Let 'The Dark Knight' Put a Smile on That Face One Last Time Before 'Joker'
Labor Day Weekend is upon us, and so is the turn of the month when each streaming platform changes things up. Did you know The Dark Knight was on Netflix? Did you know that in a few short days it’ll be gone?
If Marvel fans feel like punishing themselves, check out the extended cut of Spider-Man: Far From Home, in theaters this weekend, but try to forget that he might never appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever again after the Disney-Sony split.
We’ve got four top-notch streaming recommendations to get you through the long weekend.
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Amazon’s Carnival Row Is a Political Fantasy Full of Magic
Drama, mystery, and fantasy collide in Carnival Row. Marking Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne’s television debut, Amazon’s show aims high. The sci-fi/fantasy series is set in a Victorian city that’s populated by fairies, fawns, and humans. Like Game of Thrones, Carnival Row’s politics are at the story’s core. The fantastical elements carve a path for the storylines, and the mythological world draws many parallels to our own.
Based on Travis Beacham’s unproduced script, A Killing on Carnival Row, the show follows Bloom’s Rycroft, an inspector whose goal is to find and arrest the mysterious person who’s been killing fairies. Unbeknownst to most, Rycroft harbors a secret that puts him at the center of the story. Delevingne’s Vignette is a former steward of the fairy library turned fighter who shares a history with Rycroft.
If you’re a fan of fantasy, period pieces, and murder mysteries, then Carnival Row is worth the watch. The eight-episode series is available to stream for Amazon Prime subscribers on August 30. — Mae Abdulbaki
- Watch Carnival Row only on Amazon.
Revisit the Best Joker in The Dark Knight Before Joker Challenges the Title
You’ve probably seen The Dark Knight, the billion-dollar box office phenomenon that elevated superhero movies into worldwide cultural events.
For all its prominence and ubiquity in the world of superhero movies and geekdom, The Dark Knight is a very different movie than you might remember. With Joaquin Phoenix set to deliver his take on the character this October in Joker, it’s high time to revisit the last captivating Clown Prince of Crime, played by the late Heath Ledger — especially as it leaves Netflix on September 1.
A sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins, The Dark Knight was the inescapable hit of 2008. (“Why so serious?”) It defined blockbuster superhero movies for the next decade, marrying high art with commercialism.
We saw it as a blockbuster action movie then, but watch it now. There are three (3) explosions in the entire movie, zero (0) nods to a greater cinematic universe, and only one (1) instance of trying very hard to sell kids on new toys. (The moment the Batpod emerges from the Tumbler wreckage is, cinematically, totally rad.) If this movie were made today, Nolan would be forced to have his characters make a pointless reference to a “blue Man of Steel” seen somewhere in Metropolis.
Above everything else, The Dark Knight is a mesmerizing acting clinic by Ledger, who went to great, painful lengths to become the Joker, and did it without harassing his co-stars like Jared Leto did for Suicide Squad.
Joaquin Phoenix will probably be an amazing Joker. But now is as good a time as any to remember the first time an actor took on that role and genuinely blew us all away. — Eric Francisco
- Watch The Dark Knight on Netflix.
You’ve Finished Mindhunter… Now Study Ted Bundy in This Netflix Film
By now you’ve likely binged through all of Season 2 of David Fincher’s psychological serial killer drama, Mindhunter, but fret not, there’s a wealth of true crime content to dive into on Netflix. Notorious serial killer Ted Bundy has yet to make an appearance on Mindhunter, but he’s been referenced a few times on the show, meaning it’s probable he’ll make an appearance in future seasons. Before then, immerse yourself in one of America’s most fascinating murder trials of the ‘70s by settling in to watch Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, the Zac Efron-led biopic about Bundy through the lens of his former girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins).
Because this story is told through Kloepfer, who feigned ignorance about Bundy’s evildoing for quite some time, the film has been criticized for making Bundy’s crimes seem less sinister than they actually were. However, Bundy’s trial was publicized in the media because he was a killer who also happened to be devilishly handsome, intelligent, and charismatic — so it would make sense then for the film to trick us into believing he could never commit such heinous crimes, as Kloepfer was.
The biopic certainly has its flaws, but it’s worth a viewing to see how Bundy’s gripping trial unfolds in the courtroom. And when you’ve finished that, decide for yourself how the movie stacks up against the real-life events by watching Netflix’s four-part documentary series Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, a compilation of present-day interviews, archival footage, and audio recordings made on death row that’ll send a chill down your spine. Just maybe don’t watch these right before bed. — Chelsea Szmania
- Watch Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, and follow it up with Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. Both are only on Netflix.
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Rewatching Most of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Just Got Easier
For any real nerds out there, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy deserves a rewatch marathon at least once every other year, and for the first time in a long time, Netflix is about to give us something very close to that opportunity in one streaming platform. And because this comes just a few short months after the Tolkien biopic hit theaters, you should fast-track your next bingeful journey to Middle-earth.
On September 1, Netflix will add The Two Towers and Return of the King to its library. Why couldn’t they spring for Fellowship of the Ring, too? Maybe because they’re spending so much money keeping Friends until the end of the year. They really bungled this for sure.
Lord of the Rings is the epic trilogy written and published by J.R.R. Tolkien, a veteran of the First World War who studied and taught at Oxford University. All modern fantasy owes everything to Tolkien’s depiction of Middle-earth. Everything from Dungeons & Dragons to Game of Thrones wouldn’t exist without Tolkien. And Peter Jackson’s faithful and inspired trilogy of movies stands as one of the best novel-to-film adaptations of all time.
For anyone who complained loudly on the internet about the Great Super-Dark Battle of Winterfell in the final Game of Thrones season, maybe you should revisit the dazzlingly well-lit Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers. That’s only one of many reasons to rewatch these fantastic films. — Corey Plante
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