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Geek Out Loud Episode 15 is Live!

1

Aug

Posted by Steve

Geek Out Loud Episode 15 – The Obligatory Podcast is online and available for download.  This one is a long one with a bit of wonky audio, and we go VERY in depth into spoilers and plot points of the Summer’s biggest movie…THE DARK KNIGHT.

Head over to www.geekoutpodcast.com to listen, download, and subscribe to the feed.

You Either Die a Hero Or Live Long Enough to Read My Review of THE DARK KNIGHT

20

Jul

Posted by Steve

Dark_Knight_poster.jpgAs I’m writing this it is close to 2am where I am. I just felt like I had to post this review before I go to bed.

I didn’t get to experience THE DARK KNIGHT on opening night. This fact caused me to be a little disappointed because one of the things I deeply enjoy about big Summer blockbusters is fighting the opening day crowd and watching them with all the other geeks who show up for the movies. Ever since I started Geek Out Online, I have also felt a bit of an obligation to you the reader to have reviews like this one up as soon as possible because I seldom have the opportunity to see pre-screenings or sneak peeks of the big films. Therefore, I always feel like I need to get at least a written review of a movie up by the end of opening day.

You didn’t stop by to read about my feelings on blogging though.

I arrived at the theater to take in the late show of THE DARK KNIGHT about 35 minutes early as is my custom. The theater I frequent is relatively new, and this is the first movie they’ve shown where crowd control has been a problem. Normally, I can just walk up to the screening room door and wait until the show that is running is finished, the crowd has emptied out and the employees have had a few minutes to tidy up the joint walk right in and be the first or second person to sit down. Tonight, however, the staff learned from the mistakes of their opening night and did things in a bit more orderly fashion. So it was that I found myself in line next to a pretty cool guy named Nick. Nick and I struck up a conversation about movies, spoilers, seating arrangements, and as the crowd began to push it’s way into the theater we found ourselves to be allies in getting the perfect seats. Naturally, that led us to sitting next to each other, which can be tricky. As you may or may not know, someone can be a great conversationalist outside a movie, but that may not carry over to the movie experience itself. Fortunately, Nick was not interested in being a great conversationalist during the movie and we had a genuinely great time immersing ourselves in total geekdom before and after the showing. So, a big thanks to Nick for hanging out with me at the theater and helping make my viewing experience pleasurable.

You also didn’t stop by to read about new people I met. (But I’ve got a great story for Geek Out Loud [the official podcast of Geek Out Online dot com])

My super spoilery review of THE DARK KNIGHT (TDK) will come with my next episode Geek Out Loud which is scheduled to be out early next week. Here, I will try not to spoil the movie at all, but there may be some light spoilers, so you are warned.

Even a little over an hour removed from watching the movie, I am at a loss for words. I HATED IT!!!! Just kidding. TDK is, in my opinion, the best comics to screen adaptation ever of ANY super hero. Period.

We have all enjoyed the goodness that was THE INCREDIBLE HULK and IRON MAN, we have had our little debates about how good or not good HANCOCK is, and we have talked about how great we have it as comic book/movie fans. WE HAD NO IDEA!!!!

Several months ago, I heard from someone in the know that TDK makes BATMAN BEGINS look like BATMAN FOREVER.  While I don’t like BATMAN BEGINS any less, I will say that I have to totally agree with that assessment. I had no idea the ride I was in for when I sat down to watch this movie.

The actors that were great in BEGINS were equally great if not better in TDK.

The exploration into a bit of Alfred’s history, Jim Gordon’s family life, and seeing Lucius Fox in his role as chairman of the board for Wayne Enterprises were small things that served to make the Batman experience as presented by Nolan and company even richer than it was in the first movie.

Then, there’s the addition of Maggie Gyllenhall as Rachel Dawes.  I have made no effort to disguise my feelings about Katie Holmes portrayal of Rachel in BEGINS.  She was the weakest part of that movie for me.  While I understood the need for the character and I appreciated what the character brought to the table for Bruce and Batman, I felt like Holmes played Rachel either too self-righteously or too…prissy.  Gyllenhall brings genuine pathos to the character.  To see her torn between Bruce and Harvey without going the route of pining for one or the other shows her character’s strength without the self-righteous attitude that she seemed to have in BEGINS.  Couple that with a more mature portrayal of the character, and I found myself genuinely invested in the character of Rachel Dawes.  I feared for her safety.  I wanted her to be ok.  I wanted her to be happy.

Aaron Eckhart had one of the toughest jobs in this movie.  He had to play the squeaky clean good guy without coming across as boring or too June Cleaver.  He did that job expertly.   While he’s not scared to get his hands dirty, he still chooses to play on the side of the law and all that is good.  His goodness is matched only by his courage in the face of death threats and a wavering public opinion,  and Eckhart rises to the challenge of playing the white knight in shining armor only to do an equally incredible job as Two Face emerges from the shadows of his psyche (a bit earlier than you may think).

Finally, there is the performance that everyone is buzzing about.  Heath Ledger brought to the screen a version of the Joker we’ve never seen and are unlikely to ever be privileged to see again.   If I had no known that Ledger was playing the Joker and watched this movie, I would have argued that it was not him on the screen.  His voice, his look, and even his body language suggested someone other than Heath Ledger was on the screen.   I didn’t want to jump on the Oscar for Ledger bandwagon.  I even said to myself going into the movie, “When I write my review I will NOT say Ledger deserves a posthumous Oscar for his performace.”  However, I defy you to show me another actor in any film this year that does.  I know that the  end-0f-the-year “Oscar-grabbing” performances are still a couple of months off, but I don’t know that anyone will be able to bring a performance to the screen quite like Ledger did in this movie.  For the first time in my life as a fan of film, I honestly will be angry if his performance is overlooked because this is a comic book movie.

While the actors brought their characters to the screen in an amazing way, the script gave the characters the right kind of characterization to appeal to audiences.  I’ve already mentioned that Eckhart did an outstanding job of making Dent an interesting character, but he was also written so well.  I only hope we get to see more of Two Face in the future.  The Joker was funny in the right ways at the right time, only to be menacing and scary right as you chuckle at him.  He is the perfect foil for Batman and Gotham City.   I love that his agenda was simple chaos and anarchy.

The story is full.  There is a LOT going on in this movie.  The film clocks in at a little over two and half hours, so it’s not too compressed, but things happen quickly.   It’s rare to see the 150 minute movie that has little or no down time.  Every scene means something.  There’s no fat here, and it works.  At the end of two and a half hours, I didn’t realize it had been two and half hours.  That’s a well-edited movie with an engaging story.

The story explores the depths of who Batman is, and if he is needed in Gotham at all, and if so, why he is needed.  The conversation between Gordon and Batman at the end of BEGINS is what this film is all about – escalation.  Things get worse and worse, and though the movie ends on a hopeful note, things don’t work out perfectly in the end.   The choices characters make have real consequences that must be dealt with.  Basically, the message that Spider-Man 3 tried to get across, TDK drives it home and parks it in the garage without getting preachy or pointing a finger.

Finally, one of my other criticisms of BEGINS has been taken care of.  While I understood the cinematography choice of being right up in the middle of the fights with a hand held camera, I still feel like that type of filming makes it hard to follow exactly what is going on. In TDK, Nolan chose to pan back a bit and make his cuts in the action a little more spread out (we’re talking half seconds more) to allow the viewer to see the fighting more clearly.  I am really glad this was the case because there were some great fights that were fun to watch.

THE DARK KNIGHT is a great movie.  Take away the gadgets, the suit, and the face paint, and you have yourself a great action movie that still has compelling characters and an engaging story.   It works as more than a comic book movie. (Though, heavens knows thats good enough.)  It’s a great story.

If you haven’t seen it yet, GO NOW!!!  If you have seen it, feel free to talk about it here, just please don’t post any spoilers for a week or so.

All in all, I give this movie 6 Holy Monkey Spits out of 5. (That’s not a typo..it’s that good.)

Geek Out Loud Episode 11 – The Invincible Iron Podcast

17

May

Posted by Steve

In this episode the big topic of discussion is IRON MAN. (Three weeks late.) I also talk a very little bit about the new DARK KNIGHT and INCREDIBLE HULK trailers and TV spots. You can check out the new DARK KNIGHT trailer here and the new INCREDIBLE HULK TRAILER here.

Here is the latest INCREDIBLE HULK TV spot:

And you can watch the latest DARK KNIGHT trailer right here.

To catch up on your Iron Man reading check out these items over at Amazon and help support the site:

More Trailer Meanderings (or OH MY LANTA!!!!)

1

May

Posted by Steve

On the heels of discussing trailers and such, Marvel and Universal put out the second trailer for THE INCREDIBLE HULK.  If you haven’t watched in QuickTime or Hi Def, you need to go ahead and click here to do that. If you can’t wait to go to another site or you just want some quick fun of watching again there’s this….

Then, with all the frenzy that became the viral marketing fiasco by Warner Bros earlier this week, people who won those little reels of film finally started getting their findings up on the world wide web. The result? A “Jokerized” version of the trailer…which makes for some pretty funny moments.

And then there’s this…if you absolutely can’t wait for Sunday…Hurry up it may be gone soon.

Waiting on Trailer…and Pondering – UPDATED UPDATE!

28

Apr

Posted by Steve

As I write this, I am waiting on what will hopefully be a new Dark Knight trailer to make it’s debut online.  Since early this afternoon (Eastern Time) the viral marketing machine which WB has been using quite effectively to promote this film has been in high gear with a really cool way of introducing fans to the trailer.

Fans were led to various locations through the whysoserious website where they were met with instructions to go to nearby theatres. They were then given raffle tickets and shown the newest trailer for the Dark Knight.  Very cool.  Cooler still was the raffle was for the actual reel of film that the trailer was on.

Uncool, however, was the security in the theatre for the trailer.  Apparently they had people watching the audience with night vision to insure that no one was recording the trailer to place on youtube or some other website.

Why is that uncool?  Well, I understand studios preventing piracy of movies.  I understand cracking down on people who would try to profit off of films and keep those involved in making the films from being able to profit off of their own work. But consider this line of thinking…

1.  A trailer is a commercial.

2.  As a commercial, a trailer is meant to promote the film that it is previewing.

3.  Normally, advertising costs.

4.  If someone were to make a crappy home video of the trailer they are watching in a theatre and post it on the internet, thereby creating more buzz for a film that seems to me to be free advertising.

5.  I thought studios liked free advertising.

Put it all together, and you’ve got one confused Big Honkin Steve.  I’m not complaining mind you.   I just would like it explained to me why it’s a big deal for the studios to have a free commercial on the internet.  I honestly don’t think anyone can.

Maybe they see the benefits of free advertising. Apparently, the official trailer is coming Sunday, but this was first shown to me at around 1am. 9 hours later, it’s still there. Interesting…

 And it’s gone….

As I continued pondering the above query, I can only come up with one answer.  Best I can figure, WB wants to put geek butts in the seats when they release a film.  So, if they tell us that a movie is gonna have a trailer attatched to it, if people see it online first, they may not go see the movie to which the trailer is attatched.  For example, I went to see The Incredibles because of a Star Wars trailer.   I enjoyed The Incredibles, but probably would have waited to see it on DVD.  So, I guess I’m ok with companies not releasing their commercials online until they’re in theatres.  BUT!

(There’s always a big “but.”)

The marketing gurus at WB did fans a disservice last night as everyone got in a frenzy to jump through geurilla marketing hoops only to be told….wait ’til Sunday.  Granted a few thousand got to see the trailer and a handful of lucky people won the actual film reel of the trailer, but the truth is, there were thousands more people who were online, getting clues and racking their brains attempting to unlock the online secret only to get another advertisement.  I’m not gonna whine too much, (there’s plenty of that going on)but it wouldn’t have hurt them at all to have things come to fruition late Thursday night and go ahead and post the trailer. 

So, I guess that’s it.  Nothing to see here, move along.  Move along.  (Star Wars reference)