Derek Cianfrance's new movie, The Place Beyond the Pines, is a winding local epic about two generations of men failing at life in the rural-suburban sprawl of Schenectady, New York. Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and their screen sons are at the center of things, but there's another guy tucked into the story who steals every moment he can. His name is Ben Mendelsohn. You've seen him before. He's a That Guy.
The capper to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy drew mixed reviews during its theatrical run, so if the bad ones kept you away, now's your chance to form an opinion before its inevitable nomination for several technical Oscars and probably none for writing or acting.
Bane's (Tom Hardy) plot: too complicated? Bane's voice: too silly? Anne Hathaway's Catwoman: superior to Michelle Pfeiffer's? Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) using his Batman voice, when he's suited up, with Morgan Freeman's Fox, even though Fox totally knows who he is: still?! You'll be able to answer all these questions and more — and, best of all, you can pause it for bathroom breaks, and you will need to, because this thing is LONG.
Since Bill Simmons is gorging on crumpets, Chuck Klosterman guest hosts the B.S. Report and chats casually with Grantland writer Alex Pappademas. The conversation begins with an analysis of Robert Pattinson's wrecked romantic life and eventually touches on Jennifer Aniston, Total Recall, and the undocumented history of sports and culture in Gotham City.
Well, no. But let’s consider what we're dealing with here. If you were one of the $11.8 million's worth of people who saw Step Up Revolution this weekend, were you partaking — possibly unknowingly, while gleefully enjoying all those smooth moves — in some "protest art"? Was Step Up Revolution actually politically motivated?
The Dark Knight Rises' parallels to the Occupy Wall Street movement didn't raise eyebrows. Christopher Nolan's a serious dude, and his blockbuster superhero movies are supposed to get weighty and politicized. But when Step Up Revolution borrows from OWS, it's a bit more peculiar. For the most part, the topical shadings in the latest installment of the nation's reigning dance franchise — in which a dance crew fights a ruthless developer from bulldozing their ungentrified Miami neighborhood — were rejected by reviewers as toothless fluff. But at least one guy took the time to dive deeper into the film's politics. Writing over at conservative bulwark Breibart.com, critic Ezra Dulas says "advance reviews claimed the film's protagonists mirrored Occupy with their dance-protest routines against a rich hotel magnate, sending a shiver through the conservative grassroots ... Would this sequel be more aptly named in the style of its predecessor, Step Up 2: The Streets, as Step Up 4: The 99%?"
In Grantland City, a hero is unlikely to rise anytime soon. But a podcast? That we can do. Chris Ryan and I dug deep — like, secret-hellish-prison deep — into the summer’s smartest (and best?) blockbuster (1:30). Everything was on the table: Anne Hathaway’s old-Hollywood performance, the movie’s complicated politics, and the constantly changing nature of thin ice. The only disappointment? Chris didn’t unveil his Bane impression.
On Friday word came down that, out of respect for the victims of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, Warner Bros. would not release The Dark Knight Rises box office gross until after the weekend. Other Hollywood studios followed suit, as well as the box office tracker Rentrak and outlets like Hollywood.com and Boxoffice.com.
Yesterday, we pointed out that the imminent release of The Dark Knight Rises — now ahhhhh just hours away ahhhhhh from its first midnight showings — has been making some people crazy. First, there was Rush Limbaugh, claiming that Christopher Nolan was manipulating his blockbuster so as to ensure Mitt Romney's electoral defeat (the parallels between Batman bad guy Bane and Romney's old company Bain Capital were the primary sticking point). Second, there were the fanboys so angered by negative reviews of TDKR on Rotten Tomatoes that they'd threatened to beat one negative reviewer "into a coma" with a "thick rubber hose." These guys were so nuts they got commenting shut down on Rotten Tomatoes. So what the hell is going on here? Appropriately, someone has gone to the head arbiter of all things Dark Knight Rises — Chris Nolan himself — for answers.
Ahhhhh! The Dark Knight Rises is in theaters in less than 36 hours! So who's been driven the most insane by this impending supernova-esque event?
1. Rush Limbaugh
Continuing a long, proud tradition of saying crazy shit, Rush Limbaugh is now claiming that Bane, the TDKR villain played by Tom Hardy, is so named as a swipe at Mitt Romney. Limbaugh: "This movie, the audience is going to be huge, [a] lot of people are going to see the movie. And it's a lot of brain-dead people, entertainment, the pop culture crowd ... And they're going to hear 'Bane' in the movie, and they are going to associate Bain [Capital, Romney's contentious former company]. And the thought is that when they start paying attention to the campaign later in the year, and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, not Bain Capital, but Bain, Romney and Bain, that these people will think back to the Batman movie." Sure, but Bane is a character from the comics, and has been around since 1993, and so probably was not dreamed up by Christopher Nolan to take shots at Republicans. And, like, if Nolan really wanted to sway an electorate with the power of his movie magic, wouldn't he have just named his bad guy "Mitt Romney"? Then you'd have millions of "brain dead pop culture people" standing in a voting booth being all like, "Well, you know, I would vote for Mitt Romney, his fiscal policy is sound and his health care plan is much more logical than Obama's, but then again he tried to kill Batman."
The expectations couldn't be higher for Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight follow-up, The Dark Knight Rises (which hits theaters this weekend, for those of you living in ... I don't know, some kind of cave). Seeing as the Batman franchise has gone through some extreme ups and downs in the 70-odd years since first being adapted by Hollywood, we here at Grantland thought we'd offer a bit of perspective. Here are a few handpicked highlights (and lowlights):
Batman Dances, Batman (1966)
Jonah Keri: Batman walks into a groovy '60s bar. Gets propositioned by a seductress named Molly. Molly asks the Caped Crusader to dance. Batman sneaks in a light neg:
Silver: Since the French have been unwavering in their love and support for Woody Allen, it seems apropos that this overt Allen homage would come from a Frenchman. Well, to be specific, a Frenchwoman. And to be even more specific, a super-talented Frenchwoman named Julie Delpy. 2 Days in New York looks adorable and hilarious. Delpy has carved out a nice place for herself in the contemporary adult film space. She goes away for a while, people forget about her, and then she releases a new film and reminds everyone how talented a filmmaker she is. And good for Delpy for remembering that Chris Rock is also an actor. (Don’t believe me? See Nurse Betty.)
Dan Silver: As a kid I bought more Spider-Man comics than those of any other superhero. I attended the midnight screenings for both Spider-Man 1 and 2, and yet, outside of some lingering loyalty to the character and minor curiosity as to why this series needed another reboot, I have minimal interest in seeing The Amazing Spider-Man. The slew of previously released teasers and trailers have been inconsistent in their agenda — here’s a dark and brooding one, here’s a teen angsty one, here’s a playful one — and this latest installment does little to excite, clarify, justify, or dissuade any doubt about the film. For me, this 2:35 played like an old toy ad from the '80s. But instead of toys and kids, this trailer serves us video game-looking CGI action and glimpses of Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield, Sally Field, and Denis Leary. If the goal was to reinvigorate the Spider-Man franchise, why couldn’t/didn’t Marvel opt to place him in The Avengers? Tease audiences with some kick-ass web-slinger action, and leave them wanting more, then hit them with the stand-alone film (or unnecessary reboot)? This strategy seems to be working for the Hulk. (Note: I know Marvel wasn’t the only one at fault here. Sony has as much to do with this film as any party involved.)
Chris Ryan and I tried assembling the Avengers this week, but only Tigra and Dr. Druid showed up. So we left them cooling in the Quinjet and had a (spoiler-free!) conversation about The Avengers movie instead (1:20). From there, we segued into a discussion about this summer’s other upcoming blockbusters, The Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus (12:15) before circling back to our own personal tesseract, Sunday-night TV. We unpacked heavy hitters Game of Thrones (20:50) and Mad Men (29:35), as well as the newest candidate for space on your DVR, PBS’s Sherlock (40:10). To finish, we branched out into other, older media by talking up the new Japandroids album (42:00) and launching our new Double Down Summer Book Club (46:38) with a look at the work of George Pelecanos. It’s a guaranteed better time than reading back-issues of Hawkeye & Mockingbird in a Vermont cabin. We promise.
Usually by the time a third trailer for a big movie has been released, all relevant material has already seen the light of day and been thoroughly prodded, poked, and turned over by a nation of breathless fanatics. But you can rest assured that this new, third trailer for The Dark Knight Rises will unleash a whole new slew of deep-dive speculation.