Dark Shadows Review

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Tim Burton is a hit-and-miss director for me because most of the time I am a big fan of his work. I love Big Fish, Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands, while I consider Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street nothing short of a master piece. I however am not a fan of some of his other works such as his reditions of Batman and his recent remakes of Alice and Wonderland and what I consider to be his worst movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

When it comes to Dark Shadows I can say without a doubt that it is a definite miss for me. This actually comes as a surprise for me because this seemed like just the project to get Burton back on track. Unfortunately the film falls flat and while entertaining at times, it fails to be anything more the a campy joke. This fact is a bit sad, because as I said before this film certainly had some potential.

The acting wasn’t the problem however¬†because as per usual, the star of the film is Johnny Depp and like always he does a fantastic job. The real stand out performance here was Casino Royale’s Eva Green playing a sultry witch attempting to gain the love of the film’s protagonist. Rounding out a great supporting cast are none other than Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter.

Dark Shadows started off on some fun notes easily playing off of its 1970s and vampire gimmicks. The relationships and the odd family at hand were very entertaining and the film flourished whenever Eva Green came into play. However by the end of it all the decent movie I was watching subtly went down hill and turned into what reminded me of The Haunted Mansion starring Eddie Murphy except with all of Dark Shadows’ plot holes and useless subplots I would’ve been much more entertained by The Haunted Mansion.

Dark Shadows was just not a good movie. It was fun for a little while, but before long I felt embarassed to call myself a fan of Tim Burton. It just amazed me how dreadfully dull the end result truly was. MY biggest problem with the film may lie in the fact that the climax was incredibly forced and ended up being easily the worst and longest scene in the film. All of this to say, I will not be watching this film again.

Grade: D+

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review

I’m trying to figure out how best to establish my views regarding the Pirates of the Caribbean series, while establishing my opinion on this single film, the fourth in the series. I think the best place to start is by saying that my favorite film in the series probably have to be the third, At World’s End. From a filmmaking stand point, yes The Curse of the Black Pearl is unquestionably the best of the series. I just have such a blast watching At World’s End that I can’t help it.

Is the film that great when looking at it with a tasteful or artistic eye, no, not really at all. The film however is fun as hell and a huge guilty pleasure of mine. I honestly believe this can be said about all the films, on a quality level, the Pirates of the Caribbean series is not great, but I love the characters, I love the wit, I love where they start, where they’re going and especially how they get there. Above all I just love watching them and I think you know where I’m going with this. The same can be said when it comes to this new feature in the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

In this fourth installment, you’ll find exactly the right ingredients: a fun adventure story, a good villain (a constant in this series), the best Barboosa subplot in the entire series and of course Jack Sparrow being Jack Sparrow. This film is right on par with the other Pirates of the Caribbean films and as a result, a fun time at the theater. My complaints on the film would come in the form of some screwball comedy and a dull love plot between a bible friendly crew member of Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge and a mermaid, but this is all made up for in the idea that all these characters are respected. This is made apparent in the greatest aspect of the film, a revenge plot revolving around my favorite character in this film, Hector Barbossa and Blackbeard.

All and all, if you got any enjoyment out of the three first films, it would make no sense at all to not find enjoyment out of this film. And if I didn’t state it clearly enough already, then here’s the statement again; Pirates of the Caribbean is in no way cinematic brilliance. It is however, undoubtedly one fun trip to the movies and you can’t ask for much else.

Grade: B

Rango Review

When it comes to animated films, I’m not usually one to rush out and buy a ticket unless of course its a Pixar movie. Rango however was not a Pixar movie, but it was a pretty darn good movie too say the least. My interest was peaked solely by a Johnny Depp performance and the direction of Pirates’ director, Gore Verbinski. That and let’s face it, there’s not much to see in theaters now, but with Rango, I was glad I did.

The plot was a fun one and not the kind you’d might expect from what looks to be a children’s film. A lonely lizard with troubles in finding who he truly is invents a character for himself and becomes the unlikely savior of a town in dire need of saving. While comical through, in turn the movie is whether intense and very mature for what it’s attempting to do. It was almost as if the filmmakers were confused themselves at who their target audience was. At times this made for a few awkward and weird moments. That would be one major complaint.

Aside from that, I had a lot of fun with this film. I loved the delivery by almost every actor, especially Johnny Depp and Bill Nighy. Ned Beatty fit right in with a role that practically mirrored the antagonist of Toy Story 3. The look and feel of the film were top-notch. The animation was absolutely breath-taking. From every scale and grain f sand, the job was done and done perfectly. You couldn’t look away.

The most fun I had with this film came from the very subtle references made to classic westerns. The most recognizable ones came from the brilliant “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, but the most entertaining to me came from the plot in general that seemed to pay homage to themes of “the dying west” that you get a full dose of in “Once Upon a Time in the West”. Rango is a western in every sense and I very fun one, I’d suggest a view.

Grade: B

Alice in Wonderland Review

Alice in Wonderland seemed like a movie that couldn’t go wrong. It’s a classic tale we all know filled with a handful of memorable characters and an insane world that could only be called Wonderland. Tim Burton seemed like the absolute perfect director for a reboot of this fantastic story. I’m a huge fan of Burton’s and I was excited for Alice in Wonderland, but I was a bit disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong I had a lot of fun with this film. It’s practically hard not to, but I just expected more from Burton. With films like Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands and Nightmare Before Christmas, he was able to find away to appeal to children and adults, but at times Alice and Wonderland felt almost too childish.

Two particular parts I could think of right now would be the unnecessary dancing The Mad Hatter does after victory. It was just kind of awkward. Another complaint was the incredibly corny line when Alice cuts off the head of the jabawaki. There were a number of other parts that seemed a little immature and just unlike Tim Burton.

Other than that, Alice in Wonderland was a good time at the movies. It was visually stunning. Depp and Carter were fantastic as always and the absolute saving grace of this film was the Cheshire Cat. I knew going in that Cheshire Cat would be my favorite character, but my expectations were exceeded with this aspect of the film. There were many parts of this film I can admit I actually loved, but especially the parts with the Cheshire Cat.

Overall, Alice in Wonderland was pretty good. I enjoyed myself a lot. Alice in Wonderland is actually a good example of a movie being visually amazing while still caring about other aspects of the movie. Some movies aren’t able to do that, such as the Transformers movies and most of all, Avatar.

Grade: B

Public Enemies Review

Public Enemies was a good movie, that’s all it was though. It wasn’t spectacular or even great, but it was good. I haven’t seen a movie in theaters since Up and I had been anticipating this movie for a while. What I got was good, but I’m disappointed to say that I expected a lot more and there’s not a doubt in my mind that a lot of people will say the same. And when I use the word ‘people’ I didn’t just mean the public, I also meant critics as well. Most of the public will be expecting to see a well acted action movie. Most critics, and myself as well, will be expecting a cat and mouse drama, which it was, it just wasn’t as great a one as it could have been.

After viewing Public Enemies, I walked out of the theater a little disappointed, mainly because of my abnormally high expectations, and I was trying to think of the best word or phrase to describe the film. After a few days I came up with a single word. I found Public Enemies to be rather dry. It seriously lacked in the innovation that this film needed in order to be great. There are so many crime dramas out there and this one was telling a story that needed to be told. It had great characters and events to work with, but throughout the movie, it just seemed that they weren’t using them to their advantage.

I mainly blame this on the writer. The dialogue and tension was lacking to the point of extreme boredom at times and this is not a story I should be bored in. The director did a pretty good job in my opinion through detail and camera work. Michael Mann did succeed in making this movie very realistic and moody, and where you were bored in some scenes because of the writing, you felt very involved in others.

Now I’ve talked a lot about what I didn’t enjoy in this film, but there was a lot I did enjoy about this movie. First of all, I found the movie visually very appealing. The colors were vibrant and moody and you were really brought to the era. It certainly was a period piece. I also mentioned the camera before. Most might tell you the camera work was amateur and shaky, but there really wasn’t a point in the film where I was bothered by it. I actually found the camera work quite professional. I felt much more involved in each scene because of the camera work and it seemed as if a lot of time was spent making each one worth watching.

The greatest pro I can point out when it comes to this movie is the many memorable performances. Johnny Depp was spectacular and exceeded my expectations, his performance was the best part of this film. Christian Bale was another leading man that exceeded my expectations. They weren’t that high for this character, because by the trailer it just didn’t seem like he had much to work with, but he truly put his all into this one and I enjoyed his screen presence very thoroughly. Marion Cotillard was also a force to be reckoned with along with almost every other supporting actor and actress.

So all and all, when you look at Public Enemies you get a good movie. It is one worth a view, but not one you need to rush out to the theater and see immediately. Their were certainly pros and cons to this movie and many of them. This is one of those movies that will be all across the board. Some will love it, some will hate it, and some will find it ok. You should see it and be the judge for yourself.

Grade: B+

#33 The Bloody Finale Scene (Sweeney Todd) !!! SPOILERS !!!

A fantastically epic and beautiful scene in a very poetic and gruesome tale of revenge and love.

Best Character: Sweeney Todd

Best Quote: “Really Living It!!!!”