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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #24!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Jay Coyle and Grace Duffy to discuss what we watched, the week in film news, the top ten and the new releases. Grace has watched ThievesMissing and My Own Private Idaho. Jay has watched A Day in the Country, Without Name, Craig’s Wife, The Loved Ones and One Sings, The Other Doesn’t. I have watched The Dark Knight Rises, Sanjuro and Lone Wolf and Cub in Sword of Vengeance. There is also an extended discussion on the merits (or lack thereof) of Batman Forever.

In terms of film news, the Galway Film Fleadh continues to roll out announcements – including its slate of masterclasses and an unexpected Cagney and Lacey celebration with Tyne Daly. The IFI is hosting a number of seasons in July – one celebrating the work of Robert Bresson and also the annual Family Festival. Meanwhile, the Lighthouse and Palais Galway are hosting a season of coming of age favourites.

The top ten:

  1. Late Night
  2. John Wick: Chapter III – Parabellum
  3. Detective Pikachu
  4. Diego Maradona
  5. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  6. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  7. Rocketman
  8. The Secret Lives of Pets II
  9. Men in Black International
  10. Aladdin

New releases:

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

 

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The Dark Knight Rises (and Falls) in 2016

As it draws to a close, there has been considerable reflection on the fact that 2016 has been a very “strange” year.

Of course, “strange” is perhaps a polite way of phrasing that sentiment. “Harrowing” might be another. “Depressing” could also fit. The year has been physically and emotionally draining for virtually everyone. It was the year that audiences around the world bid farewell to talents as diverse as David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen. When it was determined that December 2016 would receive a “leap second”, it felt almost like an insult. Why should 2016 last one second longer than it absolutely has to? (Not that 2017 promises to be better.)

The hole in things.

The hole in things.

However, the biggest shocks of 2016 were political. Brexit and the election of Donald Trump shook the world to its core, and not just because the pollsters somehow failed to predict them. Those public votes were seen as stern rejections of liberalism and progressivism, of an angry and disenfranchised class striking back at what had been seen a disconnected and aloof elite. It was presented as a strike back against the establishment, against vested interests, an expression of rage – whether racial or economic.

Some of the best films of the year helped to capture that sense of anxiety and resentment. The Hateful Eight suggested that perhaps the United States had never reconciled itself following the end of the Civil War and perhaps it never would. Green Room suggested that there was still a primitive savagery lurking just off the main roads, nestled snugly in the heart of the country. The Girl With All the Gifts dared to suggest that those who reacted with panic and fear to change were likely to find themselves consumed by it.

Everything falls apart.

Everything falls apart.

However, the movie that most successfully embodied 2016 was not released in 2016. It was released four years earlier. That film was Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, the conclusion to his groundbreaking Batman trilogy of films. Batman Begins had been released in 2005, and its meditations on fear made for a potent superhero story in the midst of the War on Terror. The Dark Knight was released in 2008, and seemed the perfect film to close out the Bush era. It was even described as “the first great post-Sept. 11 film.”

In some respects, The Dark Knight Rises was lost on its initial release. It seemed rather out of place, with audiences unsure how best to read the film. It was not the sequel that anybody had been expecting. Indeed, it seems fair to observe that it was not the sequel that Christopher Nolan would have been expecting as he worked on The Dark Knight. That had been a crime epic with political undertones. The Dark Knight Rises was a revolutionary epic and war movie, an odd combination for a film released in 2012. And yet it feels perfectly in step with 2016.

"Okay, maybe Batman vs. Superman wasn't everything that it could have been."

“Okay, maybe Batman vs. Superman wasn’t everything that it could have been.”

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Batman – The Cult (Review/Retrospective)

23rd July is Batman Day, celebrating the character’s 75th anniversary. To celebrate, this July we’re taking a look at some new and classic Batman (and Batman related) stories. Check back daily for the latest review.

The Dark Knight Returns has a lot to answer for.

Although written “out of continuity” as the last Batman story, critically deconstructing and examining the Caped Crusader, The Dark Knight Returns remains a hugely influential piece of the Batman canon. It’s a story that was hugely influential in comics as a whole, but which understandably had a major influence on Batman. To pick an easy example, both of the recent “guiding” writers on the Batman franchise – Scott Snyder and Grant Morrison – can be seen to react to The Dark Knight Returns a variety of ways.

They are dead to him.

They are dead to him.

In a way, no author was more responsible for porting over concepts from The Dark Knight Returns as effectively as Jim Starlin. Although Starlin is perhaps most associated with Marvel’s cosmic saga, the author did write two massively iconic and distinctive Batman stories. Starlin was the author who wrote A Death in the Family, the story that killed off Jason Todd. He also wrote The Cult, a story about Gotham under siege from an evil religious leader who manages to “break” Batman.

The Cult itself was influential. Aspects of The Cult can be seen in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, a story about an urban uprising from the sewers and Batman’s attempts to rebuild himself to save Gotham. Unfortunately, as with Starlin’s other iconic Batman story, there’s a sense that The Cult works better in theory than in execution.

A Deacon of light...

A Deacon of light…

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The Adventures of Batman & Robin – Bane (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

I figured that, with The Dark Knight Rises being released this week, it was worth taking a look at another portrayal of the film’s villain, Bane. While the character appeared in the dire Batman & Robin, he also featured in an episode of The Adventures of Batman & Robin, the rebranded Batman: The Animated Series. While the portrayal of the villain is undoubtedly much better here than in that awful Joel Schumacher film, there’s still a lot of room for improvement, and a sense that the writers and producers weren’t entirely sure what to do with the character.

No Bane, no gain!

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The Caped Social Crusader: The Dark Knight Rises and Batman’s History of Class Warfare…

With the leaked second trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, showing in theatres in front of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, it seems like we have a theme for the movie, something to connect Nolan’s final Batman film to the terrorism and liberty metaphor that underscored The Dark Knight. Giving our first real look at Selina Kyle, who I sense might be far more important to the film than Bane himself, despite her relative lack of exposure, it seems that the film will play into the sort of resentment and class divide forming in global society – the type of movement spawning the “Occupy Wall Street” and the “We are the 99%” campaigns. “You think this’ll last,” Selina taunts Bruce, in a scene that conjures Tim Burton’s underrated Batman Returns. “There’s a storm coming Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches. Cause when it hits the city you are all gonna wonder how you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”

It seems like a fascinating avenue for Nolan to explore, especially given that Batman is one of the “1%”himself. Still, it’s an angle rich for exploitation and with considerable history behind it.

The Bane of the upper classes?

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The Dark Knight Rises Teaser Trailer

It’s officially up! Check out the teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises below and read our analysis here.

A Bluffer’s Guide to the Dark Knight Rises Rumours…

This week has been a bit of an early Christmas for movie geeks such as myself, with Warner Brothers unveiling both the teaser poster and the teaser trailer to The Dark Knight Rises, the much-anticipated closing chapter to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. When we know a bit more later in the year, I’ll dig into the movie in a bit more depth, but it occurred to me that a lot of fans on-line are throwing out concepts and references that might seem a bit foreign to the uninitiated. I can’t imagine how strange it must be for a non-comic-book-fan to hear titles like Knightfall or “Lazarus Pits” thrown into casual conversation. So I’ve put together a bluffer’s guide to all the speculation and rumours, so that you can hopefully understand a bit more of what nerdy geeks like myself are talking about when we casually reference stuff like “I will break you!” It should be stressed that all these are 100% rumour, and not meant to reflect the film, but to help understand geeky references in discussions about the film. Sort of like a handy guide to the “offside rule”in soccer or such.

Welcome to underground comcis culture...

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