The Dark Knight Directed by: Christopher Nolan Written by: Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan (screenplay), Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer (story) and Bob Kane (characters) Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart and Gary Oldman
The Dark Knight changed the landscape of comic book movies by taking the super out of “super hero.” The caped crusader at its center is a man tasked with an evil so great, so uncompromisingly senseless and terrifying, that he must sacrifice his moral superiority in order to fight it.
To me, this is not only Christopher Nolan’s crowning achievement as a director (so far), but also one of the best summer blockbusters ever made. Just as Batman (Christian Bale) is brought toward the moral center, the movie’s heavy-handed post-9/11 politics and its gloriously conceived action sequences must also meet in the middle.
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I’m Not There Directed by: Todd Haynes Written by: Todd Haynes & Oren Moverman (screenplay) Starring: Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, and Richard Gere
Where to begin? Here is a movie with almost no beginning and no end, an interwoven tale about both the same person and six very different ones. It’s fitting that a movie about such a radical is filled with radical notions of its own, at least about filmmaking.
Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There is a visionary look into the life and ever-shifting personas of Bob Dylan. You don’t hear his name once during the two-and-a-half hour journey into his head, but at the end you get something you don’t usually get from biopics: a true understanding and examination of the subject. We don’t follow a single artist as they are discovered to have musical talent, inevitably become famous and then acquire famous people problems. All of these things happen in I’m Not There, but to different characters in different ways.
His upcoming role in Duncan Jones’ second film Source Code is just around the corner and sounds similar to a few too many movies we have seen before like the recent The Adjustment Bureau. With trust in Jones, who brilliantly crafted 2009’s Moon, the movie may be a big hit for Gyllenhaal following his series of duds like Brothers, Prince of Persia and Love and Other Drugs.
Gyllenhaal broke out after his role in October Sky, landing him a role as the iconic Donnie Darko. In his early years he played the mysterious, troubled boy in transition with subtle angst that defined his generation so well. Gyllenhaal has only had one real commercial hit with the doomsday dud The Day After Tomorrow, and instead has found himself success in mid-budget films that allow him to capitalize on his ability to be the desired lead or play on his boyish masculinity like Jarhead, Brokeback Mountain and Zodiac. With only really a decade of acting under his belt, Gyllenhaal has managed to star in a handful of great films.
Donnie Darko– It is easily Gyllenhaal’s most iconic and recognizable role of his career. The cult film was initially slated for direct-to-video before being picked up at the last minute. Even so, the film was a commercial flop until a few years later when it picked up on the DVD market; especially given Gyllenhaal began breaking out with bigger, more mainstream films. Darko is a great, small science fiction film with a twist ending mainstream audiences crave. Gyllenhaal begins all his career staples here, playing the troubled boy dealing with pressures of the world.
Instead of a “Scariest movies for Halloween” list, we decided to go with another semi-standard list for this time of year: the best psychotics. We aren’t limiting it to horror movies: it’s an even playing field for these murderers and madmen. Let their tricks treat for years to come. (Entries are placed in no particular order, but feel free to name ones you would’ve picked instead.)
Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs)– For three movies, no matter your opinion of the sequel and prequel, Anthony Hopkins held your gaze as the calm, collected cannibal. When you first see him, he stands raised as if he were honoring royalty entering the room, a maddening stillness and calm smirk across his face. He always appears collected, which makes the madness behind his motives all the more chilling.
Jack Torrance (The Shining)- One of many iconic roles for Jack Nicholson and one of many masterpieces for Stanley Kubrick, this villain stands at the center of a chilling send-up of the American family. Dad gets cabin fever and starts chasing mom and son around with an axe. Watching this character descend into madness after seeing him semi-normal is what makes him so effective.