Archives For Dark Knight Rises

There have recently been a spate of articles and blog posts discussing whether certain movies require multiple viewings. It’s all spurred by Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, a film that many critics and cinephiles have claimed requires multiple viewings in order to reveal its many layers and ultimate meanings. Dana Stevens wrote about watching the film three times, and how that made the experience of The Master a more complete one. Stephanie Zacharek wrote a piece at the AV Club questioning the notion that certain films require multiple viewings as well as the notion that certain film are more self-evidently deserving of such treatment. Today, Ryan McNeil wrote a post comparing re-watching movies to listening to a song over and over before finally falling in love with it.

I saw The Master twice. I’m biased immediately. In fact, I watch lots of movies twice, sometimes three times, sometimes even more, often seeing films multiple times in theatres. I also saw Looper twice. I saw The Dark Knight Rises five times, including three times in 15/70mm IMAX. I saw Paranorman twice, Brave twice, Prometheus twice, Moonrise Kingdom three times, The Avengers twice, Monsieur Lazhar twice, 21 Jump Street three times, The Cabin in the Woods twice, and that’s all re-watches in theatres and only this year so far. (To be fair, I work at a theatre, so most of these re-watches were free.) But why would I watch these movies so many times? What do I get out of re-watches? Click to read more.

As you may or may not know, there’s a new Batman film in theatres. It’s a little thing called The Dark Knight Rises, directed by one Christopher Nolan. Well, I saw the film, and I thought it would be nice to talk about it, and so here it comes, the next episode of The justAtadcast.

On the show this week I’ve got two friends from Los Angeles, Jason Eaken and Brett Merryman. I actually know them first as fellow fans of the great Filmspotting podcast, and they were gracious enough to come on and wax rhapsodic about The Dark Knight Rises with me. The episode is a little long, about 100 minutes. Don’t expect most episodes to be this long, but we felt the movie warranted the lengthy discussion. Normally I’d also include an index, but this week we decided to go fairly free-form, starting with our impressions of Nolan and his take on Batman, and then getting into the meat of The Dark Knight Rises. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the podcast.

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It’s been a Batman kind of a week. It’s also been a pretty crazy few days at this blog. My post about angry Batman commenters was featured in the Freshly Pressed section of the WordPress.com front page. I’ve gotten a lot of views from this. Like, an abnormally high number. Basically, in the last 48 hours I’ve gotten more hits than any previous single month. I’ll try not to let it go to my head, but for now I’d like to say thank you to all the people who have been reading my piece and some of the other pieces I’ve written. I’d also like to thank and welcome those who intend to stick around. Hopefully I can continue delivering content worthy of your readership.

As for what I’ve been watching this week? Well. Not much. Not much at all. It’s mostly Batman’s fault. Click to see what I’ve been watching.

I think the biggest story in the online film world this week, outside of the forthcoming release of The Dark Knight Rises, was probably the vitriolic response that a number of critics got from Rotten Tomatoes users to their less than 100% positive reviews of that film. There’s been plenty of writing on the subject of Batman fans’ reactions to those reviews, and the whole story is wrapped up nicely by Matt Singer over at Criticwire. Some have said that these responses, which have included horrible misogynistic comments and death threats, are the result of some sort of insanity specific to Batman and Nolan fans. I don’t take this view, maybe because I consider myself a huge fan of Nolan’s work and his Batman films, and I also consider myself a fairly reasonable person.

I don’t think it’s fair to single out Batman fans. We saw the same sort of thing happen to several critics who dared to point out the flaws of The Avengers before that film came out. You know what? I kind of sympathize with those terrible fans. I kind of get where they’re coming from. I love Nolan’s work and I love his take on Batman. I look at The Dark Knight Rises, which I haven’t yet seen, and I do very much want to enjoy it. I want it to be great. When I see a negative reaction to the film from a critic, I don’t want to believe them. I don’t want them to be right. I consider their opinion, and even if it’s just for a moment I forget that it’s an opinion and my mind assumes they must be wrong. It’s a silly thing, but I get the impulse. It’s not that I know they’re wrong, or that they can even be wrong, but that I just don’t want to believe I might end up agreeing with them.

Given, then, that I somewhat sympathize with these so-called fans, why then am I not so vitriolic? Well, I think the answer lies partly outside the fans themselves, and at the online, fan-centred, movie news industry and blogs. It’s us. We created the monsters. Click to read more.

A bit of a weird week for me. I didn’t blog as much as I should have, and some weird and stupid things happened. I did manage to watch some movies, though, and I’ve been getting excited about a certain movie. As the date approaches, I’m becoming slightly obsessed with The Dark Knight Rises. I can’t help myself. I love Nolan. I love his two Batman films. I can’t wait for that midnight IMAX screening.

This is also a rare week where almost all the movies I saw, I saw with other people. I will often watch something at home on my own, or by myself at the cinema, but this week I only watched one movie in solitude. I’ve got to say, watching movies with friends and family was kind of nice. I should probably try to do it more often. Anyway, enough of my babbling, here’s what I watched this week: Click to read more.

Insight Into Blockbuster Filmmaking

I found the above picture on Reddit today and it made me laugh. After all the fancy storyboards and pre-viz and careful planning, sometimes the best way to figure out how a stunt is going to go is to just use some miniatures and move them around with your hands. I mean, look at that! That there is Christopher Nolan, one of the biggest directors in the world, planning a stunt for The Dark Knight Rises, one of the biggest and most expensive movies yet made, wearing a suit and essentially playing with hot wheels.

It reminds me of the South Park episode, ‘Imaginationland’, where the military enlists help from filmmakers to get ideas for how to solve their dilemma. Michael Bay shows up and his ideas aren’t ideas at all. They’re basically just ideas for special effects and stunt sequences, and he describes them with all the “woosh”es and “bang”s and “blammo”s of a five year-old playing with his toys. That was sort of a knock against Bay, but when you think about it, what’s wrong with bring that into the process at least a little? It’s physical and uses the imagination, and combined with Nolan’s use of as many practical stunts as possible, it can make for some pretty thrilling cinema.

The Summer Hype Cycle is quickly shifting over from The Amazing Spider-Man to the true juggernaut of July, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. As such, I’d like to look back at the previous film in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight. Specifically, I’d like to talk about how that film’s true strength lies in its nonsensical plotting. In most cases, a plot that falls apart under any kind of closer examination is a serious problem, but Nolan subverts that, building it into the characters and the themes.

Where the plot all falls apart is with the Joker. Not the portrayal of his character, which is memorable and amazing, but specifically how he relates to the plot. The only thing that makes sense about the Joker is his motivation, and even his motivations are weirdly unmotivated. Christopher Nolan has described his Joker as being like the shark from Jaws. He’s a force that cuts through the film with little explanation; there only to bring chaos. The Dark Knight is all about chaos and the various responses people have to chaos. The plotting of the film reflects that. Click to read more.

I’ve worked as a projectionist. Not on a reel-to-reel system, or with digital projectors, but I’ve put films together to sit on a platter, threaded them, projected them, broken down the reels, all that jazz. As someone who’s worked with these system, it bothers me every time I see people complaining on Twitter or in articles about what are clearly unavoidable projector accidents. The latest incident to cause a stir was at a press screening of The Dark Knight Rises in 15/70mm IMAX.

Let me be clear. People, particularly critics and media, need to understand that film projection is a complex process, whether it’s on film or digital, and unless it’s a clear mistake like the picture being out of frame, improperly masked, or out of focus, problems can happen and things can go wrong. Now, these problems are often human error, sometimes they’re mechanical, or electrical, or electronic. I’d imagine that on digital systems there are also potential software glitches. When there are so many potential points of error, errors are going to happen, and frankly it’s a miracle of modern fool-proofing that they don’t happen more often. People should be looking at these failures and cutting some slack, and they definitely shouldn’t be holding such incidents up as examples for why a particular projection system isn’t good enough. Click to read more.

The modern movie age has become a cycle of hype more than an appreciation for film itself. I chalk it up to the mainstreaming of the nerd class and the ubiquity of the Internet. Film culture online is rarely about the films themselves, but the industry and hype surrounding them. I fall prey to it, as well. It disturbs me, though. For about half the year, all anybody cares about is how the films of the Summer will stack up. Once that’s over it’s just a big race to see which films get the most acclaim and awards. If any of these two seasons is better, it’s the awards one, mostly because the good films tend to stick around in the consciousness more, giving them more time to find an audience. The Summer season is altogether a different story. Almost the opposite, really. Months—sometimes years—of hype lead up to one short weekend, the discussion explodes for roughly a week, petering off through the next week, and nearly disappearing after that.

Take a look at this summer, for example, which arguably began early in the Spring with the release of The Hunger Games. In fact, we can start even earlier, with John Carter. Pretty much since that film’s release, the two or three-week cycle has played out like clockwork. It’s partly a sign of a year with many big releases, but it’s also an illustration of how Internet culture works. There are several stages, but essentially they come down to: The Hype, The Pre-Release Buzz, Release, Taking Sides. Click to read more.

I don’t get it. Every image I see. Every trailer released. Every piece of information I get. I look at this new Spider-Man movie and think, “I should be so excited for this movie,” but I’m just not. It doesn’t make any sense. All signs point to it being a cool movie, and likely the best Spider-Man movie so far, and still I’m not excited. What’s happening?

I was never a fan of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films. I liked the first film, thought the second one was boring, and the third film is a hot mess. When Sam Raimi left development on what was then Spider-Man 4 I couldn’t have been more pleases. A script by Zodiac‘s James Vanderbilt, directed by (500) Days of Summer‘s Marc Webb, starring Never Let Me Go‘s Andrew Garfield and my Superbad crush, Emma Stone? The Amazing Spider-Man was sure to be a step in the right direction. The weird part is, judging by the trailers, I think the movie is going to deliver.

So why am I not excited? Click to read more.