Archive for the ‘Johnny Depp’ Category

The New And The News: The End Of The World Will Involve Foxes And Pirates… Probably

November 9, 2009

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for the New and the News.  This week, we’ve got three new wide releases hitting theaters and a slew of interesting news about the world of film.  Come on inside and check it all out!

The New

2012 (Sony) – 3,000 theaters – Reviews
Roland Emmerich is one of those high-profile Hollywood directors that only produces big budget popcorn flicks like Independence Day, Godzilla, The Patriot, The Day After Tomorrow, and most recently, 10,000 BC.  With the release of 2012, Emmerich is probably hoping to erase any memories of the universally disliked 10,000 BC by hopping 12,012 years into the future.  I’m sure there is a story somewhere inside 2012, but basically, it is an epic disaster movie that will showcase a global cataclysm in the year that the Mayans famously predicted would be the end of the world.  A Summer-style action film in the middle of Winter, 2012 looks like an expensive, exciting thrill ride, and it should do very well at the box office.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Fox) – Wide Release? – Reviews
As if Roald Dahl was not strange enough, his book is getting the big screen treatment from cinema’s resident oddball, Wes Anderson.  Fantastic Mr. Fox looks like a visual treat, as its animation style looks like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It is some sort of mixture of stop motion and traditional animation, and it looks pretty interesting. That being said, I do not think that this animation will help it out very much.  I think it will be visually exhausting to watch this unconventional visual style for almost two hours, for it seems more fit for a YouTube video, and I will be surprised if this is actually a hit.  This is a movie that appears to have been made much more for Anderson-loving critics than the public.  On another note, I’m not sure what to believe about Fox‘s release.  Yahoo! Movies states that it will be getting a wide release on Friday, though Box Office Mojo’s theater counts only have it being released into 4 theaters.  I think it actually will get a wide release, but I can’t be sure. 

Pirate Radio (Focus) – 900 theaters – Reviews
This story follows a group of 8 rogue British DJs who defied authority in the name of rock ‘n roll music in the 1960s.  Broadcasting from a boat in the North Atlantic, this “pirate radio” station had to avoid the British government to play the music they loved.  I’m not much into these movies about drugs, rock music, and liberation, and I’m not sure I can buy the studio’s provided synopsis that “the songs that they played united and defined an entire generation.”  That seems like a bit much.  Anyway, this is probably a little too off-beat to be a huge hit, but the ads have been strong and interesting, and it should be able to carve out a small slice of box office pie for itself in the coming weeks.

The News

Avatar’s New Trailer

James Cameron’s long-in-the-works, psychotically expensive science-fiction epic, Avatar, has been surrounded by huge buzz for years.  Reports of groundbreaking technology, incredible 3D sequences, and an incredible story had people very excited.  Thus, when a lackluster trailer debuted a few months ago, people were more than a little disappointed.  Thankfully, a new trailer has been cut for the film, and it’s is so much better.  It gives a strong sense of the story, and it features some pretty dazzling special effects.  It’s hard to not be excited.  Watch the new-and-improved trailer below.

Baldwin And Martin To Host Oscars

Hugh Jackman declined the offer to return as host of the Oscars this year, but the LA Times was quick to report that the Academy had contracted Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin to co-host the Oscars this year.  In an era of dwindling ratings for the Oscar telecast, you would think that the Academy might want to try to appeal to a younger crowd, but who knows how these decisions are made… The early reaction has been more than a little mixed, and many people are downright unhappy with the decision.  As a hater of the Oscars, that makes me very happy!

2012 in Theaters = 2013 on TV

If 2012 succeeds in theaters this weekend, it is appearing increasingly likely that we’ll see an ABC spinoff on screens this Fall.   Director Roland Emmerich told EW, “The plan is that it is 2013 and it’s about what happens after the disaster…”  Producer Mark Gordon claims that ABC “will have an opening in their disaster-related programming after LOST ends.”  Interesting for sure, but I’ve never seen this type of movie-into-a-TV-show stunt work.  Anyone remember My Big Fat Greek Life?

“The Tourist” Is Suddenly Very Intriguing

Tom Cruise, Sam Worthington, and Charlize Thereon are out, and THR writes that Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, and Alfonso Cuaron are in.  Suddenly, The Tourist, a remake of a 2005 French thriller, has gone from white bread to dark and edgy.  This could be a magical combination that makes for a very cool movie.

And The Winner Is… Transformers: Dawn of Fallen Dinosaur

July 6, 2009


After a nice, long, relaxing vacation, void of movie news but loaded with Michael Jackson mourning, I’m back to work.

The Fourth of July weekend is usually highly anticipated for big box office releases, but that’s usually when the fourth doesn’t actually fall on that Saturday. Some think this caused a dent in the releases, but they still seemed to just fine.

But we don’t have a clear winner between the top two at the box office. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen both topped out at 42.5 million. Seems the family friendly cartoon did what popular family friendly cartoons do: make loads of money. When anyone who comes to these movies are guaranteed to tack on one to four little tykes, the profit margin is spectacular. And fans have cashed in their dollar votes: they like Michael Bay even when critics don’t. Nobody blows shit up like he does.

Coming in third was the Johnny Depp film Public Enemies with 26.2 million. I saw this film on opening night, and admired it more than enjoyed it. It is very historically accurate, but was rather stagnant. Not exactly a blockbuster, July 4th behemoth. It’s an adult movie, that is perhaps a nice distraction from the typical summer release.

The Proposal landed in fourth with 12.8 million. and The Hangover continued its impressive run, putting 10.4 million into its ever growing piggy bank, and landing it in fifth.

For good measure, Up might be losing steam, coming in sixth with 6.6 million.

Movie Review: Public Enemies

July 2, 2009


I have quite a strange feeling about me right now, and that is the farther I am from seeing Public Enemies last night, the more I think I enjoy it. Because at the time, I didn’t really. This could be because I was sitting directly in front of a man who would clear his throat quite literally every seven seconds and would emit strange burps periodically. I’d never thought of adding “Throat-clearers” to the list of annoying movie-goers, but I grew incredibly impatient to this new type of irritation, and I fear I let my aggravation towards him get reflected on the movie I was viewing. That’s not to say I thought this was a spectacular movie, on the contrary. I think this was an admirable attempt that slightly missed the mark, a respectable, but cold and unentertaining film.

Now before I go, I never try to spoil things that I think shouldn’t be spoiled. And though I find it difficult to spoil a historical film such as this, I will warn you before I give anything away about the ending of the movie. Though I suspect most of you know the ending anyway.

The plot is as straight as an arrow and simple as pie. It’s the 1930s, and the depression has set in for the long haul. Gangs of criminals have ransacked banks throughout the Midwest, led by the likes of Ma Barker, George “Baby Face” Nelson, “Machine Gun” Kelly, and many others with silly quotation-mark worthy nicknames. One of the most famous was John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), who soon became labeled Public Enemy number one, and was one of the most frequently named persons in the papers for a brief time resulting in his arrival as somewhat of a celebrity. He was a smooth talker, and he’d either get you with his sharp tongue or his tommy gun.

J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup) will stop at nothing to catch Dillinger, and under the forming FBI creates an entire team, to be headed by Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale). What comes out is a rather lackluster game of cat and mouse, as we switch from both points of view, watching the glorified criminal escape the violently brutal authorities again and again.

That’s it, and that’s really all we get. The plot really doesn’t rise or fall, the characters really don’t develop or get any depth or dimension past their required caricatures. Even at the film’s climax, there’s no rising action, no real drama at all. It just sort of happens. Part of the problem lies in the fact that we know what Dillinger did; he robbed banks. There ends the extent of our knowledge. We don’t really know who the man was all that well. He was charming and funny to the press, was obviously headstrong and confident, but we don’t know much beyond that. And the movie, perhaps wisely, doesn’t try to fill in too many blanks. Dillinger drops a line that his mother died young and his father beat him, but this certainly doesn’t qualify as a biopic about John Dillinger. Since the movie tries to stay accurate to history, when the history is relatively unknown, it isn’t approached.

Depp is, I’ll say it, superbly cast as Dillinger. The picture on the left shows they definitely share some physical similarities. I am used to seeing him covered in excessive make-up, wearing fantastic wigs, and acting the eccentricities of a lunatic with each new strange character he takes (read: The Mad Hatter). Those things are, dare I say, easy. But Depp reminds us here that he is a fantastic actor, and pulls of the realistic just as well as the cartoonish. While Dillinger on screen never gets quite deep enough, Depp plays him impeccably. He’s funny, especially when arrested, and he’s a gentleman of a crook. He never stole from customers, but he was certainly no re-distributing Robin Hood. “I’m here for the bank’s money, not yours,” he tells a customer who has forked out what cash he has. Sure, but you want the man to plea, “but it’s my money in the bank!” Which, apparently, Dillinger never thought of. He has limits of criminal decency (“The press don’t like kidnapping”) and cares about his friends and particularly, his girlfriend Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard).

Their romance is somewhat Hollywood-ized. They fall for each other instantly, he buys her nice things and gives a quick-witted monologue and she’s all his to protect, though it’s him that puts her in danger to begin with. It is true that the two shared something meaningful. (I suppose Spoilers follow) Frechette actually went on tour, talking about her time with Dillinger to audiences and the press nationwide. And I read an account that said, when she was arrested (which she was), Dillinger “cried like a baby for hours.” (source). (End spoilers).

The rest of the cast is largely forgettable. Christian Bale as Melvin Purvis is adequate, at best, never giving more nor less than the essentials to require his presence. Channing Tatum as “Pretty Boy” Flloyd is annoying and flamboyant, more in the style of the gangster movies actually made in the 3os.

I do have some problems with this movie completely glorifying John Dillinger, while vilifying the police chasing him. I’m not saying the man was pure evil, but bottom line is he stole a lot of money and killed quite a few cops. The movie glances over that little aspect of his life. Meanwhile the policemen and FBI agents commit some ruthless acts, including refusing to give somebody with a bullet behind his right eye any medicine and beating around a woman in custody (though that actually happened), all for the sake of information. If they’re going to make sure to show the good in Dillinger, they should do the same for the other side of the coin, particularly if they’re going for the realism this movie tried to achieve.

There is one type of action scene in this movie that is repeated again and again; bullets start ringing out, parties take cover behind walls or cars, and fire out windows or in a general direction of their enemy, but primarily hiding while the barrage of bullets flies around them. This is, I’d imagine, a relatively realistic rendition of what a gunfight would look like, which means it is also redundantly boring. God, didn’t anything blow up in the thirties? Just kidding… The scenes were put in, I’m sure, to add excitement and action to the film, but they’re too long and not thrilling enough to earn the term ‘action’ scenes. They are required for plot, since gangsters certainly had shoot-outs, but they probably could have cut these off a little sooner and got on with it.

That’s not to say there weren’t some entertaining scenes. There’s a rather thrilling jail-break sequence, for starters, but the real highlight of this movie required no bullets and few lines. Dillinger’s friend needs to go the Chicago police station, and Dillinger offers to take her. Once there, he walks inside, and then straight into the door with his name on it. That’s right, he walks right into his own “Dillinger Bureau.” It’s mostly empty, there are a few people watching a sports game in the corner. But Depp plays this scene brilliantly, walking around with a look of arrogance and curiosity on his face as he observes his own manhunt. Then, just for good measure, before he leaves he asks the men in there what the score is. This, mind you, is widely accepted to be fact.

So overall, the movie sacrifices a little to extended monotonous gun fights, and has an unthrilling and unchanging plot. But it has some good moments, and though it glorifies somone who has perhaps already received too much glory, gives a good look at a man who has become an American myth.

6.9/10

New Pictures Confirm: Tim Burton’s Mind Is The Most Horrifying Place Known To Man

June 22, 2009

Perhaps I was being a bit presumptuous, using the Cartesian argument that the mental realm is, in fact, a place, but let’s just pretend it’s true. Now imagine the part owned by Tim Burton. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you shitless. But can you possibly think of a more horrifying place? The man is such a mixture of genius and madness I can hardly fathom the frightening beasts that storm around that twisted, brilliant imagination. Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Sweeney Todd are all great examples of just how differently this man thinks. It should also tell you something when his number one go to actor is Johnny Depp, another man whose mental realm would make my head explode like those dudes at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, seeing something so majestic and terrifying at once.

Next up for Tim Burton (Depp included, of course), is the reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland. Some photos have been floating the net, showing off some major characters. Warning, some people may find these images disturbing.


Are you okay? Did you just have a mild stroke of fear? I understand. Helena Bonham Carter looks like a bobbing-head doll that isn’t afraid to split you from stem to sturnam. She plays the Queen of Hearts, and is quoted to have “a moat filled with bobbing noggins,” which I assume is Britain-talk for “this bitch cuts off heads and then swims in a pool with them floating around her.”

Meanwhile, I’m fairly certain Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter (yes, that’s him on the left) could reach out and stab through this computer screen, all the while wearing that spine-chilling, gap toothed smile. A lot of people have been clamoring for, and I quote, “Johnny Depp to play the Riddler!” in the next Batman film online. I don’t think this is such a great idea, but what I’m suddenly keen to is having him play the Mad Hatter, who is an actual Batman villain, one who happens to be an Alice in Wonderland obsessed psychopath. Just have him dress like that and recite The Walrus and the Carpenter while walking down the street shooting people. And you thought that guy who played the clown was scary.

Anne Hathaways on the right, and I ask you, how is it she still looks beautiful when made ghostly white? You must be relieved, thinking that that’s the end of the terrifying pictures-wrong.

Perhaps that wasn’t scary enough, you probably couldn’t make out exactly what was going on. It’s Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and to get a clearer pictures, that’s them on the left. I’m sorry, I forgot in the story the eerie twins turn into The Blob and eat Alice for dinner and the Cheshire cat for desert. In Tim Burton’s mind, they do.

This movie is bound to be great. It’s obviously full of the bizarre, which Burton has shown he can do very well. It’s playing a sort of Hook trick, where Alice is a little older and has forgotten she visited Wonderland once before. Well she’s about to go back, and live in Tim Burton’s dream.

Which, for normal non-creative geniuses, gives me nightmares.

Golden Globe Winners Come From All Over The Globe

January 14, 2008

     In case you weren’t one of the people who tuned into the hour long half-hour press conference that announced the Golden Globes recipients, here’s a rundown of the winners.  I’ve listed the big categories below, but check out the full list of winners here.
     My reactions?  All the winners are very deserving.  The choices might be a bit out of touch with the average American’s movie taste (no love for Juno?), but that’s the case every year.  What really strikes me is the internationalization of the award winners.  This year, it looks like the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has earnestly tried to live up to its name, presenting a very European list of victors.  Atonement is a British film, and Julie Christie, and Daniel Day-Lewis both hail from England as well.  La Vie En Rose‘s Marion Cotillard and Julian Schabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly are both French imports.  Finally, Javier Bardem (pictured), winner of Best Supporting Actor – Drama, hails from Spain.
     Hollywood has been emphasizing the globalization of the film world for a while now (most notably with the incessant glorification of Babel last year), but these Golden Globes are a clear sign that Americans are very slowly beginning to accept foreign films as credible works of art.  

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Atonement

Best Actress – Drama
Julie Christie Away From Her

Best Actor – Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis There Will Be Blood

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Sweeney Todd

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy
Marion Cotillard La Vie En Rose

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy
Johnny Depp Sweeney Todd

Best Director
Julian Schnabel The Diving Bell And The Butterfly

Friday Estimates: Treasure Succeeds, Walk Hard Falls Hard

December 23, 2007

     Friday numbers are in, and while the chart looks like it’s turning out pretty close to the predictions in the Weekend Preview, there are two surprising disappointments: Walk Hard and Charlie Wilson’s War.

     National Treasure: Book of Secrets opened very well on Friday, pulling in $17.1 million.  With Christmas Eve on Monday, and most people (who don’t work retail) out of work, it should see some inflated Sunday numbers and have a great multiplier.  It will be interesting to see whether this sequel is as leggy as its predecessor, and if it might ultimately beat I Am Legend in a race for the holiday crown.  For the weekend, Book of Secrets should find about $55 million .
     Sweeney Todd earned a solid $3.9 million from just 1,249 theaters, and a great per theater average should result.  It’s on its way to about $13 million for the weekend.
     Charlie Wilson’s War earned a small $2.8 million.  Looks like the trend of moviegoers rejecting war-themed, political movies continues with Charlie Wilson’s War, and even with Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks as draws, it should make a disappointing $9 million for the weekend.
     P.S. I Love You opened within expectations, earning $2.4 million on its first day.  The sappy romantic comedy looks headed for an $8 million weekend.
     The biggest surprise of the weekend has to be Walk Hard‘s awful opening.  On its first day the spoof earned a tiny $1.5 million.  It appears that the movie truly was too smart for people to really understand that it was a comedy.   Also, while Walk Hard‘s advertising campaign has been remarkably innovative, it was perhaps too difficult for the average person to get the joke.  It will struggle to earn $5 million.
Friday Estimates for December 21
1. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $17.1 million
2. I Am Legend – $11 million
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $8.5 million
4. Sweeney Todd – $3.9 million
5. Charlie Wilson’s War – $2.8 million
6. P.S. I Love You – $2.4 million
7. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – $1.5 million
8. Enchanted – $1.3 million
9. The Golden Compass – $1.2 million
10. Juno – $970,000
11. Atonement – $530,000
12. No Country For Old Men – $480,000