Posts tagged "Johnny Depp"

The Great Movie Ride: Pirates of the Caribbean (Part 2)

In July of 2003, the unthinkable happened. Disney Pictures released a film based on a theme park ride that was not only a smash hit, it was also pretty darn good. Telling a fanciful tale of cursed Aztec gold, wicked undead pirate scallywags, a reluctant hero straight out of Joseph Campbell, the love of his life, and Johnny Depp wearing eyeliner, this was a movie that captured the imaginations of audiences around the world. Being a young impressionable high school student at the time of its release, I found myself returning to the theaters to see it numerous times. I was living in a beach town for the summer, working a shit job, and the old moviehouse that showed one movie a night kept bringing it back due to its popularity. It was the first movie I can recall going to over and over because of how much fun it was. It had set out to turn a theme park ride into a movie, but in reality they had just made a movie that was like a theme park ride in how it moved. It had ups and downs, twists and turns, and at the end left you wanting to do it all over again.

Disney is no dummy when it comes to making money, so when the film was clearly a huge success; it was clear what had to be done. Sequels, and plenty of them. Disney green lit two sequels almost immediately, and after some discussion, it was decided that these two entries in what would be a trilogy would be shot back to back. This would be one of the few Hollywood franchises to do this (along with Back to the Future and The Matrix)

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Posted by Donald Hallene - February 19, 2013 at 10:30 am

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The Great Movie Ride: Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)

Try and guess which one is me.

To most, I am a film nerd. I go to film school, I work at an art house theater, I am often seen taking in the latest big movie at the local megaplex, and I write for a few movie sites, including this fine establishment now. This however isn’t the full picture of me. If you were to ask anyone who really knows me, they might tell you that I am also a Theme Park nut. It’s true. I prefer the term “enthusiast” but I digress. Since my first trip to Walt Disney World at the age of six, I was hooked on the concept of a place you could go and escape into highly themed lands of entertainment and adventure. My main passion is for Disney World, because you never forget your first, but since then I’ve come to enjoy places like Universal Studios and others as well.

Of course, these days, movies and theme parks go together like cookies and cream, especially at movie themed parks like Universal, Disney’s Hollywood Studio, WB Movie World, and parts of Six Flags, so it’s no wonder my two hobbies come together in such wonderful style. This has inspired me to take a look at movies that are inspired by theme parks. I am going to start with probably the most popular and famous of all, the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

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Posted by Donald Hallene - February 4, 2013 at 7:18 am

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Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows


2012
Written by John Augus and Seth Grahame-Smith
Based on characters created by Dan Curtis
Directed by Tim Burton

Needs more spires…

The thing about Dark Shadows is it is the type of film that Tim Burton directing and Johnny Depp starring should make it a natural hit and an amazing cinematic experience. But instead things just don’t turn our right, in fact, they go pretty wrong pretty quickly. The dark and dreary atmosphere is unfortunately too familiar with Burton’s other works, even though it should stand out here. The plot is the weakest part, the whole jilted ex-lover out for revenge trope we’ve seen time and time again. Sure, it’s dandied up with all the spooky trappings, ghosts and vampires and witchcraft, but it’s nothing new. Unfortunately, that’s a big problem. Just reading through the plots for the series, there was a lot of things going on, most of which is ignored and discarded, though there are a few references. But what we end up with is bland.

The Transylvanian version of The Help didn’t do as well

Though the period setting of 1971 is largely used on a few jokes that fall flat and hippie murder (killing hippies is soooo Kent State…) it does help in giving some characters a distinct look as they’re dressed in period clothing as opposed to modern fashion (and it helps that retro looks are in and what old is new!) Beyond that, you’ll not even notice that it is set in the past and not modern day, the few times older technology is used, it’s not intrusive and it keeps things from getting diluted with cell phone videos of vampire action being uploaded to YouTube.

The film is not all bad, there are bright spots. The strongest aspects of Dark Shadows are the actors. Everyone is bringing their A games. But they got little to work with, and the film can’t be carried by performances alone. And remember that it’s Collins, not Cullen. Let’s not say things we can’t take back and have sparkle vampires starting to wander around…

Three Stooges witchcraft

Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) – A 17th-century man cursed to become a vampire by a scorned lover. He’s imprisoned in the ground for 200 years and is freed in 1971, where he sets out to try to bring his family back to prominence. There is no actor I could have conceived of playing this part except Johnny Depp, and no one else could have done it justice. But Depp seems to be acting a constant stream of Jack Sparrow variations, eventually it’s going to get tiresome. Eventually means real soon.
Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) – A former servant of the Collins family 200 years prior and a witch, who has been enacting revenge against the family ever since Barnabas spurned her. Eva Green is spectacular and looks spectacular.
Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) – The matriarch of the Collins family, and the only thing holding it together until Barnabas arrives with help and secret treasure. Michelle Pfeiffer is frakking awesome. It is great to see a strong role for an older woman in a Hollywood film.
Carolyn Stoddard (Chloë Moretz) – Elizabeth’s teenage daughter, who seems to think she’s some sort of rocker chick and is permanently scowling.
Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) – Hired to be the governess of David Collins. Victoria is a name she made up on the train ride over. She bears a striking resemblance to Barnbas’s true love, Josette du Pres, and quickly catches his eye.
Actual photo of the original test audience five minutes after the film ended…

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm

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