Thursday, July 19, 2012

"The Dark Knight Rises" - Christopher Nolan (2012)

I know "The Dark Knight Rises" isn't an animated film, but I know you're all dying to know what I thought of it, so here we go.

Let's just get the question on everyone's minds out of the way.
No, "The Dark Knight Rises" is not as good as "The Dark Knight," but how many movies are?
The two films belong in different genres entirely.  "The Dark Knight Rises " is an action film on a massive scale while its predecessor was a brooding crime drama.
Having said that, there's no reason why anyone shouldn't enjoy the new Batman movie; it's spectacular.
The film opens up with an impressive action sequence that introduces us to a new brand of Batman villain.
It involves Bane allowing himself to be taken into custody and then promptly escaping by crashing a plane and killing a lot of people.
When one of Bane's henchmen willingly goes to his death, we realize we're not just dealing with criminals, but fanatics.
Tom Hardy plays Bane with a serviceable menace.
Bane bests Batman in a fight and it's surprisingly unsettling to see Batman defeated.
Showing all that rage and sadness with most of his face obscured is a tall order and hardy has Heath Ledger's enormous shoes to fill, but he manages to make it work beautifully.
As for the other villain, Anne Hathaway is simply fantastic as Catwoman.
At the start of the film, Hathaway plays her character with a convincing meekness with superb underlying intensity.
When she takes a sinister sharp turn, we completely believe her.
She establishes herself as someone who can more than take care of herself and her character evolves from there.
And just a side note the character actors featured in the film were chosen very well, from Burn Gorman to Matthew Modine.  (I was especially pleased to see "Torchwood's" Gorman.)

I'm afraid of saying too much in this review just because nobody wants to be spoiled.
Suffice it to say there are a couple of twists at the end.
I did not see one of them coming and the other you would have to be an idiot not to spot in the first act of the film.
So go, with my blessing.  Enjoy Batman in all his stylized glory.

And visit to see my thoughts on films like "Coriolanus," "Hysteria" and "A Dangerous Method."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Submissions Begin for MAPA Animation Celebration!

Welcome to Corporate City, Courtesy Trent Coffin
Some Kansas City animators will soon see their short films on the largest screen in the state of Kansas!  The Midwest Association of Professional Animators (MAPA) is proud to propose a joint partnership with CinemaKC and 41 Action News in bringing the Midwest its first and only "Animation Celebration" on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. It will be held at the Boulevard Drive-in, 1051 Merriam Lane, Kansas City, KS 66103.

MAPA proudly announces our first submissions.  From Trent Coffin, "Welcome to Corporate City."  We also will see work from animator Dan Wood who also works as an Associate at Populous.  We will take a look inside the CAPS program at Blue Valley North, a peek at the motion designers of the future working at KCAI and at Johnson County Community College and much more.

Individual artists will present their works safely beneath the Boulevard's lastest addition!  A 1000 sq. ft. stage area protected from those incidental rains.

More Announcements to Come!!