Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Julie D'Aubigny

Please, Hollywood, I beg you: Make a movie about this woman. I will be first in line to buy a ticket.

Click the pic for the article, from Badass of the Week. Here's an excerpt:

Julie D'Aubigny was a 17th-century bisexual French opera singer and fencing master who killed or wounded at least ten men in life-or-death duels, performed nightly shows on the biggest and most highly-respected opera stage in the world, and once took the Holy Orders just so that she could sneak into a convent and bang a nun.

Monday, August 27, 2012

One For the Road

            Mind if I buy you a drink?  It’s just that, well, I was sitting alone, and I saw you here in the corner, also sitting alone.  And I figured, you and me, we could sit alone together.  So whatever you want to drink, you let me know.  It’s on me.  Spare no expense.
            I’m not sure if you’re from around here or not, but have you heard about all the strange things that’ve been happening?  I’m sure you have, everyone has by now.  Weird stuff, let me tell you. 
            For instance, two weeks ago, the cows from McCreely’s farm started giving black milk.  Black as nightfall.  Every single cow.  They had a vet come out and look at them, and the vet couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  Then one by one, over the course of three days, the cows started dropping dead.  Every cow on that farm, gone.  McCreely is ruined. 
            Last week, the clock on the tower in town hall, it started running backwards.  They tried just shutting the damn thing off, and that didn’t work.  It just wouldn’t stop running backwards.  Did that for two days straight.  Then it stopped dead, and they haven’t been able to get it working since.  I mean, that clock is over seventy years old, so I guess age could have something to do with it, but I don’t know.  Seems strange.
            Are you sure you don’t want that drink?
            Anyway, Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin, that’s the church over on Riverline Ave., well, they have this old bell tower, see.  And one night, around one a.m., the sound of loud clanging bells starts screaming out of that tower, and doesn’t stop
until sun up.  The fact that the bells wouldn’t stop ringing isn’t the strange part.  You see, there aren’t any bells in that damn tower! There haven’t been for fifteen years!  But everyone heard them.  Hell, I heard them.  They kept me up all night, and I had just gotten off of a double-shift.  It was awful.
            Where did you say you were from again?
            Did I mention the woods by Bindlebottom Lake?  Bindlebottom Lake is this huge lake we have, at the edge of town, and it’s surrounded by thick woodlands.  Woods that go on for miles and miles, up into the mountains.  Well, there was this group of trees near the lake, and all of them were stripped of their bark.  And not just a little bit.  I mean, entirely.  About fifty trees stripped clean.  And there were these weird...symbols carved in them.  I don’t know what they were, I’ve never seen anything like them.  Some professor or something, in the newspaper, said
that they were Pagan symbols.  Ancient. 
            And it’s cold.  I mean, it’s fall, so it’s supposed to be cold.  But I don’t remember a fall ever this cold.  It’s a biting, stabbing cold.  It seeps in through your clothes, cuts through your skin and wraps itself around your bones.  I wake up covered in ache.  No matter how many layers I put on, I still get the chills.  Thought I was getting sick or something, so I went to see the Doc.
            He couldn’t find anything wrong with me, but he said almost the entire damn town had come in to see him complaining of that same coldness. 
            Folks are saying this town is haunted. I don’t know if that’s possible, for an entire town to be haunted.  I’ve never heard of that. Maybe a house, or a whole block of houses.  But an entire town?  And if it is, is it all one ghost, or is it a ghost in every home? Can one ghost haunt an entire town? Of course, that all depends on if you believe in ghosts, I suppose.
            Last chance for that drink...
            Everyone’s scared now. That’s understandable. Strange things like this are bound to make anyone frightened. The thing about fear is, it leads to desperation.  And desperation, well, I’ll be honest, it leads to sex. Nothing makes people feel safer than sex. Takes everyone’s mind off of things. So I’m just putting it out there, that I want you to go home with me tonight.
            I don’t care that your arms are broken branches, or that your hair is constantly dripping wet. I don’t care that I can see through your skin to your bones underneath. And I don’t care that you don’t have any eyes, just two empty sockets glowing red.  Tonight, to me, you’re lovely. 
            And I need some company. 
            I’m too afraid to walk home alone.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review: THE PACT

The Pact
Directed by Nicholas McCarthy

It's very hard to make an effective independent, low-budget horror film. If you don't believe me, go hop on Netflix and scroll through the horror movies on instant watch. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Back? Yeah, they're pretty much all terrible.

So whenever a good independent horror film comes along, it's like a breath of fresh air. The Pact is such a film.

The Pact is the story of two sisters, Nichole (Agnes Bruckner) and Annie (Caity Lotz). The sisters have had a less-than-perfect relationship with their mother--a fact that's highlighted when we learn their mother used to lock them in a closet when they were "bad."

Their mother has recently died, and Nichole is at their childhood home, trying to get affairs in order and to attend the funeral. Annie wants no part of any of this. She still hates her mother, and has no intention of returning home.

This all changes when Nichole seemingly vanishes. Liz (Kathleen Rose Perkins), who is the sister's cousin, is watching Nichole's young daughter--and when she doesn't hear from Nichole for three days, she frantically calls Annie. Annie isn't very worried at first. Nichole has a history of drug abuse, and Annie suspects that Nichole has just run off, unable to deal with what's going on.

Things only get worse, though. One night, after the funeral, Liz also disappears from the house, and Annie is attacked and flung around by some unseen force. Is the house haunted? If so, by who? And just what happened to Liz and Nichole?

The Pact is as much of a mystery/thriller as it is a horror film. Writer/Director Nicholas McCarthy perfectly blends genres, switching deftly between a detective story, serial killer story and a spooky haunted house flick. The special effects in the film are subtle, which makes them all the more effective.

At one point there's a very interesting/different approach to the "bringing a psychic into the haunted house" trope. Haley Hudson plays Stevie, a blind girl Annie knows from high school. Stevie lives in a house full of apparent drug addicts/dealers, who are constantly blasting heavy metal music and playing video games. She also just happens to posses the ability to communicate with the dead. Stevie and Giles (Sam Ball), who is apparently her handler, and a real prick to boot, show up at Annie's house, with creeptastic results. I've seen a million horror movies that use this plot point--bringing in someone to commune with the spirits--but Hudson's haunting performances, and the way Giles abusively protects her, makes it seem fresh and exciting here.

There's a lot more than meets to eye in The Pact. To go into it would spoil the fun. I literally knew nothing about the film when I sat down and watched it, so when the plot twists began to pop up, I was pleasantly surprised.

Right now, playing in theaters, is a dreadful looking film called The Apparition. It has 0 % on Rotten Tomatoes and is, by all accounts, awful. Yet that film will be more well-known than The Pact, which is a damn shame.

The Pact is suspenseful, scary and effective. McCarthy has a real eye for composing and framing his shots, and Caity Lotz, as Annie, brings a layered and thoughtful performance to the film; she's not just some dingbat final girl, making dumb decisions and just asking to get killed.

The Pact is currently available on Amazon as a "theatrical rental." For 6.99, it's cheaper than going to the actual movies, and it's more than worth it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Worst Halloween Costumes of All Time

Yes, this is a Welcome Back Kotter Halloween costume. Click the image to see other great (awful) Halloween costumes from times gone by. (Although I have to admit I kind of like the JAWS one...)

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Don't Give A Damn About My Bad Reputation is a feature I've wanted to do for some time. Basically, I will be taking a look at films that have really bad reputations, and giving my opinion on if they were judged too harshly (or if they really are just dog shit).

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

It may be hard to believe now that his name has sort of become a joke, but there was a time when M. Night Shyamalan was on top of the world.

After The Sixth Sense, audiences and critics were madly in love with this man with the hard to pronounce name. He was on a pretty damn good run too, with pretty much all of his films following The Sixth Sense being well regarded and making good coin at the box office.

Then came The Village.

The Village was the beginning of the end for Shyamalan. He followed it with the abysmal Lady in the Water, and then The Happening, where killer trees make people kill themselves. I have a soft spot in my heart for The Happening, just because it's so bat-shit insane that I refuse to believe he was being serious when he made the film. I like to think of it as a big-budget version of Birdemic.

But back to The Village. As was the case with all of Shyamalan's films at the time, The Village had a lot of hype built around it. The marketing for the film made it look like it was going to be straight-up horror. Cast member Sigourney Weaver was quoted as saying after she read the screenplay she had nightmares. People were excited for the film.

And then it came out and people more or less took a big shit on it.

So what's the deal with The Village? Is it really a big old mess, or did it get unfairly maligned?

The film is set in a small village, seemingly cut off from the world, during an undisclosed time in the past. The village is surrounded by ominous woods, and the town elders warn people to never cross the barrier into those woods. For you see, spooky creatures called Those We Don't Speak Of lurk there. The village has a truce with them--they don't come into the village as long as the villagers stay out of their woods.

Everyone seems to live in peace and tranquility--until animals start turning up dead and skinned, and the creatures start coming into the town late at night and giving everyone the creeps.

Nestled into this plot is the story of Ivy, played wonderfully by Bryce Dallas Howard. Ivy is blind, but she possesses the ability to see people's "colors" (or auras, if you will.) Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) has a big crush on Ivy. So does the mentally handicapped Noah (Adrien Brody, who is fantastic at playing these type of characters).

As the story unfolds, Lucius is badly wounded, and the only hope of saving him is to retrieve "medicines" from the world beyond the woods. It's up to Ivy to set off to retrieve them, risking her life for the man she loves.

Here's the biggest problem with The Village: the advertising.

Every trailer, every commercial, every print ad went out of its way to literally SCREAM into the audiences face that this was going to be a BIG ASS HORROR FILM. It was going to scare your bones out of your body. You were going to shit the bed at night, shivering under your sheets. This was a film from the director of THE SIXTH SENSE, and it was going to send you to an early grave with fright!

None of that is true. Yes, there are creepy moments in the film--after all, there is a subplot about monsters. But The Village is NOT a horror film. It is a drama and a love story with supernatural elements.

The film looks gorgeous. Say what you will about Shyamalan as a writer (and I agree, the man has drastically lost his edge in the writing department), he really knows how to shoot a film. He's assisted greatly by the breathtaking cinematography of the always fantastic Roger Deakins. Deakins makes each shot look like an Andrew Wyeth painting come to life.

The costumes are perfect. The sets realistic. The actors believable. And the soundtrack, by James Newton Howard with violin accompaniment by superstar violinist Hilary Hahn is heartbreakingly beautiful; one of the best scores I've ever heard, up there with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' soundtrack for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. To put it bluntly, The Village is a very good movie.

But there's another problem, besides the misleading marketing: the trademark Shyamalan Twist Ending.

At the time this movie came out, Shyamalan's name was synonymous with twist endings. The Sixth Sense, after all, had one of the biggest twist endings in film history. Shyamalan sort of got shoe-horned into this task; it seemed like he felt he HAD to give each film a twist ending, or else his fans would be disappointed.

The Village does have a twist ending; several, actually. The following is a SPOILER, but since the movie is eight years old, it shouldn't matter at this point.

Our first twist comes when we discover that there ARE no monsters. The town elders have been making them up to sort of the keep the townsfolk in line. Yet, when Ivy goes into the woods, she does indeed run into a monster. The monster however turns out to be Noah in a costume--it was Noah who was killing and skinning all the animals in town.

Then comes the even BIGGER twist. Through the entire film, we are made to believe these events are taking place in the past. It turns out that's not true at all--it's the present, and the elders have again pulled the wool over the younger townsfolk's eyes. They set up the village as a sort of experiment; a way to escape the horrors of the "real world."

The more you think about this twist, the dumber it seems, and I suspect this also played a part in derailing the film for a lot of people. But this twist, despite it's large implications, is presented in a very after-the-fact way. It doesn't really hold much bearing on the plot, so really it should be easy to get over it if you think it's dumb.

So, was The Village unjustly maligned? I think so. And now--years after its release--might be a perfect time to revisit the film without all the stigma. If you go into the film expecting more of a dramatic thriller than a shock-till-you-drop horror film, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Final Verdict (Give it a Second Chance or It Turns out it Really IS Bad!): Give it a Second Chance.

All Hallows Read

Want To See Something REALLY Scary?

special thanks to my good friend The End of Summer

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Isn't it about time someone did a "gritty" film re-boot of Super Mario Bros.?? Think of the possibilities!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Brain Hurts: Dealing with Living Dead Press

In the last few months the internet has been exploding with stories about how Anthiny "Tony" Giangregori, "editor" and owner of Living Dead Press, is pretty much the most unprofessional small press owner in the history of planet earth.

Mandy DeGeit has an awesome piece about how Tony totally butchered her story, and then reacted like a complete tool when she questioned him about it. The post got so much attention that even super writer Neil Gaiman chimed in.

Since I feel it's important that writers stand up to Tony--who is a flat-out bully who threatens to beat people up if they talk bad about him--I figured it was time I share my own dealings with Living Dead Press.

A few years back, I had yet to be published--anywhere. I wanted nothing more than to have a piece published. So when I was put in contact with Tony Giangregori at Living Dead Press, I was overjoyed at the prospect of making it into a zombie anthology he was publishing. I knew nothing about Tony, or his seemingly endless (and terrible) zombie books. I was just happy for an opportunity.

But right from the start I noticed that Tony didn't seem "all there." First off, my full first name is Christopher, but I never go by that–I go by Chris, always. I signed my contract as “Chris”, I submitted the story under “Chris.”

Before the book went to publication, Tony sent me a proof and I saw my name listed as Christopher.

Now, obviously this isn't a huge deal, but the fact is that no one ever calls me "Christopher", and seeing my name like that sort of made it feel like it wasn't really MY story.

So I wrote Tony a very polite email saying essentially “If there is still time, could you possibly change my name to Chris? If not, no problem.”

He replied with an email in ALL CAPS, accusing me of not telling him beforehand I wanted to go by Chris and not Christopher–even though I had never used my full first name in any of our dealings. He seemed furious at me for even suggesting such a thing. I was about to respond and ask him just what the deal was, and then he sent another telling me it was fine and he fixed it.

I thought, "How odd." But I let it go.

Then there was an issue with my ending. My story involved zombie animals–feral cats to be precise. He wrote to me and said “I love the story but you need to add a HUMAN zombie at the end–people HATE animal zombie stories.” I wasn’t sure where he was getting that statistic from; I had never heard anything like that. A better way for him to phrase it would have been "I personally hate animal zombie stories." Instead he decided to make his opinion speak for the whole world. But at the time I was so excited and desperate to be published that I said “what the hell” and added a little extra bit to the end.

Next on the list of growing concerns was the total lack of publicity he generated for the book. Seeing as he was the publisher, and it was his publishing "house", it felt only natural that he should do some sort of publicity for the book--even if it meant sending free copies to horror review sites to see what they thought. He didn't do any of that. His attitude was "I have plenty of fans, and they will find my books."

Okay...fine. Whatever. I was still being published, and that was exciting!

Finally the day came. I got a copy of the book, and flipped to my story. The title wasn’t even centered on the page; it was clear someone had just hit “tab” a bunch of times rather than, you know, centering it. 

And things just got worse as I read. There were grammar and spelling mistakes that I did NOT make in my submitted copy. And then at the very end I saw he had added a whole section I did NOT write. And not only that, but it was a really BAD section totally not fitting the tone of the story. He had written almost an entire passage that had no right being in my story. Don't get me wrong--the story I wrote wasn't exactly on the level of Raymond Carver. But for him to so blatantly add things to it without even asking me made the whole thing feel cheap and false.

I was hurt more than I was angry. Why would he do this? I considered emailing him, but I had had such awkward dealings with him in the past that I just let it go, and never dealt with Living Dead Press again.

Tony is still putting out his books. He's only gotten worse with time. Back when he published me, he actually paid me (a very small sum, of course) and gave me a free copy of the book. I hear he doesn't do either of those things anymore. 

And he continues to attack people who question his skills--or lack thereof. Such threats also, for some strange reason, include his wife. He'll say things about how "My wife wants to have an angry talk with you!"

What the hell does his wife have anything to do with it? Why would SHE want to have an angry talk with someone? YOU'RE the one that screwed up.

So that is my little trip down memory lane. Since then I've been published in real publications, and the experiences have been rewarding. No one has added whole sections to my work, and no one has written back to me in an email in ALL CAPS. 

So to those struggling writers out there: beware. It's very easy to get published by Living Dead Press. And that's because they're just not very good. 

Monday, August 6, 2012


A Dangerous Method is Canadian Madman David Cronenberg's most recent film.
 It tells the (mostly) true story of the birth of psychoanalysis, and the relationships between Carl Jung, Sigmund Frued and Sabina Spielrein. Also there’s a lot of stuff about sex, and there is spanking, so you know you’re in for a good time.
Michael Fassbender, who continues to be both awesome and in every single movie that comes out now, is great as Jung and Aragorn Mortensen is a real treat as Frued, who is constantly smoking a cigar and is constantly bearded.
But the real stand-out here is Keira Knightley, who is most famous for being the British version of Natalie Portman and also being a wet blanket in those stupid Pirate movies.
Knightley is fantastic here, playing Spielrein as a tortured animal of a woman, all jutting jaws and choked words. Also she looks really good getting spanked.
The film is based on a play, which means there’s not much action, just people sitting around talking. Thankfully what they are talking about is really interesting, and the actors doing the talking are all very good. 
The only flaw is we don’t really learn anything about these people, with the exception of Spielrein. I guess since they were all REAL people we can just look them up on Wikipedia to find out what they were really like, but both Jung and Frued are sort of blank in this film, despite the good performances.
I love David Cronenberg and will continue to be excited for any movie he makes. However, there is a part of me that wishes he would get back to making the awesome monster porn movies of his glory days.
I give A Dangerous Method three and a half out of four Fassbender’s.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


"It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known." -- Jim Gordon (by way of Charles Dickens).

The Dark Knight Rises is a beast of a movie. It had to be; they had no choice. After the phenomenal success that was The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan and co. couldn't very well go back and make a more subtle, character study type movie like they did with Batman Begins. This was, after all, the final film in the trilogy. It had to make the crowd go wild.

Here is what I love about Christopher Nolan's films: he tries REALLY HARD. Even if you don't like his movies, you have to admit that the man will go to whatever lengths necessary to tell the story he wants to tell. He has become the master of what could be considered "intelligent popcorn films"; that is, movies that have all the flash and bang of a summer blockbuster, but also take the time to focus on the drama at hand.

I purposely waited to write this review, because it's going to have spoilers, and I'm sure at this point everyone has seen the movie. And if not, you really should--in IMAX. More on that later...

The Dark Knight Rises picks up 8 years after the events of the Dark Knight. Gotham City is a peaceful place and Batman (and Bruce Wayne) have vanished from the public eye. Bruce Wayne limps around his mansion with a goatee and a lost look, channelling Howard Hughes at his craziest. But trouble is brewing in Gotham; beneath the exterior of peace and calm lies something more sinister. 

Bruce Wayne is first snapped out of his seclusion by a cat burglar who has been robbing from the rich. She even rips off Wayne, posing as a maid to steal some pearls--and also Wayne's fingerprints. 

Bruce does some fancy computer work and discovers the name of the cat burglar: Selina Kyle. 

But Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman--although they never call her Catwoman in the movie) is small potatoes compared to what's really coming. A slimey Wayne Enterprises board member (which is a kind of employee Wayne Enterprises seems to hire a lot) named Dagget is trying to make a power grab of the floundering company. He's so determined to get what he wants that he's been bankrolling a group of mercenaries, led by the hulking, mysterious Bane.  

Of course, none of this matters to Bane. He has his own agenda--he wants to destroy Gotham, and with it, Bruce Wayne.

Thrown into the mix is Commissioner Gordon, still struggling over the cover-up about Harvey Dent's death; Miranda Tate, a philanthropist trying to help Wayne Enterprises; and a young beat cop named John Blake, who, it turns out, is more important to the story than anyone could've guessed before hand. 

I've seen The Dark Knight Rises twice so far--the first time in IMAX, the second in a "regular" theater. When I left the IMAX showing (opening night at midnight), I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was ready to proclaim "this is the best film of the trilogy!" It had totally blown me away.

But when I saw it a week later in a regular theater, my mood changed. I still loved the movie, but I was more perceptive to the flaws this time. With that in mind, I suggest anyone who is going to see this movie should plop down the extra bucks and see it in IMAX.  Nolan shot over an hours worth of footage in IMAX, and it shows. You are complete engulfed into the world of the film; the soundtrack takes you over and for nearly three hours you are in a blissful, overwhelmed mood. 

But, like I said, the Dark Knight Rises has flaws. 

The film has been surprisingly divisive amongst fans of the franchise. Some hail it as a masterpiece, others hate its guts. It's a polarizing film. I guess that's to be expected. I'm pretty sure after the Dark Knight, the fans of this franchise all had their own ideas of what the third and final Bat-Film should be. And therein lies the problem. 

The majority of complaints I've read about the film seem to be people complaining about not what was in the film, but what WASN'T. People are pissed they didn't get the movie THEY wanted. That's not how movies work, kids. 

But again, there are those flaws I mentioned. For one thing, even at nearly 3 hours, the film feels rushed. This is a good thing in the sense that the film flies by; there's almost no down time, and you never get bored. But as a result it feels like they had to condense the plot to fit it all in there. I honestly could've watched another hour of the film and still been engrossed. 

There are also some glaring editing mistakes that really should've been caught in a film this big. A scene in a court room involves Bane having one of his goons bring him Miranda Tate, but in the very next scene, she is fine and dandy and talking to Bruce. But then later we see that Bane is "holding her hostage" to get Batman to come to him. All Nolan and his editor had to do was simply move the scene with Bane calling Miranda over to a later position (or even cut that small scene entirely). Instead it's just there in your face, making you think "Why didn't they fix that?"

Matthew Modine's character, a cop named Foley, is completely useless. He's set up to sort of be the heir to Jim Gordon's job, and there's a scene near the end where Gordon chastises him to come out of hiding to fight Bane and his army. But other than that, the character is flat and serves almost no purpose, and then is killed off screen. 

I love the ending--with Alfred spotting Bruce and Selina alive and well in a cafe; however, this scene was very heavy-handedly telegraphed at the beginning of the film. Alfred talks about how he always wanted to spot Bruce at this cafe, and know that Bruce had "finally made it" out of Gotham. They might as well have had the words FORESHADOWING flashing on the screen during this scene. 

But the flaws in the film do not equal the sum of its parts. There is far more good than bad. 

The film has a long list of "best things about this film" items, but at the top of that list is Anne Hathaway's Catwoman, who steals every scene she's in. For some reason when Hathaway was announced for the part, the fanboys were PISSED. I don't know why--I have nothing against Ms. Hathaway. I find her charming and attractive. But she apparently wasn't good enough for Catwoman. Then again, Heath Ledger, when announced, wasn't "good enough" to be the Joker, and we all know how that turned out.

Hathaway's Catwoman is the only character in the film who gets to have fun. Everything else is so dark and gloomy and hopeless, but Hathaway is clearly living it up. Every sly line, every seductive look, every smart ass remark rings true. If they made a spin-off movie about Hathaway's Catwoman, I'd be first in line.

While we're talking about performances, let's talk Tom Hardy's Bane. As soon as footage started to come out with Bane, there was concern over his voice. People were saying it was hard to understand, or just goofy. Honestly I never had a problem understanding a word he said in the film, but that's me. 

Hardy is fantastic as Bane. He makes the character seem terrifying and brutal, and yet at the end, he even manages to make us feel a little sorry for the guy. Sure, he's a murderous, neck snapping, face smashing monster--but he also helped save a little girl from a prison full of lunatics! He even sheds a tear. 

The voice Hardy chooses to use is indeed strange. But I think the fact that the voice is SO DAMN WEIRD makes the character even more interesting. Who the hell in the world can you think of who has a voice like that? No one. It's just too damn weird. And that's what makes it compelling 

The always alluring Marion Cotillard is Miranda Tate, who is obviously Talia, Ra's al Ghuls daughter. I'm pretty sure as soon as she was cast in the film, every Batman fan knew exactly who she was. It wasn't surprising when she stabbed Batman in the back (literally). But when Cotillard finally goes "bad" at the end of the film, she brings a bitter iciness to the part that sells it and makes us overlook how obvious the twist is, and how underwritten the part was.

Then there's John Blake, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The film is just as much about him as it is about Batman. Not only is this about the Dark Knight rising, it's also about Blake's character rising up from just a beat cop to being something more. Gordon-Levitt does fine with the part, but like Miranda Tate, I did feel like he was a bit underwritten. The character could've used some fleshing out. 

And then of course we have series regulars Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. Caine's Alfred is surprisingly absent for most of the film (I was not expecting that). Freeman doesn't have much to do, but he's always fun to watch. And Gary Oldman is, well, Gary Oldman. He's the coolest mother fucker on the planet and the best actor in the galaxy. 

And last but certainly not least we come to Christian Bale. Yes, Batman still has that goofy voice (again, it doesn't bother me--but that's me). But this is easily Bale's best performance of all three films. Bruce Wayne goes through so much in this movie, and Bale sells it all completely. I think Bale is a fantastic actor, but in certain movies he seems to be taking things a little TOO seriously. Here, he breathes new life into the character he's played twice before, and you can tell he's loving every minute of it. 

Hans Zimmer's music is incredible. The best of the trilogy. It's non-stop, churning, pounding music that refuses to let you catch your breath. Without it, the film wouldn't work nearly as well as it does.

The Dark Knight Trilogy is an amazing feat. It did the impossible: a good superhero trilogy. Most superhero films hit the "third movie curse", but Christopher Nolan and co. have avoided that but making the films bigger and more complex as they went along, but never losing sight of their original mission: to present Batman in a "realistic" world. It was a franchise full of amazing moments, and awful real-life tragedy. 

As a Batman fan and as a film fan, I'm grateful to Christopher Nolan for taking the character seriously, and for doing what he does best: trying REALLY HARD. 

I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Warner Brothers reboots the franchise. I highly doubt it will ever live up to what Nolan has created here with these three films. 

The Dark Knight Rises is not a perfect film, but it is a perfect ending to the universe of these films. The characters get what they deserve this time--not what they need. 

I, for one, am going to miss this franchise.

Final rating for the Dark Knight Rises: 9 out of 10 Bats.