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Entries in The Dark Knight (24)

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.

Sunday
Sep092012

Podcast: Summer (Part 2) and Forward Into Fall

Part 1 -best films, moldy releases, nervous mormons, and summer crushes

For the second half of this Summer Jamboree Joe Reid, Nick Davis, and Nathaniel R (c'est moi) wrap up our summers at the movies and dream of the fall ~ Forward not back! 

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Alex Pettyfer in Magic Mike
  • Princess Merida, Hawkeye or Katniss? Choose your favorite archer of 2012
  • Jeremy Renner in The Avengers
  • Movies We Hated
  • Sleeping through Snow White and the Huntsman despite Charlize Theron!
  • Adapting Cosmopolis
  • Did The Dark Knight Rises get away from Chris Nolan?
  • Movie Characters We'd Like To Introduce
  • Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present
  • Nick's newfound love of comedy: Ted, Wanderlust, 21 Jump Street
  • Retro Screenings This Summer: Sorcerer, Dog Day Afternoon, and Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte
  • Fall Film Madness: Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty, Zero Dark Thirty, Skyfall, The Hobbit, Flight, Amour and More...

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen right here. Join the conversation in the comments. What's the best old movie you screened this summer? Which fall film are you most looking forward to and which two movie characters would you like to introduce?

I Know What You Saw... Part 2

Thursday
Sep062012

Summer Survey. Katey & JA (Pt. 2)

To recap... now that summer movie season 2012 is a wrap, we're polling contributors, friends and YOU about your favorite and least favorite things of the summer. It's just a glass of something light and bubbly to raise, gulp down quickly and bring a little closure before the heavier stuff hits.

In Part 1, we heard from a few good men and here's two more voices for Part 2. Parts 3 and 4 are the podcast this weekend!

KATEY
who you know and love from Cinema Blend and the occasional podcast here...

Best Movie I Saw All Summer: 
I'm surprising myself by answering Magic Mike. It's got more confidence, more imagination and more willingness to let it all hang out than most anything else the studio system produced all year. 
Scenes I  ♥ So Much I Thought My Heart Would Burst: 
1) Natasha's interrogation scene at the beginning of The Avengers-- I've always been wishy-washy on Whedon but his feminist credentials are unbeatable. 2) Norman's confrontation with the witch at the end of ParaNorman, some of the most dazzling and daring animation for kids I've ever seen. 3) The completely insane vampire-chase-on-horseback scene in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a not-very-good movie that I admired for its insane ideas all the same.

Major Summer Crush(es): Emma Stone (she really can liven up anything, even something as ungainly as The Amazing Spider-Man), Michael Fassbender (that Peter O'Toole impression just slays), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (I stand by him being the best thing in The Dark Knight Rises), and Chris Hemsworth (he seems to be the only person with a pulse in Snow White and the Huntsman
Princess Merida, Katniss or Hawkeye? 
Merida! Brave didn't get nearly enough love for all the things it did really well
At Least The Theater Was Air Conditioned: 
Hit & Run. Bad, self-indulgent filmmaking coupled with an awful audience that laughed at every dumb joke that made me cringe. 
If Only "Hulk" Had Smashed...: 
Battleship, to save Taylor Kitsch from himself. 
 
Mash-Up ~Two Summer Characters I'd Like to Introduce: 
Hushpuppy from Beasts of the Southern Wild and Snow White from Snow White and the Huntsman, to teach her a thing or two about making your way through nature and asserting your power in a world that wants to shove you down. 
Best Old Movie I Saw For the First Time This Summer - Go Me! : Metropolis! When I found out the restored version was on Netflix Instant it seemed a crime to ignore it, and it turns out it's mesmerizing even on the tiny laptop screen. 
Rank the  "Magic Mike" Strippers:  
I actually wrote an article with this exact ranking!
Line Reading That Stuck In My Head...
 Jiminy Cricket, he's flown the coop!"
- Edward Norton in Moonrise Kingdom


 

JA of MNPP
Best Movie I Saw All Summer:
Moonrise Kingdom, which I only fell even more in love with on a second viewing. Everything feels just right, from Frances McDormand's sweater over house-dress ensembles on up. Or maybe Todd Solondz' Dark Horse, which broke my heart into fifty thousand little pieces.
Scenes I  ♥ So Much I Thought My Heart Would Burst: 
The Lovecraftian C-section to end all Lovecraftian C-sections in Prometheus and all of the stripping sequences in Magic Mike (although it wasn't really the "heart" part of my anatomy that was fit to burst....)  
Things I Actually Learned (at summer movie camp!)
1) Joss Whedon should direct every superhero movie from now on (I figured as much beforehand but The Avengers circled and underlined my suspicions)
2) Woody Allen should probably only make a movie every two years.
3) Prostate exams and currency debates can totally add up to sexy.
 

Princess Merida, Katniss or Hawkeye? 
Only one of these people twirled a dress right into flames, and as much as Jeremy Renner wishes, it wasn't him. 

Choose only one archer! Katniss, Princess Merida or Hawkeye

At Least The Theater Was Air Conditioned: 
The Dark Knight Rises
If Only "Hulk" Had Smashed...
Christopher Nolan's camera
Best Old Movie I Saw For the First Time This Summer - Go Me! : 
I bet this is the first time that David Lean's "Kate Hepburn takes Venice" movie Summertime has ever tied for anything with Squirm, the 1976 earthworms-run-amok flick, but that's just how I roll. 
Major Summer Crush(es):
BOMER. CHARLIZE.
Rank the  "Magic Mike" Strippers 
Mike beats Ken only because Channing can out-dance everybody else put together. From there it's The Kid, Dallas, Tito and Tarzan.
Mash-Up ~ Two Summer Characters I'd Like to Introduce: 
Bane and Jackie & David Siegel from The Queen of Versailles, for obvious reasons
Line Reading That Stuck In My Head...
I don't really like the word 'depressed'. I prefer to say I'm in a tailspin."
- Greta Gerwig in Damsels in Distress

 

And that's it for us until the podcast! If you have your own blog, answer the questions in a post and I'll link up. Otherwise, what do you think of JA's and Katey's summer summaries? The "Katniss, Merida or Hawkeye"? question is such a roscharch. No two answers are quite the same!  

 

Wednesday
Aug012012

Linker Come Back to Me

My New Plaid Pants pic of the day, first image from the set of Steven Soderbergh's Liberace bio Behind the Candelabra with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon as lovers
Movie City News 29 Weeks To Go until Oscar! Wooo
Cinema Blend apparently they're going to reboot The Brady Bunch
i09 pretends that 10 upcoming remakes / reboots aren't going to suck. Hey, someone has to stay positive.

Hollywood Elsewhere Dark Right(Wing) Rises... People can't stop talking about the politics of Chris Nolan's Batman trilogy.
Hollywood.com interviewed me and other pundits on The Dark Knight Rises Oscar hopes
Awards Daily breaks down the Tony nominees who made it to Oscar nominations 
Pajiba would like you to think about all the brunettes in Chris Nolan films. It's always brunettes.
/Film manages to dig up a tiny bit of info about the Coen Bros Inside Llewyn Davis 
Awards Daily breaks down the Tony nominees who made it to Oscar nominations

  

Obits
is it just me or are people dropping like flies... I'm a bit freaked out :( 
Studio Briefing Mr Cyd Charisse, singer/actor Tony Martin (1913-2012), has died 
The Guardian pays final respects to Chris Marker (1921-2012), the experimental filmmaker of La Jetée fame (which inspired 12 Monkeys)
New York Times the ever fascinating Gore Vidal (1925-2012) 
Fresh Air remembers Lupe Ontiveros (1942-2012) of As Good As it Gets and Selena fame. I loved it when NBR handed her Best Supporting Actress for Chuck and Buck (2000). Remember that? That's my favorite Lupe turn.

Finally, in much happier news...
Have you heard that Nina Arianda (Midnight in Paris, Win Win) is signing projects left and right. Looks like that Tony Award for "Venus in Fur" really did it. Nina, who has previously really had bit roles in movies, has surely arrived.

She recently signed on to play the great Guilieta Masina in Fellini Black and White the story of two missing days in the life of Oscar magnet Federico Fellini right before the Oscars in 58. Are they making this movie just for us? Seriously! She's also set to play Janis Joplin in another upcoming bio with Martha Marcy May Marlene's Sean Durkin helming after approximately a million years of rumors of this actress and that actress and sometimes more than one at once, playing her in a biopic. Hollywood apparently just can't let  The Rose (1979) be the last word. Tina Fey and Jane Krakowski even sent up the development hell of Janis Joplin biopics in an arc of 30 Rock. Nina also joins a huge cast of recognizable actors in the fascinating sounding The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby which is reportedly a two-part film told from the husband (James McAvoy) and wife's (Jessica Chastain) perspectives.

This is all a long way of saying learn Nina's name and expect her on an Oscar shortlist in 5...4...3...2....1

Sunday
Jul292012

Catwoman and Marie Antoinette Would Just HATE Each Other

Shortly after writing about The Dark Knight Rises I got all frustrated remembering how audiences are ignoring the bracing terrific French drama Farewell My Queen so I couldn't resist doodling about them together. Enjoy!

That arthouse drama about The Terror would make for an eye opening double feature for fanboys, an educational footnote if you will, for Chris Nolan's awkward political metaphors about the unruly 99% and how hard they are on those put upon benevolent 1%ers!

Speaking of bags upon bags of money and who's got it... this weekend's box office charts.

Box Office Fifteen
01 THE DARK KNIGHT RISES $64 (Cum. $289) Review
02 ICE AGE 4 $13.3 (cum. $114.8)
03 THE WATCH $13 *new*
04 STEP UP REVOLUTION $11.8 *new*
05 TED $7.3 (cum $193.6)
06 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN $6.8 (cum $242) Review
07 BRAVE $4.2 (cum. $217.2)
08 MAGIC MIKE $2.5 (cum. $107.5) Review
09 SAVAGES $1.7 (cum. $43.8) 
10 MOONRISE KINGDOM $1.3 (cum. $38.3) 

11 MADEA'S WITNESS PROTECTION $2.5 (cum. $62.7) 
12 TO ROME WITH LOVE $4.2 (cum. $12.9) Review
13 BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD $2.5 (cum. $4.1) 
14 MADAGASCAR 3 $4.2 (cum. $209.5)
15 THE AVENGERS $2.5 (cum. $616) Review

Just outside the top 15, French import and international feel good hit The Intouchables is really rising. It's about to hit $5 million in the US and still expanding. Outside of TDKR, the most crowded theaters (i.e. per screen average) were for two indies in very limited theatrical release: NC-17 rated Killer Joe (with Matthew McConaughey and Gina Gershon based on the Tracy Letts play) and Ruby Sparks with Paul Dano as a writer and Zoe Kazan as his creation. 

What did you watch this weekend? Besides The Olympics of course