Posts Tagged ‘Heath Ledger’

Memorable Summer Movies

May 10, 2012

Not too long ago, I wanted to purchase some tickets online for my nephew and I to see Pirates! Band of Misfits. After I bought the tickets, I noticed a short blog entry on the movie ticket website about the summer movie season of 1982 being the best summer movie season ever. That was the summer the following films were released:

The Road Warrior
Blade Runner

John Carpenter’s The Thing

Tron

An Officer and a Gentlemen

Conan the Barbarian

Poltergeist

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

E.T.

(By the way, I saw E.T., Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Tron in the summer of 1982 and I liked E.T. and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan the best out of the three.)

It is risky to say that a year or a season of a year was the best movie year ever because tastes change. Case in point, when Citizen Kane came out in 1941, it was a box office dud. Now it is considered a gem of American cinema.

Duds that turn into classics, not withstanding, I thought it would be fun to write about memorable summer movies. What makes them so memorable? Read on and you’ll find out.

Summer of 1983

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably suspect that I liked Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi the best out of the original Star Wars trilogy. Well, you would be wrong. I loved Return of the Jedi. I saw the film on its opening weekend and what an event it was. The theater was packed and everyone was eager to see how George Lucas ended the trilogy. As far as I’m concerned, he did a great job wrapping everything up. (FYI: My favorite scene in the movie and all time favorite movie scene is when Han Solo is freed from the carbonite.)

Jaws 3D
The only thing memorable about this film was that it was shown in 3D. In late 1982, 3D films made a comeback, sort of. A few films were released in 3D but the technology was not as advanced as it is today, so 3D films fizzled out by late 1983.

Summer of 1993

Jurassic Park
A film about the return of dinosaurs and it was directed by none other than Steven Spielberg! What’s there not to like? I went to see the film expecting to get a summer blockbuster and I got more than just the run-of-the-mill summer movie. I got film that was a reflection on technology and how it isn’t always the savior it is made out to be. I can remember thinking while I was watching the film, “Why does this remind me of the film Westworld?” I later learned that the book, in which the film was based on, was written by none other than Michael Crichton, the man who wrote and directed Westworld.

Summer of 2001

Pearl Harbor
I took my dad to see this film for Father’s Day. He grew up during World War II, so any documentary, television show or film that is about or took place during that time, Dad is all over it. I liked this film. The special effects were good and the stars were good in their roles. Yet, the most memorable thing was that during the film, I was thinking, “The Japanese military had guts to do the attack at Pearl Harbor.” Not to take anything away from those in the military who were at Pearl Harbor during the time of the attack, yet I must say that an attack like that was very bold. Little did I or anyone else know that as this movie was making it theatrical run, the 9/11 hijackers were training to carry out the worst attack on U.S. soil, since Pearl Harbor.

Spider-Man Trailer
Normally, I wouldn’t write about a trailer but this one is extra special. It featured a vignette about a group of bad guys who make their getaway in a helicopter. Just as they are about to make a great escape, they get caught in a web spun by Spider-Man. Where did he spin the web? Between the towers of the World Trade Center. When I saw this trailer in the movie theater, (one week before 9/11 if you must know) I was amazed. Yes, I knew it was a computer-generated image, but it was so impressive that it looked like a real helicopter was suspended in a web between the Twin Towers. Of course, when the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon happened, the trailer was pulled from theaters.

Summer of 2008

The Dark Knight
While Christian Bale was great as Batman, Heath Ledger stole the show as The Joker. Ledger’s Joker was EVIL. He didn’t force the humor or nastiness. Ledger played the role as if he were really that bad. Basically, I wouldn’t want to run into Ledger’s Joker in a well-lit alley. Yes, he deserved the Oscar and it was a shame that he died before he had a chance to do more work.

Summer of 2010

Toy Story 3
Wow. The folks at Pixar know how to wrap up a trilogy. The series started with Andy at eight and ended with him going off to college. Along the way, the toys had many adventures and misadventures, yet they stick together, like good friends do. The most poignant and best scene in Toy Story 3 was when Andy dropped off the toys at Bonnie’s house, an 8 year-old whose mom knows Andy’s mom. After telling her about each toy, Andy and Bonnie play with the toys. When they are done, Andy goes off to college and the toys remain with Bonnie.

Well, those are my memorable summer movie memories. Tune in next week for another thrilling blog entry from the chick who loooooves summer movies (among other things related to the movies).

Sources:

http://www.fandango.com/movieblog/weekend-chatter-was-1982-greatest-summer-movies-season-of-all-time-714464.html

Heritage Magazine Fall 2008 “Remember When…1941” Pg. 8

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107290/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0425061/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133152/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0213149/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0468569/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435761/

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Successful Movie Franchises Part 2

July 28, 2011

In last week’s entry the reader was treated to tales of spies, villains and redemption. That’s right, the blog entry dealt with successful movie franchises. This week’s installment continues the story. Will good prevail? Will the hero get the girl? Read on and find out.

Batman/Superman
I combined them because they both started as comic books, then went to movie serials, then television and finally back to movies. They are also complex characters. They both lost their parents. They both are compelled to fight the good fight. Superman does it because his foster parents, the Kents instilled in him that his gifts must be used for the betterment of humanity. Batman does it because of survivor’s guilt. He saw his parents killed in a botched robbery and that spurred him to fight for justice.

While a lot could be said about the differences and similarities between the two, for now I’ll just focus on the films. As for Superman, there have been five movies about the Man of Steel, four starring the late Christopher Reeve in the title role (Superman films from 1978 to 1987) and one with actor Brandon Routh (Superman Returns). The films are:

Superman: The Movie 
1978
Superman II

1980
Superman III
1983
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
“1987
Superman Returns
2006

Since Superman Returns was such a disappointment critically and commercially, I hope there will not be another Superman movie. It had a good run, give it a rest and think of something new.

Moving along to Batman, there have been six films. Where did I get that number from? Simple I included the very campy Batman film from 1966 starring Adam West and Burt Ward (yes, the television show did spawn a movie) As for the role call of actors, Adam West, Val Kilmer and George Clooney each portrayed the Dark Knight in one film, Michael Keaton portrayed the Caped Crusader twice and with the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises Christian Bale will have portrayed Batman in three films. If you want to know  the filmography, here it is:

Batman 1966 Adam West in the title role and Burt Ward as Robin
Batman
1989 Michael Keaton in the title role and Jack Nicholson as The Joker
Batman Returns
1992 Michael Keaton in the title role, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as the Penguin
Batman Forever
1995 Val Kilmer in the title role and Chris O’Donnell as Robin
Batman + Robin
1997 George Clooney in the title role and Chris O’Donnell as Robin
Batman Begins
2005 Christian Bale in the title role
The Dark Knight
2008 Christian Bale in the title role and Heath Ledger as The Joker
The Dark Knight Rises
2012 expected release Christian Bale in the title role and Anne Hathaway as the Catwoman.

I hope The Dark Knight Rises is the last Batman movie—ever!  Director Christopher Nolan did a great job rebooting Batman and Christian Bale, like Michael Keaton, got the darkness of Batman/Bruce Wayne just right. After all, he’s not some rich guy with nothing better to do than fight bad guys. For all his wealth and for all the good that he does as Batman, Bruce Wayne cannot bring his parents back and therein lies his darkness. Still, like Superman, it had a good run. End it. Please!

Shrek
The thumb nosing tale to every Disneyesque motif out there spawned four films. Each of the films featured the voices of Mike Myers as the title character, as well as Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy. The films collectively have made over $1 billion in the U.S. Not bad for an orge, his wife and his donkey pal. In case you want to put these films in your Netflix queue, they are:

Shrek 2001
Shrek 2
2004
Shrek the Third
2007
Shrek Forever After
2010

This franchise looks like it is done. Yet, the careers of the three principal stars have stalled recently, so there just might be another one coming down the pike. Still, let’s hope the folks at Dreamworks decide not to greenlight Shrek 5: Insert Clever Subhead Here.

Spider-man
This franchise took a while to get off the ground. The motion picture rights were first purchased in 1985 but a combination of the story not being right to limits of technology delayed the movie from being made until 2000. It was finally released in 2002 with Sam Raimi as the director and Tobey Maguire as the title character. Three films where made with Raimi as the director and Maguire as Spidey and these three films made $1.1 billion dollars in the U.S. Yet Spider-man 3 got mixed reviews. So, there were plans to make a Spider-man 4, yet Sam Rami couldn’t meet the deadline of 2011. So, Sony Pictures cancelled Spider-man 4 and announced that the franchise would be rebootted with a new director and new cast. The rebootted Spider-man is expected to be released in 2012. Personally, I think it would have been better just to end the franchise with Spider-man 3. Spidey/Peter Parker battled his demons, got the bad guys and married Mary Jane Watson. There are loads of superheros in the Marvel universe, so there would be no lack of material for filmmakers to draw from. Again the list:

Spider-man 2002
Spider-man 2
2004
Spider-man 3
2007

Pirates of the Carribean
This movie franchise wasn’t based on a comic book or book or came from anyone’s imagination. This successful movie franchise is based on a ride of the same name at both Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The series stars Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush. The idea of a pirate movie based on the ride was in development at Disney since the early 1990’s. When director Gore Verbinski came on board in 2002, he wanted to marry the fun of the ride with its supernatural aspects.  Well, it came as a great surprise that the film did well, because a pirate movie had not been successful for a very long time. To date the films have made over $1.2 billion in the U.S. That’s a lot of yo, ho, ho-ing and it won’t end because Johnny Depp has signed on for a fifth Pirates movie.

You know what is below:

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
2006
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
2007 (Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End were filmed simultantiously.)
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 2011

Thus ends the tale of the movie franchise. Tune in next time for another exciting tale from the world of movies, collecting and pop culture, brought to you by a Generation X’er with many writing credits and not to mention many movie posters for sale.

Sources:
http://www.supermanhomepage.com/other/other.php?topic=bizarro-files

http://gothamknightsonline.forumotion.com/t106-how-many-batman-movies-are-there-and-what-are-their-names

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=shrek.htm

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=spiderman.htm

http://spiderman.wikia.com/wiki/Spider-Man_(film_series)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirates_of_the_Caribbean_(film_series)

Yes Mr. Ebert & Mr. Fellman, There Are Artistic Movie Posters From Recent Films

April 15, 2010

Recently, I was reading in the Philadelphia Bulletin a comment written to film critic Roger Ebert from Kevin Fellman of Phoenix, Arizona. It was about how movie posters of the 1970’s were more like works of art, whereas, the current crop of movie posters are just “bland advertising”.  Ebert, for his part, agreed with him and he went on to say, “No imagination, no artistry, no reason to collect.”

Hold on a second Messrs. Ebert and Fellman. There artistic movie posters from recent films that are worthy of hanging on walls from media rooms to museums. Don’t worry, this is not a commercial for my site Just Movie Posters.Com. This will be a legitimate entry about movie posters that have imagination and artistry—at least in my opinion.

Matrix Reloaded Digital Rain Poster
The Matrix movies reflect on questions about life and the nature of reality. One of the posters for the second movie in the series is minimalist with holographic green “digital rain” on a black background. It’s the kind of poster that invites thought, just like the Matrix movies. To see a picture of this poster go to:
http://www.impawards.com/2003/matrix_reloaded.html

The Works of Drew Struzan
Don’t worry, if you have been to a movie theater during the past 25 years, you’ve seen his work. He has done movie posters for the Indiana Jones films, Back to the Future films, Star Wars films, even Police Academy and Goonies, just to name a few. Struzan is able to take actors and actresses that we’ve seen a million times over and show warmth, plus the human behind the glitz. To see examples of his work go to:
http://www.drewstruzan.com

Why So Serious/The Dark Knight
Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight is the kind of guy I would not want to find in a well-lit alley, let alone dark one. That’s why the “Why So Serious” poster from The Dark Knight is so great. It shows the evilness of the Joker and it entices the viewer to think about seeing the movie. Who says art and advertising can’t mix? To see the poster, go to:
http://www.impawards.com/2008/dark_knight_ver4.html

Well, those are my picks for this week and be sure to save me a middle seat in the middle row.

Sources:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=ANSWERMAN

http://www.thebulletin.us

http://www.impawards.com/2003/matrix_reloaded.html

http://www.drewstruzan.com

http://www.impawards.com/2008/dark_knight_ver4.html