Monthly Archives: December 2012

Blu-Ray Review: The Dark Knight Rises

by Dan Fields
First published December 10, 2012 by the California Literary Review
Batman faces Bane in the Dark Knight Rises

© 2012 Warner Brothers/DC Comics
Photo by Ron Phillips

This year, the latest chapter of an enduring legend bids us farewell. Christopher Nolan, whose unexpected helming of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight helped boost him as a filmmaking force, brought his vivid interpretation of the Caped Crusader to a stunning conclusion. Though occasionally problematic in many of the same ways at its predecessors, The Dark Knight Rises achieves new levels of excitement and emotional satisfaction as it brings its legend full circle. Continue reading

Movie Review: Killing Them Softly

by Dan Fields
First published September 22, 2012 by the California Literary Review

Everything is Rotten in the Parish of Orleans

Australian writer and director Andrew Dominik built himself a respectable filmmaking foundation with Chopper and The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. His dour outlook and unflinching presentation are pleasantly comparable to the rise of contemporary Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, of Bronson and Pusher fame. However, Dominik’s latest foray into the semi-mainstream, Killing Them Softly, is no counterpart to Drive. In fact, the only award-worthy member of the Killing Them Softly crew is the one who cut the trailer.

There is an intriguing story hidden in away somewhere inside Killing Them Softly, and perhaps the source novel – Cogan’s Trade by George Higgins – made its point better. It is a meditation on the impact of a tanked economy on the criminal class. At best, it could be a thinking man’s bloodbath on the level of the original 1972 version of The Mechanic. However, despite a high-profile cast and several well-staged scenes of violence, this movie is largely toxic and indigestible. Continue reading