Thursday, January 27, 2011

The All-Time 100

It has been another couple of years since I updated my Top 100 and now feels as good a time as any. I also wanted to put this together because Inception cracked my Top 20; it is now side by side with The Dark Knight. I will have to see which one separates over the next few years and if either of them climb into my Top 10 like the Kill Bill movies did after a few years. I'm pretty close to having all these movies be 10 out of 10 but there are still a few 9s at the end. Some of the 9s are ahead of 10s because the left hand doesn't always know what the right hand is doing.

  1. The Godfather
  2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  3. The Godfather: Part II
  4. Star Wars V - The Empire Strikes Back
  5. Kill Bill : Vol. 2
  6. Se7en
  7. Jaws
  8. The French Connection
  9. Kill Bill: Vol. 1
  10. Braveheart
  11. Gladiator
  12. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  13. The Shawshank Redemption
  14. Saving Private Ryan
  15. Star Wars IV - A New Hope
  16. Alien
  17. Pulp Fiction
  18. The Dark Knight
  19. Inception (new)
  20. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  21. Goodfellas
  22. The Departed
  23. The Hustler
  24. Drunken Master
  25. Battle Royale
  26. American History X
  27. Rocky
  28. Die Hard
  29. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  30. Unforgiven
  31. Jurassic Park
  32. The Maltese Falcon
  33. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  34. The Usual Suspects
  35. Hero
  36. The Sting
  37. Drunken Master II
  38. The Killer
  39. Chinatown
  40. A Better Tomorrow
  41. The House of Flying Daggers
  42. Schindler's List
  43. Hard Boiled
  44. Rear Window
  45. Bonnie and Clyde
  46. Gangs of New York
  47. Good Will Hunting
  48. Heat
  49. No Country for Old Men
  50. The Social Network (new)
  51. Inglourious Basterds (new)
  52. Spider-Man 2
  53. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  54. Iron Man
  55. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  56. Seven Samurai
  57. The Insider
  58. Tombstone
  59. Children of Men
  60. Michael Clayton
  61. X2
  62. Oldboy
  63. Leon: The Professional
  64. Black Hawk Down
  65. Munich
  66. Glory
  67. The Wild Bunch
  68. Batman Begins
  69. Juno
  70. Lady Vengeance
  71. Back to the Future
  72. Blade Runner
  73. A History of Violence
  74. Into the Wild
  75. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  76. Rounders
  77. The Princess Bride
  78. The Shining
  79. Traffic
  80. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  81. The Silence of the Lambs
  82. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  83. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (new)
  84. Training Day
  85. Midnight Run (9)
  86. Batman (9)
  87. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  88. Taxi Driver
  89. Enter the Dragon
  90. Boyz N the Hood
  91. Whale Rider
  92. Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (9)
  93. Layer Cake (9)
  94. Syriana
  95. Letters from Iwo Jima (9)
  96. The Aviator (9)
  97. Lethal Weapon (9)
  98. Vertigo (9)
  99. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
  100. Iron Monkey (9)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Final 2010 List

Let’s close the book on 2010. Although I had the lowest amount of movies seen since I’ve been doing this ridiculous shit, the quality more than made up for that. I ended up with a very strong top 10 and maybe even stretch that out to 15. You can’t really ask for more than that ... I want a pony ...
  1. Inception
  2. The Social Network
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  4. Winter’s Bone
  5. True Grit
  6. The King’s Speech
  7. 127 Hours
  8. The Town
  9. Let Me In
  10. Shutter Island
  11. The Fighter
  12. Kick-Ass
  13. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  14. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  15. Iron Man 2
  16. The Losers
  17. Black Swan
  18. Edge of Darkness
  19. The Book of Eli
  20. Green Zone
  21. Alice in Wonderland
  22. The A-Team
  23. Unstoppable
  24. Piranha 3D
  25. The Crazies
  26. Predators
  27. Salt
  28. TRON: Legacy
  29. The Wolfman
  30. Machete
  31. The Expendables
  32. Brooklyn’s Finest
  33. Due Date
  34. Faster
  35. The Karate Kid
  36. Robin Hood
  37. Daybreakers
  38. Repo Men
  39. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  40. Resident Evil: Afterlife
  41. Clash of the Titans
  42. MacGruber
  43. Legion
  44. Grown Ups

Let’s finish this up with my choices for the Oscars. I’ll explain my nomination changes then give my winner. Skipping past Best Movie since I just listed those and don’t feel the need to do it again.

Best Actor:

Leonardo DiCpario (Inception)
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
James Franco (127 Hours)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Jeff Bridges (True Grit)

Swapping in Leo for Javier Bardem. I am personally rectifying the Inception snubs even if only in my head.

My choice is James Franco but would be comfortable with every other choice.

Best Actress:

Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Chloe Moretz (Let Me In)
Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo)

Only Portman and Lawrence match the Oscar noms. I’m moving Hailee here instead of Supporting because she was the protagonist of the fucking movie. I feel Chloe needs to be recognized so I’ll go with the movie no one saw here. One of the Millennium trilogy had to be released in Sweden this year so I’ll stand by Noomi.

My choice is Natalie Portman but ask me tomorrow and I may switch to Jennifer Lawrence.

Best Supporting Actor:

Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)
Tom Hardy (Inception)

Adding 2 more from Inception because I can.

In honor of Heath Ledger, Christian Bale has to be the biggest lock since the Joker.

Best Supporting Actress:

Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Amy Adams (The Fighter)
Ellen Page (Inception)
Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass)

Haha more Chloe Moretz because its fun when children swear. One more for Inception because I’m on a roll and Mila Kunis was legit robbed of a nomination.

Hmm. In lieu of not having a clear winner in my head, I’ll support Bellatrix Lestrange.

Best Director:

Christopher Nolan (Inception)
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone)
Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)
Danny Boyle (127 Hours)

Lots of changes, but it doesn’t matter this should have been Nolan’s award. He keeps getting snubbed.

Since my choice isn’t available, I’ll support Fincher for the statue.

And that’s, pretty much, that.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

True Grit

Finishing the year with a Western is a fine idea. True Grit was most definitely a Western with all the Western-ness that you can handle. That was the only negative that I can think of, instead of being a Coen Brothers movie it is just a Western done to near perfection.

Usually this would be the part of the review where I would detail all the sweet Coen Brothers moments throughout True Grit, but this was the least Coeny movie I’ve seen them make. They definitely wrote the dialogue because you can’t hide that, but the story is pure Western from beginning to end. The story followed an obvious straight line and ended cleanly. It was confusing. Thankfully all the dialogue was hilarious so I didn’t feel I was completely in a foreign country. And if the horse trader scene doesn't qualify as memorable, I don't understand the rules of the game anymore.

So … Jeff Bridges huh? I thought he peaked with Stick It but I now must admit that I was wrong. It feels good to admit that. Forgetting the fact that he was stepping into John Wayne’s shoes, Bridges was incredible. He owns every moment he is on the screen. He is pathetic and a badass at the same time. The accent is ridiculous and perfect. If he wasn’t given the "hey we like you and want you to get one of these before its too late" Oscar last year, I may have backed him as the best performance of the year. But I don’t back losers...

Although Jeff Bridges was the selling point, the actual star of True Grit was Hailee Steinfeld. I know she got nominated for Supporting Actress but the movie was told from her point of view and was her story. She held her own with the stars and also took home the prize for best scene as she negotiated circles around the horse trader. Matt Damon takes on the third wheel role of Laboeuf and delivers as usual. Its always a pleasure when a headliner willingly takes a supporting role because the film is worth it. Josh Brolin attempts to remind everyone why he was storming up the ranks after Jonah Hex destroyed his momentum. But his villainy is completely overshadowed by Barry Pepper, who was shockingly good in his few minutes as Lucky Ned Pepper. That's actually unfair because Pepper was fantastic in a completely crucial role as the man Rooster has been hunting for years. The Coen Brothers always cast with the best of them.

Remaking True Grit was an interesting choice by the Coen Brothers. But I'm always up for a good western and take them wherever I can get them. Thanks Coen Brothers!

9 out of 10

The Social Network

We have one more 2010 movie that I blew past for ridiculous reasons, The Social Network. Its interesting that the two movies that fell behind were Inception and The Social Network, since they are going to end up in the #1 and #2 slot for the year. David Fincher is an absolute master at work right now and giving him an Aaron Sorkin script was just unfair.

Who knew the creation of Facebook would be such fertile ground for a major motion picture? Everything about Facebook is sensationalized but I didn’t expect it's rise to dominance to be so dramatic and riveting. 100% truthful or not; The Social Network is a mesmerizing film. I don’t know if it can be chalked up to the story, the script, the directing, or the acting, or a little from column a, b, c, and d but the alchemy was just right. The movie version of Mark Zuckerberg is just a fascinating guy who is that Hollywood staple of being an absolute douchebag that you still root for. Maybe I’m projecting, but his performance felt very similar to Chloe O’Brian from 24. Which is just another way for me to say how much I love this type of character. Fincher steers this movie perfectly. He keeps the plot moving so that the boring boardroom manipulations never stall the momentum. There was always a scene-stealing bit of dialogue right around the corner.

There are a handful of writers out there that reveal themselves immediately once the characters start talking and Aaron Sorkin is near the top of that list. If you didn’t know that Sorkin wrote this script during the rapid fire bar conversation that opened The Social Network, then you must not be familiar with the man. It only gets better from there, as Jesse Eisenberg gets to just attack some serious monologues throughout the film. I may miss weekly doses of Sports Night, The West Wing, or Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (yeah that one too) but if the lack of television-Sorkin means some high quality movie-Sorkin every couple of years, I’ll get by.

(Insert weak-ass Michael Cera/Jesse Eisenberg joke here) Eisenberg proves his dramatic ability instantaneously and ends up annihilating Sorkin’s script. He was a perfect fit for Zuckerberg’s hoodie. A flat-out dominant performance; it almost made me forget that he was in The Village. One of Zuckerberg’s wronged parties was played by Spider-Man! Andrew Garfield was impressive as the whiny buddy cutout before Facebook hit it big. See ya in spandex in a couple of summers! But let’s move on to JT. Timberlake proves once again that he has more talent than a boy band member should be allowed to have. I wish there were more coked out and paranoid Sean Parker because those were fun scenes. Fincher deployed subtle special effects to turn Arnie Hammer into the Winklevoss twins. Hammer was very convincing as the duel Ivy league douchebags and Fincher doubled him without the audience even realizing it. Hammer made little choices to distinguish between Tyler and Cameron and unless you read about it before hand you would have assumed that Fincher had found a set of Aryan twins who could act.

In any other year, I would have been happy to toss the number one slot to The Social Network. Sadly, Fincher is gonna have to take a perfect rating but a second place finish. Bring on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

10 out of 10

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Time to clean up another mistake from 2008. Before I crashed and burned reviewing all of Christopher Nolan’s films, I had gone through all of David Fincher’s films. Well, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button came out in 2008 without a review. The problem is that this is one of those movies that has not gotten any consistent airings on cable so I completely forgot about it until I was writing about all of Nolan's movies. I’m thinking the running time of nine hours and fifty-three minutes may have been the problem. If you can make it all the way to the ending, this was an intriguing story.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was built around one of them high concept ideas. What if a man aged backwards!?!? That’s it. Now comes the tricky part. The plot is … how shall I put this ... similar to Forrest Gump. The strange man is born in the South and goes on all these crazy adventures while being in love with a woman from his childhood the whole time. There was even a Lt. Dan-like sea captain. It’s actually not that crazy an occurrence since it was the same screenwriter, Eric Roth, as Forrest Gump. On the plus side, there was no on-the-nose AIDS ending this time around. Instead it hit some real emotion that I was not expecting but was amazing to witness.

You don’t get more A-List than Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in the starring roles of any movie. Since The Curious Case of Benjamin Button traces their entire lives, they have to share each of their characters with other actors depending on their age. But most of the heavy emotional lifting is done by Pitt and Blanchett. All sorts of computer tricks were used so Pitt could start off as a tiny elderly man and then die as a child. It was some pretty strong work because it always looked like Pitt even when it was physically impossible for him to play the part. Although Cate didn’t go through the computer generator, she did span decades of Daisy’s life. The hours of sitting still all became worthwhile when you saw Daisy’s heartbreak as she watched the childlike Benjamin slowly lose his memories. The two of them carry this movie from beginning to end.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a sprawling movie spanning decades so there were a tons of supporting characters. The highlights were Taraji P. Henson, Jared Harris, and Tilda Swinton. Maybe I should go back and re-evaluate Baby Boy now that Taraji has crafted such a strong resume over the last decade. Now that I can but the sea captain character to the name Jared Harris, I'm intrigued to see what he does as Moriaty in the Sherlock Holmes sequel. I heart Tilda Swinton in everything I see her in. This goes double for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button since she actually got to be a beautiful woman instead of some sort of androgynous boygirl.

I think The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will end up getting lost in the shuffle of David Fincher's career. It is a completely worthy movie that doesn't deserve to be forgotten but that tends to happen when you hit as many high-notes as Fincher has over the last 15 years.

9 out of 10

Sunday, January 23, 2011


There is always that moment when the lights dim and the months of anticipation and build-up are over and now you get to find out just what the hell this new movie is all about. Because of the director Christopher Nolan has always been, Inception was clouded in mystery. Once again not only did he deliver, he delivered flawlessly.

Its been over six months since I first saw Inception and I’m still surprised that such a non-conventional idea would be the basis for a summer blockbuster. Dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams lead to some fascinating storytelling. Its all in the details of each dream sequence; the introduction of the world through the Cobol job, Cobb and Ariadne witnessing the world folding in on itself then stepping from one plane to another, Ariadne moving mirrored doors in the middle of the street, the suddenness of the train running through the street, the hallway fight with shifting gravity, the snowy mountaintop fortress location, and just everything about the final level. Nolan is such a gifted filmmaker that he makes such amazing choices seem run of the mill in his hands. Arthur’s fight in the hotel hallway can’t be compared to anything else. It was seamlessly filmed to the point that something so unreal looked completely realistic. I could watch that sequence over and over again. While all of these memorable images are appearing on the screen, maybe the most consistently important part of Inception is the score. Every single moment is punctuated by this reverberation that was incredibly powerful. It was absolutely perfect.

The amusing thing about Inception is that even with all of its crazy-ass ideas this was just a by-the-book heist story. An impossible job is taken on, a team needs to be put together, a rookie needs to be shown the ropes, the leader is tortured but thinks this job will fix his life, you see the job being planned but then it all goes to hell, and then you end the movie with the heist. But who cares? The heist storyline was just the path Nolan was following in order to explore his fascination with the world of dreams.

Its starting to become obvious that Leonardo DiCaprio is incapable of attaching himself to a bad movie. Ten years have past since he relaunched himself with Gangs of New York and every single time he steps in front of the camera it is with some serious material to work with. He completely nailed Cobb’s slipping grip on what is real and what isn’t within the dreamworld. Leo was the anchor for the entire film. This allowed all of the talent around him to just dominate when they had their chance. I’ve been a champion of Joseph Gordon-Levitt since Brick so it was fantastic to see him do his work in such a high profile film. Ditto for Ellen Page. Well, switch Hard Candy for Brick and that sentence makes a bit more sense. The sleeper of the heist gang was Tom Hardy. He's been in a bunch of British gangster movies (and Star Trek: Nemesis ... whoops) but he took advantage of the big stage and just ate up the scenery like no one's business. That still leaves Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Tom Berenger, Cillian Murphy, and Dileep Rao. Yes that Tom Berenger. And Michael Caine, there will always be a place for Michael Caine.

Inception's open to interpretation ending was the only way to properly end such an examination of reality. Since I have a dark mind, I appreciate not being spoon-fed a happily ever after conclusion. Either way you choose to view it, Inception is the new peak of Nolan's career ... I think. Damn its becoming tough to separate these perfect films.

10 out of 10

The Dark Knight

I shit the bed halfway through 2008's movie reviews so this whole thing has been an elaborate ploy to get my ass to write a review of The Dark Knight. No matter the build-up nor the high level of expectations, The Dark Knight went well beyond just being a great comic book movie. Obviously it almost goes without saying that it all came down to Heath Ledger and how he dominated every single second he was on the screen. It literally lifted the movie to a higher level.

So the Joker... There are few words left to write about Heath Ledger’s performance. Prior to his death, there was already buzz about the work that he did on The Dark Knight. But even that didn’t prepare you for what he actually did with one of the most famous comic book villains of them all. It was magnetic. Instead of being Jack Nicholson under white face paint, Ledger brought the psychopath from the page to the screen. Every scene was noteworthy, but everyone will always point out the pencil magic trick, the assault on Harvey Dent’s transport, the interrogation, and his conversation with a Harvey Dent in the hospital. His suit was also pitch perfect and just enhanced the look of the Chelsea Smile they used to explain his permanent grin. Thankfully his choice of voice was not as irritating as the growl squared that is used when Batman speaks. And he found all these odd physical tics to highlight just how every single second was a dangerous moment with the Joker.

All of the good guys from Batman Begins return for The Dark Knight. Christian Bale is still solid in and out of the costume. Gary Oldman proves that he was born to play, now Commissioner, Jim Gordon. It is such a great character and he takes full advantage. Michael Caine continues turning Alfred Pennyworth into Michael Caine. And there is never a reason to complain about more Morgan Freeman. Even better than that, Katie Holmes was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal then blown up. Good times. On the other side of the law, Heath Ledger is joined by Aaron Eckhart and Eric Roberts. Eckhart is Harvey Dent for most of the movie so calling him a bad guy is probably unfair but he is Two Face by the end so I stand by my placing. That’s not the point though; the make-up/effects used to portray his burnt face were amazing. Its almost disappointing that there wasn't more Two Face in action or that they left him getting burnt as the cliff hanger for the next movie. Haha Eric Roberts...

Nolan’s comfort level with the material allowed him to experiment elsewhere. The visuals were spectacular throughout The Dark Knight. He used IMAX cameras for a handful of the action scenes, including the opening bank robbery, and the results were stunning. He almost single-handedly made I Am Legend a financial success since the bank robbery scene was attached to it as an extended IMAX teaser. Whatever, it was worth the $125 ticket. He put Batman on top of a skyscraper in Hong Kong for a crazy visual. He flipped a tractor trailer end over end just because it was something new to do in a chase scene. This was just a joy to watch from beginning to end.

There really isn't much more to say about The Dark Knight than did you see what Heath Ledger did? Because if you haven't, that's on you and you're wrong. Bring on Catwoman...

10 out of 10

The Prestige

Now we come to the Christopher Nolan film that I have an immense soft spot for, The Prestige. I know that it is not one of his best movies, but I love it nonetheless. It is such an over-the-top premise that it was perfect. Who knew Nikola Tesla was a wizard?

The lead up to The Prestige was amusing because it was Batman vs. Wolverine. How much more nerdier can you get than that? The answer, if you were wondering, is Batman. Batman always wins. That’s why he is Batman. Although that may have been a weak selling point, the story really did come down to Christian Bale vs. Hugh Jackman. Both of them brought what they do best to the table. Bale gets to disappear into a double role (spoiler) while Jackman gets to be the flamboyant showman. That is playing to their strengths. This may actually be my favorite Jackman performance. Maybe it was the clothes, once again I love canes and will never say no to a sweet top hat, but this character just fit Jackman. On the other hand Bale plays twins who hide that fact so he gets to disappear into duel roles. Well if that isn't the absolute perfect use of Christian Bale’s skill set, I don’t know what is. At least this time around, he uses make-up and clothes to change his look instead of his usual full body makeover.

As per usual, Nolan populates the supporting cast with spectacular choices. In the first of his continual return appearances, Michael Caine plays the Michael Caine role. Obviously, that was the role he was born to play. The women in Bale and Jackman’s lives are played by Piper Perabo, Rebecca Hall, and Scarlett Johannson. Can’t complain there. So this is what Piper was doing between Coyote Ugly and Covert Affairs... And since 50% of Scarlett’s career involves movies set in the past, The Prestige is right up her alley. Finally, we get to the highlights of the supporting class, David Bowie and Andy Serkis. There may have never been a better casting choice than David Bowie as Nikola Tesla. The whole movie was building to the introduction of Tesla and then Bowie walks onscreen and it all makes sense. As for Serkis, I’ll always applaud when he gets to appear as himself instead of a computer generated character.

Nolan tells the story with just the right amount of manipulation. Throughout The Prestige, Jackman and Bale are reading diaries of the other character so the audience is viewing multiple timelines. The man loves yanking you back and forth through time. So each character is looking back at past events at different points in their life. And the double revelations at the end tied everything together perfectly. First you find out the lengths that Bale was going to to keep up his illusions. Then in the only way to top him, the climatic scene reveals the insanity that Bale drove Jackman too. Very dark and very cool.

The Prestige may not crack the list when Christopher Nolan's career comes to end but it is still a great film that was a nice break in between the Batman franchise.

9 out of 10

Batman Begins

Its been awhile since I sat and watched Batman Begins from beginning to end so it was nice to return to it post-The Dark Knight. At the time, it was a phenomenal re-interpretation of the Batman universe and now it looks even better as the foundation of one the best movies I’ve ever seen. Damn near every single choice was on the money and paid off.

After Adam West, Tim Burton, and Joel Schumacher, I was unsure if the version of Batman I wanted to see would ever appear on the screen. I’ve always leaned to the darker more serious side of cinema and Batman is perfect for that type of storytelling. Yet everything prior to Batman Begins was jokey and cartoony. I’m not saying everything before sucked but it wasn’t what I was looking for when it comes to Batman. Christopher Nolan rolls into town and decides to make the most realistic version of Batman that he could get away with. He made the idea of a tortured orphaned billionaire training himself to fight crime in a bat costume from his hidden cave not seem all that ridiculous. It helps that Robin and the crazier of costumed villains were conveniently ignored to keep things serious. Well … he did choose Scarecrow but he wasn’t actually dressed like a scarecrow so its all good. And they even took a stab at making Ra’s Al Ghul’s resurrections make sense in our world. Throw in explaining all of Batman’s toys and you can almost believe that this could happen. Almost.

So once again, Bruce Wayne needs to be casted for the big screen. After Val Kilmer and George Clooney, it wasn’t surprising that they didn’t go for the A-list this time around. I’d like to think that Christian Bale was choosen because of his work in Shaft and Reign of Fire not because of American Psycho and The Machinist. Bale dove right in and was a solid Bruce Wayne and looked good in the suit … then there is the voice. Yeah, I got nothing. The beauty of Nolan’s Batman universe is the quality he has surrounding Bale. Taking the lead in Batman Begins is Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon. Aww good guy Gary Oldman. The world is upside down. It doesn’t matter because its Gary Oldman. How do you follow up Gary Oldman? You put Morgan Freeman in the role of Lucius Fox and Michael Caine in the role of Alfred. It doesn’t matter that they only get minutes of screentime, they are both perfect in their roles. And that is just the good guy part of the cast. The villains may be even more impressive with Liam Neeson, Tom Wilkinson, Cillian Murphy, and Ken Watanabe. There is even a little bit of Rutger Hauer thrown in. In a slight bit of surprise, Murphy stole the show as Dr. Jonathan Crane. It takes a lot of talent to overcome the ridiculousness of Scarecrow. What’s that? Katie Holmes? I have no idea what you are talking about...

You would think leaving out Joker, Two-Face, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, and every other top-line Batman villain would have been a mistake. Instead, Batman Begins was not about the bad guy. This was an origin story through and through. All of the stages of Bruce Wayne’s journey from privileged kid all the way costume vigilante are the guts of the story. Nolan found some crazy-ass locations so that all of Bruce's training by Ducard looked amazing. Then we get a Gotham City that actually looks like a human city instead of the neon-Gothic garbage of the 90s. I also appreciate the time spent and the detail Nolan went to to explain the costume, the gadgets, and the Batmobile. Nothing in Batman Begins felt random or unbelievable, everything served a purpose.

Batman Begins arrived to cap off the run started by X2 and Spider-Man 2 that cemented comic book movies as staples of the summer, for better or for worse. It also cleansed the taste that the Batman franchise left in the 1990s. Thankfully Nolan viewed a franchise of this level as a challenge and not something that was beneath him.

10 out of 10