The Dark Knight Rises

Medium Cool tank

What if in the midst of the Ferguson protests, literally on the scene with actors intertwined with real demonstrators, someone was filming a fictional drama with a romantic plot? That would seem disrespectful, I’m sure, if only because those events have been centered around the death of an individual. It might be different if there was a Hollywood production filming in the middle of something less personal, like the Occupy Wall Street protests, as Warner Bros. had reportedly been considering doing for parts of The Dark Knight Rises. That didn’t happen, and maybe it never was supposed to, because that sounds like a logistical nightmare as far as release forms and such are concerned. Plus, in retrospect, it would have been an unfortunate cameo for the 99% given that the movie’s superhero comes off as anti-OWS, even if Christopher Nolan doesn’t mean to be critical of the movement. In spite of where the technology is at today, having a fictional film use real events as not only a backdrop but as onscreen background material is probably not possible. Sure, there’s better capability now of involving high-quality stealth cameras in something like a protest march or battlefield or other bit of history in the making, but the legalities have to be too much of a headache to deal with. We can navigate more easily through the crowds, but not through the paperwork. That is one of the reasons Haskell Wexler‘s Medium Cool, which Paramount Pictures released 45 years ago on this date, is so extremely cool. […]

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The Sting

The best part about faking your death has to be getting to decide how it will all go down. Instead of a bathroom heart attack, you can have fun with it and get mauled by a bear or spontaneously combust. The following characters know exactly what I’m talking about, as when it came time for someone to “die” they all had a bit of fun with it. Without a doubt, spoilers ensue, but even mentioning what movies they’re for would spoil them for you, so if you’re concerned at all, just don’t read.

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IntroSuperheroBeatdowns

The boring problem with almost every superhero is that if they existed in real life they would just win all the time. This is why we have super villains, of course, and this is why those super villains tend to get the upper hand at some point in the film. After all, what’s a good third act without some kind of obstacle to overcome? If your character can shoot fire from his or her nipples then the baddies better have some kind of ray gun that shoots ice pasties. Point is, we need a point where the hero gets their ass handed to them – something that some movies handle better than others. Here are eight of the darker moments where the hero hits rock bottom (usually in a pool of their own blood).

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IntroPrisons

Prison sounds like hell. You’re locked in one room, barely going outside while you are forced to sit around all day and like… read and watch TV and shit. I hear there are movie nights and exercise equipment as well. You’d probably get really fit, and hell – you’d be socializing for once in your life. Okay, when I describe it like that, prison sounds all right. In movies it varies, especially when the film doesn’t exactly take place in our own reality. They cane be comedic, nightmarish and, in some cases, musical. They can also be like hell. Here are the ones that look like the biggest pains to reside in – places where, in a world where you have to either get busy living or get busy dying, the latter would probably be best.

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Oscar2013 Stunts

No matter what you think about the Academy Awards (and there is whole wide spectrum of thought as to their relevance and accuracy) there is no question that The Oscars are the pinnacle of filmmaking honors. There isn’t any other organization, ceremony, or statue in the film industry that has quite the prestige. So, it should probably piss you off that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science doesn’t offer an award for Stunt Coordinators. Yep, you read that right. They don’t even get awards in that weird little untelevised pre-show thing that they do before the awards telecast. It’s not a passive exclusion either. Each year for more than two decades, the Academy has actively rejected the creation of an award for Stunt Coordinators. So, since The Academy doesn’t do these masters of cinematic mayhem any justice, we’re going to pretend that they do. Like our other Oscar Prediction pieces, we’ll offer some insight into how the (fictional) nominees were chosen and who we think will win (noted in red):

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The Dowager Countess

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly quarrel with the boundaries of good taste. It’s a nightly column that took some holiday time off, but it now back for its third (we think) season of rocking your world with links about entertainment, non-entertainment and other wordy pursuits in-between. Downton? Damn Near Killed Her – As you should already know if you reside on the Internet, Downton Abbey is back for its third season here in the United States of America. And as has been the case in the past, we just can’t get enough of that elegant British melodrama. If we had to place bets on what really connects Downton with its hip young American audience, we’d say that it has something to do with Dame Maggie Smith. See the following video as exhibit A.

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The Best Movie Trailers of 2012

Everyone knows you can’t judge a book by its cover, but were you aware that movies shouldn’t be judged by a trailer either? I know, seems counter-intuitive, but while the trailer advertises a feature the two aren’t interchangeable. Terrible trailers sometimes give way to fantastic films just as brilliant trailers sometimes reveal ridiculously bad ones. It’s a crap shoot really. The list below features twelve of our favorite trailers that premiered in 2012. Some of the movies turned out to be gems, others ended up being far less impressive and a few won’t be released until 2013, but all of them made us excited to watch one more movie…

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Culture Warrior on 2012

In this end-of-year editorial, Landon Palmer discusses the pattern that movies demonstrated in 2012 for telling stories through protagonists defined by their various personality traits rather than through conventional, straightforward characters. In so doing, movies this year showed how our individual identities have become divided within various aspects of modern social life. This trend made some of the year’s movies incredibly interesting, while others suffered from a personality disorder. Landon argues that movies ranging from The Hunger Games to The Dark Knight Rises to Holy Motors alongside cultural events and institutions like the Presidential election, social media, and “Gangnam Style” all contributed to a year in which popular culture is finally became open about its constant engagement with multiple cults of personality. Six years ago, Time magazine famously named its eagerly anticipated “Person of the Year” You in big, bold letters. Its cover even featured a mirror. As a result of the established popularity of supposedly democratized media outlets like Facebook and the home of the cover’s proverbial “You,” YouTube, Time declared 2006 as the year in which the masses were equipped with the ability to empower themselves for public expressions of individual identity. More than a half decade later, social media is no longer something new to adjust to, but a norm of living with access to technology. Supposing that Time’s prophecy proved largely correct, what does it mean to live in a 21st century where we each have perpetual access to refracting our respective mirrors?

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12year_disappointments

If there’s one word I think of that’s best tied to the story of film in 2012, it’s “disappointing.” That’s not to say that 2012 was a disappointing year for movies. I don’t know if it was the best in a while, as some of my fellow critics claim, but then I still haven’t seen a lot of the “best” titles of the year. What I do know is that there were enough movies that really, really, really disappointed a lot of people, and so I feel like I heard — or read — the word “disappointing” more than any other. Whether it was a long-awaited prequel to a classic helmed by the original’s director or the expected return to form for a filmmaker or a final installment of a much-worshipped superhero trilogy or a reboot of a beloved comic-based franchise or a new animated feature from a usually dependable studio, there were plenty of major releases that turned out to be less than satisfying. At least for some.

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The Best Soundtracks of 2012

Looking back over the past year in film, it is impressive to remember the different styles and forms of music that accompanied these various releases as they bring back the memories and emotions felt when first hearing a particular song or watching a piece of orchestration pair perfectly with what was happening on screen. When it comes to music, it is not simply a question of what was the best; it is a question of what resonated the most. Music created for film is unlike any other type of music because it is intended to be listened to while watching specific images. Of course there are songs that stand well on their own (see: Adele’s “Skyfall”), but hopefully even outside of the film, those songs conjure up memories of the films they came from. Sometimes a song placed in a particular scene can take on a whole new meaning, giving you a new ideas to reflect on when you hear it (see: “The Air That I Breathe” by the Hollies as used in a pivotal scene in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.) Soundtracks and scores help add to the emotion of a film and this year’s musicians delivered in spades. From turning found sounds into orchestration to adding a new layer of depth to the end of a trilogy to proving that sometimes words simply are not enough, 2012 was filled with new, inventive, and memorable music. Let’s look back and listen to the twelve selections […]

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The Avengers

According to USA Today, 2012 is the biggest box office year in movie history (not adjusted for inflation). The numbers aren’t set yet (because, you know, the year’s not over), but if the predictive models hold, the industry will close out with $10.8b and the first year since 2009 that individual ticket sales went up. Unsurprisingly, it was buoyed by big franchise hits — including over a billion coming in solely from The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Another billion was earned from a franchise that was ending (Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2), two franchises that were just beginning (The Hunger Games and a rebooted Spider-Man) and a franchise that’s stronger than ever at a half-century old (Bond, James Bond). In the simplest terms, it only took 6 movies to cross the $2b mark this year whereas it took 8 movies to do the same in 2011. That may seem small, but when you’re dealing in the hundreds of millions, it can be the difference between a slump and a reason to buy a sheet cake at Costco for the company break room. Especially when the top movie this year outdid the top movie of the previous by $242m. The whole mess is too complicated to reduce to a single factor. Marvel’s big gamble paid off in a profound way, but there’s also the rebounding economy at large to think about and the general fickleness of consumers. Plus, this raw number doesn’t take into consideration that 50 more movies were released in 2012, […]

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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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Boiling Point

A week ago, the folks at HitFix said that “according to sources,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt was going to pick up the cape and cowl and assume the mantle of Batman in the planned Justice League film. The legal minds and representatives for JGL pretty quickly pounced on the story, saying that Levitt was not attached to the production, a vague denial at best. If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises you should probably stop reading. To avoid putting any spoilers, no matter how dated, on the front page, I’ll first briefly talk about another section of the HitFix article which put forth an image of Batman showing up at the end of the upcoming Man of Steel film as a segue into the Justice League flick. While that is certainly a possibly and also certainly just one man’s guess at how the new Batman would be revealed, I’d like to throw out there that it is an entirely bad idea. DC should be taking notes from Marvel and with as much as Marvel has done right on the screen, the one big thing they did wrong was Iron Man 2, when they took the focus away from the titular character and used the movie as more of a lead-in and introduction to The Avengers. With these two separate characters, DC would do well to keep them separate until they’re sharing the screen, rather than one just poking his head in. Now then….

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Silent Night It’s Christmas time in a small town, but instead of holiday cheer the streets are filled with blood. A masked Santa Claus is roaming town, finding those who’ve been naughty and ending their lives in violent and often gory ways. Steven C. Miller‘s remake of the nasty 80s original keeps the violence and mayhem but adds both personality and humor with the result being a fun slasher that vastly improves on Silent Night, Deadly Night. Jaime King brings charm and some serious heroine chops to the proceedings, and she’s joined by Malcolm McDowell, Donal Logue and Ellen Wong. That’s right, the most underrated player in Scott Pilgrim finally got another job! Horror fans will be pleased with and surprised by this early Christmas present, so if you’ve missed its (very brief) theatrical window it’s definitely worth picking up on Blu-ray/DVD.[Extras: Behind the scenes, deleted scenes]

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Gary Oldman and Michael K Williams

What is Movie News After Dark? Tonight, it’s beside itself… We begin this evening with a photo of Gary Oldman and Michael K. Williams on the set of Robocop, in which they both will undoubtedly bring their usual level of quality. It’s unrivaled, the sort of awesome that exists in this one still image. The only thing that could possibly be better would be some sort of random, inexplicable Peter Weller photobomb. But lets just leave that up to the photoshoppers, shall we?

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Dark Knight Rises Poster - Gordon-Levitt

For those of you clamoring for a Robin movie after the underwhelming ending of The Dark Knight Rises, your dreams may have just been dashed. However, a new dream may have arrived as its replacement: Joseph Gordin-Levitt as our new Batman. That’s right, boring cop John Blake may takeover as the cape crusader. This news comes as one of first pieces of casting rumors for the upcoming Justice League movie, and while we should never take those rumblings too seriously, Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny seems pretty confident in his exclusive. McWeeny says, according to his sources, Levitt will “absolutely” be playing Batman in the Justice League picture. That’s not all, as Warners Bros. is apparently locking down deals not only with Levitt, but with one other actor from Nolan’s Batman universe. More than likely, it’s Lucius Fox providing the team with gadgetry and such or Alfred to help pick Blake up when he’s down.

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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

This was a major holiday week in America, so FSR content was a bit lighter than usual. And yet you may have been too busy traveling to follow the site over the past few days anyway. If so, the most important thing you missed is our post highlighting all the things we’re thankful for this year. Among them is you, whether you’re one of the longtime loyal or one of the many who’ve just started reading us this year. Now, even though the holiday is a couple days past, we want to thank you for once again catching up with us here at the Reject Recap as we give you another rundown of our best reads from the past seven days. As always, first we remind you to check out our reviews of this week’s new releases: Life of Pi; Red Dawn; Hitchcock; Rust and Bone; and The Central Park Five. We also re-posted our Silver Linings Playbook review since the film went wider this week. Among the films, it looks like we recommend Rust and Bone and Central Park Five the most. We haven’t published a review of Rise of the Guardians yet, but we invite you to read our interview with the animated film’s director, Peter Ramsay, the introduction for which offers some critical praise. This week we also watched and commented on new trailers for Now You See Me, Parental Guidance, Admission, Chasing Ice and Jack the Giant Slayer. Watch those and all our latest Short Film […]

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Video: The Dark Knight Rises: Bane’s football explosion As you may know, The Dark Knight Rises is hitting home disc formats on December 3rd. It’s almost like there’s a major purchasing season in the works, and maybe the team at Legendary read Robert Fure’s rant about special editions and bonus features because they’re showing off the stuff you get if you go Blu-ray and go home with Batman’s last adventure (until it’s rebooted next week). To wit, a tidy little behind-the-scenes look at how the team blew up a football field as Hines Ward ran in for a touchdown. Spoiler alert: they did it by blowing up a football field as Hines Ward ran in for a touchdown. Most fascinating is probably the design-level coordination it took to build small bunkers for actors to dive into while simulating their disappearance from the collapsing field. Of course, it’s great simply to get a glimpse into the mind of Christopher Nolan and visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin. Very cool stuff. [MSN]  

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Aural Fixation - Large

We may stand in line to get our hands on the latest technology and watch as record stores close their doors as more and more music fans turn to iTunes and digital downloads instead of physical CDs, but there is still something about vinyl records that keep people coming back for more. While digital files are crisp and polished, it is almost impossible for a studio to duplicate the richness that comes from vinyl – plus those little imperfections and pops that come from listening to a record can sometimes be the best part. Even though CDs may seem like they are becoming a way of the past, there is a new trend coming forward and one that seems to be popping up more and more with soundtrack releases – the option to get these compilations on vintage vinyl. While he is known for creating electric scores for films such as Traffic and Contagion, Cliff Martinez’s work is also layered making it a prime choice to take a spin on the ol’ record player. This year Martinez’s work got the vinyl treatment twice with Milan Records releasing his dark and seductive score for Arbitrage and Mondo releasing his iconic score for Drive as a double vinyl album and enlisting artist Tyler Stout to create the album cover and package design. While the large cover that house these records allow artists more room for creative expressive and memorable images, it is the records themselves that give these scores added depth, providing […]

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Culture Warrior: James Bond

Warning: this post contains mild spoilers for Skyfall. At some point during the middle of the first decade of this century, it felt like the practice of rebooting franchises would not see an end anytime soon. A gritty, realist new Batman origin story was followed quickly by a new blonde James Bond who, supposedly modeled after the new spy paradigm of the Bourne series, seemed as messy as he was vulnerable.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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