The Joker

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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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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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

Tim Burton’s Batman wasn’t a movie, it was an event. It spawned a tidal wave of merchandise, video games, roller coasters, an animated series, a ridiculous music video, etc… He dropped that movie on the world like a bomb, and in many ways it could be considered the high point of his career. His artistic approach was finally paired with mainstream material, and his success there has propelled him to being one of the go-to money making directors in Hollywood. But, as an 8-year-old fan that was blown away by the gritty comic book take on the character that was developing throughout the 80s, the release of Batman is forever marked by me as a day of huge disappointment. I hated that boring, goofy movie. It was lamer than that show from the 60s I watched back when I was 6. Pathetic. Batman: Under the Red Hood was a straight to video cartoon that kind of gets lost in the sea of DC straight to video cartoons. Most of these movie are pretty strong, don’t get me wrong, but they’re strong with the caveat that they’re just cartoons. They’re for kids, but they’re good enough to be enjoyed by adults, not good on the level of the best feature films. Under the Red Hood is a step above the rest though. Other than The Dark Knight, I would say that it’s my favorite Batman thing that doesn’t come from the medium of the page.

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Having just watched The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, I’m in the mood for something slightly more uplifting than watching small children being murdered at the hands of their own fathers in an ironic twist of fate that I may have just spoiled for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it. Ah well, it’s not exactly the most cheery of films anyway, so maybe choose something else from the Pyjama canon of works – perhaps Bananas in Pyjamas or something like that. Anyway, rambling isn’t getting me anywhere, so I’m channeling the spirit of movie merch nostalgia once again to try and cheer the whole ruddy miserable world up. And with that in mind, this week’s cornucopia of merchandising magic comes courtesy of a phenomenal Joker action figure from Sideshow, a set of incredible Art Nouveau posters from a bona fide legend-in-the-making artist and a winning blast from the past from Tiger Electronics…

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Why Watch? Because you’ve always wondered who would win in a fight between Batman and… The legality of all this is completely unclear (to a simple caveman like me), and it would be a shame to ruin the surprise of the characters who show up here, but Batman has to take on some baddies that are new to Gotham. All of them are iconic to film fans, but they’re fresh off the boat as far as Bruce Wayne is concerned. This extended fight sequence was written and directed by Sandy Collora who has done creature effects, design and gained some acclaim for writing/directing Hunter Prey recently. Plus, it features Andrew Koening (yes, the guy who played Boner on Growing Pains) as a surprisingly creepy Joker, and a Batman that sounds like Keaton mated with Bale (in the good way). Enjoy geeking out. Or biding your time before The Dark Knight Rises hits your eyeballs. What does it cost? Just 6 minutes of your time.

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You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers. It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at editors@filmschoolrejects.com. What villains have you liked more than their hero counterparts? – Nathan S.

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One of the best findings this site ever made was the pair of Freddy Krueger Nikes that were circulating a while back. If you’re both a movie fan and pay attention to what kicks you wear, this new discovery should also cause your blood pressure to rise just slightly. Don’t complain to your doctor that we didn’t warn you.

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If you want any more proof as to what a dollar can do in the filming industry these days, look no further. With the belching bloat of some studio productions that spend $2 million on bagels (the good kind), it seems almost paradoxical, but on the other side of the fence is the lowering cost of making a short film of your very own. So that’s what you do – especially if you’re Aaron Schoenke, and you want to make a calling card with one of the most famous bat-obsessed super heroes.

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ledger-jokerart

Fans are calling for Heath Ledger’s rendition of The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster bash The Dark Knight to be acknowledged as the pinnacle of the character’s representation on film.

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Would Rachel Weisz Make a Good Cat Woman?

Rachel Weisz as Cat Woman? Robert Pattinson as The Joker? Is anyone taking this seriously?

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DC Comics has hooked our good friends over at /Film up with an awesome first look at the upcoming cover of MAD magazine, which is due to hit stores on December 16th.

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Officially Cool

The Joker doesn’t really come off as the fighting type, but as you can see in the new Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game… it would be pretty damn fun to play as The Joker.

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Officially Cool

I’m sure that you remember the various film themed sneakers that we have featured on the site. Well another awesome pair has been brought to our attention by an FSR reader.

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The Dark Knight Joker Concept

While I’m happy with the concept that was used in the actual film, can you imagine how much darker the film might have been with one of these concepts?

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Officially Cool

You can now wear a piece of The Joker’s lunacy right across your chest for just $22.94. I’m sold.

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The Joker Offers His Card to a Drink

We all know how people are going to flock to The Dark Knight this weekend, especially in IMAX theaters. I don’t know if it’s wise to drink before seeing this in IMAX, but who am I to judge?

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The Dark Knight Defaced Poster

If you’re anything like me then you are counting down the hours until The Dark Knight is released. Well, it looks like the Joker has the film on his mind too. He laid waste to all the promotional items that Warner Bros. has put out for the most anticipated movie of the year.

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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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