Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Gordon-Levitt’

An atomic supervillain conquers Gotham in Christopher Nolan’s impressive, oppressive ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

September 23, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 23, 2014

Pity poor billionaire Bruce Wayne. At the start of The Dark Knight Rises, the 2012 blockbuster feature film based on DC Comics’s popular characters, the former bon vivant is a recluse with a limp and slightly shaggy facial hair. The troubled metropolis of Gotham has cleaned up its act in the eight years since the death of district attorney Harvey Dent at the end of The Dark Knight.

But Wayne (Christian Bale) keeps to himself, either unwilling or unable to move on after the Joker killed the love of his life, Rachel Dawes. And Wayne’s crime-fighting alter ego, Batman, whom most Gothamites unfairly blame for Dent’s death, hasn’t been seen since that the prosecutor’s demise.

The eponymous dark knight will be needed, however, because a new menace is approaching. The chief villain of British director Christopher Nolan’s third Batman movie is Bane (Tom Hardy), a mysterious masked man whose ruthlessness, strength and intelligence are only matched by his (and Nolan’s) ardor for labyrinthine plots. The Dark Knight Rises’s fast-paced beginning introduces Bane through an impressive midair hijacking in which he captures nuclear physicist Leonid Pavel and kills the CIA crew that had taken Pavel into custody. Bane also leaves behind one of his minions, noting that the authorities will expect a certain number of bodies in the wreckage. The henchmen obeys willingly, thereby enhancing the caper’s already ominous air.

There are a few other new characters (or new to Nolan’s Batverse, anyway). One is the impossibly limber Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a seductive thief whom we first see flirting with a local congressman. Moments later, she spars — verbally and otherwise — with the reclusive Wayne while attempting to steal his late mother’s string of pearls. Wayne is understandably captivated by the cat burglar, whom even casual fans will recognize as Catwoman despite the word not being uttered onscreen.

Read the rest of this entry »

A thief plants a seed: Intrigue abounds in ‘Inception,’ but it’s hard to find a reason to care

December 16, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Dec. 16, 2013

Dom Cobb is a master of his craft. The man at the heart of Christopher Nolan’s 2010 feature movie, Inception, is an extractor — an illegal operative who is handsomely paid to insert himself into dreams for the purpose of stealing secrets.

Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, has a problem. Its nature isn’t immediately clear, but it involves his being separated from his wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), and from their two young children.

The extractor is desperate enough to resolve his dilemma that he plunges himself, his wealthy employer and his team into a daring scheme. The plan hinges upon reversing the group’s normal modus operandi: Instead of stealing information from their target, they will plant an idea deep in his subconscious. The goal is to persuade industrialist heir Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) to disband his late father’s global energy monopoly, and to do so in such a way that Fischer believes the idea is his and his alone.

Cobb and his associates — businessman and Fischer rival Saito (Ken Watanabe), deputy extractors Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Eames (Tom Hardy), dream architect Ariadne (Ellen Page) and sleep-inducing chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao) — know that inception is supposed to be impossible, even though the extractor says that he’s done it. What most of them don’t know is that Cobb’s obsession with Mal (rhymes with doll) has grown so strong that it threatens to plunge the team into oblivion.

Read the rest of this entry »

Season of the fink: ‘(500) Days of Summer’ offers a quirky but not always satisfying vacation from (some) romantic comedy conventions

November 30, 2012

Director Marc Webb’s 2009 romantic comedy tries to break the romantic comedy mold.

And it tries hard — it really does! Instead of beginning with boy meets girl, (500) Days of Summer (parentheses in title — quirky!) actually starts with its male lead’s post-breakup meltdown. As his two best buddies and his sister try to console him, distraught Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) moans that the woman who has broken his heart is the One with whom he was meant to spend his life.

As the movie’s narrator warns us, this is a story about love — not a love story. The female lead herself warns Hansen early on that she doesn’t want a boyfriend. But Webb and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have switched things up: In this movie, it’s the man who needs a commitment! (Gender role reversal — so unusual!)

The winsome heartbreaker here is Summer Fynn (oddball name — how indy!), winsomely played by Zooey Deschanel. Fynn and Hansen cross paths at a small greeting card company in Los Angeles where he is a frustrated architect cum writer and she is a Michigander cum Los Angeleno. She has just moved to California (simply because she wanted something different — mark of a free-thinker, y’all!) and gotten a job as an assistant to the card company’s CEO.

Fynn is irresistible to men although she is of average height and weight, the narrator rather irrelevantly notes. Hansen, who believes that everyone has one and only one soulmate thanks to a serious misreading of the movie The Graduate, falls for Fynn the moment he sees her. Then he discovers that she’s exactly the right kind of quirky: She likes the Smiths and all the other stuff he does! Hansen tries to play things cool, but it’s clear that he’s in deep trouble. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: