Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: The Dark Knight

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Movies,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:57 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous


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I saw The Dark Knight today.

I feel confident that this is going to be the best movie of the year. I have to admit I was a little dubious based on the massive amount of publicity the movie’s gotten and all the rave reviews my friends gave it. I mean, when they compared Dark Knight to the Godfather movies, well, I thought the reviewer had lost his mind, but I think they may be onto something.

So, the Dark Knight picks up where Batman Begins left off. Batman Begins retells the origin story of Batman in a way that’s closer to the original comic than the first movie did. This movie continues with that story, though Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawson and Aaron Eckhart joins as Harvey “Two Face” Dent. Christian Bale still plays Bruce Wayne/Batman, with Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, not to mention Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon.
The story opens with Batman fighting a number of criminals in a parking garage, along with some Batman copycats sort of getting in his way. He seems to find the whole thing a little depressing, having copycat vigilantes. He’s also sort of looking for a way to retire, once the city is safe from organized crime. For this, Bruce looks to Harvey Dent, the Gotham District Attorney. He’s the last honest man, outside of Jim Gordon, in the city and he’s putting away plenty of criminals. He’s also dating Rachel Dawes, much to the pain of Bruce Wayne.

Well, it seems he has his work cut out for him when he goes up against a new kind of criminal, the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger. He’s scarred, both physically and mentally, and appears in makeup to hide both. But, his crazy shows through both when he kills his accomplices and offers to kill the Batman, for a fee. So, off he goes, in his crazy way, using random violence and our own worst nature against us.

Well, I don’t want to give away too much plot, because you all really have to see this movie, so I won’t tell you more, but it is a violent roller coaster through a dark world of back alleys and sub-levels and ruined buildings. There are explosions and guns and more explosions and hand-to-hand action and car chases. But, oddly, there’s also a fair amount of philosophy, brilliant dialog, and social commentary. But, none of that stuff gets in the way of the story or the action.
The sets and cinematography are brilliant, too. Oh, and most of the movie was shot in Chicago and near where I worked for several years. I kept seeing things in the background that totally reminded me of home. In a good way.

I’m sure I’ll see this movie again, possibly on IMAX. The friend I saw it with today had already seen it twice before and was talking about seeing it again. Dark Knight is one of those movies that you can watch many times, finding more each time you watch it. It truly is the best of the Batman films and, really, is one of the best films I’ve ever seen.
I cannot encourage you enough to see this film. If you see no other movie this year, make it Dark Knight.


Review: Wanted

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Movies,Personal,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:52 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I saw Wanted today.

I’m not a huge fan of Angelina Jolie, or the comic book this movie is apparently based on, but I have to admit, it intrigued me when I saw the trailers and TV ads. I’d seen mixed reviews and even had gotten a less than stellar review from a friend who loves movies, too, but I really, really wanted to see this. In fact, I wanted to see it so much that I went by myself today at a matinee because all my friends who had talked about wanting to see it were otherwise engaged this weekend. I try to do this, actually, occasionally, because I always admired people who were so comfortable with themselves that they could go to a movie alone. Yeah, a little weird, but, well, there you are.

Anyway, the movie was good. It started with a narrator describing his sad, pitiful life as a cube drone with a crappy “best friend” who’s banging his nagging, shrewish girlfriend. He’s got an obnoxious, cruel boss who gets her jollies by making her employee’s lives miserable. The sad thing is, Wesley Gibson knows all this and, in case he’s not sure, he ought to figure it out when he gets no results Googling his name. His life changes, though, when Fox, played by Angelina Jolie, finds Wesley in a drug store buying his anti-anxiety medication to tell him that his father has just been assassinated. Before he can digest that little tidbit, someone tries to kill him. Naturally, Fox saves him and tell him that his father was a member of a group of assassins who keep the balance of power called the Fraternity. And Wesley can be one of them.

These assassins all are a little bit beyond human. They’re faster, stronger and more resilient. They have ways of regenerating any damage they take in the course of their assassinations very, very quickly. And, they can do things with bullets that violate the laws of physics and ballistics. They call it “bending” the bullet.
After some pretty intense training, the leader of the Fraternity, Sloan, played by Morgan Freeman, tells Wesley that he’s there to kill the man who killed his father. Eventually. First, he has to kill a few other people who are picked by Fate, via a code that the Fraternity can read and interpret, to practice up first. Well, before he can off to many people, Wesley finds himself being quite vigorously pursued by this mysterious assassin and forced to fight back.

Well, to tell you more at this point would be spoiling the movie, so let me say that there are several twists and turns, some more expected than others. And, keep in mind, this isn’t so much a mystery movie as an action movie. There’s a little suspense in regard to who is trying to off who and why, but, mostly, the plot only exists to show off the great special effects and Angelina Jolie’s tattoos and ass. Mostly, her ass. In all those goals, the movie performs remarkably well.
The action is consistently pretty good and, as I’ve already mentioned, the effects are very good. They just sort of disappear behind the rest of the movie, which, of course, is just what good special effects should do.

It’s well worth seeing, especially if you’re an Angelina Jolie fan or a fan of action movies. But, don’t go thinking it’s going to be a classic, by any means. It will be largely forgotten by this time next year, which is fine and not a reason to skip this movie at all.
And, of course, if my friends who wanted to see this movie, too, get disentangled in time to catch it next weekend, I’d be happy to see this again, which is rare enough for me.
So, it you have the chance, Wanted is worth a look.

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