The Dark Knight

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Zahveed
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Postby Zahveed » Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:05 pm

I think McCain would make a good Clayface, it already looks like his face is melting away. But if anyone is The Penguin, it's Cheney. Wrah, wrah, wrah!

And how about dubya? The Riddler perhaps?

"There's a saying they have in Gotham City. Riddle me this. Riddle me... something else. Who's afraid... of Dracula? He's a bat man. He drinks the blood. He strikes terr in the hearts of men."
"It's the least most of us can do, but less of us will do more."

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Postby rolotomasi99 » Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:37 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/12/washington/12leahy.html

if aaron eckhart does not return for the next movie, they should get senator obama to play two face, what with the way he has been shifting his political positions these days.
ba da dum ching! :;): :D

sorry, i just had to get that in there. you can go ahead and make the obligatory hillary attacks now if you like.

i will start it off. that cackle of hers and her waddle makes her a shoe in for the penguin. zing!

again, sorry. i am just so fucking excited about this movie, i think it is making me kinda loopy. :p

only a couple more days!!!
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-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow

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Postby matthew » Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:19 am

James Berardinelli
4 out of 4

Consequences. In real life, these ramifications emanate from every action like ripples from a stone thrown into a pond. Often in movies, especially those that feature characters who don't play by the rules, such penalties are suspended. However, in Christopher Nolan's Batman universe, decisions and actions have consequences. The Dark Knight, arguably the moodiest and most adult superhero motion picture ever to reach the screen, illustrates this lesson in ways that are startling and painful. This is a tough, uncompromising motion picture - one that defies the common notions of what is expected from a "superhero" film. While there are plenty of action sequences and instances of derring-do, The Dark Knight's subtext has a tragic underpinning that would intrigue Shakespeare or the Greeks. It's about power and impotence, sanity and madness, image and reality, selfishness and sacrifice, and - yes - consequences.

It has often been said that Tim Burton's vision of Batman was the darkest representation we were ever likely to see of a superhero. Compared to how Nolan sees the character, Burton's version was a pantomime. For many long-running franchises, Burton's included, the second volume stands tallest. Nolan has followed up on his gritty and successful Batman Begins with one of the best all-time sequels, and perhaps the most impressive mainstream entertainment experience since 2003's The Return of the King. The Dark Knight builds upon the themes and premises founded three years ago. With the introductions and origins dispensed with in Batman Begins, Nolan uses this opportunity to expand upon his portrait of Batman as a haunted individual who, driven by forces rooted deep in his psyche, must dispense justice according to his own strict code.

Following his defeat of Ra's Al Ghul at the end of Batman Begins, Batman (Christian Bale) has become a mythical figure in Gotham City. The Caped Crusader, as he is now known, is the city's great hope, although the debate rages as to whether he is more hero or menace. There are copycat "Batmen," as well - vigilantes who wear similar costumes but whose methods are crude. Batman's nocturnal activities are taking a heavy toll on Gotham's organized crime syndicates, and things take a turn for the worse when the new D.A., Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), decides to take them on rather than turn a blind eye or take a payment. Abetted by incorruptible police lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), Dent meets with Batman and the two come to an understanding about how to proceed in this war against crime. But a new threat is rising in the form of a sadistic lunatic called The Joker (Heath Ledger), who offers to become the mob's enforcer in the pursuit of a single goal: chaos. And this brings him squarely into conflict with the city's black-costumed guardian. To Batman, he makes one demand: remove the mask and turn himself in or the streets will run red with blood. When Bruce Wayne's identity remains secret, The Joker makes good on his word.

Often in superhero movies, there's a sense that, no matter what challenges the protagonist must face, all will be right in the end. That certainty is missing here, and its absence may represent Nolan's most impressive accomplishment. Batman is fallible and his world is dangerous. No character, no matter how well-established in Batman lore, is safe. This director's Gotham City may be less garish and gothic than Burton's, but it is in many ways a bleaker and more oppressive place. It's a joyless venue and the hero takes his demeanor from his city. Batman is a grim, brooding superhero. He rarely speaks while in costume and, when he does, his voice quivers with menace and his words are devoid of the quips and one-liners audiences have come to associate with action heroes.

The survivors of Batman Begins are all back. Christian Bale has become the first Batman where it matters which actor is under the cowl. Keaton, Kilmer, and Clooney were all interchangeable when wearing the Bat-suit. Not so with Bale, who owns the role. His presence in the costume is forceful in a way that none of his predecessors achieved. Michael Caine's Alfred acts not only as Bruce Wayne's butler but as his conscience. Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) is Batman's version of "Q." Indeed, there's a scene in The Dark Knight that could have been lifted from one of many James Bond films. Gary Oldman's Jim Gordon, who wasn't too sure about Batman for much of the first film, is now fully on board as his unofficial liaison to the police force. Assistant D.A. Rachel Dawes remains the girl who got away, the woman whose promise of a normal, happy life provides Wayne with hope for the future. For The Dark Knight, Maggie Gyllenhaal has replaced Katie Holmes, but the change in actress isn't a detriment. Gyllenhaal is a better actress and makes the character her own from her first scene.

Of the newcomers, the Joker is the biggest addition. One could argue that it's impossible to make a Batman series without facing the main character against the Joker at some point. No superhero and villain are more inextricably linked. Yet this Joker is unlike any we have previously encountered. Cesar Romero's interpretation of the character (in the '60s TV series) was that of a deadly prankster. Jack Nicholson's over-the-top performance made 1989's Batman all about the bad guy. The late Heath Ledger, however, gives us something darker and more twisted - a role that would have been no less memorable had it not been his last and most grueling. There's nothing humorous about this freak. No flowery lines like "You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?" This is no caricature - The Joker is a frighteningly vicious and intelligent monster who represents a legitimate match for the title character.

The other major character to join the ensemble is Aaron Eckhart as Gotham's charismatic, photogenic D.A. Harvey Dent is Gotham's Knight in Shining Armor, and that's how Eckhart plays him - an individual with a pure heart who makes his own luck. Those even passingly familiar with Batman lore know Dent's fate, and it plays out here as one might suspect, although Nolan puts a different spin on things than did Joel Schumacher.

For all of the heavy lifting done by the movie's screenplay, dealing as it does with substantive issues and existential questions, there's still plenty of the meat-and-potatoes content of any superhero movie: action sequences. There are numerous fights, chases, and races. The Batmobile gets its share of screen time as does a new Bat-cycle. Batman takes on bad guys singly and in bunches. And there's a heart-pounding sequence in which the Caped Crusader must race against time to save a life, where the price is almost as terrible if he succeeds as if he fails. Nolan's inherent sense of how to transform a relatively mundane fight scene into something involving is in evidence here, much as was the case in Batman Begins. He avoids flash editing and allows the action to evolve in a coherent manner, drawing the viewer in rather than keeping him guessing what's going on.

2008 may be the year that the superhero movie comes of age. Iron Man represents the best screen adventure of a Marvel hero. Now, D.C. has answered with The Dark Knight, a film so impressive in every significant facet that it makes one wonder why it took so long for the genre to reach this high level. Christopher Nolan has provided movie-goers with the best superhero movie to-date, outclassing previous titles both mediocre and excellent, and giving this franchise its The Empire Strikes Back.

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Postby MovieWes » Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:50 am

Entertainment Weekly weighs in...

The Dark Knight (2008)

By Owen Gleiberman

Our comic-book-movie culture is 30 years old (it kicked off in 1978, with the Christopher Reeve Superman), and in those three decades of speed and light and destruction, of well-coiffed demigods in bodysuits zipping through the air and shimmying up walls, comic-book films have yielded more than their share of spectacle and thrills yet virtually nothing in the way of mystery. But in The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan's ominously labyrinthine and exciting sequel to Batman Begins, good and evil aren't just separate forces — at times, they're a whisper away from each other — and the movie exudes a predatory glamour that makes the comic-book films that have come before it look all the more like kid stuff. The Dark Knight is jammed with thorny underworld conspiracies, obscenely oversize tank-cars, and action scenes that teeter madly out of control, all blanketed by the psycho-anarchic musings of a villain so warped he turns crime into a contest of Can you top this? At two hours and 32 minutes, this is almost too much movie, but it has a malicious, careening zest all its own. It's a ride for the gut and the brain.

Batman (Christian Bale), that snake-hiss-voiced vigilante who plays out the vengeful fantasies that Bruce Wayne can only dream about, has now gone a good way toward cleaning up Gotham City; he has even inspired copycat Batmans. Then why so serious? Our hero is regularly referred to as ''the Batman'' (a phrase lifted from Frank Miller's graphic novel), with that the suggesting he's less a superhero than a sinister urban creature — just one among many. The woman Bruce loves, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal), has been driven away by his moonlight escapades; she's now the squeeze of the lantern-jawed, shining-knight DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). What's more, thanks to Batman's crime-fighting spree — which the honorable lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) winks at under the table — a void has opened up. Into that space steps the Joker (Heath Ledger), a sick puppy in smeary clown makeup who wants to make the world feel his pain.

Bale, all steely reserve, once again captivates as the haunted caped crusader who must shed morality to beat the devil at his game. But just as Tim Burton's 1989 Batman was anchored by the joy-buzzer glee of Jack Nicholson's party-down Joker, The Dark Knight takes its cue from its Joker and his deadly circus of chaos. Heath Ledger's mesmerizing, scary-funny performance begins with the creepiness of his image: the greasy long hair, the makeup that looks as if he'd drawn it on with crayons, then messed it with tears. That ghostly rotting paint job covers his scarred smile (explained by a backstory that gives you the willies, even if he just made it up), and the disturbing thing is that when Ledger's Joker talks, with those ''Ehhh, what's up, Doc?'' vowels that make him sound like Al Franken crossed with a nerdish pedophile, you realize that the icky sloshing sound you hear is him sucking on his cheeks; he uses his attachment to those scars to fuel his sadistic (and masochistic) whims. This Joker may be a torture freak, but he also has a lost quality, a melancholy hidden within those black-circled eyes. He turns slaughter into a punchline; he's a homicidal comedian with an audience of one — himself. In this, the last performance he completed before his death, Ledger had a maniacal gusto inspired enough to suggest that he might have lived to be as audacious an actor as Marlon Brando, and maybe as great.

The Joker organizes the riffraff mobsters of Gotham City, but only to use them as bait, creating a whirlpool of corruption that sucks everyone down. He's an improv maniac, with no grand plan; his ultimate joke is to show that nobility won't hold in a world of disorder. At moments, the film's center doesn't hold. The deranged twist of what happens to Harvey Dent, for instance, seems at once too much and not enough. Mostly, though, that's because the movie didn't need it. Bale's seething, demon-saint Batman, locked in his dance of death with the Joker (''You complete me!'' says the villain, and for once he isn't kidding), is already an indelible figure of good battling it out with the darkness, right there in his own heart. A-
"Young men make wars and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men: courage and hope for the future. Then old men make the peace, and the vices of peace are the vices of old men: mistrust and caution." -- Alec Guinness (Lawrence of Arabia)

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Postby Zahveed » Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:57 pm

First negative review so far. New York just doesn't like this one; a few others NY magazines gave mixed reviews, but so far this one is the most negative.

Beware of a few scene SPOILERS.

The Current Cinema
Past Shock
“The Dark Knight”
by David Denby
July 21, 2008

In the new Batman film, “The Dark Knight,” many things go boom. Cars explode, jails and hospitals are blown up, bombs are put in people’s mouths and sewn into their stomachs. There’s a chase scene in which cars pile up and climb over other cars, and a truck gets lassoed by Batman (his one neat trick) and tumbles through the air like a diver doing a back flip. Men crash through windows of glass-walled office buildings, and there are many fights that employ the devastating martial-arts system known as the Keysi Fighting Method. Christian Bale, who plays Bruce Wayne (and Batman), spent months training under the masters of the ferocious and delicate K.F.M. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you a thing about it, because the combat is photographed close up, in semidarkness, and cut at the speed of a fifteen-second commercial. Instead of enjoying the formalized beauty of a fighting discipline, we see a lot of flailing movement and bodies hitting the floor like grain sacks. All this ruckus is accompanied by pounding thuds on the soundtrack, with two veteran Hollywood composers (Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard) providing additional bass-heavy stomps in every scene, even when nothing is going on. At times, the movie sounds like two excited mattresses making love in an echo chamber. In brief, Warner Bros. has continued to drain the poetry, fantasy, and comedy out of Tim Burton’s original conception for “Batman” (1989), completing the job of coarsening the material into hyperviolent summer action spectacle. Yet “The Dark Knight” is hardly routine—it has a kicky sadism in scene after scene, which keeps you on edge and sends you out onto the street with post-movie stress disorder. And it has one startling and artful element: the sinister and frightening performance of the late Heath Ledger as the psychopathic murderer the Joker. That part of the movie is upsetting to watch, and, in retrospect, both painful and stirring to think about.

“The Dark Knight,” which was directed by Christopher Nolan (who also made “Batman Begins”) and written by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, is devoted to perversity. Bruce Wayne, attempting to bring order to Gotham City, has instead provoked the thugs. The mob is running rampant, and they’ve infiltrated the police department. The Joker, who doesn’t care for money and wants only the power to sow chaos, intimidates everyone, including the gangsters. Wayne and the noble Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) decide to get behind the new D.A., Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), and set him up as Gotham’s crime-fighting hero. Batman even thinks of retiring. But the Joker won’t let him; he needs him, as someone to play with. An anarchist by philosophy, the Joker uses terrorist methods (bombs, bombs, bombs), and he has an enormous advantage over the principled Batman—he’s ruthless. So the Joker taunts and giggles, and Batman can only extend his wings.

It’s a workable dramatic conflict, but only half the team can act it. Christian Bale has been effective in some films, but he’s a placid Bruce Wayne, a swank gent in Armani suits, with every hair in place. He’s more urgent as Batman, but he delivers all his lines in a hoarse voice, with an unvarying inflection. It’s a dogged but uninteresting performance, upstaged by the great Ledger, who shambles and slides into a room, bending his knees and twisting his neck and suddenly surging into someone’s face like a deep-sea creature coming up for air. Ledger has a fright wig of ragged hair; thick, running gobs of white makeup; scarlet lips; and dark-shadowed eyes. He’s part freaky clown, part Alice Cooper the morning after, and all actor. He’s mesmerizing in every scene. His voice is not sludgy and slow, as it was in “Brokeback Mountain.” It’s a little higher and faster, but with odd, devastating pauses and saturnine shades of mockery. At times, I was reminded of Marlon Brando at his most feline and insinuating. When Ledger wields a knife, he is thoroughly terrifying (do not, despite the PG-13 rating, bring the children), and, as you’re watching him, you can’t help wondering—in a response that admittedly lies outside film criticism—how badly he messed himself up in order to play the role this way. His performance is a heroic, unsettling final act: this young actor looked into the abyss.

Parts of “The Dark Knight” were shot with IMAX cameras, and if you see the movie on one of those enormously tall screens you will feel, as Batman swoops down from a building at night, as if you were falling into a canyon. It’s a giddy thrill—bring Dramamine. The rest of the movie, photographed by Wally Pfister, is sharp and clear, with shots of Gotham (i.e., Chicago) in glistening night splendor, and plentiful use of vast modernist interiors with slab floors. Yet I can’t rate “The Dark Knight” as an outstanding piece of craftsmanship. “Batman Begins” was grim and methodical, and this movie is grim and jammed together. The narrative isn’t shaped coherently to bring out contrasts and build toward a satisfying climax. “The Dark Knight” is constant climax; it’s always in a frenzy, and it goes on forever. Nothing is prepared for, and people show up and disappear without explanation; characters are eliminated with a casual nod. There are episodes that are expensively meaningless (a Hong Kong vignette, for instance), while crucial scenes are truncated at their most interesting point—such as the moment in which the disfigured Joker confronts a newly disfigured Harvey Dent (a visual sick joke) and turns him into a vicious killer. The thunderous violence and the music jack the audience up. But all that screw-tightening tension isn’t necessarily fun. “The Dark Knight” has been made in a time of terror, but it’s not fighting terror; it’s embracing and unleashing it—while making sure, with proper calculation, to set up the next installment of the corporate franchise.
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Postby MovieWes » Fri Jul 11, 2008 5:09 pm

Movie Review: Epic sequel `The Dark Knight' nearly lives up to impossible expectations

By CHRISTY LEMIRE , Associated Press

It's difficult to separate the movie from its mystique.

Even under ordinary circumstances, "The Dark Knight" would have been one of the most hotly awaited movies of the summer blockbuster season. The loss of Heath Ledger to an accidental prescription-drug overdose in January has amplified the buzz around the film — and his crazed performance as the Joker — to extraordinary levels.

Nothing could possibly satisfy that kind of expectation. "The Dark Knight" comes pretty close.

Christopher Nolan's film is indeed an epic that will leave you staggering from the theater, stunned by its scope and complexity. It's also, thankfully, a vast improvement over his self-serious origin story, 2005's "Batman Begins."

As director and co-writer with his brother, Jonathan (David S. Goyer shares a story credit), Nolan has found a way to mix in some fun with his philosophizing. Ambitious, explosive set pieces share screen time with meaty debates about good vs. evil and the nature of — and need for — a hero.

Batman (Christian Bale) has been that guy. Now, he's not so sure he should be anymore. He's protected Gotham fiercely (and with some fierce toys), but the new district attorney, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), seems to be putting a dent in organized crime with help from Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman). Perhaps Batman should return to his "normal" life as billionaire Bruce Wayne and leave the clean-up work to the professionals. Maybe he can even rekindle his romance with old flame Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, taking over more than capably for Katie Holmes, although she doesn't get much to do, either).

And so "The Dark Knight" presents an existential crisis — what comic-book hero doesn't suffer these? — but does so in a totally different way from its predecessor. Whereas "Batman Begins" felt too solemn and introspective, this installment might actually be too fast. Like the Caped Crusader himself, speeding through the streets of Gotham City on his tricked-out Bat-Pod motorcycle, Nolan moves breathlessly from one scene to the next.

Trouble is, he's got such great vision and is so adept at creating a compelling mood, it makes you wish he'd held some moments for a beat or two longer, just to savor them — and to let us do the same. A couple of scenes in Bruce's stark, crisply lit Bat-bunker come to mind, as does Batman's nighttime flight over a glittering Hong Kong. (Wally Pfister, a longtime Nolan collaborator who also shot "Batman Begins" and "Memento," returns as cinematographer. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard once again teamed up to compose the huge, sweeping score.)

Nolan was wise enough, however, to give Ledger plenty of room to shine — albeit in the actor's indelibly perverse, twisted way. There's nothing cartoony about his Joker. Ledger wrested the role from previous performers Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson and reinvented it completely.

Yes, he's funny, wringing laughs from both clever one-liners and maniacally grand schemes. He can be playful, finding unexpected avenues into the character: "You complete me," he purrs to Batman, mockingly borrowing Tom Cruise's classic line from "Jerry Maguire" and dashing all possibilities for the Caped One's imminent retirement.

But because there's no logic behind his mayhem, he's also truly terrifying. The terror he inflicts on Gotham is meticulously planned (the opening bank heist, shot with IMAX cameras, is a marvel of timing) and yet his sole inspiration is to create chaos, then watch the city squirm and burn.

That his attacks grow larger each time, regardless of the collateral damage, makes him so genuinely disturbing. Ledger seems to have understood that, and brings an appropriate — and riveting — unpredictability to the role. It's also a neat touch that his makeup, which looked like a slapdash effort from the start, steadily deteriorates, streaking, cracking and peeling away as the film progresses; it's an outward manifestation of his psychological spiral.

Back to Batman, though — because theoretically, it is his movie, right?

Bale seems more assured than ever, now that he has more facets of Batman/Bruce's personality to reveal than he did in the last film. He's consistently proven he's capable of going to dark, scary places for his characters (see: "American Psycho," "Rescue Dawn") and this is no exception.

Also returning are Michael Caine as Bruce's butler, Alfred, and Morgan Freeman as gadget guru Lucius Fox. Both veterans help anchor the movie with a wisdom and calmness that's crucial when everything (and everyone) is in a state of turmoil. As for Oldman, he disappears into the role of Lt. Gordon and makes it look so effortless, he makes you forget he's acting.

Eckhart, the snarky star of "Thank You for Smoking," may seem an unusual choice to play a law-and-order kind of guy. Here, he's subtle enough to keep us guessing until nearly the end as to where his morals and allegiances truly lie (though eventually he will become the villainous Two-Face, as we know).

But the key showdown, of course, is between Batman and the Joker. Theirs is a relationship that's strangely symbiotic — you could even call it codependent. Or as the Joker puts it, "You and I could do this forever."

If only.

"The Dark Knight," a Warner Bros. Pictures release, is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and some menace. Running time: 152 minutes. Three stars out of four.
"Young men make wars and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men: courage and hope for the future. Then old men make the peace, and the vices of peace are the vices of old men: mistrust and caution." -- Alec Guinness (Lawrence of Arabia)

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Postby Sabin » Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:58 pm

I remember in 2004 thinking that it was the first time since I started watching the awards that the public had connected to very different films entirely. None of the films made more than $100 million w/out Oscar bullying. The films that better represented what touched a chord with audiences were 'Fahrenheit 9/11', 'The Incredibles', 'The Passion of the Christ', and 'Spider-Man 2'. Since 2004, I think that only 'The Departed' and 'Little Miss Sunshine' can qualify as a movie that audiences genuinely embraced and called their own. Maybe 'Juno' as well. Populism doesn't seem to have much a place with the Academy Awards.

I know this much: 'Wall-E' will be nominated for six academy awards, easily. Original Screenplay, Animated Feature, Score, Song, Sound Mixing, and Sound Effects. 'The Dark Knight' could very well end up with six as well: Supporting Actor, Score, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Mixing, and Sound Effects. I honestly think talking about anything more than this for both films is absurd. Why argue back and forth needlessly?

LAST MINUTE EDIT -

What I do think will occur this year will be an outcry of WHY CAN'T THESE MOVIES BE NOMINATED? 'Spider-Man 2' was one of the most rapturously received movie of its year but nobody really demanded Oscar by the end of the year. Last year, 'The Bourne Ultimatum' was nominated for three Oscar and won all of them. I think it's a sign of things to come...




Edited By Sabin on 1215813694
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Postby MovieWes » Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:57 pm

I'm not even sure that the first two Spider-Man films are appropriate comparisons. Yes, the Spider-Man films did get rave reviews, but they were also never compared to Oscar-baity films like The Departed or Heat, never got Oscar buzz for any of the performances, and were light-hearted campy fantasy adventures as opposed to dark and gritty crime dramas (which have been popular with the Academy over the past few years, with Crash, The Departed, and No Country for Old Men winning the last three Best Picture Oscars). And the reviews, while very good, were never rapturous like the early reviews for The Dark Knight are. As far as I'm aware, none of the reviewers said that Spider-Man transcended the superhero genre. I'd say that a more apt comparison would be the Lord of the Rings films -- phenomenal reviews, huge built-in fan base, transcendent of the genre.

That said, I'd just like to make it clear that I'm not saying that The Dark Knight will be nominated for Best Picture. If anything, it's an early dark horse candidate. However, it could go the way of Dreamgirls and lead in the nominations count without actually being nominated for Best Picture. I can see it being nominated for best supporting actor, best adapted screenplay (hey, The Incredibles did it), best film editing, best cinematography, best art direction, best costume design, best makeup, best sound mixing, best sound editing, and maybe best visual effects and best original score. I'd say that is a real possibility.
"Young men make wars and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men: courage and hope for the future. Then old men make the peace, and the vices of peace are the vices of old men: mistrust and caution." -- Alec Guinness (Lawrence of Arabia)

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Postby The Original BJ » Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:37 pm

Considering that this statement all but sums up my feelings toward Batman Begins, I remain suspicious of the so-called "depth" and "complexity" so many other critics seem to have found in The Dark Knight. And dear god, it's two and a half hours! Of course I'll reserve judgment until I see it, but I still feel like I won't get whatever there is to get about this movie.

On the Oscar question, I'm not sure Gladiator is even an appropriate comparison. While not initially thought of as a contender that might swipe the top prize, was anyone REALLY that shocked that a commercially successful costume epic picked up so many nominations? I look at Gladiator as cast from the Braveheart/Titanic mold, which makes it not that atypical of a Best Picture candidate to me. (It may be a BAD one, but that's a different argument completely.)

I agree with OscarGuy that Dark Knight seems more akin to the Spider-Man films -- high-class popcorn that scores tech nominations but never remotely contends for Best Picture, despite better reviews than some films that do. (I also get a bit of an Enchanted vibe; enthusiastic early reviews led a lot of people to talk big nominations, especially given the pre-Juno lack of a popular candidate, but in the end, the kiddie-factor still hurt Amy Adams, and the film didn't contend at all beyond her.)

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Postby Zahveed » Fri Jul 11, 2008 3:17 pm

Gotham City’s Grave New World
This Batman has wings, but he doesn't always soar.

By David Ansen | NEWSWEEK
Jul 21, 2008 Issue

Even darker and more relentlessly serious than "Batman Begins," Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" pits the troubled superhero (Christian Bale) against his most troubling foe—the Joker. As played by the late Heath Ledger, with tangled greasy hair, grotesque white makeup, darting mad eyes and an obscene tongue that keeps licking his slashed, painted-on smile, this Joker is an agent of chaos so arbitrarily evil he strikes terror not just in his foes, but in the mobsters who hire him to eliminate Gotham City's caped crusader. It's a stupendously creepy performance, wild but never over the top. He cuts a figure so dangerous that you wonder if Batman is up to the task-or if our hero himself will have to become as ruthless as his foe. When you're fighting an enemy who plays by no rules, do you have to abandon your own moral code to vanquish him?

This is the ethics dilemma Nolan explores in his impressive, and sometimes oppressive, epic. Bruce Wayne/Batman has a formidable new ally in his fight against evil: Aaron Eckhart's crimefighting D.A. Harvey Dent (a.k.a. Two-Faced Harvey), who is also Wayne's rival for the affections of Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Together with police Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), they attempt to rid their city of organized crime in one fell swoop, only to discover that every good deed backfires, putting Gotham City in greater jeopardy.

Nolan dispenses with the stylized Gothic sets we're accustomed to in the series: he makes no attempt to hide the fact that Gotham City is modern Chicago. Gone, too, is the antic sense of humor that Tim Burton brought to the show. There's not a touch of lightness in Bale's taut, angst-ridden superhero, and as the two-and-a-half-hour movie enters its second half, the unvarying intensity and the sometimes confusing action sequences take a toll. You may emerge more exhausted than elated. Nolan wants to prove that a superhero movie needn't be disposable, effects-ridden junk food, and you have to admire his ambition. But this is Batman, not "Hamlet." Call me shallow, but I wish it were a little more fun.
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Postby anonymous1980 » Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:34 pm

Unless there's a huge backlash against the film caused by tasteless campaign overhype between now and the announcements in January, I think Ledger's nomination is all but guaranteed. I read somewhere that the Oscar nominations next year will be announced on the first anniversary of his death.

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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:28 pm

Sabin wrote:I spent most of 2000 thinking that there was no way that something like 'Gladiator' could be taken seriously for awards consideration. Lousy year but I'm still a little mystified.

I don't think anyone thought of Gladiator as even a best picture candidate until, first, the year turned out lackluster, and, second, Almost Famous, Dreamworks' big Oscar hopeful, fell short at the box office. Dreamworks was then in an obsessive "mine's bigger" Oscar face-off with the Weinsteins, having lost in '98 and won in '99, and they were determined to push something/anything into the race. The fact that Gladiator had bewitched a few critics (Gleiberman, prominently) somehow helped make it a plausible contender.

And then, once it was nominated, the competitors for the win were Crouching Tiger -- foreign, for Christ's sake -- and Traffic, thought, absurdly, "too dark" to ever win best picture (despite its $130 million gross). Even with all that, you have to figure the win was narrow, given the number of key prizes won by the runners-up.

Assuming this early critical approbation for Dark Knight carries over to the more serious critics, it could be a possibility for best film consideration, but not a strong one. The comic book connection is no help, nor is the fact that this is the sixth Batman movie of just this era. I think it might turn out more like Bourne Ultimatum, another late-in-the-series smash -- getting enthusiastic support in the techs and a couple of wins, but still being considered too unserious for the glamour categories.

Of course, since there are essentially no serious candidates for any top categories as yet, this is all empty conjecture.

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Postby Eric » Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:30 pm

Pretty low score from the Internet's foremost Christopher Nolan fanboy.



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Postby Sabin » Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:45 pm

Mike D'Angelo - 69

"The most thematically ambitious franchise blockbuster ever made, by several orders of magnitude."




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Postby Sabin » Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:09 pm

I spent most of 2000 thinking that there was no way that something like 'Gladiator' could be taken seriously for awards consideration. Lousy year but I'm still a little mystified. So, who knows? I think that this is entirely too soon to be debating this film to death.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver


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