Dark Knight, The (2008) * Top Pick *

 

Same Rating as Hellboy 2 - yet 10 times more terrifying.
Same Rating as Hellboy 2 - yet 10 times more terrifying.

Genre: Action Crime Drama 

Starring: Heath Ledger (Brokeback MountainA Knight's Tale), Christian Bale (The MachinistThe Secret Agent)

Directed By: Christopher Nolan (MementoBatman Begins)

Overview: As Batman's plan to stop the Mafia's money laundering draws to a close, he discovers the mob still has one hell of a wild card up it's sleeve. Batman enlists the aid of Harvey Dent, the new District Attorney, to help find the Joker in the deck.

Don't believe the hype.

Create it.

It's official, The Dark Knight is breaking all sorts of world records for box office cash-ins and rightly so. With Heath Ledger taking the madness that is one of DC's favorite villains and making it his own, sprinkling in a wonderfully written and eloquent explanation to his morality, then tossing in the most frightening look he's ever had, I'm sure I'm not the only blogger out there giving Heath top billing. 

I suppose the greatest shame of all is how we'll never be able to look forward to Heath's particular brand of The Joker in sequel after chaotic sequel. He's gone the way of John Cazale, James Dean, and scores of other actors who's final performance could easily be called their best, and have been taken  in their prime.

I'll do you all a favour and refrain from praise or criticism that would even come remotely close to a spoiler, and add only that you should really make a point of seeing it on the IMAX screen. Given that 30 minutes of the film were shot in the ginormous format, you aren't doing yourself any favours missing the presentation the way it was meant to be seen.

Yeah, it's damned good and I'd see it again in theaters. I wonder... has Hollywood finally learned that the best thing they could do for a film is make it good? Oh wait, the last record breaker was Spiderman 3. Nevermind.

But you know, in the end, what did you expect. It's motherfucking Batman.

You couldn't break it if you tried... er...

And everyone say hello to the un-toppable new Joker
And everyone say hello to the un-toppable new Joker

Performance: 9 Cinematography: 9 Script: 9 Plot: 9 Mood: 10

Overall Rating: 92% (And A Long Dark Knight It Should Be)
Aftertaste:

Although I will take this opportunity to call bullshit on IMDB's user voting system, which places this film at the number one slot, far above and beyond The Godfather now dethroned from its years long top-of-the-heapness. I blame all the contextless little kiddies who only watch recent films. It's sad to think that a morality play with superheroes is the Internet's all time favorite movie in the world.

I've heard far too many people say they won't watch films that are older than they are - or ever worse "aren't Hollywood movies made since GCI the only ones worth seeing?"

Gah! Don't get me started.

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You need to see the IMDb 250 less as an accurate depiction of the best of the best and more as a general list of some really great movies that everyone should see. Doesn't really matter if Godfather is number 1 or number 10 - as long as it's on there.

 

That's why your 1001 films list is good - because it doesn't try to rate them from worst to best - it just lists a bunch of great film.

 

Don't get hung up on the number in front of the movie.


Excellent point mistergone! But in 3 years, what will have replaced the bottom ten of the top 250? I may not have the answer for you but I can tell you what they are as of July 27th, 2008, the bottom 10 of IMDb's top 250:

240.    Ace in the Hole (1951) 
241.    Eskiya (1996)
242.    In Cold Blood (1967)    7,734
243.    Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)    21,839
244.    Great Expectations (1946)    6,056
245.    Harold and Maude (1971)    20,359
246.    Shaun of the Dead (2004)    88,671
247.    Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
248.    Barry Lyndon (1975)
249.    Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
250.    Toy Story 2 (1999)

Not yet having seen most of these, I can't quite tell you how I'll mourn their bumping, but I know that Ace in The Hole is certainly one of my favorite Film Noirs of all time... I like the way you put it - ignore the number just enjoy the list.

That's why I can only really name my top 4 faves, then, they turn into a blur of just plain equally righteous. 


These have already been bumped out as of July 31. Clearly this is a fluid list that will soon only sport more recent films the more we advance in time with a new blockbuster knocking out an old classic. Why? Becuase people don't watch old classics...

grrr

241.    Eskiya (1996)
244.    Great Expectations (1946)  
249.    Howl's Moving Castle (2004)


It's true that those films got bumped, but it would have happened even if TDK was not #1. Same happens if it's #100 or #240. A film falls off the list. And in this case , 2 of the 3 films that fell off were less than 12 years old.

 

I grant that there's a propensity for IMDb users to be younger people and don't tend to watch old films - and that's wrong - but you can't blame them for the trend to add only new movies to the list.  Every weekend, we see 5-10 new movies released.  And there's a load of people running out to watch and then rate them. And every year we get a few that are "instant classics" that get added to the 250. They're not always gonna replace other recent films, so the 250 will always grow in favour of new films.

 

Still. I don't think the case is as dire as you suggest. Your concern is warranted, but loss of the classics isn't imminent. There are still lots of pre-1950 classics on the 250 that won't drop off the list for years to come.

 

One other thing. Classics are great, but they aren't exactly easily accessible.  Video stores keep a few, but you'd really have to make an effort to find them. Turner Classic Movies has been great for me - I've managed to see quite a few classics this year uncut and commercial-free - but most people won't bother sorting through the mediocre to see the greats when there are so many new movies to watch with easy access through blockbuster, Rogers on Demand, and the movie Channel.


People will only go as far as the drive of their passion leads them, it's true. Why go skiing in the Alps if you can just go to the Adirondacks? Because you know it's better there. Are you passionate enough to go out of your way to do that is the real question.  Some people don't care what movie they're watching, some go to the trouble of checking off a list 1000 titles long. Obvuiously I'm not the mainstream viewer.

Still, to say that classics aren't accessible in this age of accessibility, even when you don't include the resource that is the internet, and living in a town of a million...you, my friend, are going to the wrong video stores. Sadly some of it's still on videocasette, but with Criterion ever leading the charge, more and more is coming out newer and better than ever.

There's 3 video stores that I go to in Downtown Ottawa that has 90% of what I'm looking for, and none of them are the big box stores.


I finally got to see this and it was an enjoyable flick. I tend to be overly skeptical when such high praise is heaped on a particular actor or performance, but yeah, the Joker was very good. However, I tend to think this impression is enhanced by the wackness that was Bale. I thought he was forgettable except for when talking while in the Batman character, which was farcical.

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