Category Archives: heath ledger

The Long Dark Knight

The Dark Knight ~ I wanted to like this, I really did. Hell, I wanted to love it. And based on the record-breaking box office, and the renewed interest in comics as fodder for Hollywood, I really wish I did… But it was not to be. This could be one of the biggest disappointments of the summer, if not the year.

I don’t get it. How could this be that nearly two decades after Tim Burton’s Batman when comics readers breathed a collective sigh of relief when we finally got what many of us perceived as the real Batman – a dark creature of the night – how could it be that now … my reaction is “it’s too dark,” how could this be?

The problem is, that’s the least of the problems I have with The Dark Knight. There are sequences, dialogue and characterizations that are dead on, and in some cases, perfect. But those do not make a whole movie.

Perhaps part of the blame goes to director Christopher Nolan for hiring his brother to help with the screenplay. David Goyer runs hot and cold for me. The first Blade is perfect yet his Dark City does nothing but give me migraines just thinking about it. Why not hire someone who has his feet firmly within both camps, film and comics, to help write the thing? Alan Brennert must be in the loop somewhere as he wrote one of the episodes in “Gotham Knight,” the anime that bridges Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and it should be noted he’s one of the better comics and TV writers around. His “Twilight Zone” work rivals Rod Serling’s and his Earth-Two stories are second only to Roy Thomas, if not better. He understands comics, and the characters.

Another thing that bothers me is the Oscar for the late Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker. Yeah, he’s good, but was he that good? Hard to say. He certainly nailed the Joker, personality-wise at least, if not the visuals, and Ledger’s Joker definitely is frightening. Anyone else get the shivers every time he clicked his tongue? Yes, Ledger was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. He shines whenever he’s on screen, even in nurse drag. But personally though I think Aaron Eckhart and especially Gary Oldman were just as good. If the late Heath Ledger gets an Oscar, then at least Oldman should have gotten at least a nod as well.

Christian Bale’s Batman growl has got to go. In the previous movie it was annoying, here it’s just downright infuriating. How about just a tonal change of voice like Christopher Reeve used to do with Clark Kent and Superman? That’s all that’s needed, really.

Really, what more do I need to say? The guttural noises coming from Bale lessen the character. The Batman character comes as much from Doc Savage as he does from the Shadow. Where is the Savage intellect? In this version of the dark knight it seems that either Lucius or Alfred do all the thinking for him.

Why do the movies hate Two-Face so much? He is easily one of the Batman’s deadliest foes, not just because of his insanity, or his loyalty to that coin, but because he was Bruce Wayne’s friend. He is not just the Riddler’s sidekick or the Joker’s freakish revenge – and he never was – why reduce such a opportunity-filled nemesis by linking him to others?

And Two-Face’s make-up/appearance… wow, it’s horrific, and pretty close to the comics for once, in theory. I think the idiots that brought their infant children to see this flick paid for their mistake with numerous nights of their children screaming awake from nightmares. Ratings are there for a reason, idiots. Just because it’s based on a ‘funny book,’ doesn’t mean it’s for kids.

I suppose that somewhere in this dreck written by Goyer and the director’s brother there might have been a good movie somewhere, but in my opinion it doesn’t make it to the screen. There are, despite my contempt for this film, parts I liked. The Joker’s interactions with the underworld elements of Gotham City are priceless and the entire Hong Kong sequence is amazing, but that’s only a small percentage of a very long movie. Too long.

I suppose I can hope that the next film in the series will be better, but that tact didn’t work back in the 1990s when Joel Schumacher took over the franchise. Perhaps Batman will be the opposite of the Star Trek film series and the odd-numbered ones will be the good ones. I hope so. I really don’t want to hate going to see Batman movies again…

Bookmark and Share

Advertisements

The Clown Vs. The King

Oscar Nominations 2009

Yep, that time of year again. At approximately 5:30 this morning, every movie geek in the world was at their computers or glued to their TVs to see what the Motion Picture Academy selected as the best for the year 2008. I was too, but afterward I went back to bed. Yep, I was that impressed.

Here’s what we’re stuck with this time around:

Best actor: Richard Jenkins, Frank Langella, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt and Mickey Rourke

Best supporting actor: Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger and Michael Shannon

Best actress: Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Melissa Leo, Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet

Best supporting actress: Amy Adams, Penélope Cruz, Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson and Marisa Tomei

Best director: David Fincher, Ron Howard, Gus Van Sant, Stephen Daldry and Danny Boyle

Best film: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader and Slumdog Millionaire

The rest of the noms can be found here.

==================

My early picks and guesses…

Mickey Roarke is back in Hollywood’s good graces and will take actor for The Wrestler. For supporting actor, it’s Philip Seymour Hoffman by elimination. Downey was terrific but just far too politically incorrect for the Academy, and he was also in that superhero movie, as was the late Heath Ledger. Frank Miller put superhero movies back in the ghetto with his ‘interpretation of The Spirit so there’s no way a comic book movie can ever win.

Best actress should go to Kate Winslet, but for Revolutionary Road rather than The Reader. And I think the magic of The Wrestler will help Marisa Tomei get her second Oscar – this one legit. 😉

I believe that Slumdog Millionaire will take both best picture and director as well for Danny Boyle, as well as for score and song. I’m guessing Waltz with Bashir for best foreign film and Wall-E for best animated.

Also I need answers when it comes to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button as I haven’t seen it. Did anyone like it? Do you know anyone who liked it? Heck, has anyone even read a good review of it? I’m puzzled by this one.

Give It Up, Old Man


It is sooo time for Larry King to just hang it up and retire. If he can’t even try to keep up with pop culture or current events, he should just not cover them in his show. Can’t his writers, researchers, handlers or whatever at least give him some hint or cue cards as to what is what?

Just for the record, Larry, Heath Ledger was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Brokeback Mountain. You couldn’t seem to remember that. He’s not a new face in Hollywood as you’ve said, the man’s been around for a while. Also, The Dark Knight is not a remake of Batman, and Ledger was not playing the title role. Sheesh.

Rest in Peace Heath Ledger


Actor Heath Ledger passed away yesterday afternoon. Found in his apartment, possibly from an overdose, details are still up in the air. He was not, as initially reported, found in Mary-Kate Olsen’s apartment, even though that would have added just the right touch Hollywood glitz and grimness that the community feeds on. Apparently Heath was having trouble with insomnia and may have taken too many sleeping pills. Time will tell.

I quite enjoyed the man’s work. My favorites included his roles in 10 Things I Hate About You, Knight’s Tale and his Oscar nominated performance in Brokeback Mountain. I was especially looking forward to Ledger’s appearance in the new Batman sequel, The Dark Knight, as the Joker.

Heath Ledger had spoken of the role as being so dark and psychotic that it was all-consuming – and may have caused some of his sleep troubles. I guess that’s another strike against method acting. But let me say, he made for one hell of a Joker.

My first reaction when I saw the most recent previews for The Dark Knight was one of fear, that I might not want to see it, I was so traumatized. Now while I understand fully the psychosis and danger represented by the Joker of the comics, I don’t think it had ever been fully brought to the screen, small or large. When I saw him in the role, I saw the Joker of the comics made flesh, and I finally understood why some people are afraid of clowns. Ledger will be chilling in this role.

Rest in Peace, Heath.