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Joel Schumacher explains why he isn’t surprised by Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” success

Joel Schumacher explains why he isn’t surprised by Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” success (photo)

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When “The Dark Knight Rises” hits theaters next year, it will present the final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s record-breaking Batman trilogy that relaunched, redefined, and reinvigorated DC’s iconic superhero. And while there’s been no shortage of reboots on the big and small screens lately, few have been as successful as the “Inception” filmmaker’s take on Gotham’s favorite vigilante — especially when you consider the franchise’s status prior to Nolan’s arrival.

After finding success in 1995’s “Batman Forever,” which pitted the hero (played by Val Kilmer) against Riddler (Jim Carrey) and Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), director Joel Schumacher was convinced to return for a sequel. The resulting film, 1997’s critically panned “Batman & Robin,” was such an overwhelming disappointment that it became known as the film that “killed” the Batman franchise.

Thankfully, Nolan came along in 2005 with “Batman Begins” — a film that not only exorcised the character’s big-screen demons, but earned him praise from filmmakers throughout the industry for his inventive re-imagining of the shadowy crusader. One of those filmmakers happy to give credit where it’s due is Schumacher himself.

“Chris Nolan is one of my favorite directors,” Schumacher told IFC while discussing his upcoming film “Trespass,” starring Nicolas Cage. “Years ago I was doing press in Paris, and I was with Eli Richbourg. We were looking for a movie that wasn’t in French . . . and we saw this British film called ‘Following.’ It’s in black and white and it’s Chris Nolan’s first film, and . . . I just thought it was the work of a brilliant young director. So I always had him in the back of my mind, thinking, ‘We’re going to hear from this guy, big time.’ Then I saw ‘Memento’ and the promise was fulfilled very fast.”

“I think Chris Nolan is brilliant and I think Heath [Ledger] was extraordinary [in ‘The Dark Knight.’],” he added. “Chris is a master and he’s so young, and god knows what’s coming from him now.”

And from the sound of things, Schumacher is just as interested as the rest of us in seeing what Nolan has planned for “The Dark Knight Rises.”

“I always look forward to what he’s going to do next,” he said. “Unlike some of my peers in the business, I am inspired by films I love, not jealous of them. When I see a film that disappoints — and I’m sure I’ve made some of them — that kind of depresses me. I don’t go to the theater to dislike a movie, and I don’t think the audience does either.”

“Actually, it’s critics that go to a movie to dislike it,” he laughed. “They don’t go as fans.”

And while he’s had to take some flak over the years for “Batman & Robin,” his first Batman film still holds a place in his heart.

As he sees it, every director who’s had a chance to get behind the camera for a Batman movie has created a version of the character that is quintessentially their own — whether it’s Nolan’s Batman, his Batman, or the version presented by their predecessor, Tim Burton.

“I think that Tim Burton’s Batman movies are so Tim Burton,” he explained. “And I think ‘Batman Forever’ is really my movie.”

What do you think of Schumacher’s comments regarding Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…