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Cool Videos: Breaking down a scene of The Dark Knight

4 years agoby:

I'm not sure there's any film that inspires more undying fan loyalty than THE DARK KNIGHT, so to be featuring a profound criticism of the film is probably just asking for trouble.

I'm a fan myself, but I'm always curious to hear conflicting opinions and was very interested by this video made by critic Jim Emerson that breaks down a chase scene from the film. In his own words:

“We notice lapses in visual logic whether our brains register them consciously or not. I found this sequence utterly baffling the first time I saw it, and every subsequent time. At last, I now know exactly why.”

Does he have a point? Or is he just a film snob? Watch below and see what you think. See part 2 here if you want more.

Extra Tidbit: Eh, I still love it, and Nolan's style in general.
Source: Indiewire

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7:04PM on 09/14/2011
If there's one thing I can't stand about movies, it's the people who feel the need to comb through an entire movie for such tiny inconsistencies, that the whole experience is soured for them. Hey, I have an idea! Why not just sit back, relax, and be entertained, or don't be entertained. Quit picking it apart until there's nothing left, because that's no way to enjoy a piece of ENTERTAINMENT. It's a movie. GET OVER IT.
If there's one thing I can't stand about movies, it's the people who feel the need to comb through an entire movie for such tiny inconsistencies, that the whole experience is soured for them. Hey, I have an idea! Why not just sit back, relax, and be entertained, or don't be entertained. Quit picking it apart until there's nothing left, because that's no way to enjoy a piece of ENTERTAINMENT. It's a movie. GET OVER IT.
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1:48PM on 09/14/2011
Guys, just because he didn't like the action scenes in TDK doesn't mean he hated the film as a whole. People really get defensive when someone picks apart their favorite film but everyone should be open minded. This is just part 1 of 3 videos. The second video has him analyzing Salt, where he praises it. He's not a "tool." He has great things to say: [link] ">
Guys, just because he didn't like the action scenes in TDK doesn't mean he hated the film as a whole. People really get defensive when someone picks apart their favorite film but everyone should be open minded. This is just part 1 of 3 videos. The second video has him analyzing Salt, where he praises it. He's not a "tool." He has great things to say: [link]
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12:55PM on 09/15/2011
I still don't see the need to analyze an action scene frame by frame. If you don't like the action, then that's fine if had a problem with the effects, the realism or whatever. But, is it necessary to go through every single frame and pointing out tiny editing inconsistencies that any other movie has as well? I'm sure Citizen Kane has editing errors as well.
I still don't see the need to analyze an action scene frame by frame. If you don't like the action, then that's fine if had a problem with the effects, the realism or whatever. But, is it necessary to go through every single frame and pointing out tiny editing inconsistencies that any other movie has as well? I'm sure Citizen Kane has editing errors as well.
+2
7:18AM on 09/14/2011
I'd be curious to see his favorite action scene and have him explain why its great
I'd be curious to see his favorite action scene and have him explain why its great
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1:45PM on 09/14/2011
He did. There's a part 2 where he analyzes Salt and praises it where TDK falls short on: [link]
He did. There's a part 2 where he analyzes Salt and praises it where TDK falls short on: [link]
2:38AM on 09/14/2011
Was going to watch it, but saw it was 25 minutes long. I mean, maybe if it was Scorsese doing the breakdown, but not the co-writer of 'Its Pat: The Movie.'

Nolan's a work-in-progress when it comes to staging action sequences, he's not James Cameron or Michael Mann in that regard. But every movie he's made since Batman Begins has been a major step forward for him. With Inception being close to a Star Wars experience in its ability to coherently and cohesively keep together 2-4 concurrent
Was going to watch it, but saw it was 25 minutes long. I mean, maybe if it was Scorsese doing the breakdown, but not the co-writer of 'Its Pat: The Movie.'

Nolan's a work-in-progress when it comes to staging action sequences, he's not James Cameron or Michael Mann in that regard. But every movie he's made since Batman Begins has been a major step forward for him. With Inception being close to a Star Wars experience in its ability to coherently and cohesively keep together 2-4 concurrent action sequences at one time. If Inception is any indication of the game he's bringing to Batman vs. Bane, we're in for a treat gents.
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1:56AM on 09/14/2011

Useless helicopter

They should put radios in helicopters so when they see a fire obstructing the road a mile away they can tell the guys on the ground.
They should put radios in helicopters so when they see a fire obstructing the road a mile away they can tell the guys on the ground.
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12:53AM on 09/14/2011
I do think he is a bit nitpicky at times, but for the most part he's spot on. The action in that scene (and throughout the entire series) has always been poorly done.
I do think he is a bit nitpicky at times, but for the most part he's spot on. The action in that scene (and throughout the entire series) has always been poorly done.
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11:42PM on 09/13/2011

who the hell is this guy

lol i want my time back what a tool...
lol i want my time back what a tool...
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11:24PM on 09/13/2011

so

the guy's major beef with this is not knowing what side Dent and the swat officer are seating on inside the truck. Oh, man, the movie's ruined!
the guy's major beef with this is not knowing what side Dent and the swat officer are seating on inside the truck. Oh, man, the movie's ruined!
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+6
11:16PM on 09/13/2011
I tried to give this guy a shot and hear what he has to say, but breaking milliseconds of frames is too much, that you cant even enjoy any film you watch if just want to be a dick. critics talk like they understand cinema but none of them have made one
I tried to give this guy a shot and hear what he has to say, but breaking milliseconds of frames is too much, that you cant even enjoy any film you watch if just want to be a dick. critics talk like they understand cinema but none of them have made one
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9:08PM on 09/13/2011
The problem with this video is that it doesn't touch upon what really makes Dark Knight such a lacklustre mess: shonky dialogue, poorly drawn characters, stilted performances, and gaping plot holes. Take out Ledger and all you have is a half baked yet heinously overwritten homage to Heat with lifeless characters who talk in themes. Like Inception, the narrative expediency of the characters and situations borders on being comical. When all the hype dies down and this bizarre Nolan-cult loses its
The problem with this video is that it doesn't touch upon what really makes Dark Knight such a lacklustre mess: shonky dialogue, poorly drawn characters, stilted performances, and gaping plot holes. Take out Ledger and all you have is a half baked yet heinously overwritten homage to Heat with lifeless characters who talk in themes. Like Inception, the narrative expediency of the characters and situations borders on being comical. When all the hype dies down and this bizarre Nolan-cult loses its fervour, maybe we will all be able to watch his films objectively.
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8:41PM on 09/13/2011

Ummm Yeah...

1) Could you at least sinc up the sound for your little critique?

2) I saw the movie (and this scene) twice in the theaters and was never confused as to what was going on. Convoy with Dent----> Joker trying to blow up shit ----> Batman saves Dent. It was pretty straight forward. While this scene may not stand the scrutiny of a frame by frame analysis
taken as whole, I thought this scene was very well done and VERY EFFECTIVE within the narrative of the movie as a whole...

3)4:47
1) Could you at least sinc up the sound for your little critique?

2) I saw the movie (and this scene) twice in the theaters and was never confused as to what was going on. Convoy with Dent----> Joker trying to blow up shit ----> Batman saves Dent. It was pretty straight forward. While this scene may not stand the scrutiny of a frame by frame analysis
taken as whole, I thought this scene was very well done and VERY EFFECTIVE within the narrative of the movie as a whole...

3)4:47 "Would've been much more ominous just to go straight into this next shot"?!? Stop right there. That's a subjective criticism. When you make your Batman movie you can better cut to make your film "more ominous" until then stick to what is there...

4) Cutting to anonymous expendable police men "without context?" The context is the chase. The only reason is to imply they are in the car that is about be blown up/smashed/shot...

While this jerk off has some valid points they get lost in the minutia of his over analysis...
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8:18PM on 09/13/2011
Ebert does this kind of analysis, but for movies HE LOVES. Emerson doesn't like Nolan's style (not a crime) but he can't stop himself from writing about it. At this point, he's becoming famous for not liking somebody who's well-liked and it's a pathetic reason for being famous!
Ebert does this kind of analysis, but for movies HE LOVES. Emerson doesn't like Nolan's style (not a crime) but he can't stop himself from writing about it. At this point, he's becoming famous for not liking somebody who's well-liked and it's a pathetic reason for being famous!
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6:51PM on 09/13/2011
I've already got an idea on what I'd like to do with this video.
I've already got an idea on what I'd like to do with this video.
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6:44PM on 09/13/2011

Props Mr. Tassi

I personally love Nolan, but this guy's argument does have some merit to it. Its a more academic analysis of the film, but those can be way interesting (Though I never had any trouble understanding the action sequences in any of Nolan's movies). Ultimately I think movies should be judged on the immediate subjective reaction and emotional response that they evoke, but that just comes down to philosophy.
I personally love Nolan, but this guy's argument does have some merit to it. Its a more academic analysis of the film, but those can be way interesting (Though I never had any trouble understanding the action sequences in any of Nolan's movies). Ultimately I think movies should be judged on the immediate subjective reaction and emotional response that they evoke, but that just comes down to philosophy.
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+15
5:35PM on 09/13/2011
Ill tell you one action scene breakdown youll never hear of...

the one in this guys bedroom.
Ill tell you one action scene breakdown youll never hear of...

the one in this guys bedroom.
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6:45PM on 09/13/2011
lol
lol
5:28PM on 09/13/2011
He is over thinking it. Action scenes are part of the story in which the audience are engaged in with quick pace, and therefore providing the excitement and suspense it carries. I understand what he's trying to say, but action in film are suppose to make us engage without thought, but rather participate in simple viewing; as if we're are there witnessing it without any type of pensiveness. If there's a fight sequence, I'm not about to analyze how they fight, I would mostly likely would like to
He is over thinking it. Action scenes are part of the story in which the audience are engaged in with quick pace, and therefore providing the excitement and suspense it carries. I understand what he's trying to say, but action in film are suppose to make us engage without thought, but rather participate in simple viewing; as if we're are there witnessing it without any type of pensiveness. If there's a fight sequence, I'm not about to analyze how they fight, I would mostly likely would like to see who wins.
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-14
5:27PM on 09/13/2011

wowzas at all the Nolan fanboys in here

neat little video though, well put together so kudos to this guy.
neat little video though, well put together so kudos to this guy.
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5:05PM on 09/13/2011
Nolan delivers lackluster action scenes??? STOP THE PRESSES! No kidding, why is this news now? Nolan is a master storyteller, that's what makes his films good. The action usually is OK to flat out terrible (Batman Begins) but there are worse weaknesses to have. What's next to report? Ovens are HOT when they are turned on.
Nolan delivers lackluster action scenes??? STOP THE PRESSES! No kidding, why is this news now? Nolan is a master storyteller, that's what makes his films good. The action usually is OK to flat out terrible (Batman Begins) but there are worse weaknesses to have. What's next to report? Ovens are HOT when they are turned on.
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4:54PM on 09/13/2011
I'm not so much defending TDK as saying I'm pretty sure you could pick apart ANY action scene in most Hollywood blockbusters like this.
I'm not so much defending TDK as saying I'm pretty sure you could pick apart ANY action scene in most Hollywood blockbusters like this.
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4:26PM on 09/13/2011

This is the definition of Over-Analysis.

When he points out continuity and logistic errors, that's cool because those are some "wtf happened there" moments. But I think only film snobs would look at that scene and freak out about how difficult it was to follow, I never thought that, and nobody I know would ever say that.
When he points out continuity and logistic errors, that's cool because those are some "wtf happened there" moments. But I think only film snobs would look at that scene and freak out about how difficult it was to follow, I never thought that, and nobody I know would ever say that.
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4:12PM on 09/13/2011
I agree with this guy for the most part.
I agree with this guy for the most part.
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5:15PM on 09/13/2011
So you didn't enjoy the movie because of some minor editing errors?
So you didn't enjoy the movie because of some minor editing errors?
3:57PM on 09/13/2011
I loved the Dark Knight but I have to admit that the action scenes were lackluster. Nolan, in general, can't direct good action scenes and this analysis just proves it. The fact that there are continuation problems and breaks in spacial logic proves this. I don't know why people are giving this a negative rating when the points Emerson makes in the video (which are quite a lot) is reasonable.
I loved the Dark Knight but I have to admit that the action scenes were lackluster. Nolan, in general, can't direct good action scenes and this analysis just proves it. The fact that there are continuation problems and breaks in spacial logic proves this. I don't know why people are giving this a negative rating when the points Emerson makes in the video (which are quite a lot) is reasonable.
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5:17PM on 09/13/2011
But it's such a miniscule complaint to have. Criticism on Nolan's action directing I get, but not liking a scene over some editing inconsistences? Come on.
But it's such a miniscule complaint to have. Criticism on Nolan's action directing I get, but not liking a scene over some editing inconsistences? Come on.
3:42PM on 09/13/2011
Personally I agree with him. Nolan's action sequences lack any momentum in TDK and Inception. His lack of eye for action has been criticized heavily over the years so it's not like Emerson is in the minority here. I do think he makes some baseless attacks on the film in terms of the police officers being taken out.
Personally I agree with him. Nolan's action sequences lack any momentum in TDK and Inception. His lack of eye for action has been criticized heavily over the years so it's not like Emerson is in the minority here. I do think he makes some baseless attacks on the film in terms of the police officers being taken out.
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3:35PM on 09/13/2011

can't stand this guy

He's over complicating simple, ominous, beautifully shot scenes with logistics. Who cares where the front or the back of the van is?! All we need to know is he's in a van and things are probably about to get crazy. What does he want a map! God!! Can't stand him.
He's over complicating simple, ominous, beautifully shot scenes with logistics. Who cares where the front or the back of the van is?! All we need to know is he's in a van and things are probably about to get crazy. What does he want a map! God!! Can't stand him.
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+7
3:24PM on 09/13/2011
WHAT BULL!! this guy is a tool!! obviously sour becasuse he will never be as big as nolan and never make a masterpiece like dark knight, you can chop every film to bits ever made and find a ton of editing mishaps, who gives a shit? get a life!!
WHAT BULL!! this guy is a tool!! obviously sour becasuse he will never be as big as nolan and never make a masterpiece like dark knight, you can chop every film to bits ever made and find a ton of editing mishaps, who gives a shit? get a life!!
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+12
3:14PM on 09/13/2011
As a person who is trying to make their living in film and who knows every editing rule he brings up, I think all of his complaints are ridiculously minor. I wasn't confused once during this scene any of the times I've watched it.

That's 0 for 2 on the Press Play videos I've seen. They're nothing but quibbling by people who aren't smart or brave enough to make their own films.
As a person who is trying to make their living in film and who knows every editing rule he brings up, I think all of his complaints are ridiculously minor. I wasn't confused once during this scene any of the times I've watched it.

That's 0 for 2 on the Press Play videos I've seen. They're nothing but quibbling by people who aren't smart or brave enough to make their own films.
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+15
3:06PM on 09/13/2011
He complains that Dark Knight is full of characters being introduced only seconds before they're dispatched. So I assume he would like a 12-hour cut of the film containing the backstory on every expendable character.

Secondly, Lee Smith has been nominated for two Academy Awards, two ACE Eddie awards, three BAFTA awards, and has been the recipient of numerous other awards for his editing. Jim Emerson was nominated for a Razzy for writing "It's Pat: The Movie". Case closed. We win. Fuck this
He complains that Dark Knight is full of characters being introduced only seconds before they're dispatched. So I assume he would like a 12-hour cut of the film containing the backstory on every expendable character.

Secondly, Lee Smith has been nominated for two Academy Awards, two ACE Eddie awards, three BAFTA awards, and has been the recipient of numerous other awards for his editing. Jim Emerson was nominated for a Razzy for writing "It's Pat: The Movie". Case closed. We win. Fuck this guy.
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8:14PM on 09/13/2011
He wrote "It's Pat"? Oh my God...
He wrote "It's Pat"? Oh my God...
10:31PM on 09/13/2011
I looked him up to see if he's ever worked in the industry, and came across that writing credit. I wasn't sure if it was the same Jim Emerson, but it is. His profile on rogerebert.com confirms it.
I looked him up to see if he's ever worked in the industry, and came across that writing credit. I wasn't sure if it was the same Jim Emerson, but it is. His profile on rogerebert.com confirms it.
2:42PM on 09/13/2011
So basically he's saying that those tiny editing errors completely ruined his movie exprience. HAHAHA!

He's just another "Let's hate on The Dark Knight because I'm so cool" guys who have nothing better to do.
So basically he's saying that those tiny editing errors completely ruined his movie exprience. HAHAHA!

He's just another "Let's hate on The Dark Knight because I'm so cool" guys who have nothing better to do.
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+8
2:33PM on 09/13/2011
Maybe he should actually try making a movie versus taking cheap shots at universally highly regarded film. Visually, I felt Nolan conveyed all the visual information to let you know what is going on within the frame thus the scene and the reviewer simply seems jealous.
Maybe he should actually try making a movie versus taking cheap shots at universally highly regarded film. Visually, I felt Nolan conveyed all the visual information to let you know what is going on within the frame thus the scene and the reviewer simply seems jealous.
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2:31PM on 09/13/2011

Vomit

People like this make me want to vomit. Get over yourself. This movie grossed over a billion dollars and received several Oscar nominations and wins. What an ass
People like this make me want to vomit. Get over yourself. This movie grossed over a billion dollars and received several Oscar nominations and wins. What an ass
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2:20PM on 09/13/2011

Holy Over-Fucking-Analyzing, Batman!

Ok, C'mon, this is a joke...right? Are you really going to bluntly nitpick about some pretty insignificant camerawork details?

If you really wanted to "film-bitch" about something then you could successfully answer to other nitpickers, such as yourself, exactly how did Cypher plug himself into, and back out of, the Matrix on his own or how Indiana Jones survived a 50+ hour, 500 Mile trip on a *submerged* Nazi submarine...simply by clutching onto the hatch. You don't see us TRUE movie
Ok, C'mon, this is a joke...right? Are you really going to bluntly nitpick about some pretty insignificant camerawork details?

If you really wanted to "film-bitch" about something then you could successfully answer to other nitpickers, such as yourself, exactly how did Cypher plug himself into, and back out of, the Matrix on his own or how Indiana Jones survived a 50+ hour, 500 Mile trip on a *submerged* Nazi submarine...simply by clutching onto the hatch. You don't see us TRUE movie lovers dissecting "Raiders" & "Matrix" because we watch movies like those to escape for a while & be entertained.

Dear Mr. Emerson, I'm sorry, but the scene above (& the entire TDK film in general) are NOT some kind of "conspiracist comic-book movie" version of the fucking Zapruder film. A very rare, massively entertaining sequel to a kick-ass comic-book movie franchise shot by creative filmmakers (respectful of the fans & source material) based on characters that have entertained audiences for decades & has stood the test of time...THAT'S what "The Dark Knight" is & should be treated as such.

PS: In Nolan We Trust
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3:53PM on 09/13/2011
Somebody read Cracked today
Somebody read Cracked today
2:15PM on 09/13/2011

Film School Doucher

I went to film school for 4 years...I had to listen to this bullshit all the time and to be honest this guy lives at home with his mom and was bored one day and decided to take one of the best films created and tell Mr. Nolan why he thinks its bad. This douche will never accomplish anything. I remember hearing that shit when people in class went around the room first day, favorite film, I pick of course Terminator 2, hahaha and then for an hour have to argue my point...I won...fu film school
I went to film school for 4 years...I had to listen to this bullshit all the time and to be honest this guy lives at home with his mom and was bored one day and decided to take one of the best films created and tell Mr. Nolan why he thinks its bad. This douche will never accomplish anything. I remember hearing that shit when people in class went around the room first day, favorite film, I pick of course Terminator 2, hahaha and then for an hour have to argue my point...I won...fu film school douche bags....
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8:20PM on 09/13/2011
I took a couple of film classes in college just for fun. I can't agree with more. Film students act like such pricks when it comes to this and a variety of other things...
I took a couple of film classes in college just for fun. I can't agree with more. Film students act like such pricks when it comes to this and a variety of other things...
2:12PM on 09/13/2011
this guy is the biggest loser of all time. I'm willing to place my mortgage on it that he has never felt a tit in his life.
this guy is the biggest loser of all time. I'm willing to place my mortgage on it that he has never felt a tit in his life.
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2:35PM on 09/13/2011
LOL! Nice. :) "No Titties & Bitching About The Dark Knight"
...keeping the Nolan trolls busy since the dawn of mssg boards.
LOL! Nice. :) "No Titties & Bitching About The Dark Knight"
...keeping the Nolan trolls busy since the dawn of mssg boards.
2:07PM on 09/13/2011
Dude sounds like a douche bag
Dude sounds like a douche bag
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2:07PM on 09/13/2011

SORRY ...

... but I'm not giving 19 minutes of my life to someone who will convince me why my favorite movie isn't so good. Moving on ...
... but I'm not giving 19 minutes of my life to someone who will convince me why my favorite movie isn't so good. Moving on ...
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2:02PM on 09/13/2011

what a dumbass

this guy is a hack, like ebert, i disagree with everything in the video. like his first point: we see two guards and then harvey enter a convoy so it has to be the same one? fuck no it doesnt...the two guys were outside and harvey was inside.
this guy is a hack, like ebert, i disagree with everything in the video. like his first point: we see two guards and then harvey enter a convoy so it has to be the same one? fuck no it doesnt...the two guys were outside and harvey was inside.
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1:59PM on 09/13/2011

Definition of a film snob

If there's nothing actually wrong with the editing then it's pointless to say "THIS WAY IS BETTER, IT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER", which was basically the sum of his argument. I don't see what was so "wrong" with this scene that he was bashing it for. I'm all for having an unpopular opinion but his claims have no real grounds.
If there's nothing actually wrong with the editing then it's pointless to say "THIS WAY IS BETTER, IT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER", which was basically the sum of his argument. I don't see what was so "wrong" with this scene that he was bashing it for. I'm all for having an unpopular opinion but his claims have no real grounds.
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1:54PM on 09/13/2011
We're dealing with someone who has...absolutely no life.
How do we kill that which has no life?
We're dealing with someone who has...absolutely no life.
How do we kill that which has no life?
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1:42PM on 09/13/2011

Is it just me...

Or is the video here not synced up with the audio?
Or is the video here not synced up with the audio?
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2:00PM on 09/13/2011
i had to watch it on the indiewire website for better quality
i had to watch it on the indiewire website for better quality
+5
1:32PM on 09/13/2011
I welcome criticism of the film, but when people outright call it bad, I just have to laugh. We so rarely get films that are both very good and very entertaining. So, it's a shame people have to rag on The Dark Knight, when it quite fully accomplishes both.

And wow, how very nitpicky. Despite the fact that this is a great action scene, this guy somehow feels uncomfortable about it because of a few complaints that don't matter anyway. Talk about trying harder to find reasons to dislike the
I welcome criticism of the film, but when people outright call it bad, I just have to laugh. We so rarely get films that are both very good and very entertaining. So, it's a shame people have to rag on The Dark Knight, when it quite fully accomplishes both.

And wow, how very nitpicky. Despite the fact that this is a great action scene, this guy somehow feels uncomfortable about it because of a few complaints that don't matter anyway. Talk about trying harder to find reasons to dislike the film.
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+10
1:31PM on 09/13/2011

Don't pay any attention to Emerson

He's just a hack, a blogger at best. He gets a free ride cause he shares a column on Roger Ebert's website
He's just a hack, a blogger at best. He gets a free ride cause he shares a column on Roger Ebert's website
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