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Toronto: Our first review of Christian Bale's BATMAN follow-up, HARSH TIMES!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with our first, I believe, review of HARSH TIMES, the new Christian Bale indie flick. This sounds fantastic and has gotten me enthused for this project! Enjoy the review!

Just got back from the “World Premiere” of Harsh Times at the Toronto Film Festival. Before I go any further I have to apologize for my last review here You have to believe me when I say I did not purposely make all those question marks. I don’t know how it happened, and I don’t care.

In all honesty 12 hours ago I had never even heard of this. I was planning on going on Monday to see either River Queen or Everything is Illuminated (by rush of course). But because I had time tonight I decided that maybe I should see what’s playing then. I checked out the specs : Christian Bale, Eva Longoria, Writer of Training Day. After I finished reading Christian Bale I knew I had to get there. I called them up- got tickets(last of 30) and took off.

Bale plays an ex-army soldier(Jim) who’s now tortured with nightmares of his past. Right now he’s looking for a job with the LAPD---even though he’s really no mind to be in law enforcement. Of course he wants this job for the sole reason so he could support and bring his girlfriend from Mexico across the boarder. Mike his best friend(Freddy Rodriguez who might be the reason why I’ll go see Six Feet Under) is in the same. He wants a job so he’ll be able to support his girlfriend Sylvia(Eva Longoria).

As I said, the writer of Training Day made this. It shows. Now that’s not a bad thing, granted I thought Training Day was just pretty good, some of the better aspects of Training Day can clearly be seen in this. Bale is basically the Denzel character(where I later found out Bale also auditioned for) and Rodriguez is Hawke(but they’re best friends). But there is a lot of driving like in Training Day to different locales.

This movie also did something, which I haven’t seen in a long time—it makes you fear the presence of a gun on screen. I know it sounds stupid just typing this but it’s true. Imagine what it would be like if you took the editing from Man on Fire, and just used that only through integral/tense moments in the movie. That’s exactly what it felt like here.

Eva Longoria is barely in the movie, but it’s Christian Bale and Freddy Rodriguez fucking own their roles. No two ways about it. I really can’t decide who did a better job. They both have their little moments here and there, but end up being the perfect team. Although it’s funny, I was thinking who they both reminded me of during the movie. Christian Bale looked like Matthew Fox, and Freddy reminded me of John Leguizamo----yet I know neither would be able to pull off the part. Bale literally has to play two characters, one straight and the other fucking insane. He pulled it off.

After the movie director David Ayer was talking about how Bale could have gotten any role because of doing Batman, but he chose to do this because he was chasing for the right material. He was right. I know this will probably get a wide release, because I looked at the voting cards being dropped off---ALL 5s.

9 out of 10

Captain Hollywood

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 12, 2005, 3:23 a.m. CST


    by smallfry


  • Sept. 12, 2005, 3:25 a.m. CST


    by Origami

    probably not

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 3:30 a.m. CST

    Good Old Bale

    by IAmMrMonkey

    He can't really do any wrong can he? His name on a film is one of the few marks of quality nowadays. I kind of feel sorry for his wife though. Must be strange to marry a cockney only for him to come home after several months of playing an American to find he has a completely new accent. I'll definitely see this. Go Bale! Go!

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 3:57 a.m. CST

    Batman Begins sucked.

    by kintar0

    Bring it.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 4:12 a.m. CST

    He's not a cockney! Sod his wife he's fooled you as well

    by incubusboy

    Bale is actually welsh and hence no where near the sound of bow bells to be cockney! (To anyone that does not understand, you are only a real cockney, if you can here the sounds of bow bells being a church, anyway enough of the boring story!) Sounds cool Iam glad that bale is picking roles rather that just taking the money!!

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 4:37 a.m. CST

    He calls himself English though

    by kuryakin

    Since he was raised there. My wife has a weird hatred of him - she knows he's a good actor and everything but she just hates the sight of him. Why? Because he has "no lips". Except in the Batman costume where he looks like he has lips. Then she liked him. Women are weird.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 6:23 a.m. CST

    Saw Bale on Batman

    by Cpt Kirks 2pay

    Working 2 days as an Extra where Bruce Wayne fights the prisoners at the beginning of the film. Absolutely brilliant but also incredibly inspiring. The guy seemed to stay in character even off camera. Was always intense, hardly said a word, walked around with a thousand yard stare. His focus, concentration, and commitment was so admirable. He wasn't an asshole either for being so serious. He was responsive, not ignorant with people, just seemed locked away with his work. I just wanted to be that guy. I've always said also, that he is Britain's best young star actor that we've got. Said it for ages. Never knew about this film. Damn, this is definitely on my list. Oh, and I've got American Psycho playing on loop at home. At dinner Saturday night, I freaked everyone out at the table by saying, 'I like to dissect girls. Did you know that I'm utterly insane?' The girls there were so shocked they could hardly breathe.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 7:18 a.m. CST

    Sounds great!

    by CurryIce

    And Batman Begins was fantastic. I really don't get all the hate against it.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 7:45 a.m. CST

    I'm obviously a Bale fanboy (check the username)

    by Grammaton Cleric

    ...but goddamn, he is fucking amazing. His take on Patrick Batemamn was worthy of an academy award nomination, his role in Equilibrium helped in acquiring the Batman role (c'mon, he rocked that gun-kata shit), and I'll now officially see anything he's a part of. Can't wait for The New World, just for him alone.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 8:33 a.m. CST

    The Machinist

    by cyanide christ

    If you have not seen it, I'd check it out. Bale looks fucked up in it.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 9:48 a.m. CST


    by seppukudkurosawa

    Grammaton Cleric, how can you really think that the only thing half-original in that piece of shit Equilibrium, the term Grammaton Cleric, was original enough to use as your aintitcool user ID. I mean, fair enough to all you genuine Grammaton Clerics out there, it must be pretty fun "judging stats" all day, but to actually come on aintitcool talkbacks as a Grammaton Cleric and try and defend the MOR piece of hack-shit, Equilibrium, is loco gringo. All the Grammaton Clerics I've known have been strait-laced arseholes really, obsessed with correcting you when you fuck up and pronounce the word Caste Cay-ste by accident (instead fo cast). Fuck Grammaton Clerics, seriously, fuck them up their stupid asses. That being said, Empire of the Sun is great (although John Malkovich's role had one too many Grammaton Clericisms in it for my taste). NOTE: This talkback entry has been an exercise in repeating an inane term enough to make it seem almost normal.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 9:49 a.m. CST

    CurryIce and the Hate

    by Aetius450

    It is inevitable that any adaptation of an iconic characters like Batman will receive a good deal of hate, (even in a great movie like Batman Begins) because they can never satisfy everyone. As far as public reaction is concerned, its best to look at the big picture, and not fixate on the things said on internet forums. And its quite clear that the overall reaction was very positive, both from the public and the critics; though of course the former is much more important.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Dude, don't worry about the question marks

    by Garbageman33

    You're guilty of much greater crimes against the English language.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 10:19 a.m. CST


    by coldsun08

    Was a great movie made on a low budget. Bale is a great actor compared to the shit we are fed nowadays. He did a great job in Batman Begins (which Equilibrium was definately part of him getting the Batman role). Then again, maybe seppukudkurosawa should stick with movies like Horse Whisperer for the artsy fartsy types.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 10:30 a.m. CST

    I cannot wait to see this...

    by viola123

    Thanks for the review. I've been waiting for news about this from the Toronto people, and yay, great first word! I knew Christian would be amazing, and this, with the mystery of "Batman Begins" and his romantic side in "The New World" - gosh. He's just amazing, isn't he? Thanks again!

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 10:37 a.m. CST


    by CurryIce

    Thx for a surprisingly civilized answer ;-) but you're telling me nothing new and i'm visiting this site for about 5 years now. I'm pretty aware about all these things you posted and my message was related to AICN TBs and though i know that there'll be always haters (ESPECIALLY here on TBs) it's really beyond my understanding why so many hate-posts against BB appeared since it's release. But whatever...perhaps the reason why i'm overreacting (even though i know that it's not really surprising that many people just "hate" it here in the TBs) is that i loved that movie so much. ^^ Well i shouldn't complain...i bashed about DogSoldiers on my "TheDescent" review last month and the talkbackers went berserk...

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 12:36 p.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    So I guess your wife must REALLY hate Kenneth Branagh.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Welsh Psycho

    by seppukudkurosawa

    I know it's been said before, but how the fuck did Bale manage to go from being that cute, upper-class Brit-kid in Empire of the Sun to the best casting decision ever as Patrick Bateman? Anyone whose performance was so convincing that I was actually persuaded to read the book, with ten pages (one paragraph) devoted to a description of some preppie cunt's outr

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Cold Sun

    by seppukudkurosawa

    You're right, Horse-Whisperer was amazing...I especially liked the part where that guy whispered in the horse's ear. That was the best part. The other parts were OK. That part was the best though.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 4:51 p.m. CST

    Everyone hates Kenneth Branagh

    by kuryakin

    Not just for lip-lack

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 5:23 p.m. CST

    Best script I ever read...

    by Perturbo of course it took a decade to get it made. I used to be a reader, and this was the first script I ever gave a rave to. Here's what I wrote way back in 1996: This is a stunning achievement. It manages to deliver originality and authenticity within the spent genre of lowlife slacker/crime thrillers. It would be a shame if this were dismissed as merely another

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 5:38 p.m. CST

    La versatilit

    by Steve Zodiac

    Simply said, Bale is an Actor.

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 8:50 p.m. CST

    This movie sounds really cool

    by Neo Zeed

    Could be this years narc. Lemme see a trailer

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 10:08 p.m. CST

    News flash! final fantasy 7:advent children movie leaked!

    by cfG-21

    For info go to the following links and

  • Sept. 12, 2005, 11:02 p.m. CST

    Prepare to be banned, cfG-21

    by kintar0

    it' not like it's the Hulk workprint or a rough cut of Episode II...

  • Sept. 13, 2005, 4:22 a.m. CST


    by Darth Bono Jr.

    "Dude, don't worry about the question marks...You're guilty of much greater crimes against the English language." LOL!!!!

  • Sept. 13, 2005, 5:33 a.m. CST

    "whos ken branagh?"

    by satansteve

    "I'll tell him you said that, and I think he'll be very hurt" gotta love blackadder