The Dark Knight Rises

Its been exactly 3 years to date since I watched ‘The Dark Knight’ at a special screening in Bristol.  Hurried back home & wrote a review(now a private post) deeming it “One of the best movies ever made” & I wasn’t the only one. Pretty much everyone agreed. Even the Academy recognized the late Heath Ledger for what was the role of a century. It was finally the movie every Batman fan deserved & it would take a monumental effort for Nolan to better that. Did he succeed with ‘The Dark Knight Rises'(TDKR)? Dodging the threequel curse & satisfying the expectation of over a million fans is quite the tight rope to walk on!

In  hopes of keeping this review spoiler free, I won’t delve much into the story ~This movie definitely deserves multiple viewing to absorb every aspect of it. Where ‘The Dark Knight’ was about Joker & “trusting” Harvey Dent, this movie is all about the “rise” of Batman to defend Gotham from someone who’s as powerful as he is! Bane, played by Tom Hardy, will obviously lose out on the comparison with Heath Ledger’s Joker yet he shines in those pivotal scenes. As difficult it is to explain Heath Ledger’s performance in the previous film, it would prove as difficult for anyone to step into the shoes of Batman post Christian Bale. I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again – Its almost impossible to think of anyone else in this role!

Rounding out the main cast, Joseph Gordon Levitt(JGL), Anne Hathaway & Marion Cotillard provide adequate support to seasoned performers Michael Caine, Gary Oldman & Morgan Freeman. Of particular note, JGL in the role of Thomas Blake & Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle (a.k.a Catwoman) After the disaster that was Halle Berry, Nolan dodged the right bullets weaving her character in. JGL underplayed his role very nicely, being an amalgamation of various comic book characters, there couldn’t have been a perfect ending to his story arc.

Its difficult to pander to everyone’s taste with a character/movie of this scale but Nolan has managed it brilliantly. With TDKR, Nolan has firmly established himself as one of the finest auteurs of our generation. It soothes to know that the entire movie was shot on film with less emphasis on CGI & more on real effects. The cinematographer, Wally Pfister is sure to win awards & deserves every credit which comes his way. With more than an hour’s footage shot on IMAX, I highly recommend that you watch the movie at your nearest IMAX for the best possible experience.

Its better if you view this as a sequel of ‘Batman Begins’ rather than a final act of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. ‘The Dark Knight’ works brilliantly as an independent episode in the life of Batman/Bruce Wayne involving the Joker & Two Face. Quite a few of ’em have issues (SPOILER ALERT!!) with how TDKR plays out but to the regular movie going crowd, they will enjoy every moment of it.

The Dark Knight absolutely changed the way the general public viewed comic book adaptations. Although some of them failed, there were a few which went on to be major money makers also keeping fan expectations in check. The same prospect faces future adaptations~ Marvel seems to be more in control of its franchises, DC also looks to follow in consolidating its characters for its eventual Justice League finale. Here’s hoping they succeed, meanwhile, there’s always Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot “Man of Steel” to watch out for.

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Christopher Nolan – Escape Artist

One of the best essays I’ve ever read

Nolan’s production company, whose logo is a centreless maze, is called Syncopy, referencing the medical condition syncope, or temporary loss of consciousness. In the dream state created, the audience is asked to be creative, to wonder at possibilities, to formulate their own opinions as to the meaning of the film.

HT moifightclub

Earnings Season – Round 2

Google, Nokia & Microsoft announced their second quarter earnings yesterday. Apple is scheduled for next Thursday (July 24th) & the all important Facebook call happening two days later (July 26th).

First, Nokia,

Nokia revealed a total operating loss of €826 million (around $1 billion). The loss was offset by large licensing royalties and a regular quarterly cheque from Microsoft, resulting in a net cash rise of €102 million (around $125 million). Lumia sales reached four million — double last quarter’s two million but only shipped a total of 600,000 units in North America in Q2, meaning Its Lumia 900 launch had little impact on overall sales.

The downfall continues, albeit slowly. The 4 million sell through number for the Lumia range is quite a surprise but their quest for a US marketshare/mindshare still continues.The Average Selling Price (ASP) of smartphones was better last quarter but with Windows Phone 8 & no upgrade path, the recent price slash of Lumia 900 should bring it crashing down. Nokia’s patents are apparently valued at $6 billion, of which Elop plans to sell half to get some leeway until next year.  Their cost cutting exercise seems to have bore fruit as they are burning through much less cash than the markets expected it. Remarkably, Nokia’s shares rose 15%.

They do have something cooking for Nokia World this year, nothing short of a PureView Windows Phone 8 device will do A-N-D they have to ship it the next day, delaying it till Windows Phone’s general availability will be its death knell.Nokia’s survival now depends on Microsoft giving them a first-mover advantage. This would also bode well for Microsoft given no other OEM seems to promote Windows Phone like Nokia do. They can push the current Lumia range downmarket giving consumers the best of both worlds – Unique Design coupled with a refined OS.

Onto Google,

Google has announced a steady climb in earnings from last year, with $12.21 billion in revenue for the second quarter of 2012. The company saw a net income of $2.79 billion, and total revenue was up 35 percent from last year. Its aggregate paid clicks were up 42 percent from the same time in 2011.

More of the same Google growth story~ Wonder why they stopped flashing the Android activation numbers though? This is a significant quarter for Google, given that they completed the Motorola acquisition & on-boarded nearly 20K employees.Motorola’s healthy contribution aside, they still seem to oblivious to the current climate. Yeah their recent Atrix HD seems to be garnering positive reviews but they still don’t have a legitimate “superphone” competitor to the HTC One X/Galaxy S3.

Finally Microsoft,

Microsoft has posted a net loss of $492 million. Despite record revenue of $18.06 billion, the company was weighed down by what it’s calling a “goodwill impairment charge” of $6.2 billion — namely, the write-off of its 2007 acquisition of aQuantive.

Microsoft’s first loss-making quarter in its 26 year history? “Not per se” That knee-jerk aQuantive acquisition in response to Google’s buyout of DoubleClick(in 2007) came back to bite them in the ass! Apart from this, they seem to be doing well for themselves, of course, their ‘Online Services’ division posted yet another loss beating last years’. ‘Entertainment & Devices’ division comprising of the Xbox & Windows Phone pulled ahead with a 20% jump in revenue to $1.7 billion. The Xbox 360 is still the ‘King of Consoles’ topping sales 18th month in a row amidst falling sales. Their next quarter is probably the most important one with all their products & services Windows, Windows Phone, Windows Server, Azure undergoing a major revamp. Apparently, Office won’t be released until February 2013.

Who are the Guardians of the Galaxy?

Marvel announced at Comic-Con 2012 that their next big superhero franchise would be ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ which hits theaters on August 1, 2014. But the ‘Guardians’ aren’t as well known as their ‘Avengers’ friends, so who exactly are the Guardians of the Galaxy? Let’s find out..

(screencrush)

“The Dark Knight Rises” – Early Buzz

Only a handful of select outlets were allowed to see Christopher Nolan‘s Batman finale in advance and Monday marks the lift of that embargo. The reviews are now online and – surprise, surprise – they’re mostly very positive. It seems Nolan has lived up to, but maybe not exceeded, the lofty expectations we’ve placed on him for the past few years.

(via slashfilm)

Microsoft Office 2013

Ars Technica,

Office 2013 is more than just a refresh of Microsoft’s nearly ubiquitous productivity applications. Microsoft is clearly counting on Office 2013 to be a fulcrum point for the company’s whole Windows and cloud platform strategy: moving from a PC-centric worldview to an ecosystem of devices; moving from older Windows versions to Windows 8; and moving from software sales toward cloud-driven subscriptions.