Tag Archives: Gary Oldman

The Set of 400: #6 – My Favorite Magic Trick

Today! Because sometimes you turn to a man you don’t fully understand –

The Dark Knight (2008)

Directed by Christopher Nolan (x4)

Starring Christian Bale (x2), Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman (x5), Michael Caine (x7), Morgan Freeman (x5), Eric Roberts, Melinda McGraw, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Jai White, Tiny Lister (x3), William Fichter, Cillian Murphy (x3), David Dastmalchian, Ron Dean (x2), Chin Han, Nestor Carbonell (x2), Monique Gabriela Curnen, Keith Kupferer

If you had told me after Batman Begins that the Christopher Nolan films would eclipse the Burton ones in my personal evaluation, I would’ve said you’d gone goofy (because that’s an actual phrase I’m likely to use, rest assured). But this quickly became my prime example of the first movie in a series functioning more as a prequel than an original film. To even classify The Dark Knight as a sequel would mean to ascribe more qualities and value to Begins than it deserves. I know some people love it, and it’s fine, I guess, but only once The Dark Knight burst into existence. Otherwise, it’s just sort of sepia douchebaggery and table setting and Katie Holmes.

Meh

But the stars also aligned just right for Dark Knight in a lot of personal respects, too. As I’ve frequently mentioned, I moved to Chicago in June of 2008, and we’d just begun our first box office pool (I had Iron Man, which opened to kick off May), so movies were very much at the forefront of everything that year. It didn’t hurt that it was an extraordinarily big summer for films – what with Indiana Jones 4, the beginning of the MCU, Wall-E, Tropic Thunder, The Incredible Hulk, and the first Joker feature in nearly thirty years (plus, er, Speed Racer). But above all else – The Dark Knight is the most Chicago of movies, with virtually every outdoor scene filmed here in the big town. While they avoid showing the full skyline, or the Wrigley building, it’s so obviously Chicago as to be impossible to hide. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #139 – My Favorite Reckoning

Today! Because I was his friend. And it will be a very long time before someone inspires us the way he did. I believed in Harvey Dent –

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Directed by Christopher Nolan (x2)

Starring Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman (x4), Michael Caine (x5), Morgan Freeman (x2), Marion Cotillard, Matthew Modine, Ben Mendelsohn, Aidan Gillen, Liam Neeson (x3), Juno Temple, William Devane (x2), Cillian Murphy, Tom Conti, Alon Aboutboul, Nestor Carbonell, Thomas Lennon (x4), Joey King

I think it’s safe to say that, even with The Avengers that summer, The Dark Knight Rises was the most anticipated movie of 2012. Just go by the sheer numbers – there had never been a sequel to a movie that grossed as much as The Dark Knight at that point, so financially, expectations were all over the place. TDK had more than doubled Batman Begins at the box office, but upon Heath Ledger’s death whatever had been planned for TDKR went out the window. It was like season three of The Sopranos – everyone was excited to see where it would go, even if the original gameplan had to be scrapped on the fly. The first trailers were cool, and like TDK they premiered the opening IMAX sequences months early, before…Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol maybe? Something in the winter of 2011. And it was awesome, with all its “Tell me about Bane! Why does he where the mask?” coming from the man who would be Littlefinger.

Bad judge of the opposition!

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #256 – My Favorite Multipass

Today! Because I don’t want one position, I want all positions!

The Fifth Element (1997)

Directed by Luc Besson

Starring Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman (x3), Chris Tucker, Ian Holm (x2), Luke Perry, Tiny Lister, Brion James, Lee Evans, John Neville, Charlie Creed-Miles, John Bluthal, Maiwenn

Luc Besson’s follow-up to The Professional, The Fifth Element is a crazy cartoon of a movie. A wildly twisted sci-fi film, but I think it’s safe to say this movie is more a comedy than anything else, right? Like, with all the effects (so many effects!) and weird aliens and shooting and explosions, what do you really take away from this film? Ruby Rhod’s crazy cylindrical hairdo! How Gary Oldman’s Zorg’s head would sort of…leak black stuff? Former wrestler Tiny Lister playing the president! “Multipass!” It’s all pretty bonkers.

One of the five best sci-fi hairdos ever?

And it’s just terrifically entertaining. The fact that for decades the only significant English language films Besson made were The Fifth Element and The Professional (which share very few similarities, besides some light moments and Oldman) is pretty astounding. Besson would more recently make Lucy (a decent if forgettable hit) and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (a colossal misfire, apparently aimed at the sect of the population who thought the Star Wars prequels were awesome [and shut up, I only like The Phantom Menace!]), but that’s about it, directing-wise. But what a great start! Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #350 – My Favorite Razor Licking

Today! Because I have crossed oceans of time to find you –

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Starring Gary Oldman (x2), Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Cary Elwes (x3), Richard E. Grant, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits, Monica Bellucci, Billy Campbell

As I think I’ve mentioned before, 1992 was basically the year I realized good movies existed. I enjoyed movies before then – and some turned out to remain decent afterward – but for whatever reason, I turn 13 and all of a sudden I’m looking for a different level of quality and artistic merit in my entertainments. All this after Batman Returns, though, so let’s keep my 1992 in perspective. I still didn’t really know what good was, I just now had a more serious pursuit of it. And one of the movies that had a definite impact on this quest was Coppola’s wildly over-directed Dracula.

Without much risk, I can definitively state that this was Coppola’s last even remotely good movie. Not that he’s been cranking them out – only five true features over the last 27 years – but it was as though this film took every last thing out of him. And it’s all on the screen – the frenetic editing, the sheets of blood, Anthony Hopkins going completely ape-shit, Keanu Reeves acting – it’s mayhem. Artistic mayhem, sure, but still so chaotic that just imagine if this was your whole exposure to the Dracula character. Like, no Bela Lugosi, no Christopher Lee, just this – how would this character have ever become popular? He’s this age-swapping, hyper-passionate monster who can’t pick a hairdo and go with it?

Seriously, what the hell was this about?

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Movies

The Set of 400: #357 – My Favorite Conspiracy Theory

Today! Because it’s a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma –

JFK (1991)

Directed by Oliver Stone

Starring Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones (x2), Joe Pesci, Kevin Bacon (x2), Gary Oldman, Laurie Metcalf, Sissy Spacek, Jack Lemmon, Donald Sutherland (x2), Walter Matthau, Ed Asner, John Candy (x2), Sally Kirkland, Vincent D’Onofrio (x2), John Larroquette, Ron Rifkin, Bob Gunton, Michael Rooker, Jay O. Sanders, Brian Doyle-Murray, Wayne Knight, Beata Pozniak, Gary Grubbs, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Frank Whaley

Like most eighth graders, I had a big JFK assassination phase. It was probably prompted by this movie, but there also was a lot of new press swirling around the event at the time of movie’s release, so maybe a combination of the two. Figure, even though the movie very directly covers the trial of Clay Shaw, it also proposes a lot of theories regarding the assassination that maybe hadn’t been widely disseminated, or widely considered, before then. So the press around it was crazy, and 12-year-old Joe got sucked in. I distinctly remember prowling Holy Rosary’s dinky library trying to uncover all the details I could find, in encyclopedias, mostly (shoutout to my long closed middle school!). Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Movies