Tag Archives: the dark knight

Should this guy play The Riddler?

Brian Austin Green might’ve rocked our collective worlds in Beverely Hills 90210, and he might be making something of a “comeback”, if you can call it that, in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but is that enough for Master Nolan to consider him? According to a recent interview with MTV, he believes so. We can but dream.

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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.

Maggie Gyllenhall is The Joker?

I get the feeling that somewhere in the midst of all the pre-publicity hype regarding just how much The Dark Knight is going to be The Godfather Part 2 or The Empire Strikes Back of our time, and how it just might be the greatest film of 2008, and by the way, when was the last time a summer blockbuster could possibly make that statement? For the life of me, I can’t think of one good example, and yes, I know, the second I post this entry I’m going to think of hundreds of them, but still, I’m making a point here. This summer has got one the biggest runs of Hits-To-Flops in recent memory, but between the greatness that was WALL-E and the potential greatness of this, so far, 2008 has been good to us. But, anyway, I’ve found myself on a tangent. Where was I? Oh yes….. Wasn’t Heath Ledger supposed to be playing The Joker?

The more I look at this magazine cover, the more I’m certain that its going to haunt my dreams later. That smile has been scorched on to the back of my eye lids for who knows how long. Unless Tatler are making some kind of weird ass joke about making “Batman’s Babe” look like one of The Jokers’ Henchwomen, and I don’t think they are, then can someone explain to me why she looks like she used some of Jack Nicholson’s nefarious “Smiley” product from the original Batman?

Seriously, her face is freakin’ me out.

Michael Bay’s “The Dark Knight” script?

Chris Nolan too cerebral for you? Thought Batman Begins had too much talky-talk and not enough exploding shit?

Well, we can certainly dream! spill.com got themselves the “exclusive” here.

It’s almost too easy to take the piss out of the various clichéd tics in Michael Bay’s oevre (is the word “oevre” a bit much when describing a CV that includes The Island and Pearl Harbour?!) but there’s no denying the giggles that this offers. While clearly a joke, I’m pretty sure Bay has considered stage directions such as this before:

All it’s missing is a scene involving a 360 degree shot of a helicopter at sunset.

Now let’s go hack the internet!

(and be thankful that there isn’t a Brett Ratner version out there….)

Amazing New “Dark Knight” Poster

Amazing.

Two-Face?

Just a few hours after this was posted up on AICN, appearantly Warner Bros demanded that it be taken down. No whether or not this is grounds to base legitimacy on is up for debate, but if this is the final look that Nolan has taken for Harvey Dent/Two Face, then right now we’re not sure how to feel about it.

On the one hand, its certainly a step up visually and reactively from the Andy Warhol-esque route that Schumacher took for Batman Forever:

But it looks like heavy CGI, and not all that much advanced from the very similar looking CGI shots used for Hollow Man eight years ago:

We’ve heard differing reports saying that its all model work, its a mix of model and CGI, or that its all CGI, and if the latter is true, we’ll be very disappointed, since it will possibly ruin the ongoing sense of realism that this particular franchise is trying to achieve, especially since great, almost perfect model work has been achieved in the not-too-distant past: