Sunday, February 27, 2011

List of Academy Awards Winners

Best Film: 'The King's Speech'
Best Actor: Colin Firth, 'The King's Speech'
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, 'Black Swan'
Best Director: Tom Hooper, 'The King's Speech'
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, 'The Fighter'
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, 'The Fighter'
Best Original Song: We Belong Together, 'Toy Story 3'
Best Editing: 'The Social Network'
Best Visual Effects: 'Inception'
Best Documentary: 'Inside Job'
Best Live Action Short Film: 'God of Love'
Best Documentary Short Subject: 'Strangers No More'
Best Costume Design: 'Alice in Wonderland'
Best Makeup: 'The Wolfman'
Best Sound Editing: 'Inception'
Best Sound Mixing: 'Inception'
Best Original Score: 'The Social Network'
Best Foreign Language Film: 'In A Better World'
Best Original Screenplay: 'The King's Speech'
Best Adapted Screenplay: 'The Social Network'
Best Animated Feature Film: 'Toy Story 3'
Best Animated Short Film: 'The Lost Thing'
Best Cinematography: 'Inception'
Best Art Direction: 'Alice in Wonderland'

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny Story follows a depressed teen who's having thoughts of suicide so he checks himself in a mental hospital to seek help. Looking for a quick fix of sorts by way of medicine he ends up staying longer than he planned after being fully institutionalized for the time being. It's the adaptation of the 2006 novel of the same name.

16-year-old Craig Gilner, played by Keir Gilchrist believes that his problems are too big for him to handle alone thus checking himself into the mental hospital. What he didn't realize was that not the pills nor the medicine but the people that he would soon surround himself with would be what actually helps him deal with his depression. While there he is introduced to Bobby, played by Zach Galifianakis an adult patient who acts as he confidant throughout the entire ordeal. Craig also forms a relationship with another troubled teen Noelle, played by Emma Roberts who is there after cutting herself numerous times. Craig found someone who he could truly confide in and someone who he could be himself around without feeling like he was being judged or ridiculed. 

Throughout the movie you see Craig work though his problems with help of a shrink, being around other people who have similar problems as he does and just taking a break from his life as that in general, being the main cause of his once overwhelming depression. Reluctant to tell his parents and friends about the problems he is having, Craig eventually opens up to the idea that everyone at one point or another needs help and that seeking that help is nothing to be ashamed of. Checking himself into the hospital and being there for a week didn't automatically make the problems go away but it gave him an outlet at the very least to address them and figure out a way to better handle them. 

It's Kind of a Funny Story is one of those movies that tells a serious story, covering issues that a lot of teens today are dealing with and manages to keep things rather light while still getting the point across. That point being that depression affects everyone whether you're the one who's depressed or not. From Craig's family, to his friends and even the people who he eventually became friends with while institutionalized, it's something that affects a lot of people and in a lot of different ways. 

Movies and cinema in general being a great way to get to get any point across, this movie did so while still keeping both the integrity of the issue and they way it was told in tact. Don't get me wrong this movie had it's moments of hilarity, any movie with Zach Galifianakis usually does. That only added to what this movie already brought to the table with it's opening scene alone but it was also impressive to see Zach in a somewhat serious role as well. Overall a solid movie and one that at the end of the day told kind of a funny story but with a serious overtone that was just right.

4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bright Eyes: The People's Key (Review)

Conor Oberst has been considered this generation's Dylan ever since the early 2000's, mostly with the large critical and commercial success of Bright Eyes' LIfted or The Story Ia in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground. A fantastic album, minimalist and yet eternally expressive, it took a lot of people like myself through their high school years and beyond. Since that album, he's tried a bit more of a straight-up country approach, he's tried a synth approach, and sounds in between the two. The People's Key is another one of those albums that doesn't choose just one, and merges a lot of his influences into one definitive album, that while flawed, is still very listenable.

The biggest problem with the album, is while his lyrics have always been provocative and thought-provoking, this time around they don't seem to actually say much at all, and meander more on unraveling thoughts and various subjects that sometimes don't always mesh as well as Oberst wants them to. Oberst disconnects into that drone that he has perfected over so many albums, where willfully moans about anything and everything. A lot of this album is has that illusory style to them, but they never really seem to mean anything. He even hands over some crucial minutes of his album to Randy Brewer, a Texas musician Oberst had met on the road. And while the man has a fine voice and speaks as if he's some sort of preacher delivering true gospel, when he's done you feel like you didn't listen to anything at all. I don't want to use the word pretentious, but this is probably as close as Oberst has ever gotten to being so.

Now you're probably thinking after all that that I don't like this album. But if I can digress, this is still a darkly moving, even if you don't come to fully understand it. "Haile Selassie" is a charging, delightful synth fuzz that reminds you of the better parts of the Digital Urn album. "One for You, One for Me" is a true moment of connectivity for Conor Oberst, where the feelings of "oneness" come together into a strong moment of clarity for the album, and the 6 minutes pass by quicker than you imagine they could. There is a unique sound to the album as a whole, a post-punk folk synth rock, if you could take all the elements and just mash them into one name. And it works, the musicianship, as always, knows when to provide a meddling mess or a low-tuned hum.

So don't be too fooled by my second paragraph. This is coming from one of Bright Eyes' biggest fans, and thus one of their biggest critics. If you've liked Digital Ash from a Digital Urn, and don't mind a little extra folk, then you'll enjoy this just the same. Hopefully the revelatory words of Conor Oberst produce a little more feeling next time around, but for the time being, it's nice to see he's still searching in the rabbit hole for that special something.

3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Pretty Reckless "Light Me Up" Review

Most people know lead singer Taylor Momsen as the bratty high school teen from the Television series Gossip Girl. What most people don't know is that this girl has come serious chops when it comes to singing and that is well showcased on her band The Pretty Reckless' debut album Light Me Up.

The band formed in 2009 and are made up of members Ben Phillips (guitar), Mark Damon (bass) and Jamie Perkins (drums). Lead singer Taylor Momsen initially formed a band back in 2008 and even opened up for The Veronicas in 2009 but eventually  fired her band mates stating that they didn't fit with her musical style. She wanted a darker more sinister sound to her songs thus forming a new band and taking on the name The Reckless. The name was then changed adding "Pretty" to it's title due to legal reasons.

From the opening track "My Medicine", the first song on the album easily portrays that signature sound Momsen was going for. Old School grunge with a real Rock N Roll feel to it. Although different, The Runaways quickly come to mind as I listen to each song. The album in it's entirety has an 80's feel to it and that's surprising that Momsen was only 15 years old while recording the album. You get a sense that someone much older is singing these songs but her voice has such maturity in it that you really can't tell the difference. This is a debut album from a band that came out of nowhere but each track is so well put together that you'd think this band has 10 years under they're belt.

The majority of the lyrics that are written for this 10 track album come from a very dark place as by design. The lead single "Make Me Wanna Die" tells the story (well at least to me) of a vampire telling his mortal soul mate about his life as a bloodsucking demon. My favorite track on the album "Just Tonight" tells the story of a girl who's speaking through a self induced coma after swallowing a mouth full of pills. The song is a ballad of sorts completely different that the other 9 tracks on the album. "Miss Nothing" which is the second single off the album tells the story if a girl who just wants to break free from being misused, under appreciated and taken advantage of.

Overall Light Me Up is very good and almost immediately makes you forget that the lead singer Taylor Momsen daylights on the CW Network.

Other songs to hear: "Goin' Down", "Light Me Up" and "Nothing Left To Lose"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Decemberists - The King is Dead (Review)

The Decemberists have never been a band known for keeping things simple. Melodic tapestries, sprawling tales of love, revenge, and longing, and rock operas abounding, they have a reputation for the dramatic, and delivering plenty of memorable tracks along the way. There have been murder ballads, ironic whiskey-fueled somber, and everything in between. But with a new year has brought a new sound for Colin Meloy and his band of folk rockers; a tightened, reined in, more controlled sound. One that while it is easily described as less grandiose, still proves just as effective in the scheme of making a great album.

The little complexities are there, although not as noticeable, especially since Meloy has for the most part dropped his prose style song-writing and gone for a bit more of a direct approach. The music relies on harmonicas, fiddles, accordion, pedal steel, enough extra instruments for a folk jamboree. “Rox in the Box” almost seems to take a book out of the Celtic songbook, with a sing-songy riff backed by accordion, and some of Meloy’s most simple yet still poignant narratives (“And you won’t make a dime on this gray Granite Mountain Mine, of dirt you’re made and to dirt you will return”). And who hasn’t thought about rocking out to an accordion solo?

The band’s first single off of The King is Dead, “Down by the Water,” has been noted by several critics for taking an R.E.M. approach, relative in its musical style and Meloy’s vocal performance. You can definitely notice that almost right away, like a “Man on the Moon” that drives a bit harder, with some extra touches of folk. It’s just a shining example of what could be a clearer direction for The Decemberists, after pulling off so many 60-plus epics it became almost impossible to top themselves.

It shows this band’s true ability to create a wonderful listening experience, that after being used to a certain thing after so many years, to switch it up, and show just how far simplicity can take us, or how far they can take us with their simplicity. It’s an eye-opening revelation for these veterans of the folk rock scene, and one can only wonder what tricks they have up their sleeve in the years to come. But their versatility cannot be questioned, for they’ve shown they can pack just as much punch in forty minutes as they have in their much longer efforts. The King is Dead is another great album in the long line of great albums for these indie darlings.

4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Roommate Review

The Roommate stars a list of characters the CW hired at one point or another to add sexual appeal to an otherwise mediocre roster of shows. Minka Kelly (Friday Night LightsTV Show) which was actually part of the NBC roster at one point, Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), Alyson Michalka (Hellcats), Danneel Harris (One Tree Hill), Katerina Graham (The Vampire Diaries), Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), Matt Lanter (90210, The New One), and Cam Gigandet (Twilight, The O.C.) which was part of the FOX roster.

Story and plot aside the marketing campaign that surrounded The Roommate clearly wanted everyone who watches the CW to come out and see this film filling the cast with practically all of its stars. I could clearly see why that would be a smart thing to do. All of those shows listed above are all successful in the 18-49 demographic of people who actually tune in to watch those shows. Most of those people are teenage girls or women in general so with that in mind the movie studio filled the cast with eye candy for the guys as an incentive to actually fake enthusiasm knowing they are going to be forced to go see it either way. So it's a win, win if you ask me.

Now as for the movie itself, the story follows a college freshman who moves into a dorm room and eventually meets her roommate who turns out to be batshit crazy! Simple yes I know but you can't make a plot that direct anymore interesting than it has to be. Don't get me wrong the chick was crazy but not to the extent in which the trailer made you believe she was. She lacked that killer instinct that the trailer force fed you into believing was there. Every time her roommate seemed to show interest in someone else or every time she didn't pay enough attention to her she went over the edge but just looked liked a person who was about to take her own life, not someone else's.

Sometimes these suspense thrillers as this was meant to be, hold back on actually taking the next step and making the movie scary for reasons unknown. The lead up to something actually happening is what they are going for more than the actual kill or scare. I for one would rather be scared than to have the anticipation of being scared be such a let down once you realize it was all just tease at the end of the day.

To be overly critical of a film like this wouldn't be fair because to be honest with you I didn't expect much anyway. I, like most guys who ended up seeing this film saw hot girls on the screen, a brief but satisfying girl on girl make out session and that pretty much summed up what you enjoyed about the film. Towards the end of the film things did get a little interesting and made the suspense/thriller genre label actually live up to it's name for 10 minutes but overall The Roommate isn't anything to write home about. Isn't one of those "must haves" that you'll end up adding to your DVD collection. It's just a regular film, not a bad film but just ordinary. Sometimes and in this case ordinary did just fine.

3 out of 5 stars

Friday, February 11, 2011

Actress Profile: Amber Heard

This is the year of Amber Heard. Haven't heard of her? Well you will because with her extensive resume that's growing by the day you're sure to see her on the big screen a lot this coming year.

Getting her start way back in 2004 in the movie Friday Night Lights, Heard has been in numerous and notable movies since then including Never Back Down, Zombieland and last years remake of the 1970 horror thriller of the same name And Soon The Darkness. Now many of you have probably never seen those movies but if you did you would see an actress that's steadily on the rise and one who deserves such roles that are coming to her in John Carpenter's first movie in 10 years The Ward and Patrick Lussier's action thriller Drive Angry.

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane is 2007 movie also starring Amber Heard as a high school teen who is adored by her entire school more for her looks more than anything. The level of infatuation that she receives becomes both frustrating and unwanted to the point where she ends up killing members of her student body all who look at her as nothing more than for lack of better words "a piece of ass." The reason I am singling out this movie is because throughout her acting career she has portrayed characters who are cast only as eye candy. Five of the movies she has starred in since 2007 shes has played the love interest. The girl who is there for sex appeal and nothing more. So her taking revenge in "Mandy Lane" on the people who see her in that light and that light alone is kinda anticlimactic given the type of roles she will be portraying from here on out.

And Soon The Darkness stars Heard as a girl who believes her best friend has been kidnapped as they vacation Argentina. Not the love interest. In The Ward she's plays a young institutionalized woman who is haunted by a mysterious and deadly ghost. Again not the love interest.  Drive Angry plays a girl out for revenge and from what I can tell based on the trailer alone, not the love interest! You see the pattern here. As she gets picked for more roles and actually lets her acting do the talking instead of her mass sex appeal the way people view her as real actress is sure to change.

Recently there have been reports that Amber Heard has been cast as Red Sonja the upcoming movie produced by Avi Lerner who had this to say about Heard landing the coveted role: "Amber is the new Red Sonja, but she doesn't know it yet!" The Character of Red Sonja, a fiery-haired warrioress in a chainmail bikini, seeks vengeance on the people who destroyed her family. This is yet another important role for Amber Heard as she continues to build her career. It's not easy to make a name for yourself in the movie biz but she's found the way to do it and I'm looking forward to seeing her continue to make a name for herself from here on out.

Amber Heard Filmography:

Friday Night Lights (2004)
Alpha Dog (2006)
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (2007)
Never Back Down (2008)
Pineapple Express (2008)
The Informers (2009)
Zombieland (2009)
The Stepfather (2009)
And Soon The Darkness (2010)
The Ward (2011)
The Rum Diary (2011)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

X-Men: First Class Trailer, Patiently Waiting For.... NOTHING

Do you know what today is? What today is suppose to be and what has the entire Internet community abuzz? The world premiere trailer for X-Men: First Class was suppose to debut today, well this afternoon depending on who you talk to via the movies Facebook Page. Created yesterday the page already has nearly 2 millions "likes" on the social networking site.

Now I've been refreshing and refreshing the Facebook page for the better part of 5 hours now and along with the numerous comments and posts on the page regarding today's events, most people -- me included are wondering when the hell is the thing actually going to be shown. There was no specific time set out for the debut of the trailer with the only news today stating that the trailer would be shown "Sometime this afternoon (PST)" meaning that even if the trailer debuts at 4pm on the West Coast, those of us on the East -- me included wont see the trailer till at least 7pm. Sucks for us I know.

The promotion for the Facebook page was flawless. Getting people to like the page in order to get a chance to see an exclusive look at the new movie. Genius. what they didn't expect was the backlash the page would receive now that we all have bee waiting and I use patiently loosely for the trailer but so far to no avail. The number of likes grew rapidly by the minute and will end up having more likes in these two days then my own page "The Reel Scoop" will have in its eternity. I'm not bitter though. So as I sit here typing this article up, I headed on over to the X Men Movies Facebook page and low and behold there it is! The Trailer is up. At 5:52pm (EST) the trailer finally arrives. Making this whole article a mute point. Oh well. The trailer was awesome by the way and you can check it out below now that I have the link to it as well. Enjoy!

Update: You have to like the actuall "X Men Movies" fan page on Facebook to actually watch the trailer on Facebook! Lame!

Sidenote: Rumor has it that the second we all see this trailer the Facebook likes of a particular Facebook Page will steadily decrease. Just a rumor though!

Monday, February 7, 2011

First Look at the Red Skull! What do you think???

This is our exclusive first look at the Red Skull from Captain America: The First Avenger. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl, Best Day For Movie Fans

With all the hype that usually comes with Super Bowl Sunday the only thing that actually lives up to it -- well at least for movie fans anyway are the movie previews that are shown. This year will be no different. More times than not the two teams that participate in the Super Bowl aren't teams that one really a fan of  (that's a trend all to familiar with being an Eagles fan and all) so the commercials and movie trailers are actually what most people tune in for.

This year the list of movie trailers that will be shown are from some of the most highly anticipated movies of the year in Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor and Super 8. Studios waiting until this very day to show of some of their summer blockbusters is kinda like a right of passage given the importance of the day. The movie trailers alone are the most talked about aspect of Super Bowl Sunday and for good reason.

We watch what seems like a 4 hour game due to the schedules TV timeouts, long commercial breaks and even longer halftime during the Super Bowl. The game features two teams that the majority of the country is forced to watch leading to no real stake in the game unless you are a betting man. When those timeouts due occur there's no running to the restroom, kitchen runs or smoke breaks. Everyones eyes are glued to the tube as if it was 4th and goal on the 1 yard line. The anticipation of what movie trailer will be shown next is on a level of excitement that speaks volumes. Your eyes light up as the words "The Following PREVIEW Has Been Approved For Appropriate Audiences" flashes across the screen. The anticipation becomes greater as the movie studio's logo appears. It's a movie trailer and you couldn't be more excited.

That's the feeling of Super Bowl Sunday. Not who wins and who loses because at the end of the day this is the last game of the football season so you wont have anything else to look forward to until September. But for us -- for movies fans, this is our day. The day where a teaser trailer speaks to us like nothing else can. The day where anticipation leads to something much, much more. The realization that in just a couple of months we will actually be in the theater, popcorn in hand seeing these movies in all their glory. That's hope. That's greatness. That's why Super Bowl Sunday is the best day for movie fans. Oh
The Steelers face off against the Packers in Dallas at 6:30 pm, if anybody's interested.

Below is a full list of movie trailer that are expected to be shown during the big game:

Captain America: The First Avenger
Super 8
Cowboys & Aliens
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Just Go With It
Battle: Los Angeles
Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom
The Eagle
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

Due Date Review

Due Date is a comedy directed by Todd Phillips and stars Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis (that guy from The Hangover) as two guys who take a drive back to Los Angeles and have the adventure of their lives where every conceivable thing that can go wrong does. Every year there always seems to be a movie that takes the simple plot of knucklehead guys entering situations that are so unbelievable that it's sickening and somehow survive while having tons of fun in the process. This yet again is one of those movies but for some reason that simple plot, as hairbrain as it is kinda works. Same can be said about Due Date.

Due Date (as I shake my head in disbelief) was actually pretty  funny and given all the more well received roles Downey, Jr. has been in associated with, to see him in this type of setting and this type of role was kinda cool. Galifianakis known for his role in the film The Hangover didn't have to stretch his acting muscles for this one as both characters were very similar to one another. The two together had a chemistry that at first didn't have a chance of working but throughout the film they actually made it's way to fruition. Most of the action in the film, made for the simple fact of getting a laugh were a little overdone and extremely far-fetched but the majority of the scenes that were actually "laugh out loud" worthy were between Downey, Jr. and Galifianakis.

Jamie Foxx made a cameo in the film for reason's I'm really not sure of but did garner a quickly laugh or two. Michelle Monaghan also made an appearance as Downey, Jr.'s wife and although her scenes weren't that memorable I still enjoyed seeing her in the film for reasons of my own. The film follows Todd Phillip's status quo as most of the movies he has directed follow this same dynamic. Road Trip, Old School and The Hangover just to name a few. That's not necessarily a bad thing because all those movies were funny in their own right but it shows the range or lack there of that Phillips has.

If you want an hour and a half of ridiculous laughs you are sure to get your fare share while watching Due Date. Not that you're expecting much else from a comedy but you'll find yourself laughing at the same things from previous films similar to this one and for a brief second ask yourself is that a good thing or a bad one?

3.5 out of 5 stars

The Next Three Days Review

The Next Three Days, directed by Paul Haggis is the remake of the 2007 French thriller Pour Elle (Anything For Her) and stars Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks. The movies follows Crowe's character as he devises a plan to break his wife out of jail after she is charged with the murder of her boss. From beginning to end this movie had the suspense necessary to keep the audience intrigued. From the elaborate planning of the escape to the actual execution of it, The Next Three Days pulled just the right amount of strings. This is the type of film that makes you want to root for the bad guy and in a way that's a good thing.

Crowe meets up with an ex-con played by Liam Neeson, which just worked on so many levels who tells him what do to in order to make a successful escape after escaping prison several times before himself. He then begins to meticulously plan every step of the escape while also caring for his son who is having a hard time dealing with the mother's incarceration. The Next Three Days constantly leads you in one direction then later on pulls you in another and films that leave you on the edge of your seat guessing wildly like that are better overall for it.

The Next Three Days with it's acting and storyline alone is a movie worth seeing. The plot is both consistent and believable which is refreshing given the state of films nowadays. Doing whatever it takes to save someone you love is what most would do but the lengths in which Crowe had to result to ultimately changed who he is. You see that as the film goes on and just before the credits role you can tell Crowe realizes that as well. I'm hard pressed to compare this movie to Taken only by way of intricate plot, the execution of it and the simple fact that Liam Nesson was in both. Must see -- I'd say so. Although this movie was a remake I still believe that Paul Haggis made it his own and with Crowe leading the way it's going to be really tough not to like this film.

5 out of 5 Stars

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Faster Review

Faster stars The Rock, I mean Faster stars Dwanye Johnson, formerly known as The Rock. I guess he decided that The Rock moniker was overplayed and he wanted a fresh start as -- well himself. 2007's The Game Plan the last movie where he dawned the name The Rock. So Dwayne Johnson stars as an ex-con who's hell bent on revenge after being set up after robbing a bank. The same people who set him up also killed his brother and left him for dead in the process after taking a gunshot wound to the back of the head. It's your straight to the point action thriller where The Rock, he will always be known as The Rock to me, goes through a list of people all responsible for the death of his brother and takes them out one by one.

The plot really is that simple but I'm just glad to see The Rock back to his old ways starring in actions films opposed to those Disney type movies that make me cringe. Race To Witch Mountain, seriously?

So his weapon of choice is a hand gun as show in the poster to your right and there's just something about a shot to the head (In movies I mean) that's just cool. The opening kill in the film displayed that perfectly. The Rock also had a fight scene in the film and I sat there begging for him to do his finishing move "The Rock Bottom". I didn't get my wish.

I'm going to refrain from calling this movie ordinary because that's not the word I'm looking for but there was nothing truly special or spectacular about this film. Hopefully this is a jumping off point for the second half of -- Dwayne Johnson's career back into action films. Here's hoping!

3 out of 5 stars

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Creep (feat. Nicki Minaj)

Green and Yellow - Lil Wayne Remix

Love him or hate him...Lil Wayne is on top. Even when he spent time in jail, he was running the industry. C'mon, he made a song using the phones reciever to record a track on a mixtape in jail.
He always knows how to market himself and capitalize on everything he touches.
He does it again to the remix of Wiz Khalifa's Pittsburgh Steelers anthem, "Black and Yellow".

Of course his spin is called "Green and Yellow"."What happened was I was watching some of those Steelers on media day, and one of them said after they was finished doing their interview, 'black and yellow, black and yellow.' I was like, 'You know what? I'm such a Cheesehead, such a Packer fan, I might as well go in there and make 'Green and Yellow'. " he said.

It's A Bird... It's A Plane, But Who's Lois Lane

People...we know that the new Superman is Henry Cavill, and thats cool, but who is going to play Lois Lane?
Meetings are taking place between the director Zack Snyder and a few actresses. The candidates are Alice Eve (She's Out of Your League), Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds), and Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day).
Of course for'll have to wait and see who will be the leading lady. Any of the three choices would be super man.

Alice Eve
Diane Kruger
Rosamund Pike

The Affect The Dark Knight NOW Has On Superhero Movies

Who knew back in 2008 that superhero movies would be changed forever by one Christopher Nolan and a little movie called The Dark Knight. Comic book adaptations included X-Men, Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. Those movies good in their own right and in their own way followed a kiddy style of film making very affective in getting kids in theater seats. That's what comic book movies were known for -- breaking box office records without focusing on storyline. The Dark Knight changed all that. Even it's predecessor Batman Begins took on a more serious overtone as director Christopher Nolan looked to make a complete movie rather than stick with the status quo that all comic book movies have used before.

Now before I get ahead of myself let's take a look back at what ultimately led to this change.

It was a dark and stormy night back in 1997. I sat in the theater both excited and nervous. Yes this was another Batman movie but yet another actor portraying the Dark Knight. Yes this was another Batman movie but with Joel Schumacher at the helm this time around. So Yes I was both excited to be in the theater watching another Batman movie but nervous of what was to come as my "spidey sense" if you will, was tingling and I could tell disaster looming around the corner. I was right!

There were tons of things wrong with Batman & Robin and that's not to say that the previous installment, also directed by Schumacher Batman Forever was any better but let me start with the one that stood out the most to me. The Terminator. Well Arnold Schwarzenegger. As Mr. Freeze. Seriously? Not only do you add one of the greatest actions stars of our generation to the cast but you put him in a comic book movie that was more like a musical if you really think about it. No way was that going to work. The cast itself were full of top notch actors (Well except Chris O'Donnell) that included George Clooney, who played the Batman and Uma Thurman, who played Poison Ivy. I had no qualms with those two choices but come on -- Commando! Schumacher did a horrible job of making a movie but rather made what seemed like a Disney On Ice show that went horribly wrong. Rather than make a movie with a story he decided to fill the seats instead with little kids who at the time didn't know any better. I'm shaking my head now just like I did all those years ago as I left the theater wholeheartedly disappointed.

So now lets fast forward through the years and take a look at what Schumacher started and see what other Superhero movies fell flat when it came to story development.

Daredevil (2002): Ben Affleck... Enough Said!
The Hulk (2003): A CG induced disaster that had no plot, no story, nothing positive to speak of at all.
The Punisher (2003): Lacked the intensity that The Punisher embodies so there for wasn't a complete depiction of what his story is really about. Plus the movie had John Travolta in it.
Catwoman (2004): Those sick Bastards!!
Blade Trinity (2004): Probably one of the worst depictions of Dracula I've ever seen in any movie ever!
Elektra (2004): A spin-off from Daredevil... Are you Serious?

Then 2005 hit and Christopher Nolan had enough. Quite frankly we all had enough. After numerous movies that failed to deliver including a few in the Batman series alone it was time for a fresh start. A reboot was in order, not just a reboot of the Batman series but a reboot of the entire superhero movie facade in general. Batman Begins started it all and with that movie came success and with success came intelligence from all the executives who final saw that a movie can be made with a serious overtone and an actual storyline. The years that followed showed that method of film making show up in a number of superhero movies since, including Nolan's own The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight wasn't just a superhero movie. It wasn't just another adaptation of a Stan Lee comic. The Dark Knight was a complete movie. A real movie with a real story and left not only box office records in it's wake but put futility in the world of superhero movies in its rearview mirror. This movie left a stamp on the world as the one what started it all. The one we will look back on and say -- yup, superhero movies wouldn't be what they are today and what they will be here on out without this one. I directly attribute The Dark Knight as the movie that led to the upcoming reboot of both the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man series.

With that said I look forward to what is to come. To see if Captain America: The First Avenger can give us a complete movie. To see if THOR will follow suit. To see if the highly anticipated Avengers will live up to the hype and not fall into the Schumacher black hole thinking that the characters on the screen alone are all they need. That won't work anymore. We're smarter than we used to be and we expect more out of our beloved superhero movies. That means we expect more from the people who are put into the position to make these kinds of movies. Us with our opinions and the studios with the power. Not fair is it?

At least for now we have one guy we can count on. Nolan. Hopefully Dark Knight Rises isn't out last chance to see a good superhero movie given the fact that this will be his last time directing a Batman movie. If that is the case then the real affect The Dark Knight has on superhero movies is going to be a long and dreary one. One that I wont be particularly looking forward to.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Birthdays February 2nd

Some stars that have faded away, while some still shine today:


Pop singer born in Columbia. She has won two Grammy Awards, and seven Latin Grammy Awards. Currently, she is the highest selling Columbian artist of all time, and the only artist from South America to reach the number-one spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, the U.K. Singles Chart, and the Australian ARIA Chart.

Tom Smothers-1937

American comedian born in New York City. He was a regular on the Steve Allen Show, then later appeared on the CBS sitcom, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Tom is the owner of Remick Ridge Vineyards in Sonoma County, California.

Graham Nash-1942

English singer-songwriter best known for his contributions to the group The Hollies, and folk/rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Graham is nicknamed "Willy" and is a published photographer. He was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and was appointed Officer of the British Empire in 2010.

Farrah Fawcett-1947

American actress and artist who was a sex symbol. She became an international star when she appeared in the first season of the TV series Charlie's Angels. Farrah's first TV appearance was a guest spot on I Dream of Jeannie. Fawcett in my opinion has the most famous hair-style of our time. She died June 25, 2009.

Christie Brinkley-1954

American model who was best known for three consecutive appearances on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editions (1979, 1980, 1981). Christie also holds the longest running contract in model history, which was with CoverGirl. Christie has been married four times, most notably to Billy Joel.