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Catwoman: When in Rome (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

Catwoman: When in Rome technically exists to fill in the gaps in Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, particularly in accounting for Catwoman’s absence during the early part of Dark Victory. However, it also exists as something of a “bridge”, connecting Loeb’s earlier Batman trilogy with Sale and his later work on Hush with Jim Lee. It’s an interesting exploration of an early phase of Catwoman’s costumed career, building off her origin in Batman: Year One and seeing the character attempt to move out of Batman’s shadow. While it’s hardly going to be remembered for developing a truly independent version of the character, it does make for an interesting read, and a fascinating companion piece to the rest of Jeph Loeb’s Batman work.

Go fish…

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Non-Review Review: Coriolanus

I’m a big fan of Shakespeare adaptations, if done right. The proper cast and crew can serve to make the Bard easily accessible to modern audiences, allowing people unfamiliar with the tragedy in question to follow along with the work remarkably easily. Ralph Fiennes has assembled such a cast and crew for his directorial debut, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. Although not universally regarded as one of the truly great Shakespearean tragedies, it does have the epic scale and grand drama of some of the writer’s best work. T.S. Elliot would consider it to be, along with Anthony and Cleopatra, to be Shakespeare’s finest tragic play. I think that Fiennes adaptation makes a plausible argument for a long overdue reappraisal of the work. At the very least, it does an excellent job bringing it to a modern audience.

Roman around…

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Non-Review Review: The Rite

The Rite has an interesting premise and a somewhat novel approach to its material within the first half. On the other hand, it seems to squander that potential with a disappointingly conventional second half, one falls prey to the clichés and conventions of exorcism movies that we’ve already seen replicated elsewhere countless times before. It starts out as an interesting exploration of religious faith, but it ends up feeling like a waste of some good ideas.

Don't cross him...

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Non-Review Review: The Devil Inside

The Devil Inside is a cocktail of fascination, frustration and infuriation. Unfortunately it’s not a balanced one – though there’s just enough interesting ingredients to pique our curiosity, but the delivery is so slapdash and haphazard that these intriguing elements are swiftly brushed aside. The Devil Inside confuses provocative drama with shallow sensationalism, but the biggest flaw with the film is that – quite simply – it doesn’t work. I don’t mean that it doesn’t work as a film. The problem is more fundamental than that. I mean that it doesn’t work as a story.

No need to get bent out of shape...

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The Borgias (Premiere Review)

I have to admit, I expected The Borgias to be significantly trashier than it actually was. Instead, the show seems to be something of a more mature and considered big brother of The Tudors, instead of serving as an Italian twin. That’s an observation, and not praise or criticism – there’s something to be said for the energy that cheap blood and sex can instill into even the most flaccid television show, and attempting a slightly more restrained tale of political intrigue is a far more difficult matter. Still, The Borgias has two distinct advantages: Jeremy Irons, and Neil Jordan.

Oh, he just can't wait to be Pope...

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Non-Review Review: Cleopatra

The big budget Cleopatra is renowned as something of a massive contradiction. It was panned mercilessly by critics, and yet picked up four Academy Awards (and five more nominations). It was the most financially successful movie of the year, and yet still turned a fairly substantial loss. It’s one of the last great Hollywood epics, and it almost killed Twentieth Century Fox. So there’s something strangely fitting about the final line, in which it was suggested that the movie’s subject was “the last of so many noble rulers.” In many ways, the film was the last of its kind, but perhaps the most lavish. Perhaps history has been kinder to the production than its initial release was, but it’s still a very flawed film.

I can see Cleo now...

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Non-Review Review: Clash of the Titans

It has been a couple of years since the last proper swords-and-sandals epic. It’s hard to look past the glossy stylised design of 300 and the discussions of racial politics which surrounded it. Troy and Alexander were hardly solid examples of the genre which had been at the height of its popularity more than half a century ago. Aside from Gladiator, it’s hard to point to another big screen classical action movie that manages to do what it says on the tin. Although it’s a long way from perfect, Clash of the Titans at least delivers the intriguing visuals and impressive action that one expects from the genre. I was pleasantly surprised. 

A friendship in ruins...

 

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