The Dark Knight Rises

[5.0 stars] The Dark Knight Rises (2012) on IMDb [Amazon]

As I type, the IMDB raters have pushed The Dark Knight Returns to #9 on the list of the Top 250 Movies of All Time. I don't know about that, but it's pretty good.

Consumer note: the movie theater wasn't as crowded as I thought it would have been. I didn't think our local moviegoing citizenry would have been spooked by that horrible event in Colorado, but maybe.

It's set eight years after Batman has retired, and (as you hopefully remember from the previous movie) is widely despised in Gotham after having taken the blame for the crimes of Two-Face, aka Harvey Dent. Bruce Wayne has cultivated his image as an eccentric recluse, preferring to work behind the scenes to develop a safe green form of nuclear energy.

But things kick off when a bewitching cat burglar (Anne Hathaway) beguiles her way into Wayne Manor, cracks a safe, and carts off Mama Wayne's pearls. And also Bruce's fingerprints. This intrigues Bruce enough to dust off his detective skills. Unbeknownst to him, this is only the tip of a much darker plot, as supervillain Bane has plans to wreak havoc, terror, and destruction over the whole metropolis.

I could quibble: Michael Caine is a wonderful Alfred, but he's kind of a kvetch here.

But everyone else is just plain great. I especially liked Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Blake, a cop of extraordinary perception and courage. There were a couple surprising cameos. I saw a bit of the Big Plot Twist coming, but not everything.

Last Modified 2012-09-21 10:07 AM EDT

Jane Eyre

[3.0 stars] Jane Eyre (2011) on IMDb [Amazon]

Perhaps I was not in the mood for well-done adaptation of a classic piece of literature. But I'd be lying if I said I was captivated.

I haven't read the book—sorry!—but I understand it's a pretty straightforward tale. This movie keeps jumping back and forth in the book's narrative, for no discernible reason. It opens with Jane fleeing from Thornfield across the moors, to land at the doorstep of the Rivers family, who rescue her from death by exposure.

We then flash back to Jane's early life, where she's been taken in as an orphan by a hostile aunt. Eventually she's shipped off to a strict religious school, also a nasty environment. Jane perseveres, however, and graduates, taking a position as governess to a French girl at Thornfield Hall. Eventually she meets the master, Mr. Rochester—hey, so where's Jack Benny?—and after an initial rocky start, their relationship develops. But Rochester is an odd, moody duck, and (as it turns out) is keeping a dark secret.

I can say no more.

Judi Densch is in this, as Thornfield's amiable housekeeper. And the young Magneto himself, Michael Fassbender, plays Mr. Rochester.

Last Modified 2012-09-21 10:07 AM EDT

URLs du Jour


  • The First Amendment At Cato, Ilya Shapiro makes a good point:

    Perhaps the first thing you should know about campaign finance “reform” proposals — at least those coming from the left — is that their ultimate goal is to deter speech about political issues. Whether it’s limiting campaign donations or spending, restricting the ability of corporations or other groups to publicize their views, or imposing disclosure rules, the goal isn’t to have better-informed voters or a more dynamic political system, but to have less speech. Those who advocate these things want the government to have the power to control who speaks and how much.

    Ilya goes on to recount his recent appearance before a Senate hearing on the issue. The usual depressing news: senators who don't really get that whole First Amendment thing, despite the fact that it's part of the Constitution they've sworn to defend.

  • Jennifer Rubin snipped the following out of a recent speech by President Obama:

    I’m also going to ask anybody making over $250,000 a year to go back to the tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton.

    Longtime readers will recognize the word "ask" as a Pun Salad Red Flag: it is not only untrue, but an insult to the intelligence of his listeners. If Obama gets his way, nobody will be "asked" to pay higher taxes. They will be commanded to do so. As always, the relevant Amazon link is to: They Think You're Stupid.

    But, as Jennifer notes, the other bit of Obama's sentence is reality-challenged as well:

    He either doesn’t know what he’s proposed or he is lying. The top marginal rate is now 35 percent. Obama wants it to go back to 39.6 percent plus the 3.8 percent Medicare Insurance tax that is part and parcel of Obamacare. That is a marginal rate of 43.4 percent for ordinary income. Under the Bush tax cuts, dividends were taxed at 15 percent. Under Obama such income would also go up to the 43.4 percent tax rate.

    … which deserves a second Amazon link, this time to Never Enough.

  • A. Barton Hinkle offers to help President Obama out with his failure to tell a story to the American people. For example, the Ant and the Grasshopper:

    Now there are those who say – and my opponent is one of them – there are those who say this story shows the need to be fiscally conservative. And you can believe that if you want to. But I’m always struck by those insects who think they are so smart, who think they work harder than everybody else. Well, let me tell you something: There are a whole lot of hardworking bugs out there.

  • Dave Barry is in London for the Olympics, and promises to make sense out of that strange land with its odd customs and language.

    Be advised that “Bobby” is only one example of the many words or phrases that the British because of centuries of heavy drinking, use incorrectly. Here are some others, with the American, or correct, version on the left, and the British version on the right:

    Flashlight = Torch

    Elevator = Prawn

    Hello = Blimey

    Good (or bad) = Aunt Betty’s celery trampoline

    Torch = Flashlight

    Eat = Spang the wollynacker

    Does it ever stop raining here? = Cor blimey?

    Paul = Ringo

    Take the subway = Neuter the hedgehog

    Go to the bathroom = Make a blimey

  • Attention chemistry fans: xkcd discourses on a mole of moles. That's a lotta moles.

Last Modified 2012-09-21 10:19 AM EDT