Re-Watch: Batman Returns (1992)

Batman Returns
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Daniel Waters
Based on: Bob Kane‘s and Bill Finger‘s comics character
Sequel to: Batman
Cast: Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle
Seen on: 8.12.2017
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Plot:
The Penguin (Danny DeVito) was brought up in the sewers after his parents abandoned him because of his disability. Now he wants to rejoin society and he thinks that Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) is the person who can help him with this: Shreck is a popular business man who has successfully hidden the shady side of his business – but Penguin threatens to expose him. But even as Penguin’s plan seems to work, Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Michael Keaton) becomes suspicious. And he finds that his suspicions may align with the newly appeared Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer), even if their methods and goals do not.

Batman Returns does have some weaknesses and some moments that made me want to headdesk, but with that incarnation of Catwoman, I can’t help but love the film. And I definitely liked it better than the first one.

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Re-Watch: Batman (1989)

Batman
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Sam Hamm, Warren Skaaren
Based on: Bob Kane‘s and Bill Finger‘s comics character
Cast: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Pat Hingle, Billy Dee Williams, Michael Gough, Jack Palance, Jerry Hall
Seen on: 8.12.2017
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Plot:
Gotham City is filled with corruption and basically run by crime boss Grissom (Jack Palance). But then a new figure enters the playing field, shifting the power dynamics quite substantially: Batman (Michael Keaton). Photographer Vicky Hale (Kim Basinger) is intrigued by the phenomenon and decides to find out who is behind the mask. Hoping to speak with Commissioner Gordon (Pat Hingle), she attends a charity eventy hosted by Bruce Wayne – not knowing that he is the man she is looking for. Meanwhile Grissom’s right-hand man Jack Napier (Jach Nicholson) is sent on a mission of his own – a mission that is about to change him very much.

It’s been many years that I watched the older Batman movies, and while I love them all, this one was probably the one I remembered least. Re-watching it with a bit of distance made it feel a little disappointing, although there are still many good things about it.

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Elvis (1979)

Elvis
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: Anthony Lawrence
Cast: Kurt RussellRonnie McDowell, Shelley Winters, Bing Russell, Robert Gray, Season Hubley, Pat Hingle, Melody Anderson, Ed Begley Jr., James Canning, Charles Cyphers
Seen on: 22.5.2016
[During the Carpenter retrospective, they did show Elvis as well, but unfortunately, they were only able to get a print of the German version that was cut from a length of 160 minutes down to a sleek 100 minutes. And since Maynard does own the DVD with the entire film in English, we decided to do a private screening instead – so that’s the version I saw.]

Plot:
Elvis (Kurt Russell, with Ronnie McDowell singing) dreams of becoming a musician. Born in poor circumstances and without connections, he doesn’t stand that much of a chance. But when he goes to record a song for his mother (Shelley Winters), the studio is impressed by his voice, hearing the gospel background he comes from (and that comes without him being black). From there, his rise is quick and very high, but it does come with its dark sides as well.

The film was made only very shortly after Elvis’ death and it shows in its unfiltered adoration of Elvis that doesn’t really dare to go near the darker chapters of his biography – like the drug use. That means that the film becomes overly sweet and remains oddly flat in places. Nevertheless it wins with the amazing performance by Kurt Russell and Ronnie McDowell’s great singing.

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