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Entries in The Dark Knight (23)

Thursday
Jul252013

Shot in Chicago: Movies that capture the spirit of the city

Tim here, rejoicing over the fact that our good host Nathaniel is in my very own Chicago this weekend – we have a movie night planned tomorrow! – and to celebrate, I wanted to showcase some of my city’s best and most dubious moments in the cinematic spotlight. Therefore:

Three Chicago-based movies that truly "get" the city
(no documentaries; that would be cheating, no matter how much Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters are 100% essential Chicago movies)

Mickey One (1965)
The film that Warren Beatty and director Arthur Penn made right before Bonnie and Clyde is even more besotted with the French New Wave, but stylistic excess doesn’t get in the way of a really special hyper-naturalistic depiction of the city streets as they existed almost half a century ago. I cannot, of course, speak to the veracity of what’s onscreen, but the film’s documentary aspects shine through even under the sordid thriller aspects of the plot and Penn’s fractured filming style. Of all the classic movies filmed in Chicago – and there are a few – none do such a great job of suggesting what the neighborhoods looked like way back when, before building and gentrification made their mark.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec222012

Screenplays of '12. Pg 12. "The Dark Knight Rises" 

New daily! I'll be sharing page 12 of every screenplay I've received for 2012 Films. With commentary! Until you get bored. Which maybe you already are? I thought y'all would love the last entry on Zero Dark Thirty but there be crickets.

The following scene is our introduction to the sole bright spot in Chris Nolan's final Batman film. That'd be Anne Hathaway as Catwoman if you were momentarily confused. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I gave the film a positive if unenthused review. It did not age well within the summer, let alone the year. I'd easily name it Chris Nolan's worst film (though I have not seen Insomnia). But anyway... PAGE 12. 

INT. SITTING ROOM. EAST WING, WAYNE MANOR - CONTINUOUS

The Maid looks at FRAMED PHOTOGRAPHS OF RACHEL, THOMAS, and MARTHA WAYNE. Some are half-burned. She notices an ARCHERY TARGET, ARROWS stuck in it. She reaches out - WHAM! AN ARROW STICKS IN THE TARGET - the Maid spins around, FLUSTERED. Wayne, at the other end of the long room lowers a COMPOSITE BOW. Picks up his cane.

                    MAID
I'm, I'm terribly sorry, Mr. Wayne.
It is Mr. Wayne, isn't it? 

Wayne nods, gently. Limps toward her.

                    MAID (CONT'D)
Although you don't have the long
nails...
(nervous laugh)
Or facial scars...

She trails off, embarrassed. Coy. She seems very young. 

                   WAYNE
Is that what they say about me?

                     MAID
It's just that... nobody sees you...

Wayne approaches, slowly. He nods at her PEARL NECKLACE...

Aren't you glad I didn't bore you with the first half of the page which is a scene with Marion Cotillard? Good Chris(t) but Nolan didn't do her any favors by casting her in that picture.

So let's all just focus on Awesome Annie (VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP)

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec052012

Webcomics and New Movies

I've been aiming to launch my new Actressland series for months and despite the first strip, it will be an ongoing narrative rather than stand alone gags (usually). If only there were more hours in the day?! So, my mind has been on webcomics. Here's a couple of recent strips on movies I enjoyed.

Hijinks Ensue is a funny geek-oriented comic with lots of sci-fi and pop culture referencing. Here's the first part of their piece on Skyfall 

For the punchline click over to Hijinks

Joe Loves Crappy Movies is generally good for smile and occasionally it's very clever. That said Joe's taste is super narrow; no jokes about anything that's not a blockbuster. I love the recurring homages to cupcakes though, like this one... 

 

Other webcomics that feature movie-related moments regularly or are movie-themed: Multiplex (about a group of movie theater workers); The B-Movie Comic (Honestly, I can't follow this one); For the Reels (parodies); Theater Hopper (very long running biographical series that recently ended) ; The Chicken and the Egg (parodies); Hark, a Vagrant! (more obsessed with literature than film but always hilarious)
. If you know of any others feel free to share them in the comments! 

Friday
Nov302012

Visual Effects Finalists: Superheroes Rule, Subtlety Drools

Yesterday the finalists for Oscar's Visual Effects prize were announced. In the end there will be five nominees but for the next month ten films can dream of winning the nomination before the great culling on January 10th, 2013. Once again we see a preference for computer generated imagery with only Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises as obvious examples of films which tried mightily to rely on in-camera practical effects and stunt work. At a recent "Evening With Christopher Nolan" here in NYC (more soon) Nolan revealed his preference for in camera work with computers relegated to touch up work. 

Did you know that that infamous collapsing football field that led into the seige of Gotham was actually, in part, a collapsing football field (!) and not a figment of a computer artists imagination!? 

Snubs: Generally speaking you can expect the more subtle fx work to be shut out each and every year. This is why Skyfall probably won't be nominated in the end. But my eyes were instantly drawn to the absence of Looper which is a shame, since it's most effectsy sequences, like that finale in the cornfield, were weirdly hypnotic and even the tiny touches like the frequent telekinetics were unfussy and unshowy but totally served the film. Plus, it's a good film which is more than can often be said about nominees in this category. It's also strange, at least in a multi-year context, to see The Impossible miss the finals when Hereafter's less impressive tsunami (in a less impressive film at that) went on to actually be nominated. More traditionally nominatable CG heavy movies shown the door were Battleship, Men in Black III, and Dark Shadows.

Which 50% of the films still standing will prevail? 

still hanging. I hate this film more and more in retrospect.

  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • The Avengers
  • Cloud Atlas
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • John Carter
  • Life of Pi
  • Prometheus
  • Skyfall
  • Snow White and the Huntsman

Your guess work in the comments, please.

Thursday
Oct252012

Feline Oscar Twins: Anne & Michelle?

In the hall of fame of superhero/villain catchphrases “oops” (Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises) never stood much of a prayer against “me-ow” (Michelle Pfeiffer, Batman Returns), nor could the dark side self importance of 2012’s “there’s a storm coming Mr Wayne” ever best the sexier playful 1992 ‘dark side?’ retort “no darker than yours Bruce”  But catch phrases aren’t everything...even when you've got zingy ones like "life's a bitch now so am I" In the great Catwoman wars of popular culture, it’s always in some ways a draw. Every generation and every aesthetic gets their own James Bond and so it goes with all enduring characters which win several iterations. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle may never claim the easy universally agreed upon “Best Catwoman Evah!” victory you’d expect given Pfeiffer’s mammoth performance (give or take Heath Ledger, the most psychologically precise, overachieving & seismically inspired in superhero cinema) but what can you do? Before The Dark Knight Rises premiered I braced myself for the onslaught of “best catwoman ever” pieces which I knew would proliferate. In truth they would have even for a  performer less dazzling than Anne Hathaway’s.  Out with the old and in with the new is, generally speaking, the law that governs pop culture. It’s just How Things Work.

Catwoman watching Catwoman. Feline staring contest in 1...2...

With the recent news that Anne Hathaway would be campaigned as Best (Leading) Actress for the role, a strategic move which has been taken more seriously than I was expecting given that she has no prayer in hell of a nomination for everyone’s favorite good/bad girl in spandex, this Hathaway/Pfeiffer story wouldn’t leave me.

Twenty years back when Michelle Pfeiffer lept into the feline role vacated by Annette Bening she nailed the role winning “best in show” reviews, winning a massive new army of fans, achieving her biggest box office hit, and sailing on to an Oscar nomination for the year (albeit not as Catwoman). Leap forward a couple of decades and history repeats itself four times over…. Well three times over for now but we all know Anne Hathaway will make it four-for-four once Les Miz hits.

It's worth thinking about Hathaway and Oscar through the prism of Pfeiffer. It's not a perfect identical twin situation but the similarities don't end with "what happened with Catwoman." At the time of Batman Returns/Love Field Michelle was a 34 year old previous Oscar nominee who had been famous for 10 years and had already co-starred in one very major also-ran Best Picture nominee (Dangerous Liaisons). At the time of The Dark Knight Rises/Les Miserables Anne is a 30 year old previous Oscar nominee who has been famous for 11 years and has already co-starred in one extremely major also-ran Best Picture nominee (Brokeback Mountain). Both actresses played Catwoman in the summer and followed it up at Christmas time by starring in something more typically Oscar-friendly, Pfeiffer in a civil rights drama and Hathaway in an epic musical. 

On top of all of Fantine's problems... she never return her DVDs to the video store

But here's where the similarities end and Hathaway's Oscar story may have a much happier ending. For one, Anne Hathaway's Catwoman arrived in a culture that has moved past viewing superhero films as "fluff" and is therefore less shy about recognizing acting achievements inside of them. For another, the eventually nominated performance by Hathaway is likely to be "the right one of the two" whereas Michelle was chosen for the wrong performance -- not that she isn't very good in Love Field, but it's not the inspired no one else could do this work that her Selina Kyle was. Finally and most obviously Les Miserables will be no Love Field, a film that was barely released and was largely only acknowledged -- if it was acknowledged as all -- as a vehicle for a Michelle Pfeiffer nomination. If you want to stick to the Pfeiffer narrative Les Miserables is far more likely to be Hathaway's own Fabulous Baker Boys... only this time there's no Jessica Tandy in sight to steal the statue away from a glorious actress in the full bloom of her star power.