DID YOU READ

“The Dark Knight Rises” trailer offers explosive look at Nolan’s grand finale

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The first trailer for “The Dark Knight Rises” has finally arrived, offering fans their first, official look at the preview for next year’s trilogy-ending finale to Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise.

Promising to bring an “end” to the legend, the trailer offers quite a bit of footage showcasing Bane’s explosive assault on Gotham, and hints that Bruce Wayne’s life will be forever changed by impending events.

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Along with some shots of Tom Hardy as the mask-wearing Bane, we also get a look at Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle — though there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of her feline-friendly alter ego, Catwoman. There’s also a quick shot of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, a character whose role in the film remains a mystery to comic fans and cinephiles alike.

The new trailer also offers an example of an element of “The Dark Knight Rises” that has already received some criticism: Hardy’s dialogue as Bane. Many who attended the recent screenings of “The Dark Knight Rises” prologue voiced some concern that Bane’s garbled voice made it difficult to understand the character’s dialogue.

Oh, and one final note: the trailer also provides a great look at what all of that filming in Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field was leading up to, and even features a cameo from Steelers player Hines Ward in a wild, mid-game demolition scene.

You can check out the trailer over at the Apple website, and keep an eye on IFC.com for a list of Five Things We Didn’t See Yet (But Want To) in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Underworld

Under Your Spell

10 Otherworldly Romances That’ll Melt Your Heart

Spend Valentine's Day weekend with IFC's Underworld movie marathon.

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Photo Credit: Screen Gems/courtesy Everett Collection

Romance takes many forms, and that is especially true when you have a thirst for blood or laser beams coming out of your eyes.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a werewolf, a superhero, a clone, a time-traveler, or a vampire, love is the one thing that infects us all.  Read on to find out why Romeo and Juliet have nothing on these supernatural star-crossed lovers, and be sure to catch IFC’s Underworld movie marathon this Valentine’s Day weekend.

1. Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine, X-Men series

The X-Men franchise is rife with romance, but the steamiest “ménage à mutant” may just be the one between Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Their triangle is a complicated one as Jean finds herself torn between the two very different men while also trying to control her darker side, the Phoenix. This leads to Jean killing Cyclops and eventually getting stabbed through her heart by Wolverine in X-Men: The Last Stand. Yikes!  Maybe they should change the name to Ex-Men instead?


2. Willow/Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon gave audiences some great romances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer — including the central triangle of Buffy, Angel, and Spike — but it was the love between witches Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) that broke new ground for its sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a LGBT relationship.

Willow is smart and confident and isn’t even sure of her sexuality when she first meets Tara at college in a Wiccan campus group. As the two begin experimenting with spells, they realize they’re also falling for one another and become the show’s most enduring, happy couple. At least until Tara’s death in season six, a moment that still brings on the feels.


3. Selene/Michael, Underworld series

The Twilight gang pales in comparison (both literally and metaphorically) to the Lycans and Vampires of the stylish Underworld franchise. If you’re looking for an epic vampire/werewolf romance set amidst an epic vampire/werewolf war, Underworld handily delivers in the form of leather catsuited Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and shaggy blonde hunk Michael (a post-Felicity Scott Speedman). As they work together to stop the Vampire/Lycan war, they give into their passions while also kicking butt in skintight leather. Love at first bite indeed.


4. Spider-man/Mary Jane Watson, Spider-man

After rushing to the aid of beautiful girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the Amazing Spider-man is rewarded with an upside-down kiss that is still one of the most romantic moments in comic book movie history. For Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), the shy, lovable dork beneath the mask, his rain-soaked makeout session is the culmination of years of unrequited love and one very powerful spider bite. As the films progress, Peter tries pushing MJ away in an attempt to protect her from his enemies, but their web of love is just too powerful. And you know, with great power, comes great responsibility.


5. Molly/Sam, Ghost

When it comes to supernatural romance, you really can’t beat Molly and Sam from the 1990 hit film Ghost. Demi Moore goes crazy for Swayze like the rest of us, and the pair make pottery sexier than it’s ever been.

When Sam is murdered, he’s forced to communicate through con artist turned real psychic, Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg in her Academy Award-winning role) to warn Molly she is still in danger from his co-worker, Carl (a pre-Scandal Tony Goldwyn). Molly doesn’t believe Oda is telling the truth, so Sam proves it by sliding a penny up the wall and then possessing Oda so he and Molly can share one last romantic dance together (but not the dirty kind). We’d pay a penny for a dance with Patrick Swayze ANY day.


6. Cosima/Delphine, Orphan Black

It stands to reason there would be at least one complicated romance on a show about clones, and none more complicated than the one between clone Cosima (Tatiana Maslany) and Dr. Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu) on BBC America’s hit drama Orphan Black.

Cosima is a PhD student focusing on evolutionary developmental biology at the University of Minnesota when she meets Delphine, a research associate from the nefarious Dyad Institute, posing as a fellow immunology student. The two fall in love, but their happiness is brief once Dyad and the other members of Clone Club get involved. Here’s hoping Cosima finds love in season four of Orphan Black. Girlfriend could use a break.


7. Aragorn/Arwen, Lord of the Rings

On a picturesque bridge in Rivendell amidst some stellar mood-lighting and dreamy Elvish language with English subtitles for us non-Middle Earthlings, Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) bind their souls to one another, pledging to love each other no matter what befalls them.

Their courtship is a matter of contention with Arwen’s father, Elrond (Hugo Weaving), who doesn’t wish to see his daughter suffer over Aragorn’s future death. The two marry after the conclusion of the War of the Ring, with Aragorn assuming his throne as King of Gondor, and Arwen forgoing her immortality to become his Queen. Is it too much to assume they asked Frodo to be their wedding ring-bearer?


8. Lafayette/Jesus, True Blood

True Blood quickly became the go-to show for supernatural sex scenes featuring future Magic Mike strippers (Joe Manganiello) and pale Nordic men with washboard abs (Hi Alexander Skarsgård!), but honestly, there was a little something for everyone, including fan favorite Bon Temps medium, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis).

In season three, Lafayette met his mother’s nurse, Jesus, and the two began a relationship. As they spend more time together and start doing V (short for Vampire Blood), they learn Jesus is descended from a long line of witches and that Lafayette himself has magical abilities. However, supernatural love is anything but simple, and after the pair join a coven, Lafayette becomes possessed by the dead spirit of its former leader. This relationship certainly puts a whole new spin on possessive love.


9. Nymphadora Tonks/Remus Lupin, Harry Potter series

There are lots of sad characters in the Harry Potter series, but Remus Lupin ranks among the saddest. He was bitten by a werewolf as a child, his best friend was murdered and his other best friend was wrongly imprisoned in Azkaban for it, then THAT best friend was killed by a Death Eater at the Ministry of Magic as Remus looked on. So when Lupin unexpectedly found himself in love with badass Auror and Metamorphmagus Nymphadora Tonks (she prefers to be called by her surname ONLY, thank you very much), pretty much everyone, including Lupin himself, was both elated and cautiously hopeful about their romance and eventual marriage.

Sadly, the pair met a tragic ending when both were killed by Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts, leaving their son, Teddy, orphaned much like his godfather Harry Potter. Accio hankies!


10. The Doctor/Rose Tyler, Doctor Who

Speaking of wolves, Rose “Bad Wolf” Tyler (Billie Piper) captured the Doctor’s hearts from the moment he told her to “Run!” in the very first episode of the re-booted Doctor Who series. Their affection for one another grew steadily deeper during their travels in the TARDIS, whether they were stuck in 1950s London, facing down pure evil in the Satan Pit, or battling Cybermen.

But their relationship took a tragic turn during the season two finale episode, “Doomsday,” when the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose found themselves separated in parallel universes with no way of being reunited (lest two universes collapse as a result of a paradox). A sobbing Rose told a holographic transmission of the Doctor she loved him, but before he could reply, the transmission cut out, leaving our beloved Time Lord (and most of the audience) with a tear-stained face and two broken hearts all alone in the TARDIS.

Christian Bale attacked by Chinese police

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While in China promoting his upcoming film (and Chinese Oscar contender) “The Flowers of War,” Christian Bale was punched at and prevented from visiting blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng. The actor traveled to conduct an informal meet and greet with Guangcheng and brought CNN along for the ride, but were stopped outside the man’s village by guards preventing anyone from entering or exiting the area.

“Why can I not visit this free man?” Bale says repeatedly in the tape, but guards would not allow “The Dark Knight Rises” star through and even swung punches in an attempt to force him to drop his handheld camera. The CNN crew and Bale eventually managed to escape the guards, but a 40-minute vehicle pursuit then followed.


To some extent, Bale and CNN should have (and likely did) expect this type of behavior. Guangcheng rose to fame in the 1990s as a legal advocate for those he called victims of the abusive practices by China’s family-planning officials. They eventually imprisoned him to more than four years in prison for allegedly damaging property and disrupting traffic in protest, though he maintains that he is not guilty.

Since Guangcheng’s release from prison in September 2010, he and his family have been held basically under house arrest by dozens of Chinese guards. He is watched around the clock, and no one is allowed to enter or leave. Bale became aware of Gunagcheng’s situation while he was filming “The Flowers of War” in China, and wanted to do his part to help.

“This doesn’t come naturally to me, this is not what I actually enjoy — it isn’t about me,” he told CNN. “But this was just a situation that said I can’t look the other way.”

Bale is calling for the United States to take a more active role in helping Guangcheng, who he has never met. “Really, what else can I do to help Chen?” he added.

Do you support Bale’s endeavors? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Christopher Nolan on “The Dark Knight Rises” villain Bane and the 8 year time leap

Christopher Nolan on “The Dark Knight Rises” villain Bane and the 8 year time leap (photo)

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There are plenty of questions we have about “The Dark Knight Rises.” Who are Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard really playing? What function does Catwoman have within the film? Will Bane actually break the Bat? And just how distorted will Christian Bale‘s voice be this time around?

Unfortunately, it seems highly unlikely that any of those questions will be answered any time soon (like, before the film’s July 20 release date). But what director Christopher Nolan is ready to talk about is his new main villain, Bane. The Los Angeles Times caught up with him recently, and Nolan was quick to admit he didn’t know much about Bane before production on “The Dark Knight Rises” started.

“I only knew him by name, I wasn’t familiar with his back story. He’s a very cool character. And getting an actor like Tom to take it on, you know you’re going to get something very special,” Nolan said of actor Tom Hardy. “Tom is somebody who really knows how to put character into every gesture, every aspect of his physicality in the way that great actors can. He’s a very, very physical actor. He transforms himself and it’s there in every movement.”

That’s important to Bane as a character because, as Nolan put it, “physicality is the thing.” He explained that Hardy looked at Bane as a character “from the outside as well as the inside” so he could truly be able to understand him and be aware of him as he brings Bane to the big screen.

Nolan went on to explain how Bane will be differentiated from Heath Ledger’s The Joker in “The Dark Knight.”

“With a good villain you need an archetype, you know, you need the extreme of some type of villainy. The Joker is obviously a particular archetype of diabolical, chaotic anarchy and has a devilish sense of humor. Bane, to me, is something we haven’t dealt with in the films,” Nolan said. “We wanted to do something very different in this film. He’s a primarily physical villain, he’s a classic movie monster in a way — but with a terrific brain. I think he’s a fascinating character. I think people are going to get a kick out of what we’ve done with him.”

In addition, Nolan addressed the fact that “The Dark Knight Rises” takes place eight years after the end of “The Dark Knight.” He underlined that it’s not a mysterious element of the movie, and said it will be explained early on in the exposition. Ultimately, it was a way to show that the sacrifices Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon made at the end of “The Dark Knight” were worth the repercussions.

“For Batman and Commissioner Gordon, there’s a big sacrifice, a big compromise, at the end of the ‘The Dark Knight’ and for that to mean something, that sacrifice has to work and Gotham has to get better in a sense. They have to achieve something for the ending of that film — and the feeling at the end of that film — to have validity,” Nolan said. “Their sacrifice has to have meaning and it takes time to establish that and to show that, and that’s the primary reason we did that. It’s a time period that is not so far ahead that we would have to do crazy makeup or anything — which I think would be distracting — but it gave them something to get their teeth into.”

Nolan went on to describe Bale’s Batman as being a man “who has been frozen in this moment in time with nowhere to go.” Theorists should have a field day trying to figure out what Nolan meant by that cryptic statement.

Are you excited for Bane to be “The Dark Knight Rises'” villain? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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