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Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is a nearly perfect superhero film. The superhero, Batman, evolves from the last film and comes to personal realizations about himself. The underworld Batman combats becomes more dangerous out of desperation from his crime fighting, spawning an incomprehensible villain and a would-be example of bravery in the face of adversity.

The Dark Knight, like most sequels buttressed by a larger production budget, begins in aggrandized fashion with a lavishly shot (they used IMAX cameras) bank robbery. This is not your ordinary bank robbery however, which should come as no surprise when the mind that created it is revealed. The bank robbed is no ordinary bank either, it’s a mob bank. The bank robbery was orchestrated to bring its architect to the attention of all the mob bosses in Gotham City. That architect is none other than The Joker (Heath Ledger).

Dealing with the bank robbery and its repercussions are Lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Dent has recently won the election to become Gotham City’s new District Attorney with the campaign slogan: I Believe in Harvey Dent. By the mid-point of The Dark Knight, it’s clear that a large portion of Gotham City believes in Harvey Dent, including Bruce Wayne. Wayne longs to be with Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, formerly played by Katie Holmes) and not only sees Dent as Gotham’s legitimate savoir but as a means for him to stop being Batman and require Dawes for himself. As in all good and note-worthy romantic dramas, things don’t go as planned. This is also one of The Dark Knight’s strengths. As The Joker says in the film: “It’s all part of the plan.”

The Joker is the most exciting element of The Dark Knight. The viewer is always waiting for him to do something or say something as only he can. This is the mercurial Joker that has, up to this point, only existed in Batman comic books: a lethal sociopath and master criminal. Who else could do a magic trick with a pencil, making it disappear with such panache and flash? And this Joker is a great story teller as well, always regaling those he gets close to about the tale of how he acquired his facial scars. His oratory technique is very intense, imbuing the listener with trepidation and in specific cases, pain.

Harvey Dent, who initially seems to not have a substantial role in The Dark Knight, turns out to be one of the most important characters in the film. Because of a litigious investigation Dent conducted before the events in The Dark Knight as a member of the Internal Affairs Department, Dent suspects something about Gordon’s unit that turns out to be absolutely true. This lack in judgment on Gordon’s part costs the facund Dent greatly, both emotionally and physically. Eckhart really sells Dent and what he is going through. The audience clearly sees Dent’s point of view unlike The Joker’s and his need for anarchy.

Bruce Wayne, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is showing the physical wear of his nightly occupation as Gotham’s Dark Knight. Most of the adversaries he has faced in the past he knew how to deal with. When The Joker arrives in Gotham, Batman finds himself in a few predicaments. How do you stop someone like The Joker without taking his life? How do you intimidate the criminals of Gotham City when they are more afraid of The Joker and his retribution than yours? The resolutions to these quandaries are more reasons why The Dark Knight stands out from other comic book-based films.

The human element, toyed with and poked at in Spiderman 1 and 2, is brought to bear fully in The Dark Knight. The situation has to do with sacrificing someone else’s life to save yourself and how far you would go to live. It is scripted and acted with sincerity, doesn’t seem artificial but authentic, making the scene all that more powerful and real. It is one of the most finely written scenes in The Dark Knight and most-likely is the cause of the early, positive buzz the film garnered. That and Ledger’s performance, his best to date and sadly his last, much like Brandon Lee’s in The Crow.

I did find that the pace of Batman Begins was better than The Dark Knight’s and that the hand-to-hand combat scenes were more effectively in the latter film as well. In Begins, Batman took down adversaries quickly, stealthy, in The Dark Knight he fights out in the open and the fights have been slowed down. Maybe this was in response to viewers not actually seeing every blow Batman delivered in Batman Begins and voicing their opinions on the fact three years ago.

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is not as great a sequel as Aliens or The Godfather 2 nor is it the best superhero movie sequel since I believe X-Men 2 is a tighter film, with a better score that one-up’s its predecessor in almost every area. The Dark Knight fails do that. What The Dark Knight does do is raise the bar for superhero films, as Iron Man did earlier this summer. The Dark Knight’s greatness lies in the fact that it gives the viewer what they were not expecting. The Dark Knight surprises viewers that have “seen it all before.” Humanity and human life are what most super-heroes strive to preserve at all costs. In The Dark Knight, humanity acts on its own behalf and saves itself.

Rating: 9.5/10

Soundtrack Review for The Dark Knight

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With The Dark Knight in theaters, DC Comics and Warner Bros. have begun the marketing push for their next great comic book adaption. The opening volley was The Watchmen trailer, which appeared in front of The Dark Knight on July 18, 2008. Being helmed by 300‘s Zack Snyder, Watchmen looks as if it will be something very special. I suggest you read the Watchmen graphic novel before seeing this film. There are bound to be character details and subplots left out or only alluded to in this film. The Watchmen grace the cover of the newest edition of Entertainment Weekly. The best of the pics are below. Enjoy.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Netflix, Inc.

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Jul 18, 2008

Watchmen Movie Trailer

The Watchmen trailer is phenomenal. PHENOMENAL. The Smashing Pumpkins song (The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning) used in the trailer. Excellent. The shots chosen for the trailer. Excellent. Silk Spectre. Excellent. Having read most of the Watchmen graphic novel so that I know what the images in the trailer represent. Excellent. This is one of the best, well crafted trailers I have EVER seen. This trailer makes Watchmen look like a masterpiece, a ticking time bomb waiting to explode on the big screen March 6, 2009. Director Zach Snyder seems to have made an even more visually impressive film than 300, which is no small achievement.

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Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk is a more focused and action packed film adaptation of the Marvel comic book involving Dr. Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) and his gamma eradiated, anger induced monster than Ang Lee’s Hulk (2003) and is almost as good as recently released Iron Man. While in Brazil at the beginning of The Incredible Hulk, the film might have even been as good as Batman Begins and was for a few sequences but then it backed away from that greatness during its CGI heavy climax, leaving realism and the human element behind.

The Incredible Hulk begins beautifully with a homage to the television show of the same name from the late 70’s that starred the late Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno (who makes a cameo in this film as he did in Hulk but this time he is given dialog). Something happens during this sequence that could have earned The Incredible Hulk an R-rating but the images were cut just right by Kyle Cooper to avoid it. It would benefit the viewer if they saw Iron Man first because there are many nods and winks to companies, organizations and characters from that film during the beginning and throughout the remainder of the film that will go unnoticed or seem insignificant otherwise.

While hiding out in Brazil, a mishap occurs at a soda bottling plant and General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, a former associate of Banner who is now hunting him, is alerted of Banner’s presence there. General Ross leaves to capture Banner with the aid of Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), who is on loan from Great Britain’s Special Forces.

While in Brazil, Banner studies the Martial Art of Aikido to control his anger and works at a factory where Martina (Debora Nascimento), a striking Brazilian day-laborer, has a crush on him. The crush is never spoken of; it’s all in Martina’s eyes. Would a woman of Martina’s facial quality actually be a day-laborer in a factory? I found it to be remote and extremely questionable but not outside the realm of plausibility. Banner doesn’t even notice Martina’s looks but that is understandable (for the sake of The Incredible Hulk’s eventual romantic sub-plot). Banner is in love with someone else by the name of Dr. Elizabeth “Betty” Ross (Liv Tyler).

After General Ross and Blonsky catch up with Banner in Brazil and Banner is subsequently chased across roof tops, we find out that Martina lives directly below Banner. I found this very curious. Banner works with a woman that has eyes for him, is easy on the eyes and lives directly below him and nothing has happened between them. The plausibility of this scenario gets stretched rather thin but thankfully there are bigger and more entertaining issues within The Incredible Hulk to keep the viewer’s mind occupied.

Emil Blonsky is the surprise of The Incredible Hulk. He is the eventual main antagonist to Banner, his foil. Blonsky is a soldier almost past his prime, who has denied promotion up to this point because he wants to remain in the field; he’s a fighter and will remain one for as long as he is able. Before long though, that ability will come to an end and Blonsky and General Ross are both aware that its onset has already begun. This is where the Super-Soldier serum comes into play. Comic book aficionados will recognize this concoction all to well for giving scrawny Steve Rogers aka Captain America his physique and physical abilities. When Hulk and Blonsky meet after Blonsky has “taken” the serum, the contents of that special sauce are responsible for one of the most entertaining hand-to-hand combat battle scenes I have witnessed in a film.

When Blonsky becomes the Abomination in the third act of The Incredible Hulk out of a growing power lust and desire to be the man he used to be, The Incredible Hulk loses part of its edge. Watching two CGI creatures duke it out is not as fun, breathless or as entertaining as watching a real human fight a CGI creature. Think Éowyn versus the Witch King’s Dragon at the end of the second act in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Both scenes are extremely cool and well done. Notwithstanding this hiccup, there are those special moments in The Incredible Hulk that enable it to stand at the upper epsilon of the films based on comic books. One involves Banner fixing a machine in a factory; another is when Betty Ross screams “DAD!”, while the remainders are those segments of The Incredible Hulk that I have previously alluded to.

Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk pays homage to its roots much like Rob Zombie did with his remake of Halloween, only with better results. Except for the title sequence and the montage imagery, all of The Incredible Hulk is a construct of screenwriters Zak Penn and Edward Norton’s mind. The Incredible Hulk is original and stands on its own two legs, a newborn that learned to run before it walked, unlike Ang Lee’s more metaphoric Hulk. The Incredible Hulk is a crowd pleaser, was designed to be so and delivers to both the purest and the novice.

Rating: 9/10

Soundtrack Review for The Incredible Hulk

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Jun 3, 2008

Film Review: Iron Man

Iron Man is one of the few superhero films of late to take its source material seriously. The film also boasts an impressive roster of note-worthy A-listers. All of these elements, combined with great direction by Jon Favreau, make Iron Man one of the best superhero movies ever made. Iron Man exceeds Superman Returns (and the Donnor original), Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Hulk, all three Spiderman movies, X-Men, most of X-Men 2, X-Men 3, both Punisher films and all of the Batman films except Batman Begins. Batman Begins takes its source material just as serious, if not more so. There are few jokes during Begins and as a consequence, the tone is kept somber, less commercial and less popcorn than Iron Man. The elements just mentioned (jokes, being commercial and easy digestibility) are so intertwined in Iron Man, they are Iron Man. They do not stick out or become omnipresent to the viewer, though you will feel their presence. There are hilarious moments of levity in Iron Man that are as well executed as the ones found in the Spiderman films (especially Spiderman 3). The creation of the first and second Mark suits; and the hi-jinks that go into their development and testing lighten the mood of the Iron Man and in many instances, serve as the film’s comic relief.

The story of Iron Man revolves around an arms maker and manufacturer, Anthony “Tony” Edward Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a flamboyant ladies man and billionaire. Stark inherited and runs Stark Industries, a company that was handed down to him when he was old enough, through decree of his father’s will. Stark’s father, Howard Stark, was one of the prestigious scientists that worked on The Manhattan Project from 1941-1946 and created Stark Industries in his later years. While Tony was growing up (after Howard ’s death and before he was given Stark Industries to run), Stark Industries was managed and overseen by its founder’s best friend and partner Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). During Iron Man, Stane is the partner of the grown up Tony Stark in Stark Industries. When Stark is captured by a terrorist group called Ten Rings during a demonstration of Stark Industries latest weapon, the “Jericho” missile, he is given an ultimatum. Build them the cluster missile that was just demonstrated or die. This life or death situation is the beginning of the character and personality change for Tony Stark. Being forced to arm terrorists, terrorists that idealize the weapons he has created, helps Stark realize the error of his arms-making ways. During the death of a certain character, that character asks Stark to “do better.” Stark’s personality change is rooted in this three month long ordeal but even more so in anger, sadness and remorse. The person in question was shot down by hand weapons he designed and manufactured.

This event is also what separates Iron Man from most comic book superhero movies. Stark goes through a real change right in front of the viewer’s eyes, something the audience can easily understand and empathize with. For all of his bravado, jokes and immature behavior, Stark is human and when he escapes and returns home, he makes a conscience decision about the direction of Stark Industries. This is much to the dismay of certain members of Stark Industries and unbeknownst to Tony Stark (for a portion of the film anyway), brings a hidden enemy out into the open. It is when the true enemy is revealed, a realistic enemy that isn’t bent on world domination or other megalomaniacal schemes, that Iron Man becomes an even better film.

Jon Favreau’s Iron Man was an unexpectedly solid superhero film. There are harbingers to future Iron Man installments (the silver Mark II suit) and other superhero movies (Captain America) in the works within Iron Man that the diehard, observant comic book fan will surely notice. There is also an appearance by another superhero at the end of the credits in Iron Man. I was very surprised and intrigued by the choice of who to play this particular superhero was. Before the credits rolled, the acting in Iron Man was good, the special effects were great and both the protagonist and antagonist were interesting to watch and entertaining. The same can be said for the remainder of the supporting cast: Stark’s personal assistant Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), his military liaison Lt. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Terrence Howard) and all the others that helped make Iron Man something special.

Rating: 9.5/10

Soundtrack Review for Iron Man

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You had the appetizer, now here is the main course. G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra is set “ten years in the future, the film is an origin story, showing the rise of the Cobra Organization. Stephen Sommers said, ‘For people who know nothing about it, it’ll make sense. And to people who love this stuff, it’ll show where they all came from.’ The film focuses on Duke and Ripcord’s induction into the G.I. Joe Team, providing the audience’s point-of-view.” Sounds good on paper but lets wait and see the first few trailers. Love the fact that Sienna Miller and Rachel Nichols are in this film. G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra opens on August 7, 2009.

Dennis Quaid as General Clayton M. Abernathy / Hawk


Karolína Kurková as Courtney A. Kreiger / Cover Girl


Channing Tatum as First Sergeant Conrad S. Hauser / Duke


Marlon Wayans as Wallace A. Weems / Ripcord


Lee Byung-hun as Storm Shadow

Sienna Miller as Baroness Anastasia DeCobray / The Baroness



Rachel Nichols as Shana M. O’Hara / Scarlett



Source: Wikipedia and comicbookmovie

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If you have seen the last season of Alias, P2 or the remake of The Amityville Horror, you know how sweet it is that Rachel Nichols has been cast as Shana M. O’Hara aka Agent Scarlett (or just Scarlett) in the upcoming, live action G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie. A few weeks ago, the first pictures of Ray Park as Snake Eyes were also released. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra opens on August 76, 2009.

Update:  Baroness / Scarlett Shower Scene (#6 on the list), G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Cast Pictures, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Super Bowl Teaser Clip, and  Box Office Prediction.


Source: joblo

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The first pic of Ray Park as Snake Eyes in the Stephen Sommers directed film of the popular 80’s cartoon G.I. Joe landed on the net last night.


Personally, I’m not looking forward to this film. It will not be as intense as Batman Begins or the upcoming The Dark Knight. The operatives and soldiers of G.I. Joe and Cobra will be fighting a clandestine war with little or no blood because of Hasbro. Expect bloodless sword battles, soldiers that can’t aim their rifles and grenades that don’t splatter their victims or that kill them behind an onscreen obstruction. One bright spot in the film, other than the presence of Sienna Miller, is that Alan Silvestri is scoring the film. If you’ve seen Predator and Beowulf, you know how good he is and what he brings to the table. G.I. Joe lands in theaters August 7, 2009.

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Mar 6, 2008

New Watchmen Pics


YES! These new Watchmen pics are fantastic and you can see that the characters are being taken seriously. Watchmen will be released on March 6, 2009 and after seeing these pics of The Comedian, Nite Owl II, Ozymandias, Rorschach and Silk Spectre II (they are in this order down below), I can not wait. I’ve read eight of the Watchmen books and have four to go. After seeing these pics, I will be finishing them very soon. Thank you Mr. Synder for posting these pics on your blog and a year is a long time to wait.







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I can not wait for this flix to come out. I really can’t. I just hope it is done right. They are squeezing ten dense, extremely well written comics into a two hour film (I wish it were four hours but Watchmen does not have the Lord of the Ring Fan base for that. Not yet anyway.) We will all just have to be patient, wait and see. Its director, Zach Snyder, director of 2007’s 300, was good enough to release this photo upon wrapping filming earlier this week. If you’ve read the comic (I’ve read the first eight, two to go) then you know what’s going on during this scene and why.


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