Indiana Jones, between movies.

I have mentioned it here before, but until tonight I had never seen Harrison Ford’s fourth appearance as Indiana Jones, in the bookends to the ‘Mystery of the Blues’ episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992-1993).

Although it was filmed only a few years after his third appearance as Indy, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), this fourth appearance takes place quite a bit later in the official Indy chronology; the first three films all take place between 1935 and 1938, while this section of the TV episode takes place in 1950.

Ford’s fifth appearance as Indy, in this year’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was filmed a decade and a half after this TV episode but takes place just a few years later, in 1957.

Anyway, here is the opening bookends sequence:

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And here is the closing bookends sequence:

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Review: The Dark Knight (dir. Christopher Nolan, 2008)

FOR YEARS, the people who write the Batman comics and movies have been drawn to the theme of insanity. The Joker is wild, of course, and so are many of the other villains; and it is often suggested that a billionaire like Bruce Wayne must be crazy on some level too, if he feels compelled to wear a bat-shaped costume every night just so he can prowl the streets looking for criminals to terrorize.

Thankfully, the two Batman films directed by Christopher Nolan have so far avoided this cliché. Instead of dwelling on the inner psychology of Batman, they have explored the social implications of the character, using him as a lens through which to raise profound questions about the nature of authority, the value of myths and the lengths to which any civilization should go in protecting itself from evil.

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Terminator 4 — the first trailer is now online!

The teaser for Terminator Salvation went online today, and while it doesn’t give you a chance to look at anything very clearly or for very long, the QuickTime format thankfully allows you to go through it almost frame-by-frame, if you so choose.

So, first of all, the teaser gives us our first good look at Christian Bale as John Connor — and for what it’s worth, I have added the image above to my John Connor gallery so that Bale can take his place alongside Dalton Abbott, John DeVito, Edward Furlong, Thomas Dekker, Nick Stahl and Michael Edwards, all of whom have played Connor at some point in his life or other.

Second, I have isolated some of the brief glimpses that this teaser gives us of the machines against which our heroes will do battle. These apparently include a giant claw that punches through a wall so that it can pick someone up off the ground …

… and a somewhat ungainly robot that looks rather like the big wheeled things that attacked our heroes in the third movie …

… and, of course, at least one red-eyed biped:

I do appreciate the fact that Connor, in the voice-over that begins the teaser, acknowledges the fact that the war he is now fighting is not the war that his mother warned him about. This is a whole different future, thanks to the choices that were made during the second film — choices that sent the timeline going in a whole different direction.

So with any luck, the filmmakers will explore the fact that Connor really doesn’t have a destiny any more — his destiny was on that other timeline that no longer exists — and he therefore ought to be asking himself some serious questions in the new films. Does he need to do this? Is he necessarily the best man for the job any more? And so on, and so on.

“When I’m naked, I look like a bald chicken.”

That’s just one of several interesting bits in this profile of Gary Oldman, who used to be typecast as “the bad guy” in films like Léon: The Professional (1994) and Air Force One (1997), but has lately become more of a heroic father-figure type, thanks to his supporting roles as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter movies and as Lt. Jim Gordon in the current Batman movies.

I especially like the broader quote from which that line comes:

With his second turn as Batman ally Gordon in “The Dark Knight” Oldman, 50, feels as though he has finally broken ranks with the bad boys and put to rest his typecasting as a go-to guy when filmmakers needed a villain.

“No, I don’t hear it anymore. I mean look, Rolling Stone said, `Oldman is so skilled he makes virtue look exciting,'” Oldman said in an interview with The Associated Press, quoting the magazine’s review of “The Dark Knight” from memory. “You know what? That’s the best review I’ve ever had. … I’ll put that on my tombstone. `Makes virtue look exciting.’ That’s pretty good.

“In the past, I’ve had my share of good reviews, but it’s always the crazy, scary, weirdo guy. I don’t even know how it happened. Look at me. I mean, when I’m naked, I look like a bald chicken. How did I get to be a scary bad guy?”

I don’t know if I would call Oldman’s performance in the Batman movies “exciting” — it’s a bit too subtle and low-key for that — but his portrayal of a man trying to be noble and virtuous in an evil and cynical world certainly resonates on a pretty deep level.

And if both films have left me with a lump in my throat, it is partly due to how Oldman embodies his half of the Batman-Gordon relationship. “I never thanked you.” “And you’ll never have to.” Gets me every time.

U2 + Julie Taymor = Spider-Man, redux.

Playbill reports that an open casting call has gone out for the Spider-Man stage musical that Julie Taymor plans to direct from a score written by Bono and The Edge, of the band U2.

I can never think of Bono and The Edge working on franchises like this without thinking of the theme song that they wrote for the James Bond film GoldenEye (1995), so here is the music video for that song, performed as it was by Tina Turner:

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Now there’s a franchise that would make a great musical … or at least an interesting one … maybe … though it must be admitted that some critics are already complaining about Pierce Brosnan’s singing in Mamma Mia!, which opens this Friday.

Canadian box-office stats — July 13

Here are the figures for the past weekend, arranged from those that owe the highest percentage of their take to the Canadian box office to those that owe the lowest.

Cruising Bar 2 — CDN $1,560,000 — N.AM $1,560,000 — 100%
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — CDN $26,910,000 — N.AM $310,487,614 — 8.7%
Wanted — CDN $9,460,000 — N.AM $112,455,060 — 8.4%
Get Smart — CDN $9,230,000 — N.AM $111,564,176 — 8.3%
Kung Fu Panda — CDN $15,550,000 — N.AM $202,154,311 — 7.7%
Journey to the Center of the Earth — CDN $1,550,000 — N.AM $21,018,141 — 7.4%
Hancock — CDN $12,070,000 — N.AM $164,115,004 — 7.4%
Hellboy II: The Golden Army — CDN $2,500,000 — N.AM $34,539,115 — 7.2%
WALL·E — CDN $10,800,000 — N.AM $163,055,900 — 6.6%
Meet Dave — CDN $252,412 — N.AM $5,251,918 — 4.8%

A couple of discrepancies: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Cruising Bar 2 were #8 and #10 on the Canadian chart, respectively (the former film was #11 in North America as a whole, and the latter film does not appear on the North American chart at all), while The Incredible Hulk and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl were #9 and #10 on the North American chart, respectively (they were #13 and #17 in Canada).