Wednesday, August 8 2012, 03:43 PM MDT
Recommended Films: Jul 20 - 26, 2012
Reviews of Films showing in Salt Lake City this week
by Ryan Painter
1. The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13)
2. The Avengers (PG-13)
3. Prometheus (R)
4. The Amazing Spider-Man (PG-13)
5. Brave (PG)
1. Brave (PG)
2. Ice Age: Continental Drift (PG)
3. Madagascar (PG)
4. The Pirates! Band of Misfits (PG)
5. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (PG)
1. Beats of the Southern Wild (PG-13)
2. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG-13)
3. Moonrise Kingdom (PG-13)
4. Safety Not Gauranteed (R)
5. To Rome with Love (R)
The Dark Knight Rises
4 out of 5 Stars
Director • Christopher Nolan
Starring • Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman
Rated • PG-13
Recommended to • Batman enthusiasts, Nolan fanatics and those looking for a film that pushes against its genre’s traditional trappings.
In the eight years that have past since the events of “The Dark Knight” Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a recluse while Gotham City has flourished in the wake of the Joker’s chaos and the death of beloved politician Harvey Dent. But concealed beneath Gotham’s streets darkness gathers strength.
Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” is the most ambitious and the most flawed of his celebrated Batman trilogy. It still manages to be one of the most exhilarating films that I have ever seen. For the first 45 or so minutes the film threatens to spin out of control as it introduces new characters, revisits old friends and sets the stage for what can only be described as a rollercoaster ride through darkness where the twists and turns come without warning until the film’s monumental ending.
“The Dark Knight Rises” is an invigorating experience. It does more than simply entertain; it challenges the belief that blockbusters, particularly those based on comic books, can’t be more than sugar and wit. It features some the best use of practical and computer generated effects that I have ever seen. It feels visceral and real and while that strips away the typical candy coating of blockbuster violence it does elevate the audience’s emotional involvement.
Nolan might not reach the dizzy heights of perfection that he is shooting for, but the fact that he comes close is a remarkable achievement.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Director • Benh Zaitlin
Starring • Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry and Levy Easterly
Rated • PG-13
Recommended to • Fans of films that take you to places you never thought you’d visit and offers an experience that you will never forget.
Hushpuppy is a six-year-old girl that lives with her father in “the Bathtub,” a Delta community on the wrong side of the levies. There among the rusted scrap-metal dwellings Hushpuppy dreams of the mother she has never known as sickness begins to steal the life from her father and the melting ice caps threaten to drown the only place she has ever called home.
When I saw “Beasts of the Southern Wild” at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year the film’s closing credits were instantly followed by a thunderous ovation. This wasn’t an obligatory clapping of hands because the director was standing in the corner and no one wanted to hurt his feelings. No, this was a spontaneous explosion because everyone in the audience knew they had just witnessed something special.
But was it really all that special or was it simply the Sundance atmosphere or the placement of the stars that offered the illusion of something entirely original that was shockingly brilliant? Well, after watching the film a second time I am please to report that “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is a quiet masterpiece. The characters are rough around the edges. They survive by primal instinct, but below the surface is an undeniable love of each other that binds the community together. They own next to nothing and scrape the bottom of the barrel to survive and frolic in the freedom that their poverty grants them. There is something beautiful in the simplicity of their lives.
Take This Waltz
3 out of 5 Stars
Director • Sarah Polley
Starring • Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman
Rated • R
Recommended to • Those that expect infidelity will somehow improve their lives in the long run.
Margot (Michelle Williams) is a child-like housewife who suffers from a variety of anxieties that push her away from her loving, but boring, husband (Seth Rogen) and into the arms of the somewhat mysterious artist (Luke Kirby) who lives across the street.
“Take This Waltz” is an unfocused journey that never really goes anywhere. The cast seems to be either confused by or uncommitted to their characters, which only makes me equally disinterested in their performances. I have no idea what director/writer Sarah Polley was really trying to say. Is this a film about a sociopath or a commentary on the flighty and ultimately unrewarding nature of modern love? I’m not sure.
The Invisible War
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director • Kirby Dick
Rated • NR
Recommended to • Those looking for a documentary that addresses the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military.
Kirby Dick isn’t the sort of director that flinches and turns away from troubling, sometimes controversial, subjects. “The Invisible War” is a gut-wrenching look at the inhumane way that rape victims, both male and female, are ignored and/or punished by the US military. It’s hard not to be angry, dismayed and sickened by the way these individuals have been treated. Yes, the film does feel rather one sided, but that’s partly because there is no defense for allowing an environment where predators are permitted, if not encouraged, to exist.
(Copyright 2012 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)