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THE DARK KNIGHT (2008)

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Written by: Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan

Music by: Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard

Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Chin Han, Nestor Carbonell, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Jai White, Cillian Murphy, William Fichtner

(Favorite Film: #7)

One of my all time favorite scenes in film is the Interrogation between Batman and the Joker in The Dark Knight. It showcases the brilliant writing that the Nolan’s brought to this sequel. First off it caps off what was a fantastic chase scene involving the Batcycle and a freight truck. What I love about this scene between the characters are two-fold:

1) The balance in power shifts almost without notice. At first Batman has the upper hand because….well he’s Batman. But the moment Joker isn’t giving him anything and Batman tries to use muscle in the conversation we realize quite clearly that he has no leverage. As Joker mentions at the end he has nothing ‘to threaten him with’ even as he is repeatedly getting his ass kicked.

2) It’s a wonderful performance by Ledger in an entire movie showcasing how brilliant he was as Joker. His calmness for the majority of it is unnerving, his care free attitude of getting beat up is also disturbing, and the glee when he proclaims he has two of Bruce’s friends in peril with that maniacal laugh is just…..God it’s just fantastic. Also a shout out to composers Zimmer and Howard for timing/composing the best cues for this scene. The moment where Batman says ‘Them?’ and Joker’s theme starts still gives me chills.

Look I could go on for ages on why this is the best comic book film of all time. You know it, I know it, and even the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences knows it because they gave this eight nominations at the Oscars. (Winning two with Ledger clearly deserving the win for Supporting Actor despite the naysayers claiming his death made him win. Bullshit on that argument.) I could list all the scenes that make this movie great and how everyone that isn’t named Heath Ledger are wonderful in this. But I know that would be repeating something that’s been discussed to death for the last six years. The Dark Knight, thanks to the Nolans, proved that a comic book character and/or franchise can go up with the big leagues of cinema and be regarded as one of the best period. If Warner Bros, or any other company including Disney, could remember what this film did in 2008 for the genre I think we would be seeing much better outings than simple cash grabs. Cause this clearly is not a cash grab; The Dark Knight is a work of art.

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OH, THE MOVIES I’VE SEEN #457

THE DARK KNIGHT (2008)

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Written by: Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan

Music by: Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard

Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Chin Han, Nestor Carbonell, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Jai White, Cillian Murphy, William Fichtner

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HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY (2008)

Directed and Written by: Guillermo del Toro

Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Seth MacFarlane, Jeffrey Tambor, John Hurt

One of the biggest dips in quality I’ve seen in a franchise is the Hellboy films. The first film was a wonderful surprise in terms of entertainment and it brought me into the Mike Mignola fold. The sequel though is nothing but disappointment and a lot of it has to do with Guillermo del Toro trying too hard. He puts too much effort in creature designs and even if they are gorgeous to look at you can tell the design is more of a factor than the writing. But the biggest flaw del Toro brings is with the characters and trying to be too jokey. I’m not saying he has to stick 100% to Mignola’s writing style but this comes across as a bad sitcom at times. There are scenes, like posted above, that work with the slapstick humor but then there are others that are cringeworthy. I’m looking at you Abe Sapien and Hellboy singing while drunk. I don’t wanna even get into the aspect of Liz Sherman being pregnant….that should never be an aspect of the Hellboy universe no matter who has reigns. This isn’t a comic book fan rant mind you, this is a simple observation as a man who loves movies. Some might like the pretty designs and humor in this but others, like me, will be ultimately disappointed on this second outing.

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OH, THE MOVIES I’VE SEEN #456

HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY (2008)

Directed and Written by: Guillermo del Toro

Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Seth MacFarlane, Jeffrey Tambor, John Hurt

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IRON MAN (2008)

Directed by: Jon Favreau

Written by: Various

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Clark Gregg

This is it, this is genesis. The reason why you’re watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC and seeing productions of Ant-Man or Guardians of the Galaxy being released in theaters. Also, the whole nerdgasm of seeing Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, and the rest together on screen a reality. Who would have thunk that an ambitious idea of giving Iron Man, an obscure character at best to the masses, would cause all of this to happen?

Well considering how the filmmakers were able to gather one of the best duos on screen certainly helps. Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow are certainly dynamite on screen and even for their first time working together it is as though we’re seeing chemistry from actors who’s been with each other for decades. They are able to bounce off each other so well and because of that the romance/friendship between these two characters come off so believable. Also, Paltrow can dish it just as well as RDJ so I hope no one discounts her presence in these films.

This film though was the resurgence of Robert Downey Jr. and now whenever we say his name or think Tony Stark we cannot imagine anyone else wearing the armor. His snarky, selfish attitude brings about a lot of humor with the character but when the script calls for it we can easily believe RDJ as someone who can be serious. Let’s not forget the actual scenes where he is Iron Man and boy they are fun to watch. Whether he’s in the prototype in the desert, to creating the Mark II, to seeing him battle terrorists & Obadiah Stane; it is so much fun seeing him cause havoc on screen. Who cares if this film never amounted to anything but an Iron Man franchise? I think we all can agree the world is now a better place that this film exists in the first place. Although we probably should thank the comic gods that Marvel tacked on the end credits scene to make us all giddy for years to come.

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OH, THE MOVIES I’VE SEEN #455

IRON MAN (2008)

Directed by: Jon Favreau

Written by: Various

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Clark Gregg

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BE KIND REWIND (2008)

Directed and Written by: Michel Gondry

Starring: Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Sigourney Weaver

Don’t be fooled by the plot involving a video store trying to stay in business. Be Kind Rewind is more about the love of filmmaking or, more specifically, how much Michel Gondry loves to create films. With his unique vision, and a low budget mindset, we see the bare bones of how a film is made. Every scene showing Jack Black, Mos Def, and others create a beloved film are a joy to watch because they are funny but also very relatable. Even if you’ve never tried to make a film you will like the DIY lengths in seeing Robocop or Driving Miss Daisy recreated. The idea of using pizzas as bloodpools still makes me smile on the ingenious of it. I don’t wanna say that the story here isn’t good or that the performances aren’t great. But if you love the idea of filmmaking or films in general you’ll love these scenes more than the string that tries to tie it all together.

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OH, THE MOVIES I’VE SEEN #454

BE KIND REWIND (2008)

Directed and Written by: Michel Gondry

Starring: Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Sigourney Weaver

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IN BRUGES (2008)

Directed and Written by: Martin McDonagh

Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clemence Poesy, Zeljko Ivanek

This is a weird movie. On one hand it can be seriously funny but on the other hand it can be horrifying. The cast is supremely strong with Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes. The latter being my favorite because Fiennes winds up being a disembodied voice to a man looking for bloodshed by the end. Basically when he shows his face in the final act to walk Gleeson to his certain doom winds up being my favorite scenes. But I don’t wanna discount Farrell or Gleeson because they have wonderful chemistry together and both have strong character arcs in general.

However, I find this movie horrifying because Martin McDonagh makes you unsure on what’s going to happen. A movie about hitmen, one suicidal at that, would make you to believe it will be violent. But it is how quick the violence is and how McDonagh paces the film to make sure you have no idea when it is gonna happen. In general McDonagh is a pretty darn good writer and for a first feature he delivers some memorable characters and hilarious monologues. I will say though that some aspects of the story are a bit uneven. The idea of using a midget seems to go for obvious jokes and there is a love interest that is quite frankly pointless to me. Apart from that though this is a pretty interesting film to watch and if you are into some dark humor I definitely recommend it.

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OH, THE MOVIES I’VE SEEN #453

IN BRUGES (2008)

Directed and Written by: Martin McDonagh

Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clemence Poesy, Zeljko Ivanek