Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Get The Knack: A Forgotten Masterpiece

Undoubtedly best known for their huge hit “My Sharona”, The Knack was a Power Pop band from Los Angeles who recorded one of the most underappreciated albums in Rock music, as well as one of my favorites. Despite going platinum in two months and staying at the #1 position on the Billboard charts for five weeks, Get The Knack was panned by critics who deemed the songs “sexist” and “misogynistic”. Subsequent releases that did not live up to the success of their debut relegated The Knack to “one-hit wonder” status. However, they connected with a new generation of listeners during the early 90s Grunge explosion, when Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain said his music sounded like “Black Sabbath playing The Knack” and named Get The Knack as one of his favorite albums of all-time.

The main reason why this record is so special to me is that its songs manage to compile almost every feeling I’ve experienced throughout my life when dealing with the opposite sex. Listening to this album is like taking a trip down memory lane that reunites me with every single ex-girlfriend, crush, and fuck-buddy I’ve ever had.  The female characters Doug Fieger describes in songs like “Frustrated”, “Good Girls Don’t”, and “She’s So Selfish” are all-too-real examples of specific kinds of women that one is sure to encounter in his late teens and early twenties. Who hasn’t met a girl who “makes you wanna scream, wishing you could get inside her pants”? How about one that keeps “pulling the string, but she’ll tie it in a knot before she gives you anything”? Perhaps you’ve crossed paths with a girl who “doesn’t care for nobody else”, but still “leaves you weak in the knees like a lovesick fool”?

If raunchy lyrics aren’t your cup of tea, I suggest you pay close attention to “Your Number or Your Name”, “Oh Tara”, and “Maybe Tonight”. These songs show their narrator to be a vulnerable, caring, and even shy individual as they brilliantly convey the agony of having a crush on a girl and not being able to tell her out of fear of being rejected. Everyone has felt unrequited love at some point in their life, but from the male perspective, finding the courage to confess your feelings to your love interest can be a daunting task. As someone who has lived through this more than once, I can’t help but identify with every line in these songs.

Of course, this wouldn’t mean anything if the music wasn’t top-notch, and aside from a couple of filler tracks, Get The Knack sounds like a greatest hits compilation. In addition to Doug Fieger’s superb ear for melody and charming singing voice, his tight guitar playing perfectly complimented Berton Averre’s creative leads and formed one of the most interesting rhythm-lead guitar combinations in Rock. Averre is a criminally underrated musician; while possessing more than enough technical ability, he avoided the overindulgence that was becoming commonplace in late 70s Rock and only let loose when absolutely necessary.

Producer Mike Chapman’s importance to this record’s overall sound cannot be underestimated. Shocked that his name was not on the short list of producers The Knack wanted to work with, he contacted the band directly and convinced them he was the right man for the job. His idea was to capture the energy of their live show, and the album was recorded in eleven days for a total of $17,000. The Knack’s official website says Chapman “basically hit the record button and let the band play”, as the record is almost completely devoid of overdubs.

The most noticeable aspect of the music on Get The Knack is Bruce Gary’s impeccable drumming. Influenced by Keith Moon and Ringo Starr, his metronome-like precision and creative fills give the songs an energy that they would never have if they were being played by an average drummer. Just listen to his manic playing on “Let Me Out” and “Your Number or Your Name”; even when apparently going crazy behind the kit, he knew exactly what he was doing and always kept things sharp and precise.

His most famous (and instantly recognizable) drum break is found in the beginning of the one song in this album that needs no introduction – the mighty “My Sharona”. Not only is it The Knack’s signature song, it has stood the test of time and become a cultural standard. People who have never heard the name “The Knack” are very familiar with its irresistible melody and automatically sing along whenever the hook comes on.  All of the band’s trademarks are immediately identifiable: sexual lyrics full of innuendos, a catchy chorus, excellent singing, powerful drumming, and one of the best guitar solos you will ever hear.

This record was made by four guys who genuinely loved playing together, and their enthusiasm comes through in the finished product. If you like Rock music of any kind (Pop-Rock, Hard Rock, Alternative Rock, etc.), do yourself a favor and buy this album. I can’t guarantee it will mean as much to you as it does to me (or as it did to Kurt Cobain), but I assure you that its energy and exuberance will bring you a profound sense of joy and gratification.

Alexis Herrera

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mortal Kombat Konquest: The Worst ReKuest Ever

Let me just say, I'm considering taking requests off the table after this one. This is bad. Really bad. Bad enough that it took me around eight months to sit through 22 episodes. I had to mentally prepare myself (with liquor) before each one just to be able to sit through them. And even with that, I had to pause quite often just so I could keep my rage in check.

First of all, out of respect for the franchise, something which this show has none of, I'm going to call it Mortal Kombat Konquest. Yes with a K in Konquest because that's the way Mortal Kombat works. It's a slap in the face not to spell it that way. Any fan will tell you that. But enough about the grammar. Let's get on with it.

Note: I don't expect anyone reading this review to actually watch this shitfest, so I'm going to totally throw the no spoilers rule out the window, mostly for comedic purposes.

Konquest is a prequel to everything we've seen in the games. For the most part it's the tale of Kung Lao's ancestor Kung Lao (confusing much?) who defeated Shang Tsung (yes, that Shang Tsung) in Mortal Kombat. Once Lao spares Tsung's life, Shao Khan imprisons Tsung in a place called the cobalt mines.

Herein lies the first real problem of this show; the fact that the plot occurs 500 years before the games happen mean that most of the characters we know and love haven't been born yet, thus limiting your cast list and making your shitty ass writers come up with bland nobody characters to fill out something that isn't meant to be any more that a pointless character backstory.

The cast consists entirely of b-movie actors, and they make that quite obvious. Their performances are pretty bad. Not the worst I've seen, but pretty bad. I'd say somewhere in between bad porn parodies and The Room.

Once I finished the overly bloated pilot episode I realized that the show's format was quite familiar to me... A villain in a far away place sends 'powerful' enemies to hour hero's location to attempt and defeat him. At first the hero struggles, and then he finds a way to overcome, learning some moral or ethical lesson along the way. In other words, I'm watching the fucking Power Rangers.

I just want you to picture it; a room full of TV executives at TNT in the 90's pitching the idea of an adult oriented version of the Power Rangers based on a successful video game franchise. On paper, it actually sounds like something I'd sit down and watch. But what we got is one of the biggest loads of crap  I've ever seen. And honestly, once you finish the season you can actually see the story that they were going for, and as a whole, it's not terrible... But the production is just so bad that nothing can make up for it.

For starters, the sets are horrendous. Generic no name places that never give the viewer a clue of what's going on. These places could be anywhere on the planet. This really messes with the viewer's head, because in the MK universe everyone has a background that helps you relate to them. You know where they come from, and it's an essential part of knowing what to expect from their character.

Speaking of characters, Kung Lao can't just go around doing shit by himself. That might just be too interesting. So he gets crappy companions. We get Taja, a former thief who for little or no reason whatsoever decides to aid Kung Lao in his preparation for the battle to save the Earth. And the we have Siro, without a doubt the most annoying character I've has the displeasure of watching. Siro is there for the sole reason of making Kung Lao look good. He gets his ass kicked, and then Kung Lao saves his ass. This happens at least once an episode. Then we have the thunder god Raiden, who instead of being wise and powerful is a snarky asshole who shows up whenever he feels like it. Raiden is totally useless as a character and for the most part is just there for name value, and he pretty much fails at that too.

On the villains side of things we obviously have Shang Tsung, who might just be the most bearable character on the show. He tends to overact a bit, but that seems to be the norm on this show. He is joined in the cobalt mines by Vorpax, the only original character to show some progression during the story. And of course we have Shao Khan, who much like in the games does very little up until the end, where he gives the viewer the most satisfying moment in the whole show. And by that I mean that he totally kills off just about every character.

The enemies for the most part are totally misused. Konquest makes the huge mistake of throwing out the biggest characters right from the start. By that I mean that both Scorpion and Sub-Zero are defeated by the second episode of the show. I understand trying to get quick ratings, but this is absurd. Major character like Rain, Reptile, Smoke and Noob Saibot get thrown around like nobodies, and they usually get defeated in one episode just because they needed a fight scene. This is probably due to the short list of characters that were around 500 years before the actual story. It feels like they didn't really think the plot through, and they probably didn't.

But my biggest gripe is without a doubt the music. Remember the horrible yet slightly catchy techno theme from the movies? Of course you do. One of the reasons it almost kinda worked was that we only had to hear it once or twice in a 90 minute movie. On Konquest we get a shittier copy of it, not catchy at all and we hear it every six minutes. The worst part is that it's used no matter what. A scene comes to mind where Siro is hobbling around after he got his ass kicked (not surprising), a scene that's supposed to be somewhat saddening, and the whole time we get shitty upbeat techno music, which makes no sense even for this show.

The worst part is how often the show seems to contradict itself. If Kung Lao beat Shang Tsung to become Mortal Kombat champion in the opening moments of the pilot episode, it means he is the strongest mortal warrior there is. If so, why does he constantly get his ass handed to him by other fighters throughout the series? Why does he need Siro's help to defeat Sub-Zero, Reptile, Rain, Noob Saibot, and a handful of meaningless fighters. It just makes no sense, you discredit your own sorylines.

Thankfully, this crap got cancelled after the first season wrapped filming. I assume it happened once Ted Turner realized that no matter how much hype WCW Nitro gave this steaming pile of garbage everyone was going to change the channel as soon as they got their wrestling fix. To my joy, the show ends by putting all those annoying characters out of their misery when Shao Khan has them all killed. But of course, even this doesn't make sense because even Shang Tsung who is supposed to live on to fight Liu Kang in 500 years gets killed off. The only surviving character ends is Raiden who ends the show at Khan's mercy. While the ending is slightly interesting, it doesn't make me want to watch more... Please no more.

I'm glad to be done with this. It took me forever. And finally and mercifully, it's over. I do not, I repeat, do not recommend you watch this under any circumstances.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

And the Oscar goes to... Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

It's always nice when a highly anticipated game delivers as expected, and 2011 had that in spades. Uncharted 3 might as well been the most anticipated of them all: sequel to 2009's game of the year, third major installment in what has become Sony's most popular exclusive franchise, and the next step in Naughty Dog's plan to prove they completely dominate the cinematic action shooter genre.

Among Thieves elevated the scale of an action game to a level that was previously unheard of in the gaming industry. It kept an unrelenting pace in it's story and even added a satisfying multiplayer. It embodies what a sequel should be in the sense that it was not only better than the previous entry, but the sheer anticipation actually made gamers go back and play Drake's Fortune, a game that I'll admit, I looked over and didn't play at first glance. So, to say that Drake's Deception had quite the shoes to fill would be like saying that Duke Nukem Forever was a mild disappointment.

While not perfect, Uncharted 3 is an amazing experience. And 'experience' is the key word there. Once again, Naughty Dog has upped the scale, almost to a ridiculous level. Some of these set pieces really make you want to pause the game and stare at how incredible it looks. Everything on screen is in constant flowing movement. The water, the flames, the sand, the gunfire. It all seamlessly blends to create an unmatched atmosphere. And that's just scratching the surface.

At it's heart, Uncharted has always been about the story, and in this case it's where it really goes all out. For the first time it's not just what happens to Drake, it's not just another madman running around threatening to conquer/destroy the world. Well yeah, that does happen, but it kinda takes a backseat to Drake's personal backstory and relationships with the rest of the cast.

It seems that Nate's conscience is finally catching up to him, he has killed hundreds of people all over the world and should actually be pretty high on the most wanted list. For the first time we dive into Drake and Sully's past, exploring not only how they met, but analyzing what made their bond so strong. We also finally discover the origins of that ring that Drake has worn around his neck since the first game. I'm not going to spoil anything here. But I will say that it finally helps cement your bond with these characters.

The only area where I feel the story might be lacking is in the villain department. While Marlowe and Talbot serve their purpose, the sure as hell fall short of Lazarević. They just aren't nearly as threatening. And while they do seem to rile up Drake's emotions, the fact that they're more interested in personal gain instead of world domination feels like a step down. Of course, this is all just me being a little bitch about it. The fact of the matter is that Lazarević is just a really hard villain to follow. This is just my way of giving Naughty Dog the nod on creating such an amazing villain for their previous entry that it was hard to one up themselves this time around.

He's bad ass and he knows it.
On the gameplay front, Naughty Dog gives us more of what works. The Uncharted Engine runs as smoothly as ever. The lines are once again blurred between an over the shoulder shooter, and an on the rails story experience. Those little bits of dialogue thrown in the middle of an action sequence make it a perfect real time story experience that never lets up.

Unfortunately, just like in Among Thieves, the shooting was slightly reworked and initially feels a bit strange. After playing the second game for so long, even the slightest tweak to the mechanics feel like the game you loved has been drastically changed. But do not fret, it won't take long 'till you're set in your movements and are landing headshots left and right.

I'll be honest, I've barely touched the multiplayer this time around. I blame Skyrim. But what I have seen seems very promising. The developers seem to have acknowledged that they will never be able to compete with the juggernaut FPS games out there so they decided to focus on the aspects those games seem to ignore, in this case the environments. The areas you fight in have become just as important as who you're fighting. For example, you have the desert village area which offers a very dynamic feature during battles. A sandstorm will randomly start up, almost disabling the use of sniper rifles and long range weapons for short periods of time. You also get the cool idea of two part maps that seem to take the fluid nature of the single player game and implement it into the multiplayer. The fight will start at one point, and then the an event will occur, changing your surroundings completely, an idea that I really think will change the way other shooters will use environments.

Of course, we all keep coming back to these games to see what incredibly ridiculous and visually stunning situations Drake's actions will put us in, and Naughty Dog didn't disappoint. The French Chateau sequence immediately comes to mind as one of the most amazing game experiences I've ever played through. They've managed to create a sense of incredible urgency on several occasions, yet somehow they seem to encourage environment exploration; two things that seldom work together. Other sequences play with the environments in incredible ways, and they prove how far the system's capabilities have come. The barge sequence implements environment movement in a way I've never seen before. It's so frustrating to line up a headshot while standing on a platform floating on choppy water, just to miss by an inch because of the damn tide... Yet a second later you find yourself admiring the technical preciseness and the beauty of how huge the area is and how amazing the ocean looks. I literally caught myself just staring at the way water and sand move in the game, just amazing. The boat sequence is also something you need to pause and admire. While not the most original idea in the world, the scale of it alone is staggering. The things Naughty Dog have achieved with this game will hopefully inspire other to try and one up them, or at least try and come close.

Drake's Deception proves how amazing games can be. Developers that put out crappy games should look at games like this and feel ashamed of themselves. I'm not sure whether there will be an Uncharted 4, and if there isn't, I'll just sit and wait for Naughty Dog to release The Last Of Us which I have huge hopes for. But for now, I have a Platinum to get.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

12 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012

The 12 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012

Every year brings us new and interesting movies as well as a lot of crappy films.  This is a list of 12 movies that are scheduled to be released this year.  If they are or aren't is not my problem.  So, without further ado, I'll leave you to the list.



Director Rian Johnson, known for his smaller but incredibly quirky movies takes on the sci-fi genre with Looper.  Hollywood darling Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a killer for the mob of the future that realizes that his target is his future self.  Gordon-Levitt's future self is played by none other than Bruce Willis.  Emily Blunt, Piper Perabo and Paul Dano are also in the cast for the movie.  I know this might not be in a lot of people's top anticipated films, but I really enjoy Rian Johnson's style.  His last two films Brick (which is on Netflix Streaming) and The Brothers Bloom are both really good films that mostly go unnoticed.  There is something about the idea of a sci-fi movie directed by Johnson that makes me excited about what could happen.  Seeing Johnson reunite with Joseph Gordon-Levitt is something I'm looking for and having Willis will also be an extra.  All that I know is that this will definitely be an interesting movie.

No Trailer Available


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 

How can anyone NOT be excited for this movie?  President of the United States Abraham Lincoln discovers that vampires threaten to take over the United States and decides to hunt them down and take them out.  What an awesome premise for a movie.  Director Timur Bekmambetov, known for the vampire movies Night Watch and Day Watch and recently the stylish actioner Wanted takes the helm with this interesting film.  This movie will probably be carried by the person who plays Lincoln and since Daniel Day-Lewis was busy with Steven Spielberg's version of the story of Lincoln, they hired Benjamin Walker to play the part.  While he is relatively unknown, I'm hoping that the cast around him will help out.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead will play Lincoln's wife, Dominic Cooper, Alan Tudyk, Marton Csokas, Rufus Sewell among others will round up a pretty good cast.  I am definitely looking forward to this one.


Seven Psychopaths

One of my favorite movies from a couple of years back is the hitman movie In Bruges.  The dialogue was sharp, the action was pretty cool and the characters especially were incredibly interesting.  It was probably the first time that I thought Colin Farrell was a good actor.  Writer/Director Martin McDonagh returns with another incredibly interesting premise and the actors to back it off.  If you go to the Internet Movie Database, you will read this summary... "A screenwriter gets caught up in his pal's dog-kidnapping plot".  How is that not incredibly interesting?  If that doesn't catch your attention, maybe the cast will.  Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell and Tom freaking Waits are among the characters in this movie.  With Harrelson playing the main antagonist, I expect this movie (like In Bruges) to walk the line between comedy and borderline intense action.  I can't freaking wait.

No Trailer Available


Yut doi jung si (The Grandmasters)

Probably one of the biggest and best of Hong Kong's cinema returns after a 5 year absence to tackle on a character that has been the focus of two recent films.  Wong Kar Wai is probably one of the most interesting directors to come out of Hong Kong in the last 20 or so years.  His incredibly fantastic films like Chungking Express, Fallen Angels and 2046 have harbored my love for Asian cinema and Eastern sensibilities.  For The Grandmasters, he once again teams up with Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung Chiu Wai to tackle on acclaimed martial arts master Ip Man.  Now, if you have been paying attention to Hong Kong cinema in the last few years, action star Donnie Yen released two films chronicling the life of the fable teacher to Bruce Lee and of Wing Chung.  While the over saturation of Ip Man films might not be good for the state of cinema in Hong Kong, I can't help but be excited for what Wong Kar Wai might have in store.


World War Z

We already had vampires on the list, so what else could follow but zombies!  Brad Pitt stars in the adaptation of the Max Brooks book of the same name.  While the cast is relatively unknown, besides Pitt, what interests me most is what director Marc Forster can do with this film and this material.  Looking back at his other work, it really goes from one end to the next.  Movies like Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland, Quantum of Solace, The Kite Runner and Machine Gun Preacher really show Forsters range.  Can he do zombies, though?  It will definitely be interesting to see.  The movie deals with a U.N. employee trying to save the world from a zombie outbreak.  Easy.  I always look forward to zombie movies, but most of them are pretty bad.  It takes a certain kind of director to understand what you can do with zombies in terms of satire and/or social criticism.  I'm hoping this will be a bit more than just an action movie dealing with zombies.

No Trailer Available


The Master

What can you really follow a movie such as There Will Be Blood with?  That is exactly what Paul Thomas Anderson will try to do in 2012 with his new film The Master.  It stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a cult like leader, Amy Adams as his wife (I'm guessing) and Joaquin Phoenix as Hoffman's right hand man.  I was immediately interested at the teaming of Hoffman and Anderson.  I think Anderson will be able to get another incredible performance out of Hoffman, much like he did with Daniel Day Lewis.  Adams and Phoenix in support also sound like really great choices.  Before he went crazy, Joaquin Phoenix had shown that he was an incredible talent and it will be good to see him back in the big screen.  I'm hoping this film will also send a clear message about cults and fringe groups that will brainwash their members into doing heinous things.  Definitely looking forward to this one.

No Trailer Available



Another sci-fi film in my list for 2012.  This one starring Sandra Bullock as an astronaut trying to get back to Earth after the space station she is in is destroyed.  I know that doesn't sound terribly interesting, but the last time Alfonso Cuarón directed a science fiction movie, the amazing Children of Men was conceived.  Some are saying already that this will be Oscar bait for Bullock, but if Cuarón can get an amazing performance from her and not be worried that the movie will probably ride on her shoulders, he will have an interesting movie that might be there for the awards season.  The movie has had some production problems already, with Robert Downey Jr. dropping out due to scheduling conflicts, but now that George Clooney has signed on I'm even more interested.  The teaser trailer they released is pretty lame, but I expect this movie to either be awesome or just boring as hell.

 The Avengers

Any superhero fan out there will be looking forward to this one.  Finally, after years of movies, the stage is set for the epic that everyone was looking for.  Five movies in, this is looking to be one of the biggest blowouts for a franchise and anything less would be disappointing.  Marvel Studios did a fantastic job ever since it began making their own movies of being able to control their own characters and not let seconds and thirds make decisions that they knew would affect not only the fans but the characters themselves (see: Spiderman 3 and X-Men: The Last Stand).  I'm glad that they were able to get most of the players who made the original movies to do this one as well.  With Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, this is looking as an incredibly fun superhero movie.  Joining the cast as Bruce Banner is Mark Ruffalo, who I sort of dislike, but hopefully, the way they use The Hulk will be interesting.  I am a little worried about the villains.  While Tom Hiddleston was fine as the villain for the Thor movie, I'm not yet sure he can carry the Avengers.  Either way, it will be a film I will be looking forward to watching.


  Django Unchained

Everyone should be excited when Quentin Tarantino does a movie.  His is one of my favorite directors and after his work in Inglorious Basterds, I can't wait to see what he has to offer next.  Of course, in true Tarantino fashion, he has decided to make a movie that will probably be equal parts quirky, violent, funny and just plain good.  The blurb is enough to get me excited about the movie... "With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.".  When you realize that Jamie Foxx will be the titular character Django, Christoph Waltz will play the mentor, and Leonardo DiCaprio as the plantation owner... that makes my mouth water with anticipation.  With Kurt Russell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Sacha Baron Cohen also playing some part in the movie, I can't help but be excited.

No Trailer Available



I'll admit it.  I'm a big fan of director Ridley Scott.  Gladiator, American Gangster and the original Alien are favorites of mine.  This movie is an Alien prequel but while not directly dealing with anything that really happens in the movies, it does occur in the same universe.  I've always enjoyed the eye that Scott has for science fiction and I'm happy that the studio pushed him to direct this instead of taking a backseat and just producing like he was going to do before.  I'm also excited about the cast he has gathered.  Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace and the always awesome Michael Fassbender will be in this film.  The story itself deals with the spaceship Prometheus and its quest to find alien life.  They become stranded in an alien planet and have to deal with what they find.  Anyway, this looks to be a good one.


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

When the Lord of the Rings trilogy was released back in 2001 through 2003, I don't think anybody thought that it would become the phenomenon that it did.  Everyone who worked on it rose to prominence after the trilogy was over and with reason.  Director Peter Jackson, who had only worked on a couple of good movies, suddenly became an incredible visionary.  The three movies are amazing and the extended versions even more so.  The music, the acting, the story, everything about them worked.  For The Hobbit, Peter Jackson goes back to the director chair to adapt the famous work of the same name by author J.R.R. Tolkien.  The movie will be divided in two parts and this would be the first one.  The cast will bring back names from the Lord of the Rings trilogy that reprise their roles like Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Andy Serkis as Gollum and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel.  It also has new names that will be looking to establish themselves like Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield (this is the role I'm looking forward to seeing most of all).  As a fan of the works by Tolkien and the Jackson's movies, this is one of those movies that I won't hesitate to check out.


The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan took the floundering Batman franchise back in 2005 and turned it upside down.  With a new dark atmosphere that oozed of the Dark Knight, he quickly erased memories of Joel Schumacher's disgrace of a film that was Batman & Robin.  The movie Batman Begins basically turned the opinions of most people that Batman could not be a character that is taken seriously on the big screen.  With the The Dark Knight, Nolan, Christian Bale (who plays the titular role) and the magnificent Heath Ledger (who did the best Joker I could remember) reminded people that Batman was still a viable asset to hold.  With this one, Nolan finishes his trilogy and doesn't look back.  He and Bale have already said this would be the last one and I am glad.  In this one, Bane (played by Tom Hardy) terrorizes Gotham City and brings Batman out from self exile.  Joining an already pretty stellar cast are Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway, the aforementioned Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Juno Temple.  It will be incredibly hard for Nolan and company to do a better movie than the previous one, but they will certainly try.  He will be looking forward to closing this trilogy in as epic a way as possible.  Everyone has this movie in their 'To Watch' list, and I am no different.  I trust in Nolan to give this fantastic trilogy a ending that is worthy of its awesomeness.

I would also like to mention three other films that are Honorable Mentions and didn't quite make the list.  The three are movies that I'm interested in for different reasons.

Honorable Mentions


Ben Affleck might not be the best actor around, but in the two movies he directed, he has finally found his niche.  Argo is a spy thriller with an interesting cast.  Look out for this one.

Steven Spielberg teams up with Daniel Day-Lewis to bring to life the sixteenth President of the United States Abraham Lincoln.  With an awesome cast and freaking Daniel Day-Lewis, its hard to see anything go wrong with this.

Inside Llewyn Davis

This one would probably have been in the top twelve, but there are no assurances that it will be out in 2012 so I left it as an Honorable Mention.  The Coen's tell the story of a folk singer during the 1960s.  Anything the Coen's do interests me, so I'll be looking out for this.