thehefner: (Batman: I Am The Night)
First, Aaron Eckhart is "heartbroken" to learn that Nolan is definite on Harvey Dent being dead, and thus will not be in Dark Knight Rises. It's worth actually reading Eckhart's story of how he learned the news. I predict it'll launch a number of slash-fics.

For my part, I'm glad to hear it now than to hold out hope that maybe, maybe there'd be a surprise cameo in Arkham or in the twist ending or after the credits or in a deleted scene or maybe hell maybe in the fourth film yeah yeah maybe who knows *cries*. So, good to be spared that cycle.

Still, it's certainly put a crimp in my entire day. This is why I haven't actively thought about TDK for months. It just puts me in a frustrated, thinky mood for hours, going on with what I liked and what I wish wish wish they had done differently.

In related news [ profile] box_in_the_box posted the following, dubbing it the "Best Batman Theme EVER." It's a combination of the themes by Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, and Shirley Walker:

Oh my god. Okay, very mixed feelings here.

Whenever the theme went to Zimmer, I. Was. So. Bored. At least, I'm guessing the boring parts were Zimmer, because they were the parts that were neither Walker nor Elfman. Now, I didn't like Zimmer's theme in BB until I heard it used in the trailer for The Dark Knight, at which point I was like, "Okay, this is actually pretty badass, I like it now."

Here, it was swalled up by Elfman and Walker. Maybe it's just that the composer didn't effectively recreate the literally thirty seconds of good music from Zimmer's entire BB score, by which I mean the first thirty of this:

Those blaring horns and slamming beats are the only part that could have stood up to Elfman and Walker, and while it actually took me a couple listens to discover that the composer actually had included that part, he didn't successfully recreate the "grab you by the balls and PAY ATTENTION" urgency. I think that speaks more to Zimmer's production than composition skills, because without that factor, it really is a boring track.

Actually, I'm listening to that above Zimmer piece on its own, and I'm rather loving it. The best thing Zimmer can do with the soundtracks is give them a sense of urgency. But even this is two-dimensional compared to the sheer scope of Elfman and Walker's soundtracks.

And yet... maybe it's because of that that I actually felt gut-punched both times Shirley Walker's theme came in, and elevated the entire piece to greatness for those few seconds. Maybe it's sympathetic pregnancy (and dear god, I've wanted to kill somebody for chocolate on more than one occasion, so it well could be), but I was actually moved to tears when the Walker theme came on the second time. Amazing how hearing that theme over and over again in the most formative show of one's childhood can have that effect.

There's something so much more hopeful about that theme to counter Elfman's glorious darkness. Both are soaring statements about who Batman is. Zimmer's is more just what Batman does: just pure action, action, action, without introspection.

All in all, this was a fascinating and fascinating piece, one that was even moving in a couple occasions. I want him to do a second version down the line. Maybe a series. Hell, I'd love to hear him combine all three Joker themes. Ohhhh fuck yeah, do I wanna hear that. Screeching Hans Zimmer white noise of horrifying madness:

... giving way to a magnificent Elfman waltz...

... giving way to that whistling, happy, mischevious Walker theme (cue to 4:15)...

... and back again with little to no warning. Ohhh man, I gotta write to this guy and make a request.
thehefner: (Two-Face: How *YOU* Doin')
And in action figure news... )
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: They Tuk Er Jerbs!)
Once I saw the photograph* accompanying the A.V. Club's coverage of Comic Con, an unpleasant thought occurred to me, and I immediately sought verification by calling up [ profile] angrylemur, who actually is attending Nerd Prom.

I asked her, "How many Heath Ledger Jokers have you seen?"

Unflinchingly, and with a telling weariness, she replied, "Too many to count."

Yep, exactly as I feared.

Y'know, going to Ren Fest these past couple years, I've noticed that there always at least two Captain Jack Sparrows. Ren Fest peeps, you can verify this, can you not? How many do you see on any given day? How about season?

Now, I'm far from a Ren Fest purist, and while I love dressing up for photos and whatnot, I generally have little interest in outright cosplay. But it seems to me that the Captain Jack Sparrows (who also go to comic cons that way) and the Heath Ledger Jokers are cut from the same cloth: specifically, I mean "poseur douchebag with no sense of originality" cloth. I hear they sell it at Jo-Ann Fabrics now.

Seriously, how lame do you have to be to put so much time and effort in a Jack Sparrow or Heath Ledger Joker costume? Christ, people, show a little effort. But no, I fear we're just gonna be seeing more and more of these unimaginative, lame-o geeks in the coming years.

To a lesser extent, what's up with people who dress as Stormtroopers? Like, just regular ol' Stormtroopers, just like the same boring old Stormtroopers year in year out. What's the point? Aren't you trying to stand out and be cool?

I mean, look, Darth Vader's always gonna look awesome, but really, why would you want to be yet another plain ol' regular Darth Vader when instead you could be doing something like this:

title or description

Really. What's the point of being a geek if you're just going to be boring and vapid like everybody else? We could all learn a lesson from the awesomeness that is Hello Kitty Darth Vader.

God. And some people wonder why I dress up as Bill the Butcher at Ren Fest.** Christ, I should just take this as my cue to dress that way all the time. Just to provide some karmic balance.

*And really, what is up with that picture? Who's he trying to be: Griffin Dunne as Heath Ledger as the Joker?

**Well, aside from the fact that it makes me look AWESOME.
thehefner: (Joker: Why So Serious?)
With a heavy heart and a giddy smile, I bring you the third and final part of my mad little photo adventure with [ profile] mirthical.

And while I've been apologizing all week for what I'm about to post here, allow me to apologize one last time. I'm very, very sorry, ladies and gentlemen.

NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Hell, not safe for sanity.

But then, that'd be appropriate, wouldn't it? )
thehefner: (Joker: Why So Serious?)
Again, warning: several HUGE-ASS (or sizable, anyway) behind the cut!

By the way, it's worth noting that Bloo and I bought the smoking jacket together when I first visited her out in Chicago, but this is one of the only, the only times that you'd actually catch me wearing it. It's a little too on-the-nose everywhere else, but here, I think it strikes just the right chord.

Tee hee.

Loungin' Around the Ol' Ha-Hacienda! )
thehefner: (Joker: Classy Motherfucker)

Warning: an assload of photos behind the cut. But it's worth it.

Part One: A Merry Night on the Town )
thehefner: (Joker and Harley)
Ladies and gentlemen, to whet your appetites for what is to come, may I humbly present [ profile] mirthical and myself starring in SETTIN' THE WOODS ON FIRE: PRELUDE--

Lazing on a Sund--er, *Friday* Afternoon! )
thehefner: (Joker: Why So Serious?)
In hono(u)r of my Girlfriends in Canada, I would like to do my own Yankee part for Canada Day by directing you to's essay, 15 Reasons Why Canada is Better Than Your Country.

Secondly, as I was reading's review of WALL*E*, "Mr. Beaks" makes a very good observation about films in general:

The problem with anticipating a "masterpiece" is that even if the filmmaker delivers on such impossible promise, their vision will most likely prove divergent from yours. As a grown man who's not an idiot all day long, I've come to understand this. Still doesn't keep me from engaging in a multitude of "what ifs" when I see trailers for movies I'm insane over. This is why, for instance, it took me a few viewings of HEAT to get with its vacuum-sealed perfection; the Mann/De Niro/Pacino teaming was so monumental that I got caught up in what it "should be" rather than letting the picture simply be on its own terms. I did the same thing to BARTON FINK back in 1991, and, in the intervening years, it's gone from "good Coens" to "top-shelf Coens" in my estimation.

Of course, this has put me in mind of another film entirely, THE DARK KNIGHT.

Thoughts on hyperbole, expectations, and the Joker. Plus the brand new kick-ass poster for THE DARK KNIGHT! )

*Who, coincidentally, is similarly torn about the ending of WALL*E as I am! I don't care if it's commercially nonviable for a family movie, this generation's children seriously needs more life-scarring fare! We've tenderized them with the opening of FINDING NEMO, so really, the end of WALL*E really should have been the next logical step. You kids today need your own personal OLD YELLER, damn you!
thehefner: (Joker: Classy Motherfucker)
I just saw a box of Corn Pops or some such cereal proclaiming to include, as a prize, "Free DARK KNIGHT stickers!" For a movie that--by all accounts--is going to be a hard PG-13 (the Joker alone, not to mention what we might see for Two-Face, could scar children for life), this is kinda fucked up.

Really, if they're going to do that, they should just go all the way with the idea Bloo and I came up with not too long ago for a hot new breakfast cereal:

Heya kiddies! Tired of the same old boring, humorless breakfast?


Well fret no more, you little pencil-chewers! Start the most important meal of your day as if it's your last with JOKER-O'S: the breakfast the smiles back!

But what's that, Mom and Dad? Worried about stuffing your hyperactive brats with even more sugar-packed junk food based around questionable role models?

Don't be THAT parent!

Feed 'em Joker-O's instead, fortified with Smilex and Vitamin J, and watch as the pounds melt away! Literally! ALL of them! Best of all, Joker-O's stay crunchy even after you're dead!

Now I know what you're thinking: "But what does the box even look like? Where do I get this wonderful cereal?" Well, that's the gag: chances are, you've bought 'em already! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Joker-O's: Why so cereal?

Health benefits of Vitamin J have not yet recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration, but they will if they know what's good for 'em. Consumption of Joker-O's may not actually result in death, but whatever doesn't kill you makes you more interesting.
thehefner: (Joker: sigh!)
An observation on Heath Ledger's Joker.

Some people seem to think he's channeling Jack Nicholson, perhaps with bits of Mark Hamill thrown in (I'm a firm believer that Hamill's vocal performance is the greatest depiction of the Joker to date, whereas Jack Nicholson was dazzling to watch, but just as Jack, not the Joker). I disagree. I mean, perhaps subconsciously Ledger is, and to those who don't know any better, that's what they'll see. But I don't think he's channeling Jack.

He's channeling Brad Dourif.

Who? I hear many of you ask. In that way that I can hear your thoughts via the internet. I have that power, you know. Let me tick off four roles, with the certainty that you're familiar with at least one.

Billy Bibbit (the stuttering suicidal kid) from ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST

Chucky from the CHILD'S PLAY movies

Grima Wormtongue from LORD OF THE RINGS

Doc Cochran from DEADWOOD

I've heard it said that Brian Bolland, artist of the legendary* story "The Killing Joke," based his trend-setting depiction of the Joker, forever changing how the Joker is generally depicted, on Brad Dourif. I cannot find any solid proof to back up this rumor, but if it's untrue, it's easy to see why.

Here. Watch this.

This is one of my single favorite performances, ever. Just speaking personally, here, not objectively.

That's from EXORCIST III, a film that would have been superior to the original if it hadn't been raped by studio-mandated reshoots and horrid edits. I'd post more, but hey, I know only about three or four people watch videos I post anyway. And besides, if you haven't already seen EXORICIST III, do.

So that's what I see when I see Heath as the Joker, whether Heath is doing it intentionally or not. And frankly... that just might be exactly what this movie needs.

Cannot wait for July. Cannot wait.

*Legendary, yes, but increasingly problematic. Much as I love this story, The Killing Joke does have its flaws as time passes. If this could just be declared out of continuity, for one thing, we wouldn't have some of those problems, but alas.
thehefner: (Harvey Dent: I Believe In Harvey)
Snagged from [ profile] kali921, who snagged them from [ profile] alizzy, there are not one, not two, but seven new official viral marketing websites for BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT.

Never in my life have I seen such marketing for a film, not when we haven't even seen a single real trailer. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if there are Oscars for ad men, these guys deserve a sweep.

The Gotham Times, fleshed out with fully-written articles detailing a post-Batman Begins Gotham City (and a working phone number). (!!!!)

The Ha-Ha-Ha Times, the Joker's (brilliant, hilarious, and I'll add disturbing) version of the same paper, complete with mind games.

We Are The Answer, one of Harvey Dent's campaign sites, where you can tip him off about corrupt cops. Reading the testimonials... I can't speak for anyone else, but me? Oh, Harvey, you poor doomed bastard. And "WE" are the answer? Oh, Harvey.

Gotham National Bank, self-explanatory (something going on with the map...?)

Remembering Gina, for a girl who was killed in a Maroni*-headed gang war that ticks off Harvey something beautiful (according to The Gotham Times page 4 article).

Gotham City Police Department, where you learn that if you're a teen, you've now got a curfew, thanks to the Narrows madness.

Gotham City Rail, where you can (attempt to) adopt a bus stop (only to be told that re-construction is complicating things).

And there are more recruitment shenanigans with the Joker's's personality profile.

I haven't spend much time scouring over these sites, not even to actually read the Gotham Times, but I have to wonder just what hidden messages or easter eggs are littered around, if any. This stuff is heaven to the obsessive compulsive geeks.

It all certainly gives me encouragement as to the film, particularly Harvey. His focus here seems to be more on corrupt cops than purely gangsters, but that makes sense; the guy hates hypocrites.

At least, my version of him does, and that's the really odd thing about this: I started writing this (at the encouragement of Bloo) because while there were plenty of Two-Face stories, very few dealt with Harvey Dent. We felt his origin was easily one of the most fascinating things about this character, yet it was never fleshed out. Not to our satisfaction, anyway.

So it's weird seeing all this Harvey Dent stuff all of a sudden, making me feel like someone else is horning in on my virgin territory! At the same time, seeing all this is rather thrilling, and I just hope Nolan and company put as much work into the film as their ad men have.

Still, no Two-Face image. So far, all the news and attention has been on the Joker, everything about the Joker, and I've been concerned that Harvey will just be the second fiddle bad guy, just like BATMAN FOREVER (shudder).

And while I am very anxious to see how they're gonna handle the makeup (I understand they're even employing CGI in the scarring, presumably to accomplish effects that mere prostethics could not alone achieve), Bloo and I are rather one of mind regarding how we want Two-Face to be revealed. Namely, not until you actually see the film.

We live in a day and age where big movies have virtually no surprises. Images are leaked all the time, and studios have taken to leaking the big reveals themselves, figuring that if they're gonna get out there one way or another, they might as well take control as a marketing strategy. Right? That's my guess.

So here's what we're hoping: we don't want to see Two-Face in any publicity shots. We want all the attention and hype focused squarely on Joker, Joker, Joker, even all the way through as they watch the film. And when the acid hits and the big reveal happens, BAM! It's the movie's secret weapon, its sucker punch. It's the one you half-expect but still underestimate, if you see it coming at all. Because that's Harvey.

EDIT: Reading the Gotham Times articles on Harvey, I'm now increasingly concerned that they're making him an opportunistic politician rather than driven crimefighter. Shit. Every time they give me some encouragement, they give me something else to make me anxious.

Unless he really is genuinely good, but he's faced with a city that hates and distrusts him. Notice the indignant letter to the editor railing against Dent for smearing the "good name" of police officers like Arnold Flass.

But I'm still fearful. It'd be entirely too easy for a lazy screenwriter to think it'd be appropriate for him to be duplicitous and two-faced, har, har har. TWO-FACE DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY.

... on the other hand, this might work well in my novel. The mob realizes they can't scare or threaten Harvey, so they try to work public opinion against him. And this further grates at him, playing on Harvey's deep-seated love AND hatred for Gotham. Hmm. Yes, mayhaps.

*Another little reason I hate Jeph Loeb; he arbitrarily changed Vincent Moroni's name to Sal Maroni, which has since become the definitive take. Yeah, fuck that for my novel. He's Vincent MOroni. Even LJ spellcheck recognized "Moroni" over "Maroni."

But at least "The Boss" will be in the movie; this means that, in all likelihood, Harvey's origin will more or less unfold as canon, rather than at the hands of the Joker or something.

September 2012

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