Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dark Shadows (2012)



I had to mull this one over.  I'm a Tim Burton fan.  I like his movies.  Burton's movies are sort of subversive to me, and I like his humor.  While watching the movie I was struck at what type of movie it wants to be.  In the beginning it did feel like a straight horror/suspense type movie, and then it goes astray.  But I had to say I liked it.  Near the end I did feel Burton was going over the top, but it fits the film.  I love Johnny Depp, and he is one of America's true jewel.  In this film he does reach for the balcony in his acting, but then again this film is based upon a soap opera from the late 60's early 70's.  I understand what he was going for, and he really made me laugh with his performance of Barnabas Collins.

I know some critics seem to think Burton is re-hashing the same old thing he's done before, but I disagree.  I think Burton's style keeps evolving, and I think what Burton did here is what Burton does best.  I could not see anyone else do the material better then him.  All the performances were fine, and if you really listen to the dialogue there are so many nuances that I couldn't stop laughing that subversive laugh Burton is known for.  It's Burton's little wink to us, the audience, that we're all in on the joke.

Did I feel that toward the end it was dragging.  A bit, but the movie as a whole is fun, and Depp does a great job here.  In my opinion he always does.  There is not one movie I fault Depp's performance.  Even in films that I did not like that had him in it Depp still outshine all.

I recommend it as a good date night film.  Michelle Pfeiffer is great in the film also, and she looks great, as  Elizabeth Collins Stoddard the matriarch of the Collins clan.  The cinematography and set design is superb and I would not expect any less for a Burton film.  I enjoyed myself, and liked the parody Burton works into the film. 

But if your not into parody then I feel you won't enjoy the film, but because of the performances and the fine cast I do believe it has some worth.   I think it deserves a look see, and it's a fun nostalgic look to an era (the 70's) that some of us remember and I dare you to not leave the theater with a smirk or two.  I know I did.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Avengers (2012)




So it's been a movie waiting to be seen ever since it was announced.  My boys were eager to see it, and so a family outing to the movies was planned for Saturday.  From all the hype and all the publicity was the Avengers worth seeing?  The answer is a resounding yes.  Clocking in at 2 hours and 22 minutes the Avengers is a movie with a lot of action packed into it.  After all it's not just one superhero we're dealing with but 6, and there's a lot of story to tell.  The story is simple.  The Earth is in peril by the demi-god Loki (Thor's brother), and an alien race who has decided to help Loki take over the Earth.  With that the Avengers starts and doesn't stop until the final minutes of the movie.  The battle scenes are extrodinary, and the banter between the superheros is funny at times.  Joss Whedon the movies director does a nice balancing act of humor and action. 

My boys were mesmerized by the action and enjoyed the film.  I did find that there were pauses in the action that were to explain the set-up of what was coming, and this seemed to distract from some of the action, but in no way do I think that this interferes with the movie.  When the finale happens no on will be disappointed.

Movies like these are block busters and are meant to be more like amusement rides.  The thrill of seeing our heros come to life is amazing enough, but to see them interact with each other is such fun.

Marvel has been leading to this for a long time, and they have their audience already built in.  The box office amount in it's first week-end is proof enough that the Marvel brand is worth it's weight in gold.  The movie has something for every demographic, and if you think only this type of movies appeals to us boys think again.  Scarlett Johansson does some pretty amazing stuff here, and she is no delicate flower here.  Robert Downey Jr. , Chris Evans , Chris Hemsworth ,and Jeremy Renner  do all an exceptional piece of actting.  I was really glad to see Mark Ruffalo as David Banner.  This is the third actor to play David Banner and I think Ruffalo does a pretty good job here.  Even our villian Loki played by Tom Hiddleston does a great job chewing the scenery.

Is the Avengers worth the wait?  Sure is.  Will people see this again?  I'm sure of it and the studio is probably banking on it.  This type of movie brings out the kid in all of us and watching it with your family is only a treat one has once in a lifetime, so The Avengers will become one of those movies that audiences will talk about for years to come, or until the next Avengers movie comes out, and I'm sure the studio is working on that one as we speak.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Harry & Tonto Re-visited (1974)



Turner Movie classics re-broadcasted the movie "Harry & Tonto" last night, and after viewing the first few minutes I was hopelessly captivated again by the story.  The movie is a favorite of mine, and as I am growing older it seems to speak to me even more.  I've reviewed the film already so I won't re-hash why its a classic or why the movie works.

Instead I''ll just speak to it's authenticity and it's refreshing view of older people.  Paul Mazursky's direction is so well done that you feel that you may be actually looking at a documentary instead of a feature film.  Art Carney's performance is flawless, and ever so real.  The film speaks about today even though it was made back in 1974.  The characters that inhabit the film are all funny and seem to be cut from a bit of reality that even speaks to us today.

When one character talks about a coming "depression" you only have to think about the Wall Street banking crises of late.  As Carney's character travels through the United States he comes across some interesting people which make the picture what it is.  Art Carney carries the whole picture, and he does so with some incredible authenticity.  Carney's performance is outstanding and it's great to have seen that the Academy awarded him best actor for that year.

The thing about "Harry & Tonto" is that the message is still intacted.  It is still speaking to a generation, and it rings true. The film is a road movie of sorts, and through the characters we see a part of Americana.  Not many films do that, and not many films stay releavant, but Harry & Tonto stays very relevant, and seems to be a timeless classic.