Unlike the seasons that pass annually in nature thanks to the tilt of Earth's axis and its course through the solar system, awards season culminates in a climactic event that epitomizes nearly everything associated with the yearly handing out of statuettes and accolades. The 84th annual Academy Awards ceremony takes place this Sunday at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, where Billy Crystal will host the proceedings for the ninth time in a telecast produced by Brian Grazer.
With its famous traffic, ubiquitous smog, and abhorrent city planning, Los Angeles tends be a bit of a punching bag for the rest of the country, from the Midwest to New York City. While one could argue the cultural and aesthetic value of the city all day, it is without a doubt the premiere city in America for moviegoing. There are, of course upscale theaters like the Arclight or the Landmark, and there are unparalleled revival houses such as the New Beverly, the Aero, and the the Silent Movie Theater.
In addition to this embarrassment of riches, there's the cinematic programming at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Wilshire Boulevard. Film Independent, the very same non-profit organization that puts on the annual Independent Spirit Awards celebrating the best in independent film, has a year-round weekly film series curated by critical luminary and KCRW's The Treatment host Elvis Mitchell.
This morning you may have seen some images of an Incredible Hulk action figure or two from The Avengers. Those pictures came from the floor of Toy Fair in London, and now, the collectible expo has revealed some promotional artwork for products tying in to this summer's other superhero epic, The Dark Knight Rises.
The products in question are from DC Direct, which creates not missile-fired action figures for tots, but higher-end busts and the like for collectors. For the finale installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, DC Direct is manufacturing some new figures and busts based on Batman, Bane, and Catwoman, played respectively by Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, and Anne Hathaway.
"Hello, everyone. I'm Batman. You're probably familiar with my work brutalizing criminals as the subject of the very successful movies Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. As you no doubt guessed, I'm a pretty busy guy; between fighting the ever-rising tide of wrongdoing in Gotham City, running a bajillion-dollar company, and brooding over the murder of my parents, I hardly ever get a minute to relax with some bath salts, wine, and a good book. But I'm here today to tell you that I'm on the cover of a magazine! Also, my buddies at Warner Bros have released three new official stills from The Dark Knight Rises, the forthcoming sequel where some dude in a muzzle beats the hell out of me. Take a look, because you know you're jonesing for The Dark Knight Rises. My movies are just so damn good."
Synopsis: Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight Rises” is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar(R) winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane; Oscar(R) winner Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake. Returning to the main cast, Oscar(R) winner Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules”) plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar(R) winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) reprises the role of Lucius Fox. The screenplay is written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. The film is produced by Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven, who previously teamed on “Batman Begins” and the record-breaking blockbuster “The Dark Knight.” The executive producers are Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull, with Jordan Goldberg serving as co-producer. The film is based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by Bob Kane.
Anticipation for The Dark Knight Rises is such that within four days of the IMAX prologue debuting on just 42 North American screens and one day of the latest trailer showing up online, one persistent complaint already became something of a meme and a worry for Warner Bros. That one major complaint amongst all the ecstatic hyperbole was the difficulty in understanding dialogue from Batman's new nemesis, the muzzled and musclebound Bane, played by Tom Hardy. Franchise director Christopher Nolan declared that no major corrections to Bane's voice would be made, but it seems Warner Bros has issued a new audio mix for that six-minute IMAX prologue.
The anticipation and secrecy surrounding The Dark Knight Rises have turned Bat-fans into feral animals, fighting mercilessly over the slightest scrap of information regarding the final adventure of Christopher Nolan's growling Batman. This month, we've seen a new teaser poster, trailer, and an IMAX prologue that introduces the sequel's villain. Even with all that, no morsel is too small or vague not to obsessively parse for information. Because that's what the internet has been doing since about two seconds after The Dark Knight hit theaters in 2008, we shall continue to do so until July. Today, there's a bona-fide scene description that gives a sense of just how far down the rabbit hole Gotham goes this time around, while Anne Hathaway discusses this new take on Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman.
Okay, the first real, non-teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises premiered online yesterday, and new villain Bane, played by Tom Hardy, has one line in said trailer. He does considerably more talking in the Bane-centric prologue that preceded IMAX showings of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol at 42 North American locations starting last Friday.
While the hyperbole about the action in the prologue and the football-field-exploding trailer began pretty much immediately, complaints that Bane's speech is utterly incomprehensible caught on just as quickly. It was a recurring theme in reports from the IMAX prologue, but now that everybody and their grandmother has seen the Dark Knight Rises trailer, it's a huge topic of discussion. But guess what? Christopher Nolan doesn't intend to change Bane's voice in any substantial way.
Cutting right to the chase, the new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises is now online, and it is a doozy. The trailer premiered in theaters on Friday, when it was attached to prints of the new Warner Bros. sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and naturally, poor quality bootlegs started showing up almost immediately.
Now, though, the WB has put the whole thing online in official form, so you can revel in this well-constructed glimpse at Christopher Nolan's Bat-finale in crisp, clean high definition, just the way Nolan himself would prefer it. Besides seeing the few really huge moments here in as spiffy a format as possible, I imagine many fans will be parsing through the whole thing frame by frame for clues, in which case they can get started right now.