Monday, 13 August 2012


Release Date: 20 July (UK)
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The end has come for Batman:
After spending 8 years in the dark, secluded in his mansion alien to Gotham's affairs. Bruce Wayne  (Christian Bale) decides to take the shape of the cape crusader once again as various forms of evil strike Gotham City. Like the movie before this one, Batman encounters more than one 'bad guy'. On the one hand the smart, sneaky, sexy and untrustworthy Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) who steals from Bruce Wayne and later finds herself in a path that will question her integrity and the depth of her corruption.
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And the great and mysterious Bane (Tom Hardy) a man that was expelled from The League of Shadows and seeks vengeance for the murder of his master Ra's Al Ghul (Liam Neeson) and turn Gotham into a living hell. 
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Batman has to find the way not only to defeat Bane who is not only a powerful enemy, intelligent as he is strong but also well prepared.
Bruce Wayne must first seek reconciliation with his body, full of scars and old injuries as well as having lost some of his fitness and strength by keeping himself away from trouble for several years. 

The movie is very good.
I have read many arguable criticisms about this movie, many criticise it as boring, or judge that the story wasn't as good as the second one but I think that the movie did what it promised to do, it was original and it did things very well by finding the way in which everything was solved and answered at the end of the film.
Let me elaborate:

The acting was superb in many cases: Christian Bale was standard but also better than in the previous films, there was a more demanding scenario for him this time and even though his script is always short he delivered a good interpretation of the Dark Knight and showed a serious performance.
The surprise was Anne Hathaway: on the way to the movie theatre I was telling my friends how convinced I was that her role in the movie would be pointless and that I could foresee how crappy her acting would be. 
I was very mistaken, her performance was very good and in one scene in particular she switches to be a confused and entrapped lady, to a master assassin and killer with the situation under control to a woman in despair screaming for help, in no longer than 15 seconds. That scene in particular made my jaw drop, you'll understand when you see it.
Tom Hardy was as good as he could have been, Bane wasn't a demanding character when it comes to the script and facial expressions, and even so you could see how Tom created the right identity through other symbols like his posture, his eyes, his arms, his clothing. His performance, like always was excellent. I am a big fan of Tom Hardy, and if you aren't you should watch 'Warrior'
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The supporting actors, who are not really supporting actors... I mean
Gary Oldman? Michael Cane? Morgan F****** Freeman? Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Lewitt... a ridiculous cast. The rookie, Gordon-Levitt as officer Blake was satisfactory and engaging. His roll in the movie was good, he did the job of a supporting actor that offered good dialogue between the main characters and certain individual scenes that at times cast a show on the protagonist and lets one secondary character to take the spotlight. Marion Cotillard was the same, there is not much to say.

The three wise men, Oldman, Cane and Freeman were just great, Morgan Freeman maybe not so much, but Gary Oldman and Michael Cane can act the shit out of anything, and if you give them a couple of good lines and you have Christopher Nolan behind you then they can provide something spiritual. Michael Cane in particular, two very emotional scenes in which Alfred (Cane), the emotional symbol of Batman made me drop a couple of odd tears, Michael Cane is simply and probably the best British actor of all times.
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So the acting was very pleasant, the action scenes and effects were also very good, always providing a new gadget for Batman to use and always bigger, better and meaner vehicles for him to intimidate with.

The Heath Ledger effect struck this movie badly. People weren't expecting such an amazing performance in the The Dark Knight and they fell in love with the bad guy, people looked at this movie with a new expectation, trying to find the next Heath Ledger.
Firstly let me say that although Ledger was legendary his hype was only because he died.
Secondly, one movie has nothing to do with another, maybe in The Dark Knight the roll of the bad guy was more important than in this movie, besides Bane is not such a versatile character as the Joker, its not fair to criticize this movie in that aspect.

The story was very complete and it answered everything it questioned.

Hans Zimmer nailed it with the score, like he usually does. I don't think it was as powerful as with The Dark Knight, it didn't have that usual 10 minute song that shows the epic moment of realisation Batman goes through as he comes closer to the reckoning but it is still very appealing and very pleasant to listen to. It kept Batman's theme but it also added a couple of signature sounds for Bane's appearances.

The Cinematography was interesting; there is never a good photography in this type of movies nor do I expect them to be but I like the way Nolan played with the lighting effects, usually showing the face of people partially submerged in the dark, symbolising the duality within every one, especially mister Wayne's.
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A couple of things I didn't like from the movie were
1) Bane's voice, it was just not the right voice. Way too mechanical and because Tom Hardy's dialogue was short sometime you would miss the odd word, the first 20 minutes of the movie have at least 3 inaudible scenes which in many cases with the loud music playing, you just don't understand what the hell he said.
2) THE BEST CRITICISM I HEARD ABOUT THE FILM and it comes from my 11 year old sister: How does Bane eat? Although I see this coming from DC Comics and not Nolan's fault, I still wonder how he can take food.
 3) Too many egos, way too many characters. Not just people, important figures in Gotham, just too many Chris, you added way too many people that hold the steak, at times one is easily confused as to why is this or that guy important in the movie, or why is that guy important and he is there for 5 minutes?
 4) Producer power: When you see the end of the movie you'll understand. I don't want to spoil the end, but the thing is that sometimes producers and distribution companies impose certain ending features that ruin the quality of the ending.

I was very happy with this movie overall. I've seen it twice in the cinema and for a guy who downloads most of his movies instead of paying a tenner I'd say that speaks for itself.

A very well deserved 8.5/10
and I think its IMDB rating of 8.9/10 is very fair.

Well done Christopher Nolan, you're up there in the top 10 trilogies.
(A post that's going to come for sure)

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I specifically posted some harsh reviews so you can compare them with mine

The Crookes - Hold Fast

Release Date: June 2012

The Crookes is a band from Sheffield (UK) formed in 2008, their style follows a popular trend of Alternative Rock / Indie / Pop mix which we are all being bombarded with since The Killers made it to the top. 
Most of us are kind of tired of this theme, I am not. I live in England, this theme comes from the core of this hipster era, this is what rolled up sleeves and black jackets was for the first trends of commercial Rock n' Roll.

This recent, upcoming band has a style that takes us back to the 60`s, and I like that they have that Beatles, Rolling Stones kick in their high pitch vocals with that scratchy old radio background noise that we hear when we see those videos in black and white. 
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Hold Fast, is The Crookes first album and it comes with a mix of sounds that remind us of bands like Editors, Two Door Cinema Club, The Smiths and The Beatles. 

The way I judge an album is by looking first at the variety of their music; 10 songs with quite different sounds, but none of the songs will make me change the mood too drastically. You know when you can't listen to a full album because one song suddenly changes the whole atmosphere? (It always happens to me when I listen to Grizzly Bear) Guess what? They don't have that. 

Some songs are quite slow, but your feet will keep bouncing up and down while you read or write something. Some songs like Afterglow or Maybe in the Dark will make you shake your body like a male salmon that has just been caught off guard by a hungry bear, literally you'll shake that ass fo' real, which is something that I appreciate a lot.

The Crookes have polished a very neat compilation of their own music, they have a sensible variety of sounds but they stay true to their music. I understand this is a debatable opinion since upcoming bands don't really have an identity until they become quite commercial, but still my point remains.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Overall the album is very complete, but its quite short. 10 songs that add up to no more than 33 minutes, I'm not too sure how I feel about that. As I wrote this review I heard the album twice in a row, it served a purpose but I can forsee it becoming boring and monotonous after while. Obviously this always happens to any song but half of the songs in Hold Fast aren't that addictive to listen to, so it can get quite boring.

Filler songs:
All bands have them in albums, even Legend (Yes even one or two songs from Bob Marley's best hits has a filler) This album almost has none. I respect filler songs, its like the odd burnt pop corn in the microwaveable packet, every now and then it happens one gets the one that burnt more than the others, well...
same goes here in the music industry, bands record 7 out of 10 with their heart and soul and the last 3 are usually crap, and you can recognise them straight away.

Afterglow is definitely my favourite song, it has a great tempo, its catchy, the chorus will remain printed into your head for hours after the song is done and the synthesisers mix in very well with the sound of the guitars, the drums make a great rhythm too. 

My least favourite song  is probably 'The I love you Bridge', ironically the last song in the album. I found it slow and poor, it didn't have a beat you can dance to and the lyrics and vocals were boring. Clearly the filler song in this case.

Overall I give this album 7/10.

Good start for the band; it delivers what it promises, it shows what these guys are all about, it remains true to their style, it has a good variety of songs that doesn't make everything sound the same (unlike Tourist History by Two Door Cinema Club) and doesn't go off track like Editors or Boy Kill Boy. On the other hand the album its slightly short and I don't think that's the perspective bands want to take when they first come out big, they should be looking for some more songs and a couple more with that fast tempo and active head spinning power like Afterglow.

This is definitely a band to follow.
I hope you found this review useful.

Two great reviews by BBC and the Guardian