Happy Birthday to one of the greatest actors of our time and Jersey boy Jack Nicholson! Nicholson grew up in Neptune City, New Jersey and attended Manasquan High School. Jack was voted class clown by the class of 1954 which seems even more comical when you think about how 35 years later he would become one of pop culture’s most famous clowns, The Clown Prince of Crime, THE JOKER! Sure Heath Ledger gave a one of a kind performance in The Dark Knight, but Jack revolutionized the role in 1989’s Batman. If you mix Jack’s performance in one of my favorite films of all time, The Shining, with his turn as The Joker, you will likely arrive at something very close to Heath Ledger’s approach to The Joker character. Thank you Jack for all the superb, over the top, and ridiculously entertaining performances throughout your career!
Adams was born in Denmark in 1879 and came to the United States at age four. His family moved to Perth Amboy, NJ where his father owned a bar. Sorensen was working as a salesman for a dye company when he discovered that the dyes he was selling had an ingredient that made people sneeze. Sorensen detected which additive created the effect and launched The Cachoo Sneezing Powder Company in Plainfield, NJ. In his Wikipedia entry, it actually claims that there was a “sneezing powder craze that swept the country.” Can you imagine walking around town and everyone is frantically snorting sneezing powder and sneezing like crazy everywhere you turn? That sounds gross. I wouldn’t walk out of the house without a motorcycle helmet on. I hate when people sneeze on me. What the f-ck is a “sneezing powder craze”? Was there actually a time when people thought getting sneezed on was so commonplace that they thought it was much weirder if they WEREN’T getting sneezed on? How did America end this craze is what I want to know. This is proof that Wikipedia is no Funk and Wagnalls.
I get a lot of crap from friends when I tell them that I take off of work for movie openings like Hulk and of course, The Dark Knight. For The Dark Knight premiere, I drove 1 hr. and 45 minutes down the Garden State Parkway to Atlantic City and got a comped hotel room so I can make a big event of it. And why not? I don’t really make a big deal about anything so THIS is a HUGE deal for me. Some people took off work to go see the NY Giants Victory parade in the city, but I think seeing The Dark Knight is quite possibly the biggest event in my life since the 1989 Batman film came out! So to all of those people who think I’m crazy for doing these things, let me just say that I doubt I’m the only one. If you’re going to make a big deal about something, let it be this film.
What a hero is. A Hero isn’t infallible. Those in the public eye that Gotham looks to such as Harvey Dent and Batman are always under public scrutiny. Even in attempting to do good for the overall well being of Gotham, they’re under a microscope. The way the film ended leaves a feeling of a very clean slate as if anything is possible in the Batman universe. Instead of the film ending with a “tip off” as to who the next villain will be, (as in Batman Begins w/Joker card) The Dark Knight ends by bringing Batman back into focus. The reason why he exists is always being questioned and justified. Bruce Wayne even questions at times if his battle against crime causes more problems than it does help the city. At the end of the film we witness “The Batman” as a character whom we’ve seen for almost 70 years, a vigilante. A person whose own demons were enough to spark his life’s crusade against crime but someone who evolves into a hero who cares deeply about the welfare of a city that seems to be overrun with over the top criminal masterminds.
What a treat it is to see a film in an Imax theater. The Imax scenes were downright amazing an immersed me right into the film. The action sequences were masterfully executed and I felt like I was actually in the SWAT team van with Harvey Dent during the chase scene. After having seen Batman Begins and Superman Returns both in Imax this film took the technology to the next level.
I had a felling that Gyllenhaal would play a better Rachel Dawes than Holmes did and I was right. Holmes played Dawes very stiff and bitter but I never understood why. No matter her motivation being career success or the prosperity of Gotham City, Gyllenhaal showed more signs of life in her scenes than Holmes did. Gyllenhaal actually flirts with Dent in the film which made me feel like she was more human. Holmes was too dull and boring. Dawes spiced things up a little bit. She played her part less morose and she didn’t show signs of some sort of internal struggle with herself like Holmes did. I appreciated that Gyllenhaal smiled frequently and she just evoked more positive emotions and normal vibes. I don’t agree with the casting of Holmes or Gyllenhaal since I picture Bruce Wayne falling for a hot piece of ass like Talia Al Ghul not a run of the mill average Maggie or Katie. The scene after Batman saves Rachel after a scary fall, she tells him “let’s never do this again.” The humor that followed up such an intense moment reminded me of when Batman (Keaton) said to Vicki Vale (Basinger) “you weigh a little more than 108.” It’s that humor that tickles your stomach after you just got out of a hairy situation.
The drama was simply gripping at times. There are a number of truly intense moments where I was on the edge of my seat and genuinely didn’t know what was going to happen. I think the triumph of the film lies with the details. The soundtrack by Hans Zimmer builds, takes cover, and then slowly creeps up again. The strategic points of silence during aftermaths of destruction and the subtle low repetitions of notes sunk my mind deeper into the drama. The cinematography is the best in any super hero film so far and probably any film I’ve seen this year. All of these fine nuances elevated The Dark Knight into a category of a “fine film.”
Along with all of the revolutionary aspects of this installment of Batman, it’s now made superhero films possible to exist as a quality film without a critic painfully admitting “good for a superhero film.” For the rest of your life you’ll never have to hear someone snicker when you tell them that The Dark Knight is your favorite film. Although they WILL still snicker if you tell them it’s Batman and Robin. I didn’t want the film to end. If Nolan had made a never ending batman film I would’ve sat in the theater for the rest of my life watching the many exploits of the Dark Knight unfold before my eyes.
**Getting to see the Watchmen trailer was enthralling. It only leads me to believe that DC IS actually on the right track with their superhero franchise. The DC universe, if utilized correctly, could stand up against Marvel any day. All WB needs is about 2 or 3 more directors as capable and inspired as Christopher Nolan and casts who work as harmoniously as the cast of the Batman franchise.