Archive for the ‘Johnny Depp’ Category

Blu-ray/DVD Review ‘Dark Shadows’: Sweet Dreams

September 30, 2012

I know. Tim Burton’s spoofy spin on hoary gothic soap Dark Shadows (reaching home video Tuesday from Warner Bros.) got stakes through the heart by most critics. But what do they know? (Besides, the film did gross $234 million worldwide.)

Yes, the movie misrepresented itself in trailers and ads as a knee-slapping fish-out-of-water comedy poking fun at the 1970s,  when long-buried vampire Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) arose to join his clan’s dysfunctional and faltering family and set things right. And yes, Dark Shadows is a bit unwieldy, with too much story and too many characters for those not schooled by the frightfully fun show many rushed home from school to see decades ago.

But since Burton is the ultimate fanboy director, I forgive him. In fact, I applaud him. At least he tried to be creative while recreating. And he was right to modernize the style and tone of Dan Curtis’ long-dead series (well, 1991 did bring a brief prime-time rebirth), pumping new blood into it with wry humor, vivid production values and a strong cast, especially — as in eight of his films now — the delightful Depp. (more…)

‘Sweeney Todd’ revenge yarn is cold, all right

April 1, 2008

Make no mistake: I love Tim Burton, and I love many of those in the superb cast of his Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, new on DVD today from DreamWorks — especially title star Johnny Depp. But I don’t love their movie.

Its Broadway-spawned tale of an English barber who’s betrayed and imprisoned, then returns a warped man bent on revenge, is potent enough. But it’s also quite depressing. I mean, what’s to enjoy in this film? The Monty Pythonesque absurdities of the blood geysers when Sweeny shaves his customers in grimy Old Englande a bit too closely? The cast?

Well, there is the great cast, including Burton’s beloved Helena Bonham Carter as Sweeney’s flesh-feeding partner in crime, Sacha Baron Cohen as a wicked rival and Timothy Spall and Alan Rickman as establishment heavies. But then, isn’t almost everyone a heavy in this leaden look at tragedy, misery and revenge, a dish that’s best served cold, but whose stark chill leaves me cold, as a viewer. 

Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m a sucker for strong song melodies, and Stephen Sondheim’s score doesn’t have any. Well, maybe the plaintive Joanna, though its tenderness is so out of place that it doesn’t really matter.

Sure, performances are good and the production is immaculate, but to what end? The characers and story are sad if not appalling — and relentlessly so, with no offsetting dark humor, token lift of spirits or hard-earned redemption. Just misery — and unimpressive music.

Again, I love these folks — love them. I just don’t love their movie — not this time. For Depp-Burton horrors that enthrall, not repel, give me Sleepy Hollow or Edward Scissorhands any day.