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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Film Reviews: Red Lights (2012), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Three briefer-than-usual film reviews, because I'm tired...

Red Lights (2012). Directed by Rodrigo Cortés. The film opens with two parapsychologists (Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy) travelling to what's believed to be a haunted house. The two characters specialise in debunking alleged supernatural phenomena, and the visit to the house proves to be more of the same. Red Lights is an odd film, and almost feels like a story of two halves, with an odd break in the middle. The first part is the setup with Weaver and Murphy's characters, and was for me the better part of the film. Robert DeNiro plays a famous psychic, Simon Silver, who features more heavily in the second part of the film where it's a sort of battle between science and the supernatural (semi-yawn). Weaver and Murphy are good, and although DeNiro has his usual presence it does feel a bit paint-by-numbers. Ultimately though the thin and weak story lets the film down, with a damp squib of a twist at the end. Recommended for those who can cope with a weak supernatural film. 3/5 (Average)

The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Directed by Christopher Nolan. The story continues almost 10 years after the previous film, where Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has become a recluse following the death of Harvey Dent. Selina Kyle (Anna Hathaway) manages to get Wayne's fingerprints which she hands over to Bane (Tom Hardy), a psychopath who is intent on bringing Gotham to its knees. He uses Wayne's fingerprints at Gotham's Stock Exchange to bring his company to its knees, and force a directorial takeover. The Dark Knight Rises is certainly an ambitious and long film with a complex story. The acting is top notch throughout (it's particularly good to see a badass Anne Hathaway), and the look of the film is excellent. Almost like the above film it seems like a story of two halves, with the initial action taking place over a matter of days, followed by the second part where Wayne is help prisoner over several months. I've not read the comics so I can't comment on how accurate the story is, but whereas the first part of the story felt snappy and well paced, the second part feels rather dull, confused, and overly long. Perhaps it would have helped to cut the runtime a little and give some better pacing here, for me at least. Recommended for fans of the previous films, and those who like a mix of deep and complex story with action. 4/5 (Good)

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). Directed by Marc Webb. The film starts with Peter Parker as a small child, when he is mysteriously whisked away by his parents to live with his aunt and uncle after their house is broken into. The story then moves forward several years, with Peter (Andrew Garfield) looking through some of his father's scientific papers. This leads him to break into Oscorp where he accidentally strays into an area full of genetically modified spiders. The biggest problem I have with The Amazing Spider-Man is why did we need another Spider-Man film? It wasn't that long ago we had the trilogy with Tobey Maguire, and although there is a slightly different take on the Green Goblin story it's still fresh enough in my mind that I didn't need to see another version. There's nothing particularly wrong with the film itself, which is reasonably acted and paced, for a well known comic book story. If you can't get enough of Spider-Man then this is probably for you. 3/5 (Average)