The Nolan/Batman/Baroness/Moorcock Week

Its been a while since my last blog post, and in the time I attempted to write a few blogs but for one reason or another I abandoned all of them. I’ll try keep up this blog writing a bit more frequently, if only to document for my own sake the music, films or books that I’m into at whatever time, so I can keep track of whatever little obsessions and interests come my way. Its hard to remember what happens week to week sometimes so I think a blog such as this could be useful.

This is the week of Christopher Nolan’s latest addition to his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises and right now I’m in the middle of getting really amped up for the film screening, which I’ll be seeing this Sunday. It will be my first feature film viewing in IMAX and that alone is enough to get me pretty damn excited, seeing as Nolan apparently shot a good hour of the film in the 70mm format. There’s other reasons I’m unreasonably excited for the film, for one, Christopher Nolan is a modern cinematic genius, who favours storytelling and character development over action and CGI/technological gimmicks. He still shoots in film and 70mm IMAX is his preferred format so shoots in this where possible. For action scenes he shoots using non-CGI techniques where possible, only resorting to computer imagery when an effect absolutely can’t be achieved in camera. He’s bringing back huge crowd scenes with thousands of extras, rather then relying on image manipulation to create large crowd scenes. I’m looking forward in particular to seeing these large crowd scenes, such as the destruction of the stadium already seen in trailers of Dark Knight Rises on the big screen, which I believe contains something like 11,000 extras. He has knack for keeping audiences on their feet with clever twists and turns, and frequently delivers satisfying surprise endings. Finally, he has a really strong track record. None of his films made in the last fifteen years suck, and more than a few are already classics, Memento and The Dark Knight probably being the most acclaimed, yet Inception, The Prestige, Batman Begins and Insomnia being great in their own right. I have no doubt that the final of his trilogy will be a great cinematic yarn, and while it’ll be a tough task to live up to the hype and expectation leading up to the film’s release, we can at least count on it being a better conclusion to this Batman series then what Batman & Robin was to the last loosely connected quadrilogy of films.

Not the right logo but ehh.. its still the best

Oh yeah, and Batman rules. Way more then any other superhero. So if I’m gonna get excited for any franchise film, it’ll be this one.

I’ll deliver my thoughts or give some form of a ramble on the first early next week. Right now I’m gonna get prepared by re-watching Nolan films. Last night was my first watch of Insomnia, which was a dark psychological thriller with more in common with Memento than his later work. Al Pacino gave a great performance as a well-meaning yet troubled detective whose control over a murder case in a small Alaska town where the sun never sets slips away from him, due in part to sleep deprivation and also in part to his increasingly crooked ways. That’s a plot summary without giving much away if you haven’t seen it, but its an original and entertaining crime/mystery/thriller, if a little on the melancholy side (not that films such as this should be cheery). The film’s strong performances and satisfying ending make the dark journey worthwhile.

The night before that I rewatched The Dark Knight for the first time since when I originally saw it in theatres. It seems certain to me that this is a great film, now that I can watch it distant from the films initial hype and the circumstances surrounding Heath Ledger’s tragic death. Ledger’s performance as the Joker is great for completely different reasons than Nicholson’s in the ’89 Batman. I enjoy both takes on the villain for their own individual reasons. The script is damn awesome, with its only faults being the sheer amount  plot crammed into it, especially the first half, which can get a little clustered with separate conversations and events. But this all leads towards several great action scenes and a gripping climax. I love how Nolan manages to incorporate such iconic Batman elements, such as Batman defeating the Joker by dangling him over some sort of ledge, something I remember from the cartoons and possibly also the Burton Batman (need to rewatch that) into his modern day, ‘realistic’ Batman world. I found Harvey Dent’s eventual progress into Two Face far more successful than what I remember upon initially viewing. [SPOILERS] My memories had me believe that Dent died soon after getting his face burnt and way not allowed to truly develop into Two Face. But I was wrong, he is Two Face for nearly the films whole last act, and it is between him and Batman that the films final climax is played out. We then end on a cliffhanger that seems to suggest a third Nolan Batman film was always in the works, although I read some where that he had to to be convinced to make a third. Who knows. I’ll continue to watch the rest of Nolan’s films, with Batman Begins tonight and maybe Memento or his debut Following after that. Might talk a bit about them in a future blog (but Dark Knight Rises first).

Its been a good week for music and literature for me, as well as film. Apart from getting obsessed with Batman and Christopher Nolan films, I’ve also been listening to the new Baroness album, Yellow and Green which is streaming online at the moment. Check it out here: It’s totally awesome, and while a lot less metal and a lot more rock and indie than their last few albums, that doesn’t put me off. I appreciate them experimenting and going in different directions, and although I’m yet to decide if I like it as much or more than Blue Record, its managed to keep me riveted through two whole listens so that’s got to say something. Track Four on the first disc, Little Things is a highlight, as is Track Six on the second, Psalms Alive, both of which have a shitload more indie in them than hard rock. There’s dance beats, attractive melodies, tight drums. I’m loving all of it.

I’m also reading a fiction book for the first time in years, that being Michael Moorcock’s Behold The Man. Shout out to my mate Ben for lending this to me. I don’t often find much fictional literature that I can get into, but this science fiction tale about a man who travels back in time to the time of Christ to witness the crucifixion has got me gripped. Its short, which might be part of the reason. Its also really interesting, kind of disturbing, depressing, but pretty dang original. I’m half-way through, and might write some more on it when its finished.

Also just recently I took a trip back down to my homeland of Dunedin (I’m currently living in the A-U-K) where I caught up with family, friends and the cold climate of that beautiful town. I also went on a bit of an adventure up to Queenstown with my mum, her partner, his son, my brother and his misses. We went Skiing, and although I was the most novice, completely bailing into a mound of snow and backflipping upon my first attempt on the learners slope, I soon got the hang of things and completed several of the Cadrona green runs. Was fucking fun times. Also heres me bungy-jumping:

South Island for the win!

Till next time mother fuckers.


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