January 02, 2015

Tag Archives: Batman

LB Comic Con Draws Geeks, Freaks, Fans

Darth Vader mingled. Spider Man posed. Batman signed autographs.
Comic books came to life this weekend at the bi-annual Long BeachComic Con, located in the seaside Convention Center in the heart of the city.
A scaled down version of San Diego’s uber fest, it still drew crowds of geeks, freaks and fans looking to see stars, buy memorabilia, andogle some really crazy costumes.

When asked what the hot cosplay of today is, the answer people atthe convention was nearly unanimous: Mystique, Jennifer Lawrence;s blue alterego in ‘X-Men.’ But few in attendance were willing to pull off thenaked-looking outfit. One woman said, ‘I’m on a diet for San Diego’ (to wear that costume).
Richard Hatch of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ fame signed autographswhile the 501st (Vader’s Fist the world’s leading Star Wars organization) puton realistic battle scenes in full armor and artillery. When asked about thenew Star Wars, Storm Troopers were cautiously optimistic and hoped the heartand authenticity of what makes Star Wars special is kept in tact.
Cars from films like ‘Back to the Future,’ ‘The Blues Brothers’and Michael Keaton’s ‘Batman’ were on display, along with their costumedcharacters. Even in Long Beach it was all Hollywood as Doc Brown from ?Back tothe Future? was pitching a reality show.
The two-day conference ended Sunday.

“Batman”: The Top 25 (Best Production Design)

Here we go again folks with another Top 25. Today I’ll be knocking off another one of the technical categories, with this one being the always elaborate Best Production Design field. The category is usually a feast for the eyes, but there’s plenty more to it than that. The sets and the environment on the whole are put on display here in an often magical way. I have a few specific titles I’ll be citing below, but I know the game here. You all mostly just want to see the lists anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there in that particular regard. All you have to do is just be patient over the next few paragraphs once again…
This time around, I’m once again going the overview route, since as mentioned above the look of these winners is really what matters here. Also, it really just depends on what sort of winner you’re partial to here. There are all different sorts that have won the Academy Award here for this category, so it’s pretty much a matter of taste. Period, Sci-Fi, etc…all have their moment in the sun.
I’ll basically just discuss my top ten a bit. To me, the best winner of this category so far to date has been Tim Burton’s Batman, which isn’t the best movie in the world, but features some breathtaking Production Design by Anton Furst. It’s amazingly unique, you have to give the design that. Close behind I had Pan’s Labyrinth and Titanic, two other films I don’t love but think have amazing Production Design. On the next tier are two flicks I like a lot more in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Star Wars. Wrapping up the top ten you have the likes of Avatar, Barry Lyndon, Chicago, Dick Tracy, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, all very worthy winners. This is actually a pretty stacked category, so there were tons more than 25 winners that I could have chosen from in this field.
Here now is how I’d rank the 25 top winners of the Best Production Design Oscar:
25. The Aviator
24. The Great Gatsby (2013)
23. Memoirs of a Geisha
22. Amadeus
21. Cabaret
20. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
19. The Last Emperor
18. Moulin Rouge!
17. The Godfather: Part II
16. Doctor Zhivago
15. Schindler’s List
14. The Apartment
13. All That Jazz
12. Hugo
11. Lawrence of Arabia
10. Dick Tracy
9. Avatar
8. Raiders of the Lost Ark
7. Chicago
6. Barry […]

The sound and music of The Dark Knight Rises

HollywoodNews.com: Visionary Director Christopher Nolan returns for the final chapter of the Batman saga. In this exclusive SoundWorks Collection video we profile the sound and music team including Composer Hans Zimmer and Supervising Sound Editor and Sound Designer Richard King.

To hear more go to soundworkscollection.com
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The Dark Night Rises continues to dominate the Box Office

HollywoodNews.com: In the next couple days you’re going to hear a lot about how the Aurora, Colorado shootings had some kind of negative effect on the box office this weekend. You’re going to hear about how The Dark Knight Rises is some kind of disappointment and that it surely left money on the table due to the aftermath of said mass murder. So without getting too pompous about discrediting such malarky, let’s get something out of the way right now. After ten days, The Dark Knight Rises has earned $289 million. That’s the third-best ten-day total of all-time behind only The Dark Knight ($313 million) and The Avengers ($373 million) and a good $10 million ahead of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II ($373 million) without the 3D advantage. Yes, the third Batman sequel dropped 60% from last weekend, but it still earned $64 million in weekend two, the sixth-biggest second weekend of all-time (The Dark Knight earned $75 million in weekend two, a 53% drop).
In short, the threequel is playing like a normal insanely anticipated but also heavily front-loaded genre sequel that has its fan-base firmly entrenched without picking up many new viewers this time around. In other words, it’s playing a bit like a Harry Potter/Twilight sequel. The Dark Knight Rises merely isn’t the pure phenomenon that The Dark Knight was, and anyone that told you it would be was probably delusional or lying. The Dark Knight was an event. The Dark Knight Rises is just a heavily-anticipated genre sequel.
To read more go to MENDELSON’S MEMOS
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The Dark Knight Rises opens with $160 million

HollywoodNews.com:This was edited from a phone, so pardon any formatting errors. When a heavily-anticipated film debuts alongside a mass murder that takes place during a midnight showing of said film, it’s difficult to know how to analyze the opening weekend figures. I don’t mean morally speaking (all due respect, anyone offended by number crunching after such a tragedy shouldn’t be clicking on a link entitled ‘Weekend Box Office’), I mean practically. Under normal circumstances, the fact that The Dark Knight Rises debuted with $160 million over the weekend would lend itself to the usual analysis, dealing with weekend multipliers, midnight-percentages, comparisons to The Dark Knight and other recent blockbusters, and a guesstimate in regards to final domestic outcome. But it is impossible for now to know what the effect of the shooting had on the film’s short term or long term box office performance, so for the sake of this calculation, we will basically presume that the shooting had little quantifiable effect on the numbers, and frankly looking over the data I’m inclined to believe as much. The film did about as well, give-or-take, as it would have been expected to do. But the numbers, presuming little-to-no effect from Friday morning’s tragedy, means that the third Chris Nolan Batman film was a slightly less anticipated affair than the last go-around, which will likely bode comparatively ill for long-term grosses. Basically, horror of horrors, The Dark Knight Rises might just perform like a normal mega-blockbuster.
To wit, The Dark Knight Rises debuted with $30.4 million in midnight showings (second only to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II’s $43 million midnight-haul) and ended its first complete Friday with $75 million, good for the third-biggest single day of all time, behind The Avengers ($80 million) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II ($91 million). Considering The Dark Knight Rises was in 2D, it surely sold more tickets on Friday than The Avengers and may have sold more than Harry Potter 7.2 (we’ll know for sure in a few days). The film earned 40% of its Friday figure via midnight showings, identical to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part I ($24 million at midnight, $62 million on Friday) and just ahead of all-time worst midnight-percentage opening days Harry Potter 7.2 ($43m/$91m = 45%) and Twilight Saga: Eclipse ($30m/$68m = 44%). […]

The Dark Knight Rises comments thread…

HollywoodNews.com: So it’s midnight on the West Coast, which means the first midnight showings are just letting out on the East Coast. Okay, you know the drill. Here’s hoping I have more comments here than I did for The Amazing Spider-Man.
Anyway, I’m actually going to be away from my keyboard for a couple days, but I’ll *try* to do a weekend box office write-up on Sunday morning. Until then, it’s officially open season for anyone who saw the third and final Chris Nolan Batman film. You’ve heard my thoughts, now time to share yours, in as much detail as you desire.
To comment about TDN go to MENDELSON’S MEMOS

Oscars: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ a Best Picture contender

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” isn’t even in theaters yet, and already, someone has dropped the “O” word.
Oscars.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a contender,” Clayton Davis of The Awards Circuit Tweeted after his “Rises” screening. I doubt it will be the last time that we hear Nolan’s trilogy capper in the same breath as the Academy Awards.
After all, it’s widely believed that Nolan’s last Batman movie, “The Dark Knight” – and its absence in the Best Picture category – led to the changes in the number of potential Best Picture nominees we can have each season. Will “The Dark Knight Rises” capitalize on the new BP regulations and compete for Oscar’s top prize early next year?
To do so, it’s going to have to rise above a series of fellow contenders … some of which are coming right out of Warner Bros.’ pipeline. As was noted in The Hollywood Reporter, Warner has a handful of titles that will come to the table with awards “buzz.”
Perennial Oscar contender Clint Eastwood plays a baseball scout on a trip with his daughter (Amy Adams) in “Trouble With the Curve” (Sept. 28). Ben Affleck’s back in the director’s chair for “Argo” (Oct. 12), a political thriller with a tremendous cast. And then there are two heavy hitters racing to theaters in December: Peter Jackson’s opening chapter to “The Hobbit,” and Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” with Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire.
This weekend, the attention falls on Nolan’s “Knight” as we analyze its Oscar potential. The truth of the matter, though, is that it’s one of several options Warner has as the Oscar season kicks into high(er) gear.

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Batman: The Animated Series theme is a treasure to behold

HollywoodNews.com: Purely for fun, and purely because I was in the mood, I’ve compiled every relevant Batman musical theme since the 1960s. One live-action TV show, three film themes, and four animated series themes. A few things of note. First of all, that audio clip of Shirley Walker walking us through the Batman: The Animated Series theme is a treasure to behold, especially as she passed away several years ago (it’s the last cut on the two-disc Batman: The Animated Series score collection, which yes I do own).
Secondly, and this is what inspired me to compile these in the first place, whatever misgivings you may have about Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, Elliot Goldenthal’s music should not be discounted. His rip-roaring, more overtly comic book-ish theme is still a joy to listen to, successfully combining the lingering darkness from the Burton films with the more traditional Caped Crusader heroics on display in Schumacher’s films (the rest of the jazzy, offbeat music for Batman Forever is pretty terrific too). Thirdly, however powerful and effective the Hans Zimmer/James Newton Howard music may be for the Nolan Batman films, the themes are dreadfully challenging to hum, and I’d be lying if the Batman Begins ‘action theme’ didn’t sound just a bit reminiscent of Jerry Goldsmith’s theme to The Shadow (ironically best evidenced in this trailer for The Saint). Finally, despite the nine themes sampled below (and the fact that she’s seen quite a few episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Brave and the Bold), my daughter considers the 1960s Batman television theme to be the only ‘real’ Batman theme song and gets pissed when I hum anything else.
To be fair, I’m not exactly in a rush to show her Batman Returns or The Dark Knight (although she could probably handle Batman & Robin just fine). Please enjoy and share your thoughts below. What’s your favorite Batman music? Is it still Elfman above all else or has another later theme supplanted it? What music do you hear when you think of Batman?
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memo
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“The Dark Knight Rises” New Photos

HollywoodNews.com: Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight Rises” is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.
It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act.

But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.
“The Dark Knight Rises” opens in theaters and IMAX® Friday, July 20. This film has been rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.

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Why some comic adaptations failed: Iron Man 2, Punisher: War Zone, Superman Returns, Hulk

HollywoodNews.com: Actor Tom Hiddleston wrote an eloquent essay yesterday for The Guardian basically praising and defending the sub-genre known as the superhero picture. Plenty of disdain for the genre comes from the very notion that it’s big-budget entertainment based on literature that was technically intended for children that gobbles up production dollars and screen space that otherwise might be allotted for more explicitly grown-up fare. But at least some of the alleged weariness of this specific type of film (the superhero comic book adaptation) comes from a feeling that all-too many of them are basically telling the same story. You’ve generally got the standard origin story which (let’s be honest) basically takes Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie and pours it into a different color bottle (I say that as a big fan of Spider-Man and Captain America). Then you have the sequels, which are quite often merely a case of escalation and/or the hero dealing with self-doubt often while in combat with a ‘bigger/badder’ version of himself (again, thank you Superman II). But over the last twenty years or so, there have been a handful of high-profile comic book films that have attempted to play around with the formula but have artistically failed anyway. As a rebuttal to the idea that ‘all superhero movies are the same’ as well as a reaffirmation of the idea that ‘it’s not what it’s about, but how it’s about it’, let’s take a look at five comic book adaptations that didn’t play it safe, but didn’t come out on top either.
Batman & Robin (1997)
I would argue that it’s a sign of maturity among film pundits and critics when they are finally adult enough to realize that Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin is not the worst film ever made. Peel away all the attempted camp, the self-depreciating homoerotic jokes, the terrible lead performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger and you’re left with simply a good story told very poorly. As the fourth film in a franchise, Schumacher and company had a bit more leeway in terms of where they wanted to take their film this time around. And as such, they told a rather thoughtful tale of an adult and sane Bruce Wayne trying to figure out how to be an appropriate head to his surrogate family. No longer wracked with guilt over his parents’ deaths, Wayne […]

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