Monday, May 31, 2010

Series Review-LOST

I've been dreading writing this, cause that would be admitting that it was all over. It's rare for television to move you on such an emotional and metaphysical level, territory in which we often relegate to the cinema, and I think that is why LOST is so special to a great many people. It was a show wrapped within emotion, featuring flawed, yet wonderful characters, and fascinating fantasy. It's cinematic in every way, a great opera for our times, much to how great pieces of cinema like Star Wars or E.T. were for their times. There has never been another show like it, and I don't think there ever will be.

I look back over the entire series, and I do not know what to say. The story all started with a plane crash, and the survivors finding themselves on an island far removed from the rest of the world in the middle of nowhere, where we found our flawed, but increasingly likable characters. But mystery surrounded them everywhere they turned, when they learned that this island was not your normal rock in the ocean. A mysterious monster looking like wisps of smoke prowled the jungles, where polar bears and wild hogs roamed, alongside the islands original inhabitants, the Others, and a mysterious leader of the Others that no one has truly seen, called Jacob. As our castaways, Jack, Locke, Hurley, Kate, Sawyer, the whole gang (too many to mention) tried to survive and find a way home, they went to the depths of their own moral fibers, traversing between past, present, and future (literally), till all was set right and the island was saved. Finally, it was time to move on.

While there was mystery in LOST, it was not the question as to what was the Smoke Monster or who was Jacob that really mattered in the end, but it was the characters themselves that we met that first day when the plane crashed. See, what made LOST something so unforgettable is that, yes, there was the mystery about the island, but it was the mystery involving these characters and their relationships that kept us entranced for six seasons. We grew to love them, warts and all, as if they were real people. When they died, I felt as if someone I loved had passed away. That was the true brilliance of this show. To create fictional characters that are so much like real people that we think of them as such, we feel them, and carry them with us through our daily lives. Even Jack or Kate, my least favorite characters on the show, I rooted for them to find happiness and redemption, and when they found it, I felt all warm inside.

Ultimately, LOST isn't a show about mystery or suspense, but it's a show about love and redemption, but most importantly of all... Hope. I'll never forget the finale to the first season when the castaways built a raft and Sawyer, Michael, and Jin, steered it off into the ocean, to the great unknown. That is very much how the whole show was to me. We were going to the great unknown to swelling Michael Giacchino music.

I know I'm young, but I don't know if I've ever seen television quite like this before, but I'm beginning to understand just how much of a rarity a show like this is. I will greatly miss youLOST, from the bottom of my heart. Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sun & Jin, Sayid, Ben, Locke, all of you guys. I grew up with you. You all saw me through high school, into college, through some pretty tough times, and now into times of fascination and hope for a better future where I'm no longer frightened, but can just relax and enjoy my life forever and always. Most importantly of all, it's taught me that hope never dies.

Thank you, LOST. You get an A++++!!!!!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A New Professor X is Cast!

It was reported a few days back that actor James Mcavoy, Mr. Tumnus from Narnia as well as the lead from Atonement and Wanted, has been cast as Professor Charles Xavier in the new X-Men movie, X-Men: First Class. Now that I've wrapped up the Decades of Film series, I can finally post my thoughts on McAvoy playing a young Patrick Stewart in the Matthew Vaughn directed film (Kick-Ass). Personally, I think he is fantastic casting for a younger Patrick Stewart, after all the film will be chronicling the early days of Xavier and Magneto's friendship and the start of the X-Men. I'm not sure whether McAvoy will be Professor X for only a small portion of the film and then Patrick Stewart will substitute once he starts Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters and fights Magneto, but McAvoy still is a fantastic choice for the role of a younger Xavier, and I'm intrigued to see how it pans out.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Decades of Film-Part 5: The Greatest of Them All

The time has finally come to name what I believe to be the Greatest Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time. No more Runner-Ups, just the winner of the Grand Prize in this fantastic adventure. So what is the Greatest Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time? None other than the 1980s themselves.

I like to think of it like this, the 1970s was just merely the cause, the 1980s were the effect. The '70s was the origination of the American auteur and the rise of the blockbuster, but neither of these things really seemed to come into full bloom till the '80s, this was when we finally saw the bona fide effect of such massive changes on the industry. As well, the '80s saw a thriving international film market, the likes of which we're still experiencing today. So many countries really jumped into the film spotlight in this decade, from Germany all the way to Hong Kong; most notably thanks to director John Woo and actor Jackie Chan and the Hong Kong action film. Not to mention, in Japan, animation would be totally reinvented as a form of artistic expression with the rise of Studio Ghibli and director Hayao Miyazaki. The '80s was just a fantastic decade all the way around the world, but it was a decade that not only reflected it's time, it preceded it.

There has not been another decade in the history of cinema where the movies themselves had such a massive impact on pop culture. In previous decades people generally were more influenced by actors than they were by the films in which the actors were in, but in the '80s it was almost a total opposite with fresh young faces filling the screen for most of the decade. Just look at the Star Wars films, almost every kid was mimicking Yoda or Darth Vader way back in these days, even adults like our President at the time used Star Wars quotes to address the nation. If that isn't widespread pop culture phenomena, I don't know what is. Not to mention, the works of folks like auspicious '80s auteur John Hughes had a major impact on society in general.

That is why the '80s was one of the few decades where Hollywood didn't simply reflect the times, they changed the times. Films like Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and The Breakfast Club. These movies of the '80s created the '80s through their optimistic messages that they sent to the world's youth. It was a decade all about the youth of the world, and the movies were telling them that they could take back our world, which resulted in the end of a Cold War and the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Pop culture aside, the films of the '80s were just fantastic films as well.

There is a reason why the blockbuster became popular, and it was because of the '80s. The blockbusters of the '80s were big event films, like they are today, but unlike today, the filmmakers of the '80s didn't have all of this high tech machinery we now have to do whatever. The special FX work was crude, it was getting better, but it was also exceedingly expensive. So these early blockbusters compensated for the lack of technological whiz bang wizardry and covered it up with solid storytelling. This is how we got The Empire Strikes Back, or E.T., or Back to the Future. These filmmakers still didn't know whether the technology could be achieved, and so these films were made with a certain motra of story first and big FX second, something many filmmakers of today could take away from the '80s. And even though FX work was still crude, this was a decade of sharp technological advancement.

Video games and home computers were becoming increasingly more popular, and the movies were reflecting that. Cinema was pushing movie technology to the edge with folks like ILM and their work on the Star Wars films, to movies like TRON, culminating in the first ever, full on CGI character in Young Sherlock Holmes. Of course, through all of this, the smaller, more personal films were never lost.

The great thing about the '80s was that there was a little bit of something for everyone. The blockbusters appealed to all ages, races, and genders. The teen comedies got the youth. The smarmy romances got the women. The adrenaline-fueled action flicks that rose to existence in the '80s with stuff like Die Hard got the men. And the works of auteurs like Martin Scorsese attracted the intellectuals wanting some food for thought. This is the same cross-section our industry still uses, but in the '80s it was well-balanced, unlike it being a one-sided victor as it is now.

So there you have it, the Greatest Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time. A decade that gave us such talented actors as Tom Hanks, how can it be bad?

The Twenty Best Films of the 1980s:
20. Terminator
19. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
18. Kiki's Delivery Service
17. Ran
16. Castle in the Sky
15. Die Hard
14. The Karate Kid
13. Raging Bull
12. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
11. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
10. Empire of the Sun
9. Batman
8. Back to the Future
7. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
6. My Neighbor Totoro
5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
4. Return of the Jedi
3. Raiders of the Lost Ark
2. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
1. The Empire Strikes Back

Thursday, May 27, 2010

DC Comics Characters to the Big Screen!

I've never believed in the whole Marvel vs. DC nonsense, I consider myself a firm fan of both, and that is why I am so excited to see DC and WB finally doing something with so many of their fantastic superhero franchises. Just next Summer, we're getting the first in a new wave of superhero flicks (granted this wave will be somewhat connected with Chris Nolan's Batman franchise, so it's not all that new). Green Lantern is coming out next Summer, starring Ryan Reynolds as the best Green Lantern of them all, Hal Jordan. I'm an absolute Green Lantern nut, so that's enough, right?

Well, just today WB Entertainment Chairman and CEO, Barry Meyer mentioned that the studio is not only releasing Batman 3 Summer 2012, but that they are also eying a Holiday 2012 release for the Chris Nolan-produced Superman movie that was announced a few months back. This is all exciting news, seeing as how we didn't have even a vague date for the Man of Steel's next adventure till now, but that's not all. Meyer mentioned that the studio is close to starting production on The Flash, a project that has long been rumored to be in development at the studio for years, he also mentioned development has started on Wonder Woman and Aquaman as well. Regardless, the next few years should be exciting for us comic book fans. Marvel had better watch out.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Decades of Film-Part 4: First Runner-Up

As we're closing in on what I think is the Greatest Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time, we find ourselves just one spot away with the Silver Medalist Decade, the First Runner-Up, Second Place, whatever you wanna call it, to the Grand Prize. So what do I think the Second Greatest Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time is? The 1950s.

The '50s were the high point of the Golden Age of Hollywood. In no other decade did Hollywood have so much influence on the public. Actors were larger than life figures; this was a time of legitimate, untouchable movie stars. Average Joe Americans wanted to be John Wayne, to be Marilyn Monroe, or to be as awesomely cool as James Dean. Not to mention, this decade was where the paparazzi soared into popularity and entertainment magazines chronicling actor's personal lives gave rise and became uber-popular. Of course, this is only a very small fraction as to why the '50s is one of the finest decades of filmmaking to ever exist, the films were of an astounding quality that is rarely seen to this day.

The Hollywood films from the '50s were astonishing spectacles, large and grandiose in scope and scale. I just sit in awe each time I watch something like Ben-Hur and the epic chariot race. For starters, the set was the size of an entire football field, and all those thousands of extras weren't CGI, they were real. Then the actual race itself, my goodness! It's just fascinating. This was before the days of green screen or big computer FX. Nowadays a sequence like that would be so easy, much of it being done through high tech trickery, but back then it was all done in camera, and for me as a filmmaker, that's just astounding filmmaking on a scale that has rarely been seen since! But scope and scale aside, and looking past all of the fabulous glitz and glamor of this decade, the films were actually well made and extremely entertaining.

The '50s was a thriving decade for Hollywood, most notably for early day auteurs like Billy Wilder, Cecil B. Demille, Alfred Hitchcock, and John Ford. Films like: Sunset Boulevard, The Ten Commandments, Rear Window, and The Searchers. Not only that, this was a decade where I think the actor could almost be considered an auteur, in some cases, as was the case with Gene Kelly and his level of control on one of the shining pinnacles of the Hollywood musical, Singin' in the Rain. This was a decade of fabulous musicals, astonishing epics, tense thrillers (something Hollywood has forgotten how to make), and fascinating comedies and dramas. I mean, Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront or Julius Caeser, just amazing! Plus, this decade saw the sharp rise of foreign film.

Italian cinema bled over to America in the late '40s with The Bicycle Thief and it thrived throughout the '50s with folks like Fellini. In Japan, auteur Akira Kurosawa made a name for himself in the '40s and then came over to America, winning one of the first foreign language film Oscars for Rashomon in '51, leading to probably Kurosawa's greatest decade of filmmaking with stuff like Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood. Even France had a ressurgence in the late '50s when countless film critics for the film magazine Cahiers du Cinema, like Jean Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut, decided they were tired of the current state of French cinema, and they developed the auteur theory, leading to The 400 Blows in '59 and then the rise of the French New Wave that was experienced throughout the '60s (which I'm not a huge fan of the New Wave, but still, it's significant).

So there it is, the 1950s in all of its fabulous glory. There probably wont be another decade where filmmaking will be on such a grandiose scale, and for that I truly feel as if I missed out on these Golden days.

The Ten Best Films of the 1950s:
10. The 400 Blows
9. Throne of Blood
8. Rashomon
7. Sleeping Beauty
6. Seven Samurai
5. Harvey
4. North by Northwest
3. The Hidden Fortress
2. Rear Window
1. Singin' in the Rain

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Decades of Film-Part 3: Second Runner-Up

Well, it's time to get down into the shaky territories of the Best of the Best, the countdown to the Greatest Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time starts right here with the announcement of the Second Runner-Up to what I'm calling the Grand Prize. So what is the Third Best Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time (that sounds extremely silly, but anyways)? Well, here it goes... The 1970s.

The decade often considered by many film historians to be the best clocks in at number 3, and for a fair few reasons as to why. First and foremost, the decade was kind of the cause or the catalyst for the next few decades. It was the rise of the auteur and the rise of the blockbuster, but it was just the starting point, so it is for this same reason that keeps it from being numero uno. This decade was not the real deal itself, with many of these filmmakers going on to make better movies in subsequent decades, some not even fully delivering on their potential till the '90s or early New Millenium (Scorsese, I'm looking at you). Plus, I don't feel that the decade really got into full swing till about 1975, but hey, those last five years were so monumental, that is why the 1970s as a whole makes this list.

This was one of those few decades where foreign filmmaking took a full on backseat to the Americans. Seriously, no one really remembers any of the foreign flicks from this decade, it was all about the Red, White, and Blue, of course to think that the movies from this decade were patriotic you'd be quite wrong. The films of the '70s reflected the times unlike any other decade probably. This was the first decade where cinema really portrayed life without any frills or censors. Filmmakers did not shy away from language, nudity, or sexual content for the first time in mainstream cinema, and that is partly as to why the '70s blew up as it did, cause it came so close to channeling realism. The same being said for politics.

The '70s was a cynical time, where Americans felt they couldn't trust in their government, and that cynicism is portrayed throughout the '70s from films like: All The President's Men, Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver, and even Star Wars. But it wasn't always cynicism, very often, as was the case with Star Wars, it was about empowering the people that they could make a difference, same being seen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind as well.

It's kind of funny, one looks at the '70s and the films can sort of be split right down the middle. The first half of the decade, the films were more pessimistic, more of a downer, with stuff like The Godfather, Earthquake, and The French Connection ruling the day, and I don't really care all that much for any of these films from these first five years, save for Amercian Graffiti, THX 1138, and The Godfather films.

Though, starting in about 1975, the films of the '70s became more optimistic, and this is where I truly start to love this decade. All thanks to the rise of the blockbuster, starting with Jaws, leading to a 1977 Best Picture win for Rocky, followed by Star Wars tearing apart the box office that same year, and Superman soaring his way to the movie screens in '78, then a new voyage to the final frontier with Star Trek: The Motion Picture in '79. For so long movies had all been downers, and they were now becoming fun again. This transition was so great it would eventually lead to the studio mess we now have, but back then it was all about top notch, big budget storytelling. A concept that would soon become perverted in the following years.

The Ten Best Films of the '70s:
10. The Godfather: Part II
9. Rocky
8. Sleuth
7. Young Frankenstein
6. Superman: The Movie
5. The Godfather
4. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
3. American Graffiti
2. Jaws
1. Star Wars

Monday, May 24, 2010

TV Review: LOST-Season 6

I will be very brief, seeing as how I'll be writing up my full review of the entire series in a few days, but I just want to say, what a way to go out LOST. All my questions have been answered and more. Through all those times of confusion and frustration, I just realized that so many questions over the course of this show were so insignificant to the bigger picture, the story of redemption and hope that we all got in the end. After seeing the ending, all of the puzzle pieces have moved together, and I stand amazed at what I believe to be one of, if not, the best television shows of all-time. Jack battled the Man in Black, Hurley became the new Jacob, and they all lived happily ever after.

I give LOST-Season 6 a perfect A+!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Decades of Film-Part 2: The Worst of the Worst

Okay, I'll just be blunt here. There are a ton of films I just do not like in the history of cinema, so trying to figure out the Worst Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time has actually been way harder than my deciphering what I deem the best. Getting right down to it, every decade has its sore losers, so I've just decided to go with my gut on this one.

I at first had an immediate gut response to say the '60s, but I figured I'd weigh my options at first, so I started modern. While the '90s would be an obvious choice, same as the first decade of the New Millenium, for the studio's obsessive drive of selling action figures rather than making good movies, these two decades still have their moments that shine that greatly outweigh any of their negatives. I briefly considered labeling some of the older decades like the '20s or '30s, cause I don't feel it was till the '40s that cinema was refined, but then I thought about all the great films from the silent film era and the early era of the "talkies" and I shied away from it, cause no matter how crude most of the efforts were from back then, there's no denying something like Metropolis, The Passion of Joan of Arc, or City Lights. Now, I sit here and I've gone back to my initial gut decision as to what I feel to be the Worst Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time... The 1960s!

No other decade in the history of filmmaking underwhelmed quite like the 1960s did, but then again the decade politically, is often considered one of the most violent and tumultuous decades ever in general and I think the cinema reflected that uncertainty in the older generations (the studios) unwillingness to change. Seriously, do the guys who went off and fought in Vietnam wanna come home and watch Rock Hudson or Elvis Presley wooing girls in Hawaii or on the beaches of California? Not only that, the studios had just gotten out of control, producing large scale epics and showy musicals that could never recuperate their costs like Cleopatra, still considered by many to be the biggest waste of money to ever be produced.

As it is, it took till nearly the end of the decade for the studios and Hollywood folk to finally catch on to the new baby boomer culture that had arisen with stuff like The Graduate, Bonnie & Clyde, and Easy Rider, but a few films so late in the decade can't really change the whole outlook of one decade. We're talking about a decade here where Dr. Dolittle was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Enough said.

While film was booming overseas in the '60s with the rise of the French New Wave, to be honest, I've never cared much for the works of Jean Luc Godard, and only have a small affinity for Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows, so it's kind of a craphsoot there. Going to England, there was the highly overrated film Blow-Up, and then over to the East, at least you get some films from the '60s that I greatly enjoy. In Japan, Akira Kurosawa and his fellows continued to do their thing, furthering the arts of Japanese animation that would later yield to the masterworks of Hayao Miyazaki, and Kurosawa delivering two of his finer masterpieces: Yojimbo and Redbeard. But one country can't redeem the rest of the world for a pretty uninteresting decade of film for me. For these reasons and these reasons alone, the 1960s are the Worst Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time!

P.S. As a simple reminder, series finale of LOST on ABC tonight at 9/8 central. Also, Family Guy will finally be airing its spoof of The Empire Strikes Back on TV tonight, so it's an exciting night of television all around.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Decades of Film-Part 1

Film is often broken down into decades, I guess so hopeless film enthusiasts like myself can have a way to bracket certain films aside from genre.

There's no denial that the times are often reflected within cinema, and I think that is why we're so accustomed to breaking it all down into decades as such. I mean, a film like Easy Rider would be a total miss on today's counterculture as opposed to it being a thriving success in 1969. It's that reflection of the times that very often makes certain films memorable and stand out as timeless pieces of cinema, being a sort of time capsule of the times. Even something like the original Star Wars from 1977 is a time capsule of the hope for a younger generation in the post-Vietnam era, so it doesn't have to be a politically charged film, it can be a fantasy that sweeps you away to a galaxy, far, far away.

Certain decades, such as the '70s, have often been praised as being the best decade that film has to offer. It's hard to argue such points, but seriously, you can't tell me that you haven't ever thought that there was a better decade of film? The glorious thing about being an amateur critic, as well as an aspiring filmmaker, and it's one of those fascinating things about film in general, is that I have my own thoughts, philosophies, and aspirations when it comes to film, the same as any other filmgoer around the world. So what I believe to be the greatest film ever made will not align with a great many others, and why can't the same apply to decade?

So this is the mission, to deconstruct the decades of film to truly narrow down what I believe to be the Greatest Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time. It's a tough mission, but it's one that I am fully up to the task of completing. This five part series will start with this post today, then the next post will commence with me naming what I believe to be the Worst Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time, then I will follow it by listing the Number Three Greatest Decade of All-Time, followed by Number Two, and then I will round it out listing what I believe to truly be the Greatest Decade of Filmmaking of All-Time. And yes, I will be counting foreign films, not just American films for any purists out there.

So which will it be? The much-loved '70s? Going old school to the '40s or '50s, or throwing a curve ball that will surely upset a great many and going with the Aughts or the '90s? It's a battle for the Heavyweight Title. So don't miss it this upcoming week.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Actually Wanna See A Zac Efron Movie

Okay, maybe I'm a stupid, sentimental idiot who has no taste in movies whatsoever, but Zac Efron's latest movie, Charlie St. Cloud, actually looks interesting to me. It's made by the same team who made 17 Again, which actually wasn't a bad movie, a guilty pleasure that I actually enjoyed it when I saw it on HBO. I think Efron has talent, it's just been marred by his teen idol persona. The guy isn't a bad actor, and I could see a Leo DiCaprio type career out of him if he gets paired with the right roles.

In this new film he plays the title character of Charlie St. Cloud, who feels responsible for his little brother's death, so responsible that he takes a job working at the cemetery where his brother is buried. To heighten intrigue, Charlie can see his little brother's ghost and play catch with him, but complications arise when Charlie starts falling in love with a girl. To me, it puts a unique twist on an age-old Hollywood formulaic story. It looks to have touches of Frank Capra and Field of Dreams in here, and hey, it's always nice to see Kim Basinger in something from time-to-time. Anyways, it comes out in July, so maybe if reviews are favorable, this might be the surprise Blind Side of this year. Just saying.

Benjamin Linus Needs Socks!

It explains itself:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

TV Review: V-Season 1

You know, I'm usually opposed to remakes or anything of the kind, but sometimes it actually pays off, as was the case with the first season of ABC's V.

The show is about an alien invasion, but before you say been there done that, hear this out. These alien spaceships just one morning appear over every major city in the world and their Queen, Anna, claims to be of peace. The humans start calling them Visitors and start almost borderline worshiping them, but are these aliens really here to help us, or do they have more sinister motives? If you guessed the latter, then you're correct. The Visitors turning out to be evil, emotionless lizards disguising themselves in human skins. But not all hope is lost for the humans, cause a small resistance group named the Fifth Column, made up of humans who know the truth and Visitors who turned rogue and learned human emotion, bands together to fight Anna and the V's.

Now, I never watched the original V, which aired back in the mid-80s, so I have no clue how similar the two really are, but what I can say is that this V show is a powerhouse science fiction program that entertains and enthralls from beginning to end. Just about each episode of the first season was enjoyable to watch, and had some sort of action set piece to cap it all off. While there were points in the season where it felt as if the show was kind of running its wheels, just trying to find some traction with their constant back-and-forths of whose side is this person really on, is this V fifth column or are they loyal to Anna, etc. Regardless, it's hard not to be amazed at a show of this quality on network television.

The special effects are a marvel for a weekly TV program, the interiors of the spaceships being entirely CGI, and I'd venture to say at least half of the season took place on Anna's ship over New York City. Speaking of Anna, the sinister Queen Bee of the V's, I think her character can definitely go down in television history as one of the most heartless, and overall, evil beings ever. She is truly evil incarnate, and Morena Baccarin plays her to icy perfection, making you just wanna sometimes slap her for her divine ability of deceit. The rest of the cast is solid, but no one else really stands out quite as well as Baccarin does as Anna. Though, I do think it is extremely awesome that one of the main characters who joins the resistance against the V's is a Catholic priest named Jack played by Joel Gretsch; very inspired storytelling I think.

While we never saw a V in their authentic, lizard form, they've given the audience some nice little clues as to what it might look like, such as when you saw a V baby wrapped in blankets and a slimy little tail poked out from underneath. V definitely knows how to make the viewer feel tense, and also just genuinely creep you out at all the right moments. So as it is, I actually greatly enjoyed the first season of ABC's V, and I am extremely glad that the show has gotten picked up for a second season, cause it would be a shame to not see where this all goes from here.

I give V-Season 1 an A!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The "Blonde" Bombshell

Marilyn Monroe is what they call a sex symbol, one of the most popular pop culture icons of all-time, up there with folks like James Dean. Now, I'm not usually a fan of biopics, but there is a touch amount of intrigue in this particular project titled Blonde, starring actress Naomi Watts as Monroe . I don't know, there is something mysterious about Marilyn Monroe that has made her a source of intrigue for film enthusiasts, and even just average joe moviegoer, for whole generations now. That mystery has not only lead to this biopic being produced, but also another film being made by the Weinstein Company starring Michelle Williams as Monroe about her time in England shooting The Prince and the Showgirl with Laurence Olivier.

Out of the two, I'm more intrigued to see Watts' take on the character, she is one of the finer actresses working now, plus she embodies more of Monroe's characteristics than Williams, not to mention the source material sounds better in the biopic starring Watts, being based upon Joyce Carol Oates' imaginary Marilyn Monroe memoir. Anyways here's the first photo of Watts as Monroe, so I guess decide for yourself. (Hint: Monroe is on the left, Watts on the right).

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Summer Lulls

It's kind of funny, when you were a kid, all you could wait for was Summer to where you didn't have to do anything for three whole months. Now, I'm twenty and in college, and I find myself in the Summer months with a hankering to just go back to class.

A few weeks of nothing never hurt anybody, but it does frustrate me, and makes me think I'll go crazy to imagine two and a half more months of this, so that is why I'm trying to keep really busy with the blog and film projects, cause I'm applying for some Summer jobs, but at the moment no one has taken a bite, so I'll just continue applying and trying to keep myself busy with other stuff. With all that said, I've got some big things on the horizon in terms of both film projects and special Summer series' on the blog.

The blog will feature some great special events all Summer long, and one of 'em is a new form of review being introduced to the blog and the other two are special events that will only be here on the Review. First, I plan on kickstarting a new kind of review on the blog this Summer, called "From Book to Screen" where I read the book and then watch the movie, comparing and contrasting the two and ultimately deciding which I feel is better. Then, I'm embarking upon a hefty mission to sift through the hundred or so years of film history and come up with a definitive list of what I think to be the best decade in film history. Will it be the much loved '70s, or something more nostalgic like the '40s? So stay tuned for all of that. But what about my film projects you say?

Well, I'm currently writing a new feature length screenplay that I'm actually excited about, it's almost an autobiography of my teenage years and my obsession with making home movies, just on a bigger scale, and that's all I'll say on that front. Finally, this next film project I'm working on kind of ties into the blog as well.

Just the other day I posted an article called "Personal Satisfaction" talking about how I wanted to start going back and remembering why I wanted to be in film in the first place, and this new project is my attempts to do just that. It will be a six-part web series about alien abduction, told in a way that you aren't accustomed to seeing such stories done. I will keep constant updates on the production of it throughout, and then I will premiere each new episode here on the Review first and foremost, so it will be the only place on the internet that you can see this ambitious series of mine. Currently I'm scripting, and I have hopes to have the first episode online by the first of July, so keep the look-out for that.

So there you have it, even though I'm in the Summer Lulls, there are still some exciting things to look forward to (save for Christopher Nolan's Inception).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

TV Review: Smallville-Season 9 (Part 3)

Budget cuts have fazed The CW's hit show Smallville only ever so slightly. The show, just wrapping up its ninth season and already picked up for a tenth, is one of the few lasting shows from the now dead WB, and while the show's production values have taken severe hits over recent years since The CW has commandeered the ship, the stories have never been better. It is safe to say that some gas is still left within the tank, and I'm actually quite glad. Smallville is arguably my favorite TV Show of all-time, so there is a small touch of bias here, but I still remain impressed.

Last night's finale just sums up why I still love this show. The whole season has been leading up to this epic confrontation between Clark and General Zod, who returned to the show as a clone of the latter's self thanks to some ol' fashioned Kryptonian technology. While I was a touch disappointed in that they did another annoying Blue Kryptonite fight where Zod and Clark had no powers, it was still well-choreographed and the cliffhangers at the end where Green Arrow was attacked by these super-powered beings that weren't Kandorians and Clark being stabbed and falling from the sky, were awesome cliffhangers to keep us die-hard's foaming at the mouth till next Fall.

For the first time in Smallville's run, I actually legitimately felt as if Clark's character had become worthy to someday become Superman. He's always been kind of whiny on the show, but this season, he really stepped up to the plate with some tremendous character development, and by the point we reached the finale I was just blown away at how much like the Man of Steel he was acting and how he was no longer that whiny farm boy from Season 1. Not to mention, the way they handled the romance between Lois and Clark was extremely fantastic, and not to mention spicing it up with a nice little triangle including Clark's superpowered ego, The Blur, in constant communication with Lois and stealing her heart in the end.

Really, if any quip can come (and I think it's a debatable quip) is that the show has kind of gotten to a point where a great amount of suspension of disbelief is required to enjoy it, where as you simply can't watch it for all the soap opera elements, you have to be willing to enjoy the fantastical, as Smallville is becoming less-and-less like a teenybopper program and having more-and-more in common with its comic book counterpart. For a comic book fan, these pills are easy to swallow, but if you aren't, you might have a tougher time enjoying the story, and that's all I'll say on that.

As with most scripted shows on television, there are some episodes in any given season where you can take 'em or leave 'em, not meaning that any one episode is bad, just that some aren't as rock solid as others. I wasn't all that crazy about any of the Green Arrow-centric episodes this season, all coming off fairly forgettable, and unfortunately the same kind of goes for Martha Kent and Perry White's big return this season, that started off with some promise, but fizzled out toward the end of the episode. Still, there were some great ones as well.

The two-hour epic, "Absolute Justice," which introduced the Justice Society of America on Smallville, was one of the bigger highlights of the season for me. Not to mention all the episodes featuring the whole subplot dealing with Checkmate, which all were extremely well-handled, even though the actors for both the JSA and Checkmate bordered on over-acting at times, but what can you do. Then there was the story dealing with Zod's Kryptonian army on Earth, which was the best part of the season for me, seeing Clark getting to reconnect with his heritage and step up and actually lead, not just sit and watch; not to mention, Checkmate and even Perry White and Lois managed to step on some alien toes throughout all this. With all this said, Tom Welling has never been on better form, same going for Erica Durance as Lois, their chemistry shining throughout the season. And what can you say about Callum Blue as Zod, he was very solid, while not as great as Sam Witwer from last season, he made me like Zod again.

So another season has come and gone, and it's always hard to really sum up what I felt in just a few paragraphs, but the bottom line is that Smallville is still kicking and refuses to go out without a fight. While the show's budget constraints are fairly obvious, in terms of production values like set design, costumes, special effects, etc., (and I'm not gonna lie, I do want Clark to just have an all out throwdown with a baddie like he used to; it's been so long since one) they still manage to cover it all up with some fantastic screenwriting. So as a fan, I loved this latest season of Smallville, while not the best in the show's run, it's been a fun and enjoyable ride the whole way.

I give Smallville-Season 9 an A-!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Personal Satisfaction

I think that this is something that anyone, no matter what field they work in, should strive for, and it is something that I have rarely felt after finishing a film. I want to be satisfied as a filmmaker, but I'm not with any of the films I have currently made. While there are some films that I'm more satisfied with than others, as a whole none of them really speak to me 100%, so I've been sitting around recently, mulling over this question as to why I have no personal satisfaction with my work, and I recently had an epiphany.

I had let the whole process of filmmaking and my perverted artistic delusions of grandeur mire my own work, and the results is that I had lost the zest that made me want to make films in the first place.

All of these thoughts of dissatisfaction were sparked from my latest two films: Lost & Found and Heaven's Touch, neither of which lived up to my expectations at all. So for months upon months I've been scratching my head, and searching for the answer as to why I was not satisfied as a filmmaker, and this morning as I was reading the latest issue of Creative Screenwriting, it just hit me like a bolt of lightning.

Screenwriter Scott Caan was talking about how a few years ago he wrote a script for filmmaker Werner Herzog, but when Herzog read the script, he liked it, but felt that he wasn't right to direct it. Caan told Herzog he could rewrite it to let it fit Herzog's style and vision more, but Herzog merely replied, stating, "There is no such thing as rewriting." Caan went on to re-iterate that what Herzog really meant was that if you alter your story to appease someone else, then it ultimately is no longer your story, and for some odd reason, this article had a profound impact upon me, as if all those gears that were just grinding away in my head, finally got clicking for real.

The reason I was dissatisfied with Heaven's Touch was for the above-mentioned reason that Caan ran into. I changed my initial vision, my initial story to do two things: to make it more in keeping with the style of things my producer liked doing, and to transform a fantastic feature length story into a cheesy, short subject. My dissatisfaction all stemmed from the fact that I had forgotten what I initially wanted, and when I had remembered what it is I wanted, it was all but too late. Of course, that is not the only reason I was dissatisfied, Caan's comments was just the springboard to the real meat of my recent epiphany.

In my deep thought, I had come to the realization that I had forgotten the reason as to why I wanted to be a filmmaker in the first place. To remember, I had to go back to why I loved movies, to remember how a film can magically transport you to a different time and place and sweep you away within the raw emotional power of a fantastic story. I had forgotten that, this is why I have no satisfaction as a filmmaker.

In a way, I had developed an ego. As I've gotten older, I've tried to broaden my range as a filmgoer in terms of what I watch, and while I have done just that, I had created a touch of an ego having seen many films that a great many of my peers had never seen, so I felt as if I was elite, and knew more than they did. In a sense, I had become the very thing I wished to never become, pretentious. But I've never wanted to be the student of Jean Luc Godard, but the student of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. I had forgotten about entertainment.

Through an ego, I had become obsessed with these artistic fantasies, I thought myself an artist, an auteur (which I had made a post a few weeks back deriding me as such), and now I just see how full of it I was. I had this thought, that even if the film didn't match my initial story idea, I was artistic enough to take whatever I had and make it into a film, and that is how I wound up with Lost & Found and Heaven's Touch. My ego had gotten the best of me and I had made two films that I am not satisfied with and are not entertaining.

To me, all of the best films are entertaining. I've never watched movies to fuel my thought, I watch movies cause I wanna laugh, cry, or cheer the hero. I had forgotten. I just want to be entertained, and I was not making films that were entertaining me, so that is what I want to do from now on. In a way, it's not about me moving forward as a filmmaker, but in all actuality, it is about me moving back, back to the film-obsessed teen who declared he wanted to be a filmmaker after doing a report on George Lucas in the 9th Grade. Back then, I came up with film ideas that entertained me, not film ideas that I thought would make great artistic statements, but film ideas that I knew if I made 'em, I'd laugh, cry, or cheer. That is what I want.

So my point. I'm not an artist, but an entertainer, and I must never forget that again.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"The Tiger," Attacks!

Animals are all the rage right now it seems, with word coming last week that Steven Spielberg's next film will be an adaptation of the children's book, War Horse. Well, this week the story goes that director Darren Aronofsky, along with screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, and Brad Pitt, are gonna be adapting the new non-fiction book, The Tiger: The Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Valiant.

The book doesn't come out till August, but it tells the story of the Siberian tiger over the course of hundreds of years, from the native tribes long ago who once worshipped the tigers, to their now impoverished ancestors who poach this endangered species of tiger for money. Supposedly the book focuses on three different characters: one, a poacher killed by the tiger; another a tracker; and finally, the tiger himself.

The story sounds very interesting, and kind of has touches of Aronofsky's own film, The Fountain, in that the story chronicles several centuries. Regardless, it sounds extremely intriguing to me. It could be a very tense, entertaining film that could also be extremely informative about this endangered species, and it is nice to see Brad Pitt and Aronofsky finally working together after the fact that they seem to have been trying to do so countless times over the past decade but each time it's just fallen apart. At the moment there is no release date, but I'll try to keep you updated.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Original Hollywood

Nothing excites me more than original properties, films written directly for the screen. To be honest, I'm just tired of just about every film being made nowadays being either a sequel, a remake (and/or reboot), or based upon a comic book, video game, or novel. Something has gotta give. So whenever I hear about large scale, big budget blockbusters being made based upon original properties, properties that were written for the screen, not for some other medium first and then transferred to film, it makes me extremely excited.

If anything, I'm burnt out on superhero films at the moment, and I love the genre, it just seems like everytime you turn around every superhero ever dreamed up is getting the big screen treatment; same goes for children's fantasy novels, which we have stuff like Harry Potter and Twilight to thank for that. One of my favorite filmmakers is Japanese animator, Hayao Miyazaki, and the reason I love his works is because everything he has ever done, aside from one or two exceptions, was based upon an original idea that he came up with. He writes his films directly for the screen, and it shows in cinematic masterpieces like Princess Mononoke. Now we're seeing more and more big Hollywood films being made from original ideas, and I just hope that this is the next big thing and not just a small bump in the road.

I've just been wondering whether or not Hollywood is beginning to see the value in original ideas once again? After all, Avatar, the highest grossing film of all-time was not based upon a comic book, it was an original idea that was not written for another medium first, but was written as a screenplay from the very beginning. I think that this is a large reason as to why I love this movie so, not to mention it's just a fascinating sci-fi/fantasy story, but also it's just so original compared to anything else Hollywood is pumping out right now.

Audiences are responding to original material, with one of the more hyped Summer blockbusters this year being director Christopher Nolan's Inception, a $200 million budget action/thriller about these people who enter into people's dreams to steal their thoughts. This is an original idea from Nolan himself, and the film is tracking exceedingly well. While I don't think it will put up Avatar numbers, I think it will be a solid sleeper hit that will go on to make back its budget. Is Hollywood taking notice?

Director J.J. Abrams' next film, Super 8, which hits theaters next Summer, is based upon an original idea that he came up with and he is directing it. The story is set in 1979, about a couple of teenagers fooling around with a Super 8 home video camera and they accidentally capture an alien in the background of one of their shots. An original idea. It seems so novel nowadays after such a bludgeon of annoyingly cliche'd genre efforts over the past decade or two.

To me, the reason why something like Avatar did so well, isn't because of 3-D, but because it was seen as a breath of fresh air for many film enthusiasts, and while the general populace will eat up anything the studios shove down their throats, at the end of the day, an original idea stays with the viewer longer than something that has been done thousands of times before and we're familiar with. Just look at Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., some of the most unforgettable blockbusters of all-time. Why? Cause they were original.

So are you paying attention Hollywood? I hope you are, cause the future of the film industry isn't gonna be made on the back of gimmicks like 3-D, but once the newness of stuff like that wears off, you know what's gonna have to save your butts? Storytelling, the one thing that has been around for creative folks since the dawn of time, and that is what will make ya'll millions, not some dumb gimmick.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Movie Review: Iron Man 2

Check your mind at the door, and you'll enjoy Iron Man 2. While not as good as the first, it is still a fun, entertaining sequel that gets the job done and has enough explosions to start the Summer off in style.

The story picks up right where the first left off. Tony Stark reveals his secret identity to the world, he is Iron Man, leading to complications for the billionaire playboy. Robert Downey, Jr. was once more in top form here as Stark, but his snarky quips seemed to lack the same heat that they had in the first film.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government wants Stark to share his Iron Man technology, while Stark is dealing with a rival business tycoon Justin Hammer who wants Stark's tech to ensure his contract with the government. Sam Rockwell does a marvelous job as Justin Hammer, and actually steals the show, kind of playing that geeky guy that everyone says ya better not pick on cause they'll be your boss someday. Now, on top of all that, Stark's arc reactor in his chest that is keeping him alive is also killing him cause the element it's made of is toxic, which I thought was an extremely nice touch that added some much needed drama to the story.

As you can see, this is a busy story, but director Jon Favreau and screenwriter Justin Theroux managed to keep the film from feeling all cluttered, giving it some room to breath, which is something that a certain webhead failed to do in his third outing (--cough!-- Spider-man 3), but it does feel jumpy at times and certain plot threads seem to be left dangling for a touch too long before they return to them to tie them up. Of course, this is an action movie, and the action in the film ups the ante from the original, having more explosions and giant iron fists of fury. If anything all of the action sequences were so well executed that they left you wanting more, but it is sad when the most show stopping scene of the entire film occurs a mere thirty minutes into the film at the Monaco Grand Prix, but the finale was still well executed.

Spinning all that into a frenzy, Stark must confront a villain named Ivan Vanko, a.k.a. Whiplash, who uses these awesome electric whips that he wraps around Iron Man and electrifies him with in the awesome action sequence at the Monaco Grand Prix. Vanko, played by "it" actor Mickey Rourke, was not as menacing as the trailers led one to believe, but he serviced the job well, but ultimately I missed Jeff Bridges from the first film. Regardless, Vanko is bent on vengeance for his father's misfortune which was at the hands of Tony's father, which I felt was not really touched upon all that much, and I think Rourke's character was actually the most underused of the film.

Perhaps there was no way for them to capture lightning in a bottle again, after all, seeing as how the first film did feel so fresh and original, but they did a good job of continuing the story, giving some more character development and such. As well, there were many nods to other Marvel characters like Captain America, Thor, and The Avengers, not to mention the film featured Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson who looks just like a comic book vixen ripped straight from the pages, and Nick Fury played by Samuel L. Jackson himself. In the end, it managed to be a worthy successor, and makes me wanna see more from this iron clad superhero on the big screen.

I give Iron Man 2 a C+!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Summer Movie Season Has Arrived!

No more school, I've cut the grass today, this must mean only one thing, Summer Movie Season is upon us, quite possibly my favorite time of the year!

For me, Summer officially kicks off today with the release of Iron Man 2, soon to be followed over the next three months with Blockbuster, after Blockbuster, after Blockbuster. While I'm not as pumped about many of the movies this Summer as I have been in previous Summers, there is no denying that this is a special time of the year for us diehard cinephiles. This was the time of year that gave us Jaws, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and in more recent years awesome superhero flicks like Spider-man and Batman Begins/The Dark Knight. There are so many memories I have of these sweltering Summer days, sitting within a dark, air-conditioned movie theater, being swept away to another time and place for a few hours of escapist entertainment.

As is usual with every Summer, there will be a film or two that comes out of nowhere and surprises us all, there will be the movies that just miss the mark entirely, and then there will be the movies that live up to their hype. As it is, I definitely wanna see Iron Man 2, but the real Summer movie I wanna see is director Christopher Nolan's Inception, and I'm not gonna lie, there is a small part of me that wants to see the remake of The Karate Kid. Personally, Robin Hood looks to be a horrible representation of one of my favorite literary characters, and Toy Story 3 has distilled no real desire within me. A movie I'm still on the fence about is Prince of Persia, but all question marks should be addressed in due time, cause Summer movie season is finally here!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

The recent spat of movie news has been pretty dull as of late. It's cool that Fox attached director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) to direct Marvel's X-Men: First Class (the prequel to the previous three X-Men films detailing the early days at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters), and while the film will be out sooner than expected coming June 2011, I'd still much rather have Bryan Singer who directed the first two X-Men films directing rather than producing. As well, I just can't get excited for Spielberg's next film he'll be directing, War Horse, which is being put on the fast track for an August 2011 release. The premise of the film just inspires no interest in me, and just makes me think of all the cheesy animal films that I didn't like from when I was a kid. I don't really want to see a kid's war film from the eyes of a horse in World War I. But regardless, today is Cinco de Mayo, so celebration is in order.

I've chosen to celebrate talking about a dream of mine. Someone needs to make an animated film based upon the video game, Samba De Amigo, where you play as a monkey who can play the maracas. Imagine it-- It already sounds like perfect kiddie film-bait, and it could be a fun film with tons of laughs and lots of music, reminiscent of the film, Happy Feet. It could be released on Cinco de Mayo, which would be perfect! It would meet the Summer movie season, and would be a great way to celebrate the festivities. Either way, it's just a dream, but here's a small taste of what it could be like:

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Top 10: Superhero Films

We've all seen 'em, and for the most part we've all adored 'em at one point or another. The inner geek inside us refuses to die, and so superhero films are chugging on, eating up the box office and storming across Hollywood in the process.

The Summer movie season officially kicks off this Friday with Iron Man 2 blasting into theaters, which should undoubtedly heap some mega-box office returns, but what I'm more interested in is quality. I love superhero films, and I want to see all of them succeed, even though not all are so lucky.

With the release of Iron Man 2 nigh, and the release date being set for July 20, 2012 for a Chris Nolan Batman 3 (Hooray! for all fandom), I think it's befitting to take a look and see what my ten favorite superhero films of all-time are. We're in the Golden Age of superhero films, so it's a tough list to write up, but one that I hope will be fair. Perhaps Iron Man 2 could join this list come Friday, I don't know? Here we go:

10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Okay, sue me for this one, I don't care, but nothing speaks to my inner child more than this initial romp into the sewers with these turtles in a half shell. This was a cornerstone film of my childhood, that actually does the turtles from the comics justice with tons of awesome ninja action and some good one-liners, that while are cheesy, still make me laugh in this stylish, and fun creation from Jim Henson Studios.

9. Superman: The Movie - Not many superhero films are better than Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie. This film wrote the book on how all superhero films were to be made after it; the film established the origin story formula that we now call cliche. We learn who supes is, how he came to be on Earth and become Superman, and then the final act deals with his foiling Lex Luthor's plot. It's a fun film, and Christopher Reeve was Superman.

8. Iron Man - Marvel pulled away from the pack with this one, setting up a Marvel Film Universe, all leading up to 2012's Avengers movie. Regardless as to the grand scheme of things, this film was also a fun, popcorn filled thrill ride that never took itself too seriously, thanks to Robert Downey, Jr.'s high octane performance, but it still managed to have emotional resonance thanks to Downey, Jr. and Gwenyth Paltrow's chemistry. A well done intro. to Marvel's Film Universe.

7. Spider-man - It's safe to say that if it weren't for this film, we wouldn't have all the other superhero films that have followed over the past decade. This was the first superhero film since Tim Burton's Batman to make so much money at the box office, ensuring the survival of the genre, but not only that it was an extremely entertaining film with all of the flourishes that made us love the webhead so much as kids.

6. Batman Forever - All right, you're either in uproar right now, or are nodding in approval. Batman Forever divides fans more so than just about any other superhero film. It's hard not to love Jim Carrey's hilarious portrayal of the Riddler, while Tommy Lee Jones was spotty as Two-Face, Val Kilmer more than compensates as Batman. It's a very pulpy film, much like a Dick Tracy world, but it's so stylized and oddly beautiful, you can't help but be blown away. Did I mention that it's also an extremely fun film to watch?

5. Superman II - Superman: The Movie was just the warm-up for what is one of the best sequels I think ever made. Superman II had way more action, way more adventure, and way more romance than in the first. The film's riddled with emotion, and actually pays one off in the end, unlike so many films that build to an emotional climax and then just taper off. The Man of Steel was never stronger than he was here.

4. The Incredibles - While not based upon a comic, Pixar made what is arguably one of the best representations of the superhero genre ever committed to film. While it was sold as a spoof, it turned out to be a full bodied superhero film, with likable characters, tons of epic super-powered action, and a lot of laughs along the way. The film also went a step further than so many other superhero films by making the heroes a family and serving the film more so as a family drama than an action frenzy, which makes all the difference. Plus, Michael Giacchino's score is slick, stylish, and amazing in every way possible.

3. X-2: X-Men United - Director Bryan Singer fashioned the X-Men film to beat all X-Men films. The ensemble was perfectly balanced within the film, never focusing too much on one individual character. While you could argue Wolverine gets the most screentime, all characters have their own individual arc to go on within the film, especially Jean Grey a.k.a. Phoenix. As well, Singer made the film a perfect allegory to racism and prejudices. Not to mention, Nightcrawler's attack on the White House is insanely cool.

2. Spider-man 2 - One of the shining pinnacles of the superhero genre that's good name tends to get sullied by that of its successor that, notice did not make the list. Tobey Maguire dispelled any doubts with this film, officially cementing himself as Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-man. Director Sam Raimi showed his reverence for the Silver Age Spider-man of Stan Lee and John Romita whole-heartedly within this film, delivering an action-packed saga that was so beautiful, so emotional, that I completely forget every time that I'm watching a film about a superhero.

1. (TIE) Batman Begins and The Dark Knight - There's no other way to settle this feud than to give them equal billing. Seriously, they're both so good, and depending upon the day of the week I'd say one is better than the other, so I just let it be a tie. Director Christopher Nolan crafted what is, the most faithful, most reverent adaptation of any superhero ever committed to film. His Batman was as he should be, dark, mysterious, brooding. The films were emotional, philosophical, and thought-provoking. They went a step further than your average superhero films by actually feeding your mind and soul and not just your thirst for action (which they both quench in droves). Batman Begins is a perfect character study of a realistic man who becomes a superhero, while The Dark Knight explores the complications a superhero presents to a realist, modern society. These films are masterpieces and rightfully should share the number one spot; not to mention when you watch 'em back to back they play like one long movie.