Joel Schumacher

Batman and Robin

Let’s get this on the table right from the start – I hate Batman Returns. If I were to rank every Batman film in order of preference – including the 1966 film based on the Adam West TV series – Returns would easily bring up the rear. It is so terrible that I’m astounded that it not only never turns up on “Worst Comic Book Movies Ever Made” lists, but that there are some people who defend it as the best of the series. I’ve long thought it’s not only a bad Batman movie but a straight-up bad movie in general. A recent article on Uproxx nailed so much of what I’ve long hated about the film. I think their list of 15 points is padded with a few jokey items that don’t totally count, but it utterly pegs the nonsensical nature of the Penguin’s backstory, the randomness of his plan to run for mayor, and the overall WTF-ery of Max Schreck. It also indicts Batman on charges of senseless, gratuitous murder (everyone who called for Zack Snyder’s head after Man of Steel needs to go after director Tim Burton 17 years ago) and the laundry list of plot contrivances that even a half-attentive viewer should spot. Beyond all of that, I’ve just never liked Burton’s conception of the Penguin. The gentleman criminal of the comics is turned into a deranged former circus freak who spews bile and bites noses. It’s a much more egregious warping of the comic forebearer than just about anything […]

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fd-3

What better way to celebrate Oscar night than to post about a movie that should have received a bunch of Academy Award nominations and didn’t get a single one. Yes, 1993 was a great year for film, but Joel Schumacher‘s Falling Down had one of the finest performances each from Michael Douglas and Robert Duvall and an exceptional, memorable script from actor Ebbe Roe Smith. It’s a shame this Los Angeles odyssey, which turns 20 years old this Tuesday, wasn’t honored enough then and certainly isn’t talked about enough today. It’s a cinematic rant that would never be released by a major Hollywood studio now (though an indie like Magnolia might, a la God Bless America), and it features an antihero lead with an image that few stars would pull off ever (Douglas’s crew cut was ridiculed enough in the press then — I can only imagine the field day the blogosphere would have with something like that).

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Culture Warrior

Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises (and other Christopher Nolan films). Christopher Nolan is the first director to make more than two Batman films. In the past, a second Batman film has provided a space for filmmakers to explore their excesses. In the case of Batman Returns, Tim Burton was able to further develop a vision of Gotham as an elaborate fairy tale. Batman & Robin was Joel Schumacher’s venue for exploring Batman as full-blown camp. For Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight manifested a mammoth vision of the summer superhero blockbuster by way of Jules Dassin and Michael Mann, where the Gotham setting gave way to an intricate, sprawling matrix of a metropolis that contains an eternal struggle between order, chaos, and every gray gradation in between. Until Nolan released The Dark Knight Rises, however, a Batman story reaching a third and final act was without precedent in the hero’s manifestations within the moving image. Not only has no previous director articulated a vision of the Caped Crusader in three parts, but no film, serial, or television show has attempted to bring a definitive end to their particular version of the superhero’s arc. The Batman of the moving image is one that largely exists in perpetuity. That Nolan has attempted a completist, closed vision of the Batman universe is relatively anomalous. Despite The Dark Knight Rises’s virtues and shortcomings (and the film has both of these in spades), perhaps the major reason for the film’s comparably […]

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Culture Warrior

Enduring cultural figures like Batman endure precisely because of the slight but notable changes they incur over time. Batman has had a long history in the moving image, and while the character has maintained both the central conceit of being a crime-fighting detective, the cinematic Batman of seventy years ago bears little resemblance to the Batman we’re familiar with today. The character and his myth have been interpreted with variation by a multitude of creative persons other than Bob Kane and Bill Finger. In the moving image, Batman has been embodied by a range of actors including Robert Lowery, Adam West, and George Clooney, and Batman has been realized by directors and showrunners prone to various tastes and aesthetic interpretations like William Dozier and Christopher Nolan. While Batman is perhaps best-known by a non-comic-astute mass culture through the many blockbuster feature films made about him, including this summer’s hotly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises, the character’s cinematic origins are rooted in the long-dead format of the movie serial. Batman first leapt off the page in a 15-part serial made in 1943 titled Batman and another six years later titled Batman and Robin. These serials did not influence Batman’s later cinematic iterations realized by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher as much as they inspired Batman’s representation on television. Batman’s presence in film serials and on television have had a decisive and important impact in terms of how mass audiences perceive the Batman of feature films. At the same time, these serials […]

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Jemaine in Men in Black 3

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column born exactly one year ago today. And it’s very happy to still be around and well on its way to taking over the planet. It is convinced that it will have a very productive 2012 in that area, especially once humanity’s reign of terror ends later this year. In the mean time, it would like to thank you all for reading. Now enough of that mushy stuff, lets do the news. We begin this evening with an image of biker Jemaine Clement in Men in Black III. He’s playing an alien biker who turns out to be the villain in this time-traveling storyline…. And we wonder why that movie has had so many production problems? Either way, I’ll watch Jemaine Clement eat soap if I have to, as that guy is quite funny.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s sorry that it didn’t send flowers. How was it supposed to know that it was your birthday? It’s only a nightly movie news column.. We being this evening with an image of Joss Whedon directing the shit out of The Avengers alongside Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson. It’s part of a group of images that hit the web this week. In moving images news, reports are now saying that a trailer for The Avengers will drop on Tuesday, October 11. They just had to beat the new iPhone to the punch, didn’t they?!

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As Hollywood continues to suck the blood out of 1980’s and 1990’s cinema to appease their hungry gods and their demands for still more crimson liquid, news on yet another remake has come to life. And, whereas this morning’s news about a Romancing the Stone remake had me chomping and gnashing and damning people I’ve never met, I can’t say that I entirely hate this newest idea, particularly because it comes pre-packaged not with a pie in the sky list of possible lead actors, but with a genre-appropriate screenwriter. Talented, inventive writing! How about that! Sony has just signed Source Code scribe Ben Ripley to a development deal to write “a contemporary reimagining” of Joel Schumacher‘s Flatliners. The original film hit theaters in 1990 with one of the most awesomely nineties-era casts to ever gather in service for a sci-fi flick about kinda dead people. It starred Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts and William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon as medical students who begin to experiment with near-death experiences to see just what’s on the other side. Of course, there are consequences to having your heart stopped repeatedly to get a glimpse at a realm that the living aren’t meant to see. Who knew? Not much else is known about the direction Ripley will take the film, but the writer has already proven himself adept at traversing both experiences and locations by way of the human mind and its perceptions, so Flatliners seems like a perfect fit. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe not all […]

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With the Toronto International Film Festival mere weeks away, cinephiles everywhere are prepping to ship off to America’s hat for ten days of films and fun, all fueled by bagged milk and and trademark Canadian politeness. TIFF has already established itself as North America’s premiere film festival (duking it out with Sundance for top billing), but this year, the festival’s programmers have truly outdone themselves when it comes to putting together a drool-worthy schedule. This year’s TIFF has already announced the bulk of their lineup, including The Ides of March and Moneyball and their documentary and genre picks, but they now round out their programming with some final and spectacular picks.

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For a film with Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman to get theatrically dumped, it’s a pretty clear sign that the final product didn’t turn out so hot. The dumpee is Joel Schumacher‘s Trespass. That’s right, a Joel Schmucher film with two recognizable stars is getting rushed in and out of the market. Apparently, it will be hitting DVD and VOD three weeks after its October 14th theatrical release. VideoEta already has the home video release date listed as November 1st. Millennium picked up the film about a month ago and even with the hit and miss star power involved, one would think it would get a bigger release than this.

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Joel Schumacher jumps around from genre to genre whether he succeeds in them or not, but some of his best work is in the world of thrillers. Movies like Flatliners, The Client and A Time to Kill are at the top of his personal best list, so hopefully finding that tension again will churn out a winner. According to Variety, Schumacher is attached to direct The Hive. Written by Thirteen Ghosts screenwriter Richard D’Ovidio, the story focuses on a 911 operator who has to confront a killer from her past in order to protect a little girl. Schumacher may have struggled to find the plot in the past few years – with Twelve and Blood Creek (starring Superman!) – but his forthcoming Nic Cage-starring Trespass is set for release this September, so we’ll get to see if he’s still got what it takes to make a solid thriller. Statistically speaking, he’s bound to be due a good one soon, right?

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Movies We Love

“Isn’t it funny? You hear a phone ring and it could be anybody. But ringing phone has to be answered, doesn’t it?” I don’t think there is anyone out there who doesn’t agree at this point that Joel Schumacher has lost his edge. But before falling of the face of the earth with films like The Phantom of the Opera and The Number 23, he delivered what would be his last great film: The 2003 morality thriller Phone Booth. Stu Shepard is a publicist working in New York City, and he’s everything except a decent human being. From his wife, to his “girlfriend” and his personal assistant, Stu takes advantage of everyone and everything at his disposal. Little did he know how everything was going to change once he picked up the phone today.

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keifer-sutherland-1

Joel Schumacher, remembered most for alienating Batman fans in the mid-90s, has set his cast for the upcoming Twelve, based off a novel by young writer Nick McDonell.

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Ten Superhero Movie Mistakes

The biggest superhero mistakes that Hollywood seems to finally be avoiding this Summer. Don’t worry – we mention the rubber nipples.

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The History of Batman in Cinema

No other superhero has changed faces or directions more, for better or worse, than the Caped Crusader. Batman’s long strange trip through film is a tale of success, followed by a hellacious fall. But as Alfred would remind us, “Why do we fall,sir? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

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