The Dark Knight

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Postby Penelope » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:20 am

Maybe my thinking is skewed, but I suspect that if he's nommed in Supporting, he won't win, but if he were nommed in Lead, he'd have a better chance of winning.

Until it was mentioned to me, I'd always assumed they would push him for the Lead category. Having not seen the film, it's difficult to say which would be the correct category....
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Postby flipp525 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:14 am

OscarGuy wrote:I can see this going two ways. 1) There really is a pro-Ledger sentiment that could lead him to an Oscar. 2) These people are going to talk it to death and Academy members are going to get tired of the talk and ignore him completely. I'm currently leaning towards option 2.

This is suspiciously early to speak in such assured terms, but I see Ledger as having a very good shot at a nomination at this time (he's almost the only performance that everyone's unanimously praising which usually points towards at least a nomination). A win is also not out of the realm of possibility and there is certainly precedent for it. He's sort a modern-day James Dean with the method acting and early, tragic death to boot with a Peter Finch level of hysteria infused in his performance, which he clearly brought home with him at the end of the day. I'd say it's a very potent combination for awards recognition.




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Postby OscarGuy » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:07 am

I can see this going two ways. 1) There really is a pro-Ledger sentiment that could lead him to an Oscar. 2) These people are going to talk it to death and Academy members are going to get tired of the talk and ignore him completely. I'm currently leaning towards option 2.

No joke: Ledger's Batman villain has Oscar shot By DAVID GERMAIN, AP Movie Writer
1 hour, 30 minutes ago



LOS ANGELES - Jack Nicholson's Joker was a blast. Heath Ledger's Joker is as dark and anarchic a figure as Randle McMurphy in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," the role that brought Nicholson his first Academy Award.

Ledger's performance in the Batman tale "The Dark Knight" is so remarkable that next Jan. 22, the one-year anniversary of his death, he could become just the seventh actor in Oscar history to earn a posthumous nomination.

"I do think that Heath has created an iconic villain that will stand for the ages, and of course, I would love to see him get an award," said Christian Bale, who reprises his "Batman Begins" role as the tormented crime fighter. "But you know, to me, you can witness his talent, celebrate his talent within this movie. Anything else is gravy."

Superhero flicks usually are not the stuff Oscar dreams are made of. Yet Ledger delivered so far beyond anyone's expectations that he could end up as the second performer to win Hollywood's top honor after his death.

"He may be the first actor since Peter Finch. He may even win the damn thing," said Gary Oldman, who co-stars as noble cop Jim Gordon in "The Dark Knight," which hits theaters July 18.

Finch is the only person to win posthumously, earning the best-actor prize for 1976's "Network" two months after he died.

News of Ledger's death at age 28 from an accidental drug overdose broke just hours after the Oscar nominations were announced last January, darkening what normally is one of Hollywood's happiest days. The nominations next year fall on the same date because they were moved back two days from their traditional Tuesday announcement to avoid conflicting with the presidential inauguration.

With nothing remotely like the maniacal Joker among his credits beforehand, Ledger had been a surprising choice to fans, some feeling he was too young, others sensing he would not live up to the campy but earnest performance Nicholson gave in 1989's "Batman." (The role earned Nicholson a Golden Globe nomination, though he did not make the Oscar cut.)

As filming progressed last year, word began leaking from the set about the feverishly psychotic persona Ledger was creating.

With a marketing campaign heavily focused on the Joker, the movie trailers that followed presented a Joker with sloppy, ominous clown makeup that looked as though it had been applied in a windstorm. The brief footage revealed a character whose cackling humor cannot conceal the malevolent soul beneath.

"Whatever Heath channeled into, he's found something quite extraordinary," Oldman said. "It's arguably one of the greatest screen villains I think I've ever seen."

Fans were hooked, but some were skeptical when Oscar buzz for the performance started circulating after Ledger's death. Comic-book tales and other big action flicks rarely are taken seriously by awards voters, who are willing to honor them for technical achievements but generally not for acting.

Skepticism dissolved once Warner Bros. began screenings for "The Dark Knight."

"Heath Ledger didn't so much give a performance as he disappeared completely into the role," filmmaker and lifelong comics fan Kevin Smith said on his MySpace blog after seeing "The Dark Knight." "I know I'm not the first to suggest this, but he'll likely get at least an Oscar nod (if not the win) for best supporting actor."

Ledger's performance is surpassing even the sky-high expectations hardcore fans have going in.

"He was better than I thought he was going to be," said Bill Ramey, founder of the fan Web site Batman-on-Film.com, who caught an advance press screening. "I think he legitimately would deserve an Oscar nomination, not just out of sympathy to his passing, but because he was just fantastic in the movie. ... It's right up there with Hannibal Lecter," which earned Anthony Hopkins an Oscar for "The Silence of the Lambs."

Along with Finch, past posthumous Oscar contenders include James Dean, who was nominated for best actor twice after his death, with 1955's "East of Eden" and 1956's "Giant."

The other actors nominated after their deaths were Spencer Tracy (1967's "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"); Ralph Richardson (1984's "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes"); Massimo Troisi (1995's "The Postman"); and Jeanne Eagels (1929's "The Letter").

The aura surrounding Ledger since his death is a sign that, like Dean, he could endure as a mythic figure of talent silenced before his time. Ledger had a best-actor nomination for 2005's "Brokeback Mountain" and was considered a gifted performer just coming into his own.

That will not necessarily improve his Oscar chances. Dean had two shots after his death and lost both.

"The fact that only one actor has ever won an Oscar from the grave tells us that in general at the Oscars, the feeling is when you're dead, you're dead," said Tom O'Neil, a columnist for TheEnvelope.com, an awards Web site. "Maybe the point is that the Oscars are all about hugs. Nobody wants to hug a dead guy."

Oscar voters tend to hand out the trophies for heroic or sympathetic roles, so Ledger's supremely evil characterization could prove a drawback along with the action-genre stigma.

Yet there are notable instances when actors playing villains made such an impression that academy members could not resist voting for them.

Besides Hopkins as cannibalistic killer Lecter, bad guys who won include Fredric March in the title role of 1932's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"; F. Murray Abraham as Mozart's mortal enemy in 1984's "Amadeus"; Kathy Bates as a novelist's demented fan in 1990's "Misery"; Denzel Washington as a corrupt cop in 2001's "Training Day"; and Charlize Theron as a serial killer in 2003's "Monster."

The last two years have brought Oscar wins by Forest Whitaker as brutal dictator Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland," Tilda Swinton as a murderously ruthless attorney in "Michael Clayton," Daniel Day-Lewis as a savage oilman in "There Will Be Blood" and Javier Bardem as a psychopathic killer in "No Country for Old Men."

"When a performance as a villain is that memorable, it can be held up as being that much more special," said Chuck Walton, managing editor of online movie-ticket site Fandango.com. "Oscar voters have a lot of respect for actors willing to really let themselves go and inhabit darker roles."

Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are profuse in their praise of Ledger but have been diplomatic about the Oscar talk. Awards publicity generally pads a movie's box-office and DVD receipts, and the studio has cautiously avoided any appearance of profiting from the added attention Ledger's death has brought to the film.

"The Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan sidestepped the Oscar question, saying that he was simply happy that early viewers were responding to the performance the way Ledger would have liked.
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Postby MovieWes » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:17 pm

The review from The Sun...


Batman movie is Ledge-ndary


BATMAN's return to cinemas in The Dark Knight was always going to be the must-see superhero movie of the year.

And we've had a sneak peek at the eagerly-awaited flick, which was cast further into the spotlight following the untimely death of Heath Ledger, who plays the Joker.

Now here's our verdict on this summer's biggest blockbuster.

BATMAN is back and fans can breathe a sigh of relief.

The hotly anticipated sequel to 2005's Batman Begins sees Christian Bale reprises his role as the Caped Crusader/Bruce Wayne but this film is all about one man, and that's Heath Ledger.

His electrifying performance as The Joker serves up the most menacing, villainous appearance on screen since Hannibal Lecter.

Heath steals the movie, which opens with a bank robbery that sets in motion the criminal rampage of his character.

He may look like Marilyn Manson on steroids but he is clearly in control of the heinous plans leaving Gotham City in need of a hero.

The modern-style story mirrors The Joker against a 21st century terrorist, rather than an average comic book villain.

He despises society and it's so-called morality, and knows creating chaos and destruction is the only thing he can rely on.

Bruce Wayne meanwhile, as well as Batman, has matured. But he is still in conflict with his double life, hoping one day that Batman will become obsolete.

His struggle shows that what is good for Batman is not necessarily good for Bruce Wayne and is desperate for Gotham's criminal-bashing District Attorney Harvey Dent to be recognised by the people of Gotham as their real hero.

But as the The Joker begins a cat and mouse game to make Batman break his "no killing" rule, things hot up.

Bale is most definitely the actor most like the original comic book hero compared to former rubber clad stars Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney.

He plays it with a understated realism unlike his generic Hollywood predecessors and although his character isn’t always likeable, he gives the impression of being a human being, albeit a playboy millionaire.

He also has the futuristic gadgets of a James Bond character, and an array of fast cars and motorcycles. And he needs them. In Gotham these days, there are numerous gangs to contend with as well as the main crime syndicate heads.

The film was shot in Chicago and this two and a half hour sequel features spectacular aerial shots with the upper and lower roadways used for some pretty hairy, dynamic car chases, including one ill fated 18 wheeler.

Bale was able to do most of the fight scenes himself and didn’t have to rely on special effects as much as he did previously. He bulked up for the role, and like for his previous characters – from The Machinist in which he lost 60 pounds, to buffing up for American Psycho - he is no stranger to shape shifting his form for the sake of cinema accuracy.

The transition of Harvey Dent to evil Two Face is probably the most interesting aspect of the story. Aaron Eckhart’s performance is both moving and fearful.

And the subplot ‘love triangle’ between him, Bruce Wayne and Bruce's girlfriend Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) adds some emotional weight.

Gyllenhaal, as always, is authentic and even more pronounced when considering the lacklustre performance from Katie Holmes in the same role in Batman Begins.

Gary Oldman is a treat as Commissioner Gordon but Oscar winner Morgan Freeman's role as Lucius Fox is a little superfluous.

Michael Caine's reassuring and welcoming presence though as Alfred The Butler is like revisiting an old friend.

It must have been hard for Ledger to step out of Jack Nicholson's Joker shadow from Tim Burton's 1989 version of Batman.

His was much more caricature than Ledger’s semi-realistic, though equally over-the-top interpretation.

Heath doesn’t eat the scenery, he merges with it.

There’s no doubt that the screen comes alive when Ledger appears. Of course, there are earie moments like when The Joker talks about death, particularly the image of this clown faced actor wielding a gun and pointing it at himself.

It's a dark epic, but thankfully, there are some moments of comic relief. For example, among his many costumes changes, who knew Ledger could look so good as a redhead in a nurse’s uniform?

The main thrust of the story is all about the ultimate dysfunctional relationship – the dance between Batman and the Joker. Batman doesn’t compromise and neither does The Joker. He is a villain who is not looking for money or rewards, this monster exists in evil for the pure joy of it. That makes for a formidable foe.

In this summer infested super hero season (or in some cases, simply men clad in colourful spandex), The Dark Knight is in another league to its contemporaries like The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Hancock and Speed Racer.

The legacy of Batman, conceived by DC Comics, has never relied on bland, black and white characters. Batman isn’t endowed with super powers, and is presented as a complex and multi-leveled character.

Like real life, he doesn’t always get the girl, and he doesn’t always win the fight.

This incarnation of Batman is bigger and better than Batman Begins. It’s arguably a superior movie and Ledger has created an iconic villain in The Joker which has garnered much talk of a posthumous Oscar win for the Australian-born actor.

Ledger has upped the ante for much loved and revered Hollywood villains, and whether or not he wins an Academy Award, his performance will be forever remembered in celluloid history.
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Postby Zahveed » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:13 pm

MovieWes wrote:So, if The Riddler becomes a villian for the next installment, which actor would you have in mind to play the role?

James Franco?
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Postby MovieWes » Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:03 pm

Praise Continues to Roll In: Kevin Smith Reviews “The Dark Knight” + Oldman Hints at The Riddler

June 29, 2008

Another day, another glowingly positive review for The Dark Knight. Last night in LA, select film sites were screened The Dark Knight. Director Kevin Smith was invited to the screening and came away from the experience completely blown away, calling it “an epic film”, “the ‘Godfather II’ of comic book movies” and “close to a masterpiece” . Continue reading for Smith’s brief spoiler free review.

Straight from Smith’s MySpace blog:

“Without giving anything away, this is an epic film (and trust me: based on the sheer size and scope of the visuals and storytelling, that’s not an overstatement). It’s the “Godfather II” of comic book films and three times more earnest than “Batman Begins” (and fuck, was that an earnest film). Easily the most adult comic book film ever made. Heath Ledger didn’t so much give a performance as he disappeared completely into the role; I know I’m not the first to suggest this, but he’ll likely get at least an Oscar nod (if not the win) for Best Supporting Actor. Fucking flick’s nearly three hours long and only leaves you wanting more (in a great way). I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by it. Nolan and crew have created something close to a masterpiece.”

Wow. Unfortunately, the most disappointing aspect of this all continues to be the unfortunate death of Heath Ledger. As the release nears, I can’t help but dwell on the fact that we’ll never be able to see his portrayal of the Joker on the screen again, which looks to be absolutely amazing.

Moving on to other ‘Dark Knight’ news, Movie Web, who was at the screening, got a chance to chat with Gary Oldman (Lt. Gordon) and the actor was asked about his thoughts about replacing Heath Ledger in any future Batman films should the character continue to be the villiain, or if not, who would be the next villain, to which he responded with the following:

“I don’t see why not. I mean, they did it with Katie Holmes’ character. I understand that this is a different circumstance, but I think another actor could do the job. I think Heath would want another actor to do the job.” Oldman then took a moment to think about it some more, “Maybe we don’t need the Joker. Because we’ll have The Riddler.”

Oops. Not so sure that Katie Holmes analogy works out though. Oldman was also asked if Christoper Nolan would return:

“We don’t really know if Nolan is coming back. …I guess I have to come back. …Nolan will come back for a third one. I think we all have to.”

Looks like the cast may be locked up for three years (common practice for franchises). So, if The Riddler becomes a villian for the next installment, which actor would you have in mind to play the role?

The Dark Knight hits theaters on July 18, 2008.
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Postby MovieWes » Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:29 pm

The Dark Knight Review

Nolan's sequel surpasses the original with an intense, disturbing masterpiece

by Todd Gilchrist

June 30, 2008 - It isn't an overstatement to call The Dark Knight the most sophisticated and ambitious work of its kind. Superior to all three Spider-Man installments and even its amazing predecessor in terms of conceptualization, writing, acting, and direction, Nolan's follow-up to Batman Begins is a dark, complex and disturbing film, not the least of which because it grafts its heroics onto the blueprint of actual reality rather than that of spandex-clad supermen. And while such a distinction may make little difference to those already eagerly anticipating the return of the caped crusader, suffice it to say that The Dark Knight qualifies as the first official comic book adaptation that truly succeeds in being a great artistic achievement in its own right.

Christian Bale returns as Bruce Wayne, the billionaire playboy who moonlights as Batman. Having eased more comfortably into a lifestyle of excess, Wayne lurks on the fringes of his family's corporation as CEO Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) runs the boardroom. But when an ambitious district attorney named Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) comes forward to challenge Gotham City's villainy through proper legal channels, the man also known as Batman sees an opportunity to replace his vigilante persona with a figure of virtue who will truly inspire the best in the citizenry.

Unfortunately, Batman's success as a crime fighter has generated new problems for Gotham, including a consolidation of the crime lords who once controlled the city independently. Meanwhile, a new adversary named The Joker (Heath Ledger) proves particularly dangerous because he seeks not only to advance the cause of Gotham's underworld, but obliterate the foundations of liberty and order that Batman protects. Torn between championing Dent and meting out justice as a masked vigilante, Wayne soon finds himself at a crossroads between being the hero that Gotham needs and the one it deserves.

The great triumph of The Dark Knight is that it manages for the first time ever in the history of the genre to transplant comic book theatrics into the real world – and moreover, to examine precisely what it could mean if a person decided to strap on a super-suit and start attacking the world's criminals. The first film certainly hinted at this possibility, thrusting the hero and his alter-ego into a world where Wayne's frivolity was as despised as Batman's vigilantism. But even with real-world explanations for such improbabilities as Scarecrow's ability to scare, this was still a world where the Batmobile was cool and the climactic battle took place on a speeding train as a bomb ticked toward its inevitable explosion. Here, the Tumbler barely survives its first appearance and with the exception of one or two cooler-than-cool moves that will no doubt thrill fans, its replacement/substitute – the Batpod – serves as a largely utilitarian device for Batman to get from one crime scene to the next. (That said, I still want one.)

More important than this, however, is the idea that Batman is not just a guy in a suit, but a symbol and there are people in the film – most notably The Joker – who want to destroy that symbol. While Batman's identity remains secret and his motives unknown to Gothamites, he represents hope in a city that has little to spare and embodies a pursuit of justice – and further, a code of behavior – that quite literally threatens these criminals' way of life. By throwing Gotham into chaos and testing the limits to which Batman holds himself, The Joker is not merely plying death and destruction but willfully destroying the philosophical foundations of organized society. The closest such examination another comic book-oriented film has ever attempted was the emotional throughline of the Spider-Man films. Peter Parker's struggle was almost exclusively personal, whereas Wayne not only has to find a way to maintain his moral compass, but consider what the repercussions of his heroism are to both the public and the criminals themselves.

While all of this sounds lofty – and it is – Nolan examines these themes in beautifully human terms, projecting his examination of "the hero" into the hearts and minds of his characters. Wayne, less outwardly conflicted than in Batman Begins, sees Dent's ascension as an opportunity to stop playing dress up and reunite with Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) – the one woman who knows his secret. Meanwhile, Dent and his sometimes partner Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) look at Batman's existence as a good thing, a fulcrum against which they can enforce the law and sometimes bend rules to accomplish loftier goals. And, of course, The Joker wants to destroy all of that, albeit less because of some law of movie villainy than because he sees his existence as the necessary antithesis – or perhaps ultimate extension – of the murky morality of Batman's brand of justice. When, after all, was the last time a movie criminal wasn't merely mad, but had a deeper ideological motivation for his dastardly deeds?

Perhaps bolstered by the success of the first film, Nolan reaches out further with his storytelling and camerawork in The Dark Knight to create an ongoing, palpable feeling of tension that never relents through the entirety of the film's two and a half hour running time. There is a hugeness to the narrative itself, which Nolan enhances first by shooting partially on IMAX film stock (which will surely be lost to those unlucky enough to be too far to see the film in the format), but he then builds this haunting atmosphere steadily from one scene to the next, building anticipation for the moments when the violence will finally erupt.

That he occasionally veers into comic book glibness with one-liners undermines none of the intensity; on the contrary, these moments provide a release that is absolutely necessary to keeping the audience from succumbing to The Joker's febrile madness. Meanwhile, the violence is quite possibly the most intense I have ever seen in a PG-13 film, leaving myself and others wondering how The Dark Knight avoided an R. But what is more disturbing is the unrelenting menace that hovers over every scene like a dark cloud. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard's leitmotif for The Joker sounds like a cross between Ligeti's "Lux Aeterna" (from 2001) and the scraping, metallic curlicue that was used in trailers for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and enhances the clenched-fist feeling that anything can and will happen at any moment, even scenes in which he doesn't appear.

Like few other mythology-based movies, The Dark Knight truly seems to think of everything, be it conceptual or purely logical. Credit Nolan and his brother Jonathan (who also helped conceive The Prestige) for really digging into Batman's world, turning over the soil and examining its roots for possible deficiencies. While this generally speaks to the film's plausibility, they also have the presence of mind to consider such things as Lucius Fox's considerable monetary expenditures – not to mention his entire division – and how and where a paper trail might eventually lead to it. Again, however, these are not ideas or even subplots to which vast amounts of screen time are devoted, but simply revealed, explained and dealt with as they might arise in real life.

Bale is predictably effective as both Wayne and Batman this time around, playing both with greater assurance than in Batman Begins (indeed, he and his characters seem to possess more confidence). Though Wayne is a necessary second-fiddle to Batman, he is a better defined and more poised character in this film – even when he's indulging the excesses of his trust fund – and he understands the value of being in a position to help someone like Dent, be it monetarily as himself or physically as Batman. Also great is the rest of the original cast, all of whom seem as comfortable in their characters as if they'd created them themselves. Oldman in particular creates a portrait of virtue that shows a roiling well of doubt underneath, and yet always conveys effortless authority.

Meanwhile taking over for Katie Holmes, Gyllenhaal adds real depth and energy to Rachel Dawes, showing how her feelings for Bruce Wayne aren't simply unrequited, but actually based in both sincere affection and common sense. And Eckhart more or less combines all of the disparate roles he's played in the past – lout, huckster, loyal companion – into one seamless portrayal of a man determined to make things better but not quite sure how to accomplish that goal in the right way.

Finally, there's Ledger, whose performance I suspect will be the subject of many analyses of all sorts in the weeks and months to come. What he does with The Joker is, quite frankly, nothing short of transcendent. Early in the film he explains the origins of his trademark facial scars, and you worry for a moment that the filmmakers are giving this psychopath some kind of convenient explanation, which, talented though he was, Ledger won't be able to overcome. But by the third time he's explained where they come from – each time telling a different tale – you realize that Ledger was a master of his craft, only in his final years finding roles that truly offered him the chance to explore that mastery. His is the definitive movie Joker, and he owns the role and achieves a level of abject insanity that is terrifying as it is irresistible.

Overall, the film does maintain a steady pace and function with such continuously unnerving momentum that it occasionally seems like a second installment. (There are plenty of appropriate comparisons to other sequels its quality mirrors, if not possibly surpasses: Toy Story 2, The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather Part II, etc.) In fact, so well-executed is this film that even the title – or at least its true meaning – seemed to catch its audience off guard, until it gets explained, expertly and poetically, at the very end of the movie.

A screenwriting professor of mine once said that what happens in a story must be surprising but expected, and Nolan's approach to The Dark Knight epitomizes this maxim. He gives you exactly what you want, but does it so well that it manages to completely catch you off guard when it happens. But there really is no better way to describe The Dark Knight than to call it a great work of art because it transcends both the boundaries of comic book moviemaking and even the parameters of good filmmaking. What Nolan and Co. have created doesn't just function as a thrill ride or even a terrific movie, but rather as a substantive and philosophical examination of why we need heroes, and then when we need them, what they mean.

IGN Movies Star Rating: *****
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Postby MovieWes » Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:20 pm

Heath Ledger delivers brilliantly as the Joker

Friday June 27 6:34 AM ET


The buzz over Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" for the last several months was justified. With his final full film role, Ledger delivers what may be remembered as the finest performance of his career.

A press screening of the "Batman Begins" sequel Thursday night had the audience cackling along with Ledger's Joker, a depraved creature utterly without conscience whom the late actor played with gleeful anarchy.

At times sounding like a cross between tough guy James Cagney in a gangster flick and Philip Seymour Hoffman's fastidious Truman Capote, Ledger elevates Batman's No. 1 nemesis to a place even Jack Nicholson did not take him in 1989's "Batman."

Nicholson's Joker was campy and clever. Ledger's Joker is an all-out terror, definitely funny but with a lunatic moral mission to drag all of Gotham, the city Batman thanklessly protects, down to his own dim assessment of humanity.

Spewing alternate personal histories for how he got the horrible scars on his face, the Joker hides behind distorted clown makeup that looks like a chalk drawing left out in the rain.

The Joker masterminds a series of escalating abductions, assassination attempts, murders and bombings, all aimed at calling out Batman (Christian Bale) and proving to the tormented vigilante hero that they are two sides of the same coin.

"You complete me," the Joker tells Batman, dementedly borrowing Tom Cruise's sappy romantic line from "Jerry Maguire."

Long before Ledger's death in January from an accidental prescription drug overdose, his collaborators on "The Dark Knight" had been describing his performance as a new high in the art of villainy for a comic-book adaptation.

Director Christopher Nolan, reuniting with "Batman Begins" star Bale, told The Associated Press earlier this year that Ledger came through with precisely what he had envisioned for this take on the Joker, "a young, anarchic presence, somebody who is genuinely threatening to the establishment."

"It was though they'd taken the Joker and all the colors, everything of it, and just kind of put him through a Turkish prison for a decade or so," Bale told the AP. "It's like he's gone through that personal hell to come out being this, if you can even call him mad, at the end here."

A best-actor Academy Award nominee for "Brokeback Mountain," Ledger has earned fresh Oscar buzz for "The Dark Knight," which could land him in the supporting-actor race.

Running just over two and a half hours, "The Dark Knight" is a true crime epic. Throughout, the Joker's bag of tricks is bottomless, twisted to the point of horror-flick sick.

"Some men aren't looking for anything logical," Michael Caine's butler Alfred tells Bruce, who's trying to decipher the Joker's motives. "Some men just want to watch the world burn."

Come July 18, when "The Dark Knight" lands in theaters, the world will be watching Ledger burn up the screen.
"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 rolotomasi99 » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:49 pm

Zahveed wrote:I've never read a review of a review before.

:laugh:

for some reason i laughed so hard when i read your comment. my coworkers always wonder how i can find "work" so amusing. :D
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Postby Zahveed » Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:16 am

I've never read a review of a review before.
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Postby OscarGuy » Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:00 am

Here's what WENN reported. I didn't read the review because I AM afraid of plot spoilers, but this is what he says:

Top Film Critic: 'Ledger's Joker Is Oscar Worthy'
26 June 2008 6:36 PM, PDT


One of America's most revered film critics has started championing Heath Ledger for a posthumous Oscar in his review of the tragic actor's final completed film.

In his critique of The Dark Knight, Rolling Stone's Peter Travers calls Ledger's portrayal of The Joker "mad-crazy-blazing brilliant." He goes on to write, "It's typical of Ledger's total commitment to films as diverse as Brokeback Mountain and I'm Not There that he does nothing out of vanity or the need to be liked.

"Ledger's Joker has no gray areas - he's all rampaging id. He creates a Joker for the ages."

Ledger, who died from an accidental drug overdose in January, takes on The Joker role which Jack Nicholson portrayed in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film. The Dark Knight hits cinema screens next month.

And Travers in convinced Ledger is bound for Oscar gold: "If there's a movement to get him the first posthumous Oscar since Peter Finch won for 1976's Network, sign me up."
Wesley Lovell

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Postby Penelope » Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:24 pm

Although I've never been a Batman fan, I must admit I'm more eager to see this film than any of the previous installments, primarily to see Ledger's last complete performance but also because--based on the trailer--it clearly is Chicago fronting for Gotham City--many famous buildings and streets are clearly recognizable.
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Postby Zahveed » Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:32 pm

I'm aware Travers has a tendency to over-exaggerate and, in this case at least, give away major plot points - but I'm just absolutely pumped to see this damn movie. GAH!!!
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Postby Mister Tee » Wed Jun 25, 2008 3:21 pm

Peter Travers in full-on gush.


The Dark Knight

Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

RS: 3.5of 4 Stars Average User Rating: 4of 4 Stars
Heads up: a thunderbolt is about to rip into the blanket of bland we call summer movies. The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan's absolute stunner of a follow-up to 2005's Batman Begins, is a potent provocation decked out as a comic-book movie. Feverish action? Check. Dazzling spectacle? Check. Devilish fun? Check. But Nolan is just warming up. There's something raw and elemental at work in this artfully imagined universe. Striking out from his Batman origin story, Nolan cuts through to a deeper dimension. Huh? Wha? How can a conflicted guy in a bat suit and a villain with a cracked, painted-on clown smile speak to the essentials of the human condition? Just hang on for a shock to the system. The Dark Knight creates a place where good and evil — expected to do battle — decide instead to get it on and dance. "I don't want to kill you," Heath Ledger's psycho Joker tells Christian Bale's stalwart Batman. "You complete me." Don't buy the tease. He means it.

The trouble is that Batman, a.k.a. playboy Bruce Wayne, has had it up to here with being the white knight. He's pissed that the public sees him as a vigilante. He'll leave the hero stuff to district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) and stop the DA from moving in on Rachel Dawes (feisty Maggie Gyllenhaal, in for sweetie Katie Holmes), the lady love who is Batman's only hope for a normal life.

Everything gleams like sin in Gotham City (cinematographer Wally Pfister shot on location in Chicago, bringing a gritty reality to a cartoon fantasy). And the bad guys seem jazzed by their evildoing. Take the Joker, who treats a stunningly staged bank robbery like his private video game with accomplices in Joker masks, blood spurting and only one winner. Nolan shot this sequence, and three others, for the IMAX screen and with a finesse for choreographing action that rivals Michael Mann's Heat. But it's what's going on inside the Bathead that pulls us in. Bale is electrifying as a fallibly human crusader at war with his own conscience.

I can only speak superlatives of Ledger, who is mad-crazy-blazing brilliant as the Joker. Miles from Jack Nicholson's broadly funny take on the role in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, Ledger takes the role to the shadows, where even what's comic is hardly a relief. No plastic mask for Ledger; his face is caked with moldy makeup that highlights the red scar of a grin, the grungy hair and the yellowing teeth of a hound fresh out of hell. To the clown prince of crime, a knife is preferable to a gun, the better to "savor the moment."

The deft script, by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, taking note of Bob Kane's original Batman and Frank Miller's bleak rethink, refuses to explain the Joker with pop psychology. Forget Freudian hints about a dad who carved a smile into his son's face with a razor. As the Joker says, "What doesn't kill you makes you stranger."

The Joker represents the last completed role for Ledger, who died in January at 28 before finishing work on Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. It's typical of Ledger's total commitment to films as diverse as Brokeback Mountain and I'm Not There that he does nothing out of vanity or the need to be liked. If there's a movement to get him the first posthumous Oscar since Peter Finch won for 1976's Network, sign me up. Ledger's Joker has no gray areas — he's all rampaging id. Watch him crash a party and circle Rachel, a woman torn between Bale's Bruce (she knows he's Batman) and Eckhart's DA, another lover she has to share with his civic duty. "Hello, beautiful," says the Joker, sniffing Rachel like a feral beast. He's right when he compares himself to a dog chasing a car: The chase is all. The Joker's sadism is limitless, and the masochistic delight he takes in being punched and bloodied to a pulp would shame the Marquis de Sade. "I choose chaos," says the Joker, and those words sum up what's at stake in The Dark Knight.

The Joker wants Batman to choose chaos as well. He knows humanity is what you lose while you're busy making plans to gain power. Every actor brings his A game to show the lure of the dark side. Michael Caine purrs with sarcastic wit as Bruce's butler, Alfred, who harbors a secret that could crush his boss's spirit. Morgan Freeman radiates tough wisdom as Lucius Fox, the scientist who designs those wonderful toys — wait till you get a load of the Batpod — but who finds his own standards being compromised. Gary Oldman is so skilled that he makes virtue exciting as Jim Gordon, the ultimate good cop and as such a prime target for the Joker. As Harvey tells the Caped Crusader, "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain." Eckhart earns major props for scarily and movingly portraying the DA's transformation into the dreaded Harvey Two-Face, an event sparked by the brutal murder of a major character.

No fair giving away the mysteries of The Dark Knight. It's enough to marvel at the way Nolan — a world-class filmmaker, be it Memento, Insomnia or The Prestige — brings pop escapism whisper-close to enduring art. It's enough to watch Bale chillingly render Batman as a lost warrior, evoking Al Pacino in The Godfather II in his delusion and desolation. It's enough to see Ledger conjure up the anarchy of the Sex Pistols and A Clockwork Orange as he creates a Joker for the ages. Go ahead, bitch about the movie being too long, at two and a half hours, for short attention spans (it is), too somber for the Hulk crowd (it is), too smart for its own good (it isn't). The haunting and visionary Dark Knight soars on the wings of untamed imagination. It's full of surprises you don't see coming. And just try to get it out of your dreams.

PETER TRAVERS


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