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Old 11-14-2005, 08:31 AM   #31
Drunken Savior
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nephlabobo
For some reason, the editing in Batman didn't bother me at all. I was fine with it. I didn't think it hurt the film at all.
It wasn't a huge problem, but it did bother me. You really didn't get to see Batman move that much in the film, which did bother me. All in all, I didn't feel that the ranking for Cinematography (which includes Camera work, art direction, shot direction, and editing) should get an A. There is definately a lot more room for imporvement in the sequel.

Next Reviews
I'm going to do (redo?) Mask of the Phantasm. If I can get a lens cleaner, I'll add some images from Strange Days. The DVD drive was acting up (it's kinda old, I'm looking to replace it) and I couldn't get screen captures. I'll also get some captures for the Batwoman too. I'm actually REALLY excited about getting captures from Phantasm....I got some in mind already..

My schedgle looks like this:
-Mask of the Phantasm
-Once Upon a Time in the West
-The Iron Giant
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Swingers (One of my top three personal films)

After that I'll probably review some games....Chrono Trigger, Silent Hill 1-3, TMNT: Turtles in Time. But I'll have to come up with an adequate rating system for games first.
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Last edited by Drunken Savior; 11-14-2005 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 11-14-2005, 12:44 PM   #32
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i dont smell enough alcohol in these DRUNKEN reviews!
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Old 11-15-2005, 07:21 AM   #33
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You need permission from me before you can review games from Konami.
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Old 11-15-2005, 01:41 PM   #34
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Can I please review Silent Hill games of master of Konami? They are soo good and deserve ample representation on the forums. Did I say ample? I meant overwhelming! I'm going to review them twice. The second with even better scores than the first!
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:23 AM   #35
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You have my permission. But I dont enjoy your review, you are CUT OFF!
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:27 AM   #36
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You mean his genitals?
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Old 11-16-2005, 09:42 PM   #37
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Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)


Released 1993
Starring: Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Hart Bochner, Stacy Keach, Abe Vigoda, Dick Miller, John P. Ryan, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Bob Hastings, Robert Costanzo, and Mark Hamill
Written by: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Martin Pasko, Michael Reaves
Directed by: Eric Radomski and Bruce W. Timm


Acting: A-
Cinematography: B
Story: A-
Music: A+

1993 was a good year for Batman fans. Batman Returns(1992) erupted to much success, spawning the popular television show, Batman: The Animated Series, which many consider to be the best comic book cartoon ever made. The show was a sucess with both critics and fans. To many batfans, myself included, Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Eric Radomski had created the perfect Batman character, blending many different variations of the character. The show spwaned 5 movies (Mask of the Phantasm, Sub Zero, Return of the Joker(from Batman Beyond), The Batman/Superman Movie(From the Superman: Animated Series and The New Adventures of Batman and Robin), and Mystery of the Batwoman. The first one, Mask of the Phantasm stands above them all. In fact, it stands as the best Batman film ever made.


There's a new face in Gotham....

The story is told through three storylines: Batman clearing his name with the Gotham Police Department and the flashback of Bruce Wayne(Conroy) becoming Batman as well as romancing the lovely Andrea Beaumont(Delany....Lois Lane from Superman The Animated Series), daughter of troubled importer Carl Beaumont(Keach). The story begins with Batman busting a group of mobsters planning on laundering counterfeit money through the citie's casinos. The leader, Charles Sol (Miller), escapes only to comfront the newest vigilante in Gotham City, the Phantasm. Sol is killed, and Batman takes the blame. Soon, more and more gangsters are being killed left and right, and the police soon turn up their hunt on the Dark Knight. To complicate things more, Andrea has returned to Gotham City.


Batman fighting the Gotham Police Force is always a fun encounter to watch...

Interweaving into the main plot is the story of a young Bruce Wayne, who meets the lovely Andrea Beaumont while mouring at his parent's grave. The two instantly form a rapport and begin a romance. However this romance begins to tear at the young billionare, who feels torn between keeping his vow to fight crime and his desire to be happy in life.


A young Bruce Wayne and Andrea Beaumont discover the Batcave.

However all is not well in Beaumontland. Apparently Andrea's father, Carl, owes money to the mob, headed by Sal Valestra (Vigoda), who keeps....familar company. Escaping a huge dept, the two flee, leaving Bruce distraught...more fuel for the Batman fodder.


Very familar comapny....

Batman begins to pursue the identity of the Phantasm, all the while keeping his distance from the police and trying to get closer to Andrea. But there is always a Joker hidden in the deck (no more cheesy cliche lines, I swear!)


Stalking is O.K. kids....Batman does it!

Mask of the Phantasm is part of the Warner Bros' Animation best! Another great is The Iron Giant(1999). These animated films were leap years before their time. Unfortudently in the case of Mask of the Phantasm, it shows. The film was made entirely(except for the intro) with hand drawn cells, so the film is littered with film grain, dust, and imperfections that come with the photography of the cells. This film is in dear needs of a digital restoration. However, it does add a little bit of charm. What does NOT add charm is the poor DVD transfer Warner Bros' gave this film. Part of the film do not fill the entire screen, and as a result some scenes have little extra black bars on them. I bet Joe would really disapprove.


See the bar on the right? Not cool...

The film uses the 'Dark Deco' technique created by Bruce Timm, which is done by painting backgrounds on black paper. This achieved Gotham's dark look, and made it easier for Batman to hide in the shadows. It works wonders, and creates an amazing atmosphere. The animation is top notch, characters enunciate their lines, there is more cells than a standard cartoon episode, and the action is grander than a regular television episode of the show. We get grand views of Gotham, amazing fight scenes betwen Batman and various fiends, and *gasp* blood in fights. In fact, there is a fair ammount of blood, enough to warrant a PG rating.


Is any Batman story complete without the Dark Knight's foil, the Joker?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Kevin Conroy is Batman. He is the only actor who can pull off the dichotomy of Bruce Wayne and Batman. Bruce is chipper, Batman is dark. It sounds simple, but Conroy is the only actor who can pull it off effortlessly. And Mark Hamill...amazing. He is the voice of the Joker. Hamil goes dark and sadistic with his Joker, someone who would laugh at the slightest bit of irony at a tragic catastrophe. The rest of the cast is very well rounded. Dana Delany is pretty standard as Andrea, but she lacks the emotional range as Conroy and Hamil. Stacy Keach gives Carl Beaumont a mature fatherly tone and gives the Phantasm his meanacing tone. Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Bob Hastings, and Robert Costanzo flesh out Alfread, Police Commissioner Gordon, and Detectve Bullock quite well. And the mobsters are pretty standard. However they are all led by the brilliant Abe Vigoda, who gives Sal an amazing snakelike tone.


Salvatore 'The Weasel" Valestra

Prepare for a history lesson in Batman. While Danny Elfman wrote the brilliant Batman theme for Batman(1989), all the conducting work was done by Shirley Walker. In a brilliant turn, she was hired to do all the original music for every episode of Batman: The Animated Series as well as Mask of the Phantasm. Can you imagine that? Pennypinchers allowing for a huge part of the show's budget to go to original music? Amazing. But Walker is most deserving. She brings Batman to life with her triumphant horns, chrous booms, and and percussion. She is definately under the radar when it comes to the brilliance of the show/movie, but she is as desrving as, say, Bruce Timm. Her score for the film is one of the best. It enhances the atmosphere, but it doesn't create it. You are hardly aware of the music's effect on you, but it's there nonetheless. High marks.


The joker makes a deal....on his terms

Unfortudently the film is SUPER short, lasting only 76 minutes. However, I always felt that the film lasted around 90 minutes, and never really noticed how short it was until I looked at the official running time. The film interweaves many familar Batman stories:

Batman: Year One - Bruce Wayne's first attempts at fighting crime as a masked vigilante.
Batman: Year Two - Batman fights another vigilante, the Reaper, who is very similar to the Phantasm.

Ironically, one of the last scenes is played out at the 'Gotham' World's Fair, which is very similar to the 1939 New York World's Fair, which inspired the look of Gotham City. Click on the link and check out the 'Postcards.'


'Now I'm about to be owned....' -The Batman
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Old 11-16-2005, 10:59 PM   #38
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C'era Una Volta il West (1968)


Released 1968
Starring: Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards , Gabriele Ferzetti, Frank Wolff, and Charles Bronson.
Written by: Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, Sergio Leone, and Sergio Donati. Mickey Knox is credited for the English version, however the film is originally in English.
Music by: Ennio Morricone
Directed by: Sergio Leone


Acting: A-
Cinematography: A+
Story: B
Music: A

C'era Una Volta il West (Once Upon a Time in the West) or Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)? It's a question I ask many other filmmakers when it comes down to Leone's masterpiece? And while I'm a diehard Clint Eastwood fan, I feel West takes the cake. It may lack the social commentary of Good, but what it lacks, it makes up for in style. Maybe it's because it was Leone's first big production in the States, but this film took Leone's styles and elevated it into film making legend.


Extremely well positioned shots, amazing backgrounds, antiheros, and ruthless villians....Classic Leone.

C'era Una Volta il West is the story of Morton, a crippled railroad barron (Ferzetti), who seeks the land of an Irishman, McBain (Wolff) who claimed the land years ago, knowing full well that the railroad would eventually come his way. However, if the land isn't developed into a train station by the time the train reaches the land, McBain loses the rights. To achieve his means, the barron sends out Frank (Fonda) to eliminate McBain and claim the land for himself. All does not go as planned, as McBain's widow, Jill (Cardinale), plans to build the station under the guidance of the mysterious stranger known as Harmonica (Bronson). To add to Morton's worry, Cheyenne (Robards) is blamed for the crimes of Frank, and joins the cause of Harmonica and Jill against Morton and Frank.


Henry Fonda takes his first major villians role...and exceeds expectations as the ruthless killer Frank.

Until this film, Fonda has been known as a Hollywood goodguy. Typecasted, he wanted out and Leone offered him a path. Leone had always wanted to use big Hollywood names in his Westerns, but since he usually filed in Italy (The Man With No Name Trilogy was filmed entirely in Italy), he wouldn not have a chance until West. On the first day, Fonda showed up wearing brown contact lenses. Leone demanded that he take them out. He wanted Fonda's piercing blue eyes. And what a great decision. Fonda adds flair, style, and character to Frank and steals the show. At his side is Harmonica, the silent stranger played by Charles Bronson. Calm, cool, dark....Harmonica is a man out for revenge. A man who helps out when it betters his means. Jason Robards plays the dirty Cheyane, another gunman who always runs into bad luck. Claudia Cardinale is alright as the hooker turned widow, but I don't feel like she brought anythign special to the role. But a large ammount of praise goes to Gabriele Ferzetti, who plays Morton. Every time he is onscreen, he delivers lines that portray a character who has immense ammount of power, but can't even walk on his own two legs.


What is power? Morton and Frank discuss the nature of power.

Sergio Leone is one of my favorite directors of all time. His ability to craft an amazing story with antiheros (I love antiheros) is phenomonal. His locations....superb. Sergio Leone is known for being a landscape director. Not only does he capture the immense detail of the West, but the immense detail of a character faces. A tight close up revels the landscape of a character. Every mountain, plateau, eye wrinkle, and stray hair is shot in supring detail. His keen eye for framing a shot is unparalleled. He was a pioneer in his day.


Excellent framing to capture the essence of a showdown.


Bronson and Cardinale share a momment. Notice the framing again...


Again....AMAZING framing of a shot to capture a brutal and sadistic crime.

Now let's talk music. Ennio Morricone, another genius, has been around for ages and has brought us such amazing songs as the themes to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The Untouchables, and Once Upon a Time in America as well as many other memerable Western themes. His theme for Harmonica is haunting, a song drenched in sorrow and vengence. His music always compliments Leone's work and they were a powerhouse duet that could put Burton/Elfman to shame, in my opinion...though many disagree with me.


Frank and Harmonica share a momment before all hell breaks lose in the West...

C'era Una Volta il West stands as my favorite Western of all time, a template for films I want to make. Leone's ability to capture scenery and create it into a character itself is amazing and is probably one of the biggest reasons I go out to the desert anually. If you got the time, check this film out. Look for the DVD with the cover above, as it was only recently (2003) that this film was released in it's original cut. It didn't do so well in the states, mainly because producers thought it was too long ( 165 minutes) and had Leone cut it down. HUGE MISTAKE. But it's good that us Western fans finally got the right cut of this masterpiece.


The City of Clearwater, owned by Jill McBain...for now
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:18 PM   #39
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Was Mask of the Phantasm a real movie (real movie = actually played in theaters)? I have a vague memory of showing this movie in the theaters. Batman returns was a turd in every respect except Michelle Phfeiffer or however you spell her ful<ed up last name.
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:23 PM   #40
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Yeah, Mask did have a brief theatre run. I saw it there, my folks really encouraged me to get into Batman for some strange reason. It only made $5,617,391 (Source) and lasted a little over a month in the threatres, all between Christmas 1993 and Valentines Day 1994. So I bet it was heavily overshadowed by a lot of other films like the Pelican Brief, Beethoven's 2nd, Tombstone, Wayne's World 2, and Mrs. Doubtfire..
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Old 11-17-2005, 01:06 AM   #41
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Added pictures to The Mystery of the Batwoman review, trying to get images for Strange Days....
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Old 11-17-2005, 05:34 AM   #42
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I enjoyed Mask of the Phantasm. I feel like watching it again. I also enjoyed The Iron Giant.
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Old 11-17-2005, 06:42 AM   #43
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Mark Hamil is the ONLY person who should be allowed to do the joker. Even in movies. Get another actor if you want but DUB him with Marks voice!
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Old 11-17-2005, 10:58 AM   #44
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Much to my surprise, I didn't think much of Once Upon a Time in the West. I liked the acting and operatic cinematography (who wouldn't?) but much prefer the 'Man with No Name' epic trilogy or A Fistful of Dynamite which was almost an expos? on all the greed and political corruption during the Mexican Revolution. Very dynamic. And the soundtrack in the latter film was, in my opinion, Ennio Morricone's very best work.
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Old 11-19-2005, 11:05 PM   #45
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Nice reviews DS, loved the Phantasm one, in fact watching those images make me want to watch that movie again! It reminded me how great the art was.
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