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items tagged with Johnny Depp

Radioactive Blast: "The Hills Have Eyes," "The Libertine," "Failure to Launch," and "Ultraviolet"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-03-15 00:00:00

The Hills Have EyesTHE HILLS HAVE EYES

The setup for The Hills Have Eyes – Alexandre Aja’s remake of Wes Craven’s 1977 horror classic, with Craven himself on board as a producer – couldn’t be simpler. A vacationing family, headed for California, stops for gas at a filling station near an abandoned nuclear-testing site in New Mexico. The station’s gnarled and suspiciously friendly attendant guides them to a shortcut. The shortcut is a trap, set by the attendant and a family of horribly mutated, not-entirely-inhuman cannibals. And from there on, the plot boils down to three words: Us Against Them.


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Foster Soars, but "Flightplan" Is Earthbound: Also, "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" and "Just Like Heaven"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-09-28 00:00:00

Jodie Foster in FlightplanFLIGHTPLAN

Movies such as Flightplan are hell to review. How do I explain, exactly, why the film doesn’t work without giving away the plot secrets that prevent it from working? Like last fall’s already-forgotten The Forgotten, director Robert Schwentke’s airborne thriller involves a missing child. During a trans-Atlantic flight from Berlin to America, Jodie Foster’s newly widowed Kyle lays her six-year-old daughter Julia (Marlene Lawston) down for a nap, falls asleep herself, and wakes to find the girl missing. Obviously, escape from the plane is impossible, but Julia is nowhere to be found, and, more disturbingly, no one on the flight seems to remember her being aboard. Could Julia have merely been a figment of Kyle’s imbalanced imagination?


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Gilliam’s "The Brothers Grimm" Not Grimm Enough
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-09-07 00:00:00

Heath Ledger and Matt Damon in The Brothers GrimmTHE BROTHERS GRIMM

Fairy tales, at their core, exert a powerful emotional pull, and at rare moments in Terry Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm, the director finds a visual equivalent to their hypnotic, wicked appeal. In this typically unclassifiable Gilliam excursion, the first glimpse of Little Red Hiding Hood traipsing through the gloomy forest is enough to give any adult viewer a shiver. Gilliam frames her entrance, and the later arrival of Hansel and Gretel, with ominous portent, the colors – that cape and hood especially – are enticing, and the forest sets have a creepy, storybook elegance. For the briefest of moments, you’re a kid again, enraptured by the haunting, suggestive simplicity of these stories; our first sightings of Little Red, Hansel, and Gretel bring with them a spark of tingly joy.


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Burton’s "Chocolate Factory" Less Treat Than Toothache: "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory" and "Howl's Moving Castle"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-07-20 00:00:00

Johnny Depp in Charlie & the Chocolate FactoryCHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what director Tim Burton was trying to accomplish with Charlie & the Chocolate Factory that wasn’t previously accomplished by Roald Dahl’s book or the beloved 1971 film.


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2005's Alternative Oscars: The Shoulda-Been Contenders
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2005-02-16 00:00:00
After the announcement of last year’s Oscar nominations, in which the Academy made almost shockingly inspired choices across the board, this year’s slate of nominees was bound to be a more predictable lot; barring a few minor surprises – the director and screenplay nods for Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake (still unseen by me) chief among them – voters opted for traditional, safe choices in 2004, especially among the squarer-than-usual Best Picture contenders.
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