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Monday, July 21, 2008

Cinebanter #55 - THE DARK KNIGHT

The MP3 of Cinebanter #55 is available here.

In this episode, Michael and Tassoula unite with their critic peers as they review the universally praised Batman flick THE DARK KNIGHT. During the Last Five®, they have a terrible battle over the merits of WALL-E, and in the Listener Last Five, they get their sunshine stolen AND hear from a girl (who isn't Tassoula). The breakdown is as follows:

• 00:00 Intro
• 00:32 THE DARK KNIGHT Discussion
• Break
• 25:22 To Sum It Up
• Break
• 25:48 The Last Five®
• Break
• 51:28 Listener Last Fives (Len in PA and Kate in VA)/Show Notes
• 1:05:46 Credits and Outtake

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Special thanks to Brad Daane and Mark Cummins for providing the original music in this episode.

Reviews and/or notes of every movie Michael sees can be found at his MichaelVox website.

Tassoula has reviews, musings and movie-related product links at Tassoula's Movie Review Blog.

Feedback is always welcome - you may leave comments here or e-mail the hosts at

We hope you enjoy the show!

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Blogger Ellen said...

To your question about the Harvey Dent/ Rachel rescue section: I could be wrong, but I think what happened was, the Joker told Batman that Rachel and Harvey were in the opposite places from where they actually were. So Batman made the selfish choice to go after Rachel and let the police take care of Dent, only to find when he got there that he was saving his romantic rival -- a cruel joke from the Joker. (Any other listeners want to back me up?)

Keep up the great work, guys -- I'm impressed you were able to comment on this summer blockbuster so close to its release. I went this weekend and I have to say, the whole theatre got the giggles during the nurse scene.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are some reasons why the humans in WALL-E do not look real. First, the Fred Willard bit. It did seam very weird to have a live action actor in an animated film, but it becomes part of the story later in the film. When we are in the captain’s quarters the camera pans across portraits of the past captains and we see a progression, or evolution if you will, from real life (live action) image to the more cartoonish bulbish image of the current captain. So the humans had a more naturalistic look in the past and now they have a cartootish features, which goes hand in hand with the video the captain sees telling him that generations of laziness and over consumption have made the humans into the types of people they are today. And second, this is an animated film. The humans aren't supposed to look real. Much like robots, if animation becomes too human like, too real, then people will reject it. Plus it is animation, which means the creators have the ability to accentuate features of characters in order to better tell the story. Like the way a costumer dresses an actor to reflect their character. Tassoula why are you so upset that the humans are Americans? The film was made by Americans in California who are they supposed to model their cast after. Why can’t a “Kid’s movie” have a message about our over polluting and consumer culture. Your favorite Pixar film, Toy Story, is a film about anger, envy, murder, revenge, pettiness, hatred, redemption, and friendship. What I found interesting about WALL-E’s message concerning our consumer culture and excessiveness is that it came from Disney. A company that is reliant on people buying the DVDs, toys, candy, video games, stuffed animals, clothing, all that crap that WALL-E cleans up and will lead us to the horrible future that the film lays out for us. Michael, thank you for continually recommending Battlestar Galactica, it is a tremendous show, however not a good as the greatest show ever produced for TV, The Wire.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Tassoula said...

In response to Mike W's comments, I disagree that "humans aren't supposed to look real" in an animated film. Isn't everything supposed to look somewhat real in Pixar-land? Isn't that the genius of their renowned animators?

My issue is more that it's a split difference—just like in my beloved Toy Story. In that, the toys look as if they could walk off the screen and into a child's toybox flawlessly; Andy and his family members, not so much. That bugged me in that film, though I think the writing is strong enough to overcome it (I forgot that Andy didn't "blend" 3/4 of the way through the movie; in Wall-E, I couldn't re: the robots).

So why not just make everything cartoon-y (or everything real)?

"Why does it bug me so much that the humans are Americans?"

Because not all of us are like that, and we're not the only country of lazies to be contributing to the demise of our earth. For a movie that focuses on being ultra-PC about the world's issues, the creators could've sprung for some diversity.

"Why can't a kid's movie have a message about overpolluting?"

Whatever happened to letting kids be kids? I don't have a problem with a moral tone being present in kids' films; that's the cornerstone of most—but I think the delivery should be a parable rather than an in-your-face doomsday rant. Save those for the adults, who typically get to choose what they're going to see.

Funny your name is Mike and you sound SO much like my partner.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Chase said...

ellen- I'm with you on the "Deliberate" joker mix-up with Dent and Rachel's locations. I think that ruining and corrupting Dent was part of the fun for the Joker.

Also, I wanted to point out that one thing that our beloved Cinebanters seemed to find distracting- that Batman could bend the barrel of a rifle but has no ostensible superpowers. When it happens, we can hear gears and motors churning, so I assume that it was to show us that the suit has some sort of mechanical enhancements.

7:34 AM  
Blogger MichaelVox said...

Ellen--I've tried to verify this with friends that have gone, but you can't really ask them to remember beforehand as you'd be spoiling an important part. But those who have gone claim that you're memory is correct. So good job.

Mike W.--Thank you for trying to set Tassoula straight on Wall-E. Someday she'll realize the error of her ways. And with The Wire over and Battlestar on hiatus, I need to recommend MAD MEN and GENERATION KILL. Those are your two best on the air now.

Tassoula--You remain wrong about Wall-E. "Let kids be kids" is ridiculous. No ten year old is leaving Wall-E concerned with their responsibility for pollution and rampant consumerism. They're just watching the robots. The guilt is for the adults in the audience. You might read up on the Roger Deakins (oscar-winning uber-god of cinematography) connection to Wall-E. They made the film as realistic as they wanted to make it. It was a choice.

Chase--If there were "gear-like sounds" coming out of the batsuit then I'm satisfied. I'm developing a list of things I need to remember to look for when I go back to see it again.


4:20 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Yep... Batman was able to bend the gun barrel with the held of enhancements to the suit much like how he was able to start to tear open the side of the van.
And Ellen was completely right about the Joker tricking the Batman into going to the wrong location. I thought it was pretty obvious but I have run across a lot of folks who missed that... so don't feel bad.
Great episode.

4:10 PM  

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