The Dark Knight Rises
Dec. 30, 2012 | 2:11 p.m.
For fans of fantastic entertainment, it was a bountiful year at the box office. The highest-grossing movies of 2012 starred a collection of superheroes, two strong young woman with mean archery skills (Katniss Everdeen and Merida from “Brave”), a suit-sporting super spy and a mild-mannered hobbit who embarks on an unexpected adventure — not to mention a coven of sparkly vampires and a talking stoner teddy bear. With so many movies to choose from, it’s easy to see how audiences might have overlooked a few gems. So as the year draws to a close, we’ve assembled our top picks for films to belatedly check out — as well as a few that no doubt warrant repeat viewings. “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” Yeah, yeah, so it didn’t take the box office by storm, and critics griped that the movie wasn’t funny. […]
Dec. 20, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.
San Diego’s Comic-Con International is always full of hype and bombast for movies and TV projects designed to appeal to lovers of genre entertainment. But even in the extensive annals of Hall H lore, the 2010 Marvel panel in which the cast of “The Avengers” assembled on a public stage for the first time still holds a special place in the history of the 6,500-seat auditorium. As the wild crowd cheered stars Robert Downey Jr., Clark Gregg, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo, writer-director Joss Whedon departed from the usual script — one in which filmmakers vow that their upcoming movie will be nothing short of awesome — with typical self-deprecating wit. “I am going to blow it,” he said amid the cheers. “I’m not up to it.” No surprise, really. He […]
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. 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 […]
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 18, 2012 | 12:27 a.m.
Hey, we love Hockney prints and Oaxacan folk art as much as anyone, but, really, is there anything that adds more character to the decor of your home and/or underground cave than a grim slice of Gotham City eye candy? Mondo is selling this Olly Moss poster (16 inches by 24 inches) for just 24 hours and the clock is ticking (the Austin-based Mondo will cut off orders at 12:01 a.m. Central Time on Thursday morning — that’s 10:01 p.m. Wednesday in L.A.) and they won’t accept orders afterward. Essentially it’s a limited-edition run where the size of that run is pre-determined by the fan urgency expressed within a single day. And that single day happens to be on the eve of the release of the most-awaited superhero film in history. Nicely done, Mondo, smart and savvy. We’ll be having a lot of coverage here on […]