Tag Archives: christian bale

Christian Bale: not just Batman!

That’s right folks. In the week of The Dark Knight, when all we hoped for it came to pass, another Christian Bale film is sneaking out some teaser stuff. Not content with one mega huge franchise, he’s also part of another little-known, not-that-popular, could-do-with-more-action indie series. What’s it called again…oh yeah….Terminator something.

There are many reasons for our reaction to Terminator Salvation to vary from indifference to skepticism to outright hostility, but most can be summed up in one word: McG. The McDonalds happy meal of the directing world, we have every reason to fear the worst. But at least the marketing team are earning their retainer so far. The previously reported trailer gives some good hints and flashes, without being stupid enough to show us any real, judge-able footage just yet.

And today’s shot of John Connor? Bale’s just doing what he does best – kicking ass and taking names.

And thank jebus they’ve dropped the original cumbersome title for the better-but-not-quite-as-good-as-just-T4 for Terminator Salvation.

“Terminator: Salvation” Teaser Trailer

Not a bad teaser trailer, all things being equal. The one quick shot of a person being snatched by a giant mechanical hand from out of the building is really cool and very creepy. Bale has never given a bad performance, but he is not immune to being in bad films. Its getting increasingly difficult to remain totally negative about this whole endeavour, but we’ll keep at it anyway!

Review for “The Dark Knight”

 

In the year of summer blockbusters being dominated by comic book movies, the one that cast the biggest, darkest shadow was Nolan’s sequel to the rebooted Bat franchise. And as much as you may have found Iron Man surprisingly good, The Incredible Hulk surprisingly better or Hancock surprisingly original, nothing will prepare you for how just how surprising The Dark Knight is.

As is the general rule of thumb, with sequels must come darkness. Darkness was expected, but what is unexpected is just how dark this sequel gets. Getting right down to the nitty-gritty of psychoanalysis of psychotics and exploding it up on to an IMAX screen, for 150 minutes you will bear witness to a genuine cinematic genius at the top of his game making not a comic book movie, but a massive crime epic for the ages.

From the get go, everything has changed from Begins. Gotham City itself has been revamped; gone is the grimy asthetic and downtrodden slums, in comes a city made purely of skyscrapers, glass and steel. Gone to is the stranglehold that crime had over the city, with just a flash of the Batsignal enough to have petty criminals running indoors. Following a very quick cameo from The Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) who seems to have been relegated to petty thug/drug dealer, we’re introduced to Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Gotham’s new D.A. and known to many as the city’s white knight. He is dating Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, replacing a not-missed-at-all Katie Holmes), who of course is holding a candle for Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale). But he is too busy helping Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman), with the help of some nifty weapons by his developer Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), to capture the new head of the mob family Salvatore Maroni (Eric Roberts), and then head home after a night of crime-fighting to his helpful/sarcastic butler Alfred (Michael Caine). As if all of this wasn’t enough, tossed into the mix is the live grenade known only as The Joker (Heath Ledger). Following the open bank heist that has been available online, and a superb taste of the intricacies of the plot, The Joker gets one of cinema’s greatest ever introductions, involving a pencil magic trick that will stick in your mind for days. Unlike Maroni and the other bad guys of Gotham who want nothing more than money and power, The Joker wants nothing more than to watch the city descend into chaos, believing it to be mankind’s natural (dis)order.

To say anything more about the labyrinthe storylines would deflect from the awe you’ll feel watching the clockwork plot tick off in front of you, but despite what you’ve read or seen in the trailers, nothing of extreme importance has been revealed in any trailer to date. One thing that you may have read is that Ledger’s performance is extraordinary, and while it is difficult to seperate it from his untimely death, everything you have read about him regarding this movie is absolutely true. He plays the character with so much magnetic surrealism that it is impossible to tear your eyes from him, even as he slicks the screen with a greasy menace not seen in any other villian, comic book movie or otherwise, in quite some time.

But this is no one trick pony; Bale is as charasmatic as ever, constantly at odds to do what is right and do what is normal, while all of the remaining of the supporting cast are at the top of their game. But special mention must go to Aaron Eckhart, even before the tragic events that result in him become Two-Face, he fills the screen with such potential hope that even though we all know the road he is eventually going to end up on, and as interested we all are in seeing his transformation, you will be half-hoping that the film makers will change their minds and let him be the normal hero.

The film-makers in question, the Nolan brothers sharing writing duties and one directing solo, have a history of taking psychologically interesting characters and placing them in pyschologically entrancing situations (think of Guy Pearce in Memento, Robin Williams in Insomnia, Hugh Jackman in The Prestige), and here, instead of letting it remain subtext, allow it to envelop everything in a murky haze of confusion. The Joker may be insane, but his brand of organised chaos takes a highly developed mind, and uses his ability to find a person’s darkest place and manipulating it to make sure they all play off each other. Its a highly intelligent route to take for such a blockbuster tentpole movie, but it in no way distracts or subtracts from the action scenes, including one involving an 18-wheel rig, a police escort and the Batpod that is most likely this summer’s best action sequence.  The film is all for spectacle, be it the big, some of which you’ll have seen in the trailers, or the small, like the tantalizing reveal of Two-Face, which represents another ground breaking turn in CGI/model work.

The film isn’t perfect; around the half way mark the plot makes a sharp U-turn that may infuriate some audience members, any toilet breaks will result in missing several important key scenes, and some of Lucius Fox’s new gadgets, such as the “sonar phone”, go beyond ultra-modern technology into impossibly-sci fi. But these are minor niggles against a film that has set a bar for itself and any sequels just so god damn high. The ending is just as much a cliffhanger-ish ending as the original, but with Nolan having already stated that he isn’t as interested in coming back for a third slice, if this is the last of his entries into the Bat-cannon, then he has ended it not only on the best comic-book movie of the year, but possibly ever, not to mention possibly his own best film yet, or the fact that it may very well be the best film of 2008.

Nine Out Of Ten

Why So Serious?

It seems that all anyone can talk about, whether or not they’ve seen the film seems incidental, is how great Heath Ledger’s performance is as The Joker in The Dark Knight and how it is definitely an Oscar worthy performance, with anything less than Best Supporting Oscar come next February will be nothing but a tragedy. While we have no doubts that Ledger’s performance is most likely incendiary, and he was nothing short of a brilliant actor, is it fair to ask whether or not he will recieve the Oscar based on his performance alone, or based on the fact that its something of a tragedy that it will be award post-humously?

As much as Oscar loves indie-to-mainstream cross over darlings, such as 2008’s split-votes There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men, nothing gets their blood pumping like a big expensive epic. Ben-Hur back in its day and Titanic more recently have shown that you can go overboard on the spectacle and still have your eyes set on more than just Best Visual Effects. And a recent trend-bend has shown Oscar to be more acceptable to genres other than ‘Drama’, with Best Actor nods going to Johnny Depp (Pirates Of The Caribbean) and Amy Adams (Enchanted), not to mention the shock that a fantasy film is now tied at the top with most Oscars won. With The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King beating the likes of Lost In Translation, Seabiscuit and Mystic River, all of which up until that point would’ve been pure Oscar bait, it showed that the Academy was finally willing to open up to the possibility that any and all genres are “potential” winners. And while it’ll be a good while yet before we see anyone from a horror film reading out an acceptance speech, is it such a stretch to think that a “comic book movie” could be nominated for the big one on the big night?

Certainly all early word has it compared to The Godfather Part II and Heat, which is no bad thing, and on the back of the wave of Ledger’s performance, not to mention the “hush hush could it be even better?” performance from Aaron Eckhart, Nolan’s constantly improving directing abilities, as well as writing abilities with his brother. Bale, too, could be in with mention, as he is without doubt one of the greatest younger generation actors working today. It will be one of the two best films released this summer, and since WALL-E can’t possibly win since the Academy decided that Animated movies have their own catagorey, its not such a stretch to imagine it being shortlisted, is it?

Well, that depends. Even though they haven’t been released yet, so their quality can’t be entirely commented upon, but come award seasons, there will be a splurg of Oscar Baiting movies, like The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, The Reader, The Changeling, Australia, Revolutionary Road, Che, Milk, Miracle At St. Anna, The Hurt Locker…… and thats just for starters, off the top of my head.

So, Batman, you’ve got your work for you, but lets try and put a smile on that face, Oscar.

Salvation At Last……

The official site for fourth in the Terminator series has gone live as of yesterday, and up already is a blog from the films director McG. Aside from finally announcing and confirming that the title of the film will be Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, he had one or two other interesting things to say:

We’ve officially started principal photography on Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins. Like you guys, I’ve been a long-time fan of the series and I understand your passion for the Terminator movies — and it’s my full intention to deliver a film that lives up to the previous three installments. I’ve spent time with James Cameron, spoken to Arnold Schwarzenegger, gone over the story with Jonah Nolan, and enlisted Stan Winston. 

Everything we’re shooting is designed to be tactile and real, you’ll be seeing a whole set of inspired designs you’ve never seen before, and best of all you’ll finally get to see some of the post-judgment day future that was only hinted at in the previous movies.

John Connor will be pushed to the brink. And for me, Christian Bale embodies Connor’s strength and tenacity perfectly. And after visiting Sam Worthington on the set of Avatar, I know he’s perfect for his role. As you know, Anton Yelchin is playing Kyle Reese, and his prep has been unbelievable. The guy’s been watching all three Terminators incessantly and he’s definitely going to capture the essence of the character Michael Biehn created in Cameron’s first film.

We started principal photography with a sequence at Griffith Observatory. I’ve already seen a cut of it — Anton and Sam are excellent. I’ll have more on that soon, and can’t wait to share some of what we’re doing with you all. Stay tuned for more.

And, on top of that, some nice concept art:

Nice, non? The destroyed Capitol Records building and all that. Hopefully, with some guidance from Cameron and Schwarzenegger (I know, right? Guidance from Arnie??), and with some classy help from Winston, this might not be the pile of crap that everything McG turns to when he gets his hands on it. With any luck, it’ll match the fun but running-on-empty Terminator 3. Thats probably the best we can hope for right now.

Keep yourself updated about this possible and likely trainwreck at rss.warnerbros.com/terminatorsalvation/

The Joker’s Version of The Dark Knight Trailer

The quality’s not fantastic, but what exactly is it you want from us? Constant perfection? For God’s sake we’re only human!

Anyway, while this probably seemed like a good idea at the time, after the first 20 seconds or so it just gets kinda annoying and you’d wish they hadn’t bothered cos you just wanna see the normal version of the trailer. It seems almost as of Tarantino got his filthy Grindhouse hands on it.

The Dark Knight Posters!

Following on from last week’s brilliant, if a little too 9/11-alike Bat-poster, comes a barrage of most delectable delights for the eyes.

First off the bat (oops, sorry) is Batman on his new Batpod. Its pretty cool, but reminds us a little too much of that scene in Ghost Rider:

Next up is Bats again, but he’s out of focus, with his Bat-a-rang thing taken front and center. Should we take this to mean anything?:

Next is The Joker, and a defaced playing card. Again, he’s in the background, but the card is perfectly in focus, with all of The Joker’s menace coming at us through one leering eye ball:

And finally (ish) is Harvey Dent. This picture? We love. The “I Believe In Harvey Dent” button is front on center, but unlike the other two, the object is out of focus. But it does rather fantastically cover up exactly one half of his face. Whats behind that button, behind that look of ambiguous hate?:

So there you go. The Dark Knight will be the film of 2008. There. We said it. Its about time somebody said, so we said it. Iron Man was great, and we’re sure Indy will be fine, but nothing compares to the epic scale that the producers of this film are going to, to make sure you don’t know whats going to happen, even though anyone with half in interest in the series will know exactly what fate awaits for Dent. But its all about the getting there, yeah?

July 18th can’t come fast enough!