WBEZ | christian bale http://www.wbez.org/tags/christian-bale Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Acclaimed film critic says newest 'Batman' movie stinks http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-07/acclaimed-film-critic-says-newest-batman-movie-stinks-101021 <p><p><em>Earlier this week, our regular film contributor <a href="http://thehoyde.com/web/">Steve Delahoyde</a> was invited to attend a preview screening of </em>The Dark Knight Rises<em>, the latest sure-to-be-blockbuster action film from director Christopher Nolan. Because the film opens this Friday and its early reviews have been so hotly discussed and contested, we have decided to release his critique of the film one day early. Warning: This review contains several spoilers.</em><br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/batman%20christian%20bale%20AP.jpg" style="height: 452px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="Actor Christian Bale on the set of the latest Batman film, ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’ (AP/Darla Khazei)" /><em>The Dark Knight Rises</em> is Christopher Nolan&#39;s final chapter in the wildly-popular series, which found the director re-imagining the familiar Batman franchise, often taking it to dark and unexpected places. The latest is no different, with Nolan at perhaps his most cynical and perverse, very rarely lessening his tight and violent grip on us, with brutality after brutality bombarding the audience at every turn. One would assume that eventually, like with nearly any hyper-violent action film &mdash;&nbsp;or even some grisly schlock of horror &nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;that eventually we would grow desensitized to a point. This would be true, had the cleverly-deft Nolan not decided to heighten the violence and mayhem seemingly tenfold with each new scene, reaching new levels of cinematic discomfort. By the end of the film, the best that can be said to describe the experience is simple: poop.<br /><br />The bottom line is that the film is unabashedly stupid. Absolute poop.<br /><br />Should you have been able to forgo the basic premise from the very start of this, or any previous series, or even the original comic books &mdash;&nbsp;which is essentially that a sad, rich orphan dresses up in a silly costume to fight even sillier bad people &mdash;&nbsp;then somehow you must nearly be impervious to how absurd and dumb all of this is. That we are, somewhere in our brain, supposed to take a lunatic in an utterly foolish get-up absolutely, 100 percent seriously is an insult to our collective intelligence.<br /><br />Even all the junk Batman garbage that Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher made were better than this.<br /><br />Many have made much ado about Nolan&#39;s use of the franchise to comment on modern-day social issues, with <em>The Dark Knight Rises</em> apparently bringing to light the horrors of terrorism and the police state. To this critic, the only horrors the film exposed were that somehow someone gave someone else money to make not just one of these, but three. Three! About a man wearing a cape and a plastic head with pointy ears! For no good reason. How about making a movie about how it&#39;s dumb to make movies like this? But shoot it backwards and in reverse so you can be all clever about it.<br /><br />The film does have one redeeming quality, however, and that is the chemistry between Christian Bale&#39;s Batman and Anne Hathaway&#39;s Cat Lady. Their romance is believable and cleverly constructed, and the pair&#39;s energy radiates off the screen in waves. Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer from Burton&#39;s 1992 <em>Batman Returns</em> have nothing compared to the sizzle shared between this pair. However, upon the launch of the film&#39;s third act, Nolan utterly dissolves this cinematic relationship he&#39;s worked so hard at building by showing us Batman&#39;s penis. Tiny and inconsequential, it sits there full frame for nearly three full minutes. That bewildering scene, of course, is not benefited at all by the Cat Lady&#39;s cackles throughout, nor her outbursts of &quot;Little penis!&quot; throughout the remainder of the film.<br /><br />Though to be fair, she&#39;s right.<br /><br />The villain in this film is a behemoth called Bane, a ruthless killer and planner of unspeakable atrocities. He is also clearly an allusion to presidential candidate Mitt Romney&#39;s former company, Bain Capital. Some have asked how Nolan could have possibly inserted a character, let alone make a critique about a specific candidate, when the film finished filming nearly a year ago, and the character was first introduced in comic form in the early 1990s. But that&#39;s just foolish, because of course the whole movie boils down to this: A British director wanted to spend $250 million to say that he wants one guy to be the president of a country more than a different guy.<br /><br />The soundtrack also stinks.<br /><br />In closing, while this critic hasn&#39;t enjoyed a single second of any Batman feature film, save for the 1966 original, the most positive thing about the release of <em>The Dark Knight Rises</em> is that it means it will be at least five to ten years before they decided to make another one of these stupid crap fests.</p><p>Also, I didn&#39;t care for Batman&#39;s high, squeaky voice.</p></p> Thu, 19 Jul 2012 08:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-07/acclaimed-film-critic-says-newest-batman-movie-stinks-101021 Weekender: Art Fests, Punk Rock and Pop-Up Businesses! http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-05/weekender-art-fests-punk-rock-and-pop-businesses-98793 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/lumpen%20times.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="SMALL Showroom (Lumpen Times)"></div></div><p>This weekend culture will descend upon us with all the intensity of a summer rainstorm. <a href="http://www.versionfest.org/">Version Fest 2012</a> launches its opening salvo by taking over Bridgeport - inside and out. And at <a href="http://www.colum.edu/manifest-2012/">Manifest</a>, Columbia College Chicago students will take part in the school’s Great Convergence, part of the day-long showcase of the varied cultural fruits of their labor from the past academic year.</p><p>Then a whole slew of celebrations are going down around <a href="http://chicagocincodemayo.com/">Cinco de Mayo </a>and <a href="http://www.chicagohash.com/">Polish Constitution Day</a> – no doubt the sounds of feasting and dancing will ring through many neighborhoods.</p><p>Sound is one of Chicago’s more abundant resources, from annoying sounds, like short sharp car honks to the soothing sounds of waves along the lakefront. Mainly we experience a steady stream of city-suitable sounds – sirens, air brakes, jack hammers, CTA announcements, lovers' spats, randomly yelled insults … You get the drill.</p><p>In the midst of that cacophony local artist Jason Lazarus has a plan: to create his own small sonic intervention.</p><p>Friday night at precisely 8:37, Lazurus will unleash a one-minute burst of noise. The name of the project is <a href="http://occupy837.com/">Occupy837</a>. Think of it as an arty twist on the old 420 – an act that is simultaneously solitary and collective in form.&nbsp;</p><p>Lazarus has been doing this alone fairly regularly. He’ll prop up a window in his apartment and let loose for 60 seconds, over a megaphone equipped with a siren. As he puts it, it’s a “wonderfully pathetic” moment of “me being loud and no one else doing it.”</p><p>But now he’s going public, by inviting the crowd gathered for Manifest to participate. He'll bring a big pile of thrift store pots and pans to a parking lot at 916 S. Wabash and ask people to grab some and bang away.</p><p>The project was initially inspired <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSNuPGkr8Fc&amp;feature=related">by protests in Iran <span style="text-decoration: underline;">a few years back</span></a>, when people would hit their rooftops and chant a set phrase in unison. Lazurus found it moving, an “elegant way to show solidarity and resistance at the same time.”</p><p>His political target is a bit closer to home: <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/05/03/151956938/do-campaign-ads-seem-more-negative-this-year-its-not-just-you">Super PAC </a>reform. Lazarus is concerned that these new actors and methods of financing campaigns have contributed to the “failure” of our political system.</p><p>Success or failure is something Lazarus himself has had to contend with on this project. “Victory will be either small, nil or big and … I’m so scared of this failing that I’m just going to do it and embrace it."</p><p>Lazarus' action may or may not effect political change. But he may help to reimagine how dissent and resistance work. As he puts it “sonic space is a wonderfully open and under-utilized space for protests. [If] there was a critical awareness over Chicagoland [so that on] any given night you might hear people yelling, honking, banging pots and pans together – you would know that for a minute of the day all those people are symbolically showing their resistance.”</p><p>I asked Lazarus if he might be a presence when the NATO Summit comes to town later this month. Instead he’s mulling a takeover of a different public forum. “I’m thinking maybe I’ll go to a White Sox night game and get 20 people to do an Occupy837 sonic, in the middle of baseball game, with 20,000 people in attendance.”</p><p>For a preview, head to Manifest, which is all day Friday. The rest of Weekender’s community-building events are below!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/beetle.jpg" style="height: 159px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://colectivoelpozo.weebly.com/index.html"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>1. Los Carralejas</strong></span></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Friday - Sunday</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Theater by and for immigrants, exploring how Mexico's violence affects young people.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://teatroluna.org/luna-central/">Luna Central</a>&nbsp;&nbsp; 3914 North Clark Street</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/american-psycho-christian-bale.jpg" style="height: 163px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0144084/"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>2. American Psycho</strong></span></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Friday and Saturday at Midnight</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Investment banking, red in tooth and claw -&nbsp; and axe!</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.landmarktheatres.com/market/chicago/landmark%27scenturycentrecinema.htm">Landmark Century Centre Theater</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">2828 North Clark Street</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/reatard.jpg" style="height: 184px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEojGEN9MFo"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>3. Better Than Something</strong></span></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Saturday 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">A documentary exploring the short life, time and music of punk rock musician Jay Reatard.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.thispublicworks.com/">Public Works</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">1530 North Damen Avenue</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/version.jpg" style="height: 180px; width: 240px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.versionfest.org/"><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>4. Version Fest</strong></span></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Friday - Sunday</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Art types at work and play, throughout the month of May!</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Bridgeport</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/pol_mex.jpg" style="height: 190px; width: 241px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""></div></div><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>5. Concert for Cinco de Mayo and Polish Constitution Day</strong></span></p><p>Sunday 4 p.m.</p><p>A concert featuring music from Mexico and Poland - sweet!</p><p>St. Bruno Church</p><p>4751 South Harding</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Click <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/weekender/id469524810" target="_blank">here</a> to subscribe to the <em>Weekender</em> podcast.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>What're you up to this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.</strong></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 04 May 2012 11:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-05/weekender-art-fests-punk-rock-and-pop-businesses-98793