113. Batman Begins (A-)
114. The Dark Knight Rises (B+)
115. Winnie the Pooh (A)
: I imagine this will remain the definitive cinematic origin story of Batman for several years. Really, the only flaws are a forgettable performance by Katie Holmes (though not the crippling performance I had remembered) and the silly comic book science of the finale, which undermines the film's attempt at semi-realism. I'm not crazy about the Hans Zimmer/James Newton Howard score, but it's passable, and it's not as if Danny Elfman's talents would have been at all right of the film tonally.
The Dark Knight Rises
: The last forty minutes really make it hard not to laugh in the face of the New York City battle that closes The Avengers
. This is a solid conclusion to the series, and it ranks among the short list of satisfying second sequels. Thematically, it didn't seem to have the same through-line of either of its predecessors (Batman Begins
dealt with fear; The Dark Knight
dealt with the conflict of chaos and order), but the film still worked pretty well. Bane was an effective villain, though not as memorable as the Joker. For the third time in the series, the last act revolves around a piece of silly sf hardware, but that has become par for the course. Selena Kyle's pursuit of the identity wiping McGuffin was a bit expository, but ultimately a minor part of the movie. The two parts of the plot that were the hardest to swallow come back to back: Bane gets away with obvious fraud against Bruce (should this be that hard to prove?) and then Matthew Modine's character abandons his chase of someone who has just murdered several people and diverts the entirety of his force after Batman instead. Really?
Winnie the Pooh
: This hand-animated Disney film from 2011 is probably the studio's best non-Pixar effort in over a decade. The interaction between the animals and the narrator of the children's book (and the children's book itself) is downright inventive.
Theatres: 42 +1
Home Video: 65 +1