Tagged: movie

NY Times: Have Superhero Movies Peaked?

NY Times: Have Superhero Movies Peaked?

There’s an interesting question posed by the New York Times film critic A.O. Scott in a new piece regarding superhero movies.

He surveys the Summer of the Superhero and notes the genre’s success, but then wonders if it might have hit a creative high-water mark. In other words, could the conventions of the superhero limit every superhero film, keeping it from exceeding The Dark Knight?

But to paraphrase something the Joker says to Batman, “The Dark Knight” has rules, and they are the conventions that no movie of this kind can escape. The climax must be a fight with the villain, during which the symbiosis of good guy and bad guy, implicit throughout, must be articulated. The end must point forward to a sequel, and an aura of moral consequence must be sustained even as the killings, explosions and chases multiply. The allegorical stakes in a superhero are raised — it’s not just good guys fighting bad guys, but Righteousness against Evil, Order against Chaos — precisely to authorize a more intense level of violence.

… the disappointment comes from the way the picture spells out lofty, serious themes and then … spells them out again. What kind of hero do we need? Where is the line between justice and vengeance? How much autonomy should we sacrifice in the name of security? Is the taking of innocent life ever justified? These are all fascinating, even urgent questions, but stating them, as nearly every character in “The Dark Knight” does, sooner of later, is not the same as exploring them.

As much as I liked The Dark Knight, I agree with Scott on its limitations, owing mostly to the abundance of "speechifying."

But, personally, I disagree with his main point. Watchmen, if it truly ends up following Alan Moore’s vision, would certainly represent a new creative high for the genre.

What Scott reveals in the piece isn’t the great limitation of superheroes, but rather a limitation in his understanding of what a superhero can be.

Dabel Bringing ‘The Warriors’ to Comics

MTV has a new comics blog (wrap your brain around that), and already they have some interesting news.

The Dabel Bros. are going to be doing some original comic books based on The Warriors, that cult classic movie of a group of gangsters trying to survive a run through hostile gang territory… while they wear ridiculous leather vests.

With a tentative release date of early-2009, Dabel is already looking towards adding its own contribution to the Warriors mythos. “The plan is to do stories set before and after the movie,” revealed Ruiz. “We really want to flesh out the world and let you know even more about these characters.”

Ruiz promises two things: first, that the iconic gangs that inhabit the Warriors’ Manhattan will indeed grace the pages of the comic, and second, that nothing will be watered down for a younger audience. “We will be sticking to the movies vision,” he stated. “So the comic will be just as dark, gritty and violent. You will see the Warriors and the other gangs beat the hell out of each other. There’s no way we could do it justice if we ‘kiddy’ it up.”

Superhero Movies: The Blockbuster List

Superhero Movies: The Blockbuster List

Blockbuster.com has been my preferred movie-by-mail service for more than a few years now, so it was a nice surprise to see them calling out an impressive number of films based on comics in their big summer promotional list.

The list is actually pretty comprehensive, and includes a few titles I wasn’t expecting to be on Blockbuster’s radar as comics-inspired projects (i.e., Road to Perdition). It’s a great starting point for anyone looking to put together a comics-movie marathon this season, or perhaps a themed alternative to the Comic-Con chaos kicking off this week on the West Coast.

Heck, they even included Man-Thing!


(via Scott Hinze)

Frank Miller Defends ‘Spirit’ Film

If you watched the first full trailer for Frank Miller’s upcoming adaptation of The Spirit, you could be forgiven for thinking it had little more than the title in common with Will Eisner’s comic series.

Miller insists that’s not the case, though, in a story in the New York Times.

“The only ways they resemble each other are the ways that I learned from Will Eisner: the use of black and white, certainly the rapturous approach to women.” Mr. Miller spoke after an editing session in Culver City in June, wearing a straw hat, a gray shirt and a loose black jacket; his voice, faintly adenoidal, stems from a long relationship with Winston Lights.

Where “Sin City” was bleak, “The Spirit” seems playful, quirky. For someone who exalts Ayn Rand and has vigorously defended America’s military response to 9/11, Mr. Miller seems to have tempered his cynical machismo. As for the strip’s most nettlesome character — Ebony White, the black sidekick with the Stepin Fetchit patois— he has been jettisoned.

But, as is always the case, not everyone agrees:

But the current film-comic infatuation isn’t for everyone. “I think they once made a movie out of ‘Ulysses,’ the Joyce novel, and it can’t be done,” said Art Spiegelman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novelist behind “Maus.” “I’m not saying that Eisner is Joyce, but the things that are great” about “The Spirit” “are likely to be lost in translation.”

‘Dark Knight’ Breaks Weekend Record

‘Dark Knight’ Breaks Weekend Record

After setting box office records for top midnight opening and top Friday sales, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that The Dark Knight broke the weekend record set by Spider-Man 3.

Sunday’s tallies showed The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins, hauled in $155.34 million for the weekend, according to the Associated Press. That tops Spider-Man 3 and its $151.1 million take.

The new Batman also bested Spidey’s IMAX debut, $6.2 million to $4.7 million.

The opening day grosses for "The Dark Knight" far exceeded the full weekend haul of its predecessor, "Batman Begins," which took in $48.7 million in its first three days in 2005. …

"We’ve really never seen anything like this," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. "The death of a fine actor taken in his prime, a legendary performance and a movie that lives up to all the hype. That all combined to create these record-breaking numbers."

I finally caught a showing Saturday morning, which still nearly sold out. That might be the most applause I’ve heard at a theater yet, with the most coming somewhat surprisingly for Jim Gordon.

From Glenn H.

Media By Numbers’ OFFICIAL DARK KNIGHT RECORDS SO FAR (in order of occurrence):

1 – Largest Number Of Opening Theatres with 4,366 (More Than The 4,362 Debut Theatres Of Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End in 2007).

2 – Biggest Midnight Preview Gross with $18.489 million in 3,040 Theatres (Beats Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith And Its $16.9 million in 2,915 Theatres in 2005).

3 – Biggest Imax Midnight Previews set a new record with $640,000 (Included in The $18.489 million Preview Number).

4 – Biggest Single-Day Gross in Box-Office History with $67.850 million (Bests The $59,841,919 set by Spider-Man 3 in 2007).

5 – Biggest Opening Weekend Gross in Box Office History with $155.340 million (Bests The $151,116 million set by Spider-Man 3 in 2007).

6 – Biggest Opening Weekend Gross For An Imax Release in Box Office History with $6,214,061 million in 94 Theatres With $66,107 Per Theatre. (Bests The $4.7 million set by Spider-Man 3 in 2007.) Imax Showing At Full Capacity $1.9 million On Saturday Alone.

7 – Biggest Opening Weekend Of 2008 with $151.340 (Beats Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull‘s $101.137 million From May 23-25, 2008)

8 – Biggest July Opening Ever (Beats Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest‘s $135,634,554 On July 7, 2006).

The Dark Knight Project

What do you do when you desperately want to make a Batman movie, except you have little film-making experience and Warner Bros. doesn’t know you exist?

Well, you just go right ahead and make a Batman movie. At least that’s the thought of Jerry Vasilatos, a Chicago director. He decided to create The Dark Knight Project, essentially a fan movie set between the two new Batman films.

The story follows some Gotham students who try to get video footage of their city’s new vigilante. The expected trouble ensues, as Joker’s gang starts to cause problems.

You can watch the film right here. You can also read quite a bit on the background of the project at Vasilatos’ blog, which is right here.

That "other" Batman movie opened this weekend.

(via Doomkopf)

Review: The Dark Knight

Review: The Dark Knight

Considering the amount of massive blockbusters that have disappointed the fans this year, it is safe to say that all of your expectations will be met going into this movie. [[[The Dark Knight]]] delivers on so many levels that it becomes hard to critique it, and all that’s left is pure childlike enjoyment for approximately two hours.

Those of you who are unaware of the plot for the sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins, this film takes place shortly where we left off: Batman is patrolling the streets, crime is on the rise, and more and more “masked vigilantes” are stepping up to try and take out the [[[Batman]]]. Wayne Manor is still destroyed, so all of the caped crusader’s hijinks are based out of a new penthouse apartment, which is a nice change. Batman’s gal Rachel Dawes (originally played by Katie Holmes) returns, this time played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. This time, instead of Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy filling the evil quota as Ra’s Al Ghul and Scarecrow, respectively, we get the late Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart as The Joker and Harvey Dent, which of course means we get to see a little Two-Face!



ComicMix Radio: Dark Knight Breaks Box Office Records

ComicMix Radio: Dark Knight Breaks Box Office Records

And there hasn’t even been a showing yet. We’ve got some interesting facts and figures in how the next Batman film is poised to make movie history over the next 72 hours, plus:

  • Lost and The Justice League both get Emmy nominations
  • You might be Spider-Man on Broadway
  • Girls + Monsters =  IDW’s The Claws Come Out

Our warmup act for San Diego continues with a few new surprises – just Press the Button!



And remember, you can always subscribe to ComicMix Radio podcasts via iTunes - ComicMix or RSS!


Catch ‘The Spirit’ Trailer While You Can

Catch ‘The Spirit’ Trailer While You Can

The trailer to the upcoming The Spirit movie is set to debut at Comic-Con, but earlier today it leaked out early.

While it’s been taken down just about everywhere (including one of its last homes right here at Film School Rejects), reviews of the trailer are, well…

I am not sold on this movie just yet. I dig the concept, I loved the comic and I am also a fan of Frank Miller’s work, at least the kind he does on paper. This however, isn’t doing it for me. The dialog sounds awkward, the effects seem forced and over-the-top and I don’t know if it is going to be anything but another excuse to go heavy on the use of green screen to make a “innovative” comic book flick. I am wondering whether this will end up on the Sin City side of the spectrum or the Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow side. At this point, it is still too early to tell for sure.

What he said.

Animated ‘Invincible’ on the Way, Sort Of

Animated ‘Invincible’ on the Way, Sort Of

While Robert Kirkman is still working away on the screenplay for the movie adaptation of Invincible, his superhero is headed toward screens in another way. Very small screens, that is.

According to a story in the New York Times, David Gale, the executive VP of MTV New Media, is developing along with Gain Enterprises a somewhat animated version of Invincible. It’ll appear on iTunes, cell phones and MTV2.

The process starts with digital scans of the actual comic book pages. They are turned into an audio-visual experience through a process called Bomb-xx developed by Gain. In the end, the formerly two-dimensional comic book suddenly pulses with music, while word balloons pop up and fill in as actors recite the dialogue and panels zoom in and out and pivot in all directions. The frenetic energy is not unlike that of an MTV video.

Of all the comics to “animate,” why start with Invincible? “When you’re looking for a movie property or television property, first and foremost you look for a great story,” Mr. Gale said. “It’s a single creator following a great story arc.”

First six episodes will be previewed at Comic-Con International.