July 21, 2012 |
Debuting in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939 (a mint copy will get you $1 million or more today), artist Bob Kane's Batman didn't have the otherworldly powers of DC's big star, Superman, but he did have a cool cowl and cape getup, a nifty alter ego (Bruce Wayne, millionaire philanthropist), and a determination to rid Gotham City of its crooks and goons. Getting his own comic book the following spring, Batman has been with us ever since, with his rogues gallery of neurotic nemeses, his trusty footman Alfred, that Robin kid, and various girlfriends and girl-fiends wondering why Bruce Wayne and Batman are never in the same place at the same time.
March 18, 2011 |
LONDON - Michael Gough, the British actor best known for playing Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred in a series of Batman movies, died yesterday at age 94, his ex-wife said. Gough appeared in more than 150 movies and television shows, including British science-fiction show "Doctor Who. " He recently voiced characters in Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" and "Corpse Bride. " His well-known voice graced many films and TV series. But he remains best remembered for his role as Alfred Pennyworth in the Batman franchise, opposite three different Batmans: Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney, in hit action films "Batman Returns," directed by Burton in 1992, and "Batman Forever" in 1995 and "Batman and Robin" in 1997, both by Joel Schumacher.
July 9, 2004 |
Way back in the '80s, before Batman Forever and The Island of Dr. Moreau, Val Kilmer was funny. For proof, check out Top Secret!, which stars Kilmer as an American rock-and-roll star on tour in East Germany. The underrated Jim Abrahams-Zucker brothers spy spoof, recently released on DVD, has it all: stupid songs (including "Skeet Surfing," a take on various Beach Boys classics); parodies of films such as The Blue Lagoon and The Great Escape; and several of-the-time swipes at the Ford Pinto and the masculine builds of Soviet-bloc female athletes.
June 20, 1997 |
The role of Batman has become one of the most puzzling casting problems in all of Hollywood - title billing in a $200 million-a-pop franchise, but a job that nobody seems to want. At least not for very long. We're now on "Batman and Robin," the fourth installment of the resurrected series, and we're already on our third Batman. What a transition it's been. First there was Michael Keaton, the disturbed Batman. Then there was Val Kilmer, the sexy Batman. Now comes George Clooney, who stakes out new territory as sort of the Fred MacMurray of the group, playing worried father to the headstrong Robin (Chris O'Donnell again)
July 14, 1996 |
Michael Keaton can identify with the guy he plays in Multiplicity, a hard-driving construction-company boss who's struggling to find time to be a husband and father as well as get ahead in his career. Keaton's Doug Kinney thinks he's solved the problem when he agrees to let a world-renowned geneticist clone him so there will be enough Dougs to handle all the demands he faces. But Keaton insists he wouldn't go that far in real life. "I would never want to be cloned," he says, "but I do wish there was more than one of me. " Keaton struggles to combine Hollywood stardom with his role as a single father and part-time baseball coach to his teenage son, Sean.
February 8, 1996 |
Staff in hand, the young rider looked almost royal as his elephant's feet rumbled along below, stirring up a cloud of dust. The youth astride the pachyderm is Arjun, a privileged boy from sixth-century India whose adventures include being sold into army service, becoming a famous sculptor, and, ultimately, living as a Buddhist monk. On the cover of the book Tusk and Horn, however, Arjun will bear a striking resemblance to Dominic Leporati, the 15-year-old Northeast Philadelphia boy who served as a model for illustrator Daniel Horn.
September 6, 1995 |
Summer means war at the box office, and, to fight the battle, Hollywood usually relies on guys with guns. Terminator 2 (1991), Unforgiven (1992), The Fugitive (1993), and Forrest Gump (1994) are the decorated soldiers of seasons past. In the battle for the summer of 1995, however, gals with guts are performing equally well. Together, Pocahontas, Sandra Bullock (While You Were Sleeping), and Alicia Silverstone (Clueless) have effectively stolen the summer from Batman. Does the success of movies about a Native American diplomat, a Chicago token-seller who learns that honesty is the best policy, and a Beverly Hills High junior who finds enlightenment away from the mall mean that female moral macho is catching up with male physical macho?
June 16, 1995 |
In "Batman Forever," our tormented superhero gets the quintessential '90s cure-all: therapy and a makeover. The counseling comes courtesy of Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), a ravishing psychiatrist who helps Batman work through some of his notorious personal problems. The makeover is the work of director Joel Schumacher, who turns Tim Burton's Gotham City into a loud, campy disco and gives Batman a new body suit that appears to be taken from the Mapplethorpe collection. (On a subtextual level, this movie is brazenly determined to remind us that underneath it all, the caped crusader is really just a guy named Bruce.
June 16, 1995 |
After two Batmans, Michael Keaton reportedly threw in the cowl because the script he was handed for the third Bat-saga had too much about the bad guys and not enough about that brooding avenger in black rubber. (There were also some squawks about a bigger paycheck: Oh, something in the vicinity of playboy billionaire Bruce Wayne's net worth.) Enter Val Kilmer, who acts with his lips almost as well as Keaton did, and who, quite simply, has lucked out. Despite (and perhaps because of)