Tag Archives: Movie Review

Dark Shadows Movie Review: Johnny Depp Carries a Crummy Movie, Part XVII

BRUCE HANDY ON CULTURE

by Bruce Handy

An ode of sorts to Johnny Depp: I’d see him in pretty much anything—which, alas, is the approach you have to take with Johnny Depp, since he has spent most of his career being consistently terrific in mediocre to awful movies, the dish by Thomas Keller tarting up an Applebee’s.

This bittersweet epiphany was prompted by having just watched Dark Shadows, his eighth collaboration with director Tim Burton (see our photos of the Dark Shadows cast here). It’s a big, sloppy mess of a film with all kinds of wasted talent, most notably Helena Bonham Carter, playing a nicotine-voiced middle-aged lush so routinely conceived as to ward off the actress’s usual flair for the perverse; and Chloë Grace Moretz, who sulks uninterestingly through a handful of scenes until (spoiler alert) she gets to turn into a werewolf at the end, but even then she only has time for a few good snarls. (Throughout the film she holds her lips in an exaggerated, bee-stung curl that my daughter, a teenager herself and possessed of some familiarity with temperamentality, tried to imitate. “It hurts,” she said.) Eva Green, the previously boring French actress who played the Bond girl in Casino Royale and made a notably naked debut in a Bernado Bertolucci movie (The Dreamers, 2003), is funny and vampy as the villainess here—who knew?—though a whiff of misogyny clings to her character like the kind of low-lying night fog that drifts through so many Burton films. If only he were as good and careful a storyteller as he is a production designer.

But as you surely figured, with or without having seen the trailer, Depp is a joy as Barnabas Collins, infusing the gothic camp of Jonathan Frid’s original Barnabas, from the old ABC soap opera, with extra helpings of doomed, Byronic corn. It’s a hammy performance in the most wonderful, calculated way, simultaneously committed and winking. That’s harder to do than it looks, I’m guessing, but Depp is unique in having fashioned an A-list career primarily by submerging himself in eccentric roles. Most movie stars play variations on themselves, or if not themselves then fixed screen personas; Depp is more of a shape-shifter, like Meryl Streep, but if she were possessed by the ghost of Mel Blanc. He single-handedly makes Dark Shadowswatchable, and if there were an Oscar equivalent of Most Valuable Player, he would be the early front-runner.

Like always. Movie stars are supposed to carry pictures; that’s the job description. But I can’t think of another so essential to his film’s successes. Tom Cruise flashes a great grin and sweats an excellent sweat in the Mission: Impossible films and surely earns his salary—I’m not being dismissive here, though can’t you imagine the films working just as well with Matt Damon or Will Smith? And yet, who aside from Depp could play Captain Jack Sparrow? Jim Carrey? Ugh. Robert Downey Jr.? Well, maybe, but I doubt to quite as effervescent effect. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are possibly the least deserving blockbuster hits of the last decade—I’ll admit I’m going out on a limb here; it’s like trying to choose the most Reggie Mantle–like Mitt Romney gaffe—but even the franchise’s most ardent fans would have to concede there’s nary a non-Depp reason to keep an eye open. Did anyone other than IMDB even notice that Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley weren’t in the last one?

Here’s a thought experiment: has Depp ever been in an unrelievedly great movie, one that had lasting virtues aside from his own performance? Naturally, I haven’t seen everything he’s done, so I’ll leave you to make the cases for Chocolat or Don Juan DeMarco, but I can think of one: 1994’s Ed Wood, a small masterpiece and, to my taste, far and away the greatest of his collaborations with Burton, possibly because its subject was making art—even if it was bad art—and not just art direction. Still, it was their biggest failure at the box office. I wouldn’t put theirAlice in Wonderland in the same category as Ed Wood, or even near it, but I did enjoy the film, partly because Alice in Wonderland doesn’t ask to be coherent, which plays to Burton’s strengths, and partly because, for once, Depp had a worthy foil in Bonham Carter, whose Red Queen stole the movie out from under his Mad Hatter. That was a first, and surely a last, in Depp’s career.

[vanityfair.com]


That’s one way to make an entrance! The Dictator is towed into his own world premiere in an orange Lamborghini

He’s already shocked at the premieres for his previous controversial movies Borat and Bruno.

And thanks to his antics at the 2012 Oscars earlier this year, Sacha Baron Cohen was always bound to shock at the premiere for his new film The Dictator tonight.

There was no doubt the funnyman was going to ensure the event arrived with a bang – and that it did as the actor turned up in a bright orange Lamborghini that had to be towed by a truck.

Scroll down for trailer…

Making an entrance! Sacha Baron Cohen turned up to London's Royal Festival Hall for the world premiere of his film The Dictator dressed in full costume

Making an entrance! Sacha Baron Cohen turned up to London’s Royal Festival Hall for the world premiere of his film The Dictator dressed in full costume

Golden boy: The actor had just one prop in the form of a gold gun

Golden boy: The actor had just one prop in the form of a gold gun

Dressed in costume complete with a full beard, Sacha even drew a gold pistol out on photographers as he remained in character as Admiral General Aladeen.

And in true style, he made a huge impact as he turned up on the red carpet at London’s Royal Festival Hall flanked by a number of scantily clad females.

The horde of girls all had their legs out as they wore military-style khaki costumes with dark red berets and skyhigh black stilettos.

Controversial: The funnyman ensured he made an impressive entrance as he showed up in an orange Lamborghini that was towed by a truck

Controversial: The funnyman ensured he made an impressive entrance as he showed up in an orange Lamborghini that was towed by a truck

Hands up! Sacha was surrounded by scantily clad ladies in military costume while he waved a gold gun around

Hands up! Sacha was surrounded by scantily clad ladies in military costume while he waved a gold gun around

In character: Cohen was all smiles as he wore his large beard and drove into the premiere grounds holding an umbrella to shield him from the drizzle

In character: Cohen was all smiles as he wore his large beard and drove into the premiere grounds holding an umbrella to shield him from the drizzle

Sacha stood in the sports car as he held a white umbrella to shield him from the drizzly weather as he jokingly announced to fans that he’d like to grant political asylum to his ‘wrinkled old buddy’, media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

And while the funnyman actor went all out in his controversial costume, his wife Isla Fisher was on hand to support him.

She turned up looking stunning in a pair of red heels and a lace mini-dress, while her hair was worn in a messy plait to the side.

Star turn out: Mohamed Al Fayed showed up to pose for photos with Cohen at the Thursday night premiere

Star turn out: Mohamed Al Fayed showed up to pose for photos with Cohen at the Thursday night premiere

Support: Sacha's wife Isla Fisher was on hand at the premiere, but she opted for a glamorous mini-skirt and red heels

Support: Sacha’s wife Isla Fisher was on hand at the premiere, but she opted for a glamorous mini-skirt and red heels

Oops! But her demure look was slightly ruined as the front split rode up to reveal her underwear

Oops! But her demure look was slightly ruined as the front split rode up to reveal her underwear

Different looks: Jessica Wright wore a floor-length blue and yellow dress while Kristina Rihannoff (R) opted for a shorter style

 

Read More >>

[dailymail.co.uk]


Avengers Attack! New York Times Critic A.O. Scott Responds to Samuel L. Jackson’s Fury Over Review

Samuel L. Jackson, The Avengers, A.O. Scott

Disney/Marvel; Mark Mainz/Getty Images

In his attempt to avenge the less-than-rave review the New York Times gave The AvengersSamuel L. Jackson may have just made a hero of A.O. Scott.

“#Avengers fans,NY Times critic AO Scott needs a new job! Let’s help him find one! One he can ACTUALLY do!” tweeted Jackson in response to Scott’s sarcasm-laced review, which included the observation that Jackson’s Nick Fury “is more master of ceremonies than mission commander.”

But instead of getting fans to pile on Scott, the veteran critic found out who his friends were—and he exclusively told E! News how “touched” he was by the response.

KEEP READING

[eonline]


The Avengers Wows the World: $178.4 Million Overseas Haul!

Marvel/Disney Enterprises

Marvel/Disney Enterprises

How huge is The Avengers?

The comic-book event has now grossed more money than all but our moviegoing nation’s biggest box-office hits of the year—and, as you may have noticed, it hasn’t opened here yet.

A look at the The Avengers’ fast and furious international start:

Keep Reading >>

[uk.eonline.com]


Kristen Stewart Goes Nude in New Movie Role

It seems On the Road is one of Kristen Stewart’s very favorite books and she was determined to make the part of Mary Lou hers in the new film adaptation. Nudity is required and the thought of it didn’t chase Stewart away. In fact it’s just the opposite. This is like a dream role for her to have landed and … Keep Reading >>

CDL..


Review: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling Have “Baffling Lack of Chemistry” in The Lucky One

Credit: Warner Bros.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Sorry, this is one of those Nicholas Sparks-adapted tearjerkers that elicits more snickers than swoons.

Zac Efron, 24, visibly struggles playing Logan, a personality-free Marine sergeant in Iraq who cheats death when he stumbles upon a photo of a pretty blonde. Once home, Logan finds his mystery girl (Taylor Schilling, 27) in a small Louisiana town — yet instead of explaining his connection, he clams up and takes a job at her family-run kennel.

PHOTOS: Zac Efron through the years

The two strike up a slowly paced romance illustrated in a series of sunny, Lite FM-scored montages that resemble Country Time Lemonade ads. Then again, at least the interludes detract from the stars’ wincing dialogue (“You should be kissed every day, every hour, every minute!”) and their baffling lack of chemistry. Even the shower-sex scene is merely lukewarm!

PHOTOS: Most romantic movies of all time

Look, it’s perfectly lovely to take in a shameless sappiest on a rainy day. But the next time the clouds roll in, just queue up The Notebook.

[usmagazine.com]


|| Movie Review || The Cabin in the Woods

||The Cabin in the Woods||
Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz
Directed by Drew Goddard

By PETER TRAVERS
APRIL 12, 2012

If it’s true that you always kill the thing you love, then horror honchos Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard have taken an ax to slasher cinema in The Cabin in the Woods and chopped it up for kindling. With love, mind you, and a potently playful sense of mischief. Cabin is a deliciously devious scare dance that keeps changing the steps until you lose your shit and fall helplessly into its demonic traps. Screenwriters Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Goddard (Cloverfield), in his feature-directing debut, are fright-obsessed. They’re also pissed seeing terror morph into torture porn that drowns the human element in buckets of blood.

Don’t get me wrong. The Cabin in the Woods is far from a “say no to gore” sermon. It’s fiendishly funny. Can you laugh and shriek at the same time? Yeah, baby. Scream proved that back in 1996. But Cabin goes deeper than a self-reflexive game of name-checking gorefests from Evil Dead to Halloween. Every cliché Cabin pitches is likely to come back and bite you in the ass. Take the setup: Five college kids climb into an RV and head for the last cabin on the left near a Friday the 13th-ish lake where fantasies of rocking sex and drugs turn into the biggest nightmare this side of Elm Street. At first, the characters seem cardboard-thin: Chris Hemsworth (Thor) as Curt the jock, Anna Hutchison as Jules the slut, Kristen Connolly as Dana (her virginal opposite), Jesse Williams as Holden the nerd and Fran Kranz as Marty the stoner. Then they go in the basement, where monstrous challenges await them.

Say what? You heard me. Whedon and Goddard tip us off early that something is up by introducing Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Hadley (Bradley Whitford), techies who seem to be running a rogue surveillance op. Forgive my vagueness. But spoilers are a bitch. You unlock this cabin door with the key of imagination, and the next stop is a newfangled Twilight Zone. Just fly with it, especially since Jenkins and Whitford are the go-to dudes for a blissed-out blend of mirth and malice.

Props to the cast for going beyond the call of bloodbath duty. Connolly is a standout, bringing emotional nuance to her role even as the filmmakers bombard her with everything from zombies to a killer unicorn. And Kranz, now on Broadway in Death of a Salesman, is comic dynamite as the pothead. You haven’t lived until you see him use a bong as a weapon of mass destruction.

Cabin keeps springing scary surprises. And it’s wicked, twisted fun until the violence starts nagging at you. The gods and monsters of the movie never question their appetite for gutting pretty young things. But you’ll question yours for sure before the film’s shocking end. Ironically, Cabin was made in 2009 but got stuck in studio limbo when MGM declared bankruptcy. Now Lionsgate has let the beast out. Punishment is its own reward, especially at the box office. But Whedon and Goddard are hunting bigger game. By turning splatter formula on its empty head, Cabin shows you can unleash a fire-breathing horror film without leaving your brain or your heart on the killing floor.

Related
‘Cabin in the Woods’ Star Fran Kranz on Coming Up in Joss Whedon’s World
At the Movies with Peter Travers: ‘Cabin in the Woods’ is Genuinely Scary

rollingstone.com


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