Posted tagged ‘Joseph Gordon-Levitt’

Day 15 – The Film That Depicts Your Life

March 20, 2011

(500) Days of Summer

You must be getting sick of me mentioning this film but it rocks. I watched it whilst going through my own 500 Days and it did a better job than any film ever has of capturing what it feels like. The excitement, the soul destroying lows and the slow climb back up.


So many of the scenes in this film reflect moments in my life. The smart and sarky sister, the free spirited lover, the calm voice over, the dance routine. Well they happened in my head any way.

I reviewed this film here. It will cover my initial reaction to the film. But here we are several months on and like our man JGL I have moved on. About to start a new career in the theatre, no longer settling for mediocrity. That is what these women do to us, take us past our limits.

I still listen to the soundtrack and smile. I have become a champion of the film and made a lot of people watch it. I look forward to watching it in 10 years time and thinking about how important it was then and all the new things I’ll be thinking about then. So keep reading, who knows what will happen in 500 days.



(500) more days of Summer

September 29, 2009

This is a bit unusual. Consider it a follow up blog entry to my previous review of (500) Days of Summer. Just highlighting some cool stuff I’ve found on the web to go with it.

Here is a video made by the director to accompany the film.

You can hear Zooey Deschanel’s band (She and Him) singing in it. Zooey Deschanel has come a long way from her part in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. She was ok in that film, and looked very cute, but she was largely overshadowed by Sam Rockwell. I love that guy, still need to see Moon. Anybody seen it?

This is a link to the soundtrack on Spotify. If you guys haven’t got Spotify, I highly recommened it. You can make your own playlists and stream music for free. Catch being they play adverts every 3/4 songs, but at least it’s legal.

Nifty. If you are really hungry for more, here you go.

Ha. Never thought I’d see that. Of course Joseph Gordon-Levitt has come a helluva long way since playing Tommy Solomon (the kid with long hair) in 3rd Rock From the Sun. That was a great show back in the day. It was very surreal and yet had a lot of classic sitcom pastiches.

Incoming message from the big giant head: new (proper) blog entry coming soon. I’ve been busy filming and writing stuff the last few days so have neglected my blogger duties. Sorry. An exciting review for the play The 39 Steps is on the way.


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The Dark Knight + Batman 3

September 22, 2009

I stuck on one of my favourite dvds the other day. The Dark Knight goes into my dvd player on a monthly basis. The film has to be one of the most enjoyable ever made. Not only does it have the brilliant Batman, we also get to see the finest depiction of his nemesis: The Joker. You’ve heard all this before. The film came out over a year ago and if you have any interest it in you’ve seen it ten times by now.

The Dark Knight can be viewed as an allegory for the age of terrorᵀᴹ. It highlights the debate between security and liberty. Is Batman right to spy on the whole populace to catch the Joker? Was he right to torture gangsters and crooks to gather evidence? Bruce never seems happy doing these things, eager to let Harvey Dent be the true hero and use due procedure. Is that good enough? Do the ends justify the means? These questions are left to the viewer to answer. Not something you will likely get from another blockbuster. *cough* Transformers *cough*

Not only does the Dark Knight provide a thought provoking story, it also kicks arse. The action set pieces feel fresh and look superb. Shying away from CGI for practical effects and models, the film looks as good today as when it came out. The scene on the ferries was so intense the first time I thought it. I really believed the boats would explode, something that could never happen in a Hollywood summer film. No matter what those criminals had done you couldn’t justify killing hundreds of them in cold blood. But Nolan made me belief he might. Sweet.

How do you top the scale of the Dark Knight for Batman 3? Joker terrorised with thirty million inhabitants, killed police commissioners and judges, destroyed Harvey Dent and almost cracked Batman. If you had Catwoman stealing an Egyptian cat statue from Gotham’s museum, it wouldn’t cut it. It needs to be a massive story without losing the characterisation that makes the Dark Knight such a watchable film.


The quickest way to do that is to bring back the Joker. It is clear that Nolan intended to bring back the Clown Prince of Crime in the final part of his trilogy. Heath Ledger’s untimely death may have scuppered this plan but I believe there are alternatives. Ledger did a terrific job, but the show must go on. An obvious replacement would be the very intense Daniel Day-Lewis. After seeing him in There Will Be Blood, I have no doubt he could play a psychopath convincingly. Another choice would be my favourite: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He has worked with Ledger before and has similar flare. Gordon-Levitt has also just filmed Inception with Christopher Nolan which will help his chances.

Women. The one thing more interesting than films and superheroes. Not that I think of women as things… I’m just going to stop there. As much as I respect Nolan as a director, I do not think he is great at directing his actresses. I know from experience that it is difficult to direct women and he does the right thing by casting strong actresses. But women are a huge part of Batman’s ethos. They have to make an appearance in the next film, but which ones?

When most people think about women in Batman I bet the first one that springs to mind is Catwoman. She is iconic, sexy and anything but predictable. As I mentioned earlier, I fear that her flirting with Batman and stealing some artifacts would not make a film two hours long. Rumours have been going around and around about who has been cast as Catwoman, but Nolan has been quoted as saying we wouldn’t see her. He seemed pretty serious about there being no Robin, so I doubt we’ll see Catwoman in his films either.

Where there is the Joker, Harley Quinn is not far behind. She was created for Batman the animated series. The Joker’s former psychiatrist at Arkham was driven mad and became his sidekick. She is sort of stuck in the shadow of the Joker and I doubt would work as a stand alone villain. Harley is close friends with Poison Ivy but her supernatural abilities are likely to rule her out of the Nolan-verse Batman.

A woman I would like to meet is Talia al Ghul, daughter and heir of Ra’s al Ghul. In the comics, whilst Batman was training with Ra’s, he fell in love with Talia. This would be a great way for the third film to tie back into the first one. She is just as experienced as her father in martial arts and strategic planning. She is now motivated by revenge for her parent’s death, making her the perfect foil for the Dark Knight. Not only that, she will know Batman’s secret identity.


All that makes Talia a great choice of villain. Her involvement could force Batman to give up being Bruce Wayne to protect himself from assault in public by Talia. This issue is often touched upon in Batman lore. Is he Batman or Bruce Wayne? The pain of losing Rachel Dawes may be enough for him to bury Wayne. Talia’s reappearance and his mixed feelings towards her will not help matters.

The new Nolan films have been following some of Batman’s graphic novels fairly loosely. Batman Begins was inspired by Batman: Year One and the Dark Knight was inspired by The Long Halloween. The Long Halloween had a sequel called Dark Victory and could obviously serve as the basis for the next film. The problem is that Dark Victory covers the origin of Robin, this won’t happen in a Nolan/Bale film.

Dark Victory does look at how the three protagonists of the Dark Knight (Batman, Gordon and Dent) are now at odds with each other. Batman is an outlaw, Gordon has to hunt him and Dent is a crime boss called Two-Face. In the story Batman is really losing touch with his humanity, Robin acts as an anchor for him. This role could be transferred to Alfred/Lucius Fox.

What better way to capitalise on Batman’s vulnerability than by having him beaten by the super strong Bane. Don’t mistake him for a mindless idiot as he was portrayed in Batman & Robin. Bane is one of Batman’s smartest foes. In the Knightfall story Bane exhausts Batman before breaking his back. This would make a great set piece and send our hero to his darkest depths yet.

I’d like to see Talia and Bane working together. Maybe even dating. It wouldn’t be a great stretch to see Bane trained by Ra’s al Ghul before his death and chosen as a successor. In the comics Bruce was favoured by Ra’s as his successor but it would be interesting to see him replaced by the more savage Bane. I’d then add in an element from the graphic novel The Cult by having Batman brainwashed into killing someone. Whilst he is incapacitated Talia could use drugs and mind control to get Bruce back into the fold.

That’s my idea anyway, and something I could see Nolan using. Other big villains floating around the rumourmills are: The Penguin and The Riddler. The Penguin would make a nice bridge between the psychotic characters and the mob influence but isn’t big enough to fill a whole film. The Riddler (often rumoured as Johnny Depp) may seem like too much of a watered down Joker. I could see him brought in to try and solve the Hangman murders if they did choose to go with the Dark Victory storyline.


Interesting aside. Some people believe the character of Coleman Reese (the accountant who tries to blackmail Bruce Wayne) could become the Riddler. Mister Reese becomes mysteries. In the Dark Knight he says a little line that goes “what are you building for him now? A rocket ship?” A sly clue to a Justice League film and the Watchtower (orbital satellite) that Bruce finances.

So there you have it. I wish I was in a position to say what is coming next in the Batman films but sadly I am not. I think the Joker will be back in some capacity and that a member of the al Ghul family will come seeking revenge in a Die Hard 3 sort of way. I’d love to see a devilish Bane pursue the Batman as only he is capable of. Whatever happens, it is going to have a tough time living up to the high expectations set by The Dark Knight.

What are your thoughts? Which villains do you think we will see? Which storylines from the comics will be used? Leave your comments below.


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(500) Days of Summer – A romcom for quirky guys.

September 3, 2009

I shouldn’t have complained about the Inglourious Basterds screening being so empty, when I went to see (500) Days of Summer I had to queue 20 minutes for a ticket. I was bursting for the loo so snuck under the barriers to relieve myself. Instead I was met my a rather short security guard asking what I was doing.

I explained my position to him and asked where the nearest gents were. He was having none of it and insisted I ask the ticket lady where they were and if I could use them. Whilst he talking at some length, I managed to spot where the loos were all by myself.

I wandered over there casually as he was still talking to me, I didn’t like his tone. I was happily minding my own business when a security underling, not even the midget himself, came in to check on me. He found me washing my hands and that satisfied him that I was after was a wee. After all that I got back in the queue and got my super cheap ticket. Hooray for Orange Wednesdays.

Because of the queueing ordeal my sister and I got into the theatre late. No biggy, they always show 30 minutes of ads. Not this time. We were 15 minutes late taking our seats but to my complete surprise the film had already started. I’m all for making the adverts before a film shorter, but a little warning would be nice. After we sat down another 20 or so people trickled in, all flabbergasted that the film had started.

500 days of summer poster

We sat down and heard a narrator, who sounded just like the one from Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, tell us “this was not a love story.” This is one of the very few places the script slipped up, (500) Days of Summer is a story more about love than any of the other rom-coms out this year.

Most films feature on the beginning of relationships. Two characters who are polar opposites in some way. They meet once and don’t get on, then fate keeps slamming them back together. Eventually they are worn down by the situation and fall for each other, submitting to the writer’s lack of talent. Not this time.

From the first moment Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) sees Summer (Zooey Deschanel) at work, he likes her. There is a moments hesitation when she says “hey”, which everyone knows is code that she is lesbian. But he gets over it. They have lots in common and strike up conversation around the office. No unbelievable meetings, just ordinary days at the office. Then as the tag line aptly puts it: boy falls in love, girl doesn’t.

There is a lot more to Days of Summer than just the way they meet. This film follows their relationship as it deepens into something beautiful. The two leads have a good chemistry and the fun they are having is infectious. This makes it all the more painful when you see Tom destroyed by losing the girls of his dreams.

He doesn’t lose her once. Instead he is constantly reminded of her. Hoping every time he sees her they can get back together, work something out, go back to the way things were. Each time he doesn’t make it he goes deeper into depression.

The mood of each scene is beautifully captured by the cinematography. The colours and lighting are a just as much a part of the film as the characters and the brilliant soundtrack. Each scene is introduced with a small title card that tells you which of the eventful 500 days we are observing. They are all colour coded and give a taste of what you can expect in the next 3 minutes.


(500) Days of Summer does a brilliant job of fulfilling expectations. It has a very natural set up, and then a gentle pause before the pay off. Each time a big moment is about to happen you get a beat to hold your breath in excitement. Some of the jokes you can see coming but they are delivered so well that it adds a little more than what you thought you were going to get.

You get more than a film here, you see the world from Tom Hansen’s eyes. His jubilation after the first time he has sex, the nausea induced when he hears a song that reminds him of her and the pain he feels everyday. He is so helpless that he often turns to his 10 year old sister for advice.

Tom’s sister (Chloe Moretz) was a real highlight of the film. Her advice was far beyond her years and always of far greater help than that offered by Tom’s guy mates. I watched this film with my sister and it reminded me how helpful it is having a spy on the inside to help explain how the other side thinks.

Men don’t really know how women think, and that comes across in the film. The character of Summer is not as well developed as Tom, but she isn’t supposed to be. We see everything through Tom’s eyes and often only have his memories (rose tinted as they are) to put Summer together. Zooey Deschanel does a great job with what she is given, presenting a woman you could very easily love.

This is a modern love story for the 20 somethings. As a 20 something, heavily embedded in pop culture, this film really spoke to me. Its about how exciting love is the first time around and how it only makes sense once you’ve felt it. And lost it.

Walking on water. If I was any younger or any older this wouldn’t be right for me, but right now its perfect.


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