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"The Dark Knight" is served best at IMAX - CinemaDave

Jul. 18th, 2008 07:23 am "The Dark Knight" is served best at IMAX

Sociologists are going to have a field day analyzing the success of "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan's follow up to "Batman Begins," from three years ago. "Batman Begins" introduced a new Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and a new Alfred the Butler (Michael Caine). "Batman Begins" revealed how the Batman learned the ways of the ninja, became the caped crusader and a shadow deputy to one good cop, Jim Gordon(Gary Oldman). The film concluded with an ominious note that some punk named the Joker was leaving his calling card. The opening scenes of **The Dark Knight** delivers what **Batman Begins** promised.

The Joker (Heath Ledger) robs a bank that launders money to organized crime, earning the enmity of Boss Maroni (Eric Roberts). Organized crime has had a tough time on the streets due to the effectiveness of the Batman, who keeps performing citizen's arrests upon the bad guys. It is up to Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) to keep the criminals in prison. Ironically Harvey is dating Bruce Wayne's old girlfriend, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, a woman who could not take the stress of having the Batman as a boyfriend.

Regardless of one's favorite movie genre, whether it is a western or a courtroom thriller, "The Dark Knight" unfolds as a good epic and the film will appeal to people who enjoy good old fashioned drama. The film is humorous and the action, especially a chase inside the tunnels of Gotham City, is thrilling. "The Dark Knight" is a character motivated movie that weaves multiple stories within a satisfying two and one half hours.

Warner Brothers needs to be commended for marketing "The Dark Knight" without exploiting the tragedy of Health Ledger's death in January. The Joker will always be a showy and hammy role. Ledger has created the most dangerous Joker in motion picture history. Heath Ledger's Joker is no longer a dainty clown who steals the tarts, he is a greasy sociopath-psychopath who is a disciple of the devil. In contrast, Aaron Eckhardt's subtle performance makes Harvey Dent a realistic and tragic hero.

Christian Bale has the burden of revealing the complexity of Bruce Wayne/the Batman. Bale's physical performance is a stoic rock of Gibraltar, yet there are little details of an askew glance that reveals the pain of a man who has pushed himself beyond his limits.

"The Dark Knight" is an ethical study as to what it means to be a hero. At the beginning of the movie, the Batman inspires copycat vigilantes to combat crime in the streets. As the violence becomes more personal and painful, the infatuation of public heroism fades, like the contrast between President Bush's opinion pools from 2001 to 2006. "The Dark Knight" reveals the inner heroism that one must make a responsible choice, even when the choice might not be the most popular one.

"The Dark Knight" is not for the kiddies. The action scenes are enhanced on the big screen, see "The Dark Knight" at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery IMAX theatre. Some of the aerial shots of Gotham City (actually Chicago) are breath taking. The IMAX six story screen and sound system adds an extra dimension to this very special "Dark Knight."

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Date:July 18th, 2008 11:35 am (UTC)

Dark Knight

Cinema Dave, you're holding out!! So...did Heath Ledger's performance match the hype? Was the film GOOD???? :) I'll be seeing Mamma Mia this afternoon with all the females in my family, and hopefully Dark Knight this weekend.
Date:July 18th, 2008 11:40 am (UTC)

Re: Dark Knight


There will be more detail coming soon, seven paragraphs in fact! I needed to start the format first, so that I can link to IMDB.

Let me know what you think of "Mama Mia."
So many good movies, so little time!
Date:July 18th, 2008 11:08 pm (UTC)

Mamma Mia!!

"You go girls!!" is what my daughter said after the elevating, uplifting and astoundingly fun rendition of "Dancing Queen". "Mamma Mia" was the perfect movie birthday present for a woman of a certain age, and something really special to share with her daughter. Meryl Streep is vibrant and joyous (I didn't realize Meryl Streep could do happy -- but being Streep, she does it very well!) and Amanda Seyfried is luminous as Sophie. We loved the Greek Chorus (yes, there is literally a Greek chorus!!) and all of the lucious eye candy (Pierce Bronson and Colin Firth are still smokin' -- and there are enough young thangs for the teen girls). The ABBA music is a blast from the past. I know you will write your review from a different perspective, Cinema Dave, but from one female of a certain age to all your female readers of a certain age -- we are STILL the Dancin' Queens!!!
Date:July 18th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)

Dark KNight

More to come--Tease! Can't wait to see Dark Knight! And Mamma Mia.
Date:July 24th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)

Re: Dark KNight

Sorry you missed it, nt review has made the front page of the Observer - http://www.observernewspaperonline.com/f/front_page_07-24-08.pdf
Date:July 25th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)

The Wall Street Journal is reading my stuff... Part One

What Bush and Batman Have in Common
July 25, 2008; Page A15

A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .

Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a "W."
[What Bush and Batman Have in Common]
Warner Bros. Pictures

There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society -- in which people sometimes make the wrong choices -- and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

"The Dark Knight," then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year's "300," "The Dark Knight" is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.

Conversely, time after time, left-wing films about the war on terror -- films like "In The Valley of Elah," "Rendition" and "Redacted" -- which preach moral equivalence and advocate surrender, that disrespect the military and their mission, that seem unable to distinguish the difference between America and Islamo-fascism, have bombed more spectacularly than Operation Shock and Awe.

Why is it then that left-wingers feel free to make their films direct and realistic, whereas Hollywood conservatives have to put on a mask in order to speak what they know to be the truth? Why is it, indeed, that the conservative values that power our defense -- values like morality, faith, self-sacrifice and the nobility of fighting for the right -- only appear in fantasy or comic-inspired films like "300," "Lord of the Rings," "Narnia," "Spiderman 3" and now "The Dark Knight"?

The moment filmmakers take on the problem of Islamic terrorism in realistic films, suddenly those values vanish. The good guys become indistinguishable from the bad guys, and we end up denigrating the very heroes who defend us. Why should this be?

The answers to these questions seem to me to be embedded in the story of "The Dark Knight" itself: Doing what's right is hard, and speaking the truth is dangerous. Many have been abhorred for it, some killed, one crucified.

Leftists frequently complain that right-wing morality is simplistic. Morality is relative, they say; nuanced, complex. They're wrong, of course, even on their own terms.

Left and right, all Americans know that freedom is better than slavery, that love is better than hate, kindness better than cruelty, tolerance better than bigotry. We don't always know how we know these things, and yet mysteriously we know them nonetheless.

The true complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them -- when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend tolerance, or unkind in order to defend kindness, or hateful in order to defend what we love.

And add your comments to the Opinion Journal forum.
Date:July 25th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)

Re: The Wall Street Journal is reading my stuff... Part One


When heroes arise who take those difficult duties on themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve. As Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon says of the hated and hunted Batman, "He has to run away -- because we have to chase him."

That's real moral complexity. And when our artistic community is ready to show that sometimes men must kill in order to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate their values in order to maintain those values; and that while movie stars may strut in the bright light of our adulation for pretending to be heroes, true heroes often must slink in the shadows, slump-shouldered and despised -- then and only then will we be able to pay President Bush his due and make good and true films about the war on terror.

Perhaps that's when Hollywood conservatives will be able to take off their masks and speak plainly in the light of day.

Mr. Klavan has won two Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America. His new novel, "Empire of Lies" (An Otto Penzler Book, Harcourt), is about an ordinary man confronting the war on terror.

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