saw Batman the Dark Knight. it exceeded expectations. it is based more in a human reality than these comic book movies usually manage. Heath ledger was certainly riveting. of course, that is how it works, the crazy, intense one is the centre of attention. as has been noted, Satan is far more interesting in Paradise Lost than Adam or Eve. that given, Ledger still made every moment crackle. Cesar Romero played the role campy, pretty much as Bob Kane envisioned the character. Jack Nicholson was Jack, creepy yet fun. Ledger’s Joker was disturbing. late in the movie he deliver unto Batman an examination of Batman’s moral dilemma that was splendidly biting and well-aimed. Joker himself is hors de combat of that problem. he’s a terrorist without the moral clause. the sense of the city being terrorized, in the current political sense, was strong and compelling. Aaron Eckart as the white knight DA was good. he’s startlingly goodlooking in a brisk public servant way, and entered the role of Two-Face smoothly, I thought. no need to go entirely Willem DaFoe. Michael Caine as Alfred was good, cockney Alfred, and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, worked well as well. do not go cheap on the little roles in these things. Batman as Dark Knight is wearisome. he’s got issues just like the criminals, but is far less evolved. Christian Bale as Wayne has life to him, but no Batman has succeeded in being more than a costume. which is the point, I suppose, of the character. the movie was well-contained, did not allude outside itself to other entries in the franchise, and its themes held thru out. I haven’t seen the latest James Bond movies, but I think they tried to just start over, treat them more like separate movies. there was that obvious sense in Iron Man that this began the series. it worked nonetheless, but one fears the attenuation that likely will occur. one need only look at the Pirates flicks following Black Pearl, and the 2nd Matrix was so awful that I could not watch the 3rd, tho that is supposed to be better and resolve the 3.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, check. 1st one is still the best. this one has the same self-conscious manipulation as The Last Crusade, the urgency to touch all the franchise keynotes and let the plot take care of its own. the result is even more muddled than Last Crusade. I even found it visually cluttered. it looked remarkably cheesy, which is surprising given that as a film technician Spielberg aint no slouch. the movie starts with some malarkey about Russians invading Area 51 to steal, oh, you know, the Crystal Skull, or some hint to its whereabouts. the movie simply accepted that certain forces must push the plot, and dealt something to suffice. Indy is accompanied by a Brit who, it turns out, is a double agent. and a triple agent, except no one likely believed that reconciliation. but Indy gets away, and survives a nuclear bomb test by hiding in a refrigerator. I believe everything I see. there’s a brief 50s blackball theme, then Indy meets Shia LaBoeuf, who arrives looking like Brando in The Wild Ones. decent rapport exists between Ford and LaBoeuf, albeit a contrived tension, plotwise. on a vague hint, they fly to Peru, in search of that crystal skull. the Russians remain in the story, poor man’s Nazi. I did not mench Cate Blanchett being the nutsoid in charge of the Russians. she’s Stalin’s head of psychic research, or some such. which sounds more like a Hitler thing but anyway.she’s a dully campy dominatrix. is she a good actress??? her Galadriel was probably not her fault, the director forced her to look like such a bemused drag. I cannot remember what else I have seen of her. the plot was muddled beyond repair. the crystal skull attracted metal, but only when convenient to the plot. the action set pieces were lacklustre and did not seem to worry about plausibility. one accepts that Mythbusters might bust certain imaginative elements in a movie, but not that Jamie and Adam would not even bother to probe the possibilities. that is how it seemed with this movie. the movie was enjoyable enough, since I like Ford, and Spielberg’s failures are still largely competent. the crystal skull belongs, we learn, to ETs, so we end up with Richard Dreyfus’ friends with a somewhat more malign aspect. I do not know the budget of this flick but it looked cheapo. I wonder about Lucas, who has twiddled away his most interesting projects for the sake of merchandise and 2nd rate productions. I imagine that the plan was to slip River Phoenix into the Indy franchise, back in that day, and death kinda precluded that. LaBoeuf might be the next chance to move on, because Ford’s not good for many more punch outs. the movie ended smarmily, so maybe we should just tuck the baby in and say goodnight.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
traffic to this space tripled because of searches on Emma Bee Bernstein, indicating the interest in her. Beth and I did our share, just wanting to know a little more. I did not intend to write a poem to her (see link below), but it was immediately identified as such by someone on the Wryting-L list. intent is a difficult thing in poetry. I (hope to) let feeling find the words, rather than, say, replicate the feeling in a structured response. if there is a School of Quietude, its sin is boosting emotional moments into crass simulacra. some things are too large in feeling, and too essential, death certainly, that we cannot play them like that. when Olson tells Blackburn that he did not know it was a subject, he lets boundaries find themselves. when I write ‘E’ in my poem, I really meant the letter, mostly. that was a safe distance, you might safe, tho I did invoke her name. i like the poem, because I see language passing thru me, mostly, rather than me at the steering wheel, sorry if metaphors are mixed.