Batman

The Gray Ghost Sweating Bullets

Why Watch? Batman has probably inspired more fan films than any other character, but I appreciate this short film from J.L. Topkis and Matt Landsman because it moves beyond the typical cosplay action sequence by channeling a Batman television show that channeled the Batman serials. They take their inspiration from a 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series (aka the best Batman TV show ever) where young Bruce Wayne is shown watching a show called The Gray Ghost and, in the present-day as Batman, has to find a copy of the show in order to solve a copycat crime. As a bonus, Adam West voices the actor who plays the Gray Ghost in the Animated Series episode. Here, Topkis and Landsman have imagined the show within a show as a real adventure series, crafting a live-action hero who leaps into young Bruce Wayne’s life at exactly the right moment (with some Sin City-style CGI to help). To be fair, The Gray Ghost: The Lost Reel (or maybe it’s called Sweating Bullets?) is pure nostalgia and design with a blustery script that follows a formula blazed almost a century ago. That doesn’t stop it from being a lot of fun — an excellent distraction that makes me wish they’d made a longer short. One warning, though. The acting and fighting in it is stiff like a 1930s serial would be. Not the look-how-accurate-we’re-being version of serial parody that we’re used to, but legitimately broad and direct. Get on board with the homage, and you’ll have a swell time.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Tim Burton Batman

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Batman-1989-Logo

If you were around and old enough to know anything in the summer of 1989, you remember what a phenomenon the release of Batman was. Tim Burton‘s comic book movie was almost as significant to blockbuster history as Star Wars, only in a different way. The DC superhero adaptation was sort of a peak for Hollywood’s aims in the wake of the surprise game changer of 12 years prior. Warner Bros. went all out to sell Batman as an event long ahead of its June 23rd opening and then used that hype to in turn sell the world on Batman merchandising, especially to those who weren’t already hardcore fans. There’s very little about today’s blockbuster and fan culture that wasn’t around for Batman 25 years ago. Even the Internet was involved. To commemorate the anniversary of the movie that sent America into a frenzy of Batmania, I’m not going to highlight a bunch of scenes we love or controversially compare it preferably to The Dark Knight or champion Michael Keaton’s return to the cape and mask after he returns to the black and white stripes of Beetlejuice. Instead I’ve selected a bunch of my favorite ridiculous facts about Batman, many of which are mostly crazy for how similar the preconception and reception was way back then to what we commonly see with tentpoles today.

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Warner Bros. Entertainment

When Tim Burton’s Batman hit theaters 25 years ago, it was more than just a pivotal film in the superhero genre. It was a pivotal film in any genre — largely due to its phantasmagorical sets and vehicles. The 1989 vision of Gotham City, the Batmobile and the Batwing all sprang from the dark, fertile imagination of the film’s Oscar-winning production designer Anton Furst. Watch some of Furst’s earlier films and it’s easy to see how his and Burton’s aesthetics would play well with each other. For The Company of Wolves, Neil Jordan’s 1984 horrific take on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Furst created a world that merged storybook fantasy with gothic gloom. For Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, he created crumbling sets and morphed actual locations in the UK into a war-ravaged Vietnam. In Batman, Furst’s vision would synthesize fantasy and realism into a dystopia crawling with life. Like the Los Angeles of Blade Runner, Batman’s Gotham City is a retro-futurist hellscape. Its look is influenced by Art Deco, Streamline Moderne and Brutalist architecture. Batman’s stalking grounds are layered with trash and caked-on soot, giving it the feel of NYC at its sleaziest and most decadent. The best of times and the worst of times. It’s as if Furst took a once-gleaming dieselpunk metropolis and smeared it into the sticky floor of Travis Bickle’s taxi.

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Ben Affleck Batman

After all the consternation and fear, here is an absolutely stunning first look at Ben Affleck as Batman in Zack Snyder’s Batman vs Superman.  I shot this with my @Leica_Camera M Monochrom. #Batman #Batmobile #Gotham http://t.co/WPHKLxgBLM pic.twitter.com/p5DEf6fLzJ — ZackSnyder (@ZackSnyder) May 13, 2014 That’s a hell of a plug for Leica, yeah?

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Batman: Strange Days

Why Watch? Bruce Timm is one of those people who gets Batman. He’s got a marrow-deep understanding of who the character is, what he’s capable of, and what he evokes. Of course he’s also worked extensively with Batman for two decades. Since this year marks the 75th anniversary of the shadowy hero, Timm has animated a Casablanca-evoking short film that trades on horror classics (Mad Scientist, Monstrous Henchman, Kidnapped Damsel) while turning Batman into Sky Captain with 20% of the pastiche. The details are all important in this swift adventure. The fighting, the determination, the fear. Batman: Strange Days at once feels like it could play after a WWII newsreel and like it belongs firmly in the present. It’s also a nice reminder of why Bruce Wayne’s hometown is called Gotham. Now how about a new short starring Freakazoid? The people demand it. For now, enjoy this new/old Batman adventure.

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Tim Burton Batman

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Need For Speed Movie

Need for Speed will not be remembered fondly. If that seems unnecessarily cruel towards Need for Speed (which it does), it’s because the truth can be cruel sometimes. And it is the truth. The film currently holds a 23% on Rotten Tomatoes, and although it was projected to win the box office with a mediocre $25M, it only managed a paltry third place with $17.8M. Two weeks from now, Need for Speed will be naught but faded memory. But there’s one place where Need for Speed will continue to thrive: in the great argument why “video game movies suck” (and if that seems unnecessarily cruel, which it does, take it up with all the many many many articles using that exact phrasing). It’s no secret. Films based off of video games have a garbage rep; the most critically acclaimed one, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, scored a 44% on our foremost bulbous red fruit-based scale. Every other video game movie in history has scored in the thirties or below.

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david mazouz and camren bicondova

Young Master Wayne and Selina Kyle, AKA Catwoman, have been chosen for Fox’s Batman prequel, Gotham. David Mazouz will play the tragedy-stricken Bruce, shortly after the murder of his parents and now under the care of Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). Mazouz is best known for his role in Fox’s short-lived, ASCAP Award-winning sci-fi series Touch alongside Keifer Sutherland and Danny Glover. That show managed two seasons before being cancelled. Portraying pre-Catwoman Selina will be Camren Bicondova, a relative newcomer to Hollywood, whose major claim to fame is being a runner-up on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew with her group, 8 Flavahs. She has also appeared in small roles in the horror flick Girlhouse and Cinedigm’s dance drama Battlefield America. Bicondova’s role as Selina will be as another orphaned teenager, well on her way to master thief as an expert pickpocket living on the streets of Gotham.

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Watchmen (2009)

Some superheroes have their origins in ways unavailable to your average person. Batman and Iron Man rely on their own personal well-funded technology. Captain American is a result of a highly complex super soldier program. Thor is a space alien god, which could also be said for Superman. And someone like Ghost Rider or Jonah Hex has his origins in the supernatural. Still, there are plenty of superhero origins that rely on pure chance, often a result of a horrible accident. That got me thinking… could an industrial accident really turn you into a movie superhero?

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Batman 1989 Logo

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Adam West Batman

The morning’s best writing from around the movie website-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Batfleck

Try to picture this: it’s ten years from now, and Ben Affleck has shaken off the hatred he earned for signing up to play a superhero by carefully choosing his acting and directing projects. In a rebound of public opinion, he’s delivered several trenchant performances — fulfilling the potential he showed back in the 90s — and crafted several prestigious films that prove his salt as a storyteller. With that, welcome to 2013, Daredevil haters. It’s good to have you here.

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rejectrecap082413

This will go down in non-history as the week fanboys told Hollywood to argo fu… Actually, the fanboys are apparently doing more than just complaining and burning the Hollywood sign in effigy this time. There’s a petition on Change.org with more than 30,000 signatures. Just imagine if in this increasingly (faux) democratic entertainment industry that the public managed to pull enough sway to actually cancel a major studio casting choice. I presume Warner Bros. would pass on the bill in the form of a mandated crowdfunding campaign in which every signer of that petition has to pledge at least a buck towards buying Ben Affleck out of the presumably already filed contract they’ve made for him to do not only Man of Steel 2 but a number of other Justice League franchise films. Ten bucks if they want a souvenir t-shirt. Well, that portrayal, if nobody stops it, is two years down the line. Let’s focus on all the great, positively reviewed new films opening this weekend, like The World’s End, Short Term 12, You’re Next, Drinking Buddies and The Trials of Muhammad Ali (not yet reviewed), plus some expanding favorites all making this the best new movie weekend of the year. And in between showtimes as we spend the next two days in the cinema, let’s review all the other non-Bat-news and features FSR has covered since the last Reject Recap. Below you’ll find goodies on The Avengers, the Marx Brothers, Smokey and the Bandit and other awesome things […]

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Batman vs Superman

This week we answer the most important question of our time: how can a city the size of Detroit go bankrupt? It’s crazy, and after figuring that out in about three minutes, we then spend twenty trying to game out what Warners has planned for Batman vs. Superman before pitching actors we want to see take the cowl from Christian Bale. Plus, we’ve got an Interrogation Review of The Wolverine, and in case your brain is overwhelmed by things in capes, Geoff and screenwriter Brian Duffield explain what to do when you get an extreme case of writer’s block. You can follow  Brian Duffield (@brianduffield), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) for more fun stuff on a daily basis. And, as always, we welcome your feedback. Download Episode #26 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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The LEGO Movie

“The Lego Movie combines all your favorite pop-culture characters: Batman, Superman, The Green Lantern, (most likely) Hobbits and Harry Potter, all for one giant commercial for Lego!” Good thing for us, that’s not the animated picture directors Chris Miller, Chris McKay, and Phil Lord are making. A movie that literally has “Lego” in the title could easily be interpreted as just that, but at the film’s Comic-Con press conference, the three filmmakers stressed the actual movie is far from an ad. This was a project treated with a good deal of skepticism when it was announced, but after the trailer, it’s shown skeptics they’re not going to see the movie they were dreading. We learned plenty more about the film while in attendance at Comic-Con, so if you’re curious in how the film is more than a payed advertisement, read what the the three men had to say about Michael Bay, Morgan Freeman voicing a crazy wizard, and more.

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9472c4f524f8b3c7a452592e8a7325f6_large

Do you wonder why so many people are sooooooo obsessed with Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies? The new documentary Legends of the Knight may not directly address that specific question, but it does explore the ways in which the character resonates for so many people and inspires them to be stronger individuals. The fact that the Caped Crusader is just a regular guy (well, a regular rich guy) without any magical super powers who has experienced tragedy in his life apparently makes him more identifiable. This film will present stories of fans, including those with handicaps, for whom Batman is not just hero but also a motivational figure. “Batman has become contemporary mythology,” says the film’s producer/director Brett Culp in a press release. “We want to show how enduring stories like this shape us. Our goal is to inspire everyone on the planet who loves Batman to embody his spirit, engage with the world, and make a difference.  Together, we are Batman.”

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Batman Begins

Our good pals over at ScreenRant have introduced a little anarchy into the world by editing together a video that chronicles the entirety of Christopher Nolan‘s take on Batman in just 3 minutes. The plot beats and action moments they’ve left in to tell the story are almost as interesting as the stuff they left out in order to stay under the gun. Most noticeably absent is any hint of Bruce Wayne’s great romances. There are few snippets, but they’re under an ocean of acid-burnt faces and villains with strange hardware. It’s a bit of fun for a Tuesday though. Definitely meant for those who have seen the films (so, everyone) and can appreciate the condensed version of Gotham.  

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Drinking Games

You may have heard of the small independent film The Dark Knight Rises, which hit theaters this summer. Now, it’s out on DVD and Blu-ray, and also available in a box set of all the Nolanverse Batman movies. Bat-fans around the world can finally die happy in the Mayan apocalypse with the knowledge that they can have this movie in their Blu-ray collection. Of course, the film does run close to three hours, and in the privacy of your own home, it’s something that can be enjoyed with a drink in hand. You may not get as tipsy as Bane does with that opium-fueled mask he has, but with this drinking game, you can have even more fun as Gotham crumbles.

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