The Lone Ranger (2013)

Justice is What I Seek, Kemosabe.

The Lone Ranger (2013)The amount of awful things I heard about today’s movie made me desperately want to see it.  Not quite enough to see it in theaters, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to see it.  The studio seemed to try to hide the movie under the rug after that, keeping it off the shelves for about 6 months.  Did they not know I was waiting to make fun of it?!  By the time I finally got the opportunity to see it, I had already watched the people over at Schmoe’s Know report that it was the worst and second worst movie of the year, depending on which host you asked.  But you people are here to find the opinion of the host that really matters: ME!!!!!  So what did I think of The Lone Ranger?  You’ll just have to read more words and find out.  Some of those words will be the people that wrote it, whose names are Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, and Terry Rossio.  Gore Verbinski directed it.  And the movie also starred Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale, and Barry Pepper.

A young boy at a circus goes into a Wild West exhibit and sees a statue of an elderly Comanche that seems to come to life to tell the boy a story.  The Comanche reveals himself to be Tonto (Johnny Depp), and starts to tell the boy a story about how he met a lawyer named John Reid (Armie Hammer) while trying to exact his revenge on a man he calls a “wendigo,” but is more commonly referred to as Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), notorious outlaw.  Butch escapes and John joins his brother Dan’s (James Badge Dale) search party to try to bring him to justice, but a betrayal leads the slaughter of the entire team.  Tonto arrives and gives the bodies a proper burial, only to realize that John survived, if only just.  Tonto decides that John is a “spirit walker” and unable to be killed, which will be very useful in future fights.  Slightly less useful in future fights is a mask that Tonto gets John to wear.  Even less useful is the moniker of “The Lone Ranger” for someone that is eternally accompanied by a partner and a horse.

This was not a great movie, but I would argue that the amount of hatred received by this movie is unjustified.  It’s just a dumb fun movie.  I might be prodded to say that I enjoyed the experience.  For obvious reasons, it felt like a worse version of the worst Pirates of the Caribbean movie (That would be easily the fourth one, On Stranger Tides) set in the Wild West.  It had some simple story, an odd love story, some funny moments, and some okay action.  Not a whole lot to say about the story in general because of its simplicity.  It’s kind of just a double revenge plot and not much more.  I can say some things about the love story though.  John is in love with his brother’s wife and can move in on her without regrets because Dan’s been killed, instantly proving them both to be shitty wife and shitty brother simultaneously.

There were some pretty interesting and spectacular action scenes that I enjoyed in this movie.  The big train scene at the end was pretty interesting, like in the parts where Tonto was climbing up the ladder on the moving train.  The thing that did the most damage to this action sequence was the fact that they used the Lone Ranger music, the William Tell Overture, during the whole scene.  Look, I understand why they did it.  It was an appeasement to people that loved the original … whatever it was.  TV show?  Radio program?  Both?  Who cares?!  I’m not nearly old enough to give a shit.  But I do know that this music sounds a little goofy and dated by today’s standards and I would’ve been much happier with some random metal or orchestra music in that scene.  You could’ve thrown those old people a bone by playing it during the credits or something, but the people old enough to know that music had probably fallen asleep by then.  4:30 pm is way past their bed time.

One of the things that the Schmoe’s boys hated about this movie was Johnny Depp, comparing his goofy characterization to his performance in Pirates of the Caribbean.  I may be way off base here, but I liked his performance in both movies.  I find them funny and entertaining.  So sue me.  You can have all the money I make doing these things for you.  In fact, you already have it all.  I also found his interactions with Silver the horse to be pretty funny.  And Silver was my second favorite character in this movie!  That horse had a good amount of funny moments, like when it licked the scorpions off of the Lone Ranger’s face and when they found Silver standing in a tree for no good reason.  Of course, another part of the problem with this movie is that my second favorite character was a horse and not the person riding it.  Armie Hammer didn’t really make any impression on me.  His portrayal of the Lone Ranger was not nearly as badass as I wanted him to be, and not nearly as badass as someone being portrayed by someone named Armie Hammer.  With a name like that you should be eating lightning and crapping thunder!  Instead he won most of his victories by accident and dumb luck.  He was starting to come into his own as the Lone Ranger in that last action scene, but I had already written this down in my notes by the time I got there.

The Lone Ranger was beaten up pretty hard, but I feel it was unjustified.  Sure the story was unimpressive and the love story seemed all wrong, but there was some okay action scenes and I found Johnny Depp amusing enough to overcome Armie Hammer not living up to the awesomeness of his own name.  This movie would never really warrant a purchase, but I would feel confident recommending that you rent it from RedBox.  It’s worth a dollar.  The Lone Ranger gets “That was supposed to be a warning shot” out of “Something very wrong with that horse.”

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Dark Shadows (2012)

Reveal Yourself, Tiny Songstress!

Today’s movie was requested by my roommate Richurd. When he requested it, I suggested that he may have to wait until November for me to review it since it didn’t really feel like a horror movie. “It has vampires, witches, and werewolves in it!” he exclaimed, and then proceeded to beat me savagely. Once I awoke, I relented and agreed to review the movie as part of the October Horrorthon. The movie itself was one I knew about when it came to theaters, but had exactly zero desire to watch it. I didn’t know the source material and every commercial for the movie I saw fell flat on its face by way of comedy as far as I was concerned. But it’s a request and so I bring to you my review of Dark Shadows, written by Seth Grahame-Smith, directed by Tim Burton, and starring Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Bella Heathcote, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloë Grace Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Gulliver McGrath, Christopher Lee, and Alice Cooper.

In 1760, the Collins family moves from Liverpool to Maine to set up a fishing industry, naming the town Collinsport. They make lots of money and all is going well … until their son Barnabas (Johnny Depp) seduces the maid Angelique (Eva Green). She confesses that she loves him, but he does not feel the same. Also, she’s a witch. She takes it out on his family, getting them killed by a falling statue. Barnabas eventually falls in love with Josette du Pres (Bella Heathcote), but the jealous Angelique bewitches her and makes her leap from a cliff. Barnabas tries to follow her, but finds that Angelique has turned him into a vampire. She then gets a mob to lock him in a coffin for 212 years. That’s when a group of construction workers inadvertently frees Barnabas, allowing him to return to his family – matriarch Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer), her brother Roger (Jonny Lee Miller), her 15-year-old daughter Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz), Roger’s 10-year-old son David (Gulliver McGrath), David’s psychiatrist Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), and the manor’s caretaker Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley) – just in time to greet David’s newly-hired caretaker Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote), who is Josette’s reincarnation. But Barnabas will soon find that Angelique is still very much alive, and still very much scorned.

The best thing I could say about this movie is that it lived up to my expectations. The worst thing I could do is define those expectations. But I’ll do it anyway. I can’t say that Dark Shadows was a bad movie, but it’s very far from a good one. If its intentions were to be a horror movie, it was too goofy. If it wanted to be an action movie, it was too boring. If it was to be a mystery & suspense movie as Rotten Tomatoes claims it to be, then I probably shouldn’t have been able to go into the movie knowing exactly how it would turn out. Sadly, I think it wanted to be a comedy, but it also wasn’t funny. It tries to go for a lot of wordplay and dry wit that I’m sure made the British version of this stuff popular (assuming that it ever was, which I have not looked into), but the jokes used in this movie were too dry and lacked wit … or were just stupid. A lot of the movie after Barnabas returns to the 70’s just feels like the pitch for the movie was, “What if Austin Powers … wait for it … were a vampire!” Oh look at him as he doesn’t understand things because he’s been away for a long time! He thinks Alice Cooper is a lady! HILARIOUS! And on top of all that, the movie just wasn’t interesting. The family wasn’t likeable until the very end when they finally became more interesting, but I was long lost by then. All that being said, this is a Tim Burton movie, so the look of the movie is generally worth notation. It has a cool, creepy, dark look to the whole movie, but at a certain point I’m going to require more out of Tim than that. Also, I don’t know if it was intentional because they wanted to pay homage to the British version, but Johnny Depp looked goofy the entire movie. I was not buying that look.

The cast in this movie was filled with amazing names … who didn’t seem to want to try that hard. This is not a surprising performance for Johnny Depp. It’s a little bit like Captain Jack Sparrow without a drinking problem. Michelle Pfeiffer did not seem altogether invested in the movie. Eva Green was a little over the top, but so was her hotness. Chloë Grace Moretz was never interesting to me until the very end where she turned into something interesting … and then did nothing with it. Jackie Earle Haley came close to being funny a few times. I also didn’t like Gulliver McGrath, but more for the way he was written. How the hell is a kid going to see ghosts for his entire life, but freak out when he finds out the guy that’s been living with his family for a few months while being perfectly nice to him is a vampire?

I kind of feel like I wasted a bit of my time by watching Dark Shadows, but hopefully you don’t feel that you wasted time reading my review. This movie was not funny and not interesting, the actors didn’t seem into it, and I wasn’t either. I had/have no interest in the source material, so I have no idea if it holds up, but I do know that there’s not a lot of reason to watch this movie. It’s not an awful movie, but there are better ways to spend your time. Dark Shadows gets “It is with sincere regret that I must now kill all of you” out of “They tried stoning me, my dear. It did not work.”

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Jack and Jill (2011)

This is the Guy Who’s Gonna do a Dunkin’ Donuts Commercial.

Today’s movie was not a request.  Instead, it sprang forth as a sign of my own self-loathing.  I’m pretty sure that everybody that saw the trailer for this movie knew better than to see it, but I saw it and said “I wanna make fun of that.”  That was, of course, once I had figured out that the trailer wasn’t a joke, like some Funny or Die mock trailer.  When I found out it was a real movie, it was on.  But there was no way in Hell that I was going to the theaters to see it.  Instead, I waited patiently for the moment it popped up in a RedBox near me and called to me.  And now the time has come to talk about Jack and Jill, written by Steve Koren, Robert Smigel, and Adam Sandler, directed by Dennis Dugan, and starring Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Al Pacino, Rohan Chand, Elodie Tougne, Eugenio Derbez, Tim Meadows, Nick Swardson, Allen Covert, Valerie Maheffey, Gad Elmaleh, and Gary Valentine, with cameos by Dana Carvey, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Norm MacDonald, Regis Philbin, Shaquille O’Neal, Lamar Odom, Bruce Jenner, Johnny Depp, Drew Carey, Jared Fogle (The Subway Jared), and John McEnroe.

Jack Sadelstein (Adam Sandler) works in advertising and lives with his wife, Erin (Katie Holmes), and his two children, Gary (Rohan Chand) and Sofia (Elodie Tougne).  His twin sister, Jill (don’t make me say it) comes to visit his family for Thanksgiving.  She’s annoying as shit, causing Jack to snap at her occasionally, which causes her to extend her vacation so that she doesn’t leave on a bad note.  Jack is also stressed because his work wants him to get Al Pacino (himself) to do a commercial for Dunkin’ Donuts and their new drink, the Dunkachino.  Luckily for Jack, Al Pacino develops a crush on Jill when they first meet.  But Jill, even though she’s incredibly lonely, is having none of Scarface and his tomfoolery.  That’s when shit gets really crazy.

The truth about this movie is a rather surprising one: It’s not as painfully bad as I expected from the commercials and trailers.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s also not good and not very funny, but it wasn’t PAINFULLY so.  It was just another mediocre Adam Sandler comedy (as he’s prone to making these days) with a shitty premise and a good meaning to it.  The premise of the movie seems like Adam Sandler just found out about the phenomenon of twins, ran into the office of his writing partners, and exclaimed “Did you guys know that two people of different genders can look exactly alike?  I have such the movie for you guys!”  And then it was off and running.  Putting Adam in a dress, having him do a voice we’ve heard him do before for her, and having him play opposite himself like Mike Myers.  And then they needed a conflict.  How about one as original as “siblings don’t get along”?  BRILLIANT!  The whole Al Pacino subplot is original, but many people thought it was insane for Al Pacino to fall in love with a female version of Adam Sandler.  That part I can actually get behind.  Pacino seems that crazy.  Then you tie the whole thing up with some “love your siblings for who they are” mess and you have a movie.  All of this would have been forgivable if they made the movie funny, but they didn’t.  The only part that made me laugh was in one of their cameos.  It’s at the basketball game where Jack is trying to talk to Pacino and Jill doesn’t really know who he, nor the person he’s watching the game with, are.  The only funny part of the movie is when Jill asks the friend (are you listening, Loni?) Johnny Depp if he was in Duran Duran, and Johnny says “Yeah, that was me.”  I’ve just saved you two hours!  Except for Loni, that is, who will now watch this movie just because Johnny Depp is in it for two minutes and has words coming out of his mouth.  The whole movie winds up being thoroughly “blah”, with a few moments that are cute, but just as many moments that are painfully not funny.  Jack’s son, Gary, has some strange habit of taping things to himself that is stupid and completely insane, but they managed to get a little bit of almost funny out if it, like when he tapes a salt shaker to his head and Jill uses the shaker while it’s still on his head.  Near the end of the movie, there’s a part where Jack and Jill show off their fantastic jump roping abilities together that is just painfully not funny.  There’s also an entire scene at the picnic of Jack’s gardener that was so blatantly stereotypical that even I came close to finding it really offensive, and I’m not even Mexican (thank God).

The performances did what they could with what was written, but never really impressed either.  Adam Sandler is probably the most to blame for this movie, having written it and for playing two roles in it.  As Jack, he was mainly just normal, but never really realistic.  As Jill, he was annoying and about as far from realistic as you could get.  The problem for me of making the sister so utterly annoying is that you don’t really sympathize with her when Jack is rude to her.  I would be too!  Al Pacino played himself like I want to imagine him: completely insane.  He had a couple of entertaining parts, like when Jill accidentally broke his Oscar and said, “Oh, I’m sure you have others,” and he said, “You’d think so, but no.”  Maybe it’s because you’re doing movies like Jack and Jill now, and not Godfathers and Scarfaces.  I also found him entertaining at the very end of the movie when he was in a bar dressed as Don Quixote.  I like Tim Meadows, Nick Swardson, Dana Carvey, Norm MacDonald, and David Spade, but none of them really brought any comedy to this beyond David Spade being in drag just like Sandler.  As with most Sandler movies, there are a huge number of cameos in this movie, but none (beyond Johnny Depp) ever did anything for me, it was just interesting that they were there in the first place.

Jack and Jill isn’t as bad as you expect it to be.  It’s just regular bad.  It’s a pretty bad premise to base a movie on, it’s not that great of a story, and the only part I found really funny was delivered by a cameo actor.  I can’t surprise any of you by saying that I recommend you watch this movie, even for a dollar.  You can’t really mock a comedy MST3k style because comedies are already trying to be funny and any joke you’d make would just be “That was dumb.”  That being the case, there’s no reason to see this.  Jack and Jill gets “Busted, disgusted, never to be trusted!” out of “We play games, we eat, we steal white people’s money.”

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Whatever You Do, Don’t Fall Asleep

Today’s contribution to the last days of the October Horror-thon is a super overrated movie that a friend of mine told me I needed to buy because of how amazing it was.  Also, Loni can pay attention ’cause Johnny Depp is in this movie as well.  This movie is the original A Nightmare on Elm Street.  Go ahead, tell me I’m wrong.  I don’t see what everybody’s all on about with this movie, but let’s get to my review and you can see where I went wrong.  A Nightmare on Elm Street stars Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, John Saxon, Ronee Blakely, Amanda Wyss, and (for the second day in a row) Lin Shaye, and directed by Wes Craven.

This is probably a fairly familiar story to most people.  Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) did some bad things to children, but he’s dead now.  But Tina Gray (Amanda Wyss) is having dreams where a severely burned man is chasing her through a boiler room in his red and green striped shirt, fedora hat, and razor glove.  The next day at school, Tina’s friend, Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) confesses that she had a similar dream.  Nancy and her boyfriend Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp) decide to spend the night with Tina because she’s afraid.  Tina’s boyfriend, Rod Lane (Nick Corri), shows up to bang the bejesus out of her.  While she sleeps afterwards, Freddy reappears in her dream and proceeds to mutilate her as Rod watches, unable to do anything.  Rod runs as Nancy and Glen find Tina’s dead body, but shortly after, Nancy’s father, police lieutenant Donald Thompson (John Saxon) catches Rod and puts him in jail, suspecting he killed Tina.  Freddy starts going after Nancy in her dreams and also kills Rod in jail.  Nancy tries to stay awake as long as she can.  Her mother, Marge (Ronee Blakley), confesses that Freddy Krueger had gotten away with the bad things he did to children a while back and so she and the other parents burned him alive in a boiler room, and now he’s come back in their dreams for revenge.

Alright, let’s break this thing down piece by piece.  The premise of this movie is actually pretty solid.  The whole set up to Freddy as being a child killer and/or pedophile that was killed by the parents is a good thing, though I do wonder if pedophiles took that as a sign that this may happen to them.  “Sure, I’d get burned alive, but I would come back with super powers!”  The premise of being able to kill someone in their dreams is probably universally scary.  As I watched this movie, I kept thinking about what you would do in this situation, and there’s really nothing that can be done.  You can only stay awake for so long before you would either die or pass out without you being able to stop it, and then Freddy’s got you.  And the land of dreams is his territory, so I assume I wouldn’t be able to fight him very well or escape him.  And I know for a fact I’m not good at waking up, so I’d be a dead man.  Many horror movies since this have taken this path.  Basically you just look for something that people do and make it a way you could die in an awful way.  The Ring took watching a video and made it fatal, there were a couple movies about being able to die via cell phone, all sorts of movies use this method for scares.  Conversely, the dialog is nothing special and some of the writing is bad or cliche.  For instance, Tina’s boyfriend is the classic over the top douche that, of course, gets the girl.  And at least one of the cops is a complete moron because it prolongs the suspense.  Nancy is screaming out of windows that she’s breaking to get the cop from across the street to get her dad and he just watches her saying “I wonder if I should get the lieutenant…”

The visuals are kind of hit and miss in this movie.  There are some that are really cool and some that are just awful.  The classic scene of Freddy’s face and hands trying to push through the wall that warps out like rubber (probably because it was) and the light hits the top of it just looks awesome.  Shortly after that, Freddy’s walking awkwardly in a dream with pointlessly long arms, and that looks awful.  When he starts attacking Tina and cuts appear out of nowhere on her chest, the chest is horribly fake looking.  It’s not the same skin color – in fact it’s closer to gray – and you can see the little wrinkles in the rubber.  A similarly bad fake body comes up later when Freddy cuts into his chest, exposing green blood and maggots.  I realize this was 1984, but if you could see how good something looks to put it in the movie, you can see how bad something is and have them do it right.  Also, what the hell is it with Wes Craven and his deadly Home Alone pranks obsession?  He does that shit in here just like he did in Last House on the Left.  All sorts of things like gun powder on a light bulb, wire to trip over, hanging sledgehammer, etc.  It’s goofy, not scary.

The acting here is either nothing special or bad.  John Saxon probably tops it off with “nothing special”, Johnny Depp comes up slightly below that, and everyone else is pretty uninspiring.  The worst of them will be mentioned in the next paragraph.  The worst of these people was probably the guy that played Rod.  He was mediocre and annoying throughout the movie, playing the douche nozzle that shows up while his girlfriend is having a bad day to bang the sorrow out of her.  The worst part of him was when Tina was getting killed as he watched.  She was being dragged up to the ceiling by an invisible force while bleeding profusely from the stomach and chest, and the big hero here sat in the corner furthest away from her with his arm outstretched yelling “Tina!”  I feel like you could have burnt a few calories and got up and at least stood on the bed and swatted at her.  Lin Shaye was also in this movie, which I only noticed because she was in the movie I reviewed yesterday, Insidious, and it was interesting to see her.

Alright, here it comes … Freddy Krueger was the worst part of this movie.  Yeah, I said it.  I have talked about it a little already when I reviewed Freddy vs. Jason, but I do not get the appeal of this character.  He’s not scary.  He’s either goofy or annoying, and I imagine that’s not what you want out of your horror villain.  If he’s not spitting out stupid, vaguely threatening jokes, he’s randomly inflicting damage to himself, and that’s supposed to scare his victims.  One of the first things he does is say to Tina “Watch this” and proceeds to cut his own fingers off and laugh about it.  Later, for Nancy, he slices into his own chest for some reason.  Why don’t you shut up and get to killing, Krueger?  Now, to be fair, I don’t blame Robert Englund for this.  He didn’t write it, and I don’t imagine he was improvising.  It’s the fault of the writers.  And the fault of the 95% of people on Rotten Tomatoes that like this.

I’m happy to join the lower 5% on this movie.  Not a good movie.  Everyone ragged so hard on the remake with the dude from Watchmen, but that one was way better.  Jackie Earle Haley made a few jokey comments as Freddy, but mostly just got to the business of killing.  Not great, but better.  I say you can skip this movie, but statistically you have probably seen it and liked it.  Even so, I give this movie “I take back every bit of energy I gave you” out of “I’ll kill you slow!”

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Watch Your Heads

October Horror-thon continues, as does my pleas to get my friend Loni back into my reviews, with the Tim Burton movie Sleepy Hollow. I wasn’t really sure if this movie was actually intended to be a horror movie when I pulled it out of my collection, but I feel like it holds up. Plus, Johnny Depp is in it, so Loni should be in. Sleepy Hollow is directed by Tim Burton, and stars Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Christopher Walken, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Christopher Lee, and Ian McDiarmid, as well as some stunt work by Ray Park, so I get to reuse so many people that have been in my reviews before and will be again when I lay down some Harry Potter goodness.

1799, New York City, constable Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is a strange character and investigator of murders. His superiors do not agree of his scientific autopsy techniques, but they dispatch him to Sleepy Hollow to investigate some recent murders. Those murders involve the decapitation of 5 people, with their heads going missing. He gets there to investigate and is greeted by the cleavage of Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci). At first, his scientific mind leads him to believe that a mortal serial killer is using the towns mythos to hide his crimes, taking this movie dangerously close to the other Johnny Depp joint, From Hell. But Crane soon finds out that the killer is actually the mythological creature called the Headless Horseman (at this point, Ray Park). Crane is told that the Horseman was once a brutal and sadistic Hessian mercenary (Christopher Walken, when his head is on) who was beheaded for his brutality and has come back to life because someone stole his noggin and is using it to control him. Crane then systematically suspects everybody in the town until they come up dead and he starts suspecting the next person he sees.

This movie is pretty thoroughly meh, if I might scare Loni off again. There are lots of things that work and a couple things that don’t. The story itself is pretty solid but I found myself drifting out of it from time to time. Tim Burton, as he seems to like doing, has taken a classic story and made it more dark and twisted. This time, he took an older story from the 1800s or so that was then made into a Disney movie. I pretty much only knew about it from the Disney movie, and I don’t even remember that very well because I didn’t like it that much. But this is a story that works as a darker, gory version. Unfortunately, he also felt the need to add in things about how Crane wanted to use science and autopsies in a time where that was frowned upon and things about conspiracies in the small town. I had always heard the story that the Horseman took heads because he lost his and wanted a new one (and who wouldn’t want Johnny Depp’s head, am I right, Loni?), and that story would work on it’s own. And, according to Wikipedia, the Horseman was more than likely Van Tassel’s other suitor, Brom (Casper Van Dien), who killed Crane to get Christina Ricci (which I would totally do as well). Both of those stories work on their own, we don’t need back story about autopsies and conspiracy and some confusing thing about Ichabod’s mother. That stuff was boring. But the Horseman parts were pretty sweet.

As with most Tim Burton movies, the look and atmosphere trump all else. Sleepy Hollow and the surrounding area seem to be practically devoid of sunlight and are constantly drenched in fog and spooky looking trees. The coolest things were surrounding the gore. The decapitated heads were very realistic. I know 1999 isn’t THAT old, but I’ve seen big budget movies that have come out recently that have worse looking heads than this one does. All of those gory effects worked very well. And when Depp starts hacking into the tree that sits over the Horseman’s body, and the tree seems to bleed and have flesh underneath it, that was very well done and creepy as well. The costumes were nice looking as well. I especially loved the cleavage. Also, I wanna get one of them jackets like Johnny wears in this. I like those old style jackets and I need to find one that isn’t ridiculously priced.

The performances are mostly bland or hammed up. And this movie (I think) was going for a horror movie vibe, but had no scares. It had gore, so it could be a slasher film, but most of the main actors seemed to go more for an odd quirky comedy performance, and I didn’t think it fit. I didn’t really get the character Johnny Depp was going for. He was a constable, so you’d assume he’s seen death pretty frequently, and he was a big proponent for autopsies, but he gets squeamish looking at gore. Well, sometimes. Other times he dove right in. Christina Ricci made no real impact on me beyond her hotness. I got really sad when I recognized Dead Dumbledore was in this ’cause he dead now, but he did a fine job at his smaller part. But there were a lot of big actors with smaller parts in this movie. Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) was in this, Rita Skeeter (Miranda Richardson), Vernon Dursley (Richard Griffiths), the dude from Starship Troopers (Casper Van Dien), Spike from Stay Tuned (Jeffrey Jones), Sarumon (Christopher Lee), and Alfred (Michael Gough) were all in this, but all had pretty small parts. Christopher Walken was creepy, but kinda hammed it up as the Horseman. But that explains the greater majority of Christopher Walken performances. Creepy, weird, and a little hammed up.

That’ll do for this review. It’s a decent enough watch with a hit or miss story and matching performances, but you can’t deny the appeal of Tim Burton’s style. I’ll go ahead (get it? a head!) and give this movie “You are bewitched by reason” out of “He was dead to begin with.”

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

You’ve lost your muchness.

I had no time to do my review of the 6 Star Wars movies today, so I dipped back into my DVD collection and routed out Alice in Wonderland. Not the animated one, the Tim Burton one. I decided to do this movie in case my friend Loni had lost interest in my reviews. You put Johnny Depp on the end of a hook and Loni will bite every time. So lets get into this here movie. This version of Alice in Wonderland stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas X 2, as well as the voices of Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman, Barbara Windsor, Christopher Lee, and Stephen Fry.

I shouldn’t have to tell you too much about this movie. Who doesn’t know the story of Alice in Wonderland? This doesn’t just remake the classic Disney animation with wacky scenery though. It mashes up two of the classic Lewis Carroll novels: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and it’s sequel Through the Looking-Glass. Now 19-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska), is an eccentric girl who has been set up for marriage behind her back. When the proposal comes, she jets. She sees a white rabbit in a waistcoat and follows him into a hole, falling down into Underland. Here she meets Nivens McTwisp the White Rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen), Mallymkun the Dormouse (voiced by Barbara Windsor), Absolem the Caterpillar (voiced by Alan Rickman), and twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum (both Matt Lucas). They tell her she’s the only one that can slay the Jabberwocky and save Underland. She’s not thrilled. Then, the conversation is interrupted by the Red Queen’s army, including the Bandersnatch and the Knave of Hearts, Ilosovic Stayne (Crispin Glover). Iracebeth of Crims, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter with a giant head), is not happy at the return of Alice because she’s come back to slay her beloved Jabber-baby-wocky and she’s looking to separate some heads from some shoulders. Alice escapes and soon comes to meet the Cheshire Cat (voiced by Stephen Fry). He takes her to meet the March Hare and brings about the moment Loni had been checking her watch and waiting for, the introduction of the Mad Hatter, Tarrant Hightopp (Johnny Depp). Together with the Mad Hatter, Alice makes her way towards the Red Queen to find the Vorpal Sword, then off to meet Mirana of Marmoreal, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), to try to get her reelected as Queen of Underland. And, yes, I did look up all of their full names because they were wacky and I wanted them written in my review.

So the story doesn’t really require very much commentary. Of course it’s great. It’s Alice in Wonderland. This movie can’t really take much credit for that. I absolutely refuse to read without a weapon of some sort pointed at me, so I have no idea how closely they stuck to the source material. I don’t much care either. The movie was interesting all the way through so, much as the Harry Potter series, I don’t care if it’s nothing like the book at all. I’m not sure if it was a choice by Burton or if it was in the books, but parts of this seemed pretty dark for a movie aimed more towards kids. The Bandersnatch get’s it’s eye ripped out, there’s a bird that get’s stabbed in the eye and then gets it’s head crushed by a rock, and there’s a river full of decapitated heads. Hey kids, you wanna watch Alice in Wonderland? No, the one that will give you nightmares. Well then you probably should’ve eaten all of your vegetables at dinner. Now get in here and watch the movie!

As with most Tim Burton movies – and also Guillermo Del Toro movies – the story takes a major backseat to the visual effects. I’m pretty sure both of those guys are probably insane to be able to come up with some of the visuals they use. And it’s okay that they’re crazy because I can just enjoy the visuals of their movies without having to deal with them personally. The movie was in 3D in theaters, but I’m pretty sure no one made me sit through that gimmicky bullshit, and I certainly didn’t watch it like that at home. The landscapes were all rich with imagination; whether it was the lush, colorful forest area or the ruined town, all of it was a pleasure to look at. Some of the visual effects they went with were interesting but occasionally poorly done. I’m talking mainly about the morphing of the people. Tweedledee and Tweedledum were CG fat boys with Matt Lucas’ face plastered on there. The Red Queen had HBC’s head made gargantuan on a tiny body and Cripin Glover was made slightly more tall and lanky than he really is. These effects usually worked but I felt like, on occasion, it looked weird to the point where I noticed it and that’s not a good thing. But it was few and far between. Alice’s size was in a fairly constant state of flux in the movie because of a potion and a cake. This worked well through the movie, but that must’ve been one flexible dress. Also, the Jabberwocky is freaking metal. I wanna make an album and put that guy on the cover.

The performances in the movie were mostly wacky but all pretty good. Anne Hathaway was the stand out for me. Not just because she’s smokin’ hot and I want to make babies in her, but her portrayal of the White Queen was pretty freaking funny as well. She’s got a darkness to her that she’s always suppressing and compensating by going over the top with the prim and proper. Just the way she walked made me laugh. I don’t really know what to make of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter though. It was good and interesting, but totally wacky. There were parts where you could really connect with him on an emotional level over the tragedy that befell his town and drove him to madness, but then he’d break into a Scottish brogue out of nowhere. And that Futterwhacken thing? Yeah, I could’ve done without that. I also could’ve done without the scene where Johnny said it in a way that made me think he was talking about regular whackin’ … of the penis … vigorously … HBC’s Red Queen was pretty funny as well. She was like a child given power and murderous intent. The funniest characters were Matt Lucas’ Tweedle twins. I liked their crazy way of making words.

All in all, this is still a good movie. There were parts that lost me, either in wacky performances or slightly askew VFX, but the rest of the visuals kept me pretty riveted throughout. The biggest thing holding this movie back is that it refused to tell me how a raven is like a writing desk. I NEED TO KNOW, DAMNIT!! …sorry. I give this movie “You’re almost Alice” out of “Um.”

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.