Daniel’s Critical Corner: “The Dark Knight”

Hi Bob !  Sorry I’m late for shooting practice…

~ Hello Everyone ~
Welcome To Daniel’s Critical Corner !
Today I’m Going Batty Over:  The Dark Knight

WOW !  It is FINALLY here.  The weekend we have ALL been waiting for ! 
After months and months of anticipation, one of the biggest events in
 cinematic history is being unveiled before the world’s hungry eyes !  Yes 
folks,  you can now stop marking the days off your calender.  My review 
    for “The Dark Knight” has arrived !!!

I know some of you are sitting at home, dressed up as either Batman or
The Joker, reading this review as you bang away on your laptops.  That’s OK. 
I’m used to people in funny outfits checking my stuff out…  As long as you
keep sending me pictures it’s totally cool.  *(Note to the guy that dresses like
“Elektra”:  I’m flattered but PLEASE get a waxing before trying to pull that
look off again).

So here we are.  “The Dark Knight”.  Hailed as one of the greatest
superhero movies of all time…  But does it stand up to the hype ?  The
answer is, surprisingly, YES !  Is it the best ever ?  That’s certainly
debatable.  Some people would say so…  I’d be inclined to say it’s at
least in the top five, (with the innovative “Iron Man” still on the
throne in my book).

It’s appropriate that the new “Batman” film has brought everything full
circle so to speak.  Tim Burton’s 1989 vision really was the prototype
for this genre as we know it.  Until that point, the only superhero to
be successfully brought to the big screen was “Superman”.  Thanks to
Mr. Burton, we learned that classic comic books could be given a
contemporary spin, and that opened the flood gates. There has been
no turning back. 

I’ve been a fan of Batman through ALL of his incarnations.  From the
campy tights-wearing version of the 1960’s, to the ultra-emo version
of today.   But really, no one goes to these films to see Batman himself.
As superheros go, he is a total bore.  We show up for THE VILLAINS.   
Yep.  Nobody can boast a more exciting lineup.

What does Superman have ?  Lex Luthor ?  Every single movie, Superman
has to battle some bald dude.  Big whoop.  Spider-Man has a little variety,
but his bad guys are just never that deep.  But Batman…  His foes always
have flair, and they are generally driven by something deep and sinister.

The Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman and The Joker are arguably the
most famous comic book baddies to ever grace the big screen, and
we have Batman to thank for each and every one of them.  They are 
known for having a good time,  while our hero sits in a dark corner 
and broods.  Will someone call Dr. Phil for that guy ?  He has issues. 
I know his parents were killed, but this fellow needs to get over it !

He is just so DEPRESSED.  Even with all that money.  Go figure…  And for
someone suffering with depression he actually gets around pretty well.  If I 
were sad all the time, the LAST thing I would want to do would be to prance
around in a funny costume and then run around town fighting people.  I’d be 
more like the lady in that antidepressant commercial.  You know the one… 
She’s lying on a sofa, and her dog comes up with a ball…  She just sort of 
waves her hand at the perplexed pup in a “go away” gesture and then a   
 voice comes out of nowhere and says “Depression Hurts”.  Yep.  If I were 
a gloomy Gus I’d really want to take a long nap too.  Can you imagine if 
that woman just jumped off of the sofa, and then ran out the front door 
 wearing a cape ?  Boy, would her dog be pissed.

Our friend Bruce Wayne doesn’t seem to let the blues slow him down.  In this
   new movie, we find Bruce (Played by Christian Bale) deep and introspective    
as usual.  Gotham City is finding crime on the decline, thanks to his alter
ego’s heroic actions.  An honest politician by the name of Harvey Dent
(Aaron Eckhart) is the new DA in office, and he is also causing criminals  
to be weary of their evil deeds. 

Enter “The Joker”.  A total schizophrenic nut, played with unrestrained glee by
the late Heath Ledger.  Now HERE is a nemesis none of us will soon forget.  Of
course, people are saying because he died just after filming this picture that it
 really gives his performance an “edge”.  Hmmmph.  Dead Schmead.  He would
have been considered a genius no matter what.  His Joker is THAT good.


Be Honest…  Is My Mascara Running ?


Now, this movie is very DARK.  And there are so many characters, and so many
subplots, and plots within plots, and plots about plots that it’s hard to give “The 
Dark Knight” an in-depth synopsis.  But I will try to sum it up the best that I can.
 It sounds like a mess, but it all works on EVERY level !  From awesome directing
to great acting, this is one helluva ride (and Hans Zimmer has outdone himself 
with an intense soundtrack) !!!

The Joker wants to prove to the world that anyone and everyone is corruptible.
He tries to get the mob to turn on themselves, and he tries to get Harvey Dent
and Batman to turn evil.  He actually succeeds with Dent, as a horrible tragedy
disfigures him and he becomes the monster known as “Two-Face”.  

An all-star cast adds class to this brilliant morality play, as Morgan Freeman,
Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy and Maggie Gyllenhaal all do their
thing to perfection.  But Heath Ledger steals the show…  It would be nice to  
see him get an Oscar nod for this.  Not just to honor his legacy, but for the 
sake of recognizing a very popular genre that’s often overlooked at The
Academy Awards.  When will those folks start singing the praises of films 
people actually LIKE ?

No Country For Old Men ?  It’s more like No Trophies For Good Movies. 
LOL !!!


And THIS is for laughing through “Brokeback Mountain” !


Oscar or no Oscar, at least the “Batman” franchise shows us that
rubber nipples RULE.  They’re not just for babies anymore ! 

*Warning: The following two paragraphs contain PLOT SPOILERS !


My only gripe:  I appreciate this film being “darker” per se, but they
actually kill off Batman’s love interest from the first film, Rachel Dawes. 
She’s tied to a chair rigged with a bomb…  And then BOOM !    That’s 
just a cop-out if you ask me.  To make this film gloomier, I guess director
Christopher Nolan felt it was necessary.  I’m really tired of that cliche.  
Soooo many films try to pull that trick these days.  If a sequel is to be
darker, they just HAVE to kill the guy’s girlfriend from the first movie. 
“Revenge of the Sith”, “Quantum of Solace” and “The Bourne Supremacy” 
all come to mind.  I guess loosing the woman they love makes em’
extra tough.  The body count is also rising in the “Harry Potter” films.
Awww…  C’mon now.  Why so serious ?

Let’s not kill off any more characters we have invested in please.
Besides, I’m old school.  Superheros are supposed to save the girl. 
if they can’t, what good are they ?  Takes the fun out of it…  I hope 
the “Iron Man” sequel doesn’t boast being “darker”.  If that’s the case,
Gwyneth Paltrow is DOOMED !  Now, in comic book movies, no one
ever really seems to stay deceased.  So maybe Rachel will come back ?
She did get her ass blown off, but perhaps she will return as the evil 
“Half-Cheek”.  Or maybe “Burn-Boob”.  Or “Sizzlean”.


Regardless of who lives or dies, this movie really is an achievement of
sorts.  Plus, I just love Batman’s voice…  Listen real close.  He kind of
sounds like a cross between Marlon Brando’s “Godfather” and the little
boy that gets shrunk in the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate
Factory”.  You remember Mike Teevee ?  Just a hint of a lisp ?  LOL ! 

Despite having a foul scowl behind his cowl, “The Dark Knight” shines !


Would I Recommend This ?  Yes

Daniel’s Critical Rating:  “9” out of “10”



Daniel’s Critical Corner: “Wanted”

No, The Pregnancy Has NOT Made Me MOODY !

~ Hello Everyone ~
Welcome To Daniel’s Critical Corner !
Today:  If I Wanted To See “The Matrix”
I Would Have Rented It !

Dear readers, I fear the end is near.  I must type this quickly, so forgive
me for any misspellings or errors.  I think they’ve found me…  I can hear
them all outside…  Chanting my name…  Calling for my blood !  How did
they find out where I live ?  How do they know I’m in here ?  Might be the
glow from my computer screen…  But the truth MUST be told.  You see,
I’m one of the only critics on the planet that DIDN’T like “Wanted”. 

  Oh my GOD !  What was that ?  They just tossed a grenade in my window !!! 
Hold on…  TAKE THAT YOU CRITIC FREAKS !!!  Ha !  I tossed it back at em’ ! 
Ugh, I missed and hit my neighbor’s poodle.  Shame.  Hasta la vista, Fifi.   
Look at them out there !  They have torches…  Pitchforks…  Some of them are
actually wearing scarves…  What is that woman holding ?  Is that a chicken ? 
Oh come on !   AAAAAA !  There’s a red dot on my forehead !  This is it !!! 
I’m done for !  Tell my Mom I love her, and I forgive her for liking
“Van Helsing” !

They pulled the trigger !  My head shall be blown off !  The bullet is crashing
through the glass !  AAAAAAaaaa…  Um…  Hold on a second…  This bullet seems
to be moving reaaaalllly slow.  Hmmm.  Any time now.  La La La…  Ha !  FOOLS !  
I’ve got about five minutes before that bad boy hits me.  And then, I’ll probably
just move out of the way.  How sweet, they actually took the time to carve
my name into it.  Nice touch !

Yes, it’s true.  EVERYONE just loves “Wanted”.  I can’t walk down the street
without people saying “Wanted” this and “Wanted” that.  Hmmmph.  I was
quite shocked when I read all of the positive reviews.  Wait… I know !  There
is ONE critic that I can count on to back me up !  ONE critic who will not let  
me down !  I’m gonna call him right now.  Hold on…  It’s ringing…  Funny…  
One of the rioters outside (some guy with a chainsaw), his phone is going
off…  NO !  IT CAN’T BE ! 

Et tu,  Roger Ebert ?  Et tu ?

“Wanted” starts off promising enough.  I actually got a laugh or two out
    of it, as star James McAvoy seems to playing an “everyman” that we can    
relate to.  The movie sort of starts off like “Office Space”, with a humble
accountant facing problems at work.  But seven minutes or so into the 
movie, it takes a dive SOUTH and never lets up.  Let me tell you why… 


Warning:  Spoilers Ahead.  Drive Carefully.
(And Watch Out For Those PLOT HOLES) !


  In a few minutes time, we learn that our “hero” (James McAvoy) is more of a
DOORMAT than an “everyman”.  He does whatever his evil boss tells him to do
and his girlfriend walks all over him.  He ends up getting SUPERPOWERS, but, 
though and behold, he is STILL a doormat.  He does what his new evil boss
tells him to do, and his new girlfriend (Angelina Jolie) walks all over him.   

 James never knew his father.  According to his new boss,  (played by Morgan
Freeman) James has secret “assassin” powers (like his dad).  The boss man   
(who James has known for all of five minutes) tells him that his pops has been
smoked by a bad guy, and it’s up to James to bring him down.  But, before he  
is ready for that big task, he must kill several people that Morgan says are
“dangerous”.   Rather suspect if you ask me. 

Several “Fight Club” inspired scenes unfold, as James is inducted into the
secret sect of assassins.  They punch him.  They stab him.  They call him 
names.  And then they teach him how to make rugs.  Not kidding.  Turns  
out these assassins are actually weavers (no relation to Sigourney).  

There are tons of hints that the “Dad Killer” is really (surprise surprise) THE
LONG LOST FATHER.  Despite the hints, and despite the fact that this dude
saves James from falling out of a train, he gets shot by his own son.  As   
he dies, he says “I am your father” .  Someone in the theater actually gasped
at that part.  I wanted to hit her with my pickle !!!  (Be warned, I do have a 
licence to dill).  Didn’t anyone see the big, blinking neon sign over the guy 
that said “Hello, this is your DAD” ? 

I just couldn’t cheer for our “anti hero”.  He only figures out things by
being told.  And, for that matter he believes anything that is told to him. 
Of course,  he has killed several innocent people, but now he is having a
hissy fit and is bent on revenge.  So he kills more folks, (granted this time
they are not so innocent).  What does this guy use to masacre everyone ?
Rats outfitted with little bombs.    Sigh…  Talk about poorly executed !


Get Out Of My Pants…  This Isn’t “Hancock” !  

   To wind things down, James McAvoy addresses the people in the audience,
and basically tells them to F**K off.  NICE.  But there is so much more to 
this film than that.  There are the thrilling, state-of-the-art special effects ! 
Car chases AND plenty of bullets spinning around in slow motion !!!  I am  
twirling my finger in the air right now.  Original… Yes.  Back in 1999 !  Keanu
Reeves did this stuff soooo much better. There is LOTS of sex and violence
though.  (And we do see Angelina’s butt-crack) !  It must be said however, 
a butt-crack does not a good movie make.     

One last thing…  If someone knows the answer to this, let me know.  Why
did they call this movie “Wanted” ?  There are no “fugitives” per se.  No one is
running from the law really.  Yes, I realize that the comic book this flick was 
 based on does share the same title.  Nonetheless, they should have called it  
“Revenge”.  Or perhaps  “Angelina Jolie’s Butt-Crack”.  Or maybe even 
“The Matrix Rides Again” ! 

* Editor’s note:  Just last week I had the pleasure of meeting Common,
the Grammy award winning rapper turned actor who plays the assassin
“Gunsmith”.  Cool guy.  And he really is awesome in “Wanted”.  Granted,
I was quick to talk about his great role in “Smokin’ Aces”.  He knew I
didn’t like  “Wanted”, but something tells me he isn’t going to loose 
any sleep over it.   LOL !!!

Hmmm…  Still looks like I have a bullet to dodge and an angry mob to
deal with.

I’m sticking to my guns!  “Wanted” puts the ASS back in ASSASSIN !


Would I Recommend This ?  No

Daniel’s Critical Rating: “5” out of “10”



Daniel’s Critical Corner: “The Happening”

Poop Happens !

 ~ Hello Everyone ~
Welcome To Daniel’s Critical Corner !
Today’s Event:  The Happening

Warning:  This review will have more spoilers than a crate FULL of rotten
cabbage, so proceed at your own risk !!!

OK.  The obligatory “spoiler alert” is out of the way.  Lettuce begin…

Our story opens one beautiful morning in Central Park.  All is calm, and two
young women are sitting on a bench reading.  A scream pierces the air, and one
of them is startled.  The other, seems to be dazed.  People on the nearby path  
just sort of “freeze” and stop what they are doing.  Dogs are running loose with 
leashes dragging behind them.  Phones and iPods are dropped, and bicycles lay
on the ground.  A cool summer breeze glides across everyone, as they casually 
start to reach for any and all sharp objects in the vicinity.  One of the women
on the bench removes a large pin from her hair and impales herself with it…

Everybody on the East Coast mysteriously starts following suit…  Something is
causing folks to commit mass suicide.  But what ?  Did Clay Aiken release a new
album ?  At first, it seems to be yet another terrorist attack…  Then we find out 
that BUSH is responsible.   (As well as SHRUB and TREE).

It is vindictive and vile vegetation vetting Vengeance ! Predatory perennials
preying on People !  Beguiling begonias bringing bundles of Bedlam !

Yes folks, “The Happening” is director M. Night Shyamalan’s version of “Little
Shop of Horrors”,  (minus the musical numbers of course).   Alfred Hitchcock 
had people leery of peckers after watching “The Birds”, and M. Night Shyamalan 
wants to terrify us with his “plants”.  Go figure. 

 A killer plant movie.  That’s what’s “Happening”.  Nothing more than a  tale
of botany gone bad.  ScaryNoInterestingmaybeLeafy and delicious… 
Always.  Vegetarians, beware, these plants are looking to settle the score. 
You should have had that hamburger !  Now, ferocious foliage shall feast
upon your FACE !

Alright, I’m exaggerating a little bit.  The plants don’t eat people…  This movie
would have been SO COOL if they did.  They do however, let out deadly plant
farts.  This chemical is so rank that one is driven to suicide.  And speaking of 
suicide, what is M. Night doing to himself with this wilted wannabe of a fright
flick anyway ? Is he calling Uwe Boll for advice ?  We’ve gone from “Sixth
Sense” to “No Sense Whatsoever”. 

Where is the genius that brought us liquid-hating aliens  in “Signs” ?  What
happened to the guy that brought us Samuel Jackson’s bad hair in the now
classic “Unbreakable” ?  (In retrospect, they should have called it


Pardon Me…  Is This The New Issue Of “Critical Corner” ?


 After leaving a bad taste in our mouths with his “Lady in the Water”,  you’d think
M. Night would have tossed us a breath mint.  Nope.  “Lady in the Water” did a
total belly flop at the box office, and he comes back with “The Crappening”.

 In all fairness, “Lady” had a great premise.  Some dude finds a nympho in his
 pool and has to save her from a demon dog.  How could you screw that up ?  Well,
 he decided to make it into some sort of morality play, and that’s all she wrote. 
Now, he takes killer plants and stuffs yet ANOTHER message down our throats. 
How mundane.  Respect the planet or it will be your undoing.  Yawn…  Talk
about missing your MARK (no, not as in Wahlberg) !  LOL !

Mark Wahlberg is indeed on board, trying to give us a salad performance as an
“Ivy” League college teacher who knows a thing or two about flora.  When the 
flowers and ferns start causing people to “off” themselves, our prudent professor
figures out a way to escape.  He, his wife, and a little girl left in their care make
a run for it, convinced they can escape the blooms of doom.

 Turns out, ALL of the plants, flowers and trees in the world can communicate
with each other ! (Most of them use Verizon Wireless).  Humans are a threat, and 
must be exterminated !  So, as a natural defense, toxins are released that turn
people into self destructing maniacs…  (Their first attempt was the perfume 
“Curious” by Britney Spears, and we all know what went on there).

Mark W. and his small band of survivors hide out in the country, because it
seems the deadly gas doesn’t strike areas of low populace.  However, you can’t
fool mother nature for long, and they soon discover what a pain in the “aspen”
she really can be. 


Insane In The Membrane…



Insane In The Brain !


They take refuge at a little old lady’s house (Betty Buckley from “Eight is
Enough”), but she is soon brainwashed by some tomato vines and a really
pissed off petunia.  The final showdown is not supposed to be funny, but I
was cracking up the entire time.

Now, I appreciate the message Shamalamadingdong is trying to send out here.
EAT MEAT.  But everyone is expecting more…  He really doesn’t even give us
a “plot twist” this time around.  Almost immediately, we realize what is behind
the mystery.  And after a while, seeing someone scream at a giant redwood 
(that’s just blowing in the wind) gets old.  

There is some build up, as the first thirty minutes of this film is rather intense. 
People kill themselves in gruesome, rather imaginative ways.  But it climaxes into
Mark Wahlberg yelling at nothing but air in a “take me now” kind of moment. 
Total let down.  Imagine if M. Night had directed “Psycho”.  Instead of the killer
turning out to be Norman Bates in a wig, we discover Phyllis Diller is holding
the knife….

Maybe it’s time for our misguided director to get out of “The Twilight Zone”.
(Or at least stay out of the greenhouse).  He has talent, but he is barking 
up the wrong tree.  He needs to branch out.  Maybe get to the root of the
problem. Then he can see where his failures stem from. 

He should try doing a drama, or perhaps a comedy.  (His last two movies, 
granted, are pretty darn funny).  He just can’t scare us anymore…  But all
hope isn’t lost.  Give the guy a change of venue, and he will be fine ! 

If you want true entertainment featuring vegetation with a taste for human
blood, may I suggest “The Maneater of Hydra” (1967) or “Attack of the Killer
Tomatoes” (1978).  Of course the original black and white version of “Little
Shop of Horrors” is sure to thrill, (with a young Jack Nicholson making his
film debut) !  Hey, he had to start somewhere.  It’s not easy being green

At any rate, “The Happening” is sure to leaf you totally disappointed.


Would I Recommend This ?  No

Daniel’s Critical Rating:  “6” out of “10”




Daniel’s Critical Corner: “Memories of 2007”

2007 ?  I’ve Just Gotta See This !!!

~ Hello Everyone ~
Welcome To Daniel’s Critical Corner !
My Spethal Lisp Edithon
Ugh, my fingers were off center !  Not “Lisp”… “List” !
My Special List Edition !

July is upon us !  I am excited, yet at the same time a little blue
(Just add some red and white and we have ourselves a flag) !  My  
AWESOME “Best of 2008″ extravaganza will be out in just six short
months.  Yes folks, we are halfway there !  With films like “Iron Man”
and “Wall-E” gracing the screens, figuring out my choice for “Movie
 of the Year” is not going to be an easy task…  And don’t forget, we
have “Batman” coming soon to a cave near you ! 

In the meantime, to curb my cinematic “list” cravings, let’s take a look
back on my personal faves from 2007.  Some of you will be shocked.
Others, probably tickled.  But EVERYONE will be entertained with my 
spin on these recent hits (now gracing the new release walls of your
favorite video store)…

 Daniel’s Critical Corner Proudly Presents: The BEST of 2007 !!!

The envelope, please…  And will someone shut that cricket UP !


I Can Barely Contain My Excitement !



Number 1:  300

Proving, once and for all,
that guys with beards RULE.


Number 2:  Elizabeth:  The Golden Age

Proving, once and for all,
that girls with beards RULE.


Number 3:  The Simpsons Movie

D’ohnt miss it !  It’s D’ohlightful !


Number 4:  Mr. Bean’s Holiday

He doesn’t have to say much to make us laugh.


Number 5:  The Mist

Wait until you see what’s in THE MIST !
Hint:  It isn’t a gorilla…


Oh Dear GOD !  That’s NOT Sigourney Weaver !!!



Number 6:  The Great Debaters

They are great indeed !!!  Denzel is Swell !!!


Number 7:  Ratatouille

A blue rat with a pink nose cooks food.
(No different than a trip to “Burger King”)


Number 8:  Underdog

You can’t go wrong with a dog in a cape !


Number 9:  Pan’s Labyrinth

David Bowie, Eat your heart out  !


Number 10:  Live Free or Die Hard

But only if you’ve had an erection that
lasts for more than four hours.



Honorable Mentions:

“Pirates of the Caribbean:  At World’s End”


Mascara-Wearing Pirates Chase Booty !  Yo Ho Ho !


“Kite Runner”
“Spider-Man 3”
“The Host”
“Harry Potter”
(Order of the Phoenix)



Below are some great movies from 2007…

FOR ME TO POOP ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Give me a stick and I’ll kill it.

The Golden Compass

Comp ass ?  You get what you pay for.

(Besides, polar bears aren’t supposed to run
around in funny outfits.  They are supposed
to just sit around and drink Coke).

American Gangster

Ruby Dee RULES.  Russell Crowe DROOLS.

Lions For Lambs

And just what would lambs do with
the aforementioned lions ?  That’s like
calling a movie “Birds For Worms”.

El Cantante

That’s Spanish for “This Movie BLOWS”.

Hannibal Rising

Someone please take away his VIAGRA !

No Country For Old Men

As if.  The only Oscar this movie
deserved was of the “Mayer Weiner”

The Invasion

Nicole Kidman is attacked by
bad movie reviews


You Gave My Movie A “5.5” ?


 LOL !  Hope you enjoyed my best (and worst) lists of 2007 !  It was
fun looking back…  Just wait until I whip out 2008 !  In the meantime,
thanks for stopping by and have a great Fourth of July Weekend !!!