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Archive for the ‘Johnny Depp’ Category

murderOne of my big complaints when it comes to humans and movies that are based on books is that invariably most humans I know will say, “It isn’t as good as the book.”   I have many problems with this statement not the least of which is that it is impossible to turn a 400+ page book, or whatever sized book, into an enjoyable 2 hour movie.  The biggest example of this for me is I remember when the Lord of The Rings Trilogy was released I had people telling how much was left out.  But when they decided to turn The Hobbit into three movies, I heard bitching that there was barely enough material for two movies let alone three.  So my suggestion to you all who have read or enjoying reading books and then worry whether or not the movie will be just as good I say STOP.  Just enjoy the movie for what it is and keep it separate from whatever book it is based off of because chances are if you are still reading books you are going to it more than the movie.

Now I know what you are asking, “What does any of this have to do with your review of Murder on the Orient Express?”  Well my dear readers, all two of you, I mention this because I know that this movie is based on a book by the famous author Agatha Christie.  It is also a book I have never read so this was a blank slate for me.  What amazes me about this story is that it is entertaining but the ending left me with an almost overwhelming feeling of sadness.  Justice was served but it left me with an empty feeling and I just don’t know how to feel about that because I wasn’t expecting it.  But it doesn’t make it a bad, quite the contrary I did enjoy the film and hope that director/lead actor Kenneth Branagh does another of these films because I would definitely go to see another one.

World famous detective Hercule Poirot, played by Kenneth Branagh (Peter’s Friends) has found himself aboard the passenger train The Orient Express travelling from Istanbul to Paris with an eclectic group of fellow passengers.  The train runs in to issues in the mountains when an avalanche blocks the tracks and strands the train and its passengers for a few days until it can be cleared.  The morning after the avalanche one of the passengers is found murdered and Poirot is hired by the manager of the train to solve the murder before the train makes its next stop.

murder2The strength of the movie is the cast as almost all of them do an excellent job of portraying their characters.  I believe the best of the good group was Branagh as Poirot. For being a Brit he was able to pull off French quite well.  He also was quite entertaining bringing emotion to the character both with the humor in the beginning and the sadness /anger at the end of the film.  While Branagh set the pace of all the cast I felt the next closest was Josh Gad (Pixels) as Hector MacQueen who was the assistant to the murdered passenger and the first suspect.  I felt uncomfortable as he felt uncomfortable during his interrogation.  I also want to make special note to actress Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens,) who is Mrs. Mary Debenham.  While her performance is fine but not spectacular there is something about her that I find oddly attractive.  I mean she is a lovely woman and she can definitely act but there is just something about her that just stokes the fire.  If I were to rank her in forms of sweets I like and Olivia Munn is my Easter Peeps, Daisy would be a DQ Reese’s peanut butter cup blizzard.  If there is one actor whose performance I can’t quite figure out if it was excellent or horrible it would surprisingly be Johnny Depp (Mortdecai.)  He plays an obviously crooked art dealer name Edward Ratchett.  Depp plays Ratchett in such a way that I actually hate him and I can’t tell if it’s an awesome performance played perfectly or he hated being in this film and it showed.  The reason I have for this is that at the beginning of the film he played his character just as sleazy and as horrible as any human could be which didn’t make sense to me not knowing the story.  But as the movie went along and followed the story it turns out that Ratchett is a horrible human so it made the performance brilliant…I think.  Don’t get me wrong, I think Depp is amazing and I believe his Jack Sparrow performance in Pirates of the Caribbean is tied for the best character performance in movie that I have seen (tied with Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone.)  The last performance I would like to mention is that of one of my crushes in the 80’s and early 90’s Michelle Pfeiffer (Hairspray.) While her performance as Caroline Hubbard was uninspiring it always makes me happy to see her.  I still have fond memories of her in Batman Returns in that Catwoman uniform and she is downright Goddess like in the movie Wolf. murder3

I know I wasted a bunch of paper earlier talking about not knowing the story of the book.  I decided to do the online Cliffnotes version i.e. Wikipedia and looked up the story of the book and it appears that the basic story of both match.  Which I must admit is interesting idea (If you haven’t figured it out I am purposely being vague as to not spoil the ending if you, like me, had not seen the 1974 film or read the book.)  I will say that the beginning seemed to be a little slow and it did appear somewhat obvious who was going to be murdered as we were introduced to the characters. That being said the mystery kept me interested and the ending was surprising and as I have already mentioned somewhat unhappy in the final result.

Despite the sadness of the ending of the movie I was moved by it and that is due to how Branagh shot the final scenes as well as the music put to it by Patrick Doyle, who is used in most if not all of Branagh’s movies.  The ending stuck with me as I walked out of the theater, in and out of the bathroom, and through the traffic on the way home.  As for the rest of the production I thought visually it was quite nice with lovely wide shots of Jerusalem and Istanbul in the beginning of the film which are greatly contrasted with the close quarters of the train and the choices Branagh made in showing the murder scene and other areas of the distressed train.

I do enjoy the film and like I said I hope we do see a follow up with Branagh as Poirot as the ending of the film has him leaving for Egypt for yet another murder.  This film has quite a few well-known actors that I did not talk about but not for nefarious reasons as their performances were fine.  The list includes but not limited to Penelope Cruz (Zoolander 2,) Willem Defoe (Clear and Present Danger,) and Judi Dench (Spectre.) If you like mysteries and are unfamiliar with the story I believe you will enjoy it and if you are familiar with it I hope you do.  With the many bad movies that are out there I do not believe you will be disappointed by this film.  Unless you are my friend Reed who doesn’t like any movie made after 1980 and thinks the 1974 version of this film is better without even seeing this one.  But he is a tool so don’t worry about him.

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mortdecaiI was very hesitant in watching this film because I have yet to find a single positive review on it and both Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow were nominated for Razzies for their performances. I only had heard about this film recently as I have developed my obsession with Olivia Munn and saw a YouTube video of her and Conan O’Brien talk about it as she is there to plug the show which also explains why I watched this movie.  I went in with zero expectations with only a desire to see Olivia in the film and overall my expectations were met but I believe it is better than the reviews I have read and nowhere near the worst movie you see.

Mortdecai, played by Johnny Depp (Corpse Bride,) is a British art dealer sometimes art smuggler who has managed to get himself 8 million pounds (British for dollars) in debt.  Because of his shady connections he is asked by current MI-5 agent and old college rival Martland, played by Ewan McGregor (The Island,) to find an expensive piece of art that was stolen while it was being repaired.   On the hunt for the same piece of art is terrorist Emil, played by Jonny Pasvolsky (Macbeth,) Russian mobster Romanov, played by Ulrich Thomsen (The Thing,) fellow British dealer Sir Graham, played by Michael Culkin (The Iron Lady,) and American father daughter team of Krampf, played by Jeff Goldblum (Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,) and Georgina, played by Olivia Munn (Ride Along 2.)  Helping to try and keep Mortdecai out of danger is his man servant Jock, played by Paul Bettany (The Avengers: Age of Ultron,) and his lovely wife Johanna played by Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man 2.)

So the first problem I can see is that I know that these are British characters but who decided that both Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow should have English accents?  Yeah I know British characters but the accents were horrible to the point that it was distracting.  Depp played his character as a wimpy vocal Mr. Bean and I’m not sure what Paltrow was doing but it didn’t work.  My curiosity is why cast these two when we have a whole Kingdom full of wonderful British actors and actresses who could have done that better.  I mean being Depp and Paltrow didn’t add anything to the rolls that was special so other than name recognition there was no need to have them in the movie.

It could be the writer to blame for the fact that large parts of the movie were unfunny.  Bits and pieces inspired me to smile and giggle but for the most part it was dry.  Although the story of the missing painting and the pursuit of that was fun and the scenes involving Bettany and his fights were entertaining.  I also like the whole Russian bit with Mortdecai, but those kinds of laughs were few and far between.  The movie did have one of my qualifiers for a good action movie in that the action took place in Europe even if it was mostly in doors.  There was a lot of comedy involved with the action so that made up for the lack of actual violence or car chase scenes, but not enough to make this a good movie.

My obligatory Olivia Munn report doesn’t have a whole lot to it.  She doesn’t show up until act 3 and there is absolutely nothing to character as written.  She has a hot but totally awkward dance scene with Johnny Depp that ends with his hand on her breast which made me jealous.  She ran around with a gun a couple of time so that added to her hot factor but there was just nothing to show whether or not she can act or not so I will continue to give her the benefit of the doubt.oliviamunnmortdecai

So as much as I have bagged on this movie, it’s not the worst movie you will ever see.  If it happens to be on HBO or you have a free rental at Redbox or Netflix gives you a freebee and you like any of these actors then get it.  I wouldn’t pay actual money for this movie like I did but it’s what I am will to do for my reviewing public.

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lost in la manchaI am very afraid to do this review because I love this movie.  A guy I know at blockbuster recommended it to me when I told him I was in a cerebral mood.  He told me about this great documentary that showed director Terry Gilliam’s attempt to make his Don Quixote film, The Man who Killed Don Quixote.  It was absolutely amazing to see the serious of calamities that befall this film that cause its eventual abandonment and the way it was delivered to us by the directors of the documentary was incredible.

We are introduced to Terry Gilliam (dir.- Fisher King) and his dream that has been Don Quixote for the previous ten years in his directing life.  The film shows the basics of the beginnings of a production of the film.  Yet throughout the first 40 minutes you are given hints of the disaster that is imminent with this movie.  The production budget is at a bare minimum so if anything major happens, it will be difficult for them to finish the movie.

The directors of the documentary Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe did just a wonderful job of hiding what happens to the production of the movie.  Granted, they were not originally shooting a documentary about the collapse of a movie, but they could have very easily given the ending away in the first five minutes.  Not so much that the movie isn’t made, we know that, but more of how serious the disasters were in the making of the film.  I assume it has to be a director’s worst nightmare for any one of these events to happen but all three is just amazing.

Since it’s a documentary you cant comment on the acting, but I will say to the women who like Johnny Depp, he was cast in the movie, if you want to get a little taste of what the person, Johnny Depp, is like, at least in front of the camera, then you might want to pick up the movie to watch.  There is also a twenty minute interview with him on the bonus disc and it was interesting to watch.  He has issues keeping his cigarette lit though.  Jeff Bridges does the narration of the film and his voice is a positive addition to the film

If you have a desire to get into filmmaking or want to know the behind the scenes look of a movie that goes terribly wrong, then this is the movie for you.  It was nominated for several British awards and won only one, but this is just a great documentary to watch.  I can’t stop watching it because I continue to hope that even though I know what is going to happen, it doesn’t so I can see the production of the movie.  If that doesn’t describe a good movie, I don’t know what does.

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corpse brideIt’s been a busy year for the duo of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton. First was the surreal Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and this time around it is the equally surreal Corpse Bride, with providing the voice for the main character and Burton shooting it in stop action photography in the same manner he made A Nightmare Before Christmas. Corpse Bride is just a stunning as its predecessor and is a movie worth watching yet I do get lost on some of the plot points.

Johnny Depp (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) stars as Victor Von Dort, a young man who is nervous about being in an arranged marriage. During the rehearsal, he screws up his lines and is forced to leave until he can get the vows right. He goes into the woods and begins to practice and when he finally says the vows right he places the ring on what he thought was a tree branch but instead was the hand of the Corpse Bride, voiced by Helena Bonham Carter (The Wings of the Dove), a ghost who he discovers was killed on what was supposed to be on her wedding night. Because she heard the vows, she thinks they are married and Victor is now stuck in the land of the dead trying to get out of the marriage.

I love the animation in this movie. It is just amazing at what Tim Burton does to make the characters come to life. My fear is that I will get used to seeing movies like this and then ignore the special effects and the time it takes to create this kind of movie. The movie is visually amazing and it is worth seeing for that reason alone.

The one problem I did have was that I got confused as an audience member what to root for, was I too root for the Corpse Bride and Victor, which is kind of demented, or was I hoping to see Victor and Victoria, voiced by Emily Watson (Red Dragon,) which would be great but what would happen to the Corpse Bride? How about the murder of the Bride and when are we going to see that bastard killed? All of these plot points were answered but I left with a feeling of unrest because it was over before I had a chance to root for something. The ending was good, and happy, but in a sad way. The perfect ending for the ‘goth’ crowd or what’s left of it, and should be one of their favorites.

As for me this movie is quite enjoyable even though I couldn’t get into it. It’s also a musical and I am never very fond of those so it may be another reason I can’t jump on board with both feet. However, it is still worth seeing and should be ok for kids too.

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Charlie chocolateA remake of the 1971 movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, based on the Roald Dahl book, Charlie is a beautiful movie with a great acting performance by Johnny Depp, that is completely uninteresting to me and that is mostly because I am a grownup.

Charlie, played by Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland,) is one of five children to win a worldwide contest issued by candy maker Willy Wonka, played by Johnny Depp (Secret Window,) to visit his world famous chocolate factory.

I liked Willy Wonka when I saw it as a kid. As I got older each time I watched I liked it less and less to the point that I don’t watch it now. I can’t really say why I don’t like watching it except that it was a movie that spoke to kids and I just didn’t care to watch it anymore. I feel the same way about Charlie, there is nothing particularly wrong with the movie, and I just don’t like it.

Now there are problems with the movie, namely the musical numbers with the Oompa Loompa’s. The songs they sing have been given a demented 70’s 80’s ballad as they sing about each kid and after the first song, the lyrics get so mumbled that by the last song I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. Another problem that I have is that all of the kids in the first movie were very distinctive, in a way that I had a love/hate relationship with them, specifically Veruca Salt. In this movie, none of the kids inspired anything out of me, love, hate, annoyance, anything! The only kid who was enjoyable, if I can call it that, to watch was Violet Beauregarde, played by Annasophia Robb (Because of Winn Dixie.)

The production design was first rate and I would expect to see the designer Alex McDowell, get an Academy Award® nomination for his work. Tim Burton brought his unique style of dark humor to this movie that he has brought to Batman and Sleepy Hollow. I just don’t think it worked for this story. It did work for Johnny Depp, who seems to know exactly how to act in a Burton movie. However, this is not Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka, more like a mix between Ichabod Crane and Ed Wood. It was very weird.

I can’t recommend this movie yet I would say don’t listen to me, this movie is not for fat single males. However, a friend of mine called, Erika, and she just told that her four year old was crying at the movie because it was freaking her out, so maybe it doesn’t appeal to kids either. I guess the movie only appeals to women who like 5’10” 42 year old men who look 25 that can speak French and have a I don’t give a F**k attitude, gee wouldn’t that be a surprise.

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