Posts Tagged ‘Christian Bale’

Empire of the Sun – Minute Movie Review

Samstag, Mai 8th, 2010


After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Western settlement in Shanghai is also beset by the war. In the panic, young Christian Bale is separated from his parents and now has to survive on his own – first in the city, then in a prison camp, all the while waiting for the war to be over to be reunited with his family. Based on the book by J.G. Ballard which is somewhat autobiographical (Ballard was in a Japanese prison camp, but not separated from his parents) the film tries to tell the story of a child in wartime. But despite that it is a powerful story and Bale’s performance for one so young is quite good, the film does not work. The pacing is horrible, jumping between slow, drawn-out scenes and skipping three years at a time, the score is the usual bombastic John Williams’ work that goes well with Star Wars, but not with what would be a character drama, if only Steven Spielberg hadn’t been the director, with means it’s about as subtle as a blunt instrument, substituting cheap sentimentality for real emotions – or pretty much anything real.

Random Observations:

Empire of the Sun at the IMDb

This film concludes “Western Asian Week” at Fabricated Truth. Check out the last two reviews to read about more American and/or European films set in Asia.

How did they manage to age 13-year old Christian Bale by three years from one shot to the next? They gave him a new haircut. Hey, it worked for – actually, that never worked for anyone, especially not for one so young.

In a surprisingly gutsy move, the main character is actually an unlikeable, spoiled brat in the first part of the film. But instead of creating a feeling of realism, it just causes you not to give a damn about him.

Miranda Richardson’s role, despite being the second person credited, is little more than a cameo. Apparently, most of her scenes were cut.

Public Enemies – Minute Movie Review

Dienstag, August 18th, 2009


Based on the life of notorious 30s criminal John Dillinger (and taking extreme liberties with the real story), the film is supposed to show the hunt for Dillinger by the newly established FBI. But what could be a promising thriller, especially considering director Michael Mann’s previous work, is a confusing film that is more annoying than anything. The cinematography is appalling, with barely a shot held long enough to see the expression on an actor’s face, except for a slew of close-ups that come at inappropriate moments and show expressionless faces. The acting is often atrocious, especially considering the top talent that is on display. But at least the movie succeeds as a comedy showing police ineptitude, because these FBI agents don’t even notice when Dillinger walks into their office or is standing ten feet away from them.

Random Observations:

Public Enemies at the IMDb

Johnny Depp and Christian Bale in the two lead roles are both far from their usual greatness, but their acting is great compared to Marion Cotillard’s. I know she won a Best Actress Oscar, but I have seen more convincing line readings in high school plays.

I was going to suggest that cinematographer Dante Spinotti should never be allowed to work again, considering how horrible this movie was filmed. But then I took a look at his résumé and now I hope it was just a fluke.

I am fairly certain that at least one of Dillinger’s henchman was in a scene after he was shot and killed, but since you never really get a good look at them, I might have seen that wrongly.

The film touches on some interesting issues with the mafia/mob/syndicate connections, but none of those are really allowed to have any impact on the storyline, so they might as well have been dropped.

I was really excited to see this film and am now utterly and completely disappointed. I have seen worse movies, but never when my expectations were that high.

3:10 to Yuma (2007) – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, Juni 28th, 2009


Dan Evans, a rancher struggling in Arizona to feed his family and keep his land witnesses a stage coach robbery. When the outlaw Ben Wade is caught, Evans offers to help take him to the train station to catch the 3:10 to Yuma prison. This modern Western is less about the shootouts, but more about the psychological makings of the two men. The film is suspensefull to the end, with is beautifully built-up to and executed.

Random Observations:

3:10 to Yuma at the IMDb

The film is based on a short story as well as the script of an earlier film version. Judging from the hatred for this film fans of the original display on the internet, it doesn’t seem possible to like both.

The thing that I most disliked about this film is the fact that it is another film that lessened my hatred for Russel Crowe. I still think he looks like a butcher and should stick to playing dumb people, but he actually is a pretty good actor.

The way Crowe and Christian Bale play off each other is quite impressive. Some real nice casting.

The movie is awesome just because Alan Tudyk is in it and he gets to be Hoban “Wash” Washburne for one more line.

Nice little cameo by Luke Wilson.

The Ten Best Movies of 2008

Mittwoch, Januar 7th, 2009

Everybody loves Top Ten Lists, right? You can never get enough of them, correct? If you read one to the end, you want nothing more than start looking at the next one, or am I wrong? In any case, I like Top Ten (or basically any other number) Lists. I know they are silly and arbitrary and highly subjective, but they are still fun – even if one just reads them to poke fun at the author(s). So to start my own habitual list-making off, I hereby offer you the TEN BEST MOVIES OF 2008!

(weiterlesen …)

Minute Movie Review – Batman Begins

Donnerstag, März 20th, 2008


After 1997′s “Batman & Robin“, a successful comic book movie franchise was dead – and rightfully so. But in 2005, Christopher Nolan, the acclaimed director of “Memento” and “The Prestige“, revived it. Deciding to start all over, he tells the story of how Bruce Wayne, a billionaire, became Batman, the darkest of popular comic book superheroes. A brooding tale of revenge, Batman Begins actually focuses on story-telling and character development – and it does so extremely well. With a stellar cast (Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy…) and a brilliant director, those parts work extremely well. The action sequence, who here are supposed to be the icing on the cake instead of being the entire cake as is usual for blockbuster movies, don’t work quite so well. Nevertheless, as far as popular comic book adaptations go, there is none better.

Random Observations:

Batman Begins at

The obligatory sequel, The Dark Knight, will be released this summer. And it certainly looks as if it could really get the whole franchise running again. Katie Holmes has been replaced with Maggie Gyllenhaal (who can actually act) and Heath Ledger will star in his second-to-last performance and the one he himself said he was most proud of as the Joker.

Compared to other movies in this genre (the earlier Batman films, Spiderman and so on), this one sets a new standard for gritty realism. Batman is not a superhero because of special powers, but because he wants to revenge his parents’ murder and do something good in the world. His opponents aren’t caricatures with “magical” weapons, but instead very real humans with very real ways of hurting people. Sure, you sometimes have to suspend your disbelief in this movie, but not to the same extent usually necessary.

Minute Movie Review – I’m Not There.

Sonntag, März 16th, 2008


I’m Not There is a kind of biography/documentary/mockumentary about Bob Dylan – who is never mentioned by name. Instead, six characters take on different aspects of his life. At least that is the idea. Sadly, it doesn’t really work. While Christian Bale, Heath Ledger or Cate Blanchett certainly are talented enough to play Dylan, the film focuses to much on being different, on being art instead of entertainment and on being something new and unique, that it never works. There is no real plot, the idea to split Dylan’s life into several lives might appeal to die-hard Dylan fans, but nobody else and unless you are still delusional about Dylan’s importance to music, you will probably not enjoy it. It’s confused and confusing – and with over two hours about 120 minutes too long.

Random Observations:

I’m Not There at

If only filmmakers would remember that just because something is different that doesn’t mean that it is better. So many disasters like this one could have been averted!

Here’s a rule of thumb on when you might like the movie: If you think that not even naming the subject of the film is cool, you’ll probably like the film. If you realize how ridiculous this is considering that everyone only talks about “that Dylan film”, you won’t.

Bob Dylan fanatics will probably also enjoy this movie – but when you are fanatic about something, you enjoy everything connected to that, even if it is utter trash.

Minute Movie Review – The Prestige

Montag, Januar 7th, 2008


The Prestige tells the story of two rival magicians in the late 19th Century. But their rivalry isn’t confined to the stage when one causes the other’s wife’s death during a show. For the rest of their life, both are driven to beat the other one. The movie by Christopher Nolan has some similarities to the movie that made him famous, Memento. But not only the twist at the end makes this movie worth watching, the performance by leads Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman is incredible and David Bowie as Nicola Tesla is an interesting casting choice. However, do not just expect a period picture, but a science-fiction part as well or you might be as disappointed by the end as I was.

Random Observations:

The Prestige at

The real problem of this movie is that it is not just a fictional story, but a story that is so fictional that you know that it not only didn’t happen, but also never could have happened. In general, that is not necessarily bad, but if you think until almost the finish that it all could have happened, you feel somewhat cheated, especially since the movie is really good apart from that.

Scarlett Johansson has a role in this movie and while it is quite easy to say that she has never really tried her best since “Lost in Translation“, her performance here is truly dreadful.

For all you Gollum fans, this movie gives you the chance to see Andy Serkis as a “normal” actor.

Minute Movie Review – Little Women

Dienstag, November 13th, 2007


I’ve heard people say that “Little Women” is for Americans what “Pride and Prejudice” is for the British. And in a way it is true: There are lot of similarities between the stories and at least for the movie version it is true that “Little Women” is extremely American. The story of four sisters growing up during the Civil War is sentimentalized beyond belief. Even though the story of how they make their way in life, especially Jo the writer as the main character, is interesting and touching, the movie suffers from being just a little to melodramatic. It’s nice to see what life in that time in the US was like and the film shows this very well, but the unrealistic sentimentality of the story and of some people’s behaviour spoils the good effort to a certain extent.

Random Observations:

Little Women at

The German title of the film is “Betty und ihre Schwestern”, strangely enough.

Am I the only one who thinks that Christian Bale looks a lot like Tom Cruise? A couple of years younger and a lot more talented, but still.