Last week I caught Christopher Nolan’s final Batman flick “The Dark Knight Rises,” which turned out to be a satisfying conclusion to his trilogy. Nolan ups the dramatic stakes significantly in “TDKR,” by introducing incredibly dark themes and a vile villain. While I didn’t like it as much as “The Dark Knight,” I actually found “TDKR” to be more enjoyable than “Batman Begins.” It’s hard to top the Joker as a bad guy, but Bane is much more ferocious and imposing than Ra’s Al Ghul.
As I suspected, Bane is a bit hard to understand at points, although his speech is clearer than I thought it would be. Anne Hathaway surprisingly plays Catwoman well, holding her own in action scenes and using minimal camp to get the job done. Nolan wraps things up nicely, almost too neatly in some ways. While he effectively uses the 144 minute runtime, he gets slightly distracted trying to focus on the wealth of new characters that are introduced. My Grade: B
This week you’ll have a chance to watch the alien invasion comedy “The Watch,” the fifth film in the “Step Up” dance franchise “Step Up Revolution,” and the William Friedkin crime thriller “Killer Joe.”
MY PICKS FOR THE WEEK: "The Watch" and “Killer Joe”
Four suburbanites (Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade) start a neighborhood watch as an excuse to escape their boring lives. After they discover that aliens have infiltrated their neighborhood though, they must band together to save their town and the whole world from a hostile takeover.
Director: Akiva Schaffer (“Saturday Night Live,” “Hot Rod”)
Co-Writers: Writing team Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (“Superbad,” “The Green Hornet”) with Jared Stern (“Mr. Popper’s Penguins”)
Notable Actors: Rosemarie DeWitt, Will Forte, R. Lee Ermey
ORIGINALITY RATING: Medium. This moderately humorous trailer reveals “The Watch” to be a bizarre mixture of your typical Vince Vaughn buddy comedy with some rap music and alien invaders. The concept of Average Joes taking on extraterrestrial visitors is reminiscent of last year’s “Attack the Block,” but this flick will obviously lean more on its jokes than blood and guts. Stiller seems to be the straight man, something he can do pretty well, while Vaughn plays the goofy one, Hill becomes the basketcase, and Ayoade serves as the oddball/perv in the group. My biggest worry about this film is that it will try too hard to straddle the line between sci-fi and comedy, resulting in a mediocre tale. Hopefully there will be enough laughs and action to keep all kinds of viewers happy.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Sci-fi fans who like lighthearted movies about humans fighting off alien invaders. If you’re used to seeing Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller as enemies, and you’re excited to see them on the same team for a change, then you should see “The Watch.”