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Film Intelligence: The darkest night

Christian Bale visits Swedish Medical Center staff members in Colorado

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. We read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: a tragedy in Colorado.

1. Madness in a Movie Theater

Moviegoers everywhere suffered a loss last Friday, when a man, allegedly 24-year-old former doctoral candidate James Holmes, walked into a midnight screening of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES clad in body armor and a gas mask, and opened fire on the patrons at the Century 16 theater in Aurora, Colorado. He killed 12 people and wounded 58 more in his rampage. The tragedy would be shocking in any context, but it’s particularly upsetting for movie lovers because the attack occurred in a theater, our collective and beloved sanctuary, and because those killed were hardcore film lovers, just like us. The latest on the case suggests that Holmes purchased his first weapon on June 8, a day after failing an important exam at the University of Colorado; he dropped out of the program three days later. Holmes continues to prove uncooperative with the police and act strangely in custody — reportedly treating evidence bags he was forced to wear like hand puppets. In other words, nothing about this makes any sense. [Huffington Post]

2. Remembering the victims of Aurora

The more you read about the victims in Aurora, the harder the loss hurts. Most of the men and women killed were young cinephiles in their twenties and thirties. Their stories are inspirational and heartbreaking. Jessica Ghawi was an aspiring sportswriter who’d narrowly survived a shooting in a Toronto mall just weeks before. Alex Sullivan was celebrating his birthday and his first wedding anniversary at the screening. Gordon Cowden, the oldest victim, had taken his teenage children to see the film, all of whom survived. Three of the men killed — Jon Bunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves — died protecting their girlfriends, shielding them from bullets with their own bodies. Clearly these brave men paid attention to Christopher Nolan’s Batman films and their lessons about heroism and sacrifice. [ScreenCrush/New York Daily News]

3. Christian Bale Visits Survivors

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES star Christian Bale had already released a statement about the Aurora tragedy (“Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them”), but on Tuesday he went further to comfort the grieving, traveling to Colorado to visit with survivors and thank the medical staff and emergency personnel who responded to the attack. He posed for pictures and visited a makeshift memorial outside the Century 16 erected in honor of the slain victims. According to THE DARK KNIGHT RISES’ distributor, Bale was not acting as a representative of the studio or the movie, and simply took it upon himself to be there; in fact, his visit was so surprising and unplanned many in the hospital staff were away at a luncheon when he arrived, and the other mourners at the memorial were unaware Bale was among them. [CBS News]

4. GANGSTER SQUAD Retreats

The shooting had at least one more casualty, this one in Hollywood: Warner Bros.’ upcoming film GANGSTER SQUAD suffered the extreme misfortune of sporting a violent gunfight in a movie theater, in which several characters open fire on the patrons. The scene, which could have been provocative in happier times as a metaphorical commentary on violent films and their impact on audiences, now just looks inappropriate. Warner Bros. immediately pulled the film’s trailer, which had been attached THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, and the film itself is being delayed for several months in order to reshoot the scene, which is apparently crucial to the film, in a different location. GANGSTER SQUAD, which stars Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling and was directed by ZOMBIELAND director Ruben Fleischer, will now open in January. [Deadline]

5. THE HOBBIT 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO?

After a week like this, it’s nice to divorce ourselves from reality for a while and escape into fantasy. And, it appears, fantasy fans will have even more films to watch in the future than anticipated. THE LORD OF THE RINGS director Peter Jackson has been hard at work on his two-part adaptation of THE HOBBIT for years, but now it looks like he wants to turn his two films into three, despite the fact that the release date for the first movie is just five months away. Jackson teased his interest in extending his stay in Middle Earth at Comic-Con, and then started seriously discussing the possibility of expanding the series with his producers and executives. It won’t be as easy as picking up a camera, painting a wall green and slapping some hair on a couple of short guys’ feet, though; every actor would need to update their contracts from two films to three. If the plan works out, each of the now three HOBBITs would premiere in successive Decembers, starting this winter. I guess Jackson felt Tolkien’s work was so precious, he didn’t want to let it go. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Photo credit: Swedish Medical Center Twitter