Gary Oldman

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Posted by sonny 03/10/2009 @ 00:13

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The First Disney's a Christmas Carol Poster Hits - MovieWeb
Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) begins the Christmas holiday with his usual miserly contempt, barking at his faithful clerk (Gary Oldman) and his cheery nephew (Colin Firth). But when the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come take him on an...
Hop Aboard the Christmas Carol Train! - ComingSoon.net
It features captured performances by Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins, Robin Wright Penn, Cary Elwes and Fionnula Flanagan. •A digital gallery of the film's characters and their design evolution; each portrait will digitally change and...
Watch This: Ever See Gary Oldman, Little Person? - Cinematical
by Monika Bartyzel May 1st 2009 // 11:45AM One day I was strolling alongside bins of super-cheap used DVDs when I spotted Gary Oldman's face. The DVD in question: Tiptoes, directed by the writer/director of Freeway, Matthew Bright....
Hey, Academy! Matthew McConaughey Was Robbed! - Heeb Magazine
Gary Oldman on his knees for an hour and a half playing a dwarf? A hulking, beefy Matthew McConaughey is the offspring of two little people? And wait…Kate Beckinsale is an artist?!?!? But the best part of this trailer (see below) is a minute and...
It Wants To Be Born... On DVD - Cinema Blend
After consistently being tormented by horrifying images during the night, she goes to a spiritual adviser (Gary Oldman) for help. She eventually discovers she is being haunted by a dybbuk, a malevolent spirit thought to be the dislocated soul of a dead...
Keanu Reeves: The Next Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Cinematical
Personally, I'm quite intrigued by Reeves as the choice. While I would pick a very subtle and versatile actor like Gary Oldman, they picked the guy who most comfortably settles into the goofy and solemn. Could he really handle the transformation?...
Short Takes - The Times
A rabbi (Gary Oldman) says she may be haunted by a “dybbuk”, a malicious, dislocated soul that wants to invade her body. As she explores, Odette is taken back to a concentration camp where Nazi doctors did evil experiments on Jewish women,...
That's Entertainment: Twenty years ago - Warwick Beacon
Gary Oldman starred in “Criminal Law”, in a thought-provoking story about a defense attorney and his spoiled, rich client who is accused of murder. Patrick Dempsey starred as a college kid on the verge of flunking out in “Loverboy....

Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman as Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy.

Gary Leonard Oldman (born 21 March 1958) is an English actor, writer, director, producer, voice-over artist and occasional musician who found fame in roles such as Sid Vicious in 1986 biopic Sid & Nancy and Count Dracula in 1992 blockbuster Dracula. He has garnered critical acclaim for his diverse performances and portrayals of real-life historical figures and is noted for his avoidance of the Hollywood celebrity scene, often being referred to as an "actor's actor".

After coming to prominence for his portrayal of Sid Vicious (which was later ranked #62 in Premiere Magazine's "100 Greatest Performances of All Time"), Oldman gained further respect from critics during the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s via starring roles in cult successes such as Prick Up Your Ears, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and State of Grace, with Janet Maslin referring to his work as "phenomenal" and Roger Ebert calling him "the best young British actor around." He found greater mainstream exposure when he landed the role of Lee Harvey Oswald in 1991 blockbuster JFK. Since leading Dracula the following year, he has starred in such popular motion pictures as: True Romance, Immortal Beloved, Léon: The Professional, Murder in the First, The Fifth Element, The Contender, Hannibal, the Harry Potter film series and Christopher Nolan's Batman film series. In 1997, Oldman directed, produced, and wrote the award-winning Nil by Mouth, a movie partially based on his own childhood. Several of his roles—particularly Sheldon Runyon in The Contender—have brought forth predictions of an Oscar nomination, but to date he has yet to be nominated for such an award despite a critically acclaimed acting career spanning four decades.

Oldman was born in London, England, the son of Kathleen, an Irish-born housewife, and Len Oldman, a former sailor who worked as a welder. Oldman has said that his father was an abusive alcoholic who left his family when Oldman was seven. Oldman was an accomplished singer and pianist as a child, but gave up music to pursue an acting career. His inspiration was Malcolm McDowell's performance in 1970 movie The Raging Moon. In a 1995 interview with Charlie Rose, Oldman said: "Something about Malcolm just arrested me, and I connected, and I said 'I wanna do that'." Oldman retained his love for music, however, and can be seen singing and playing piano in the 1988 movie Track 29, and tracing over pre-recorded versions of Beethoven's music in Immortal Beloved.

After graduating from drama school in 1979, Oldman spent almost eight years in theatre, winning various awards. During this time he appeared in several minor television films such as Remembrance (1982) and Morgan's Boy (1984). In 1986 he won his first starring role as the Sex Pistols' ill-fated bassist Sid Vicious in the 1986 motion picture Sid & Nancy. The role launched Oldman's career and paved the way for work in Hollywood. Oldman's performance was highly regarded by many, perhaps most notably ex-Sex Pistols vocalist John Lydon, who despite questioning the authenticity of some parts of the film, said of Oldman in his biography: "The chap who played Sid, Gary Oldman, I thought was quite good", and later called him a "bloody good actor". Oldman reportedly lost considerable weight for the role and was briefly hospitalised. His portrayal was ranked #62 on Premiere Magazine's "100 Greatest Performances of All Time." Oldman starred in another real-life portrayal the following year, portraying playwright Joe Orton in the 1987 film Prick Up Your Ears. He played a violent football hooligan in The Firm (1988), and starred opposite Christopher Lloyd in Track 29 the same year. Oldman's first foray into American cinema came later in 1988, when he played a troubled young Boston lawyer opposite real-life friend Kevin Bacon in Criminal Law. It marked the first time Oldman had performed on screen successfully using an American accent. In late 1988, he starred opposite long-time hero Alan Bates in We Think The World of You, and alongside Dennis Hopper and Frances McDormand in Chattahoochee (1989).

In 1991, Oldman starred in what was at that point the most significant role of his career as Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone's JFK. The following year, he starred as Count Dracula in Francis Ford Coppola's romance-horror blockbuster Dracula. By far the most commercially successful film adaptation of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, it was a major box office success worldwide, and spawned various merchandise and video games. Oldman's performance is regarded by many as a staple of the horror genre, and was recognised by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films as the best male performance of 1992, who awarded Oldman the prestigious Best Actor award. Some claimed that Winona Ryder and Oldman did not get along on set. Director Francis Ford Coppola said: "The issue was not only that they did not get along... they got along and then one day they didn't – absolutely didn't get along. None of us were privy to what had happened." False rumours of an affair between the two also circulated in the media in 1992. Despite alleged personal issues during production of the film, Ryder has since been complimentary of Oldman's acting talents. The film established Oldman as a popular portrayer of villains in American cinema; he later played a violent pimp in True Romance (1993), a corrupt DEA officer in Léon (1994), a sadistic prison warden in Murder in the First (1995) and a futuristic corporate tyrant in The Fifth Element (1997). Oldman also displayed a skill for world accents; along with the Transylvanian Count Dracula, Oldman played German-born Viennese composer Ludwig van Beethoven in Immortal Beloved, and Russian terrorist Ivan Korshunov in the 1997 blockbuster Air Force One. He also appeared as a grinning demon in the 1993 promo video to the Guns N' Roses single "Since I Don't Have You".

Oldman appeared opposite Jeff Bridges as zealous Republican congressman Sheldon Runyon in The Contender (2000), in which he was also credited as a producer. He received a Screen Actors Guild award nomination for his performance. Oldman was reportedly unhappy with the editing process of the film, which he felt made the finished product look distinctly pro-Democrat. Oldman later told Charlie Rose that he felt his character was the true patriot of the film and that it was no co-incidence that the film was released shortly before a Presidential election. Oldman stated in the same interview that he had had "more than my wrist slapped" for expressing his sentiments in previous interviews. Film critic Roger Ebert rebutted some of the media reports on Oldman's objections, writing that Oldman's manager Douglas Urbanski had denied that the politically withdrawn Oldman had used such strong terms, and citing original interviewer Tom Roston as saying that material from his article had been taken out of context and exaggerated by subsequent media repetitions.

In 2001 Oldman starred opposite Anthony Hopkins in Hannibal, as Mason Verger, the only surviving victim of Hannibal Lecter. Oldman reportedly spent six hours per day in the make-up room to achieve the hideously disfigured appearance of the character. It marked the second time Oldman had appeared opposite Hopkins, a personal friend who was part of the supporting cast of Dracula. Oldman received an Emmy Award nomination for two guest appearances in Friends in 2001, appearing in the two-part episode "The One with Monica and Chandler's Wedding" as Richard Crosby, a pedantic actor who insists that "real" actors spit on one another when they enunciate, leading to the famous spitting scene between Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) and himself. Oldman agreed to appear in the series after meeting LeBlanc on the set of Lost in Space in 1998. Oldman later landed a major role in the Harry Potter film series, playing Harry Potter's godfather Sirius Black. Oldman and star Daniel Radcliffe reportedly became very close during the filming of the series. In 2005, Oldman starred as James Gordon in Christopher Nolan's commercially and critically acclaimed Batman Begins, a role he reprised in the even more successful sequel The Dark Knight (2008). Oldman co-stars with Jim Carrey in the 2009 version of A Christmas Carol in which Oldman plays three roles. He had a starring role in David Goyer's supernatural thriller Unborn, released in 2009. Oldman's second film project of 2009 will be to co-star with Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli.

In 1997, Oldman directed, produced, and wrote the award-winning Nil by Mouth, a movie partially based on his own childhood. Nil By Mouth went on to win the BAFTA Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film (shared with Douglas Urbanski) and also the BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay, the Channel 4 Director's Award, and the Empire Award, and was declared by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts as one of the one hundred best films of all time. Recently Nil By Mouth was listed by Time Out as number two of the top 50 best British films ever.

Oldman and producing partner Douglas Urbanski formed the SE8 GROUP to produce Nil By Mouth. The company also produced The Contender, which also starred Oldman. He was also credited as a producer. Oldman has finished his latest screenplay, Chang & Eng, co-written with Darin Strauss, based on the author's book of the same name; SE8 Group will produce. In September 2006 Nokia, Nseries Studio released the Oldman directed the short film Donut, with music by Tor Hyams. The film was shot with an N93 in order to promote the phone. Oldman also directed the music video for "Red Rover", a song from Jewish rap group Chutzpah's second CD "Hip Hop Fantasy", shot entirely on the N93. Juliet Landau made a 25-minute documentary about the making of the video.

Oldman won a scholarship to the Rose Bruford College, where he received a BA in Drama in 1979. He had initially applied for enrollment into Britain's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, but was refused entry. Oldman told Charlie Rose in 1995 that he was told to "find something else to do for a living". Rose, surprised, asked jokingly, "Have you reminded them of this?", to which Oldman replied that "the work speaks for itself." Following his graduation from Rose Bruford College, he later studied with the Greenwich Young People's Theatre and went on to appear in a number of stage plays including Desperado Corner, which had a massive impact on the British theatre world and The Pope's Wedding, for which he received Time Out's Fringe Award for Best Newcomer of 1985–1986 and the British Theatre Association's Drama Magazine Award as Best Actor of 1985.

Oldman appeared on Reeves Gabrels' album The Sacred Squall of Now, performing a duet with David Bowie on the track "You've Been Around".

Oldman has long established a cult following among film fans, perhaps due to his apathetic stance on fame and fortune, his versatile performances, and affable real-life persona. Oldman remains one of the most popular portrayers of movie villains amongst film fans: his array of villainous roles, such as Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg in The Fifth Element, Norman Stansfield in Léon, Drexl Spivey in True Romance and Ivan Korshunov in Air Force One have seen a page dedicated entirely to him on the movievillains.com website. MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch also aired a match between Oldman and Christopher Walken to determine the greatest cinematic villain.

Oldman shared scenes with Matt LeBlanc during his appearance on Friends, where Oldman's character insists that "real" actors spit on one another when they enunciate. The ensuing spitting confrontation between the two, has become one of the more popular cameos of the series, and saw Oldman receive an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. Oldman's character also has to dispel Joey's belief that despite his formidable acting abilities, he has never won an Academy Award. This was perhaps a subtle knock on the much-questioned fact, among Oldman fans, that he has never been nominated for such an award, despite a number of critically acclaimed roles.

Younger stars cite Oldman's influence, including Brad Pitt, Daniel Radcliffe, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Bale and in particular, Ryan Gosling, who has cited Oldman as his all-time favorite actor. Oldman has also received acclaim from critics over the years for his diversity of roles and use of diverse accents. Revered film critic Roger Ebert has long been a fan of Oldman's work, hailing him as "one of the great actors, able to play high, low, crass, noble", while Janet Maslin called him a "phenomenal" actor who "since Sid and Nancy has taken on a string of new accents and dramatic identities with stunning ease." Oldman's acting style has, however, occasionally been referred to as being over-the-top by some critics. He has recently stated, however, that he seeks to play less eccentric and villainous roles at this stage in his career.

In contrast to his often dark on-screen roles, Oldman has often been called friendly and down-to-earth, and he was recently named as one of Empire magazine's "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History." Motion pictures starring Oldman as leading actor or supporting co-star have grossed over $2.1 billion at the United States box office, and over $5.2 billion worldwide.

Despite numerous lead and supporting roles in major Hollywood productions, Oldman is intensely private with his personal life and is known for his stance on celebrity and the ideals of Hollywood, once stating that "being famous, that's a whole other career. And I haven't got any energy for it." Oldman was born and brought up in London, England, but moved to the United States in the early 1990s. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California with his young family. He was known for his problems with alcohol during the 1990s; in 1991, he was arrested for drunk driving along with friend and fellow actor Kiefer Sutherland. After a string of alcohol-fuelled debacles he checked himself into Marworth treatment facility in Waverly, Pennsylvania, for alcoholism treatment in 1993. In subsequent interviews Oldman acknowledged his problems with alcohol and called himself a "recovering" alcoholic on a 2001 interview with Charlie Rose. In 2001, former wife Donya Fiorentino claimed that Oldman had a drug habit and abused her, a claim which was investigated by the family courts, child custody evaluator, the police, and Los Angeles city attorney. Oldman was awarded legal custody of their children; Fiorentino was granted short court-monitored visits. As of 2007, Oldman lives a teetotal lifestyle and attributes his success in beating his addiction to Alcoholics Anonymous, and has since publicly praised the organisation. On December 31, 2008, in a private, formal ceremony, Oldman married Alexandra Edenborough in Santa Barbara, California.

He has three sons: Alfie (b. 1988) from his marriage to Manville, Gulliver Flynn (b. Aug 20, 1997) and Charlie John (b. Feb 1999) from his marriage to Fiorentino. His sister, Laila Morse, is also an actress, best known as Mo Harris in the BBC's long-running series EastEnders.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban poster.png

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 fantasy adventure film, based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, it is the third film in the popular Harry Potter series. It stars Daniel Radcliffe as the teenage wizard Harry Potter, and Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry's best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Gary Oldman and David Thewlis joined the cast as the new characters Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. In this movie, the role of Albus Dumbledore was played by Michael Gambon who took over from the late Richard Harris who died of Hodgkin's disease. Steve Kloves returned as screenwriter, while Chris Columbus (the director of the previous two films) became a producer, alongside David Heyman. The film was released on 31 May 2004 in the United Kingdom and on 4 June 2004 in the United States as the first film released into IMAX theaters.

The film was nominated for two Academy Awards — Academy Award for Original Music Score and Academy Award for Visual Effects at the 77th Academy Awards held in 2005.

Harry Potter is with Dursleys for the summer, learning to do more spells, and awaits an imminent visit from Uncle Vernon's sister Marge. Harry loses his temper when Marge insults his family, and unintentionally causes her to inflate and float away. Harry flees, as he expects to be punished for performing magic outside of school. The Knight Bus appears and takes Harry to the Leaky Cauldron where Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge tells Harry he will not be expelled. Harry learns that Sirius Black, who is said to be a supporter of Lord Voldemort, has escaped from Azkaban and that Black will likely come after him.

Harry journeys to Hogwarts with his best friends Ron and Hermione. On the Hogwarts Express train, they share a compartment with the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Remus Lupin, who is sleeping when they enter the compartment. Abruptly, the train is stopped and a Dementor boards, searching for Black. Harry faints when the Dementor enters their compartment, but Lupin awakens and repels the Dementor after hearing a woman-like scream. At school, Albus Dumbledore informs the Hogwarts students that the Dementors have been set as a guard around the school grounds as a protection against Black. In addition to Lupin, Hagrid is announced as the new Care of Magical Creatures teacher. Lupin's lessons prove enjoyable; he teaches useful spells and helps less confident students like Neville. However Hagrid's class does not go to plan; on the first day, Draco Malfoy deliberately provokes the Hippogriff Buckbeak into attacking him. His father Lucius Malfoy successfully has Buckbeak sentenced to death.

During a Quidditch match, several Dementors approach Harry, causing him to fall off his broomstick. Because of this Lupin teaches Harry to defend himself against Dementors with a Patronus charm. A Patronus is the opposite of a Dementor: as Dementors feed on depression and darkness, so a Patronus must be created with a happy memory. As Harry was unable to get permission to visit Hogsmeade from a Parent or Guardian, Fred and George give Harry the Marauder's Map so that he can sneak out of the castle. At Hogsmeade, Harry overhears that Black was his godfather and his parents' best friend. Black is said to have divulged the Potters' secret whereabouts to Voldemort and murdered their mutual friend Peter Pettigrew. Harry vows to kill Black, but is later astonished when he sees Pettigrew's name on the map.

In Divination class, Professor Trelawney enters a trance and predicts that the Dark Lord's servant will return to Harry that night. Harry, Ron and Hermione visit Hagrid to console him over Buckbeak's impending execution and discover Scabbers, who had been missing earlier that year. Just then Fudge, Dumbledore and an executioner visit Hagrid's to carry out Buckbeak's execution (which the trio watch sadly), when Scabbers suddenly bites Ron and escapes. While the trio is chasing Scabbers, a large dog drags both Ron and his rat, Scabbers, into a hole at the base of the Whomping Willow before Harry could get to them. The Whomping Willow attacks Harry and Hermione but Hermione uses the swinging willow branches to their advantage. Harry and Hermione follow, to the Shrieking Shack. It turns out the dog is the Animagus form of Sirius Black. Harry attacks Sirius and takes him to the ground, but before he can do anything, Lupin arrives, disarms Harry, and embraces Sirius as an old friend. After being confronted by Hermione, Lupin admits to being a werewolf. And at this moment Snape appears, planning to catch Black and Lupin and hand them over to the Dementors, but is knocked out by Harry. Lupin and Black explain that Scabbers is Peter Pettigrew, who is also an Animagus, and that he is the one who did for what Black served time in Azkaban. Lupin and Sirius force Pettigrew back to his human form and then prepare to kill him, but are stopped by Harry, who tells them that it was not what James Potter would have done. Instead, he wants to turn over Pettigrew to the Dementors. As the group head back to the castle, the full moon rises; Lupin transforms into a werewolf, which allows Pettigrew to escape. Lupin and Sirius fight in their animal forms, until Lupin is distracted by the sound of another werewolf and Dementors attack Sirius and Harry. As Sirius is about to have his soul removed, Harry sees a figure in the distance cast a powerful stag-shaped Patronus, scattering the Dementors and saving their lives. Harry believes the mysterious figure to be that of his father James.

Hermione reveals that she possesses a time-turner, which is how she has been taking multiple classes at once. She and Harry travel back in time three hours, watching themselves go through the night's events. They set Buckbeak free and return to the Whomping Willow. As the Dementors are about to attack the "other" Harry and Sirius, Harry realizes that he is the person who cast the Patronus, which gives him the confidence to do so now. Harry and Hermione rescue Sirius, who escapes on Buckbeak. At the end of the year, Lupin resigns, knowing that people will not allow a werewolf to teach their children. Later, Sirius sends Harry a Firebolt, an extremely fast racing broom.

Principal photography began on 24 February 2003, at Leavesden Film Studios, and concluded in October 2003.

Some of the sets for the film were built in Glen Coe, Scotland, near to the Clachaig Inn. The indoor sets, including sets built for the previous two films, are mainly in Leavesden Film Studios. The Hogwarts Lake was filmed from Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland. Incidentally, the train bridge which was also featured in the Chamber of Secrets movie is opposite Loch Shiel and was used to film the sequences when the Dementor arrived on the train. A small section of the triple-decker bus scene, where it weaves in between many different cars, was filmed in Palmers Green in North London. Some parts were also filmed in and around Borough Market and Lambeth Bridge in London.

The set of Honeydukes seen in this film is a redress of the set of Flourish and Blotts seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which, in turn, was a redress of the set of Ollivander's from the first film.

Rowling allowed Cuarón to make changes to the book, on the condition that he stuck to the spirit of the book. She let him place a sundial in the Hogwarts' grounds, but told him that he could not add in a graveyard, as it would play an important part in the then unreleased sixth book. Rowling said she "got goosebumps" when she saw several moments in the film, as they inadvertently referred to events in the final two books, she stated "people are going to look back on the film and think that those were put in deliberately as clues." When filming concluded, Cuarón found that it had "been the two sweetest years of my life," and expressed his interest in directing one of the sequels.

Cuarón originally wanted to move away from CGI toward puppetry. He hired master underwater puppeteer Basil Twist to help, using puppets to study the potential movement of the Dementors. Once it became apparent that puppetry would be too expensive and unable to portray the specific elements of the Dementors, Cuarón turned to CGI; however, he and his team did use footage of Dementor puppets underwater as a basis for the flowing movements of the computer-generated Dementors.

The Knight Bus segment when Harry is being taken to The Leaky Cauldron uses the film technique known as bullet time, popularised in The Matrix series of films. This segment takes humorous advantage of the magic quality of the Harry Potter world by having the Muggle world go into bullet time while inside the Knight Bus, Harry, Stan Shunpike and Ernie Prang (and the talking shrunken head) keep moving in real time.

The Academy Award nominated score was composed and conducted by John Williams and released on CD on 25 May 2004. In general, his music for this third film is less lyrical and more sombre (and at times more frightening) than that of the previous films. Other than brief quotes of "Hedwig's Theme" and the "Nimbus 2000" theme, Williams' score also consists of entirely new themes. Brand X Music scored the trailers, using the tracks "Anticipation" and "Progeny".

Cuarón instructed Radcliffe, Grint and Watson to write an essay on their characters, explaining what they thought about them. In a case of life imitating art, Radcliffe was pleased with his short essay, Watson wrote sixteen pages and Grint did not even bother.

Prisoner of Azkaban achieved overwhelmingly positive reviews, garnering an 89% "Certified Fresh" approval rating with a 90% "Top Critics" ranking at Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 81 out of 100 at Metacritic garnering "universal acclaim". Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars: "Not only is this dazzler by far the best and most thrilling of the three Harry Potter movies to date, it's a film that can stand on its own even if you never heard of author J.K. Rowling and her young wizard hero." The Hollywood Reporter called the film "a deeper, darker, visually arresting and more emotionally satisfying adaptation of the J.K. Rowling literary phenomenon", especially compared to the first two installments. Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars saying that the film "is not quite as good as the first two", but still called it "a delightful, amusing and sophisticated installment". Claudia Puig from USA Today praised the film as "a visual delight", while Richard Roeper called the film "a creative triumph". Sean Smith from Newsweek said: "The Prisoner of Azkaban boasts a brand-new director and a bold new vision", he also called the film "moving", praising the performances by Radcliffe and Watson, while Entertainment Weekly praised the film for being more mature than its predecessors. Some of the negative criticism came from The Washington Post: "Put delicately, this is one long sit, made all the more so by a turgid story, a dour visual palette and uninspiring action". Rex Reed, of The New York Observer, also pointed out some over the top style changes, calling it "The silliest, as well as the most contrived -- and confusing -- of them all".

The film opened in the United Kingdom on 31 May and on 4 June in the United States. It broke numerous records upon its worldwide release. It broke the record for biggest single day in U.K. box office history making £5.3 million on a Monday. It went on to break records both with and without previews making a stunning £23.9 million including previews and £9.3 million excluding them. The film made $93.7 million during its opening weekend in the United States, achieving the third biggest opening weekend of all time. It went on to make £46.1 million in the U.K.

The Prisoner of Azkaban made a total of $795.6 million worldwide, which made it the second highest-grossing film of 2004 behind Shrek 2. In the United States, it was only the sixth highest-grossing film of the year making $249.5 million. Everywhere else in the world, however, it was the number one film of the year, making $546 million compared to Shrek 2's $478.6 million. Despite its successful box office run, Azkaban is currently the lowest-grossing Harry Potter film (all the other Harry Potter films have grossed more than US $875 million worldwide). Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is currently the 21st highest grossing film in history.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was nominated in the 77th Academy Awards held in 2005 for two Oscars.

Prisoner of Azkaban was also nominated for Favorite Movie at the 2005 Kids' Choice Awards, but it lost to The Incredibles.

The film also ranks at number 471 in Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.

Prisoner of Azkaban was, at the time of publication, the longest book in the series. The increasing plot complexity necessitated a looser adaptation of the book's finer plot lines and back-story. The film opens with Harry using magic to light his wand in short bursts, in the same scene in the book he uses a candle as performing magic is illegal for minors. The connection between Harry's parents and the Marauder's map is only briefly mentioned, as is Remus Lupin's association to both the map and James Potter. Some exposition was removed for dramatic effect: both the Shrieking Shack and Scabbers the rat are mentioned only very briefly in the film adaptation, while they receive a more thorough coverage in the novel. Most of the back story of Sirius Black is also cut, with no mention of the manner of his escape from Azkaban, his abilities as an Animagus, or the origin of the Firebolt he sends Harry.

On account of pace and time considerations, the film glosses over detailed descriptions of magical education. Only one Hippogriff, Buckbeak, is seen, and only Malfoy and Harry are seen interacting with the Hippogriff during Care of Magical Creatures lessons, and most other lessons, including all of Snape's potions classes, were cut from the film. The complicated description of the Fidelius Charm is removed entirely from the film adaptation, with no explanation given of exactly how Black betrayed the Potters to Lord Voldemort. Many of the lines in this scene are redistributed amongst Cornelius Fudge and Minerva McGonagall; in compensation, McGonagall's exposition of the Animagus transformation is instead given by Snape.

The embryonic romantic connection between Ron and Hermione is more prominent in the film adaptation than the original book; in response to criticism of the first two films for sacrificing character development for mystery and adventure, the emotional development of all three lead characters is given more attention in the third film. However, some critics and fans thought that the result was a murky plotline. That said, any mention of the beginnings of Harry's crush on Cho Chang is removed. Malfoy, in the film, is made into more of a character to laugh at than he was in the novel. (For example, he was far less capable of composing himself in the scene where Hermione hit him, walking away in tears, rather than merely frustrated. Also, Harry and Ron did not take him as seriously, telling Hermione "he's not worth it" when she pulls her wand on him, rather than rushing to hit him themselves.) The darker side of Harry, first seen in Prisoner of Azkaban is glimpsed in this film, when Harry proclaims, "I hope he finds me. Cause when he does, I'm gonna be ready. When he does, I'm gonna kill him".

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The Dark Knight (film)

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The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is part of Nolan's Batman film series and a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins. Christian Bale reprises the lead role. The film follows Bruce Wayne/Batman (Bale), District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Assistant D.A. Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and Police Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and their struggles and journey in combating the new threat of the Joker (Heath Ledger). The Joker's identity is left a mystery in the film, while Dent's transformation from heroic district attorney to disfigured killer Two-Face is presented entirely. Nolan's inspiration for the film was the Joker's comic book debut in 1940, and the 1996 series The Long Halloween, which retold Two-Face's origin. The Dark Knight was filmed primarily in Chicago, as well as in several other locations in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. Nolan used an IMAX camera to film some sequences, including the Joker's first appearance in the film.

On January 22, 2008, after he had completed filming The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger died from a toxic combination of prescription drugs, leading to intense attention from the press and moviegoing public. Warner Bros. had initially created a viral marketing campaign for The Dark Knight, developing promotional websites and trailers highlighting screen shots of Ledger as the Joker, but after Ledger's death, the studio refocused its promotional campaign. The film was released on July 16, 2008 in Australia, on July 18, 2008 in North America, and on July 24, 2008 in the United Kingdom. Before its box office debut in North America, record numbers of advanced tickets were sold for The Dark Knight. It was greeted with positive reviews upon release, and became only the second film to earn more than $500 million at the North American box office, setting numerous other records in the process. It is also the fourth highest grossing film worldwide, and only the fourth film to earn more than $1 billion. Following its critical and commercial success, The Dark Knight has gone to garner multiple awards ranging from Best Picture to Best Special Effects.

In Gotham City, the Joker robs a mob bank with his accomplices, whom he tricks into killing one another, ultimately killing the last one himself. That night, Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon contemplate including new district attorney Harvey Dent in their plan to eradicate the mob. However, Batman wonders if Dent can be trusted. Bruce runs into Rachel Dawes and Dent, who are dating, and after talking to Dent, he realizes Dent's sincerity and decides to host a fundraiser for him.

Mob bosses Sal Maroni, Gambol, and the Chechen meet with other underworld gangsters to discuss both Batman and Dent, who have been cracking down on the mobster's operations. Lau, a Chinese mafia accountant, informs them that he has hidden their money and fled to Hong Kong in an attempt to preempt Gordon's plan to seize the mobsters' funds. In Hong Kong, Batman captures Lau and delivers him to the Gotham City police, where Lau agrees to testify against the mob. In retaliation, the mobsters hire the Joker to kill Batman and Lau. The Joker issues an ultimatum to Gotham, stating that if Batman does not reveal his identity to the public, people will die each day. When Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb, Judge Surillo, and Gordon are murdered by corrupt police, the public's increasing pressure prompts Bruce to decide to reveal his identity. Before Bruce can turn himself in, Dent announces at a press conference that he is Batman and is arrested as part of a plan to draw the Joker out of hiding. The Joker attempts to ambush the police convoy carrying Dent, but Batman and Gordon, who had feigned death at Loeb's memorial to protect his family's safety, intervene and capture him. In recognition of his actions, Gordon is appointed the new police commissioner, succeeding the assassinated Loeb.

Later that night, Dent and Rachel disappear. At the police station, Batman interrogates the Joker, who reveals that Dent and Rachel are in warehouses rigged with explosives on opposite sides of the city — far enough apart so that Batman cannot save them both. Batman leaves to save Rachel, while Gordon and the police head after Dent. With the aid of a smuggled bomb, the Joker escapes police custody with Lau. Batman arrives to save Rachel but instead finds Dent. Batman, furious with himself, successfully saves Dent, but the ensuing explosion disfigures Dent's face. Gordon arrives at Rachel's location too late, and she perishes when the bomb detonates.

Aboard a cargo ship, the Joker burns Lau to death atop a pile of the mob's money and has the Chechen killed, before taking control of his men. The Joker goes to the hospital and frees Dent from his restraints, convincing him to exact revenge on the people responsible for Rachel's death, as well as Batman and Gordon for not saving her. The Joker destroys the hospital on his way out, and then escapes with a hijacked bus full of hospital patients.

Out of the hospital, Dent goes on a personal vendetta, confronting Maroni and the corrupt cops one by one. The Joker announces to the public that anyone left in Gotham at nightfall will be subject to his rule. With the bridges and tunnels out of the city closed due to a bomb threat by the Joker, authorities begin evacuating people by ferry. The Joker places explosives on two of the ferries—one ferry with convicts, who were evacuated in an effort to keep the Joker from freeing them, and the other with civilians—telling the passengers the only way to save themselves is to trigger the explosives on the other ferry; otherwise, he will destroy both at midnight. Batman locates the Joker and the hostages he has taken. Realizing the Joker has disguised the hostages as his own men, Batman is forced to attack both Gordon's SWAT team and the Joker's henchmen in order to save the real hostages.

The Joker's plan to destroy the ferries fails after the passengers on both decide not to destroy each other. Batman locates and subdues the Joker, preventing him from destroying both ferries. When Batman refuses to kill the Joker, the Joker acknowledges that Batman is truly incorruptible, but that Dent was not, and that he has unleashed Dent upon the city. Leaving the Joker for the SWAT team, Batman leaves in search of Dent.

At the remains of the building where Rachel died, Batman finds Dent holding Gordon and his family at gunpoint. Dent judges the innocence of Batman, himself, and Gordon's son through three coin tosses. As the result of the first two flips, he shoots Batman in the abdomen and spares himself. Before Dent can determine the boy's fate, Batman, who was wearing body armor, tackles him over the side of the building. Gordon's son is saved, but Dent and Batman fall to the ground below resulting in Dent's death. Knowing that the citizens of Gotham will lose hope and all morale if Dent's rampage becomes public news, Batman convinces Gordon to hold him responsible for the murders. Gordon smashes the Bat-Signal, and a manhunt for Batman begins.

Heath Ledger as The Joker: Before Ledger was confirmed to play the Joker in July 2006, Paul Bettany, Lachy Hulme, Adrien Brody, Steve Carell, and Robin Williams publicly expressed interest in the role. Yet Nolan had wanted to work with Ledger on a number of projects in the past (though he had been unable to do so), and was agreeable to Ledger's anarchic interpretation of the character. When Ledger saw Batman Begins, he had realized a way to make the character work consistent with the film's tone: he described his Joker as a "psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy".

To prepare for the role, Ledger lived alone in a hotel room for a month, formulating the character's posture, voice, and personality, and kept a diary, in which he recorded the Joker's thoughts and feelings. While he initially found it difficult, Ledger eventually generated a voice unlike Jack Nicholson's character in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film. He was also given Batman: The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, which he "really tried to read and put it down". Ledger also cited A Clockwork Orange and Sid Vicious as "a very early starting point for Christian and I. But we kind of flew far away from that pretty quickly and into another world altogether." "There’s a bit of everything in him. There’s nothing that consistent," Ledger said, and added, "There are a few more surprises to him." Ledger was allowed to shoot and mostly direct the videos the Joker sends out as warnings. Each take Ledger made was different from the last. Nolan was impressed enough with the first video shoot that he chose to not be present when Ledger shot the video with a kidnapped reporter (Anthony Michael Hall).

On January 22, 2008, after he had completed filming The Dark Knight, Ledger died of an accidental prescription drug overdose, leading to intense press attention and memorial tributes. "It was tremendously emotional, right when he passed, having to go back in and look at him every day ," Nolan recalled. "But the truth is, I feel very lucky to have something productive to do, to have a performance that he was very, very proud of, and that he had entrusted to me to finish." All of Ledger's scenes appear as he completed them in the filming; in editing the film, Nolan added no "digital effects" to alter Ledger's actual performance posthumously. Nolan has dedicated the film in part to Ledger's memory.

Gary Oldman as James Gordon: Lieutenant of the Gotham City Police Department and one of the few police officers who is not corrupt. He forms a tenuous, unofficial alliance with Batman and Dent. When the Joker assassinates Police Commissioner Loeb, Mayor Garcia gives Gordon the position. Oldman described his character as "incorruptible, virtuous, strong, heroic, but understated". Nolan explained that "The Long Halloween has a great, triangular relationship between Harvey Dent and Gordon and Batman, and that's something we very much drew from." Oldman added that "Gordon has a great deal of admiration for him at the end, but is more than ever now the dark knight, the outsider. I'm intrigued now to see: If there is a third one, what he's going to do?" On the possibility of another sequel, he said that "returning to is not dependent on whether the role was bigger than the one before".

Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent / Two-Face: The Gotham district attorney who is hailed as Gotham's "White Knight"; Dent's battle with the Joker transforms Dent into a murderous, disfigured vigilante called "Two-Face". Bruce sees Dent as his heir, demonstrating his realization that Batman will be a lifelong mission, and furthering the tragedy of Dent's downfall. Nolan and David S. Goyer had originally considered using Dent in Batman Begins, but they replaced him with the new character Rachel Dawes when they realized they "couldn’t do him justice". Before Eckhart was cast in February 2007, Liev Schreiber, Josh Lucas, and Ryan Phillippe had expressed interest in the role, while Mark Ruffalo auditioned. Hugh Jackman was also considered for the part of Dent. Nolan chose Eckhart, whom he had considered for the lead role in Memento, citing his "extraordinary" ability as an actor, his embodiment of "that kind of chiselled, American hero quality" projected by Robert Redford, and his subtextual "edge".

Eckhart was "interested in good guys gone wrong", and had played corrupt men in films such as The Black Dahlia, Thank You for Smoking, and In the Company of Men. Whereas Two-Face is an evil villain in the comics, Nolan chose to portray him as a twisted vigilante to emphasize his role as Batman's counterpart. Eckhart explained, " is still true to himself. He's a crime fighter, he's not killing good people. He's not a bad guy, not purely." For Dent, Eckhart "kept on thinking about the Kennedys", particularly Robert F. Kennedy, who was "idealistic, held a grudge and took on the Mob". He had his hair lightened and styled to make him appear more dashing. Nolan told Eckhart to not make Two-Face "jokey with slurping sounds or ticks".

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes: The Gotham assistant D.A. and childhood friend of Bruce Wayne. Before the events of the film, she told Bruce that if he ever decided to stop being Batman, they would be together. She is one of the few people to know the identity of Batman. Gyllenhaal took over the role from Katie Holmes, who played it in Batman Begins. In August 2005, Holmes was reportedly planning to reprise the role, but she eventually turned it down to do Mad Money with Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah. By March 2007, Gyllenhaal was in "final talks" for the part. Gyllenhaal has acknowledged her character is a damsel in distress to an extent, but says Nolan sought ways to empower her character, so "Rachel's really clear about what's important to her and unwilling to compromise her morals, which made a nice change" from the many conflicted characters whom she has previously portrayed.

Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth: Bruce Wayne's trusted butler and advisor who tends to Bruce's penthouse. His supply of useful advice to Bruce and his likeness to a fatherly figure to him has led to him being labeled as "Batman's batman".

Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox: The recently promoted CEO of Wayne Enterprises who, now fully aware of his employer's double life as Batman, serves more directly as Bruce's armorer in addition to his corporate managerial duties.

Eric Roberts as Sal Maroni: A gangster who has taken over Carmine Falcone's mob and consents with his associates to let the Joker try to eliminate Batman. Bob Hoskins and James Gandolfini previously auditioned for the role.

Colin McFarlane as Gillian B. Loeb: The Police Commissioner of Gotham until his murder at the hands of the Joker.

The film's Gotham officials and authorities include Nestor Carbonell as Mayor Anthony Garcia, Keith Szarabajka as Detective Gerard Stephens, Monique Curnen as Anna Ramirez, and Ron Dean as Detective Michael Wuertz. While Stephens is an honest and good cop, the latter two are two corrupt officers who betray Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes to the Joker. The film also casts Anthony Michael Hall as Gotham Cable News reporter Mike Engel, Nydia Rodriguez Terracina as Judge Janet Surrillo, Joshua Harto as Coleman Reese, Melinda McGraw and Nathan Gamble as Gordon's wife and son, and Tom "Tiny" Lister, Jr. as a prison inmate on one of the bomb-rigged ferries. The film's criminals include Chin Han as Chinese business accountant Lau, Michael Jai White as gang leader Gambol, Ritchie Coster as the Chechan, and William Fichtner as the Gotham National Bank Manager. David Banner originally auditioned for the role of Gambol. Cillian Murphy returns in a cameo as Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow, who is captured early on in the film by Batman.

Musician Dwight Yoakam was approached for the roles of either the manager or a corrupt cop, but he chose to focus on his album Dwight Sings Buck. Another cameo was made by United States Senator Patrick Leahy, a Batman fan who was previously an extra in the 1997 Batman & Robin and also was a guest voice actor on Batman: The Animated Series. Leahy cameos as a guest who defies the Joker at a fundraiser thrown by Bruce Wayne.

After much research, Nolan's brother and co-writer, Jonathan, suggested the Joker's first two appearances, published in the first issue of Batman (1940), as the crucial influences. Jerry Robinson, one of the Joker's co-creators, was consulted on the character's portrayal. Nolan decided to avoid divulging an in-depth origin story for the Joker, and instead portray his rise to power so as to not diminish the threat he poses, explaining to MTV News, "the Joker we meet in The Dark Knight is fully formed...To me, the Joker is an absolute. There are no shades of gray to him—maybe shades of purple. He's unbelievably dark. He bursts in just as he did in the comics." Nolan reiterated to IGN, "We never wanted to do an origin story for the Joker in this film", because "the arc of the story is much more Harvey Dent's; the Joker is presented as an absolute. It's a very thrilling element in the film, and a very important element, but we wanted to deal with the rise of the Joker, not the origin of the Joker." Nolan suggested Batman: The Killing Joke influenced a section of the Joker's dialogue in the film, in which he says that anyone can become like him given the right circumstances.

According to Nolan, an important theme of the sequel is "escalation", extending the ending of Batman Begins, noting "things having to get worse before they get better". While indicating The Dark Knight would continue the themes of Batman Begins, including justice vs. revenge and Bruce Wayne's issues with his father, Nolan emphasized the sequel would also portray Wayne more as a detective, an aspect of his character not fully developed in Batman Begins. Nolan described the friendly rivalry between Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent as the "backbone" of the film. He also chose to compress the overall storyline, allowing Dent to become Two-Face in The Dark Knight, thus giving the film an emotional arc the unsympathetic Joker could not offer. Nolan acknowledged the title was not only a reference to Batman, but also the fallen "white knight" Harvey Dent.

Warner Bros. chose to film in Chicago for thirteen weeks, because Nolan had had a "truly remarkable experience" filming part of Batman Begins there. Instead of using the Chicago Board of Trade Building as the location for the headquarters of Wayne Enterprises, as Batman Begins did, The Dark Knight used the Richard J. Daley Center. While filming in Chicago, the film was given the false title Rory's First Kiss to lower the visibility of production, but the local media eventually uncovered the ruse. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times commented on the absurdity of the technique, "Is there a Bat-fan in the world that doesn't know Rory's First Kiss is actually The Dark Knight, which has been filming in Chicago for weeks?" Production of The Dark Knight in Chicago generated $45 million in the city's economy and created thousands of jobs. For the film's prologue involving the Joker, the crew shot in Chicago from April 18, 2007 to April 24, 2007. They returned to shoot from June 9, 2007 to early September. Shooting locations included Navy Pier, 330 North Wabash, James R. Thompson Center, LaSalle Street, The Berghoff, Millennium Station, Hotel 71, the old Brach's factory, the old Van Buren Street Post Office, and Wacker Drive. Pinewood Studios, near London, was the primary studio space used for the production. Marina City was in the background throughout the movie.

While planning a stunt with the Batmobile in a special effects facility near Chertsey, England in September 2007, technician Conway Wickliffe was killed when his car crashed. The film is dedicated to both Ledger and Wickliffe. The following month in London at the defunct Battersea Power Station, a rigged 200-foot fireball was filmed, reportedly for an opening sequence, prompting calls from local residents who feared a terrorist attack on the station. A similar incident occurred during the filming in Chicago, when an abandoned Brach's candy factory (which was Gotham Hospital in the film) was demolished.

Filming took place in Hong Kong from November 6 to November 11, 2007, at the Central-Mid-Levels escalators, Queen's Road, The Center, and International Finance Centre. The city's walled city of Kowloon influenced the Narrows in Batman Begins. The shoot hired helicopters and C-130 aircraft. Officials expressed concern over possible noise pollution and traffic. In response, letters sent to the city's residents promised that the sound level would approximate noise decibels made by buses. Environmentalists also criticized the filmmakers' request to tenants of the waterfront skyscrapers to keep their lights on all night in order to enhance the cinematography, describing it as a waste of energy. Cinematographer Wally Pfister found the city officials a "nightmare", and ultimately Nolan had to create Batman's jump from a skyscraper (which Bale had looked forward to performing) digitally.

Costume designer Lindy Hemming described the Joker's look as reflecting his personality — that "he doesn't care about himself at all"; she avoided designing him as a vagrant but still made him appear to be "scruffier, grungier", so that "when you see him move, he's slightly twitchier or edgy." Nolan noted, "We gave a Francis Bacon spin to . This corruption, this decay in the texture of the look itself. It's grubby. You can almost imagine what he smells like." In creating the "anarchical" look of the Joker, Hemming drew inspiration from such countercultural pop culture artists as Pete Doherty, Iggy Pop, and Johnny Rotten. Ledger described his "clown" mask, made up of three pieces of stamped silicone, as a "new technology", taking much less time for the make-up artists to apply than more-conventional prosthetics usually requires — the process took them only an hour — and said that he felt he was barely wearing any make-up.

Designers improved on the design of the Batsuit from Batman Begins, adding wide elastic banding to help bind the costume to Bale, and suggest more sophisticated technology. It was constructed from 200 individual pieces of rubber, fiberglass, metallic mesh, and nylon. The new cowl was modeled after a motorcycle helmet and separated from the neck piece, allowing Bale to turn his head left and right and nod up and down. The cowl is equipped to show white lenses over the eyes when the character turns on his sonar detection, which gives Batman the white eyed look from the comics and animation. The gauntlets have retractable razors which can be fired. Though the new costume is eight pounds heavier, Bale found it more comfortable and less hot to wear. The original suit was also worn during part of the film, where Batman employs hydraulic assistance on the gauntlets to bend a gun barrel and cut through steel.

The film introduces the Batpod, which is a recreation of the Batcycle. Production designer Nathan Crowley, who designed the Tumbler for Batman Begins, designed six models (built by special effects supervisor Chris Corbould) for use in the film's production, because of necessary crash scenes and possible accidents. Crowley built a prototype in Nolan's garage, before six months of safety tests were conducted. The Batpod is steered by shoulder instead of hand, and the rider's arms are protected by sleeve-like shields. The bike has 508-millimeter (20-inch) front and rear tires, and is made to appear as if it is armed with grappling hooks, cannons, and machine guns. The engines are located in the hubs of the wheels, which are set 3 1/2 feet (1067 mm) apart on either side of the tank. The rider lies belly down on the tank, which can move up and down in order to dodge any incoming gunfire that Batman may encounter. Stuntman Jean-Pierre Goy doubled for Christian Bale during the riding sequences in The Dark Knight.

Nolan designed Two-Face's appearance in the film as one of the least disturbing, explaining, "When we looked at less extreme versions of it, they were too real and more horrifying. When you look at a film like Pirates of the Caribbean – something like that, there's something about a very fanciful, very detailed visual effect, that I think is more powerful and less repulsive." Framestore created 120 computer-generated shots of Two-Face's scarred visage. Nolan felt using make-up would look unrealistic, as it adds to the face, unlike real burn victims. Framestore acknowledged they rearranged the positions of bones, muscles and joints to make the character look more dramatic. For each shot, three 720-pixel HD cameras were set up at different angles on set to fully capture Aaron Eckhart's performance. Eckhart wore markers on his face and a prosthetic skullcap, which was acted as a lighting reference. A few shots of the skullcap were kept in the film. Framestore also integrated shots of Bale and Eckhart into that of the exploding building where Dent is burned. It was difficult simulating fire on Eckhart because only having half of something being burned is inherently unrealistic.

Batman Begins composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard returned to score the sequel. Composition began before shooting, and during filming Nolan received an iPod with ten hours of recordings. Their nine-minute suite for the Joker, "Why So Serious?", is based around two notes. Zimmer compared its style to that of Kraftwerk, a band from his native Germany, as well as bands like The Damned. When Ledger died, Zimmer felt like scrapping and composing a new theme, but decided that he could not be sentimental and compromise the "evil projects". Howard composed Dent's "elegant and beautiful" themes, which are brass-focused.

During the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con International, 42 Entertainment launched WhySoSerious.com, sending fans on a scavenger hunt to unlock a teaser trailer and a new photo of the Joker. On October 31, 2007, the film's website morphed into another scavenger hunt with hidden messages, instructing fans to uncover clues at certain locations in major cities throughout the United States, and to take photographs of their discoveries. The clues combined to reveal a new photograph of the Joker and an audio clip of him from the film saying "And tonight, you're gonna break your one rule." Completing the scavenger hunt also led to another website called Rory's Death Kiss (referencing the false working title of Rory's First Kiss), where fans could submit photographs of themselves costumed as the Joker. Those who sent photos were mailed a copy of a fictional newspaper called The Gotham Times, whose electronic version led to the discovery of numerous other websites.

The Dark Knight's opening sequence, (showing a bank raid by the Joker) and closing montage of other scenes from the film, was screened with selected IMAX screenings of I Am Legend, which was released on December 14, 2007. A theatrical teaser was also released with non-IMAX showings of I Am Legend, and also on the official website. The sequence was released on the Blu-ray Disc edition of Batman Begins on July 8, 2008. Also on July 8, 2008, the studio released Batman: Gotham Knight, a direct-to-DVD animated film, set between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and featuring six original stories, directed by Bruce Timm, co-creator and producer of Batman: The Animated Series. Each of these segments, written by Josh Olson, David S. Goyer, Brian Azzarello, Greg Rucka, Jordan Goldberg, and Alan Burnett, presents its own distinctive artistic style, paralleling numerous artists collaborating in the same DC Universe.

After the death of Heath Ledger, on January 22, 2008, Warner Bros. adjusted its promotional focus on the Joker, revising some of its websites dedicated to promoting the film and posting a memorial tribute to Ledger on the film's official website and overlaying a black memorial ribbon on the photo collage in WhySoSerious.com. On February 29, 2008, I Believe in Harvey Dent was updated to enable fans to send their e-mail addresses and phone numbers. In March 2008, Harvey Dent's fictional campaign informed fans that actual campaign buses nicknamed "Dentmobiles" would tour various cities to promote Dent's candidacy for district attorney.

On May 15, 2008, Six Flags Great America and Six Flags Great Adventure theme parks opened The Dark Knight roller coaster, which cost $7.5 million to develop and which simulates being stalked by the Joker. Mattel produced toys and games for The Dark Knight, action figures, role play costumes, board games, puzzles, and a special-edition UNO card game, which began commercial distribution in June 2008.

Warner Bros. devoted six months to an anti-piracy strategy that involved tracking the people who had a pre-release copy of the film at any one time. Shipping and delivery schedules were also staggered and spot checks were carried out both domestically and overseas to ensure illegal copying of the film was not taking place in cinemas. A pirated copy was released on the Web approximately 38 hours after the film's release. BitTorrent search engine The Pirate Bay taunted the movie industry over its ability to provide the movie free, replacing its logo with a taunting message.

Warner Bros. held the world premiere for The Dark Knight in New York City on July 14, 2008, screening in an IMAX theater with the film's composers James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer playing a part of the film score live. Leading up to The Dark Knight's commercial release, the film had drawn "overwhelmingly positive early reviews and buzz on Heath Ledger's turn as the Joker". The Dark Knight was commercially released on July 16, 2008 in Australia, grossing almost $2.3 million in its first day.

In the United States and Canada, The Dark Knight was distributed to 4,366 theaters, breaking the previous record for the highest number of theaters held by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End in 2007. The number of theaters also included 94 IMAX theaters, with the film estimated to be played on 9,200 screens in the United States and Canada. Online, ticketing services sold enormous numbers of tickets for approximately 3,000 midnight showtimes as well as unusually early showtimes for the film's opening day. All IMAX theaters showing The Dark Knight were sold out for the opening weekend.

The Dark Knight set a new midnight record on the opening day of July 18, 2008 with $18.5 million, beating the $16.9 million record set by Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in 2005. $640,000 of the record gross came from IMAX screenings. The Dark Knight ultimately grossed $67,165,092 on its opening day, beating the previous record of $59.8 million held by Spider-Man 3 in 2007. For its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, The Dark Knight accumulated a total of $158,411,483 from 9,200 screens at a record 4,366 theaters, for an average of $36,283 per theater, or $17,219 per screen, beating out the original weekend estimate by more than $3 million, and topping the previous record of $151,116,516 held by Spider-Man 3, while playing in 114 more theaters but on 800 fewer screens. The following Monday, it grossed another $24,493,313, and the following Tuesday it grossed $20,868,722. The Dark Knight also set a new record for opening weekend gross in IMAX theaters, accumulating $6.2 million to beat Spider-Man 3's previous record of $4.7 million.

Besides the United States and Canada, The Dark Knight premiered in 20 other territories on 4,520 screens, grossing $41.3 million in its first weekend. The film came in second to Hancock, which was in its third weekend, screening in 71 territories. The Dark Knight's biggest territory for the weekend was Australia, grossing $13.7 million over the weekend, the third largest Warner Bros. opening and the largest superhero film opening to date. The film also grossed $7 million from 1,433 screens in Mexico, $4.45 million from 548 screens in Brazil, and $2.12 million from 37 screens in Hong Kong. Citing cultural sensitivities to some elements in the film, and a reluctance to adhere to pre-release conditions, Warner Bros. declined to release the film in mainland China.

The Dark Knight sold an estimated 22.37 million tickets with today's average admission of $7.08, meaning the film sold more tickets than Spider-Man 3, which sold 21.96 million with the average price of $6.88 in 2007. It also broke the record for the biggest opening weekend ever. As of December 23, 2008, The Dark Knight has grossed $530,833,780 in the North American box office, breaking the previous record of the fastest film to hit $500 million and $465,993,073 in other countries. As of March 5, 2009, its total worldwide gross stands at $1,001,758,644, and is the fourth highest grossing film of all time. The Dark Knight is currently the highest grossing movie of 2008 in North American box office and worldwide. Unadjusted for inflation, it is now the second highest grossing film in North America of all time with a total of $533,090,262, behind only Titanic with $600,788,188. It was the second film in history to pass the $500 million barrier, also in the fastest time, in 43 days (compared to Titanic's 98 days). The Dark Knight's theatrical run was very different from that of Titanic. While The Dark Knight broke records in its opening weekend, Titanic started out slowly (making $28.6 million in its opening weekend) and then increased ticket sales in the following weekends. The Dark Knight instead slowed down after the first few weekends; 50 other movies had better tenth weekends and 91 had better eleventh weekends. In its fifteenth weekend, The Dark Knight was at #26 at the box office.

Warner Bros. rereleased the film in traditional theaters and IMAX theaters in the United States on January 23, 2009, at the height of the voting for the Academy Awards, in order to further the chances of the film winning Oscars, as well as attempt to cross $1 billion in worldwide gross, which it accomplished in February 2009.

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in North America on December 9, 2008. Releases include a one-disc edition DVD; a two-disc Special Edition DVD; a two-disc edition Blu-ray; and a Special Edition Blu-ray package featuring a statuette of the Bat-pod. The Blu-ray version presents the film in a variable aspect ratio, with the IMAX sequences framed in 1.78:1, while scenes filmed in 35 mm are framed in 2.40:1. The DVD versions feature the entire film framed in a uniform 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Disc 2 of the two-disc Special Edition DVD features the IMAX sequences in the original 1.44:1 aspect ratio. In addition to the standard DVD releases, some stores released their own exclusive editions of the film.

In the United Kingdom, the film had combined sales of 513,000 units on its first day of release, of which 107,730 (21%) were Blu-ray discs, the highest number of first-day Blu-ray discs sold. In the United States, The Dark Knight set a sales record for most DVDs sold in one day, selling 3 million copies on its first day of release - 600,000 of which were Blu-ray discs.

The DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions were released in Australia on December 10, 2008. Releases were in the form of a one-disc edition on DVD; a two-disc edition on DVD; a two-disc edition including a Batmask on DVD; a two-disc Blu-ray edition; and a four-disc Batman Begins/The Dark Knight pack on DVD and Blu-ray disc. The DVD release is currently the top selling film in the Australian DVD Charts and is expected to break the Australian sales record set by Finding Nemo.

Based on 263 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, The Dark Knight has an overall approval rating from critics of 94%, with an average score of 8.5/10. Among Rotten Tomatoes' Cream of the Crop, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television, and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 90%. By comparison, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 82, based on 39 reviews. CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade cinemagoers gave the film was "A" on an A+ to F scale, and that audiences skewed slightly male and older.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times describes The Dark Knight as a "haunted film that leaps beyond its origins and becomes an engrossing tragedy." He praises the performances, direction, and writing, and says the film "redefine the possibilities of the comic-book movie". He named it one of his twenty favorite films of 2008. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone writes that the film is deeper than its predecessor, with a "deft" script that refuses to scrutinize the Joker with popular psychology, instead pulling the viewer in with an examination of Bruce Wayne's psyche, Travers has praise for all the cast, saying each brings his or her "'A' game" to the film. He says Bale is "electrifying", evoking Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II, and that Eckhart's portrayal of Harvey Dent is "scarily moving". Ebert states that the "key performance" is by Heath Ledger, and pondered whether he would become the first posthumous Academy Award winner since Peter Finch in 1976 (Ledger ultimately did win the Oscar). Travers says the actor moves the Joker away from Jack Nicholson's interpretation into darker territory, and expresses his support for any potential campaign to have Ledger nominated for an Academy Award, a call echoed by filmmaker Kevin Smith.

Travers says that the filmmakers move the film away from comic book cinema and closer to being a genuine work of art, citing Nolan's direction and the "gritty reality" of Wally Pfister's cinematography as helping to create a universe that has something "raw and elemental" at work within it. In particular, he cites Nolan's action choreography in the IMAX-tailored heist sequence as rivaling that of Heat (1995). Emanuel Levy wrote Ledger "throws himself completely" into the role, and that the film represents Nolan's "most accomplished and mature" work, and the most technically impressive and resonant of all the Batman films. Levy calls the action sequences some of the most impressive seen in an American film for years, and talks of the Hong Kong-set portion of the film as being particularly visually impressive. Levy and Peter Travers conclude that the film is "haunting and visionary", while Levy goes on to say that The Dark Knight is "nothing short of brilliant".

David Denby of The New Yorker holds that the story is not coherent enough to properly flesh out the disparities. He says the film's mood is one of "constant climax", and that it feels rushed and far too long. Denby criticizes scenes which he argues are meaningless or are cut short just as they become interesting. Denby remarks that the central conflict is workable, but that "only half the team can act it", saying that Bale's "placid" Bruce Wayne and "dogged but uninteresting" Batman is constantly upstaged by Ledger's "sinister and frightening" performance, which he says is the film's one element of success. Denby concludes that Ledger is "mesmerising" in every scene. While Denby has praise for Pfister's cinematography, he does not rate the film as a remarkable piece of craftmanship. He puts forward that while a lot happens in the film, it is often difficult to follow due to the close, dark photography and editing. Denby says the film is too grim and is seemingly "jammed together". He surmises that the "heavy-handed" score and "thunderous" violence only serve to coarsen the property from Tim Burton's vision of the franchise into a "hyperviolent summer action spectacle", and that the film embraces the themes of terror that it purports to scrutinize.

The Dark Knight was ranked the 15th greatest film in history on Empire's 2008 list of the "500 Greatest Movies of All Time", based upon the weighted votes of 10,000 readers, 150 film directors, and 50 key film critics. Heath Ledger's interpretation of the Joker was also ranked number three on Empire's 2008 list of the "100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time".

The film appeared on many critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008.

Other critics have mentioned the theme of the triumph of evil over good. Harvey Dent is seen as Gotham's "White Knight" in the beginning of the film but ends up becoming seduced to evil. The Joker, on the other hand, is seen as the representation of anarchy and chaos. He has no motive, no orders, and no desires but to cause havoc and "watch the world burn". The terrible logic of human error is another theme as well. The ferry scene displays how humans can easily be enticed by iniquity.

So far, The Dark Knight has been nominated for over 150 awards recognizing several aspects of the film, (most notably the performance of Ledger), more than any other film of 2008. Of these nominations, the film has won 92.

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Léon (film)

Léon poster.JPG

Léon (also known as The Professional and Léon: The Professional) is a French 1994 dramatic crime film written and directed by French director Luc Besson. It stars Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and a young Natalie Portman in her first starring role.

Léon (Jean Reno) is a hitman (or "cleaner" as he would rather be known) living a solitary life in New York City's Little Italy. Most of his work comes from a mafioso named Tony (Danny Aiello), who operates from the "Supreme Macaroni Company" retail store. Leon spends his idle time engaging in calisthenics, nurturing a houseplant that early on he describes as his "best friend", and (in one scene) watching old Gene Kelly musicals.

One day he meets Mathilda Lando (Natalie Portman), a twelve-year-old girl with a black eye, living with her dysfunctional family in an apartment down the hallway. Mathilda's father (Michael Badalucco) attracts the ire of corrupt DEA agents, who have been paying him to store cocaine in his residence, after they discover that he has been stealing some of the drugs for himself. A cadre of DEA agents storm the building, led by a ragged and drug-addicted Norman "Stan" Stansfield (Gary Oldman), murders Mathilda's entire family, missing her only because she was out shopping when they arrived. When she returns with the groceries she was sent to buy and notices the carnage, she calmly continues down the hallway past the open door of her family's apartment, and receives sanctuary from a reluctant Léon.

Mathilda, who soon discovers that Léon is a hitman, begs Léon to become her caretaker, and to teach her his skills as a "cleaner": she wants to avenge the murder of her four-year-old brother, the only member of her family that she actually loved. In return, she offers herself as a maid and teacher, remedying Léon's illiteracy. Léon hesitantly accepts her offer and the two begin working together, slowly building an emotional attachment between one another, with Léon becoming a friend and father figure. As they work together, Mathilda admits to Léon several times that she is falling in love with him, but he says nothing back.

As Mathilda increases her confidence and experience, she locates Stansfield, follows him to his office in the DEA building in an attempt to kill him, only to be ambushed by Stansfield in a bathroom. Léon, discovering her intentions after reading a note left for him by Mathilda, rushes to the building and rescues her, shooting two of Stansfield's men in the process.

Stansfield is enraged that what he calls the "Italian hitman" has gone rogue and is killing his own men. He confronts Tony and threatens him into surrendering Léon's whereabouts. One day, as Mathilda returns home from grocery shopping, an NYPD ESU (Emergency Service Unit) team, sent by Stansfield, takes her hostage and attempts to infiltrate Léon's apartment. Léon ambushes the ESU team and takes one of their members hostage, rapidly bartering him for Mathilda's freedom. As they slink back into the apartment, Léon rips open the wall to get at a small ventilation shaft in the kitchen, he throws down his plant and sends Mathilda down. He then tells her that he loves her, and she goes down to safety moments before a rifle grenade rips into the apartment.

In the chaos following the explosion, Léon sneaks out of the apartment building disguised as a wounded ESU officer. On his way out of the building, Léon is noticed by Stansfield, who silently follows him before shooting him from behind. Stansfield, looming over the dying Léon in a pool of his own blood, finally introduces himself. Léon hands Stansfield an object, which he explains is "from Mathilda". Stansfield opens his hand and recognizes it as the pin from a grenade. He proceeds to open Léon's vest to see not only the now-pinless grenade, but numerous others strapped to his chest. Stansfield mutters, "Oh, shit" right before a massive explosion kills them both and sends shock waves through the neighborhood.

While most of the interior footage was shot in France, the rest of the film was shot on location in New York City.

The film was rather well received both critically and commercially. On Rottentomatoes.com, the film is "certified fresh" with an aggregate rating of 73% of reviews being positive. The film is currently ranked as the 35th greatest film ever made, according to IMDB's top 250 list, as voted by users.

There is also a long version of the film, referred to as "international version" or "version intégrale". It is sometimes called the "Director's Cut" but Besson refers to the original version as the Director's Cut and the new version as "The Long Version". The name "international version" comes from the fact that only this version was released in Japan.

It has approximately 23 minutes of additional footage that was removed from the original release. The additional material is found in the film's second act, and it depicts more of the interactions and relationship between Léon and Mathilda. In one scene, Mathilda plays Russian roulette to try to get Léon to admit he loves her; in another, she openly asks him to be her first lover, but he refuses, although they do share a bed. In another scene he teaches Mathilda the "Ring Trick" which involves knocking on people's door and breaking the chain after the occupant opens the door, and in the event of the occupant fighting back or refusing to open, and becomes violent he throws a grenade, when he does he shows Mathilda the pin. There is also a detailed scene in which Leon teaches Mathilda where to shoot the target, demonstrating on a cocaine dealer and maker, and that you should never shoot them in the face, because doing so would render identification impossible. After he kills the dealer Mathilda burns all the drugs using lighter fluid. He also refers to a past romantic relationship he once had that ended in tragedy that started his career as a hitman. Most of the other material in the longer cut involves Mathilda accompanying Léon on several of his hits, to further her training.

The "version longue" of Léon was shown in 1996 in French cinemas (followed by VHS), and released—as "version intégrale"—on LaserDisc and later Region 2 DVD in Japan. It appeared as the "international version" on Region 1 DVD in North America in 2000, and was re-issued in 2005.

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Christopher Walken

Bruce Dickinson (Christopher Walken) delivering the trademark line: "I gotta have more cowbell!...baby."

Christopher Walken (born March 31, 1943) is an Academy Award winning American actor of stage and screen, on which he has spent more than 50 years. A prolific actor, he has appeared in over 100 movie and television roles, notably including A View to a Kill, At Close Range, The Deer Hunter, King of New York, Batman Returns and Pulp Fiction, as well as music videos by recording artists such as Madonna and Fat Boy Slim.

Walken gained a cult following in the 1990s as the Archangel Gabriel in the first three The Prophecy movies, as well as his frequent guest-host appearances on Saturday Night Live his most notable being Bruce Dickinson in the "More Cowbell" sketch. In the United States, films featuring Walken have grossed over $1.8 billion. He has also played the main role in the Shakespeare plays Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Coriolanus. His most famous film roles were Nikanor "Nick" Chevotarevich in The Deer Hunter and in Pulp Fiction, as Captain Koons, a Vietnam War veteran, which has since become a pop culture icon, despite his appearance being less than ten minutes in length.

Walken debuted as a film director and script writer with the short (five-minute) film Popcorn Shrimp in 2001. He also wrote and acted the main role in a play about Elvis Presley titled Him in 1995.

Walken was born Ronald Walken (named after actor Ronald Colman) into a Methodist family in Astoria, Queens, New York. His mother, Rosalie, was a Scottish immigrant, and his father, Paul Walken, emigrated from Germany. Both of his parents were bakers. Restaurateur and TV cooking show host Lidia Bastianich worked at the Walkens' bakery as a young girl.

Influenced by their mother's own dreams of stardom, he and his brothers Kenneth and Glenn were child actors on television in the 1950s. Walken studied at Hofstra University on Long Island, but did not graduate. Walken initially trained as a dancer in musical theater before moving on to dramatic roles in theater and then film.

Over the next 20 years, he appeared frequently on television, landed an experimental film role in Me and My Brother, and had a thriving career in theater. In 1964, he changed his name to "Christopher" at the suggestion of a friend who believed the name suited him better. Coincidentally, Walken's last credited role under the name "Ronnie" was a character with the name of "Chris". Nowadays, he prefers to be known informally as "Chris" instead of "Christopher".

Walken made his feature film debut with a small role opposite Sean Connery in Sidney Lumet's The Anderson Tapes in 1971. In 1972's The Mind Snatchers a.k.a The Happiness Cage, Walken played his first starring role. In this science fiction film, which deals with mind control and normalization, he plays a sociopathic American soldier stationed in Germany.

Woody Allen's 1977 film Annie Hall has Walken playing the suicidal brother of Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). In 1978, he appeared in Shoot the Sun Down, a western filmed in 1976 that costarred Margot Kidder. Along with Nick Nolte, Walken was considered by George Lucas for the part of Han Solo in Star Wars; the part ultimately went to Harrison Ford.

Walken won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the 1978 film The Deer Hunter. He plays a young Pennsylvania steelworker who is emotionally destroyed by the Vietnam War. To help achieve a gaunt appearance for the role, Walken ate nothing but bananas and rice for a week.

Walken's first film of the 1980s was the controversial Heaven's Gate, helmed by Deer Hunter director Michael Cimino. Walken also starred in the 1981 action adventure The Dogs of War, directed by John Irvin. Walken then played schoolteacher-turned-psychic Johnny Smith in David Cronenberg's 1983 adaptation of Stephen King's The Dead Zone. That same year, Walken also starred in Brainstorm alongside Natalie Wood and (in a minor role) his wife, Georgianne.

In 1985, Walken played a James Bond villain, Max Zorin, in A View to a Kill. Walken dyed his hair blond to befit Zorin's origins as a Nazi experiment. He also played the leading role of Whitley Strieber in 1989's Communion, an autobiographical film written by Streiber that was based on his claims that he and his family were subject to alien abductions.

At Close Range starred Walken as Brad Whitewood, a rural Pennsylvania crime boss who tries to bring his two sons into his empire. His character mostly based on Bruce Johnston.

In Biloxi Blues, Walken convincingly played an eccentric drill sergeant known for his stinging sarcasm and sharp wit, not dissimilar to his real life talents.

The Comfort of Strangers, an art house film directed by Paul Schrader, had the distinction of providing a role for Walken that disturbed even him. He plays Robert, a decadent Italian aristocrat with extreme sexual tastes and murderous tendencies who lives with his wife (Helen Mirren) in Venice.

King of New York, directed by Abel Ferrara, stars Walken as ruthless New York City drug dealer Frank White—recently released from prison and set on reclaiming his criminal territory. In 1992, Walken again played a supporting villain in Batman Returns as millionaire industrialist Max Shreck. Walken's next major film role was opposite Dennis Hopper in True Romance, scripted by Quentin Tarantino. His so-called Sicilian scene has been hailed by critics as the best scene in the film and is the subject of four commentaries on the DVD. Walken has a supporting role in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction as a Vietnam veteran giving his dead comrade's son the family's prized possession—a gold watch—while explaining in graphic detail how he had hidden it from the Vietcong by smuggling it in his rectum, after the boy's father, in whose rectum the watch had previously been concealed, had died of dysentery. Also in 1992, Walken played Bobby, Cassandras manager in Waynes World 2.

Later in 1994, Walken starred in A Business Affair, a rare leading role for him in a romantic comedy. Walken manages to once again feature his trademark dancing scene as he performs the tango. In 1995, he appeared in Wild Side, The Prophecy and the modern vampire flick The Addiction, which was his second collaboration with director Abel Ferrara and writer Nicholas St. John. He also appeared in Nick of Time, which also stars Johnny Depp.

In the 1996 film Last Man Standing, Walken plays a sadistic gangster. That year, he played a prominent role in the video game Ripper, portraying Detective Vince Magnotta. Ripper made extensive use of real-time recorded scenes and a wide cast of celebrities in an interactive movie. In 1997, Walken starred in the comedy films Touch, Excess Baggage and had a minor role in the film Mousehunt. He also appeared in the drama/thriller film Suicide Kings which also filled with suspense and humor.

In 1998, Walken played an influential gay New York theater critic in John Turturro's film Illuminata.

In 1999, Walken played Calvin Webber in the romantic comedy Blast from the Past. Webber is a brilliant but eccentric Caltech nuclear physicist whose fears of a nuclear war lead him to build an enormous fallout shelter beneath his suburban home. The same year, he appeared as the Headless Horseman in Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci.

Walken also starred in three music videos in the 1990s. His first video role was as the Angel of Death in Madonna's 1993 "Bad Girl"; the second appearance was in Skid Row's "Breakin' Down" video and his third was in Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice video.

In 2000, Walken was cast as the lead, along with Faith Prince, in James Joyce's The Dead on Broadway. A "play with music," The Dead featured music by Shaun Davey, conducted by Charles Prince, with music coordination and percussion by Tom Partington. James Joyce's The Dead won a Tony Award that year for Best Book for a Musical.

Walken had a notable music video performance in 2001 with Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice. Directed by Spike Jonze, it won six MTV awards in 2001 and—in a list of the top 100 videos of all time compiled from a survey of musicians, directors, and music industry figures conducted by UK music TV channel VH1—won Best Video of All Time in April 2002. In this video, Walken performs a tap dance around the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles; Walken also helped choreograph the dance. Also in 2001, Walken played a gangster who was in the witness protection program in the David Spade comedy Joe Dirt and an eccentric film director in America's Sweethearts.

Walken played Frank Abagnale, Sr. in Catch Me If You Can. It is inspired by the story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., a con artist who passed himself off as several identities and forged millions of dollars worth of checks. His portrayal earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Walken also had a part in the 2003 action comedy film The Rundown, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Seann William Scott, in which he plays a ruthless despot. He was nominated for a Razzie (Worst Supporting Actor) in 2002's The Country Bears and in two 2003 movies, Gigli and Kangaroo Jack. Walken also starred in the Ben Stiller/Jack Black film, "Envy" in which he plays J-Man, a crazy guy who helps Ben Stiller's character.

Most recently, he played the role of Morty, a sympathetic inventor who's more than meets the eye in the comedy Click, and he also appeared in Man of the Year, with Robin Williams and Lewis Black. He costarred in the 2007 film adaptation Hairspray—where he is seen singing and dancing in a romantic duet with John Travolta—and he portrayed the eccentric but cruel crime lord and Ping-Pong enthusiast Feng in the 2007 comedy Balls of Fury, opposite Dan Fogler.

Walken is currently in the movie Five Dollars a Day, in which he plays a con man proud of living like a king on $5 a day. He recently completed filming on The Lonely Maiden, a comedy costarring Morgan Freeman, about security guards in an art museum.

Walken can now be found in Universal Studios' "Disaster" attraction (formerly "Earthquake and the Magic of Effects"). Walken portrays the owner of "Disaster Studios" and encourages guests to be extras in his latest film, "Mutha Nature." Walken is projected on a clear screen, much like a life-size hologram, and interacts with the live-action talent.

Walken has attracted a strong cult following as an actor. He is often imitated for his deadpan effect, sudden off-beat pauses, and strange speech rhythm. He is revered for his quality of danger and menace, but his unpredictable deliveries and expressions make him invaluable in comedy as well. He has been parodied on Dave the Barbarian by an unusual unicorn named Twinkle (his dog is named Twinkle). Walken is also noted for turning down movie roles only rarely, having stated in interviews that he will decline a role only if he is simply too busy on other projects to take it. He regards each role as a learning experience. In the long-running media franchises of both Batman and James Bond he is the only man to play a villain in both of them (with the exception of voice actors).

He is one of the most frequently impersonated actors in Hollywood. Notable Walken impressionists include Johnny Depp, Jake Gyllenhaal, Eddie Izzard, Jay Mohr, Kevin Pollak, Kevin Spacey, and Jeff Davis. He is also frequently referenced in various other works of pop culture, such as in the Fountains of Wayne song "Hackensack." Walken remains one of the most popular portrayers of villains among film fans, with a page dedicated entirely to him on the movievillains.com website. MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch aired a match between Walken and Gary Oldman to determine who was the greatest cinematic villain. On February 15, 2008, he accepted Harvard's award as Hasty Pudding Man of the Year.

Walken has hosted the comedy sketch and satire TV series Saturday Night Live seven times, and has a standing offer from Lorne Michaels to host the show whenever Walken's schedule permits. One of his more famous SNL performances was a spoof of "Behind the Music," featuring a recording session of Blue Öyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) the Reaper." In the guise of record producer Bruce Dickinson (not to be confused with Bruce Dickinson, lead singer for Iron Maiden), Walken makes passionate and slightly unhinged speeches to the band and is obsessed with getting "more cowbell" into the song. He is also known for his part in one of Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch's "The Lovers" skits. His character brought a lady friend to meet The Lovers, and she is instead subjected to learning the past history that Walken's character shares with The Lovers. He also divulges private information about his sex life with his girlfriend, much to her horror ("She ventured places no lover had dared go before...specifically, the ear canal").

Walken also spoofed his role from The Dead Zone in a sketch titled "Ed Glosser: Trivial Psychic," in which the title character had the ability to accurately predict meaningless, trivial future events ("You're going to get an ice cream headache. It's going to hurt real bad—right here—for eight, nine seconds.").

He also spoofed his role from A View to a Kill in a sketch titled "Lease with an Option to Kill," in which he reprised his role as Max Zorin. Zorin, who had taken on some qualities of other notable Bond villains (Blofeld's cat and suit, Emilio Largo's eye patch), was upset that everything was going wrong for him. His lair was still under construction; his henchmen had jump suits that didn't fit; and his shark tank lacked sharks, having a giant sea sponge instead. A captive James Bond, portrayed by Phil Hartman, offered to get Zorin "a good deal" on the abandoned Blofeld volcanic lair if Zorin let him go, to which he reluctantly agreed.

In another appearance, he performed a song and dance rendition of the Irving Berlin standard, "Let's Face the Music and Dance." Finally, there was the "Colonel Angus" sketch, laden with ribald double entendres, in which Walken played a dishonored Confederate officer. Walken's SNL appearances have proved so popular that he is one of the few SNL hosts for whom a Best of... SNL DVD is available (other celebrity hosts who have a Best of... SNL DVD are Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, and Alec Baldwin), an honor usually reserved only for SNL cast members.

Up until 2003, Walken had a recurring SNL sketch called "The Continental," in which Walken played a "suave ladies' man" who in reality can't say or do anything to keep women from giving him the cold shoulder. Though he is outwardly chivalrous, his more perverted tendencies inevitably drive away his date over his pleading objections. For instance, he invites a woman to wash up in his bathroom; once she is inside, it becomes obvious that the bathroom mirror is a two-way mirror when the "Continental" is seen lighting up a cigarette. What distinguishes "The Continental" is that various ladies are never seen; the camera represents their point of view.

Walken most recently hosted Saturday Night Live on April 5, 2008, which was the first (and so far, only) time an episode hosted by Walken didn't have a "Continental" sketch or a monologue where he sings and dances.

The site, Walken2008.com, remains online.

Emails sent to the campaign are posted at Dear Christopher Walken.

Walken has a genetic condition called heterochromia, which is a difference in the color of each eye (one of his is blue and the other is brown).

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Prick Up Your Ears

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Prick Up Your Ears is a 1987 film about the playwright Joe Orton and his lover Kenneth Halliwell. The screenplay was written by Alan Bennett, based on the book by John Lahr. The film stars Gary Oldman as Orton, Alfred Molina as Halliwell, Wallace Shawn as Lahr and Vanessa Redgrave as Margaret "Peggy" Ramsay.

The film was directed by Stephen Frears.

The film tells the story of Orton and Halliwell in flashback, framed by sequences of Lahr researching the book upon which the film is based with Orton's literary agent, Peggy Ramsay. Orton and Halliwell's relationship is traced from its beginnings at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Orton starts out as the uneducated youth to Halliwell's older faux-sophisticate. As the relationship progresses, however, Orton grows increasingly confident in his talent while Halliwell's writing stagnates. They fall into a parody of a traditional married couple, with Orton as the "husband" and Halliwell as the long-suffering and increasingly ignored "wife" (a situation exacerbated by Orton's unwillingness, in 1960s England, to acknowledge having a male lover). Orton is commissioned to write a screenplay for The Beatles and Halliwell gets carried away in preparing for a meeting with the "Fab Four", but in the end Orton is taken away for a meeting on his own. Finally, a despondant Halliwell kills Orton and commits suicide.

Prick Up Your Ears received a positive critical reaction. Of the reviews collected from notable publications by review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an overall approval rating of 100 percent. Oldman's portrayal of Orton was particularly well received, earning critical praise and a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Actor.

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The Firm (1988 film)

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The Firm is a 1988 TV film directed by Alan Clarke and written by Al Ashton. The film is based on the activities of the Inter City Firm, football firm of West Ham United during the 1970s and 1980s although in the film the firm's name is changed slightly to become the Inter City Crew (ICC). Rival football fans battle it out on the streets in this powerful television drama starring Gary Oldman as Clive 'Bex' or 'Bexy' Bissel. The film is notable for having almost no musical score or diagetic music, save for Dean Martin's rendition of 'That's Amore' over the opening titles. The film features Phil Davis, Charles Lawson and Steve McFadden in his acting debut.

As with most of Clarke's films, the film was similarly praised and condemned for its depiction of violence. The film is often described as being among the best of the football hooligan genre of films. Its current rating on Internet Movie Database is 7.0 out of 10 with over 900 votes counted. It has not registered enough votes at either Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic to produce a rating.

The Firm is currently being re-made by Nick Love (Football Factory, The Business, Outlaw). It is due for release in spring 2009.

Bexy is a married man with a baby son and it is clear his wife does not approve of his activities as a football hooligan which provide contrast to his respectable job as an estate agent. Even when his baby son injures himself with a Stanley knife carelessly left around by Bexy he is unwilling to give up his interest in violence as he admits it gives him a buzz. Conversely, Bexy's father shows some degree of acceptance of his son's lifestyle and may have been involved in similar activities in his own era. Bexy uses his natural leadership qualities to cajole (sometimes to the extent of intimidating those less eager) and encourage his peers and plays a key role in organising trips to rival firms. He also has a vision of a national firm, which would join all the smaller firms into one. But his ideas are not accepted by other firm leaders.

Bexy and his fellow hooligans clearly only possess any kind of social status amongst their own groups and Bexy obviously relishes being looked up to and admired by the younger lads in his "firm". Bexy and his friends think of themselves as important, respected figures in their local community but Bexy's wife points out to him that the truth is somewhat different. Everyone thinks of him as a bit of a joke figure but because of their fear of his violent nature few are willing to point out to him that he isn't the working class hero he thinks he is.

Towards the end of the film the pointlessness and futility of being involved in football violence is characterised by the main character Bexy being shot dead by Yeti, the leader of "The Buccaneers" one of their rival firms during a violent clash. Despite the senseless killing of a family man with a child, Bexy's followers still regard him as a hero figure and claim that when they are fighting European thugs at a forthcoming tournament they will be doing so in memory of their dead leader. This part of the film shows the hooligans from three different firms, which were fighting each other not long ago. They claim that Bexy is a visionary that brought them together. So Bexy, a leader of a small firm and a not very well known hooligan, becomes a legend in the eyes of the other hooligans.

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Source : Wikipedia