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Archive for March, 2012

Review: “Batman” (1989)

March 30, 2012 14 comments
Directed by: Tim Burton
Produced by: Peter Guber, Jon Peters, Benjamin Melniker, Michael Uslan
Written by: Sam Hamm (screenplay, story), Warren Skarren (screenplay)
Starring: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Gough, Robert Wuhl, Pat Hingle, Billy Dee Williams, Tracey Walter, Jack Palance
Music by: Danny Elfman, Prince (songs)
Year: 1989

 

Many may be aware of the fact that Batman hasn’t always been the Dark Knight we know and love today. The Adam West portrayal of the character is quite well known to even younger fans who may not have even seen an episode of the show. But what many may not know about this incarnation of the character was just how pervasive it was in the public’s eye well into the 1980s, and unless you were a fan of comic books, the general public didn’t catch on to the character’s grimmer revamps that started in the 70s thanks to the show’s continuation in TV syndication. Read more…

Review: “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” The Original Uncut Version

March 23, 2012 7 comments
Directed by: Curt Geda
Produced by: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, Bruce Timm, Benjamin Melniker, Michael Uslan
Written by: Paul Dini (screenplay); Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, Bruce Timm (story)
Starring: Will Friedle, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Angie Harmon, Dean Stockwell, Teri Garr, Arleen Sorkin, Tara Strong, Mathew Valencia, Melissa Joan Hart, Michael Rosenbaum, Frank Welker
Music By: Kristopher Carter
Year: 2000

 

Batman: The Animated Series was and remains one of, if not the greatest animated adaptations of a comic book character ever put to screen. Premiering around the same time that Tim Burton’s Batman Returns released in 1992, the series could have easily been an easy cash in on the latest Batman craze, an episodic commercial for a heavily hyped and star-studded sequel to the 1989 film that shoved aside the campy Caped Crusader persona Batman held in the mainstream public’s eye and replaced it with the reinvigorated Dark Knight that had been making a comeback in the comics. Read more…

Awful Movie Review: “Larry Crowne”

March 20, 2012 1 comment
Directed by: Tom Hanks
Produced by: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks
Written by: Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos
Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wilmer Valderrama, Bryan Cranston, Pam Grier, George Takei
Music by: James Newton Howard
Year: 2011

 

There was nothing drawing me into this movie. Any affection I may have had towards the film’s star, Tom Hanks, was weighed unfavorably against the fact that the film was co-written by his My Big Fat Greek Wedding muse Nia Vardalos. But I dove in headfirst and nearly blind to Larry Crowne, thanks in large part to the fact that a good friend of mine recommended the film as being “not so bad.” By the time I reached the halfway point, however, I was already checking out and asking her, “Why did you recommend this?” Her answer? She was jet-lagged, awake for 24-hours, and on Vicodin. And suddenly it all came into focus, ’cause no sober, well-rested person would ever recommend Larry Crowne for entertainment purposes.

Read more…

James Bond: The Theme Songs – Part 2

March 12, 2012 7 comments

<< James Bond: The Theme Songs – Part 1

WARNING: Heavy Flash video use ahead!

“A View to A Kill” performed by Duran Duran, A View to A Kill (1985)

For Roger Moore’s final outing as Bond, new wave band Duran Duran was brought in, largely thanks to one of its band members drunkenly inquiring about the job. John Taylor, bassist, reportedly confronted producer Cubby Broccoli at a party, asking him when they would choose a “decent” band to do one of the themes. From that unseemly beginning came a major hit, and “A View to A Kill” remains the only Bond theme to hit #1 on the Billboard Top 100 to this day. Though it’s not my favorite, it’s definitely a great Bond theme for the 80s and manages to recall Paul McCartney’s action-packed theme, which is welcome after four love ballads – three of them being rather awful. It’s one of the few Bond themes you can dance to, which is only appropriate, since it has the infectious lyric “Dance into the fire” interjecting throughout, making it perfect if you wanted to have a James Bond theme party or something… Overall, an exciting and fun theme song. Read more…

James Bond: The Theme Songs – Part 1

March 8, 2012 3 comments

Hey, did you know that there’s a new James Bond film coming out this year? Yup! After a four year hiatus, thanks in large part to MGM’s troubled financials, Bond will be back on the big screen in the 23rd canonical James Bond film titled Skyfall, directed by Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes.

The film features the return of Daniel Craig to the role for his third time, joined by Oscar-winner Dame Judi Dench as “M,” Oscar-nominee Javier Bardem as the villain, Naomi Harris and Bérénice Marlohe as the Bond girls, Oscar-nominee Ralph Fiennes as a government agent, Ben Whishaw reviving the role of Q, and Albert Finney in an undisclosed role but lends even more credentials to the cast and crew with his five Oscar nominations. That’s a lot of Oscars, and a lot of expectations to live up to!

Of course, with every new Bond film, there comes a new Bond theme song, which carries its own set of high expectations. The themes of the Bond films have themselves become an institution, and, with music proving to be far more divisive in my own experiences than films, the title song for Skyfall, which would traditionally come at the beginning of the film, will arguably influence how audiences connect with the film to follow. The best thing that the filmmakers can do is look back on the previous films’ themes and see what worked and what didn’t.

Now, I’m not at all knowledgeable about music (In fact, music appreciation, which is a lot harder than it sounds, was one of the small number of Cs that I received while in college, so the following article is far more casual and amateur than my more film-centered articles. Please, if you have any experience in musical composition, performance, etc., feel free to tear me apart for saying something stupid.), but, as they say, I do know what I like, and I do have some strong feelings about some of the previous themes. While we look forward to a new Bond film this year, I thought this would be a great opportunity to look back on Bond themes past and give my assessment, first chronologically and then, of course, in rank.

WARNING: Heavy Flash video use ahead! Read more…

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