DiCaprio plays it serious with a semi permanent scowl on his face he is always believable in his character, his scenes with both Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page are sensational. You leave the movie wanting to know more about these characters.

The greatest testament to the quality of the script is despite the labyrinthine story it isn’t as hard to follow as you may have been told. Without giving anything away the ending is perfect.

The first ever movie to achieve Five Stars out of Five.

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In the Electric Mist (2009)

Based on the 1993 novel “In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead”, the sixth of eighteen (so far) novels featuring the character Dave Robicheaux written by James Lee Burke. Heaven’s Prisoners (1996) starring Alec Baldwin was based on a later book in the series.

On his way from a crime scene where a young woman has been brutally murdered detective Dave Robicheaux (Tommy Lee Jones) stops a drunk driver. The motorists turns out to be movie star Elrod Sykes (Peter Sarsgaard) and his girlfriend and fellow actor Kelly Drummond (Kelly Macdonald) who are in the area shooting a civil war movie. I an attempt to avoid prosecution Elrod mentions that he has seen in a decayed body in a swamp, little does he realise that it relates to a killing that has haunted Robicheaux for forty years.

The movie features a great cast including John Goodman, Ned Beatty and Mary Steenburgen as well as blues legend Buddy Guy, but this is Tommy Lee Jones’ movie. Told from the point of view of Dave Robichaux, he appears in every scene and provides an occasional voiceover. Therefore the movie succeeds or fails on the character; a somewhat clichéd character, a recovering alcoholic who is happy to break the rules but has his own moral and ethical code, Tommy Lee Jones makes him a likable and sympathetic character. As the story unfolds the plot has a slightly predicable and convenient feel to it preventing it from being a great film.

It is basically an old-fashioned crime/mystery thriller that does exactly what you would expect of such a movie. Not a classic that you will want to see over and over again but definitely worth a look and certainly better than a lot of movies that get a cinema release. Given the star power on display it is surprising that it missed out on a cinema release but it did and débuted on DVD earlier this year.

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“This world’s divided into two kinds of people: the hunter and the hunted. Luckily I’m the hunter. Nothing can change that.”

Anyone who has seen Zodiac (2007) will remember the reference to this movie, if the events of that movie are to be believed it even provide inspiration for the real life Zodiac killer. It has also inspire filmmakers for nearly 80 years with numerous, copies imitators and remakes. The idea was even used for an episode of The Avengers (The Superlative Seven) and is spoofed in The Simpsons (Treehouse of Horror XVI).

Count Zaroff (Leslie Banks) lives on a remote island. Using fake buoy’s to lure ships on to a reef in shark infested waters. His guests become his prey as his hobby is to hunt “The Most Dangerous Game”. Bob Rainsford (Joel McCrea), a big game hunter washes up after the motor-yacht he is travelling on sinks. He soon meets other “guests” Martin Trowbridge (Robert Armstrong ) and his sister Eve (Fay Wray). Eve already suspects something is wrong, together with Bob could present Zaroff with what truly is his most dangerous game.

Made in 1932 parts of the movie look dated, the most notable of these are the use of close-ups of exaggerated facial expressions, a clear hangover from the silent era. The movie starts onboard a ship, all exterior shots are clearly a model and not up to the standard of King Kong (1933) that it actually shares a lot with (including one of its directors, sets and cast). Other than this the movie stands up really well and is wonderfully atmospheric. Due to the relatively low production cost it actually made more money than the better known King Kong. Coming in at only a fraction over an hour the movie is incredibly short, but its stripped down simplicity is to its credit.

For those not used to older movies don’t expect a masterpiece but it is certainly a movie that is worth seeing and one that a few modern filmmakers fond of bloated and overcomplicated plots should take a look at.

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I first saw The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension or Buckaroo Banzai for short in the mid to late 80’s and thought it was utter crap. Looking back on it now it is clearly a mess of a movie and a cheesy mess at that but like so many 80’s movies it has a certain charm. For those who don’t know it (I suspect they outweigh those that have seen it) here is a brief synopsis:

Dr. Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) is a Rock-Star, physicist and brain surgeon. Dr Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow) whose mind has been taken over by Lord John Whorfin. Whorfin and the rest of his race the Red Lectroids have been banished to the 8th Dimension. Thousands of them escaped (it was covered up as Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds radio broadcast) and have an evil plan that only Dr. Buckaroo Banzai and his band of sidekicks The Hong Kong Cavaliers can stop him. He is helped along the way by Penny Priddy (Ellen Barkin) (who for no good reason within the plot is the long-lost twin sister of Buckaroo’s dead wife) and by the peace loving Black Lectroids who had originally captured the Red Lectroids. And that’s a simplified version!

The mythology of the plot and the characters back story is bizarre, it is as if the filmmakers have created this elaborate universe to set the story in and not bothered to tell the audience about it, you just have to pick it up as you go along. The easiest way to describe it is picking up a TV show in the second season. You soon get to know the characters but you aren’t sure what has gone on before and you don’t get the in-jokes. This could be because there were several part-finished stories before they settled on one to be turned into a movie. It was also intended for there to be further Buckaroo Banzai adventures that didn’t happen for financial reasons. The end credits actually promise a sequel “Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League” although the sequel never happened, all reports at the time and since have stated it was the intention to make the movie. As well as the poor box-office, Sherwood Studios went out of business Shorty after the releases. There are suggestions that other studios were interested in picking up the character but never go beyond the red tape involved in acquiring the rights. There was also talk of a TV series in the 90’s, that also came to nothing!

As alluded to above, the movie bombed at the box-office but has gained a cult status ever since. The real problem with its lack of audience was twofold, there was a real lack of marketing for the movie, it also came out in the middle of the summer and had to compete with big hitters like Ghostbusters that was still packing them in two months after its original release. As the movie contained so many genres but couldn’t be pigeonholed into one the studio didn’t know how to market it or more to the point who to market it to.

All that aside the real question, is it any good. And the real answer, I’m not sure. I hated it when I was thirteen, twenty years later I kind of like it but I don’t know why. Everything about the movie goes over the top, the 80’s cloths, the acting and most notably the premise, but that really is no bad thing. The movie is the most fun when at its cheesiest. Also look out for the famous and much imitated end credit sequence. If you are still not convinced to take a look two questions. How funny does Jeff Goldblum look in his cowboy outfit; and how hot does a young Ellen Barkin look? (she was 30 at the time) still not curious? It kind of explains why the movie bombed.

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Making her first appearance in Batman #1 from 1940 (Not to be confused with the first appearance of Batman in Detective Comics a year earlier). Selina Kyle aka Catwoman is Batmans most memorable, iconic and enduring love interest. As is often the case with comic book characters over time her origin and actions have sometimes contradicted previous stories, sometimes this is explained away by plot devices, other they just re-write history. Here is an overview of the character:

In her original appearance she was known as The Cat rather than Catwoman. As a burglar with a taste for high risk high-stakes she was introduced as an adversary for Batman. In the fifties she fell foul of the censors when the Comics Code Authority came into existence and she was promptly dropped. During this first stint it is revealed that she was flight attendant who suffered a blow to the head during a plane crash before starting her life of crime. She did briefly reform and help batman before being written out for over a decade.

Returning in the 60’s to the pages of the comic books as well as to the screen in the Batman TV series played by Julie Newmar (then later by Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt). Her most memorable screen outing came in Batman Returns (1992) played by Michelle Pfeiffer. There was another film version in 2004 but it was only vaguely based on the character.

The 70’s saw a new timeline known as “Earth-Two”. In this new version a reformed Selina Kyle married Bruce Wayne, the couple had a child Helena Wayne (who became the Huntress). Taking on the issues of the day it was revealed that the amnesia story was a lie told by Catwoman in a bid to change her identity and escape an abusive marriage. Her prowess as a burglar is revealed when she was forced to “steal” her own jewellery from her estranged husband’s vault. Enjoying the experience she becomes a professional cat burglar taking to The Cat/Catwoman as a disguise. This fits in with her original appearance.

In the 80’s Frank Millers Seminal Batman: Year One reinvented the character. Selina Kyle is a prostitute with an abusive pimp. She encounters Bruce Wayne before either take on their secret identities. 

This new origin was expanded upon in part and rewritten again in part over time. Catwoman (vol. 1) #0 contained an origin story starting with an unhappy childhood and unloving parents. Variouse twists and turns revel how she became Catwoman, one off the more interesting ones involves her time in an orphanage where she exposes a corrupt administrator who has been embezzling funds. At this time she also deletes “Selina Kyle” from the city’s records and steals a diamond necklace belonging to the corrupt administrator, possibly her first theft.

Since the success of the 90’s movie appearance she has had her own comic book series and is portrayed as a likeable antihero rather than an actual villain and is often a love interest of Batman.

Batman: Dark Victory and Catwoman: When in Rome both contain storylines suggesting that Selina may be the illegitimate daughter of Mafia boss Carmine Falcone.

How could she fit into the new movie? Following the death of Rachel Dawes Bruce Wayne becomes reclusive. Until he is forced by Alfred and Lucius to attend a party. There he meets a young socialite Selina Kyle who he is intrigued by. He is told she is new to Gothem, in her time there she has attended all the right parties and seen with all the right people, she drives a fast car and rides a motorcycle but nobody knows anything about her past, what she does for a living or where she lives. People chip in with rumors including a few that may be true (or similar to those from the comic book: Prostitute, Dominatrix, Burglar, Daughter of a mob Boss). The pair dump their prospective dates and spend the night together. The next day Bruce checks her out but at first he can find no record of her existing. Soon he discovers references all over the world to a mysterious female cat burglar who uses the latest technology to avoid detection and makes the most elaborate escapes. As he looks at the equipment she uses he soon realizes that she has purchased some of it from Wayne Enterprises via a dummy corporation, this will help him track her history.

As the story unfolds it is revealed that she has been working as a burglar for ten years. She has been doing it to earn money to help sting together some information and untimely to get close to the man she intends to kill. The man she blames for the death of her parents, an underworld boss who also may be her real farther Carmine Falcone*. As Bruce discovers what she is planning he tries to talk her out of it explain that revenge nearly destroyed him. Bruce’s saving Selina from herself can play out as his attempt at saving himself from his alter ego that is consuming him. This storyline can run alongside the main plot without being directly connected to it or it could have a direct connection to forcing Batman to make a difficult decision.

Why should she be in the movie. Batman/Bruce Wayne needs to move on from Rachel but it can’t be simple, he can’t meet a nice girl, hang up the cape and mask and settle down to a happy life. It has to be complicated and conflicted and above all I has to be someone who is in many ways his equal. Batman is a flawed character as under the mask he is just a man and he brings human flaws to the identity. The movie works best when he conflicted. And with Christopher Nolan’s visual flair and casting genius she guaranteed to look good! Who else can bring all these elements to the Batman universe?

Who could play her? The usual suspects who keep coming up are Kate Beckinsale, Rachel Weisz, Megan Fox and Angelina Jolie. Lets by honest everyone who has come up with those names is thinking what she would look like in Michelle Pfeiffer’s costume. As with everyone else who has appeared in Nolan movies to date she needs the acting ability to make it work. She ideally should be late twenties to mid thirties (or can pass for that age) tall and athletic other than that anything goes to be honest those things can go out the window if they have the right connection with Christian Bale. A few more suggestions: Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Rodriguez, Eva Green, Emily Blunt and a real dark horse who needs to get way from crappy rom-com Anne Hathaway.

What would she be like in Nolan’s universe? A fiercely independent and often volatile individual hiding the damage person beneath. Possibly an adrenaline junky who is only happy when she forgets to be miserable.

Costume? A costume would be essential. Unfortunately Michelle Pfeiffer’s PVC won’t work. Something matt rather than shiny made of a high-tech (fictional) fabric would be more appropriate. She has been known to wear back, green or purple these could all be used at different times. The costume (as suggested above) could be made from a material developed by Wayne Enterprises possibly for military special forces. It should be stab proof and possibly coupled with a bullet proof vest over the top and a small backpack for her equipment and weapons. The addition of high-tech gauntlets and shin protectors would make it possible for her to fight Batman “toe to toe”; her costume offering less protection but more flexibility. Her mask/cowl has been known to contain night vision glasses, this would be useful (and could lend itself to a point of fight scene in total darkness). Gloves with retractable claws could be a useful tool/weapon. She may have to dispense with the whip in Nolan’s world though.


*For those who don’t remember Falcone was played by Tom Wilkinson in Batman Begins, he was last seen in Arkham. He did not appear to escape with the other patients released by Ra’s al Ghul’s men and was mentioned In The Dark Knight as still being held in Arkham.

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“Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter” Ernest Hemingway – On the Blue Water

Predator 2 (1990) was a great sequel that really lived up to the Arnold Schwarzenegger original (1987). Danny Glover’s LA cop offered a perfect alternative Schwarzenegger’s “Dutch” and only a couple of steps removed from Roger Murtaugh helped make him a likeable hero. And I haven’t even mentioned the legend that is Gary Busey yet! One of the great things about the original was the ambiguity of the predators and their intensions, one of the best things about the sequel is the way it develops the myth further suggesting answers but asking more questions at the same time. But what’s wrong with the sequel? Very simply its not set in the jungle, predators belong in the jungle and that’s what writer/producer Robert Rodriguez and director Nimród Antal give us, predators in the jungle.

Based on a script by Rodriguez that dates back to some time between El mariachi (1992) and Desperado (1995) and before the missed opportunity that was the Alien Vs Predator films. Here the film makes reference to the original but not to any of the sequels. Starting with a group of killers being parachuted into an unknown jungle with no knowledge before they woke up in freefall. The group consists of: Adrien Brody, a mercenary and Schwarzenegger’s spiritual successor; Alice Braga, an Israeli sniper; Walton Goggins, (currently recognisable from TV show Justified) an unhinged death row prisoner; Oleg Taktarov as Russian soldier with parallels to Blain (Jesse Ventura) from the original film; Danny Trejo a Mexican mob enforcer; Louis Ozawa Changchien, his Yakuza equivalent; Mahershalalhashbaz Ali as a killer from a Sierra Leone death squad and Topher Grace who appears to be the odd one out.

From here the movie plays out like the original taking its time before revealing the predators, this works on two levels: in the unlikely event this is someone’s first experience of a predator movie it works just like the original; for fans of the original it builds the expectation for the predators until they are finally revealed. Perfectly playing it holding out just long enough but not as long as in the original. When the predators do arrive it is a little predicable but that really isn’t a problem, if a franchise movie wasn’t somewhat predictable.

Making the most of its jungle setting featuring ideas seen before in the franchise including the predators hiding in the trees and the setting of booby traps. Then Laurence Fishburne turns up and in a fantastic role that references Apocalypse Now (1979) (the movie he got his big break in) in more than one way. The best scene in the movie involves Hanzo (Louis Ozawa Changchien) who confronts a predator armed with just a Katana. Not only does the scene reinforce the character development of the predators seen in the first two movies and AVP (the better of the Alien Vs Predator movies), it is also extremely well shot borrowing from movies like Hero (2002). Although failing to offer much originality the movie does enough to satisfy fans and newbie’s alike and sets itself up perfectly for a sequel, and even has scope for a prequel.From a production point of view, I just love the fact that despite the jungle scenes being shot in Hawaii, a lot of the movie was shot in Austin, Texas true to Robert Rodriguez’s origins. Whilst not the Predators to Predator in the same way Aliens was to Alien it is still a worthy sequel (or threequell depending on your point of view) a good film rather than a great one but most importantly in this somewhat lacklustre (so far) summer season it’s a good honest fun action movie. I know its only really worth three stars out of five but I really enjoyed it so:

Four Stars out of Five.

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