In retrospect, “The Dark Knight” (2008) perhaps didn’t need much of a promotional boost; it was one of those movies that came out at the right time, en route to box-office records. Nonetheless, it did have a neat little tie-in “movie,” the Eastern-style animated “Batman: Gotham Knight.” Much like “The Animatrix,” this is a series of short segments – six of them, totaling 75 minutes – that purports to flesh out the larger universe.
From Sept. 18-Oct. 16, we’re looking back at the nine films of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. First up is the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984):
ALeague of Their Own” (1992), based in spirit if not specifics on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League of the 1940s, is easy to pick apart once you give it some thought. But director Penny Marshall keeps the broad humor and luscious period detail coming at enough of a clip that the flaws don’t hurt it. Ultimately, it’s a bittersweet slice of a time that truly existed and bizarrely – for reasons the film doesn’t address, adding to the poignancy – has never returned: the mainstreaming of women’s baseball.
If “The Third Day” (Mondays, HBO) was an open-ended series, I’d bow out after this first episode, cuz ain’t nobody got time fo’ a “Lost”-ian wait for answers. But since it’s a six-hour miniseries (rather than six seasons) there’s enough here to keep me coming back. The decidedly weird first hour is more good-weird than bad-weird. It’s not as creepy as I’d prefer, but it is mysterious, and an appealingly weathered, receding-hairlined Jude Law makes a fine lead as Sam.
Apopular Twitter and Facebook game is to describe a classic movie in the most boring way possible. It’s easy to do with “The Breakfast Club” (1985): Five students spend eight hours in the school library. It’s such a boring premise that it seems like an Eighth Amendment violation for this quintet of high schoolers, and cruel and unusual punishment for viewers, too. But in the follow-up to his clunky directorial debut, “Sixteen Candles” (1984), writer-director John Hughes has learned how to make a diamond out of coal.
Although many “Blade Runner” fans are probably familiar with the references to Tannhäuser Gate in “Soldier” (1998), I think this film – likewise written by David Webb Peoples — should be more embraced as part of the “BR” universe than it is. At three points in the film – once on a monitor showing Todd’s (Kurt Russell) military campaigns, once as a tattoo on Todd’s arm, and once verbally by Mace (Sean Pertwee) – the battle of Tannhauser Gate is referenced. And The Shoulder of Orion is also in Todd’s files.
Over six Sundays, we’re looking back at the five seasons (and one movie) of one of the last decade’s elite TV series: AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” Wrapping it up is “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” (October 2019, Netflix):
The origin story of Zorro (Antonio Banderas) is told in “The Mask of Zorro” (1998), and in sequel “The Legend of Zorro” (2005) wife Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) wants him to hang up his sword, mask and hat for good. It seems like there should’ve been a series of films in between, but there weren’t. As Bruce at Hero Movie Podcast correctly points out, seven years is an awkward gap between original and sequel – you should ideally strike while the iron is hot (a couple years later) or wait till it heats up again (about 20 years later).
The last time we saw Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder), in 1993’s “Jason Goes to Hell,” he is dead and buried at the end of a story centered on the notion of killing him for good, using the requisite magical dagger. So when he’s alive and in government custody in the 2008 of “Jason X” (2002), one might assume an explanation is forthcoming. It isn’t, and that will understandably take many people out of this movie from the get-go.
Darklight” (2004) ranks among the weirdest roles in Shiri Appleby’s oeuvre, as she plays a modern version of Lilith, a pure evil second woman from the Garden of Eden mythology. In this SyFy TV movie, Lilith – or “Elle,” before she learns her origin – is living as a young woman with amnesia about her demon life and a general sense of Nickelback-music-video malaise.