04.December.2008 by Eric Ford-Holevinski
I'm not sure how I feel about this movie. As a movie -- just a movie -- I think it was good. The actors were all great, the plot grabbed me, the dialogue was lively. But it isn't just a movie, because the Frost/Nixon interviews were real, and anybody can watch the true videos, even on YouTube. We know what Nixon was really like. He is not an imaginary character, like Hamlet, who the actor creates. I did watch some of the real interviews online after seeing the movie, and as such, I didn't like Frank Langella's Nixon. I think the real Nixon was more mean-spirited, bitter, and nasty. Langella was too sympathetic; he portrayed a sad, insecure, even pathetic old man. I found myself liking his character more than I think anybody should. Even the real David Frost, in the original interviews, looked more calm, professional and restrained than the giddy, self-loving Frost of the movie. But that's Hollywood -- things have to get juiced up a bit. People must appear larger than life. Ironically, the most interesting and likeable character in the movie for me was Kevin Bacon as Nixon's chief of staff, the macho true believer. On top of that, watching a movie like this in a theater adds another context to the experience: that the obsessive Bush-haters like to think of Nixon and Bush as one and the same, and that every time Nixon said something sleazy, and every time Nixon was nailed for something, he became a Bush metaphor. It was as if people were living their Bush-impeachment fantasy through Nixon, and there were many annoying sniggers and smug remarks passing through the theater. It was an easy movie to sit through, but ultimately, not a particularly memorable one.
THE DARK KNIGHT
26.June.2008 by Eric Ford-Holevinski
This was the best movie I've ever seen. By early June, thanks to the awesome posters, the critics wetting themselves over Heath Ledger's Joker (my favorite comic book villain, by the way), and the exhilirating trailers, my expectations for this film were already in the stratosphere. I was somewhat concerned that the actual movie could never meet such astronomical expectations, but it did -- even without the aid of Danny Elfman's classic score.
Christian Bale was a total baller as usual. His pecs were bigger than Michael Keaton's ugly little head. He was the most believable Batman yet. The hawk-like nose, the strong jaw, the biceps -- Bale is 100% Batman!! From now on I will call him BatBale. I enjoyed his portrayal of the brooding but good-hearted Bruce Wayne, as well as his growling and prowling as the legendary superhero.
Although I was a little iffy on Heath Ledger at first (after A Knight's Tale, who wouldn't be?), but in this knight's tale -- the Dark Knight's tale, if you will -- Ledger is pure supervillain gold. This is not your grandfather's green-haired, silly Joker! The creators had to depart from the old formulas, especially since Jack Nicholson and Mark Hamill basically own the more traditional interpretation of the character, so this time Joker was deliciously sick, creepy, and... sexy. You heard me right: Ledger's Joker is the new Jack Skellington, a dark romantic antihero, soon to be on teenage girls' backpacks around the world. And Ledger blossomed in this role, showing to all the remaining haters what a talented and promising actor he really was before his tragic yet fascinating death. The executives at Warner Bros. are scratching their heads about how to solve the problem that the Joker -- in a plot twist that surprised even this grizzled viewer -- did not die in this movie. Now, I know it's too early to tell, but rumors suggest that Justin Timberlake has been tapped for part 3.
Chris Nolan and co. have concocted a hypnotic potion sure to cement this as the #1 hit of the year: a classic Batman yarn pitting the dark knight against his archnemesis, who targets not only Gotham but Batman's very reputation! The Joker's grand strategy is to reverse their roles and make Batman feel like the bad-guy. Brilliant and ground-breaking! As if that wasn't riveting enough, we got a sizzling love triangle between Wayne, Harvey Dent (who, newly deformed and calling himself Two-Face, ran screaming into the night at the end), and the gorgeous Maggie Gyllenhaal. Personally, I think BatBale is way cooler than Aaron Eckhart, whose name is eerily similar to that of a fat and crooked cop killed in the 1989 Batman. For the gadget lovers out there, there was a killer Batcycle with laser-guided rockets, magnetic Bat Boots that allowed the dark knight to scale walls, and even a Bat Boat for lovers of the old '60s show. Too cool!
In sum, this is the Batman movie everyone has been waiting for. It is the movie that chubby fans of the comic book who still live with their moms have lusted after ever since Burton and Schumacher nearly destroyed the franchise in the '90s. This is also the Batman movie for civilians who like movies but don't like comic books, don't know anything about the series, and didn't see Batman Begins. It's the movie for Heath Ledger stalkers who want to look at his face and pretend they know him personally. This is even the Batman movie for those middle-aged fans of the '60s Batman who haven't watched any subsequent iterations because they're afraid to see a less-than-perfect re-imagining of their beloved caped crusader. Because this is the perfect Batman movie.