Jack Nicholson

June 24, 2014

Batman

Batman: Quintessential

1989/126mins/Action

There are only a couple films that I can pick from that have influenced me at a very young age. Back to Future is one and the other is today’s review.

Batman is pretty much a perfect film even though its a film plagued with errors.

Vicki Vale entering the Batcave. (Say What?! Thanks Alfred)
Batman killing the Joker. (Wait… Batman just killed the Joker?)
The Joker killing Martha and Thomas Wayne. (Wait what?)
Batman creating the Joker. (Ugh you made me first)
Batman being a mass murder. (I think Batman kills more than the Joker)

These are big issues, yet Batman continues to be the best Batman film to have ever been made. How is that possible?

Because Batman 89 has everything to make a summer blockbuster and everything to make a staple of a film for a young boy’s mind.

Lets start with the cast
The cast is absolutely perfect. Of course at the time everyone had issues with it, but overtime the film holds up with help from its characters and actors. Michael Keaton is Batman! He will always be a favorite for us 80’s and 90’s kids. When I first met Neal he asked me about who I thought was the best Batman. I said Bale comes close but hands down I have to say Keaton. Keaton brought Batman from a joke to a icon. I am a big fan of the comedy of 66’s Batman but it will always piss me off. Batman was not that, he is what Keaton showed us. Keaton’s ability to pull off Batman and Bruce is something we really haven’t had since. Bale again is the only one that comes close, but falls short with that voice. Keaton got it. Keaton went to that dark place in his voice and for that he will always be the Batman/Bruce of the big screen.

Jack Nicholson as the Joker is hands-down one of the greatest castings in film history. He as a actor that took that role and stole each scene he was in. Vicki Vale played by Kim Basinger has always been my favorite Batman love interest since maybe Andrea Beaumont. No female since has been able to pull off her part. The cast is a classic and I hope we get another Batman film with a fantastic cast like this in the future.

The story is a simple telling of the origin while using flashbacks. It’s very well written, and the structure is fantastic. I’m amazed what Sam Hamm did with this script. I’m more amazed Sam Hamm didn’t become a well known writer. Right now Hamm’s IMDB page shows 9 credits. How is that possible? He really did a great job with this film. When Batman Returns came around he kind of was given the shaft. He gets credit for story but if you ever get a chance to read his script you’ll find a good read. In fact I really wish they went more with his then Daniel Waters.

That score and soundtrack, WOW!
Danny Elfman! Elfman created the greatest theme ever! Sure Superman has a good one, Star Wars is cool but Batman! Come on its amazing and why the hell did we not bring it back. Elfman created a score that just fits perfectly. It’s dark and beautiful. Yet it’s very strange and exciting. I want to feel this again in the theater and I hope we get this theme back, come on Zimmer DO IT! I double dare you! Now Prince created a period of time that will forever be playing in my ears. I listen to this soundtrack almost every week. The film gets watch almost every week too, yep I’m not joking. Happy or angry I will queue up that soundtrack and play the hell out of it.

Art direction is incredible. Something you will never see anywhere else. When I look at that set I think to myself this is a once in a lifetime experience. That suit is my favorite version ever to be done. Zack Snyder is coming close, still we haven’t seen it in color yet, but you can never go wrong with full black and that yellow belt and logo.

Tim Burton pulled off one of the greatest feats in film history. He was a kid at the time. A kid with the most expensive film riding on his back and he pulled it off. I don’t think he really tries anymore, which sadness me. His early work is far superior and is something I dearly miss. But what Burton gave me makes up completely for his recent films. He gave me a childhood, which I reminisce about once and awhile. Batman was and is everything to me. Without this film, things could be different. I might of not of been that little boy with the black towel attached with those clothes pins running. And for that I can only think of a simpler time and say thanks for the great film.

Happy 25th Birthday!

Oh and…

I’m Batman!

June 23, 2014

SR Podcast (Ep. 25): June 2014 – Batman 89 Movie Commentary

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY
 


It’s June and it’s Podcast time! But this one is special. Today we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of 1989’s classic, Batman. So we decided to try something new, join us today as we give you a SR Movie Commentary! Our first commentary and very possibly not our last commentary 😉
So queue up those VCR’s…hmmm wait sorry….DVD’s, Blu-rays and this Podcast and have a blast to the past with us. You can watch our YouTube video, listen to the Podcast or stream the commentary with the full film on dropbox!

Click here for the Dropbox Stream

Show Notes:

Wait did Julie Kill someone?!

Music Notes:

Birds & Brass By Sort Of Soul

Batman: The Video Game Composer(s) Naoki Kodaka, Nobuyuki Hara

Batman OST by Prince
 
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October 31, 2013

This is Halloween: The Shining (1980)

ICONIC

The Shining – Iconic

I hate to be so cliche when it comes to “The Shining” but since I like it not only as a horror film, but as a film in general, it’s hard not to call it iconic.  It’s the first film in the pseudo-slasher genre that was taken seriously by not only horror fans, but film historians and pundits.  I mean Stanley Kubrick directed it for goodness sake!  One of the most important directors in the past 75 years chose to follow up his epic “Barry Lyndon” with a Stephen King adaptation.

While I’m too young to have gotten the chance to experience this film in the theater during it’s initial theatrical run, luckily “The Shining” was being screened during one of Cinemark Classic Series months.  Myself, and two friends, got the chance to experience the way all film should be witnessed; on the big screen.  While I don’t fully agree with complete restoration when it comes to old films (I still like to see the cracks and film burns when I’m watching something that was actually shot on film as opposed to digital) the job they did on “The Shining” to clean it up and and preserve it was well done and didn’t take away from it being scary or it’s overall tone.  Another cool thing that I noticed was the night we watched the film, October 30th, was the same day in which The Overlook Hotel closes for the Winter in the film.  Eerie and awesome.

As a refresher, “The Shining” is based on the 1977 novel by Stephen King about a possessed hotel, The Overlook, and the Torrance family, who become it’s latest victims.  I highlight based because when “The Shining” was released it did not receive a seal of approval from King himself, who dismissed it and still holds it as one of his least favorite adaptions of his works, and there are many changes from the book to the film. The film features Jack Nicholson in the starring role as Jack Torrance, and former school teacher with a violent past who struggled with alcoholism.  Looking to get away and start a new writing project, Jack accepts the caretaker’s job at the Overlook Hotel deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.  With his wife and son in tow, the descent into madness begins.

Straying from King’s novel, Kubrick creates an original take that I think works very well.  The film becomes less about the supernatural and more about the breakdown of the psyche when isolated and away from society.  While the film does keep important elements, such as Danny’s ability to “shine” and the horrors in an infamous hotel room (Room 237 in the film, and 217 in the novel), the ending and what role Jack plays in the hotel’s lurid history is a little more vague.

Kubrick, who was known for his introspective films about the human condition and what drives man to his actions, creates a Jack Torrance who always looked like he was about to break from the very beginning. While the novel portrayed Jack as a sympathetic character come the end of the story where he saves his family from the ghosts of the Overlook, there is no redemption in Nicholson’s take on the patriarch of the Torrance family.  Can you chalk that up to Nicholson’s look?  Maybe.  He always looks manic so you knew his take on Mr. Torrance was going to be manic and unhinged.

Two other things I took away from this viewing of the showing was something good, and something not so good.  The good; The score.  Holy crap, but this score is relentless and puts you on edge nearly the entire film.  It’s a driving score that is the heartbeat of the horrors to come.  Listening to it in surround sounds simply puts shivers down your spine.  The bad?  I’m sorry, but for the most part, the acting is pretty lackluster.  Sure, it was 1980, and it’s a horror film, but goodness, Shelley Duvall and Scatman Crothers put forth some Razzie-worthy performances.  On the other hand, while Nicholson’s performance is over the top, it’s still haunting as a man who is succumbing to his own demons as well as the ghosts in the hotel.

As iconic as “The Shining” is, there are still problems with the film.  People have pointed out spacial issues with the hotel that make no sense, the fact that the Torrances had a lot of luggage to put into a small sedan, and other assorted things that simply didn’t add up, but I think the reason why a lot of people overlook those irregularities was the fact that Stanley Kubrick was directing, and no one argues with Kubrick.  There’s also the fact that this was a horror film and perhaps Kubrick was pointing out the silliness of horror films and the inconsistencies that all films of the genre possess.  Maybe that’s reaching a little bit, but I wouldn’t put it past Kubrick to create a parody of the horror genre before the horror genre had become a parody of itself.

Overall, “The Shining” stands the test of time, and aside from the silly clothes that most of the characters wear, the film is pretty timeless.  It takes a classic haunted house film, adds the creepiness of King, and incorporates the psychology of Kubrick, a combination that adds up to a horror film that is a cut above the rest.

Fun Fact:  Do you think you know what Kubrick was “really” trying to say in “The Shining?”  Check out “Room 237,” a documentary about the “true” meanings behind “The Shining.”

August 10, 2012

Terms of Endearment

Terms of Endearment: Classic

I enjoy this film a lot. One reasons is they don’t make these kind of films anymore. So it’s a rare gem. Acting is top notch, Jack Nicholson is great and the directing of James L. Brooks works fantastic.

A great film for a movie lover, Mother and Daughter or a fan of comedy in general.

About
Aurora and Emma are mother and daughter who march to different drummers. Beginning with Emma’s marriage, Aurora shows how difficult and loving she can be. The movie covers several years of their lives as each finds different reasons to go on living and find joy. Aurora’s interludes with Garrett Breedlove, retired astronaut and next door neighbor are quite striking. In the end, different people show their love in very different ways. (from IMDB)

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