The Dark Knight Changed the Way I Watched Movies

by Benjamin To | Originally published at BANDtogether

In the summer of 2008, there I was: A fresh-faced, 19-year-old pharmacy school dropout, a few months removed from stepping off the plane from humble Oregon and on to hopeful California soil. I had no direction of where I was going or knowledge of how to accomplish my lofty goals, but I knew I wanted one thing and one thing only: I wanted to be a part of cinema.

One of my first — and one of my favorite — jobs was when I worked as a film projectionist at a local movie theater. It was one of those summer jobs that lasted well beyond the summer. Even though the pay was trash and I hated some of my managers, I had access to free movies that were actually projected on 35mm film (which is on the verge of becoming an extinct format). I made sure to watch everything I could get my hands on from big budget action blockbusters to independently produced prestige dramas. Since I didn’t have the money to go to a traditional film school like USC or UCLA, the movie theater became my film school.

Everything that I have absorbed about appreciating and deconstructing cinema up to that point came to a climatic crescendo in the form of a tiny little art house flick called The Dark Knight, and it altered my perception of sights and sounds, forever.

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Everything Wrong with Christian Bale as Moses

by Dion Beary

I’m throwing a temper tantrum over this one. Christian Bale cannot play Moses. No. I know arguing against the whitewashing of a Biblical character is a lost cause, and wandering into any mainstream Christian church decked out with portraits of a blue-eyed Jesus Christ should indicate that the tide isn’t changing anytime soon, but I still find myself just a little more perturbed than average to see Batman play the savior of the Hebrews.

Maybe it’s because in recent years we’ve seen a new wave of white outrage against racebending traditionally white characters. Racebending refers to altering the canonical race of a character. Whitewashing is a type of racebending wherein non-white characters become white or are not included whatsoever. For simplicity’s sake, this piece will use the term whitewashing to refer to that absence of colored folks, while racebending will be used to refer to white characters becoming non-white. Those aren’t exact definitions, but hey, if Christian Bale can play Moses, then I can bend a couple of rules too.

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Feeling Nostalgic for Nolan’s Batman Begins

Unless you were living under a rock (or fell down a well and got trapped inside a cave) yesterday, you’re probably aware that Zack Snyder officially revealed the first look at Ben Affleck in the Batsuit. And of course, I — along with everyone else on the internet — went a little nuts over it. In my write up about the Batmobile/Batsuit reveal, I mentioned how it’s already a little more than ten years since the last time my anticipation for a Batman movie was at this kind of a fever pitch.

Coincidentally, the same day that Snyder tweeted out his Batmobile tease, Cinemax happened to be airing Batman Begins. It had been a while since I sat down with the movie, so I quickly got sucked in. An hour into it, I remembered I had a twitter feed.

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What’s Truly Outrageous about the Jem Movie

The glamour of being an adult female rocker. The glitter of Synergy’s earrings. The fashion era that embraced shoulder pads. The fame associated with traveling around the world. From what has been revealed by director Jon M. Chu and his recently announced cast, none of this will be a focus of the live-action Jem and the Holograms film.

Now that is truly outrageous, at least to me, who watched it during the 1980s and wrote an entire article about why you should love the cartoon classic.

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Superheroes and Their Oscars — DC Edition

File this under “Things You Didn’t Know You Needed.”

Since another Oscar season has come and gone, and since — once again — nary a superhero flick was even in consideration, I’m sharing my Superhero Oscar list with you.

For the last several years, I’ve been keeping a running tally of all of the Batman and Superman alumni who have either won or been nominated for an Academy Award. This all started in 2006 when Nicole Kidman handed George Clooney the statue for his supporting turn in Syriana, and I realized, “Hey, these two were in (admittedly crappy) Batman movies!”

So I did what any Batfan with an internet connection and access to IMDB would do, I compiled a comprehensive list of all the cinematic Bat-actors and their Oscars. And it’s a long one! Last summer, in advance of the release of Man of Steel, I created a similar list for the cinematic Superman alumni as well.

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Why Howl’s Moving Castle is Better in English

Yeah, I said it.

Look, like any good nerd, I normally prefer watching a foreign movie as it was originally intended. When Disney scours Hollywood for top-level talent to overdub their vast catalog of Studio Ghibli titles, I’m not their target audience. And unlike most Americans, I actually don’t mind reading my movies if subtitles are required.

But let me get back to my original point. Of all the Miyazaki movies that have been dubbed in English, I believe Howl’s Moving Castle is the only one that works. Before I get into that, though, I want to talk about what’s wrong with dubbing foreign movies in the first place.

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The Conversation We Should Not Have About Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

Gal GadotZack Snyder cast Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman for the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, thereby ending months of speculation about the possible portrayal of DC Comics’ oldest nod to feminist virtue and grrl power. Previously seen by American audiences in the recent Fast & Furious movies, Gal Gadot’s casting has been met with equal praise and derision. My initial response is hearty, heartfelt, and honest.

I told you so.

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Big Screen Batmans’ Best Movies Not Named Batman

When Warner Brothers announced that Ben Affleck was going to be the new Batman in the Man of Steel sequel, I had mixed feelings. Like Jenn said, I thought it was a very questionable casting choice considering his horrid display of acting chops in Pearl Harbor and Daredevil. Then again, I agreed with Keith that Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, and I think that he has been slowly gaining street cred since he won the Oscar for Argo.

Then I immediately became nostalgic and pictured every single actor who has ever played Batman on the big screen. While their memorable Batman roles came to mind, I also thought of other films they have done that I really liked. As a nostalgic nerd of the ‘80s and ‘90s, of course those roles popped into my head first. A prime example is Michael Keaton, the first actor to grace the big screen as Batman in Tim Burton’s films from 1989 and 1992, respectively.

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