Tag Archives: Johnny Depp

[Trailer] – The Lone Ranger

11 Dec

The Lone Ranger

It’s been over a couple of months since we got our first look at next summer’s The Lone Ranger so a new, longer trailer has just been released which you can watch below.

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[Trailer] – The Lone Ranger

3 Oct

A lot has been made about The Lone Ranger, from the budget issues to the huge production to the fact that a crew member unfotunately died on set a few weeks ago. Well, now at least we have something to feast our eyes upon, as the first trailer for the film has been released and you can watch it below.

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[Review] – Dark Shadows

23 May

Title: Dark Shadows
Year: 2012
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith, based on a story by himself and John August, based on the television series by Dan Curtis
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloë Grace Moretz, Bella Heathcote
MPAA Rating: PG-13, comic horror violence, sexual content, some drug use, language and smoking
Runtime: 113 min
IMDb Rating: 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
Metacritic: 55

Starting with 1990’s Edward Scissorhands, Johnny Depp has collaborated with his close friend, director Tim Burton, on eight occasions. And I like the two quite a lot, and they certainly have made pretty great contributions to the modern cinematic canon together (one can’t argue the greatness of a film like Ed Wood), but I’m afraid that I’m left thinking that maybe they should put a temporary halt to these collaborations. It feels now that they’re collaborating just because they have fun working together, which is indeed a good reason, but it would be better if they spent just a little extra time getting the material ready for their tandem.

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[Review] – 21 Jump Street

9 Apr

Title: 21 Jump Street
Year: 2012
Directors: Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Writer: Michael Bacall, based on a story by himself and Jonah Hill, based on the television series by Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Ellie Kemper, Rob Riggle, Ice Cube, Nick Offerman
MPAA Rating: R, crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking and some violence
Runtime: 109 min
IMDb Rating: 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Metacritic: 69

21 Jump Street is the funniest movie we’ve had since Bridesmaids. It truly is, and I wasn’t expecting it to be, so I was able to just be fully and awesomely surprised by what this one brought to the table. The film is, of course, based on the television series that launched a young Johnny Depp to fame and that ran from 1987 to 1991, and it has a really terrific sense of satire when it comes to referring to the that time and to the nostalgia that comes from revisiting the generic teen movie qualities that come with it. All of that while still being reverential to its source material, which no doubt Jonah Hill, who stars in this, wrote it and fought for it to get made, is very passionate about. That combination of the great action and the teen movie stuff and the eighties kind of satire is pure genius in this film.

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[Trailer] – Dark Shadows

16 Mar

The collaborations between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are insanely popular; and with good reason, too, since the pair have collaborated in seven projects with really fervent fanbases to both critical and commercial success. Now, the pair is due to release their eighth collaboration this May, when Dark Shadows is released.

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The Rum Diary

5 Dec

Title: The Rum Diary
Year: 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Writer: Bruce Robinson, based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson
Starring: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi
MPAA Rating: R, language, brief drug use and sexuality
Runtime: 120 min
Major Awards: –
IMDb Rating: 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes: 51%

Well this certainly was a long time coming. The film was originally to be made way back in 2000, as eternal Hunter S. Thompson fanboy, and a friend of late, great author, Johnny Depp came on board, as did Nick Nolte. But the film got stuck in development hell, causing Thompson to write one of his insanely awesome angry letters denouncing the project as a “waterhead fuckaround”. 2002 came and another studio took a stab at it, with Benicio del Toro and Josh Hartnett on board, that went nowhere as well. 2007 came and producer Graham King got attached, fresh off his Best Picture win for The Departed, and Mr. Depp got back on board, taking on producing duties as well, and the cast and crew started fleshing out itself and in March 2009 principal photography began in Puerto Rico. Two and a half years after that and we finally got the movie out in theaters. Like I said, it was a long time coming.

Was it worth the wait, though? Well, actually, no. I mean, don’t get me wrong, The Rum Diary is a perfectly fine film, totally entertaining and I would certainly recommend it to anyone that wants to spend a couple of hours watching Johnny Depp tackle a role created by a dear friend of his. Because the film is indeed entertaining and you can just tell that Mr. Depp was having a blast shooting it if only because it meant inhabiting a world created by a guy that seems like a kindred spirit of his, especially considering that the last couple of live-action films we’ve seen of his have been the very disappointing The Tourist (which I gave a C+ to) and the fourth installment of his Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (which I also gave a C+). But as fun as it may be to see this guy do his thing here, I just didn’t think The Rum Diary did justice to the guy who created the source material for it, nor was it worth an eleven-year wait.

Really, this is the kind of film that can actually do without a super awesome narrative and just coast by on style and atmosphere alone, and even though Mr. Depp is so clearly up to task to get his freak on and really amp this one the whole film really doesn’t live up to the gonzo heights it should have in order to be a slam dunk, even if you can tell this was done with Mr. Depp’s heart in the best of places to bring forth to the screen a tribute to the friend he admired so much.

When you see Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was the first time Mr. Depp stepped into Hunter S. Thompson’s shoes, no matter what you think of the film itself, you have to acknowledge that it was definitely a film that was made like Thompson himself would have done it. It was visually crazy, full of psychedelic moments that were there to send your mind buzzing away, and when the author himself watched the film he admitted he liked how freakish it was and how it sent him back to those times. And even though his friend Mr. Depp also does a fine job here, one would have to believe Hunter S. Thompson wouldn’t have been so over the moon with this film, as it’s just a super tame version of his novel that doesn’t bring across the passion that, for good or bad, everything he wrote was bursting with.

Johnny Depp once again is in charge of playing the alter-ego of the author, Paul Kemp, a journalist who indulges in quite a few excesses. He works for a newspaper, the San Juan Star, one that has striking union workers and an editor-in-chief (played by Richard Jenkins, another awesome guy)  who seemingly couldn’t care less about it all, so naturally Paul will drink on the job and just write down stuff to fill in blank pages in the paper. Paul eventually meets Aaron Eckhart’s character, Hal, an American entrepreneur who has everything Paul wants in life, a kick-ass mansion, a great sports car and gorgeous girl, played by Amber Heard, who’s actually seen eyeing Paul, so maybe he’ll at least get her. Hal’s the villain of the story, a guy who wants to ran a scheme on the island, building a luxurious resort and who wants Paul to be a part of his plan.

What happens then is Mr. Depp getting into full Thompson-mode, with Michael Rispoli playing a sidekick to him (he’s every bit as good as Mr. Depp here), and there are scenes of just drinking and blabbering that will no doubt be loved by Thompson fanatics. And one would think that the result would then be something awesome to watch, especially when you consider that director Bruce Robinson has had some experience with excesses himself (admitting to having fallen off the wagon whilst shooting this film), and even though the parts in which Paul is struggling to find, and keep himself grounded around, his moral center are fun, for the most part it also feels just aimless, not getting us to invest in the characters or in their trips. This is a Thompson tribute, for sure, and you can see a bit of the great, late author in here, but you’ll leave this film wanting to have seen much more.

Grade: B

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

3 Jun

Title: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Rob Marshall
Writers: Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, based on a story by themselves, based on the characters by themselves, Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert, and inspired by the novel by Tim Powers
Starring: 
Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Ian McShane, Geoffrey Rush, Kevin McNally, Sam Claflin, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Greg Ellis, Damian O’Hare, Gemma Ward, Richard Griffiths, Keith Richards, Judi Dench
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo
Runtime: 
136 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
7.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 
33%

Look, say what you may about these films, but they are really no-brainers for Disney and no one can blame them for making them. I mean seriously, yes, the first one, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, was the only genuinely good one, and it was superb and it got Johnny Depp a well-deserved Oscar nomination. But these are all about the money, the first three films combined have made an astounding $2.7 million, and this one has been in release only for 14 days and has already made a whopping $645 million, which is pretty much what the first one made in its entire run. What I mean by this is that this franchise is alive and well, and so long as Mr. Depp is there to lead it to box office gold audience will come along with him. And who can blame them? Captain Jack Sparrow is one of the millenium’s definitive film characters.

Which is not to say I fell head over heels with this one, since it’s probably the worst film of the franchise yet, or at the most right up there with the third one, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, in the final spot. But I will say one thing that I really appreciated about this fourth installment, and that is the shorter running time. I mean, yes, this one still clocks in at about two hours and fifteen minutes, which is pretty long, but it’s the shortest one yet and considering that last one came in at about two hours fifty minutes, it’s a nicely trimmed film in comparison. Which is not to say that the shorter running time makes this a much more cohesive film because it doesn’t, the plot is still kind of all over the place and there are just too many action scenes that don’t add anything to it, its just overlong, stuffed to the teeth, and had twenty minutes been taken away from it I doubt anyone would’ve been left complaining.

Because it really is over stuffed. There’s the fountain of youth, there are Spanish conquistadores, British fleets, hell, there even are mermaids. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides should really be the last one of these for a good while, as charming as Johnny Depp may be as Captain Jack Sparrow I think he should consider not donning the suit again, even though considering the bucketload of money Disney is making with this one I’m sure he’ll have millions of reasons to do it. Maybe part of the reason why I didn’t love this one was the absence of Keira Knightley, who other than Mr. Depp was my favorite part of the franchise and who I love in everything she does, but who was smart enough to opt out of this one. The female quota in this one was filled in instead with Penélope Cruz, who plays Angelica, Jack’s old love.

We get some pretty cool scenes at the beginning of the film that I definitely enjoyed. But after that, everything becomes monotonous, not un a dull sort of way, but in a very noisy one, because we get action scene after action scene, and it really gets old fast. I mean, there obviously will be tons of them because this is Pirates of the Caribbean and Jerry Bruckheimer is still producing and they have 136 minutes to fill in, but the action scenes are just not as well done as they should have probably been, I mean, they look all right but they don’t look real, relying too much on tedious editing instead of getting people to do actual stunts. Yes, they may get more adrenaline-filled shots that look insane that way, but if they don’t feel real you miss the excitement of actually feeling as though you’re seeing somebody do that, and that’s the best part about sequences like the ones this one tries to accomplish.

As for the actual plot you’ll be hearing about in this one, it basically is all about that fountain of youth, with Jack and Angelica trying to find it while on a ship ran by zombies under the command of Blackbeard, played by Ian McShane. Geoffrey Rush is the other main cast member of the original films that returns here, playing Captain Barbossa again, this time under the employ of the good guys, namely the British monarchy of King George who has paid him to find the fountain of youth first so that he can drink from it. And then there are also Spanish boats who are also in on the running. And yes, mermaids are here too. See? Overstuffed.

But, look, no matter what I or any of the infinitely more qualified film critics on the interwebs tell you, this will make a lot of money and everyone will watch it and many will love it. And, really, why not? It’s not like you get anything less than what you expected. I mean, sure, quality-wise this is probably the worst film in the franchise, but not by much and it’s not as though anyone was expecting anything better, you were just expecting a long film full of expensive-looking set pieces and Johnny Depp doing his masterful Keith Richards impersonation, and that’s precisely what you got. So for that, I guess I’ll say you might as well give Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stanger Tides a go. And I didn’t forget to mention Orlando Bloom’s absence from this film, it’s just that you don’t really notice he’s gone, that’s how necessary the guy was for the other three films.

Grade: C+