Batman Decoded: Perspectives on The Dark Knight Rises

With The Dark Knight Rises, director Christopher Nolan completed the epic triptych he began with Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008). An experienced filmmaker before these films clapped on more awards, Nolan explained his choice to take up the stagnated Batman series: “Superheroes fill a gap in the pop culture psyche, similar to the role of Greek mythology. There isn’t really anything else that does the job in modern terms. For me, Batman is the one that can most clearly be taken seriously” [1].

We too are strong Batman exclusivists and think Nolan’s films bring to life the hero’s mythic potential in important ways. In this article, Airspace editors analyze and critique Christopher Nolan’s latest film from the perspectives of social justice, psychology, and cinematography.

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Talking Bad: S5E6 “Buyout” in Discussion

On August 19th, S5E6 of Breaking Bad, “Buyout,” aired. And it changed the way we viewed Walter and the series up to that point. The Airspace’s resident Breaking Bad fanatics Tony Russo and Vikram Murthi got together with Blake J. Graham for a brief, moderated, yet in-depth, discussion of the episode and what its position within the series.

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Robbery & Loco-motives—S5/E5: “Dead Freight”

With an ongoing series of cold openings and thrilling twists, Breaking Bad showrunner Vince Gilligan has done enough to merit the nickname M. Night Gilligan, though this week’s episode alone was more skilled than any Shyamalan move in recent memory. This week’s opening involved a boy on a motorbike picking up a tarantula in the desert, and just before he speeds off, we can hear a train whistle. The stage for a heart-pounding Western is set.

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The State of Supermen Pt. II: The Golden Age

If the modern superhero film turning into assembly-line product is what should not happen to the superhero subgenre, then what should happen? Studios should take a look at what made the most memorable superhero movies truly great: the guiding vision of a talented filmmaker. Like any art, film is fundamentally a medium for an artist’s personal expression, with the director as the primary storyteller. Take creative control away from a director, and more often than not you’re left with a film without a distinctive voice or perspective, and therefore without a soul. Superhero movies need this perspective if they’re to represent the most prevalent of all modern mythmaking figures. Just as we identify great variations on heroes in the comics by their authors (Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Stan Lee) and their perspectives, great variations on superhero movies bear the mark of their directors.

Read more on “The State of Supermen.

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The State of Supermen Pt. I: The Gilded Age

With the release of The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan’s highly ambitious, consistently masterful Batman Trilogy has ended, standing head and shoulders above competition as the highlight of what could be referred to as a golden age of superhero movies. After all, the comic book adaptation has become the predominant trend in modern blockbuster filmmaking. But if Nolan’s films have brought the comic-book movie to new heights, why have so few superhero films tried to match them? It’s not as if Iron Man or Thor’s stories don’t have potential to be great movies. But there’s a decreasing level of ambition in most recent comic-book adaptations. It isn’t that there aren’t a number of great directors willing to put their own stamp on the material. Rather, it has more to do with a modern version of the Classic Hollywood studio system that gives projects out to workmanlike filmmakers, limits creativity of great filmmakers, and displays an extraordinary lack of imagination in restarting franchises.

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11 Untold Stories of Bilbo Baggins for Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy

Peter Jackson, famously known for directing the award-winning Lord of The Rings trilogy ten years ago, has such a love for halflings that he simply cannot let Tolkien’s universe alone. In keeping with hints dropped at Comic-Con earlier this month, Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of The Hobbit will now be divided among three films. On Monday, July 30, Jackson issued a statement: “I’d like to announce that two films will become three.”

Since Jackson will need to restart production to shoot enough film for a third installment, I implore Petey J. to consider including the following previously untold stories from Tolkien’s archives.

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Moving Forward S5/E2: “Madrigal”

This episode, then, continues tying up the loose end, just like the last. In the wake of the earth-shattering fourth season finale, Breaking Bad’s dedication to closing the plot holes is admirable, however time-consuming. With the death of the Herr Schuler of Madrigal, the question of role of the massive multinational that backs Gustavo Fring, and that Hank actually uncovers as doing so, is closed. This is confirmed by a later Madrigal representative, stating that he is absolutely confident that Schuler was acting alone in his support of the meth trade. Sad that there won’t be a large corporation with a vendetta against Walt, but the story goes on. There are more loose ends to attend to.

More on S5/E2 of Breaking Bad.

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meth, lies, and videotape

Season 5 of Breaking Bad begins inside a Denny’s. With a shot from above, a plate of eggs, hash browns, and bacon cover a “Rethink Refreshment” placemat. Walter grabs the bacon and tears the flesh into pieces, rearranging the bits to spell “52.” It is, as he tells the waitress, his fifty-second birthday today. The reveal, as the camera moves to frame Walter White—the de facto hero of the series—is that he now has a full head of hair, a beard, and thick-framed glasses. Still in Albuquerque, Walter is living under the alias “Mr. Lambert” from New Hampshire, and an unknowable amount of time has passed*. He ends up purchasing an enormous gun in that Denny’s bathroom, promising to the salesman, “It’s never leaving town.”

Editor Tony Russo breaks down the Season 5 premiere of Breaking Bad.

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Breaking Bad: A New King’s Reign

It would be nearly impossible to shed enough praise upon Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan’s television drama on AMC. Through its 46 episode run, the series has proven itself as one of the most complete shows in TV history, combining superb writing, acting, and cinematography. Gilligan’s dedication to a meticulous narrative and tendency to push characters and the audience to oblivion make Breaking Bad one of the best shows to watch and to discuss. The Airspace is excited to announce that the fifth and final season of Breaking Bad will have full coverage—episodic reviews, video discussions, and debates galore—joining the ranks of Game of Thrones and Mad Men.

Breaking Bad begins with a small foundational concept: a high school chemistry teacher is diagnosed with cancer and begins cooking methamphetamine with a former student in Albuquerque, New Mexico in order to provide financial security for his family. But the cancer just serves as a chemical catalyst for a chain-reaction so entropic and required. The series details the trajectory of this decision, and proves choices have real consequences—effects that ruin, murder, rage, annihilate, and explode.

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Louis and Louie: Masculinity, Continuity, and the Thin Line Between Fact and Fiction

In the last few years, Louis C.K. has slowly advanced his claim as a modern philosopher masked as a comedian. He is one of the foremost artists of our generation, and his transformation from a “comic’s comic” to elder statesman—joining the ranks of George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Bill Hicks—has been incredibly exciting to watch as a longtime fan of C.K. and comedy. His material succeeds in being both honest to his experience and profound on a cosmic level, and C.K. as an individual has defined a new independent spirit, working on the edges of what is mainstream to create innovative art.

Since 2009, Louis has independently produced, written, and directed all of his projects and in an attempt to redefine standard Hollywood business practices in the digital era, released his last stand-up special, Live at the Beacon Theatre, directly to fans through C.K.’s website for a modest fee of $5.00. The experiment netted him more than $1 million, over 80% of which he gave away to charity and his staff. Since then, it seems like Louis has decided to release everything he creates through his website, recently announcing that it was the only place to buy tickets for his upcoming national tour, effectively removing the burden of engaging with dubious ticket distribution companies like Ticketmaster.

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Commentary Ticker

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    July 12, 2014 | 4:02 pm

    If you haven’t heard, electroencephalograms (EEGs) have been getting better. Way better. Artificial limbs and even video game controllers are utilizing the non-invasive brain-wave monitoring method to guide computers by thought. Now English startup This Place has developed a way to bring the technology to Google Glass, allowing Google’s wearable to read your mind. Well, […]

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    July 5, 2014 | 11:11 am

    Within the cultural centers of the world lurks a mechanical beast draped in silver spinning madly and capturing everything, sometimes even itself. In 2011 Google created the Art Project, an initiative to bring their Street View technology inside the cultural epicenters of the world. Google enlisted 17 world-class museums in short time. Institutions such as […]

  • Purple Mountunes Majesty: The Most Patriotic Playlist
    July 4, 2014 | 12:13 pm

    A while ago, Paul Lamere of The Echo Nest, a music-analysis company, took to finding each state’s most distinctive, yet popular, artist in a viral article. Spotify took note, purchasing Echo Nest for their analytical talent. Together, they’ve released a blog post documenting each state’s most distinctively American song creating a patriotic playlist for the […]

  • Emojinealogy: Where the Heck Emojis Come From
    July 2, 2014 | 3:10 pm

    On June 16th, the Unicode Consortium announced that 250 new emoji would be added to the list of symbols available to people’s cellphones and computer devices. The list of the new symbols can be found on Emojipedia. And no, the list doesn’t include the much needed minority representation, but it does include your favorite (?) […]

  • The Decline and Fall of the American Mall
    June 24, 2014 | 9:07 pm

    For ages, the shopping mall was as essential to the architecture of suburbia as Levittowns and freeways. But in an era of online shopping, these epicenters of brick and mortar yesteryear are quietly being abandoned across the country. While the U.S. currently has around 1,500, the number may soon shrink, and rapidly, leading to abandoned […]

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