The Dark Knight
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Written by: Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan (screenplay), Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer (story) and Bob Kane (characters)
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart and Gary Oldman

The Dark Knight changed the landscape of comic book movies by taking the super out of “super hero.”  The caped crusader at its center is a man tasked with an evil so great, so uncompromisingly senseless and terrifying, that he must sacrifice his moral superiority in order to fight it.

To me, this is not only Christopher Nolan’s crowning achievement as a director (so far), but also one of the best summer blockbusters ever made.  Just as Batman (Christian Bale) is brought toward the moral center, the movie’s heavy-handed post-9/11 politics and its gloriously conceived action sequences must also meet in the middle.  
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Crazy Heart
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Written by: Scott Cooper (screenplay), Thomas Cobb (novel)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell, and Paul Herman

It’s not uncommon that a performance is the sole interest in a film.  Sometimes an actor or actress digs so deeply into a role that they seem born to play that it overshadows all else in the film.  This, as you can probably tell, is the case with Crazy Heart.

Jeff Bridges’ status as an underdog in Hollywood ended this year when he was awarded the Best Actor Oscar at the Academy Awards.  While the ceremony does often offer up the trophies as a career summation, sometimes the actual performance deserves it as well.  This is also the case with Bridges.  He brings to life washed-up country singer Bad Black so well that his portrayal gives this movie its depth and purpose.

First time director Scott Cooper was wise in letting his actors take a hold of his script, however lousy and mundane it may be.  For all its well intentions, the movie is boring.  By the commercial it looked like a country rehashing of The Wrestler, but Mr. Cooper is no Aronofsky.  As far as debuts go, this is underwhelming.

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