Dec. 19, 2012 | 5:30 p.m.
This month sees the DVD releases of Christopher Nolan’s first and most recent movies. “Following” from 1998, out last week from the Criterion Collection, was made on a shoestring budget of 3,000 pounds (about $5,000 at the time). Shot on weekends over a year by a 28-year-old with a day job making corporate videos and a cast and crew that consisted largely of friends, it’s calling-card filmmaking at its most efficient, a savvy neo-noir from a young Turk with plenty of tricks up his sleeve. This year’s “The Dark Knight Rises” from Warner Home Video is, in the current Hollywood context, about as far as a calling card can take you: a superhero blockbuster that inspires cultish obsession and cost 50,000 times as much as “Following.” More than franchise movies, Nolan’s Batman films have become, for better or worse, cultural […]
Dec. 11, 2012 | 11:08 a.m.
Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” is set to take flight June 14, and a new trailer released Tuesday offers some tantalizing hints about the anticipated superhero epic — epic being the operative word, judging from the scale of the images in the clip and its grand musical score. In terms of visuals, Snyder seems to be painting with a beautiful, muted steel brush as he tells Kal-El’s story, the striking yet subdued hues possibly speaking to the elegant influence of producer Christopher Nolan. We see young Clark Kent saving a school bus, revealing his extraordinary abilities, and his adopted father (played by Kevin Costner) cautioning him to be more secretive. But we also see Henry Cavill’s adult hero soaring into the sky — not with the same gentle lift employed when Christopher Reeve wore the iconic red cape but with […]
Dec. 05, 2012 | 8:00 a.m.
Michael Caine distinctly remembers the morning Christopher Nolan turned up at his English country home with a screenplay for the two-time Oscar-winning actor to read. “My instant thought was, I’m going to be in one of these wonderful little dramas, murder thrillers. I’d love that,” Caine recalled during an interview late last week. The screenplay, of course, wasn’t for a film like Nolan’s time-bending indie “Memento” or his crime drama “Insomnia.” It was for 2005’s “Batman Begins,” which ultimately would include some of the same hallmarks as those moody, evocative thrillers — precision, tension, mystery — the signature qualities that would carry forward into “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” the last of which comes to DVD and Blu-ray this week. “I thought to myself, I’m a bit old for Batman,” Caine said. “So, I said, ‘Who am […]
Dec. 04, 2012 | 12:17 p.m.
Bruce Wayne must be deaf. Seconds into a ride in the hulking Batmobile from Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City trilogy – holy earplugs, Batman! – this thing is loud, even at 30 mph. It gets a lot louder. “It’s geared for 110, and we took them there,” says Andy Smith, the man who built the Tumbler, during a recent ridealong. “You couldn’t do it without earplugs and a full-face helmet.” One of several Batmobiles used in “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” the Tumbler’s late November trip with a journalist through the streets of Sylmar was among its last runs before the beast was boxed up and shipped to L.A. Live. There, it joined another Tumbler and other Batmobiles from previous films, along with the original modified Lincoln Futura from the Adam West TV series, as part of a […]
Aug. 01, 2012 | 7:32 p.m.
The most famous supervillain in comic book history — the Joker — returns to the pages of “Batman” in a big way later this year, DC Comics has announced on its website. The new story, “Death of the Family,” which begins in October with issue No. 13 of “Batman,” was planned long before the movie-theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. The timing of the Joker’s return to the pages of the bestselling DC comic may discomfit some in the wake of the shooting during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Suspect James E. Holmes reportedly referred to himself as the Joker during questioning by police. Representatives of DC Comics did not respond to questions about the timing of the Joker’s return to the Batman story line. DC Comics has more or less kept the Joker on a shelf in recent […]
July 21, 2012 | 10:10 a.m.
The defining moment in the history of the fictitious city called Gotham is when a trembling young boy in a tuxedo — he’s dressed up for a night at the theater — kneels next to his slain mother and father as a gunman runs off into the night. The gun-metal grimness of that scene in the 2005 film “Batman Begins” echoes in every part of director Christopher Nolan’s bleak and bruising franchise. And now, after the shooting at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo., the record-breaking Hollywood franchise will be remembered in shades of funereal black and lurid tabloid red. Police said the 24-year-old suspect had “painted” hair and told them after the shooting that he was the Joker, the warped murderer played by Heath Ledger in Nolan’s previous Batman film, “The Dark Knight.” According […]
July 20, 2012 | 4:46 p.m.
The dire headlines and unsettling images from Colorado tell us that a dozen moviegoers lost their lives after being gunned down at a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” — it’s an ugly spasm of deranged violence and everywhere people are trying to make sense of it, whether they reach for tissue, their Twitter accounts or a sturdy soapbox. In Paris, a red carpet premiere was canceled and Christopher Nolan was in lockdown mode with his cast and crew awaiting further information on the rampage of a 24-year-old gunman who reportedly referred to himself as the Joker when questioned by police. A short time ago the filmmaker released a statement through his Los Angeles publicist. “Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has […]
July 19, 2012 | 7:15 a.m.
When director Christopher Nolan brought Batman out of the shadows seven years ago in “Batman Begins” and carried on the character’s adventures in “The Dark Knight,” he produced a hero and setting appropriate for the times: a grim, hard-nosed loner in a world racked by corruption, shaken by terrorism and standing on shaky moral ground. With the concluding chapter “The Dark Knight Rises” poised to plunge into blackness once again, here’s a refresher on what brought us to the brink: CLICK THROUGH THE PHOTO GALLERY ABOVE TO REVISIT KEY CHARACTERS AND EVENTS. BE SURE THE “CAPTIONS ON” OPTION IS ACTIVATED. (And if you haven’t seen either film, just an obvious warning that spoilers lie ahead.) — Oliver Gettell RECENT AND RELATED Christopher Nolan opens up about Bane choice Christian Bale says goodbye to Gotham ‘DKR’: Where to see the IMAX […]
July 18, 2012 | 6:02 p.m.
Neal Adams is a legendary name to comic-book collectors, but he holds an especially exalted place in the hearts of Batman fans — it was the vivid, muscular and irony-free art of Adams that tugged the character back toward the serious shadows and away from the campy 1966-1968 television series that made Gotham City a joke. With writer Denny O’Neil, Adams also introduced the evil mastermind Ra’s al Ghul and steered the Joker’s persona into a truly bizarre brand of lunacy — key contributions that would echo years later in the Batcave films of Christopher Nolan. Adams was one of the special guests at the New York premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” and he agreed to do a guest review of the film. THIS REVIEW is 100% SPOILER-FREE I listened to the vibes out there, and they said, “How […]
July 16, 2012 | 7:12 p.m.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has 500 things to fill his days this summer — including filming his directorial debut (which stars Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore), tending to his record label and ramping up for the release of several new films with August’s bike-messenger thriller “Premium Rush” and September’s promising sci-fi film “Looper,” in which he and Bruce Willis play the same contract killer at different ends of a time-travel adventure. And then there’s the topic that everyone wants to hear about the most but Gordon-Levitt wants to talk about the least: “The Dark Knight Rises,” the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, which arrives July 20 with Gordon-Levitt as one of the stealth weapons in its all-star ensemble. If you approach Gordon-Levitt now you’ll get the same answer he offered last year during an on-the-set interview between scenes filmed at […]