The 2013 Oscar Predictions!

This is it.  It all comes down to this.  The Oscars.  Until it finishes and then we start a brand new year.  But we can all discuss about that and our post-depression after the 85th Academy Awards.  But let’s get straight to it.  Here are my predictions for the 2013 Academy Awards (and who should win).

Best Picture

Winner: Argo
Who Should Win:  Lincoln/Life of Pi
Spoiler Alert: Silver Linings Playbook

I hate hate hate how the Oscars are now predictable.  Though you always want to award film thats deserve the statue, it has become such a mammoth of a game with all these award shows and guilds prior to the big one.  It’s like if the two Super Bowl teams kept playing 4-5 times before the actual big game in February.  It’s became that big of a headache and has led to some anticlimactic years.  This year, it’s not so much predictable as frustrating.  Plain and simple: Argo is not the best film of 2012.  If I had a vote, I would probably have put Lincoln or Life of Pi as my number one rank, and Argo would most likely be my 5th or 6th.  Nonetheless, I predict it’s going to win.  Look out for Silver Linings Playbook to have a big night, and if does, this is going to be the icing on the cake.

Best Director

Winner: Steven Spielberg
Who Should Win: Spielberg/Ang Lee
Spoiler Alert: David O. Russell

As you can see, I’m very split between Life of Pi and Lincoln.  But considering I don’t have a lot of courage in these predictions, I’m going to stick with Spielberg just because it makes the most sense.  If Lincoln is somehow number one or number two behind Argo, then it makes a lot of sense that Spielberg will win his third Oscar for directing.  But something tells me Lincoln is not second.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Life of Pi or Silver Linings is ahead of Lincoln, which would lead to Director going to someone else.  I’m betting money on David O. Russell, not just because Vegas has him at +1500, but because I do think he has a legitimate chance of winning.  Over Ang Lee?  Not sure, but it all depends on how the night is playing out.  If we see De Niro and Lawrence win their respective categories, then I’d be a fool not to bet on Russell.  It’s anyone’s game.

Best Actor

Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis
Who Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Spoiler Alert: Hugh Jackman

If there’s anyone that could potentially upset Abraham Lincoln is Hugh Jackman, but I don’t see that happening.  If it does, then you truly know that the Academy despised Lincoln and will not win one category throughout the entire evening.  But Lewis is going to win…….

Best Actress

Winner: Emannuelle Riva
Who Should Win: Jessica Chastain
Spoiler Alert: Emannuelle Riva

Though I predict Riva will win, she’s still not the favorite as Jennifer Lawrence is, but I think those who predict Lawrence will win don’t see the changing tide and emotional pull Riva has with the Academy.  They loved Amour, so much so they’re willing to sacrifice a 22 year old’s first Oscar (she’s going to get nominated again) and reward the 80’s something French actress who most likely will be her final film of her long and enduring career.  If you look at last year’s Best Supporting Actor, Christopher Plummer, who definitely didn’t put in the best work in that category, but still won because of his age and career’s work throughout the 82 years he’s been placed on this earth.  It’s more of a congratulatory win rather than it being truly deserving, but this year, it’s both a congrats and a deserving vote.  I would’ve voted for Chastain who delivered one of the all time great female roles of all time, but I don’t think I need to go into much detail about why ZDT has gotten one of the all time screwed over campaigns in Oscar history.

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Robert De Niro
Who Should Win: Tommy Lee Jones
Spoiler Alert: Christoph Waltz

I think the Academy loves Silver Linings Playbook a lot more than the rest of Hollywood, and when you have Harvey F****** Weinstein behind your campaign, then you’re always a threat.  The favorite to most people is still Tommy Lee Jones or Christoph Waltz, but I’m sticking with De Niro.  Waltz technically is in a poster role (dominates screen time) but still his performance is well deserving.  But he just recently won and the Academy usually doesn’t reward the same actors between small gaps.  I would love to see Tommy Lee Jones win, but I’ll stick to my upset pick.

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Anne Hatheway, Les Miserables
Who Should Win: Sally Field, Lincoln
Spoiler Alert: Sally Field, Lincoln

If Sally Field wins this, I’m calling Lincoln for Director and Picture.  But I highly doubt it.  Anne Hatheway has swept this award since December.  It’s hers for the taking.

Best Original Screenplay

Winner: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Who Should Win: Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
Spoiler Alert: Michael Haneke, Amour

This award all depends on how the Academy feels about these three films.  Django, ZDT and Amour are all in a dead heat race as they’ve split the industry’s votes between the WGA, Golden Globes, BAFTA, etc.  I’m sticking with Quentin on this one, but that’s because I’m going with what my head thinks this year.  My heart tells me Haneke because the Academy is in amour with Amour (someone shoot me, thanks) but I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these three wins, including the one I think deserves to win, Mark Boal.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Winner: Chris Terrio, Argo
Who Should Win: Tony Kushner, Lincoln
Spoiler Alert: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

This is the category that I potentially think will give us a foreshadow of who’s going to win Best Picture.  All four possible BP winners are in this category (including Life of Pi) and whoever wins this category I believe could very well also be on stage for Picture.  The only film that I see winning Adapted Screenplay and not winning Picture is Lincoln.  Tony Kushner’s script is by far the biggest achievement, but as you’ve noticed with the prior guilds, sometimes achievement is not the most important.  If Argo wins here, we can slowly see the blocks tumbling away and it revealing who will win Best Picture.

Best Editing

Winner: Argo
Who Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Spoiler Alert: Silver Linings Playbook

If anything except Argo wins editing (which it should) then anticipate an upset at Picture.  The only film that wins this category but it eventually meaning nothing will be ZDT.  What a shame…

Best Cinematography

Winner: Life of Pi
Who Should Win: Skyfall
Spoiler Alert: Lincoln

I don’t necessarily think Skyfall deserves to win, but I do think Roger Deakins does deserve his first damn Oscar.  He’s been nominated for the ninth time, but still is empty handed.  He’s the best director of photography working today, and almost no one touches him in terms of the quality of work he puts on year in and year out.  But I predict Life of Pi winning, and Deakins will have to sit out another year.  What a shame…

Best Production Design

Winner: Les Miserables
Who Should Win: Lincoln
Spoiler Alert: Anna Karenina

Okay, honestly, Anna Karenina is most likely going to win, but I just don’t want to feel stupid that if it does win, I at least have written it somewhere.  Well, I predict Les Mis is going to win a few categories and this is where it’ll win at least one Oscar.  It’s not the favorite, but I think the Academy just votes which film they enjoyed the most in certain categories.  Lincoln deserves to win, but it will be ignored.  Of course.

Best Sound Mixing

Winner: Les Miserables
Who Should Win: Skyfall
Spoiler Alert: Skyfall

All depends which film they enjoy more, Skyfall or Les Mis.  I’m going to stick with history here and say Les Miserables because musicals usually take this category.

Best Sound Editing

Winner: Life of Pi
Who Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty
Spoiler Alert: Life of Pi

I put Life of Pi as both winner and spoiler alert because I’m picking the upset here.  Skyfall and Argo are technically ahead of Life of Pi in terms of who’s in the lead, but Life of Pi sweeping the MPSE was enough for me to choose it.  Zero Dark Thirty deserves to win this award though, hands down.

Best Costume Design

Winner: Anna Karenina
Who Should Win: Lincoln
Spoiler Alert: Les Miserables

Anna Karenina will win the Oscar here.  If Lincoln does, potential big night for Lincoln.

Best Original Score

Winner: Life of Pi
Who Should Win: Life of Pi
Spoiler Alert: Lincoln

John Williams will lose, but if he somehow doesn’t, then like Costume, could lead to bigger things.  Life of Pi though deserves to win this category.  Great great soundtrack.

Best Original Song

Winner: Skyfall
Who Should Win: Skyfall
Spoiler Alert: Anything other than Skyfall

If Adele performs and attends, you better give it to Skyfall.

Best Foreign Language Film

Winner: Amour
Who Should Win: Amour
Spoiler Alert: Kon-Tiki

Amour will win its first Oscar here (unless Screenplay is before Foreign Language film).

Best Documentary Feature

Winner: Searching for Sugarman
Who Should Win: The Invisible War
Spoiler Alert: How To Survive A Plague/The Invisible War

Searching for Sugarman has swept, but the Academy has a track record of not voting with the trends for documentary.  Only if this were true for everything else.

Best Animated Feature

Winner: Brave
Who Should Win: Wreck-It-Ralph
Spoiler Alert: Frankenweenie

I hope hope hope Brave doesn’t win, but I think it will.  the most deserving film here is Wreck-It-Ralph, and most experts are picking it to win.  But Pixar is the new monster, and it usually wins this category.  Also add in the fact it’s won many of the precursors, and I think you have your eventual winner.  Don’t be surprised if Tim Burton somehow goes up on stage and creeps everyone out.  And then Helena Bonham Carter will come up with him for some reason.

Best Visual Effects

Winner: Life of Pi
Who Should Win: Life of Pi
Spoiler Alert: Anything Else

Richard Parker is the greatest achievement this year.

Best Makeup and Hair

Winner: Les Miserables
Who Should Win: The Hobbit
Spoiler Alert: Les Miserables

Technically, The Hobbit is the favorite, but what I think most people are forgetting is the new addition to the category, Hair.  I don’t think Academy members know squat about makeup and hair, and I really don’t think they liked the Hobbit and its HFR nonsense, so in response, they’ll make sure it loses the one category it most likely should and would win.  Les Miserables, take your Oscar.

Best Live Action Short

Winner: Curefew
Spoiler Alert: Henry

Best Animated Short

Winner: Paperman
Spoiler Alert: Adam & Dog

Best Documentary Short

Winner: Open Heart
Spoiler Alert: Inocente

Well, there they are folks.  I do expect my predictions to get demolished tonight, but hey, who cares?!  But good luck and enjoy your Oscars night.  And in tribute for the films of 2012, here is a great video.

The Attack of The Singing Face: My Love/Hate Review of Les Miserables

There are some things that are best left alone, and it’s very possible that Les Miserables should’ve been one of them.  From the Oscar winning director of The King’s Speech comes Tom Hooper’s adaptation of Les Miserables, the ever popular and musical sensation that is as ever polarizing and difficult to rate as any other film I’ve witness.  This review will be broken up into two parts, why I loved it, and why I hated.  Hopefully by the end of this review, I’ve reached my conclusion and rating of Les Mis.  I am truly “On My Own”….

Why I loved Les Miserables.

Well, if you know me personally, I proclaim Les Miserables as the greatest musical of all time.  The plot is complex, confusing and very assumptive, but the music is gorgeous, beautiful and completely unmatched.  I have absolutely no connection to the French Revolution or with the characters, but when I hear them sing, it’s an emotional experience that cannot be compared with any other production I’ve seen on screen.  This biased opinion of the stage production is the main reason why I love the film.  Okay, I’m being overdramatic when I say love and hate (haven’t gotten to the hate portion yet).  I didn’t really love the film, but I really wanted to, mainly because I love the Broadway musical.

And just because I loved the stage version so much, I can say I like this film too.  It has way too many failures and mistakes to even put it near the stage version, but it’s good enough.  I loved witnessing the grand scope of the film, setting us in a believable atmosphere that compares to the French Revolution.  The opening scene where we are introduced to Jean Valjean, Javert and the ever so talented group of prisoners pulling in a damaged ship is the beauty of transitioning a musical to the big screen.  Big sets, special effects and an actual legitimate budget allows for our imagination to be put in actuality, allowing us to fully dive into the world of the musical.  This is where the film truly succeeds.  The world fits, and the set design is at its best.  The world Tom Hooper and his crew created is top-notch quality work.  As you can see, I’m trying to find things to praise…

In all honesty, the cast here is mostly good if not great.  Hugh Jackman, though I have my issues, was perfect for Jean Valjean.  I can’t think of any actor working today that can carry this role.  The vocal range and talent, the physique, the Broadway background.  Hugh Jackman was born to play Valjean, and we witness this on screen through song after song.  The rest of the cast does its part, especially Eddie Redmayne as Marius, Samantha Barks as Eponine and Aaron Tveit as Enjolras.  But who really shines is Anne Hatheway.  Completely deserving of Oscar praise, Hatheway plays Fantine the way it’s supposed to and more so.  Her version of “I Dreamed A Dream” is as good as it gets, and her emotional pull in her performance was the ultimate climax.  Unfortunately, “I Dreamed A Dream” is sung in the first 45 minutes…

Why I Hated Les Miserables.

Yes, I’m being overdramatic (just like Hugh Jackman’s acting), but there are just some aspects of this film I just couldn’t forgive or let go.  Much of it is the impossibility of transferring Les Mis from stage to screen.  There’s a reason why there’s never been a film adaptation of the musical.  It’s too difficult, as what works for Les Mis on stage doesn’t work on film.  The audience needs a break.  Heck, even the theater audience gets an intermission.  We get 2 hours and 30 minutes of non-stop sing and song, where the rare dialogue is like needed oxygen for a drowning man.

Why it works on Broadway is mainly because we witness the music live.  There’s a huge difference experiencing an actor singing “On My Own” or “Empty Chairs At Empty Tables” live on stage than seeing it on screen.  And instead of trying to find a solution for this, Hooper decides to connect the audience emotionally by delivering close up after close up on the musical numbers, giving us this trapped and suffocating experience where I feel like the movie theater has increased my fear of claustrophobia (I don’t suffer from claustrophobia…).

I don’t think Tom Hooper understood what you can get away with on stage and what you can get away with on screen.  The plot of Les Miserables is ridiculous and extremely ignorant.  Characters fall in love for no reason, Jean Valjean keeps escaping Javert point blank and individuals are stupid at best.  But it works on stage.  We give them the benefit of the doubt because we’re not there to criticize or not-pick at these flaws or shortcomings because we go to a musical to witness the music.  The problem with film is that though the music is the most important aspect, it’s not the only one.  You need a working plot, you need some sort of character development, you need actual substance.  Great singing just isn’t enough to save a film.

There’s the other problem with Les Miserables (the film version).  Tom Hooper did something revolutionary.  He created the first film to ever record the actors singing live while being shot on film.  The actors wore an earpiece with just a piano accompaniment, giving them the freedom to sing live with change of pace, emotion, and variation.  Sounds great right?  But here’s the problem: you’ve created an editing nightmare.

The main reason why we’re given so many damn close up performances is because you cannot integrate multiple angles because the actor or actress changed the song in his or her preference each take.  They had the freedom to do something different every time, so there’s no possibility of recording the same performance or getting anywhere near the consistency of one version when you’re doing it live.  That means we’re stuck with this three-minute song watching Russell Crowe sing one continuous note.  Instead of giving the audience a change of scenery or angle, we’re completely stuck, and though that works on stage, it is miserable (no pun intended) for film.  The character development, the struggle and difficulties of these characters are shared in song, but instead of connecting with their musical processing, we’re focused on this giant face.  When I truly fell in love with the film is when the ensemble is singing together and Hooper is allowed the freedom to gracefully cut and interact multiple scenes together.  It’s wonderful and gives us that “grand” scope musicals cannot.  But if you know Les Mis, there are not many of those.

90% of the film’s flaws fall under a predicament that can’t be solved, and I don’t necessarily blame Hooper for this.  You can’t do the traditional lip-synching other film musicals have done with Les Miserables.  The story isn’t good enough for that.  The heart is in the music.  But when they decided to do live recording, it ultimately decided and unfortunately limited the film to what it was: a masterful effort with mediocre result.

There are some things that Hooper could’ve done like the overacting, the laughable cuts of Jackman’s sudden singing or the confusing use of real dialogue and singing dialogue, but in the end, the choice to adapt Les Miserables on screen was the biggest mistake.  This film, though succeeds in some aspects, is tiring, enduring and eventually exhausting to watch.  Unlike my standing ovation for the theater production, I needed a blanket and a nap as the credits rolled.  The music will live on, but the film will unfortunately be forgotten.

Les Miserables gets 2 ½ stars (out of 5).

The Oscar Race Heats Up As Lincoln Becomes Early Favorite

The Oscar race is a fascinating experience.  if you’re a crazed and psychopath Oscar-goer, then you know, like the NFL, there is no such thing as an off-season.  Once the Academy Awards are finished, the new season begins, and though our helpings of fresh and exciting news aren’t always constantly fed throughout the year, this season, November-December, is where the race really heats up.  This is where studios save their best for last.  Their highly placed treasures are in their back pockets, waiting and waiting, until the right moment approaches.  That’s why timing is everything in the Oscar race.  If you don’t understand this, then you’ll be easily left and forgotten as the Academy is no sympathizing angel.  It’s a monster, but a monster that can be tamed, if and when the right film comes along.

As the Oscar season hits full stream, I’ll be updating more with news, opinions and constant posts on how the Oscar season is shaping.  If you’ve read before, I’ve posted my first Oscar race post claiming that Argo is on top of the leader board.  Though it still is definitely a contender, it is no more the head honcho.

Best Picture

1.  Lincoln

Critical acclaim and box office success are necessary components to Oscar success.  If you don’t have either, you have to be one damn good film (to the Academy’s eyes) to overcome.  it’s happened before, but it’s rare, and it happens usually when the Academy doesn’t want another film to win.  Lincoln, however, is everything the Academy jumps on.  Besides the two important factors, it has a tremendous cast with Daniel Day-Lewis leading as its captain.  Then add in the best screenplay of the year by Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg (guarantee nomination), well you should get the picture.  Right now, it’s in the driver’s seat and peaked at a very good time as the early nominations move will certainly attribute to Lincoln’s awards success.  Right now, I’m projecting around 10-11 nominations for Lincoln, including a lock for Best Picture.  But it definitely has some large and difficult roadblocks ahead as…

2.  Les Miserables

If you’ve seen the musical, then you’ll know how emotionally engaging and fulfilling this production is.  Having just witnessed the touring production in Chicago, it’s a masterpiece full of excellent music and prospering roles.  So if one can adapt this on screen, Les Mis has the potential to be a monster of a hit.  This is what I’ve been hearing all over twitter from different sources as Les Miserables from Tom Hooper screened at multiple theaters over the weekend in Los Angeles and New York.  Though I’ve personally haven’t seen it, I’m ready to claim Les Miserables as a contender, knowing fully the response I had watching the musical.  I’ve personally been told “if you’ve seen the musical, you’ll love the movie” which means I know how I’ll respond to the film.  The only question is how will the Academy?  Anne Hatheway has been slated as a lock for snagging Best Supporting Actress already, which means it definitely is a film to be reckoned with.  Les Miserables has a few obstacles to overcome also as it deals with a Christmas release (a little late IMO), Tom Hooper winning BD and BP two years prior and a potential receptive culture hinging on prior experiences with the onstage production.  My personal feelings is that Les Miserables has the potential to pull a Million Dollar Baby here.  The Aviator had been the favorite for a long time, and then all of a sudden came this late December release.  What will be important to watch is the Best Ensemble Award for the SAG.  Lincoln and Les Miserables will go head-to-head there, and whoever wins that may dictate who wins Best Picture.

3.  Argo

Unfortunately for Ben Affleck and co., they peaked too soon.  This is a great film.  It’s classic filmmaking at its finest, and in any other year, it has the potential to win Best Picture.  But likewise for all the great films of 2012, it’s a clouded race with highly excellent candidates.  Argo needs plenty of support from the critics, and I don’t know if that’ll do enough for Argo to make a late push for Best Picture.  It’s one of those films that got hot too early and is starting to lose its steam.  But it has nothing to do with its quality.  The Oscar race is the Oscar race.  But Argo will definitely snag a Best Picture nomination.

4.  Silver Linings Playbook

I was personally torn and confused on where to put this film on the list of contenders.  Having just recently seen this film over Thanksgiving (review coming), it’s an engaging film driven by its performances.  Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawerence and Robert De Niro all put in their best work, and it is one of the more emotionally captivating films currently in the awards season.  That is its biggest element working for SLP.  The Academy goes ape-crazy for emotional films, and SLP is no short of an emotional experience.  The only thing is that all these films are emotional.  They hinge on the audience having strong feelings, and if that’s the only thing SLP has going for it, then it’s going to fall short.  Though members of the Academy are buzzing over the film, this Oscar race is a long and tiring one, and if the buzz is nothing short of Best Picture winner, then I don’t think it’s enough to put SLP in the top spot.  I may be wrong, but I’m going with my gut feeling on SLP.

5.  Zero Dark Thirty

Likewise with Les Miserables, it’s a film I haven’t seen but have heard roaring applause for over twitter.  Screenings have been taking place and many are saying it’s better than The Hurt Locker (Won Picture, Director and Screenplay).  The fact that this film is something different and particularly diverse compared to the rest of the field will help ZDT’s chances if all the major contenders play the emotion and feelings card.  This is a film strictly focused on killing Osama Bin Laden.  Nothing more.  Like Lincoln, it doesn’t stray away from it’s emphasis.  Much respect to Kathyrn Bigelow and Mark Boal for repeating their excellent work.  Considering that I haven’t seen ZDT, I can only put it at my number 5 slot.  But, look out for a potential underdog.

6.  Life of Pi

Oh Life of Pi, how much I appreciated you (review coming).  It’s such a grand and epic film in both visual and spiritual entities.  It’s a film that captures everything you want in a film experience, but like all the other contenders fighting for a spot, it’s main Achilles heel would be being released in 2012.  Being nominated will be it’s main achievement, and the Academy will also reward the film with multiple nominations including Director, Screenplay and Special Effects of course.   But for Life of Pi to be seriously considered a Best Picture contender, it would have to pull a huge upset in multiple facets of award programs and I just don’t see that happening.

Other Contenders/Potential Nominees

The Master

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Amour

Moonrise Kingdom

The Impossible

Django Unchained

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Goodness.  There’s just so much quality and greatness in this year’s potential 2012 Best Picture lineup.  What a major headache this will be for Academy members.  And this is what the Oscar season will be until the eventful night in February of 2013.  I honestly have no clue what’s going to happen.  Unlike last year where it was clear that The Artist was going to demolish everyone and everything in its sights, this year, we can have a wide range of awardees from major outlets and not have a clear concise favorite.  This is going to be an exciting Awards season and I hope you’re ready for the ride.

Prediction for Best Picture (11/26/12):  My gut tells me Les Miserables.

 

The Dark Knight Falls Inexplicably: The Dark Knight Rises Review

I’m at a loss of words right now. The trilogy that was suppose to belong with the greats like Star Wars and Lord Of The Rings. The director, Christopher Nolan, the one that is now proclaimed as the director of our time. The “epic conclusion” to one of the great comic book films of all time. I’ve never been so speechless and disappointed from a film that I thought was going to be one of the greats of this year, possibly decade. I will warn those who read this review, it will contain some spoilers and this is a reaction review, not a day or two of thinking and evaluating review. I assuredly will go see this movie again and make sure my criticism for it is justified, but for now, you have been warned.

The Dark Knight Rises was one giant mess of a movie that tries to achieve so much in a little bit of time, even if that time is almost three hours in length. The Dark Knight Rises has absolutely no flow or rhythm and can literally be separated into three parts, and each part has nothing substantial or fascinating. The Dark Knight Rises has the blandest of characters I’ve seen from Nolan in all of his films and literally puts in useless face time and story where it feels like the entire movie is one bad case of bloated gas. And this is how it comes out, just pure stink.

The final installment to Nolan’s trilogy of the Batman character starts where we left off, except it’s eight years ahead. Moving from the incident and eventual death of Harvey Dent that was blamed by the dark crusader, Bruce Wayne and Batman are both gone from the public. Hiding in the Wayne mansion, Bruce feels no need to go out into the world where he doesn’t belong or is needed. Bruce has always been a character that has been conflicted from outward appearance and inner truth, and he continues this struggle throughout the film. Gotham is clean of organized crime, but it doesn’t mean it’s clear of those big massive villains that always seem to find its way through Gotham. Bane, a violent and bone-crushing mercenary piles through Gotham with weapons, an army and most importantly, a message. This message is for those who have been on the bottom of the barrel. Those who have been left with the trash and need to come and regain their city. With a nuclear device that of course was for good but now has been turned into an evil weapon, the city of Gotham is threatened by a nuclear attack where everyone and everything would be destroyed. Clean slate. That’s kind of how I feel about The Dark Knight Rises too.

There are a bunch of new characters thrown into Rises, mainly from Anne Hatheway as Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (though never introduced as so), Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays the admirable John Blake and Marion Cotillard, who plays Miranda Tate, a rich philanthropist who is working with Wayne Enterprises. All three play supportive but crucial roles in this film, and are all part of one giant mishandling of too many characters in one film. Each have their own story, their own importance, their own purpose, but this all has to go back to Batman. What does this character have to do with Bruce Wayne? How does this relationship effect the masked vigilante? Why is this relationship necessary in this conclusion? I felt these questions weren’t really answered, whereas these characters were some part of this final gigantic bow where too much is happening.

Enough of the criticism, let’s get back into the plot. So Bane starts blowing crap up everywhere and eventually breaks Batman where he is sent into some God forsaken land in the middle east and we have no clue how he gets there. Okay, that’s fine. This is where Batman truly needs to literally break himself to regain his proper motivation into why he will go back into Gotham. Blah blah blah. As he’s doing so, Gotham City has become a violent and chaotic mess where citizens are controlling citizens, and the people are doing whatever it takes to survive.

Honestly, I don’t have to continue with explaining this story because you know what’s going to happen. Batman will come, we’ll have this big awesome fight scene and Gotham will be saved. Maybe. Maybe not. The funny thing is is that I absolutely did not care about what happened to Gotham or its people. Honestly, I kind of wished all these characters would’ve died and we can just get The Joker back and play his psycho games. Truth be told, I’d watch the Joker sell soap rather than watch all of this unfold again.

I sound very harsh, and I think it’s not really how I feel about the film, but how I personally feel we’ve been misled this entire time. Nolan’s first two Batmans were nothing short of grand. It has such beautiful flow and connectivity and I, at least, was expecting this big finale where everything was done right in Gotham. But it feels as if nothing was done right in this third film from the flow, the dialogue, the character development and even the fight scenes.

Everything felt so underwhelming. Everything just felt mediocre and flat, and it really was confusing how this was happening cause Nolan is such an advocate from great story telling. And I think the main issue with this film is that there’s just too much going on. In the first of the three part series of the third film in the trilogy, we’re thrown into this situation where we have no clue what’s going on, all these characters mumbling about something and we progress so quickly that we barely get to realize that the trailers are over. Nolan tried to do too much here. Too many story line. Too many characters. Too much ambition without execution.

What really upsets me is that there seems to be absolutely no care in the little details. If there’s one thing about Nolan that I cannot stand is his distaste for any sort of brutality or evidence of violence. Someone gets shot, no blood. Someone breaks a neck, let’s cut it back. Over and over again I wanted to see Bane’s strength and brutality but was shied away. I wanted to get into the war between the Gotham Police and Bane’s army but all I get is some really lame fist fights. And this is not just about more violence. We get a car chase scene that starts in daylight and ends at night. Unless someone is going to say, “oh no, the sun is setting” then you can’t have this happen. And some of the cheesy lines and unintentional comedic scenes… It’s just shocking that a director of this magnitude would let this kind of film making happen.

Another really big issue I had was the fact that this movie moves so quickly but yet is almost three hours! How does that happen? That’s when you know you’re trying to accomplish too much. All these characters are solid but they get no time to shine, and they all have to somehow integrate with Bruce Wayne/Batman, and everything just feels forced. Nothing felt natural. Though Selina Kyle and John Blake are great individuals and characters in the Dark Knight Rises, their presence was shied away from a bloated plot that really didn’t need their involvement. And talk about unnecessary. Juno Temple’s role as Kyle’s sidekick. Wow, literally waste of film.

I didn’t hate everything about this movie. I actually liked it in the beginning, kind of. I was conflicted. I thought there were so many flaws but I still was fixated by what was going on, and then it lost me. With it’s overplayed messages about society and the current state of our country, to the whole idea of Batman breaking completely and rising from new ground. It was just so arrogant and sometimes pretentious. There’s just way too many themes that are trying to be discussed that no theme really excels. Whatever message you want to send to your audience, the message has to come within a package that resembles a good movie. This, unfortunately, is not delivered.

I did not come into this movie with high expectations. I did not come into The Dark Knight Rises hoping for as good or better than The Dark Knight. The movie doesn’t fail because it doesn’t live up to its predecessor. The movie fails because it’s not a good movie. Everything about this final installment yells laziness. Cutting corners. Making sure I make the movie I want to make and put these elements in here, and we’ll get it done no matter what. Nolan has the resume to make whatever movie he wants. And my opinion means absolutely nothing to him or to anyone who reads this review. But from a fan of Nolan’s and a fan of this series, I thought I deserved better than what I got. Batman deserved better. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight deserved better. But when things get too high, gravity pulls it right back down.

The Dark Knight Rises gets 2 stars (out of 5).