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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R

 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Only Five Episodes Left - HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT

❝I don't want to be presumptuous, but could this (UNDER THE SKIN) be the best collection of visuals from this series?❞ -Andrew E.

❝Very cool line-up! Glad you're splitting GONE WITH THE WIND even in two parts it will be hard to pick just one shot each.❞ -Joel6

THE MATRIX is actually an unexpectedly awesome choice for this series❞ -Mark

 

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Entries in The Dark Knight (24)

Monday
Jul142014

Best Shot: Batman Returns & The Dark Knight

...Or, as I call them: Catwoman (1992) --what? the names not taken since there is no other movie none nuh-uh called this -- and The Joker (2008).

Yes, it's true I intended to watch all 8 Bat Movies before the big event tomorrow night (pick a Bat-Film, any Bat-Film) and select a best shot from each. The idea that I was going to be able to watch eight films, most of them over 2 hours long and write about each of them individually in the space of a week is so ridiculously delusional that maybe I need to be locked up in Arkham Asylum? 

But I knew which shots I would choose from both Batman Returns and The Dark Knight without a rewatch (and that's not common for me). Even while watching the movies the very first time in 1992 and 2008 respectively my amygdalae be all "We likey. This moves us. Never forget!" 

Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer shot by Stefan Czapsky)The Joker (Heath Ledger shot by Wally Pfister)

The reasons to love these two shots and pair them are legion. They're twins in every way I can think of and "Holy Split-Zygote!" does the Batman franchise ever love twins.

We're the same, split right down the center.

Two silent images in madhouse conversation.

Both images are solo shots, weird little character-beat reveries within much fussier action punctuated sequences. In fact, in lesser director's and editor's hands it's easy to imagine them left on the cutting room floor altogether as they're more visual grace notes than story beats. Both images are animalistic, the cat doubled playfully and the dog hanging out the car window to feel the breeze, the only thing missing being his tongue. Both images have no dialogue, they're just hypnotic snapshots of two actors at the peak of their gifts lost in their own inspired headspace fully inhabiting fantastical people. Perhaps most impresively, both images happen to reflect their movies and auteurs, too. Tim Burton's Batman films are a mix of pitch-black night, elaborate production design, playful flourishes and cartoonish verve... all accounted for in this image. They don't take place in the real world - notice everything swallowed by darkness behind Catwoman. There is no real world; Gotham is a soundstage. Chris Nolan's Batman films, in contrast, are a mix of late night restlessness, gritty realism, and told with a straight face and dark majesty... all acounted for in this image. The Joker may be otherworldly but he's intruding in ours; Gotham is Chicago, filmed on location.

Finally, and this is no small matter, what Michelle Pfeiffer and Heath Ledger were doing in both of these movies in roles that haven't always inspired actors or even been taken seriously by them is art, pure and simple. These star turns are film-elevating stylized tragicomedy, so highly peculiar that they could have only come from inspired character actors, so mesmerizing that they could have only come from movie stars. This Catwoman and this Joker are filled with such vivid specificity that though these roles which will surely be played by dozens more actors in the next 100 years, they will always belong to Heath and Michelle. 

 

And now... the main event see all the images chosen in the Best Shot party.

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.