Heath Ledger

Hallucinaut

The first time I recall Terry Gilliam‘s name being used to sell me on a movie it was City of Lost Children, but that was through a critic blurb making a comparison between the Brazil director and City‘s Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro. Prior to that, though, he’d actually lent his name as a presenter for their Delicatessen. I might not have discovered those movies without the endorsement. Later, Gilliam also put his name in a similar manner on Bill Plympton’s Idiots and Angels. As a Gilliam fan, I fell in love with Jeunet’s work immediately, while I’d already been into Plympton and now had more reason to appreciate the animation legend. I don’t know that Gilliam attached his name to anything before, between or after those two — I’m not counting the BBC TV adaptation of the book The Last Machine: Early Cinema and the Birth of the Modern World, because he also appears in the series. He does, however, have two executive producer credits on upcoming movies, a live-action fantasy from Oscar-nominated animators Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski called The White Circus, and an animation-plus-puppetry steampunk feature called 1884: Yesterday’s Future. Now there’s another project we have to look forward to based on Gilliam’s support: Hallucinaut.

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Last night a bunch of critics in the UK were treated to an early screening of Skyfall, and while nobody invited any of our diehard 007 junkies, I figured it’s worth our while to take a look at the first reactions to the new James Bond blockbuster. To do so, I’m using the recent breakdown of elements by one of FSR’s resident Bond experts, Kevin Carr, in order to dissect the reviews and highlight their takes on each individual ingredient. What about overall opinions? It seems they’re generally of a simple consensus, that Skyfall is not only a great return for the series following the disappointing Quantum of Solace but it may be one of the best Bond installments yet. This feat is achieved, apparently, in director Sam Mendes‘s balance of serious and nostalgic tone, brought about with a script (by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and John Logan) pays tribute to the past films and franchise conventions while still also delivering a lot of fresh ideas. And Roger Deakins‘s cinematography sounds like a real highlight of the film — even Oscar-worthy, according to some critics. Check out what the reviews (linked at the bottom of the page) have to say about Bond’s fit with the 10 main ingredients of a 007 film after the break.

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The Dark Knight Interrogation Scene

  So far this week, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Looking back at the contemporary films featuring the one and only Batman, we’ve thus far uncovered three of the Scenes We Love most. This includes seeing Bruce Wayne turn into Batman in Batman Returns, witnessing Gotham’s first meeting with the Tumbler in Batman Begins and seeing 1989 Batman toss 1989 The Joker off of a very tall church. And now we’re down to the last two slots on our list. Number two comes from The Dark Knight and is the last scene on our list to actually involve Batman himself. You’ll see what I’m talking about tomorrow, of course. And boy, does it involve Batman. Somewhere inside the 152-minute runtime of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight exists a single scene that acts as a microcosm of every theme that exists in the story he’s trying to tell. The balance between order and chaos, the city-wide war game between Batman (Christian Bale) and The Joker (Heath Ledger). It all comes to a head when they meet face to face (or more appropriately, face-to-table) in an interrogation room. This is one of many moments where Heath Ledger earned his Oscar, and is perhaps one of the great square-offs between hero and villain that has ever been committed to film.

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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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Boiling Point

This isn’t going to be some touchy-feely deal on how to come to grips with death, because, as you may recall, I think most people overreact to celebrity deaths and for the most part you should just man the hell up and deal with it. Not that you actually have anything to deal with, since you were about as close to any celebrity as you are to the mailman. Less so, even. But if you want touched and felt up, come see me in San Diego later this week. I’ll do you right. But that would be a rehash of my feelings if I just harped on you about growing a decent sack of testicles and not getting all sad faced that someone you never met and someone you never knew (they’re actors, after all, portraying fake characters) has passed on. I mentioned it briefly in this boiling point about things I hate and fellow Reject Kevin Carr dubbed the overflow of emotion the “Heathgasm.” So just what the hell is this about?

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Just as the fears of global cataclysm at the end of the last century fueled films like Deep Impact and Armageddon, the ticking clock to December 21, 2012 has led to more end-of-the-world movies that rely on something larger than a zombie outbreak or a deadly contagion (although those have been recently popular as well). The latest entry into Hollywood’s obsession with the Earth’s last days is the apocalyptic rom-com Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and if the Mayans were right, that might very well be the last one made. Film School Rejects responds to your concerns about the end of the world, as evidenced by the Apocalypse Soon feature currently running on this site. While you’re catching up on these films to see before the end of the world, we wondered who would be the best people to spend that time with. Steve Carell’s character gets to spend the end of the world with Keira Knightley, and here are some cinematic characters with whom we’d like to spend our last days.

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Over Under - Large

Brokeback Mountain had the highest opening weekend per screen average in 2005, and it went from opening in only five theaters to playing wide all over the world by the end of its run. Then, when award season rolled around, it garnered all sorts of acclaim, getting awards for best picture from multiple outlets, Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director, and it even got recognition from GLAAD for being the year’s most outstanding film. Pretty much it was embraced by everyone as being groundbreaking and important, and it saved Ang Lee’s butt after he pissed everyone off by making The Hulk. Weekend came out just this last September, but you might not remember it because not many people ended up checking it out. By the time it left theaters it had only made a domestic gross of  $484,592. Ouch. And while this movie also got some love from GLAAD, it was ignored by all of the mainstream awards shows like the Oscars and the Golden Globes. A cultural phenomenon it wasn’t.

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Culture Warrior

Famed British filmmaker Mike Leigh recently received his fifth screenwriting nomination for Another Year. Another Oscar nomination for a highly celebrated filmmaker should be surprising to no one except, in this special case, for the fact that precisely zero of Leigh’s nominated films actually use screenplays. Leigh’s films are constructed through a painstaking and long-term process of creating characters and scenarios with his cast and creative team. His films aren’t improvised in the sense of, say, a Christopher Guest film, where a basic framework exists and actors are allowed to ad-lib and play with(in) that paradigm. Leigh’s films are instead created from the outset through an involved collaborative process. Leigh’s regular team of actors bring to each individual film their construction of a character from scratch. Details arise eventually through this collaboration, and the final work projected onscreen is the end result of a long selection of various possibilities. The only reason Leigh’s films even qualify for screenwriting awards is because of the written script that Leigh creates after the end product has been made. The physical screenplay, in this case, is nothing more than a transcription written after the fact, or a record of a much larger event (whose details are largely unknown to the audience). While Leigh is the sole nominee for Another Year, the creation of the script (or, in this case, the transcript) is just as indebted to the creative efforts of other individuals involved. Stars Jim Broadbent and Lesley Manville are, in a sense, just […]

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as CriterionCollector85 and JP2themax in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, they puzzle over how to define a Best Supporting Role. What does that support mean? Or look like? Does it matter how long someone is on screen or how big a catalyst they are? Since the Oscars don’t seem to know…what the hell is a supporting role anyway?

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down and sees if Daybreakers, Leap Year and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus can make the grade.

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As a part of FSR’s Decade in Review I’ve been tasked with coming up a list of the most memorable, landmark performances since 2000.

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On this particular night of Fantastic Fest, at this particular secret screening, we witnessed something spectacular in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.

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dr-parnassus-ledger

Sony is inches away from scooping up Terry Gilliam’s inventive flick, and they might even send it to theaters this year. Doesn’t it make you want to watch the trailer again?

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Where the Wild Things Are - Header

Prepare to lose your geek minds and have your inner child take over, because this new Wild Things featurette will revert you back to 6-years old.

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heathledgerparnassus

A clip of Heath Ledger in his last performance was shown last night at Comic-Con, and it’s now online for everyone’s eyeballs to behold.

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Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

Wait, The Dark Knight still wins awards?

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Not pictured: Heath Ledger

Arriving with the loud crash of silence, the MTV Movie Awards seem to have been taken over by the Disney Corporation this year. Most of the awards seem fair, but Best High School Musical Movie seems to be a loaded category. Complete winners inside!

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Heath Ledger in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

In the wake of its appearance at the Cannes Film Festival this past week, three new clips from Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus have appeared online via the French site Comme Au Cinema.

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parnassus-new-1

New photos have been released from Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, including new shots of Heath Ledger as well as his replacements, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law.

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joker-wall-sticker

I was about ready to just feature this product as part of our ongoing series of Stuff You Need, but then logic started to take hold.

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