Saturday, November 29, 2008

Batman killed by his OWN dad

End of an era ... Batman dies in new comic

End of an era ... Batman dies in new comic

Bruce Wayne – who by night is Batman – gets murdered by a man claiming to be the father he thought was dead.

In a highly controversial new storyline Bruce, who first appeared in 1939, is killed by Simon Hurt – the leader of the shady Black Glove organisation.

Simon claims he is really Dr Thomas Wayne, saying he faked his own passing when Bruce was a child.

The superhero dies when he tries to stop his foe escaping by helicopter in the new comic Batman R.I.P.

Bad father ... Batman's dad

Bad father ... Batman's dad

Writer Grant Morrison said: “This is so much better than death. People have killed characters in the past but to me, that kind of ends the story!

"I like to keep the story twisting and turning. So what I am doing is a fate worse than death. Things that no one would expect to happen to these guys at all.

"This is the end of Bruce Wayne as Batman."

Batman will live on though, with another character filling his Batsuit.

Two likely contenders are Dick Grayson - the original Robin - or current Boy Wonder, Tim Drake.

Original here

Cinematical Seven: Non-Dysfunctional Movie Families

by Jette Kernion

A few years ago, I wrote a Cinematical Seven on my favorite dysfunctional families in films. Everyone has a crazy messed-up movie family they love, whether it's the Hoovers in Little Miss Sunshine or the Bullocks in My Man Godfrey or the Corleones in the Godfather saga. I thought that this year, it would be fun to make a list of families that got along, worked together, and supported one another. You know, happy families ... but not dull, one-dimensional bundles of endless cheer.

It's a lot more difficult to find seven movies with happy-but-not-sappy families than it is to find the screwed-up kind, especially if you are looking for something more interesting than the Cleavers. Since I'm visiting my relatives for the Thanksgiving holidays, I asked them for suggestions. They were all very helpful, and I'm sorry I couldn't include all the suggestions, which ranged from The Thin Man to The Sound of Music to The Hills Have Eyes. Let me know what else we missed in the comments.

The Smiths in Meet Me in St. Louis (suggested by my mom)

It feels like the right time of the year for Meet Me in St. Louis, which is one of my favorite movies to watch during the fall/winter holidays. The father of the Smith family may be somewhat dictatorial at times, but he's surrounded by a wife who keeps everything peaceful, three lively nearly-grown kids looking for love (including Judy Garland), two mischievous younger daughters (including Margaret O'Brien), and the wise, slightly eccentric grandfather. It was probably considered a corny and overly nostalgic look at the turn of the century even when it was released in 1944, but it's got a bit of a dark side too (Halloween, and the fate of the snowmen).

The Parrs in The Incredibles (suggested by my husband)

The Parrs aren't perfect. After all, Bob (aka Mr. Incredible) sneaks around behind his family's back to use his superhero powers again, after they've all decided to live a life as ordinary non-powerful folks. And Violet is rather sulky, but that's what teenagers do. But when someone is in trouble, everyone rushes to help. I was torn between The Incredibles and another movie about a family full of action heroes (or potential heroes), Spy Kids. Both feature strong families, but are never boring.

The Addamses in The Addams Family (suggested by my grandfather and my youngest brother)

The Addams family may be creepy and kooky and all that other stuff, but they are the most happily united family you'll ever see on film. Morticia and and Gomez bill and coo like newlyweds, but encourage their children in all their endeavors (no matter how hazardous or morbid), shower a long-lost brother with affection, and let Grandma stay with them. They stick together throughout the entire film. How come when people claim that there aren't ever enough movies about happy, stable, united families, they never mention the Addamses?

(And it is only after writing the above that I re-read my previous Dysfunctional Families list and realized the Addams family is on both. Hah.)

The MacGuffs in Juno (my idea)

Juno MacGuff is an unmarried pregnant teenager ... and her family doesn't yell at her or kick her out or shame her. Her dad and stepmom help her decide what she wants to do about the pregnancy, take her on her doctor's visits, and are willing to fight anyone who criticizes or makes trouble. Juno's relationship with her dad (J.K. Simmons) is particularly sweet and touching, but I also love the scene in which Allison Janney, as Juno's stepmom, takes her to get an ultrasound. If I were a pregnant teenager, I would want these parents on my side.

The Marches in Little Women (suggested by my sister)

How many versions of Little Women are there now? My favorite is the 1933 adaptation with Katharine Hepburn as Jo. The 1994 version takes great liberties with Louisa May Alcott's book, but for once you get a non-wimpy Laurie and a rather attractive Professor Bhaer. And I'm dying to see the 1978 version with William Shatner and Susan Dey. In most of these films, we don't see much of Mr. March, but the close relationship of the four girls with their mother, Marmee, is a big reason why the book and movies are so beloved. Sure, it's sentimental at times, and certain tragic events might verge on the melodramatic, but in every movie, I always love seeing the four girls and Marmee clustered around the piano, united and cozy and loving.

Pecker's family in Pecker (suggested by my husband)

I can't remember (or find) the last name of the family in this John Waters movie from 1998, but I remember that although everyone has their own little quirks, they're all supportive and loving. Grandma runs a sandwich business from the front window of the house, and she believes her Virgin Mary statue can talk; Mom runs a thrift shop and tries to help everyone look fashionable; one sister works in a gay strip club and the other has a serious sugar addiction. They all stand behind Pecker and his photography, no matter what level of fame and fortune he does (or doesn't) achieve. This isn't the only close-knit family in a John Waters film -- the Turnblads were also a happy family in Hairspray (the 1988 version, at least).

The Buckets in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (my idea, but my brother is kicking himself for not suggesting it)

We could argue about the merits of both adaptations of Roald Dahl's best-known book, but my point is that the Bucket family is happy and stable even though they're dreadfully poor. In the 1971 film, Charlie's mom does laundry to make ends not-quite-meet for her son and the four grandparents. In the 2005 film, Charlie also gets a dad. The other families on the tour of Wonka's chocolate factory are stereotypes of every kind of dysfunction in the book, with spoiled children and obnoxious parents. In the Tim Burton film, we also learn that Wonka himself is dealing with unhappy family issues. But Charlie and his Grandpa Joe -- and the rest of the slowly starving Bucket family -- hang together through the worst conditions possible.

Original here

Keanu Reeves - extraterrestrial

The star talks to Will Lawrence about how he approached his performance as a visiting alien in the remake of a sci-fi classic

Keanu Reeves wants to know how many years I have. It's an unusual expression, akin to an English-language translation of the French "Quel âge avez-vous?" Maybe this should come as no great surprise - after all, Reeves grew up in Canada.

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves: 'Sci-fi's just one of the things I can do'

"So, c'mon," he insists. "How many?" I fib a little. "Thirty-eight," I exaggerate; I'm adding a few years to bring our ages closer together. "You're looking good for it, man," he says. Of course I am - I'm a fair bit younger.

"It's funny, you are going to get to 40 soon - it's like a club with a secret handshake," he says. "I remember my doctor telling me to enjoy my forties, because I'll still have my physical capabilities but also my life experiences. We should take advantage of that before the physical capabilities slip away."

I meet Reeves in a New York hotel room, which houses a number a small telescopes, each one overlooking the southern tip of Central Park. Last night was his 44th birthday - "It was quiet, I spent it with family and friends" - and today he's talking about his latest film, a re-imagining of the 1951 sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, in which he plays the role of Klaatu, an alien who lands in Central Park. The little telescopes in the hotel room, I note, would have afforded potential onlookers a fine view of his spaceship.

"Actually, I'm not sure people would want to see this Klaatu," counters Reeves. "He's a little different from the original character, who was played by Michael Rennie in the 1951 classic. He was pretty idealised in the first film. He had Christian, spiritual overtones and he had a naturalism to him. He was more human than human. I am a little less naturalistic."

In both the original movie and the remake - the latter also features Jennifer Connelly, John Cleese and Will Smith's 10-year-old son, Jaden - Klaatu arrives on Earth with a warning. The first film was released during the first decade of the Cold War, and reflected the concerns of the time: nuclear armageddon. The remake, however, picks up on environmental themes. Here Klaatu is a friend of the Earth, not a friend of mankind, and if he kills the latter, the former will survive.

"That's how he thinks at the outset, but Klaatu discovers his humanity during the film - that is the journey for him," says Reeves. "So I played him as a man who has an alien inside him, but he is embodied by human flesh and that changes him. I picture the human body as a kind of container for him. It was funny - because of the way I was playing him, I didn't have a lot of facial cues, so when I was thinking about the character, I'd just look at people and I would answer them, but I wouldn't do anything with my face. I realised that it was a little off-putting so when we weren't shooting, I had to remember to smile. I enjoyed it a lot."

It seems Reeves is taking his doctor's advice: he's enjoying his forties. Traditionally, the fourth decade can prove a difficult one for actresses; for actors, the real test comes in their thirties. Reeves, however, survived, thanks largely to his lead performances in the three Matrix films, which, along with boosting his bank balance, established him as a sci-fi superstar (he has also featured in the likes of Johnny Mnemonic, Constantine and A Scanner Darkly), a reputation that his latest film will only enhance.

"I grew up liking science fiction - it's almost like a Trojan horse," he says. "You can put any other genre inside. You can do a romance like Blade Runner, you can do action romance like Star Wars; an existential art movie like Tarkovsky's Solaris; or a comedy like Spaceballs. It really translates well to a lot of different genres.

"As to whether I get stereotyped for doing sci-fi, I don't know. For me, sci-fi's just one of the things I can do."

In his long and varied career - he began on Canadian TV in 1984 - Reeves has not always won critical plaudits. The stoner-dude he played in the two Bill & Ted films (1989 and 1991) cast a shadow over his later work, and some of his performances - notably in Point Break (1991) and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) - were justifiably accused of being wooden. But his performances have matured with age. He has worked with some of the world's biggest-name directors, including Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, 1988), Coppola (Bram Stoker's Dracula), Bertolucci (Little Buddha, 1994), Gus Van Sant (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, 1993) and, of course, the Wachowskis (The Matrix trilogy, 1999-2003).

"I have no idea what I would have done if I hadn't been actor," he says. "I've been doing this professionally since I was 16. I've never really - knock on wood - had to look for another job and hopefully I won't have to in the future. I played hockey when I was an adolescent, and maybe that was a crossroads. Professional hockey or the high-school play? I took the high-school play."

The high-school play has since taken Reeves to the apex of the Hollywood A-list. He has a home in the Hollywood Hills and another in Manhattan not far from our hotel, although he tries to keep himself out of the media spotlight. Notoriously press-shy, he gives short shrift to personal questions.

This, however, should come as no great surprise; he has endured a turbulent private life. In 2001 his girlfriend Jennifer Syme was killed in a car accident. Syme had given birth to the couple's daughter Ava in 1999, but she was stillborn. The two are buried side by side in a Los Angeles cemetery. He has never spoken about the events publicly.

Nowadays, he confesses to an interest in travel, especially if it involves his Norton motorcycle. "I have a bike and it's how I get around. There are so many paparazzi in Los Angeles now, it's like: here is Keanu filling up his bike with gas, here is Keanu at a stoplight on his bike! But I got the chance to travel a little bit with the bike this summer in France - I took the Route Napoléon and I went over the mountains in the Ardèche."

His trip to France also allowed him to indulge his interest in wine. "I'm not a connoisseur, though I do enjoy a good drop now and then. For me it's not only the taste but also the moment that you have the wine. So I have a sentimental favourite, which is a 1982 French vintage, a fine year from a fine grower and a couple of fine moments.

"An interest in wine, eh? I guess that's something that happens in your forties!" He smiles. "Like my doctor said, I should enjoy them."

Original here