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And everyone loses their minds

So now I've seen it twice and now I really think this is one is a creeper (and completely AWESOME!). This time around, because I knew what was going to happen, I could sit back and really enjoy the performances and the story that was crafted.

I talked about Heath already, but really, all the actors did a such a fine job--especially Aaron Eckhart. I think it was overlooked because the scenes are cut very quickly, so there's a couple of glances and looks from Harvey Dent and Lt./Comm. Gordon that I missed the first time around. Aaron is bound to be overlooked because of his role in this (he's not the one of rooftops or blowing stuff up), but he is the emotional backbone of the story. He takes us through this world and its his dialogue that resonates and relates to the people. He is every person that wants to be Batman and every other person that says they don't need him; he's the hero with a face, and essentially better than Batman. He follows the rules and is the order without hypocrisy, justice without violence. He is what Bruce Wayne wants and what Batman can never be. What The Joker does to Harvey, is the tragedy of this story (and that scene is still damn-near heartbreaking.)

In some of the interviews, Christopher Nolan said he wanted to have The Joker cut in like a shark and he completed this with flying colors. Right from the beginning there's this other story that's going on and it has nothing to do with The Joker, and its because of his arrival that everything gets completely out of control. The Joker "introduce[s] a little anarchy" and has this great comment about plans, and order, that really exposes how complicated things have been. In that same dialogue, he advocates for chaos and gives a really great argument for it--it's almost as if he's good guy and everyone else is a controlling, power hungry fiend (no doubt, a commentary on our government). I'm headed to another viewing (finally in IMAX) but from what I can see, Nolan has done everything he set out to do.


And here we go

I was right, I completely undersold The Dark Knight. It's a masterpiece, in which the narrative is told in beautiful frame after frame. The scenes are cut fast and the sequences packed with tension and detail, you have to stay locked in; you blink and you missed something.

The story comes at you--fast--wave after wave and you'll find it difficult to breathe, but that's the kind of suspense I've been begging for. It's mostly unpredicted, and when you know something's coming you're supposed to and that put me in an emotional state that was surprising. The dialogue is incredible, nearly every comment has a deeper meaning underneath it all, and I know I didn't catch all of it (thank the world for multiple screenings). There's a number of times where Batman is in one place, the action is in another and the villain is across town, laughing at them as they scramble and try to figure it all out. Sub-characters, like Alfred and Fox, keep you and Bruce just above insanity, too much of The Joker can be a real bad thing. But its The Joker that makes this film everything it is.

Heath Ledger's performance steals every frame. There's two points of dialogue that get you to the core and you understand him, who he is and why he exists. If you're going out to see Heath, he's not in this movie, he delivers such a powerful performance its unrecognizable. He's been replaced by a madman, posing questions to you that cut deep into your very nature. As he taunts his victims, it's like he's taunting you. Teasing you and seeing if you'll break, not for any material gain, but because he likes the sport. There's no logical process, but there's a plan and he's one step ahead of everyone else. I found myself leaning in every time The Joker appeared on screen, just to catch another one liner or sly comment on what everyone else's problem is. This isn't The Joker I knew from the comic, the face paint throws me off, but his psychology is familiar; this is the epic villain, comic book adaptations have been waiting for.

You can take this film on its surface, it lets you, but you wouldn't be accepting it for what it really is. It's an epic film because its universal and relatable, it asks big questions in short scenes. There's situations where you have to ask yourself, what would you do, and that answer may surprise (or frighten) you. It invites you to find things, perhaps you wish, you didn't know about yourself. (I did, and that's why I'm going again in 6 hours!)


Starting Tonight...

The day has arrived. At midnight, The Dark Knight hits theaters across the country and the nation will be re-introduced to Batman. And to be honest, for as much as I've done I still think I'm underselling it. All the people I've talked to and all the things I've said about the feature, I don't think I've found the words to appropriately discuss how powerful this is going to be. And not just for the comic book genre, that's an added bonus, but for the film industry. I've waited and waited for a time when content was king, in the summer again. The summer has become a series of popcorn movies; "fun", "amusing", and "entertaining" have been the words to describe them. And I've wanted "compelling", "powerful" and "compelling" to dominate the silver screen. Finally, that day has arrived and the Knight will be Dark.

An ensemble political thriller as much as it is a tale of revenge and derring-do, The Dark Knight is a wondrous, terrifying epic.

Film School Rejects
"What I will say is that The Dark Knight is easily the most well-crafted superhero movie that I have ever seen, one that transcends genre, on a scale that is as epic as they come and with performances that will shake you to your core."

"The great triumph of The Dark Knight is that it manages for the first time ever in the history of the genre to transplant comic book theatrics into the real world – and moreover, to examine precisely what it could mean if a person decided to strap on a super-suit and start attacking the world's criminals."

Rolling Stone
"The haunting and visionary Dark Knight soars on the wings of untamed imagination."


"An ambitious, full-bodied crime epic of gratifying scope and moral complexity, this is seriously brainy pop entertainment that satisfies every expectation raised by its hit predecessor and then some."


5 Reasons Why The Dark Knight Will Be A Revolution

In no particular order, below is my list of reasons why I have so much conviction for this upcoming film. All of it can be attributed to me being on set but there's something else about this one, something special. Based on my experience and what I knew of the film before the viral marketing, interviews, and trailers---the stuff I got while on "RFK" this is going to be a groundbreaking.

1. Heath Ledger

Clearly taken before his prime, Heath immersed himself in this role. I got a chance to see Heath in Chicago, during the mass panic scene in the trailer(s). Without giving too much away, The Joker is in that scene and as you may of guessed he's the reason for all the running and screaming. At the beginning, I'm standing at the corner watching the speech, and by the end, the Joker is awkwardly hiding behind the same lamp post. He had a number of poses and he tried a few things, attempting to hide--think Bugs Bunny outsmarting Elmer Fudd. During one of the breaks he was reported skipping through the street, whether or not that was part of the final cut, we'll see, but it "put a smile on [my] face". Just to clear the air, from what I saw, he was having a great time being something he was not... you know... acting.

2. Aaron Eckhart

Aaron is also in that scene and he seemed a bit "always in character", very focused, but there was those moments where he was taking pictures of surrounding buildings. It seemed like a tourist, like he's never been in Chicago before. He was talking to a few of the extras, production crew, and all-in-all enjoying himself. After each take, he was almost always with Christopher Nolan looking at the scene they just shot. Judging by his previous work, Aaron can be a convincing 'white knight' for the city of Gotham and he can play a very real Harvey Two Face like we've never seen on film.

3. Christian Bale

Already proven, Bale has provided the depth for the three main characters the film demands. The first role, is that of Bruce Wayne, billionaire playboy philanthropist which is merely a facade for the paparazzi to glaze over. The second role, is of Bruce Wayne again, but of another kind. Alfred's Bruce Wayne, Henri Ducard's apprentice, Rachel Dawes' love interest, the real Bruce Wayne--the one he can't show anyone else because it makes him vulnerable and human. And last, but certainly not least, is Batman. Bruce Wayne's outlet and means to deal with the death of his parents, the symbol he hopes that will inspire the citizens of Gotham. I have no doubt Bale getting back into that role is like riding a bike or getting in a familiar uniform. These three characters are going to be revisited and expanded upon, like only Bale can embody.

4. Christopher Nolan & Co.

The creative team that created the first are back again, with a new part to their story of Batman. The dark, grittier Gotham is a product of their imagination, the Tumbler, the suit, and the tone is of their creation. Goyer and Nolan each have a list of credibility in their own right, but together is unimaginable. Only with the world they've created can The Joker's true nature be envisioned. Sourcing material like The Dark Knight Returns, Hush, The Killing Joke, and The Long Halloween, will definitely provide a very different Batman than we've seen before Nolan took over. For them to sit down and craft the next chapter can only result in great things. To explore the ramifications of what one has created is a designer's dream. Added to context of a comic-book adaption is nothing short of brilliance.

5. Gotham/Chicago

The stage of a comic is difficult to find, the limitations of the real word prevent most images from transferring over. But the Chicago Film Office gave this creative team the freedom to do as they believed was possible. I was working late one evening, walking through the city, I was forced to take a detour from my normal route. LaSalle St. was blocked off and I knew filming was going on, so I asked what was the big scene. One of the familiar staging assistants said there was going to be an explosion, then he whispered to me they were going to flip a semi. As my eyes lit up, he reassured me. "Yeah, flip a semi, head over heels." This on top of shutting down CTA stations, sectioning off four blocks of Randolph, tapering off the Michigan Ave. bridge, and demolishing an abandon candy factory confirms they could do every image on their production still without CGI; the comic adaption would be real putting Chicago back in the limelight.


5 reasons why The Dark Knight will be epic.

1. Gotham’s Hero. Enter Batman: A city’s first son sets out to inspire the citizens to take their city back after the loss of his parents. Listen closely to the dialogue; hear what is being said to Bruce Wayne. His conversations with Henri Ducard shape the man that he is to become. When he talks to Alfred, the only person that knows who he truly is, he talks about what his intentions are and the symbol he wants to be. What separates Batman from everyone one else? [Bonus: Don't miss the conversation with Gordon at the end.]

2. The Escalation. Enter the Joker: A sadistic madman with a taste for the theatrical. Focus on the laugh and how sinister his promise is, as the symbol for Batman is destroyed. What must Batman escalate to, to stop a narcissistic sociopath like this?

3. The Villain. Pay close attention to how the Joker changes in just the trailer itself. From "only knives and lint" to a machine gun aggressor screaming "hit me". Easily the most telling of the trailers released, this is a sense of the board and the chess pieces. Can Batman keep his order or will he break his rules to save the city from chaos?

4. Gotham's White Knight. Enter Harvey Dent: The city’s advocate is out to purge the city of violence and corruption. Battling organized crime without breaking the law, the people of Gotham pit him against the terrorism that Batman employs to scare the mob. The citizens demand the identity of a vigilante to end the streak of escalated violence, but the new DA needs him to drag in those he can't touch. Can Harvey Dent defend Batman long enough to bring the Falcone crime family to justice?

5. The Darkest Hour. Let the games begin; Dent's systematic removal of violence, Batman's aggravated war on crime, and Joker's need for disorder force these three to collide on the streets of Gotham. How does Batman take on a man’s sick agenda to tear the world around him? Can Harvey Dent reign in a new corruption free city that no longer needs Batman? As flesh and blood, can be trusted to the throne of Gotham?

You couldn't be as excited as I am, but this thrill ride will ultimately be about a basic human condition. Underneath all the beautiful explosions is a question about the nature of man; are we more evil than good? Or does our conscious give us ability to choose what is right over what is wrong? And finally, do we have the strength to do what is needed, when the time to do so is upon us?


Batmap! & Batlinks!

As you can probably tell, I'm excited for The Dark Knight. I've got my little countdown here...

Today is the first official day of Dark Knight Week and all the Film sites are in a frenzy. Film School Reject's have posted their Guide to the Dark Knight, for a bit of background information. Think of it as the terrain Christopher Nolan has embarked on to make this film as epic as it should be. If you plan on venturing into Chicago for a viewing, may I suggest a little map--it's a guide through the streets of Chicago as depicted in Nolan's vision of Gotham. Another incentive to be at Navy Pier, the Tumbler and Batpod, they will be there at The Dark Knight Gala.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise, but I have 3 viewings already set and confirmed. Only one being in IMAX, which I have to heavily suggest. IMAX is the next generation format, its (a very large) open door to a world that the film provides. Especially with a film like this, the city of Gotham must surround you to get the bulk of the experience. Theaters will be playing for 72 hours straight, and I must stress many have been already sold out.

But to achieve the whole experience, you must get into the viral marketing campaign. I know many have tried to stay clear of this but I assure you, this is not just a cheap ploy. The clips add to bits and parts not explored on screen. They add additional plot points and fanfare to the the story that is about to unfold. The marketing team has kept consistency amongst all characters and provided more viewpoints on Harvey Dent, Batman and of course, the Joker. We've already heard the film is going to be "epic" but these little scenes let the film reach beyond the screen and into our world, making it something we all can be a part of. I'm sure most of you caught the 6 minute prologue (it's on the Batman Begins Blu-Ray too, in beautiful Hi-Def!) but the GCN has a "breaking news" story during an interview with Harvey Dent. Warner Bros. have done a great job in marketing. Be sure to check out all the TV spots/interviews/trailers at, stay industry current with Film School Rejects and /Films, and get the inside/unofficial scoop at The Dark Knight - Unofficial Blog.


Below is the list of all the viral marketing websites, all of which have been marked by the Joker:

ACME Security System
Betty's House Of Pies
Citizens For Batman
Concerned Citizens For A Better Gotham
Dana Worthington
Gina Tortericci
Gotham Cab Company
Gotham Cable News
Gotham City Clerk
Gotham City Pizzeria
Gotham City Rail
Gotham Election Board
Gotham Ferry System
Gotham National Bank
Gotham Police Department
Gotham Police Internal Affairs Department
Gotham Times
The Gotham Unified School District
Gotham Victims Advocate Foundation
Harvey Dent
Joseph Candoloro & Associates
Maiden Avenue Report
Kinsly Travel
Maroni Imports
Pasquale's Bistro
Rossi's Delicatessen
St. Swithuns Catholic Church
Trust Garcetti
We Are The Answer

And when you put the puzzle pieces together, you get to a special surprise by Warner Bros.

All of which, were reported to, have been sold within the hour.

F'N Up!

Just upped my videos for F'NMTV, I dropped off two this week. One for LL Cool J...

I'm kinda mean but not to Benny Boom, it's LL's fault. And one for Chris Daughtry...



"It's all... part of the plan."

I'm just spitballing here, but I think I might know what's up. All the dates/places have been covered on the Batmobile/Batpod Tour except the last two locations of the list posted by Film School Rejects. Those two locations are in Chicago and New York, the coordinates on the previous post.

We might get a live Bat(vehicle) appearance at these two locations. Especially, if it'll be broadcasting LIVE. Yeah, this is definitely going to be something special.

(Specifically Chicago)
Also note, that location is Wacker Drive. Pretty big for the movie already, there's so many clips have been taken from there, but there's also a scene where The Dark Knight is on the Sears Tower overlooking the view. Now, those coordinates (after you google map it) point to a park just northwest of the Sears Tower. So if you looked up at the Sears Tower, and Batman was still there, he'd be looking down at us.

That last part is a bit far-fetched but the excitement for this film has made me a bit crazy. Less than 6½ hours away, we'll find out soon...


Take A Stand!

Sometimes, you have to take a stand. You have to fight for respect. You have to let the entire world know you're here.

On July 8th, nobody will be able to ignore us. Gather at the above coordinates at the appointed time, and help us take a stand in support of Batman!

If you can't join us on the ground, we'll be providing a way for you to watch what goes down, live on this website.

Defend Gotham! Defend Batman!


The Surge is working

That's what they tell us about the war, but is it really? Are we truly in a better place than last year? I believe another surge is happening, working within our own borders. What difference a year makes. Last year, I commented on the idea that we (as a country) were heading in the wrong direction and needed to find the hero within us all. A part of me still feels this way, but to a lesser degree. Although most things have not changed, many things have.

This presidential election has developed into something worth watching; for the first time, I feel it is my obligation to vote. Four years ago, I felt the same need but in a different sense. Last election, I knew not enough individuals could swing the office. My vote would not count. On top of that, pulling an individual out of office during the early stages of war is not wise. If its soldiers do not trust the general immediately after the initial battle, it is the fault of the entire company--not just the commanding officer. This time around, a new chief is coming and we will inexplicably shape the next four year's of this country. We are asking to choose a leader and project the true image of this nation. This, in a nutshell, is the agenda of my post today.

America is and will always be a country in the hands of its citizens. By definition, in a democracy, government is a result of its people. When we consciously choose not to participate in government, we are then at the mercy of the people put into power. This country is a reflection of its people, and is always the sum of those that have spoken. The government's mentality may not coincide with yours or the people around you, but it resonates with more people that have chosen to voice their opinion. It is imperative that you voice yours, especially more so when yours differs from those that are in power. If you do not agree with how the government is representing you, and specifically you, then you need to take a stand. Your ballot card is the first and obvious example. You don't have to hold a rally to be a revolutionist, voicing your concerns with your fellow countrymen is enough.

You want to make this country a better place, speak. The heroes we long for are within us all. Our voices are the strength of this country.

Teaching America

To be regarded as good as those that have come before, one must be better than what we have seen. Last year's post, America is dead, was commenting on the state of affairs in this country. This year's "state of the union" address is going to be about how to move forward, where we go from here. In my own life, in order to move forward and stay on course, I always return to essence and origin. Questions like "how did I get here" and "why am I here", ultimately lead to "where do I go now?" So, how did this country get to where we are...

Well, to be frank, we've headed in this direction for quite sometime and its not a result of recent events. It is within the human condition to control our environments; businessmen sought out to control their environment and also, their capital gains--after all it is a capitalistic society. We wanted a smaller government and in that exchange, the government chose not to regulate health care, establish education and provide leadership. Communist and socialist societies were the first to establish universal health care, it does not allow for a doctor to make more money from his craft than another doctor, but it is overseen by a group or faction. Comparatively, a drug company can't charge more for a "better" drug but the government sets a higher standard to the drugs produced. Whether its good or bad, our the health care is regulated (in some small form) by the government. Here, in our democracy, they are regulated by the FDA, FCC and other such associations. But the problem with this system is, it asks for the absolute bare minimum. Don't kill the patient (or rather... client or consumer), and every other side effect is okay. "Above minimum", for drugs, is a bit scary to think about; but further more, for lawyers, educators and doctors its even more terrifying. For context, the lawyer you're paying to represent you in a case against your former doctor (who wanted just enough on his MCATs to get into Med School) for malpractice received a score high enough to pass the BAR exam. Like the majority of professionals in this country, they were looking to get enough to average standardized tests and achieve passing grades. What those mediocre teachers did not tell you in school, if you are better than everyone else you'll be heavily rewarded. Our education system does not reflect this, we're given grades and anything above an "E" is passing. This bare minimum system has shaped the way we (meaning together, whole, more than one) are.

So why get an A? This lesson is not taught until you plan on going to college, and not as severely as the rest of the world. If that's your course of action, then your performance matters enough to drive you criminally insane. [History Lesson/Sidebar: Hilter didn't have the "grades" to get into Art school and look how well he turned out.] "Oh, you want to get into the best schools, GREAT! How's your GPA? SAT? ACT?" So now, at the average age of 14, you're encouraged to change the way you've gone through academics your entire life, now you've got to motivate yourself to be the best--on your own. That's great and all, but a little too late. I mean, you've never had to do that before; and when you were the best, did you get anything for it? Not likely. The system is designed to separate those that can motivate themselves from those that cannot (the great American lesson), instead of motivating every student individually. What ever happened to encouraging students to do what they wanted to do? So what do you get, a high school diploma that says "you received (at least) the bare minimum? Thanks, but no thanks. The education system should encourage finding your passion and feeding that fire, instead of making you into a mark on a state score sheet.

To their credit, universities do have a personal statement portion of their application. That saves them, somewhat, from having to deal with hordes of bare minimum prospects (but then again, a focused two weeks could pump out a pretty good/coherent pile of bullshit if I really put my efforts to it.) The problem is, this is the first time we're asked what we want to do, academically. That's why the personal statement becomes the most difficult part of the entry, instead of the easiest.

"Wait, what do you mean? What do I want to do?"

So you see our mediocrity, as a nation, is a result of our education system. This may sound a bit communist, or socialist, but Russia is still expanding their transit system and building more public spaces. And the Japanese, well, they're driving their universally health-cared ass in 70+ mpg vehicles. Other than flying to the moon and being a "backward" country, do you know what else they have in common? A government that will pay students for going to school... if you can get into the university.


Just adding fuel to the (TDK) fire...

Going into this long weekend, I wanted to leave all of you with something particularly special. More than likely, the link won't last long so catch this if you absolutely can't resist the wait. It's the first 6 minutes of The Dark Knight, which was shown in (beautiful) IMAX. Enjoy if you must.

Play, if you must...

Told you it wouldn't last long... but here's another link. Don't expect this one to last long either.


Seriously... can't wait!

I'm completely immersed in Dark Knight Mania, and you should to. Below is a click to help you get there from IGN's First Look: The Dark Knight.


New TDK Poster!

I'm a man of my word...
This marketing team has done an incredible job. As if there was not enough hype already for the film after the first one, they keep releasing more and more stuff for me to post. 3 Trailers, 1 extended international, viral marketing websites, 8 TV spots, 5 promos... completely weaving our world with theirs. They've expanded this story beyond the screen already and the film has not even been release yet.

Another set of stars for The Dark Knight

I have no doubt this film is going to be perfect. Upon the release of this film, Christopher Nolan will have completed 3-year long journey to craft a story both relevant to our world and progressive to the comic. Comic adaptions up to this point all have been just that; adaptions, stories already told, told again. From being on set, to seeing the clips/stills and exclusive footage, after analyzing the world that has been created, I see all the pieces of the formula in place. Looking over their source material, I can only see a great film. Nolan and company have done their research and their methodology will produce a comic book film, instead of movie, like no other. Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk were steps in the right direction, but their villains lacked a certain something--something unrealistic. They belong only to the comic world, but The Joker is timeless because he has basic human flaws. Flaws that we can see in ourselves if we stared into the mirror a bit too long. Flaws that would unravel us after one bad day. Flaws that would drive us psychotic if given too much attention.

I'm calling it now...
It will be the first comic book adaption that receives an Oscar!

"I don't want to kill you..."
"You complete me."

The Dark Knight: The Unofficial Movie Blog
And everyone else... Kevin Smith, Rolling Stone Magazine... et cetera.