Well, I won't detail all the aspects of my break, but I did manage to catch a couple of movies, one kid friendly (Wall-E) and one of the adult variety (get your head out of the gutter, not that kind of adult variety -- The Dark Knight).
Let me start off by saying that I thorougly enjoyed and recommend both films, but TDK is now among my top 10 all-time favorites.
But first up, Wall-E
I've seen all the Disney-Pixar movies and can't say I've ever been disappointed. Wall-E was no exception. But I wouldn't go so far as to say it deserves a Best Picture nomination as some critics have asserted. Critics love artsy type films and I think this movie sort of falls into that category as it's able to tell a story with so little dialogue. I think it's great how the animators were able to convey emotions from the robots, but I felt the story itself was somewhat weak.
At the top of my Disney-Pixar favorites are the two Toy Story movies. After those two, I couldn't really separate the rest of the Disney-Pixar library, I pretty much like them all. The only one that I don't particularly care for is Ratatouille.
Now on to TDK. In my eyes it definitely lived up to the hype. From beginning to end I was riveted (at the expense of a much-needed bathroom break).
I wasn't a big fan of Batman Begins. It was just so-so for me, but TDK was a different story. I felt the story compelling and Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker was phenomenal and his part well written.
THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE MAY BE CONSIDERED A MILD SPOILER, SO SKIP IT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE FILM
My only complaint was that they might have saved part of the Harvey Dent story arc for the next movie and that might have shaved about 30 minutes from the run time.
Anyhow, I now move TDK to the front of the line of the Batman move franchise. I still like the original Batman, but Tim Burton's version now rings somewhat campy to me, with current director Christopher Nolan's vision more based in reality. It's the comic book version Batman vs. the graphic novel Batman if you get my drift.
Michael Keaton remains my favorite actor who played Batman however. I remember thinking how ridiculous it was when it was first announced that he had been chosen to play Batman. Mr. Mom as Batman how ridiculous. But he pulled it off.
I never liked Val Kilmer or George Clooney as Batman. Maybe it's because the movies stunk. Christian Bale does a solid job and probably is the best at portraying "playboy" Bruce Wayne. It we could meld Bale's Wayne and Keaton's Batman it would be perfect.
The two Jokers are written so differently. Jack' Nicholson's is practically mean to chew the scenery, while Ledger's is written in a more demented manner (picture Nicholson in The Shining). So I wouldn't pick one's portrayal. They were perfect performances for how they were written.
1. TDK; 2. Batman; 3. Batman Returns and 4. Batman Begins
I prefer to pretend as if Batman Forever and Batman & Robin never existed.
And that is how I spent (part of) my summer vacation.