Friday, July 13, 2012

Dark Knight links

---"The film, which the killer most certainly will not have seen beforehand, presented him with an opportunity; it did not urge him on, or trigger him into homicide, but it was, nonetheless, the occasion that he sought. He would have known that people had been talking of The Dark Knight Rises for months; that the excitement was mounting; that they would flock, in a good communal mood, to the first available showing. They wanted to be among the first to give their verdicts, before breakfast, and to talk about their triumph at work today. That is one of the social thrills that cinema, unlike TV, can still deliver, and long may it endure. It is the most hideous of ironies that an unstable individual saw that coming-together as his chance. His actions needed no model in a fictional monster, just a profound hostility to regular folk who had gathered, en masse, with their friends and their sodas, to have fun. The screen gave him a stage."  --Anthony Lane

---"Both literally and metaphorically, Holmes inserted himself into the spectacle at that moment, with a lovingly crafted soundtrack to match. By `spectacle' I don’t just mean The Dark Knight Rises, although it’s the biggest Hollywood tentpole production of the year. I mean the larger sense of the term, pioneered in the ’60s by Situationist philosopher Guy Debord, who argued that our entire culture and indeed all of Western society had become a form of performance (or `representation,' to use his word), in which the distinction between the symbolic realm and the realm of reality had been erased, and all social life was mediated by images and commodities. We live in The Society of the Spectacle far more today, in the age of the 24/7 news cycle and ubiquitous handheld electronics, than Debord could possibly have imagined in 1967, when he published his prescient little volume under that title.

Debord’s metaphor is a brilliant philosophical structure that can sometimes be taken too literally. Even the most cynical among us (I hope and believe) understands the real and terrible difference between ordinary people being killed for no reason in a movie theater and actors pretending to be killed on screen in a superhero movie. But here’s the point that got Jean Baudrillard and Karlheinz Stockhausen in such trouble after 9/11: Consumed via electronic media, as spectacle — and within the spectacle, to use Debord’s language — they look about the same. What happened in Aurora, like what happened at Virginia Tech or what happened in Manhattan in September 2001, `seemed like a movie,' as we so often say." --Andrew O'Hehir

---The Dark Knight: Nolan's Modernized Myth

---the Featurette

---"When Jonah showed me his first draft of his screenplay, it was 400 pages long or something,"says the director. "It had all this crazy stuff in it. As part of a primer when he handed it to me, he said, 'You've got to think of 'A Tale of Two Cities' which, of course, you've read.' I said, 'Absolutely.' I read the script and was a little baffled by a few things and realized that I'd never read 'A Tale of Two Cities'. It was just one of those things that I thought I had done. Then I got it, read it and absolutely loved it and got completely what he was talking about... When I did my draft on the script, it was all about 'A Tale of Two Cities'."

---how Batman became a "post 9/11 allegory for how terror breaks down reassuring moral categories"

---the Dark Knight/Dragon Tattoo trailer

---"The explicit presentation of class politics diverges drastically from the rest of the Batman films, suggesting that Occupy has penetrated Hollywood. This theory gains credence when we learn that Nolan wanted to actually film at Zucotti Park but didn’t out of respect for the movement. But his film nonetheless celebrates a reactionary hero. This is irreconcilable, which explains the nationalist iconography, where the fetishized nation becomes the only ideal sacred enough to justify Bruce/Batman and his interventions. The two constitute a loop: the Nation allows Bruce to exist while Bruce enables Batman to save the Nation from Evil (the gas-masked super-villain) that must be excised."

---The Batmobile

---"Fascinated with architecture, the filmmaker describes the rises and falls of his characters as if they are elevation points of a blueprint plan.  He also presents the trilogy almost as a tale of different levels — the heights of the city, the street level and the underground of caves and sewers. Dark Knight Rises presents a story where greed, hypocrisy and false justice bring down the city’s bridges, stadium and the houses of government."

---"Michael Caine, in a memorable quote, was to claim that Superman was how America saw itself and Batman was how the rest of the world saw America."  --Roger Clarke

---infusing "adolescent ennui with adult gravitas": the triumph of "dark" marketing

---"Batman and Gotham: A Deeply Dysfunctional Love Story" by Adam Rogers

---the bank robbery scene of The Dark Knight

---"I enjoy Chris Nolan's work in general, but I watched the Blu-Ray [of The Dark Knight] and it has a thing where you can go to any scene in the movie and go to the making of that. There's nothing that has ever made me feel less like a professional than watching Chris Nolan's group at work. The remote-control miniature cars. Just every technique. The rehearsal of flipping the semi-trailer end over end in the middle of the desert before they blow it up in Chicago... There's one scene where a guy jumps off the top of a skyscraper — they rehearse the jump but for the actual thing they did it CG. 'But for the rehearsal you did jump off the building?' 'We have it as a reference.' Wow. Chris Nolan is quite great. My favourite is Memento, but I'd like to learn how to do these things."  --Wes Anderson

---In the Cut, Part I: Shots in the Dark

---"Instead the disappointment comes from the way the picture spells out lofty, serious themes and then ... spells them out again. What kind of hero do we need? Where is the line between justice and vengeance? How much autonomy should we sacrifice in the name of security? Is the taking of innocent life ever justified? These are all fascinating, even urgent questions, but stating them, as nearly every character in The Dark Knight does, sooner of later, is not the same as exploring them.

And yet stating such themes is as far as the current wave of superhero movies seems able or willing to go."  --A. O. Scott

---Pee-Wee Herman's version

---"Though the latest Batman flick, written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, can’t be blamed for some of the catastrophes that have soured Bush’s favorability – a capsized economy; a troop-mauling, money-sucking, never-ending war; lies, damn lies and violations of the Geneva Conventions, etc.-- The Dark Knight is likely to go down as the most pro-Bush-policy blockbuster to ever come out of Hollywood. Working together, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Roger Ailes would struggle to come up with anything so slyly propagandizing."  --Jason Bellamy

---the soundtrack

---the Dark Knight dance

---"Heath Ledger closed himself off in a hotel room for a month to get into character for the Joker. He worked on his voice and personality, all while keeping a diary to chronicle the Joker’s thoughts. He also designed the character’s makeup with some mascara and grease paint. Ledger said Sid Vicious and the thugs in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange inspired him, while costume designer Lindy Hemming looked to scraggly musicians like Pete Doherty, Iggy Pop, and Johnny Rotten."

---The Dark Knight's War on Terrorism by John Ip

---"The Joker is unpredictable and can’t be reasoned with, nor does he have any broader goals except to create chaos and destruction. When I saw the movie Funny Games and watched an interview Michael Haneke, I was struck by something he said: To paraphrase, he said that we as individuals have personal spaces that go unsaid but are accepted by almost everyone. When people violate this personal space, the results can be terrifying. In a similar fashion, the Joker upends the genre conventions of a villain in that he has no inhibitions and refuses to hew even to the ultra-basic moral code of criminals (see: the opening scene). When a character has no values that you as a viewer can relate to and hold on to, the results are extremely disorienting. This unmoors our basic assumptions of the person’s capabilities."   --David Chen

---a history of Batman on screen

---@KeyframeDaily's roundup of The Dark Knight Rises links

---At times, the [Dark Knight] sounds like two excited mattresses making love in an echo chamber." --David Denby

---"'In any year, but especially in this, a particularly weak year, there's nothing out there which compares to The Dark Knight. It must transcend your petty big box office biases since it has already changed the way we think about movies forever. It's more than the best movie of the year, it's one of the best movies ever made. Snub it and there will be consequences.'

 Yikes. So much for the integrity and diversity of critical discussion -- but what might those consequences be? Perhaps... death?!?!"  --Jim Emerson and Josh Tyler

---the evolution of the icon

---"It’s my general proposition that Nolan is always playing a double game in these movies. He’s trying to deliver a faithful and canonical Batman story,and he’s pursuing his own agenda, which could be called subversive or allegorical, and which sometimes comes into conflict with the larger mission of mass entertainment. What I see in the Dark Knight trilogy so far is a critique of American ideology, and specifically the ideology of individual will and individual heroism — the basis of American politics since the Puritans, and also of American cinema — delivered by an outsider and in highly paradoxical fashion."  --Andrew O'Hehir

---"I'm batman."

---"For a film that supposedly flinches away from violence, The Dark Knight addresses Two Face in a startlingly head-on manner. Dent's appearance in the second half of the film is profound evidence of the impact of violence on an individual human life. Dent's plight, given real emotional heft by both the screenplay and Aaron Eckhart's sensitive performance, is externalized in the violence done to his face, and here Nolan confronts the horror with raw physicality. This is not the cartoonish, outlandish Two Face of the original comics or, Heaven forbid, Tommy Lee Jones. The right side of Dent's face is a mess of raw, exposed muscles, bone, and nerves, making it impossible to ignore the character's origins or the violence done to him."  --Ed Howard

---"the most breathtaking moment in the epic finale of the Batman trilogy is when Michael Caine weeps"

---The Dark Knight Rises interviews

---"Like any number of small- and big-screen thrillers, the film’s engagement with 9/11 is diffuse, more a matter of inference and ideas (chaos, fear, death) than of direct assertion. Still, that a spectacle like this even glances in that direction confirms that American movies have entered a new era of ambivalence when it comes to their heroes — or maybe just superness."  --Manohla Dargis

1 comment:

Maurice Mitchell said...

Fascinating point about architecture from Nolan