140 Words: Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows, the latest offering from Tim Burton and his favourite leading man, Johnny Depp, is a re-imagining of the cult 60’s American Gothic TV programme of the same name.

On the surface Dark Shadows has all the trimmings of a Burton classic. Costumes, set and overall mise-en-scene are typically Burtonesque – engaging, engulfing and drowning you in Gothicism, however Depp, as the ‘loveable’ vampire Barnabas Collins, instead of acting as the film’s linchpin, fails to ever get out of first gear, endear the audience to him or be original enough to intrigue. Dare I say it, he was slightly irritating.

Mildly entertaining but also mildly boring, Dark Shadows needed more gore, a stronger character arc for Depp and less pointless scenery chewing. We’ve seen better from both Burton and Depp in the past which makes this an underwhelming and disappointing watch.

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Movie 43

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I got back from Barcelona on Tuesday. I had a fantastic time, met some great people, but also had 24 hours ruined by a pickpocket stealing my iPhone; cue police stations, a lack of Catalan-speaking skills and sweltering heat. What possessed me, when I got back home, to rent Movie 43 I will never know – maybe it was a form of self-harm – however, I had to see what the fuss was about….and boy, was I not expecting the extent of what I actually saw.

Movie 43 is the most misjudged, confusing, insulting and boring movie I have ever seen. Period. Even the name, Movie 43, stinks of mediocrity. What was sold as THE BIGGEST CAST EVER ASSEMBLED was actually a half-arsed anthology film that delivered fecal jokes, farts, boobs, dicks and balls, racism, sexism, leprechaunism, and zero intelligent humour. Honestly, throughout the hellishly arduous runtime I found myself questioning how on Earth someone greenlit this screenplay beyond a first draft. The wrap-around story in the UK version – teenagers looking for the banned film Movie 43 ‘it will make you rip your dick off!’ – was like watching amateur ad-lib, and the stellar cast (all facetiousness aside) involved with each segment of shit jokes and ‘laughs’ – one section was actually child abuse – weren’t much better (bar a pretty convincing-cum-WHAT THE FUCK AM I WATCHING performance from Emma Stone).

This film is just an orgy of awful. Outrageous comedy doesn’t have to poke fun an minorities or make jokes about ‘gross’ periods. How long will it be until the skeletons of Hollywood realise that shit isn’t funny? Well, not in your face shit, because subtle shit can sometimes be hilarious. But everything in Movie 43, including its shit, is turned up to children’s TV presenter levels of obnoxious self-loathing. There is only so long you can watch a cartoon cat masturbate over pictures of Josh Duhamel in swimming trunks. Or watch the respected Broadway actor/Wolverine, Hugh Jackman, complete with balls hanging off his neck (this is played completely straight), take the Oscar winning actress, Kate Winslet, on a date. Those are spoilers, however there honestly is nothing to spoil.

I think the main problem with this movie is that, much like Disaster Movie, it’s going to build up a reputation for being so bad it is good. It is not. Movie 43, despite having one of the biggest ensemble casts of actors, comedy stars and Johnny Knoxville, should be locked up in a steel tub and sunk to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Texas Killing Fields

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I’m after a pallet cleanser, an amuse bouche some might say, to purify my mind after watching the car wreck of a film, Texas Killing Fields. It’s going to take a real corker of a crime thriller like Se7en or Silence of the Lambs to wash away the bitter taste this film has left. Directed by Ami Canaan Mann and starring Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chloe Moretz  and Jessica Chastain, this silly, inexplicable, confusing mess of a film follows three police officers as they try and unravel a series of murders taking place outside Texas City in the ‘Texas Killing Fields’. What ensues is puzzling at best and completely ridiculous at its worst.

I had high hopes for this film going into it. The cast was solid, especially Jessica Chastain, who is one of my favourite working actresses, the premise was intriguing, and the film had the potential to be creepy, intellectual and dramatic. However, what transpired was the antithesis of what the film should, and could, have been. The plot was impossible to follow from the outset, and what was intended to be poignant and hold dramatic gravitas was confusing and fell instantly flat. Characters’ emotions were ramped up to a hundred at all times but instead of resulting in meaty and emotionally engaging performances it had the effect of alienating the audience from any sense of realism. Without context, a solid narrative and an explanation of character motivation, this came off as trite melodrama to which was impossible relate. It almost felt like crucial scenes had been cut or that it was the finale to a TV show where the audience needed prior knowledge to have a clue what was going on. That’s not to say there were no redeeming qualities to the film. Credit where credit is due; the Texas Killing Fields had a glossy sheen and was visually executed well enough to hold its own against its big budget counterparts. The problem with this film was with the plot, dialogue and lack of believable characterisation.

Texas Killing Fields is a real stinker. Too much melodrama, nothing new or original, Sam Worthington sounds like Batman the entire time and the plot will leave you confused, angry and just plain disappointed.  Danny Boyle was originally lined up to make this film but pulled out stating that the film was ‘too dark’. It seems his vision may have packed the punch that this film could have only hoped to achieve.

LJ

10 films we can’t wait to see in 2013….

Ain’t them Bodies Saints

Exciting cast, interesting narrative and some positive rumblings from its Sundance Première.

Cast: Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Casey Affleck

Director/Writer: David Lowery

IMDB Synopsis: The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met.

Est. Release: Aug.2013

Trailer: N/A

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Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in Ain’t them Bodies Saints

Runner, Runner

Ooo I do have a soft spot for the Afflecks. Ben Affleck can do no wrong for me at the moment.

Cast: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton.

Director:  Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer)

IMDB Synopsis: A businessman who owns an offshore gambling operation finds his relationship with his protégé reaching a boiling point.

Est Release: Sept. 2013

Trailer: N/A

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The only proof this film is happening. No stills from the films or a trailer have been released yet

Anchorman: The Legend Continues

Please don’t be shit, please don’t be shit, please don’t be shit…

Confirmed Cast: Will Farrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Harrison Ford, Kristen Wiig, James Marsden

Rumoured Cast: Luke Wilson, John C. Reilly

Director: Adam Mckay (Anchorman)

IMDB Synopsis: The continuing on-set adventures of San Diego’s top-rated newsman

Est Release: Dec. 2013

Trailer: 

Elysium

Loved District 9, love Matt Damon and, if done well, this could be amazing.

Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster

Director: Neill Blomkamp (District 9)

IMDB Synopsis: Set in the year 2159, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station. The rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, and a man embarks on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.

Est Release: Sept. 2013

Trailer: N/A

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Matt Damon in Elysium

Kick Ass 2

If the writing and the story is as good as the first then I’ll be happy. Sequels are tricky beasts so I hope this retains the simplicity and class from the original. 

Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Jim Carrey, Christopher Mintz Plasse, Donald Faison

Director: Jeff Wadlow (Matthew Vaughn directed Kick Ass)

IMDB Synopsis:  The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins forces with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.

Est Release: July 2013

Trailer: 

Mud

Trailer looks fantastic. Matthew McConaughey has been reborn as an actor with some real weight. The supporting cast aren’t half bad either.

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon, Sarah Paulson

Director: Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter)

IMDB Synopsis: Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love

Est Release: May 2013

Trailer:

The Iceman

Michael Shannon (his second feature on this list) stars; he is fast becoming one of my favourite actors. Fantastic cast. Compelling story. What could go wrong?

Cast: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, James Franco, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer

Director: Ariel Vromen

IMDB Synopsis: The true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession.

Est Release: June 2013

Trailer:

The World’s End

So excited by this!! The cast, writers and director are enough to have me pre ordering my cinema ticket already. If this isn’t funny then I give up.

Cast: Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine,

Director: Edgar Wright

Writers: Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg

IMDB Synopsis: Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival.

Est Release: Aug. 2013

Trailer: N/A

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Freeman, Considine, Pegg, Frost and Marsan in The World’s End

Monsters University

Monsters Inc. was such a delight, I’m excited but scared for this sequel/prequel. Fingers crossed it will retain the magic and wonder from the original.  Trailers looks great though.

Voice Cast: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Helen Mirren, Steve Buscemi, Alfred Molina,

Director: Dan Scanlon (Cars)

IMDB Synopsis: A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at Monsters University — when they weren’t necessarily the best of friends.

Est Release: July 2013

Trailer:

The Wolf of Wall Street

DiCaprio. Scorsese. Bosh.

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey

Director: Martin Scorsese

IMDB Synopsis: A New York stockbroker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration.

Est Release: Nov. 13

Trailer: N/A

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Leonardo Dicaprio in the, first look still from, The Wolf of Wall Street