MOVIES I'VE SEEN LATELY...

THE DARK KNIGHT: Wow, what can I say, I thought this was as perfect as we've seen so far in the comic book movie genre. Why? Mostly because while there are great comic movies, like the recent Iron Man, they are just that: great comic book movies. With The Dark Knight I felt like I was just watching a flat out great movie. Definitely the best I've seen this year at least. Chris Nolan's movies have become these great character studies with this one pulling itself in so many ways. The cast is phenomenal, with the obvious big nod to the late Heath Ledger as a resoundingly convincing Joker. Gary Oldman really came into the Gordon role here, Aaron Eckhart continues to charm, and Christian Bale did his usual splendid Bat-act. Also, Michael Caine again deserves kudos for his take on Alfred. The action was intense every step of the way too from it's opening bank heist to the mega awesome truck chase scene. There were so many layers here that just kept getting peeled further and further back to reveal the demented, at least for a Batman movie, plot that unfolded. The resolution was very interesting to me, and I'm already looking forward to seeing how they pull the next movie together. This realisticish take on Batman has proven to be a success amongst the hardcore and mainstream fans, and I think it's where Batman should be movie wise. Sure there's some points that are a little less than realistic, but who cares? At the end of the day it's still Batman, so it can't be all grim and grit. There has to be some fantastical elements to it. All in all, this is a damn good movie and if you haven't seen you better get moving. I've seen it twice, once on the IMAX courtesy of DC and once on my own dime. I'd have no problem seeing again too. It's that good.

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH: Yay, free screenings! This is one movie I probably would've missed, but free is me. And you know what? It was pretty bad, but the kind of bad that's just total campy fun. The gimmick here is the 3D, but unfortunately my screening wasn't in 3D, oh well. It doesn't hamper the movie although the enjoyment factor would have been definitely raised had I had the funky red and green glasses. Brendan Fraser hams it up Mummy style, which is always fun to watch. There's some good effects and overall it works. All you movie snobs stay far away lest you implode within seconds of the flick's start!

HANCOCK: I also saw this one for free, though through a hookup this time from my cousin Sal. I'm not ashamed to say I enjoyed it for what it was: a simple, cliched super hero movie. It's short enough not overstay its welcome, and the plot has enough "surprises" to stay interesting. The first 20 minutes are excellent actually as Smith's "hero" doesn't give a damn about anything. Smith, as usual, is pretty entertaining, if you disagree you need to seriously lighten up. Basically, that's my mantra for everything lately. Ech, don't want to get into that again... Hancock has some pretty nifty visual effects throughout, which are handled reasonably well by director Peter Berg. I've now liked every Berg movie I've seen (Very Bad Things, The Rundown, and this), but I've yet to see The Kingdom or Friday Night Lights. Apparently he handles messed up characters very well. Anyways, I wouldn't run out to see this, but if you get roped in, just clear your mind and have fun. And definitely rent it if not.

BRUCE AND LLOYD OUT OF CONTROL: The tech boys from Get Smart get their own direct to DVD movie and boy is it bad! It's really like a pilot to a TV series or something. Scenes seem to just get lumped together without much thought to continuity. Trust me when I say you don't need to see this.

FINISHING THE GAME: This is a movie, a mockumentary actually, about producers trying to finish Bruce Lee's final movie, Game of Death, with a new actor in Lee's role! Wow, this movie doubly hits close to home. First off, I loved Bruce Lee, still do, and grew up watching all his films. They were fantastic, he was fantastic, so this movie was pretty fun for me. Also, I went to high school with one of the actors vying for the part! Mousa Kraish sat in front of me in freshman Italian at Bishop Ford HS, and we would both draw comics together; eventually coming up with a hero called Strato-Man, who I'd fiddle with for quite awhile after HS. Well it was cool to find out that Mousa, who I haven't spoken to since that year, has become an actor. He was great here, and I wish him much luck on his way to stardom. The movie itself is filled with fun, quirky characters although all in all it wasn't the best film ever. Good enough to check out though, especially for you Lee fans!

PERSEPOLIS: A very beautifully animated film based on the graphic novel of the same name. It's about a girl growing up Iran in the early 80's and how she changes along with the country. It was nominated for an Oscar, and I can see that, but after a while it kind of starts to drag, and loses me for a little bit. I'd still say see because it is good, and you most likely won't have the attention problems I did.

JESUS CAMP: A documentary about Midwest Evangelical Christians who send their kids to a camp to get all the beliefs driven into their heads. It was a pretty revealing doc, but in the end I am just astonished that people can be this fanatical, which kind of turned me off to it. I guess this wasn't the subject matter for me.

HELLBOY ANIMATED: BLOOD AND IRON: One of two animated shorts released after the first Hellboy movie. Saw this on the Watch It Now and it wasn't bad. If you dug the Hellboy movie you should dig this alright as it has all the voice talent of the film, and is even directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Now if I could just get out to see the second movie...

CEMETERY MAN: Bringing up the rear is actually the movie I watched most recently. Cemetery Man is a 1994 Italian movie based on a back up comic to the wildly popular Dylan Dog series. Starring Rupert Everett and featuring an eclectic cast of supporters, this movie is stylistic, strange, gory, and sexy. I'd say strange more than anything, and by the time the end rolled around I had tuned out abit. It's about a cemetery worker and his mute sidekick, who steals the show, who have to rekill the reanimated dead at night. It's tongue and cheek for sure, but there was some semblance of a message to it. Eh, watch it if want to see a weird horror movie with some naked women.