Welcome to Darkside Daily

When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Review

To those of you that follow my Twitter feed or are friends with me on Facebook, you are probably aware that over the last 9 days my friends and I have been travelling from Mumbai to Goa to Hampi, with a few hours in Bangalore thrown in as well. Now, I could tell you that the main reason for this trip was a) purely recreational in nature; sun, fun and travelling in a foreign country with friends or b) to get a much needed break from the grind of work or c) to find myself in some sort of "Eat, Pray, Love" styled spiritual awakening among the temple ruins of Hindu gods.

Or, I could shrug my shoulders and say, quite truthfully: The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX.

Since Sri Lanka is still catching up on 3D cinemas (and has now gone on to convert almost all of their theatres to be 3D compatible), the thought of watching Christopher Nolan's masterpiece in a hastily converted local cinema and not in all its IMAX glory was unbearable! So, after a little bit of internet research, we found out that Mumbai provided the most affordable and geographically closest IMAX theatre in the region, so quickly an Indian road trip was put together, with a few additional stops so that we didn't have to actually admit we went to India to watch a movie.

Enough background; on to the actual review!

As fortune would have it, despite not pre-booking our tickets, we managed to get the best seats in the house for the movie. If you've been to an IMAX movie before, you'll know that you need to be at the perfect elevation to fully take in the scale of the screen. As I got comfortable in our couch seats (yes indeed!) I realised we were in for a helluva show.

First off the movie started with the "Man of Steel" trailer which, especially when viewed in IMAX, gave me some serious chills. Is it possible that finally, after all these years, DC was going to get a Superman movie right?

".. But in time, they will join you in the sun.." - Love it.

(Have no fear, no spoilers be here!)

As most of you all know by now, TDKR picks up the story 8 years after the events of "The Dark Knight". The people of Gotham still don't know the truth behind Harvey Dent, about his switch to madness, and how he died while attempting to murder Gordon's son. Harvey Dent is still hailed as the White Knight, and his death has been blamed on the Batman, who hasn't been seen since that night. However, when a new type of criminal begins to spread his tentacles in Gotham, Batman feels compelled to don the cowl once more to save the city that branded him a criminal.

I'm not sure I should give much more away because it would take away the experience. Let me just make a few bullet points instead.

  • The opening sequences of the movie, while in the beginning may seem a little random and disconnected, are so perfectly relevant to the whole tapestry that is Nolan's Dark Knight saga when viewed in hindsight. The tone is set straight from the get-go; no wasting time at all, similar to the first two movies.
  • The score in this movie is just brilliant. The "Batman theme" is hardly heard throughout the 2 hours and 45 minutes, yet when it is it gives such an amazing lift to the scene your heart will skip a beat. Literally.
  • No, there is no equal (or even a mention) of the Joker in this movie, but then there was never an intention to top the Joker. Even in the comics, no matter the challenges Batman faces, there is never a criminal as chilling, as deplorable and as intimidatingly psychotic as the Joker. There is no sense in trying to compare Bane to the Joker; they are two different criminals on totally different levels.
  • That being said, Bane was flat out scary. That is all I have to say; just mean, menacing, terrifying.
  • Not much has been said of the Catwoman, despite a lot of hue and cry regarding Anne Hathaway's casting. Few people realise how nuanced a character she really is; she is neither a hero or a villain, simply an opportunist. Throughout the comics her relationship with Batman/Bruce Wayne is as complicated as it gets. Does Hathaway deliver? Definitely! She was everything I imagined Catwoman/Seline Kyle to be; at this point Nolan could probably cast Sacha Baron Cohen in a movie and I would still have to take him seriously.
  • It's hard for me to pin down my favourite performance in this movie because everyone had their moment. Michael Caine once again provides the 'heart' of this movie, delivering one of the most moving dialogues in the movie. But I was most impressed by Gary Oldman's performance; his Jim Gordon is absolutely perfect. Once again he delivers a key line (in my opinion), similar to his screaming at Batman about having to save Harvey Dent and the ending speech in "The Dark Knight". 
  • The line goes like this: "There's a point, far there, when the structures fail you. And when the rules aren't weapons anymore, they're shackles, letting the bad guy get ahead. One day you may face such a moment of crisis, and in that moment, I hope you have a friend like I did. To plunge their hands into the filth, so that you can keep yours clean!"
  • The dialogue in this movie is just riveting; there are so many quotable quotes in this movie that just reading the 'quotes' page on the movie's IMDB page makes me want to watch the movie again. I haven't felt that way since "Pulp Fiction".

Many are worried that TDKR would not be able to live up to the epic performances of TDK, but TDKR achieves the one thing that it's predecessors did not: it builds up the story to a dizzying finale. The lows in TDKR are excruciatingly, painfully low; the highs are euphoric, sensational highs. The word 'epic' has been far too casually tossed around these days, but rarely has it been more apt than when describing this movie (and the trilogy in general). It is an amazing final stroke by Nolan, a perfect send off to my beloved character, and one of the most satisfying trilogies I have ever seen. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Darkside Has Come To The Colombo Music Festival

Greetings one and all. The rumours of my passing have been wildly exaggerated; I have merely been too busy of late to blog. Much to your relief, no doubt.

Just thought I'd write a quick update on what I've been up to in the last month or so. Besides the daily grind that work provides, I've found myself rather busy with an "extra-curricular" activity - singing. A few weeks ago I heard about the "Senses and Soul" Colombo Musical Festival, which is to be held during the end of August. Along with several workshops, talks and performances from reputed foreign artists, the music festival is also organising, as a lead up event, a singing competition, with the finals to be held during the festival week itself. The contest spans various genres, including Jazz, Pop & RnB, Rock, Classical, Musical Theatre, Gospel as well as group and solo events in each category. With the promise of international talent scouts coming to view the finalists, and the possibility of 'international' exposure, the music festival seemed to be a real first for Colombo, and so it was with much excitement (and a slight bit of nerves) that I applied in both Gospel and Rock solo.

The first audition was very American Idol-esque, with three judges giving you roughly a minute to impress them with any choice of song, sung without accompaniment. I sang snippets of "And Now My Lifesong Sings" and "Dolphin's Cry" for my auditions, with the judges asking me to sing another song for the Rock audition to show my 'variety'. In a panic I sang Incubus' "Dig", and crossed my fingers. Luckily, I made it through to the next round.

The preliminaries required music, so after a few rushed practices with Bro during the weekend, I managed to work out Building 429's "Always" for the Gospel solo and Alter Bridge's "Watch Over You" for Rock solo.. This was the first time we saw the other competitors in our categories, as the initial audition was for all genres. I had to admit there were some amazing voices on display, especially in the Pop & RnB category. The whole day was spent at the venue, and by the time the results came out I had heard some of the best jazz, broadway, opera, pop and rock singers Colombo had to offer (as well as some Korean Pop - I'll get to that later).

Again, I was lucky enough to make it to the semi final round for both categories! I had to admit I was feeling a bit confident at this stage, but then I was told we had to sing something in complete contrast to what we sang for the preliminaries. This sort of threw me: what the heck is a contrast to "Watch Over You"? After several nights on Youtube and going through my iTunes playlists, I finally settled on what would easily be my hardest cover song: "Roxanne" by The Police.

It was definitely one of the most fun performances I've done, and it was enough to get me through into the final round of the Rock solo category. Unfortunately I wasn't so lucky for the Gospel round, but I'll upload that video as soon as I can too.

Well that's what I've been up to! I'll write more later on my observations during this competition and working with all these extremely talented musicians and performers; it's definitely been a very eye-opening experience.

The finals are on August 25th-26th; more details soon! Hope to see you there as well.


I've uploaded the audio on Soundcloud: enjoy!

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