Batman Begins

Pulp-Fiction-Diner

We all love to quote our favorite movies. Even my one-year-old son just started uttering “I’ve got it!” all the time, having picked up the phrase from his most-watched movie, Dumbo. I don’t know that it’s the most original or noteworthy piece of dialogue, but he hasn’t seen much yet. Usually the lines we remember and recite are those that stick out for a reason. They don’t always have to be something never heard before, as the quote’s notability could be all about the way it’s delivered by the actor saying it, though most of the time it’s a line specific and exclusive to a certain movie. Even if a hundred scripts since have borrowed “I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” we all know it comes from The Wizard of Oz. Aside from the fact that it gives us something with which to represent our fandom or appreciation of a movie, though, original dialogue isn’t that important. A lot of the time it’s really clever and stylized and therefore wouldn’t likely be found in a film with characters intended to sound natural. Imagine a serious realist drama where someone suddenly said something like “Fasten your seat belts… It’s going to be a bumpy night” or “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” or “I feel the need — the need for speed.” Sometimes original, quotable dialogue is so unnatural that it makes some people cringe, as in the cases of Juno and Napoleon Dynamite. Other times it might […]

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Casino Royale

You’d think it would be self-evident that there’s no way to tell whether a movie is good or bad until actually seeing it, but it’s not always the case. Although it’s increasing in fervor lately, the anticipatory intensity leading up to a movie’s release has always swayed movie fans’ perception one way or the other. Sometimes the pre-conceived notions of a movie’s quality are accurate, sometimes things thought to be sure-thing masterpieces are anything but. Sometimes, things everyone spends months dreading turn out to be terrific; the stellar reviews for The LEGO Movie indicate that it may very well be one of them, and even the Robocop remake, getting some positive early notices, might be one as well. Here are five more movies we all covered our heads for before seeing the light.

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Cillian Murphy Batman

If you’ve ever wondered what Cillian Murphy would have looked like as Batman, wonder no more. The above image (via Batman-News) is from the new Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition box set, and they’ve got him as Bruce Wayne, too. Somewhere, Tim Burton is jumping with glee. Now, if you’ve ever wondered whether the Swear To Me voice was always in the mix, wonder no more again. As the below screen test video proves, Christian Bale was asking where the drugs were in that now-signature growl from the very beginning (although I wonder if Kevin Conroy has something to say about what Christopher Nolan is claiming here). Just think. In ten years, we’ll be seeing shots like this of Josh Brolin and video like this of Ben Affleck surface. But who will we be watching in the Batsuit in twenty?

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IntroActorMods

These days you’re not a true thespian until you’ve gone AIDS skinny at least once for a role or, failing that, Stay Puft fat. Researching the many time actors have opted to change their bodies for a role, it became clear how many lists like this seem to pop up on the internet. Almost all these lists rate the change by how much was lost or gained. In an attempt to be different, I’ve decided not to judge this by a number but rather how much apparent pain they went though. It’s more fun that way, and sometimes it involves more than one movie. To give you an example of what I mean, check out the starting point:

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tyler-perry-as-madea

  Another week bites the dust, and here we are to digest what we’ve swallowed over the last seven-day stretch. It hasn’t been a very monumental week. Mostly we complained about Hollywood stretching its previewing potential to death with something now termed a “tweaser.” And we prepared the world for another release date crowded with unbearable crap (unless you’re lucky to see some of the indies, foreigns and docs we consider worth seeing). Not that we don’t have the usual contrarian or defensive perspectives going to bat for all that junk. These cases of labeling mostly panned productions as underrated or simply “not that bad” or at least “having some good ideas” was also interesting following a huge response at the beginning of the week to the latest Criticwire Survey asking writers, “What movie widely regarded as a cinematic masterpiece do you dislike (or maybe even hate)?” That turned into a discussion of the difference between something being bad or just disliked and some semantics about the term “overrated.” Surely there’s something to be said about the term “underrated,” as well. Anyway, once again the Reject Recap features ten significant stories — news, features, lists, opinions, etc. — that people were talking about this past week. As usual there’s a mix of FSR content and outside links. And we’ve additionally found some videos worth sharing, too, both this week being recut trailers playing with genre (this meme will never get old). Start your weekend right after the jump.

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Entertainment news is always going on about the highest paid actor or biggest grossing film – but does anyone actually find that stuff interesting? If you’re going to talk about records being broken they should at least involve a car flying through the air or something. Anything that isn’t just about how much money was exchanged from one thing to another thing. So in that interest, I did a little searching for movie records that I thought might be cool to hear about. In no particular order, here are some various bars that were set in the movie-making world.

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Not to take anything away from the fine people who create digital effects in films, but there are certain things that just look better when done for real. One of which has and always will be chases, crashes, and explosions. Trains are a solid example of this, so I’ve opted to share what I consider to be the best train crashes done primarily through practical methods such as model work or – in some cases – by just blowing up a damn train.

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Aural Fixation - Large

With temperatures on the rise and Comic-Con officially over, there is one place comic book fans can still find solace in the middle of these hot summer months – your local movie theaters. Christopher Nolan is poised to complete his epic Batman trilogy with the highly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises, set to hit theaters this weekend. Not only will Christian Bale be returning as Gotham’s caped crusader, he will once again be joined by his trusty butler, Alfred (Michael Caine), his business manager/tech wizard, Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), and Batman champion, Commission Gordon (Gary Oldman) – to name a few. And in true Nolan fashion, some other faces familiar to the director’s work will help round out this final battle with Inception alums Tom Hardy taking on the villain role as Bane and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as hopeful police officer, John Blake. But Nolan’s affinity for working with those he has before does not stop at the cast. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight composer Hans Zimmer (whose score for Inception was one of the most memorable of 2010) returns to finish out the trilogy as well. While most of us will have to wait until this Friday (or for you late-nighters, Thursday at midnight) to see the conclusion of this heroic tale, Zimmer’s score (now available) takes us there now.

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Christopher Nolan

Born in July of 1970, Christopher Nolan was always sort of made for Summer. As an adult, that promise has been fulfilled with blockbuster spectacles in the hot months, but it all started when he was a child. It was then that he picked up the drug that became an obsession for the rest of his life: a Super 8 camera. The result of those early ambitions and the study of storytelling in college led him to create shorts, build a feature in Memento that drew acclaim, and to embark on a studio career that has blended intelligence with popular culture. He’s invaded our dreams, altered a genre and made magic. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a man who is waiting for a train…

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Over Under - Large

Ever since names like Spielberg and Lucas brought us the first summer blockbusters back in the 70s, film fans have slowly morphed into film fanatics. And perhaps the pinnacle of this phenomenon is the cult of personality that has developed around Christopher Nolan since he gave us his wildly successful interpretation of the Batman universe, The Dark Knight. Whether it was because of Heath Ledger’s electric performance as the Joker, Nolan’s realist approach to the material, or the sheer scope of the action, something about this Batman movie captured the attention and adoration of hordes of fans in a way that no other adaptation of the character’s story has before; and Batman has been one of the most popular fictional characters in our shared culture for at least half a century now. But one thing about The Dark Knight that I don’t hear mentioned all that much anymore is that it wasn’t Nolan’s first go-around with the character. Everything that was paid off in that film was set up, three years earlier, in the director’s first attempt at tackling a superhero story, Batman Begins. Not only was this movie successful enough at the box office to spawn a very well funded sequel, but it’s the film that’s actually responsible for bringing us Nolan’s grounded and relatable vision of the character. This was the film that revitalized a property whose big screen potential had been tarnished, and it gets treated like it doesn’t even exist when fans gush over their love […]

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Culture Warrior

Part of the appeal of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films is that the basic conceit informing their aesthetic seems so natural. Batman is one of few major superheroes that isn’t actually a super-hero. Batman mythology, then, lends itself to a degree of plausibility more than, say, Superman or Spider-Man, so why not manifest a vision of Batman that embraces this particular aspect that distinguishes this character from most superhero mythologies? But realism has not been a characteristic that unifies Batman’s many representations in the moving image. Through the eyes of Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher, the Batman of tentpole studio filmmaking has occupied either a world of gothic architecture and shadowy noir, or one of schizophrenic camp. From 1989 to 1997, Batman was interpreted by visionary directors with potent aesthetic approaches, but approaches that did not necessarily aim to root the character within a landscape of exhaustive Nolanesque plausibility.

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Yesterday we began our countdown of Batman’s greatest cinematic moments by talking about Tim Burton and the way he always made Batman and Bruce Wayne look so effortlessly stylish. One bit of style that he always got right: The Batmobile. That thing was cherry, was it not? And for his turn, Christopher Nolan did as he’s done throughout his own trilogy, choosing function over form. But the introduction of The Tumbler into the streets of Gotham was no boring moment. In fact, with one somewhat cheesy line of dialogue from Gary Oldman’s then-Sergeant Gordon, it was off to the races with Batman’s coolest new toy. From Batman Begins, the number four scene on our week-long countdown is that big, badass Tumbler chase.

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The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Memento (2000) The Plot: Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) is a man with some problems. Foremost, he has an inability to formulate new memories, which means his entire life is dictated by his note taking abilities and his tattoo reminders. A close second is the fact that he’s hunting the man who murdered his wife.

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Killing Them Softly

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movies that’s been kickin’ ass and takin’ names since the sun came up, but for some reason it still waited until late at night to bring you all the movie news of the day. It’s eccentric like that. We begin tonight with an image of Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McNairy in Killing Them Softly, Andrew Dominik’s new film based on the adaptation of the novel “Cogan’s Trade.” They are but two of the badass names attached to said project, which includes Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and Sam Shepard, among others. Not bad.

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There’s certainly no better way to gear up for the highly anticipated final film of a wildly popular franchise than with a massive movie marathon that will likely test the limits of media consumption, so of course AMC Theatres is following up on their Ultimate Marvel Marathon with a Dark Knight Marathon on July 19th. Select theaters will show all three of Christopher Nolan‘s Batman franchise for a special marathon, kicking off with Batman Begins, leading into The Dark Knight, and likely finishing up with The Dark Knight Rises‘s midnight premiere. This announcement comes on the heels of the news (via ComingSoon) that TDKR will run 165 minutes (yes, that’s 2 hours and 45 minutes), making it the longest of Nolan’s Batman films and meaning that the full trilogy will clock in at 457 minutes (with Batman Begins running 140 minutes and The Dark Knight clocking in at 152 minutes, respectively). That’s over seven hours, guys. Bring snacks and comfy pants.

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Shaun of the Dead

We all know what it feels like when a film touches on events yet to come. Usually it’s the best when it’s something that you could only pick up on after already watching the film once before – it’s like a little inside joke you get to have with the filmmakers, a reward for sitting through the movie more than once. At times it’s not even the fact that it foreshadows event in the films, but rather that it’s so subtle that it takes a few goes to even pick up on. Other times are less subtle, but just as fun. This is probably going to have spoilers in it. Just to be clear.

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Culture Warrior

“If Michael Bay directed Raiders, the Ark would be opened in the first act, and people’s heads would explode through the rest of the film.” I don’t typically seek out wisdom from Twitter, but this below-140-character observation (made by @krishnasjenoi and retweeted by @ebertchicago) struck very close to something that’s been occupying my mind as we enter the fifth week of the summer movie season. Though the statement works better as a fun hypothetical critique than a contestable thesis (in other words, there’s no way we’ll ever really know, thank goodness), the sentiment feels relevant. Though the modern Hollywood blockbuster has been a staple of studios’ summer scheduling for almost forty years, the films that become blockbusters don’t look or feel very similar to the films of the 70s and 80s that somehow paradoxically led to today’s cavalcade of sequels, franchises, adaptations and remakes. Criticizing Hollywood’s creative crisis is nothing new. But with the mega-success of The Avengers and the continuing narrative of failure and disappointment that has thus far characterizes every major release since, it seems that this crisis has been put under a microscope. The moment where unprecedented success is the only kind of achievement Hollywood can afford and the well of decade-old franchises and toy companies become desperately mined for material is something we were warned about. But Hollywood’s creativity-crippling reliance on existing properties is not the only, or even the primary, problem faced by mass market filmmaking’s present moment. The bloated numbers sought after each and […]

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Shooting in downtown Chicago for Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman movie Man of Steel will begin on Wednesday, and local rag Chicago Business has scoops on some of the locations that will be used and what they will be doubling as. More specifically, while they’re not sure of the locations of any street shots, they know what building Snyder plans to use as the headquarters of Metropolis’ number one newspaper The Daily Planet. Apparently Chicago’s Board of Trade building will serve as the Planet building exteriors (with digitally inserted globe atop, I’m sure) and the interiors of the newspaper office will be filmed inside of the Wesley Willis Memorial Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower). These choices make a lot of sense, because the Board of Trade is a big imposing building that looks nice standing at the end of a street, and the Willis Tower is huge, so there’s probably plenty of room inside to be converted into movie sets. Eagle eyed Chicago enthusiasts or great big super hero nerds might have noticed that there’s a sweet little bit of trivia created by Snyder’s choice though. The Board of Trade looks so good as a big imposing building that it was also used as the headquarters for Wayne Enterprises in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise. Using the same building twice for two big superhero movies shouldn’t be a big deal; you slap a big W on it the first time, you put a big globe on it the second time, […]

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Last week’s discussion on the sex appeal of animated characters sparked a little offline controversy. Why did we forget to include sexy villains in our list, when everyone knows they can be just as mouthwatering? Now we could spend an entire novel talking about the awkward crushes we have on certain animated villains, just as we could in the opposite direction, however I’m more interested in the modern rejection of Hollywood’s traditional “uglying up” the bad guy. See, this is where movies have always lost me. A true villain, one who is charming, relies on henchmen, and has a bevy of beauties would never be a disgusting, rotted, warted-up mess. In fact, no matter how determined a villain is to get his or her way, their tinge of crazy (read: psychotic levels) often makes them more attractive to those sharing screen time.  This is probably why you feel the need to shower after watching anything starring Vincent Cassel. But recently mainstream films have taken a page out of the indie playbook and started making their villains just a touch more delicious. Movies.com’s Jenni Miller wrote earlier this week about the sexification of the rapist in next month’s Straw Dogs remake. She discusses her discomfort with the film’s marketing decision to highlight the sexiness of the gang of deviants and how the film’s “down home” feel will get lost with such good looking villains. I have to disagree. Although Alexander Skarsgard (Charlie) has made a career of playing a hot Viking […]

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as TheManFromWaco andTeenWlf2 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair questions what separates the wheat from the shit when it comes to reboots, prequels and movies capitalizing on name recognition in order to get ahead in the marketing game. What makes a prequel great? How can a reboot really succeed?

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