Tag Archives: Eliza Dushku

Batman: Year One (2011) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Batman Year One

Directors: Sam Liu, Lauren Montgomery
Writers: Bob Kane (Batman created by), Tab Murphy, Frank Miller (Based on the graphic novel)
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Ben McKenzie, Eliza Dushku

Batman: Year One is one of my most anticipated films from my recent DC Animated Movie Series splurge. I have actually held back on watching this film until I had caught up with the DC releases as I decided a few months back to watch these in sequential order of their release and what a wait it was. Thankfully this animated movie did not disappoint and I personally hold this up there with any of the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight films. Yes, that’s how good this is.

Based on the 1988 graphic novel by Frank Miller I was interested to read that Batman: Year One was almost adapted as a live-action film to be directed by Darren Aronofsky from a screenplay by Miller. The studio scrapped the project in favour of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005). I’m kind of glad as I loved Batman Begins and to be honest without that film we wouldn’t have The Dark Knight. You could say that fans of Batman got the best of both worlds in this case. I am intrigued and curious to see what Batman: Year One would have looked like as a live action movie. Certainly the casting of Bryan Cranston as Gordon would have worked in that format more than Ben McKenzie as Bruce Wayne / Batman. Interestingly, McKenzie would go on to appear as Gordon in the television series “Gotham” and did a damn good job of that. Appearance wise, he ain’t a Bruce Wayne / Batman sadly.

Batman: Year One is predominately about the characters of Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne. It takes place when Bruce has returned from afar in what I can only assume as time away from Gotham to complete his training with The League of Shadows and his mentor Ra’s Al Ghul. It doesn’t focus too heavily on this part of his life but you get the jist of it. Jim Gordon’s story interested me more as we see another side of him. He isn’t the perfect person by any means and between the darkness it Batman and the white knight of Harvey Dent we have this character in the shadows who flits between black an white to adapt to the situation in Jim Gordon. I loved what the did with this character and how his personality was captured in the story.

The animation in this movie is, dare I say it. Classic comic book style. The colours and shading are perfect and the look of these characters was something different from previous Batman animation that I have witnessed. The look of Batman was the Grey suited crime fighter which isn’t my preference it seem to fit the bill in the style of the film. The cityscape and surrounding captured a very gritty and desperate Gotham that longed for a saviour, a symbol and they got that in Batman. Gordon’s obsession on tracking down “The Bat” was a big part of the storyline but overall it was about two men with the same ideology and purpose before they would work together. It was also interesting to see and pick up that we never see Batman use any fancy gadgets. Nor do we get to see the famous Batmobile make an appearance in the film. I didn’t mind this as it reminded us that Batman wasn’t superhuman, or as they like to say in this universe a “Meta-Human”. Here he is the skilled fighter with the same goal and intent as Jim Gordon.

Overall Batman: Year One is a complete film in what you hope and expect from this character story arc. The film was well received by critics and fans alike on its release and having Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery in the Directors chairs makes sense to me with their previous experience in these films. As an animated film it is one of the best in my option. I’m unsure on if it is more difficult to translate a graphic novel into a live action film or animated as both formats would be challenging for different reasons. What I will say though is at some point I think this will be released as a live action film and if they stay true to the book then I’m on board. With the announcement of a stand alone Joker Movie separate from the DCEU, then anything is possible. I previously advised that if you are going into these animated series for the first time that I recommend watching them in their time of release. Here is the exception as after watching Batman: Year One you will be hooked. Highly Recommended.

Advertisements

Eloise (2017) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

ELOISE

Director: Robert Legato
Writer: Christopher Borrelli
Stars: Chace Crawford, Eliza Dushku, Brandon T. Jackson

Plot: Four friends break into an abandoned insane asylum in search of a death certificate which will grant one of them a large inheritance. However, finding it soon becomes the least of their worries in a place haunted by dark memories.

Running Time: 1 hour 29 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Critics 0% Audience 16% Not enough critics have rated the film so it has no score.

Why I watched it: Horror is my favorite genre so there’s that and it seems I’m in a groove for horror films so I gave this one a go even though I hadn’t heard anything about it.

Random Thoughts: The whole haunted mental institute/hospital is a pretty bad horror sub-genre it’s more cliched then the haunted house genre, don’t go into abandoned hospitals, go anywhere but there. Why don’t they tear them down?

What I liked: This is a better looking film than I thought, the tech stuff is fine, I thought it might look cheap and no budget, I mean it’s dark and scary so that fit’s in this genre. The old building is creepy and huge, the atmosphere is decent. The acting is fine, sometimes Eliza Dushku can leave me cold but she’s good here. Always great seeing Robert Patrick. I will give the film credit for trying to do a little more with the genre, there’s more twists and turns and they try to have an emotional core to the film, a history to it, I don’t think it worked but they at least tried to give it some depth and personality to the film. There’s stakes here not just dumb teenagers running around screaming and getting picked off one by one.

What I didn’t like: First off the plot description is wrong, four friends don’t break into an abandoned insane asylum, two friends, a mentally challenged man/child and his sister break in. One of the things that didn’t work in the film is they tried to have three of the main characters have ties to the asylum, trying to tie in history and I guess destiny and try to make this bigger and deeper. Now here’s the rare case of something I liked turned into something I didn’t like, full credit for trying but it doesn’t work here and the big problem they throw a lot of stuff at us in the last act and it’s overload, everything is connected and everyone is connected and it just all feels forced. My biggest problem is that the film can’t decide on what it’s doing, this isn’t really about a place being haunted cause it goes beyond that, it could be hell, it could be lots of things and of course it’s not clear and with that you have no idea what the rules are so how do you get out, how do you make these spirits go away. The story is sloppy and unclear and it lost me, not sure what they’re getting at here, they throw everything at us but little sticks. The ending left me with more questions and really at the end I don’t think it mattered, this was style over substance.

Final Thoughts: Goes without saying I’ve seen worst horror films in this sub-genre and the cast and look alone makes it an alright watch but it never clicks and never fully engages you.

Rating: 4/10