Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Depp’

That’s Entertainment – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, August 4th, 2010

Review:

In this documentary made to celebrate MGM’s 50th anniversary in 1974, a bunch of their musical stars from the 1930s to 1950s take a look back at what made the studio great and successful: it’s all talking, all singing, all dancing musicals. It features clips from many of them, showing somewhat haphazardly the evolution of the studio and the art form. While the film actually explains very little, it’s at least an interesting look back at some of the biggest films and stars of the time, a good introduction into a film genre nobody really wants to see many examples off.

Random Observations:

That’s Entertainment! at the IMDb

Take a good look at the footage of MGM’s 25th anniversary celebratory luncheon and you will see that their claim “More Stars Than There Are In Heaven” was more than a slogan.

While not strictly speaking a film of the 1950s, this is nevertheless an interesting look at the American Cinema of that time. It also perfectly demonstrates while Gene Kelly’s (mostly) inferior films were more commercially and critically successful than Alfred Hitchcock’s: they were what people wanted, a distraction from their humdrum existence. Sure, they are cheesy, corny and a bunch of other things starting with “c”, but they are also light-hearted and simple fun.

This is the last film ever shot on the famous MGM backlot, with many of the sets already crumbling. They were torn down shortly afterwards, erasing the biggest reminder of Hollywood’s golden past for ever.

It’s interesting to note with how much regard Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire talk about each other. It’s unusual to see two so uniquely talented people appreciating the other one instead of seeing him as a rival or competitor.

I knew that pretty much everyone in Hollywood was reeled into musicals back in the day, but I never realized that this included such A-list talent as Cary Grant, Clark Gable and James Stewart. But at least they were forced by the studio, an excuse that Johnny Depp does not have…

Lost in La Mancha – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, März 31st, 2010

Review:

When Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe set out to make a documentary about Terry Gilliam’s new film, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote”, they knew that some drama would ensue. They had no idea, however, that production would be abandoned on the sixth day after a series of mishaps that included everything from bad planning and a low budget to horrible weather and sick actors. The film is an incredible entertaining look at one of the most plagued productions of all time, mercilessly retelling the story while offering interesting insights into how films are made – or not made, in this particular case.

Random Observations:

Lost in La Mancha at the IMDb

Making a film about Don Quixote has always been a dream of Gilliam and he first started planning it almost ten years prior to shooting. As of today, he is once more working on the project.

The film proves once and for all: The First Assistant Director is not only the most important person on set, he is also the one who gets blamed for everything that goes wrong.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, Januar 21st, 2010

Review:

As much as I like the work of Terry Gilliam – and I do like almost everything he’s done, even some things that are not critically adored – the advance word on his newest film was so bad that I would have skipped it were it not for the fact that this is Heath Ledger’s final performance. Here, he plays a man who was hanged and has lost his memory, but is rescued by Doctor Parnassus and his crew, who entertain people by allowing them inside the Doctor’s mind. In there, he wages a battle with the devil that has been going on for a thousand years – and when Ledger enters the imagination, he is played by Johnny Depp, Jude Law or Colin Farrell. This works surprisingly well and the film is filled with the usual array of ideas sprung from Gilliam’s overactive imagination. Nevertheless, it doesn’t quite work. The story is a bit too rambling and many of the sequences rely to heavily on CGI to be believable, creating a film that might have been great, but is deeply flawed. It’s not bad, but from the talent involved one could expect more.

Random Observations:

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the IMDb

Depp and Ledger look eerily similar in this film, making this transition the smoothest. It also should be said that all of the three actors played the part of Ledger they were best suited to, but that it would have been even more interesting to see Ledger transform so much throughout the story.

The female lead, Lily Cole, was completely unknown to me and after her performance here, I very much hope that will be the case once again quite soon.

Adventskalender 15

Dienstag, Dezember 15th, 2009

Klick auf den Link, um das fünfzehnte Türchen zu öffnen. Click the link to open the fifteenth door.

(weiterlesen …)

Public Enemies – Minute Movie Review

Dienstag, August 18th, 2009

Review:

Based on the life of notorious 30s criminal John Dillinger (and taking extreme liberties with the real story), the film is supposed to show the hunt for Dillinger by the newly established FBI. But what could be a promising thriller, especially considering director Michael Mann’s previous work, is a confusing film that is more annoying than anything. The cinematography is appalling, with barely a shot held long enough to see the expression on an actor’s face, except for a slew of close-ups that come at inappropriate moments and show expressionless faces. The acting is often atrocious, especially considering the top talent that is on display. But at least the movie succeeds as a comedy showing police ineptitude, because these FBI agents don’t even notice when Dillinger walks into their office or is standing ten feet away from them.

Random Observations:

Public Enemies at the IMDb

Johnny Depp and Christian Bale in the two lead roles are both far from their usual greatness, but their acting is great compared to Marion Cotillard’s. I know she won a Best Actress Oscar, but I have seen more convincing line readings in high school plays.

I was going to suggest that cinematographer Dante Spinotti should never be allowed to work again, considering how horrible this movie was filmed. But then I took a look at his résumé and now I hope it was just a fluke.

I am fairly certain that at least one of Dillinger’s henchman was in a scene after he was shot and killed, but since you never really get a good look at them, I might have seen that wrongly.

The film touches on some interesting issues with the mafia/mob/syndicate connections, but none of those are really allowed to have any impact on the storyline, so they might as well have been dropped.

I was really excited to see this film and am now utterly and completely disappointed. I have seen worse movies, but never when my expectations were that high.

My Favourite Contemporary Actors

Freitag, März 27th, 2009

As I said before, everybody loves Top Ten Lists. Especially me. So I thought I’d start a new, sort of regular, feature here, where I make Top Ten Lists of things I like. Now, the usual way to go about that would be to make lists like “The Ten Best Actors Working Today”, but even I don’t consider my opinion so important as to call it objective. So I will make lists like “My Favourite Ten Actors Working Today”, even if that title is a little longer. And so, without further ado, here are the ten actors whose body of work I enjoy so much, that just their participation in a film means that I want to see it, in reverse order. If you know all ten of them, congratulate yourself on having good taste. (weiterlesen …)

Comic Book Movie July – From Hell

Freitag, Juli 4th, 2008

From Hell is a strange name for a movie (or a graphic novel, for that matter). One would expect the subject to be something like Hellboy - a character straight from hell, or a hellish story at least. But this is not the case with Alan Moore’s comic book From Hell and naturally also not with the movie based on it. It’s both much simpler and much more horrifying: From Hell was the return address on one of the letters the police and press received during the brutal serial killings of Jack the Ripper, claiming to come from the murderer.

(weiterlesen …)

Comic Book Movie July – An Introduction

Dienstag, Juli 1st, 2008

It’s July and July means summer all over the world. (I’m not counting the southern hemisphere here for obvious reasons.) And summer means blockbuster season in cinemas. Big, loud and often simple movies for big, loud and often simple audiences. Some may remember the time when a summer blockbuster was still an event, when movies like Return of the Jedi or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were still something to talk about for weeks to come and that literally everybody had to see during opening weekend. Then came the time when summer blockbusters became the playground for Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Bay and Co and plot was pretty much replaced by big explosions. And in recent years, the studios didn’t even bother to hire a writer to come up with an original concept any more. Instead, they just adapted successful comic book franchises. Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, Iron Man, Antman, Aquaman, X-Men, you get the idea. Superheroes doing what they do best – protecting the world from evil. This month will not deal with those movies.

(weiterlesen …)

Minute Movie Review – Sweeney Todd

Donnerstag, März 13th, 2008

Review:

Probably the darkest musical of the decade, Sweeney Todd (fully title Sweeney Tood: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) tells the story of a barber, who is innocently sent to prison while the judge tries to takes his wife and daughter. Returning years later to London, he only wants one thing: Revenge. The film is about as bloody and gruesome as the story and the fact that it is directed by Tim Burton suggest and the less-than-great story and musical numbers (by Stephen Sondheim) would be endurable, hadn’t Burton insisted on casting major actors that can’t sing. Johnny Depp is good as always, but the moment he starts singing the movie becomes painful. The same goes for only-cast-because-she-is-married-to-director Helena Bonham Carter, whose idea of operatic performance is an experience in itself. Sadly, this ruined a perfectly decent movie.

Random Observations:

Sweeney Todd at imdb.com

It’s probably very uncool to dis Tim Burton, but this film is just bad. It might have worked with singers instead of actors, but even then the whole gothic darkness visuals are getting kind of old.

Isn’t the fact that there is practically no movie with Helena Bonham Carter without a shot of deep cleavage proof enough that she isn’t really that good an actress?

Rather surprising: They managed to almost hide the fact that this was originally a stage musical by having a high number of locations. Almost like they didn’t want anyone to notice.

The dream sequence at the beach was kind of funny though. Apart from the singing, obviously.

Streik, Oscars, New Line und Co

Montag, Februar 25th, 2008

Seit meinem letzten Eintrag über das bevorstehende Ende des Streiks der Drehbuchautoren sind ja doch einige Wochen ins Land gezogen. Der Grund dafür war simpel: Da ich meine journalistische Integrität als wichtiger betrachtet habe als meine schriftstellerische, habe ich ja auch während des Streiks eifrig geschrieben. Kaum war dieser beendet (an dem von mir schon angekündigten Tag) bin ich dann selber in den Streik getreten. Leider hat die AMPTP jedoch bis heute nicht auf meine (sehr moderaten) Forderungen reagiert und mein Streikposten vor dem Kodak Theater bei der gestrigen Oscar-Verleihung hat die Schauspieler auch nicht gestoppt. Wahrscheinlich weil er schon einige Stunden vor deren Auftauchen vom LAPD entfernt wurde. Und somit schreibe ich jetzt auch wieder – und hoffe, dass die Schauspieler, die in der SAG (Screen Actors Guild) vereinigt sind und deren Rahmenvertrag mit der AMPTP im Juni ausläuft, mich bei ihren Verhandlungen nicht vergessen. Denn auch wenn die Führung der SAG noch nicht mit der AMPTP spricht / sprechen will, läuft die PR-Maschine zur Verhinderung eines weiteren Streiks bereits auf Hochtouren. So haben beispielsweise einige der bekanntesten und beliebtesten Schauspieler der USA wie George Clooney und Tom Hanks die SAG schon aufgefordert, die Verhandlungen bald zu starten.

Gestern also war die Oscar-Verleihung – und da mein Versuch, sie zu bestreiken, leider verfrüht gescheitert ist, habe ich es mir natürlich dann doch angesehen. Was soll man dazu schon sagen: 4 Stunden feiert sich die Filmindustrie selber und man wartet als Zuschauer gespannt darauf, dass jemand mal endlich etwas wirklich Witziges sagt. Aber als relativer Oscar-Neuling sehe ich die Show eigentlich schon noch ganz gerne. Jon Stewart als Gastgeber war, wie auch schon 2006, lustig und souverän (auch wenn die meisten Kritiker das anders bewerten) und die meisten Gewinner – erwartete wie unerwartete – waren wohl auch gerechtfertigt. Die größte Überraschung war wohl die Auszeichnung Tilda Swintons als beste Nebendarstellerin, die sich unerwartet gegen Cate Blanchett und Amy Ryan durchsetzte. Auch interessant ist der Gewinn von drei (eher unbedeutenden) Auszeichnungen durch “The Bourne Ultimatum” – man wurde den Eindruck nie so ganz los, dass einige der Academy Mitglieder den Film gerne auch in wichtigeren Kategorien gesehen hätten. Die Gesamtliste der Gewinner kann man an vielen Stellen einsehen – in der Hoffnung dass wenigstens Amazon mich bezahlt, verlinke ich hierfür mal wieder zur IMDB.

Ein bedeutender Anteil der Oscar-Verleihung sind immer die Montagen, also die Zusammenschnitte von Filmszenen oder früheren Preisträgern. Wenn, bedingt durch den Autorenstreik, die Vorbereitungszeit dann noch etwas kürzer wird, spielen sie noch eine wichtigere Rolle. Auch diesmal fehlte nicht das Gedenken an diejenigen Hollywoodianer, die im letzten Jahr verstorben sind. Den Abschluss der Auflistung bildete dabei Heath Ledger. Als Ledger starb, hatte er gerade eine Drehpause von dem Film “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” – dem neuen Film von Terry Gilliam. Dieser dachte schon, dass er mal wieder ein Projekt unvollendet abbrechen müsste, aber jetzt hat sich doch noch ein Ersatz gefunden. Oder genauer gesagt gleich drei. Denn die Rolle von Ledger werden in dem Film jetzt Johnny Depp, Jude Law und Colin Farrell übernehmen – in den noch nicht gedrehten Szenen. Wie es funktionieren soll, wenn vier Schauspieler eine Figur spielen, wird sich zeigen, aber der bisherige Erfolg von “I’m not there” scheint darauf hinzudeuten, dass es durchaus möglich ist.

Derweil rückt das Ende von dem beliebten Studio New Line immer näher. Nachdem auch “Der Goldene Kompass” ziemlich schlecht gelaufen ist, deutete sich ja schon an, dass das Studio von Warner Bros. übernommen wird. Die Verträge der Geschäftsführer wurden nicht verlängert und auch wenn die Einigung mit Peter Jackson und die Ankündigung von zwei “Der kleine Hobbit” Filmen nochmal als Hoffnungsschimmer galt, ist spätestens seitdem die Nachfahren von JRR Tolkien New Line verklagt haben, da es nicht für die Rechte am “Herr der Ringe” bezahlt habe, wohl endgültig mit der Eigenständigkeit vorbei.

Um nicht ganz so traurig zu schließen: Bei der Verleihung der Independet Spirit Awards am Samstag hat “Juno” sich als der große Gewinner herausgestellt. Der Film ist jetzt schon in den USA der größte Independent Erfolg seit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” und die Komödie mit der grandiosen Ellen Page in der Hauptrolle läuft am 20. März auch in Deutschland an.