Posts Tagged ‘Michael Keaton’
Monday, July 11th, 2022
“It’s the so-called normal guys who always let you down. Sickos never scare me. At least they’re committed.” —Selina Kyle
“He had graduated to a point where he wanted to make movies that are his movies. And this is one hundred percent Tim’s movie.” —BATMAN RETURNS producer Denise DeNovi
On June 19, 1992 we got a blockbuster super hero movie unlike we’d seen before or have since. Since Tim Burton’s BATMAN RETURNS was about as much of a sure thing hit as a studio could ever have, and because the director had been unsure about doing another one, Warner Brothers left him alone to do what he wanted. So it’s a rare combination: an expensive summer blockbuster based on pop culture icons, but also an odd, personal film by an earnest visualist director without much interest in crowdpleasing spectacle. Okay, maybe that describes 1990’s DICK TRACY also, but this is DICK TRACY’s much freakier second cousin. As the first sequel to the movie that made comic book adaptations a hot commodity it was in a unique position to make up most of its own rules about what a super hero sequel is supposed to be, and it wasn’t timid about it.
I’ve written before about my love for the era of comic book movies that started with BATMAN and ended around BLADE or X-MEN. Since the medium that inspired them was still considered nerd shit, since digital FX were in their infancy, since most of them never worried about setting up a sequel let alone a cinematic universe, and since most were heavily influenced by what Tim Burton had done in BATMAN, the genre was very different from what it is today. There was far less literal fidelity to the source material (for good and bad), and relatively few attempts to depict extravagant super powers and creatures, meaning less falling back on visual effects sequences. Some tried to reimagine a pulpy past (THE ROCKETEER, THE SHADOW, THE PHANTOM, DICK TRACY), while the ones trying to be new and contemporary often celebrated colorful outsiders and weirdos (THE CROW, THE MASK, BARB WIRE, TANK GIRL, X-MEN). And I think my favorite thing about them is that they didn’t usually take place in “the real world.” They depended on a stylized look with big sets on sound stages, matte paintings and miniatures to create their own heightened reality. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Anthony De Longis, Christmas, Christopher Walken, Cristi Conaway, Daniel Waters, Danny DeVito, Danny Elfman, DC Comics, Denise DeNovi, Diane Salinger, great sequels, Jan Hooks, Joan Giammarco, Michael Gough, Michael Keaton, Michael Murphy, Michelle Pfeiffer, Pat Hingle, Paul Reubens, Sam Hamm, Steve Witting, Tim Burton, weird sequels, Wesley Strick
Posted in Reviews | 111 Comments »
Thursday, September 23rd, 2021
I don’t know if Maggie Q thinks of herself as an action star. She’s a good actress, and in recent years she’s been in horror movies and thrillers and on Designated Survivor, and she has a new sitcom coming soon. Maybe one of her best known roles was the title character in Nikita, where I assume she kicked a multitude of asses every week, but it’s not like anybody puts the original TV Nikita Peta Wilson or the original movie Nikita Anne Parillaud or the second movie version Bridget Fonda in a category with Jean-Claude Van Damme and those guys. They’re just actors without much association to the genre.
But I respect that Q specifically came out of Hong Kong martial arts films. She’s American, but as a young woman she worked as a model in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where she was discovered and trained by Jackie Chan. Some of her Hong Kong films were Benny Chan’s GEN-X COPS 2, Ching Siu Tung’s NAKED WEAPON and Daniel Lee’s Seagal-produced DRAGON SQUAD, before coming to Hollywood for cool supporting parts in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III and LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. She’s been in a bunch of stuff since then, including the DIVERGENT series. A lesser known one I thought she was cool in was PRIEST. But I kinda thought she’d moved on from that, so as an action fan I was so thrilled when I first saw the trailer for THE PROTÉGÉ and realized she not only had a legit starring role action vehicle, but one that was made to be released in theaters! And it really happened! I saw it in one!
This was a few weeks ago, many of the reviews I saw were negative, and it’s probly pretty much gone already, but it’s on VOD now and on disc soon. So I want to put in a good word for it. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Maggie Q, Martin Campbell, Michael Keaton, Richard Wenk, Robert Patrick, Samuel L. Jackson
Posted in Action, Reviews | 12 Comments »
Tuesday, May 4th, 2021
May 3, 1991
I’d never seen this one before, and from the title I always thought it was a thriller about police corruption. I guess I had only seen the tough guy poster on the DVD and blu-ray, and not the theatrical one that looks like SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE or something.
I think there is some subtle commentary about policing early in the movie, which I will go into, but for the most part it’s not about that. Instead this movie – which was only the fifth release from Disney’s not-for-kids label Hollywood Pictures – really is a fusion of the type of vibe of those two posters. It’s a gritty police/crime thriller about a cop whose partner gets killed, but in addition to going after the people he considers responsible, he and his wife take care of and then try to adopt the dead partner’s three adorable daughters. The amount of screen time and sincerity it puts into the second part is very unusual, so although this is in many ways not my type of movie, I respect its bold mix of genres. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Anthony LaPaglia, Benjamin Bratt, Heywood Gould, Kevin Conway, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Keaton, Rachel Ticotin, Renee Russo, Summer of 1991, Tony Plana, Vondie Curtis-Hall
Posted in Crime, Drama, Reviews | 20 Comments »
Friday, June 21st, 2019
Tim Burton’s BATMAN is a movie about a feeling – a feeling called Batman. It’s a lonely, broken, hanging out in a cave with the bats feeling. A sad about my dead parents but trying to be me feeling. A doing a bad job of passing for a normal person but fuck you I’m gonna dress and drive how I want and do what I want at night feeling. An okay it’s true that I am legitimately crazy and even sometimes hang upside down like a bat when I can’t sleep but does that have to mean I can’t have a girlfriend feeling. The feeling is evoked by shadowy alleys, towering gothic structures (thanks to brilliant production design by FULL METAL JACKET‘s Anton Furst), matte black metal and Danny Elfman’s low, murmuring horns that climb to the rooftops, step to the edge and spread their gargoyle wings in a thunderous explosion of marching drums and rococo instrumentation.
Man, that score. There aren’t many I like better than this one. It’s as eternal as the concept of Batman itself.
Now, just as we’re in a groove here – as Batman (in a place that looks sort of like the ’40s, sort of like the ’80s, sort of like a future that never happened) is terrifying muggers, chasing gangsters in fedoras, dodging old timey reporters with similar hats, sitting in his cave looking at scans of old newspaper articles on his computer that looks sturdier than a submarine, or out of costume hiding away in his big empty manor, stewing in a mood that’s black, blue and overcast – here comes this walking splatter of white, green and purple called The Joker. The nerve of this asshole to hold himself as a parallel to Batman! Sure, we understand the need for self expression, the rebellion against conformity, the back and forth between masking and glorying in his disfigurement. And yeah, he knows how to be a funny jerk. His arrogance can be kinda charming. “You look fine.” “I didn’t ask.” (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Danny Elfman, Jack Nicholson, Jon Peters, Kim Basinger, Michael Keaton, Peter MacDonald, Philip Tan, Summer of '89, Tim Burton
Posted in Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews | 54 Comments »
Thursday, December 7th, 2017
The trailers for AMERICAN ASSASSIN had me confused. Here is this mainstream, slick and expensive looking movie, Michael Keaton is in it, they’re advertising it before respectable movies. And then the plot is that a guy’s fiancee is killed in a terrorist attack, so he trains himself into a super-duper-badass warrior and master of covert ops and goes on a personal mission undercover into the terrorist cell to get revenge on the motherfuckers. That sounds exactly like a movie I would watch if it starred Scott Adkins or Jason Statham or The Rock or somebody. But this just stars some guy. Some actor.
Well it’s on video now so I had to find out the deal. Turns out the actor is Dylan O’Brien and additionally it turns out that Dylan O’Brien is the guy that starred in those movies THE MAZE RUNNER that somebody has probly watched at some point. Also it turns out that there is still a serious TV show based on TEEN WOLF and the show has Teen Wolf’s wacky buddy Stiles in it and Dylan O’Brien plays this Stiles. We are learning alot here today in my opinion. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: David Suchet, Dylan O'Brien, Michael Cuesta, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Scott Adkins, Taylor Kitsch, terrorism, Vic Armstrong, Vince Flynn
Posted in Action, Reviews | 21 Comments »
Tuesday, July 11th, 2017
I liked the Sam Raimi SPIDER-MAN movies (1, 3) and I liked the chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN that I saw, but this new SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is the first one to convince me that hey, I like Spider-Man. This is easily my favorite version.
Continuing the story of Peter Parker (Tom Holland, phone voice of Tom Hardy’s son in LOCKE) shortly after he got to fight with the Avengers in CAPTAIN AMERICA V. THE CIVIL WAR, this is an upbeat, funny slice of life in a previously unseen part of the Marvel Universe: the high schools.
Thanks to being discovered by Tony Stark (Saturday Night Live Season 11 cast member Robert Downey Jr.), Peter is now armed with a high tech costume and the prestige of being able to talk about “the Stark Internship,” but he’s still a dork. He gets made fun of even within his Academic Decathlon team (thanks alot Flash Thompson [Tony Revolori, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL]), his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) talks to him about Legos in front of cheerleaders, and he annoys the shit out of his Avengers pointman Happy (Jon Favreau, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET), who doesn’t return his way-too-many calls and texts about wanting a new mission. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bokeem Woodbine, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Jon Watts, Logan Marshall-Green, Marisa Tomei, Marvel Comics, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, Tony Revolori, Tyne Daly, Zendaya
Posted in Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews | 143 Comments »
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016
SPOTLIGHT is another one of the best picture nominees. I’d already seen it anyway. It doesn’t seem to me like signs are pointing to it as a potential winner, but it definitely feels like your traditional perfectly-good-movie-that-wins-best-picture-and-makes-you-resent-it. Unlike BIRDMAN or ARGO it is not about actors or Hollywood, except in the sense that it allows actors to shine in a big cast with mouthfuls of dialogue. But the appeal is they get to portray professionalism, a courageous Fight Against the System, and a true story about a heavy topic: the massive cover-up of child sexual abuse among Catholic clergy.
It’s an ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN type deal. The Boston Globe‘s “Spotlight” team of reporters who do long-term investigative journalism sort of stumble across this thing, an old story that no one paid much attention to that has bigger implications. They talk to victims, look at records, connect the dots, do the math, and start to suspect that the atrocity is much bigger than anyone realized. If it’s 3% of priests, let’s see, how many priests are in Boston? And 3% of that is… HOLY SHIT, that’s too many molesters in my opinion.
They discover lawyers who were involved with settlements between the families and the church. The families were led to believe the church would punish the abusers and getting some money for the kid to live off of would be the best thing to do. Whoops. They just made them move and let them keep working. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Billy Crudup, Brian d'Arcy James, John Slattery, Josh Singer, journalism, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci, Tom McCarthy
Posted in Drama, Reviews | 40 Comments »
Friday, December 5th, 2014
BIRDMAN OR is an incredible movie on a technical and craft type level. It’s like a play, really. Mostly dialogue and centered around one building, but it’s also very cinematic because it’s photographed ROPE-style, as if the whole movie is one continuous shot. Of course it’s not, that’s all an illusion, and it’s not even supposed to mimic real time. Sometimes it will pull up to the sky and it will become day or night before it comes back down, or the events within the shot will make it clear that time has passed. One second they’re in a rehearsal for a play, the next there’s an entire audience there. Pretty tricky stuff pulled off with the genius of director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki, expanding on the long takes he did with Alfonso Cuaron in CHILDREN OF MEN and GRAVITY. The director/co-writer this time is their buddy Alejandro González Iñárritu (BABEL).
It’s the story of Hollywood actor Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton, JACKIE BROWN), who was a serious actor but became known mainly for playing a super hero in a trilogy of movies in the early ’90s. Now he’s trying to adapt a Raymond Carver story for the stage. He’s having all kinds of problems right before the first preview, while also dealing with emotional crises about his lagging fame, his perceived lack of respect as an artist, his failed marriage (Amy Ryan plays his ex-wife, still in his life), the crappy job he’s done as a father (Emma Stone plays his recovering junkie daughter/assistant, who is constantly annoyed with him and her job). So we, as the point of view of the camera, hover there and watch his rehearsals, his arguments, we fly through the labyrinthine back halls of the theater, into the dressing rooms, onto the scaffolding, onto the stage, outside into crowded Times Square. There is crying, fighting, fucking.
Meanwhile Riggan seems to be losing it, he occasionally hears the Beetlejuice-like voice of his movie character egging him on and finds that he can move objects with his mind and even fly. In fact we first meet him levitating in a yoga pose, but still managing to look pathetic in his slightly loose tighty whiteys and dingy theater-basement apartment that the narration tells us “smells like balls.”
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Amy Ryan, Andrea Riseborough, dog licking its balls, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Emmanuel Lubezki, legitimate theater, magic realism, Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis
Posted in Drama, Reviews | 28 Comments »
Sunday, February 16th, 2014
Many remakes, even good ones, remove or weaken the meaning or subtext of the originals. The classic example is Zack Snyder’s DAWN OF THE DEAD (by this same production company, Strike Entertainment), which is a fun action movie version of Romero’s masterpiece, but doesn’t have much time for the questions about our voluntary enslavement to consumerism and materialism. How do we keep our humanity in the face of this apocalypse? Did we have it in the first place? Who gives a shit. Zombies!
Another one is LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. A surprisingly good remake, in many ways more artful than the original, but with its last act tweaks and audience-pleasing ending it completely ditches the thing that makes Wes Craven’s version worth stomaching: its angry illustration of the dehumanizing effect that revenge has on those who commit it. According to the last scene of the remake fuck all that, sadistic revenge is funny and cool.
ROBOCOP 2014’s goals and tone are very different from Mr. Verhoeven’s 1987 classic, but it’s the rare remake that’s arguably even more directly political than the movie it’s based on. Most would say, and I agree, that Verhoeven’s (or really Neumeier and Miner’s) message about privatization and corporate greed is more powerful because of its hilarious bluntness. It was the sarcastic cop movie that Lee Iacoca and Ronald Reagan’s America was asking for, a movie where amoral corporate assholes run the police force for profit, turn a dead body into a cyborg cop, then unleash him to do high caliber battle with savage DEATH WISH style supercreeps and get mixed up in a feud within the company, reconnect with his old self and turn on them. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Abbie Cornish, Ed Neumeier, Gary Oldman, good remakes, Jackie Earle Haley, Jennifer Ehle, Joel Kinnaman, Jose Padilha, Joshua Zetumer, Michael K. Williams, Michael Keaton, Michael Miner, remakes, robots, Samuel L. Jackson
Posted in Action, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 91 Comments »
Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
Here’s a trailer for NEED FOR SPEED, a movie coming out next March, apparently based on some video game. They’re smart to make it look all serious and not use any hip hop on the trailer so less people will compare it to THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS.
Of course with that one TV show being so popular, everybody’s focusing on this being an attempt to use Aaron Paul as a leading man. But the reason I’m drawing your attention to this is because it’s from Scott Waugh, the co-director of ACT OF VALOR. He was a stuntman on many fine (SPARTAN, SPEED, LAST OF THE MOHICANS) and not-so-fine (BATMAN FOREVER, SPY HARD) movies. He worked on both BIKER BOYZ and TORQUE. Then he was second unit director, producer and editor of the documentaries STEP INTO LIQUID and DUST TO GLORY, which led him to the weird stunt/reality/fiction/military recruiting film combo of ACT OF VALOR. I hope he can carry through some of the qualities I liked in ACT OF VALOR, this time 100% free of any guilt of enjoying military propaganda. Of course he’s working with actors now, so he won’t have that interesting “this is a real interrogator guy demonstrating how he does his job” thing going, but I’m sure there will be some good stunts.
The script is by George and John Gatins (FLIGHT, REAL STEEL) and George Nolfi (OCEAN’S TWELVE, BOURNE ULTIMATUM, THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU). Michael Keaton is in the cast. My man “Professional” Shane Hurlbut is the cinematographer. Stunt coordinator is Lance Gilbert (TORQUE, STEALTH, VACANCY, PRIEST).
Tags: Michael Keaton, Scott Waugh, Shane Hurlbut
Posted in Blog Post (short for weblog) | 47 Comments »