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Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Wonderful Walken Steals Every Scene
Continuing my plan to watch every Steven Spielberg movie in order, I come to Catch Me If You Can.
I don't think this is a great movie, but it is a very entertaining one, carried by three great performances. Leonardo Di Caprio delivers a great performance, Tom Hanks is his usual reliable self, even if his accent wobbles at times, but it's the wonderful Christopher Walken who steals every scene he is in, and whilst he is not in it a lot, his presence looms large.
It seems as if it is over long, as it gets a bit repetitive at times, but it is never boring and whilst it is full of the Spielberg trademarks, some are switched on their heads.
In a year dominated by Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man and Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter, Men In Black and Austin Powers sequels, Catch Me If You Can, grossed $164 million at the domestic box office, to end 2002 as the 11th highest grossing movie of the year.
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
More Of A Kubrick Movie, Than A Spielberg One
Continuing my plan to watch every Steven Spielberg movie in order, I come to A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
Spielberg's first movie of the new millennium is a tough movie to review. I remember liking it in 2001, but despite having it in my DVD collection since then, I have never felt the need to rewatch it, and it took me two attempts, to get all the way through it this time.
I think it's more of a Kubrick movie, than a Spielberg one, and that's my problem, as I don't like Kubrick movies. It's runs for almost two and a half hours, and it feels much, much longer.
Of the cast, Haley Joel Osment relievers a great performance, whilst Jude Law did not irritate me as much, as normal.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence grossed $78 million at the domestic box office to end the year as the 28th highest grossing movie of 2001
Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018)
Stallones Worst Movie Since Avenging Angelo
I watched it with my 12 year old son last night.
I wasn't let down, as I knew it would be bad!! It's easily Stallones worst movie since Avenung Angelo. My son called the movies big twist 10 minutes in, laughed at the cgi, and pointed out his body double at every opportunity.
Here are a few of his thoughts as we watched it "Does it want anymore studio logos?? Oh there's another one" How fake does that bruise look?? "Did he just throw his cigarette at him??" How fake was that explosion 10 mins in. He calls the movies big twist. "Hahaha the zoo keeper!! Bit lame to call yourself the zoo keeper!!" "Oh my god he is such a bad actor!!" He was referring to the main guys cousin!! "That Chef is awful too!!" Big fake laugh and eye roll at the "It's bad to be back" line The twist happens "Oooh I was right!! Didn't see that coming!!" Oh god HE is gonna fight the old man!! "Let me guess that's what number 3 (which he didn't know there was) will be about" He pulled a puzzled expression as the movie ended, as it's abrupt. Before saying "What a great movie that was" full of sarcasm.
He did like the main character's fight scenes!! Although I didn't, as it was mostly shaky cam and the quick cut that I hate!!
For my own amusement, I timed his screen time. He has 19 minutes 56 seconds (not counting his voice over) It seems like he is hardly in the movie during the first half, and then is in it a lot during the last half hour!! but in truth he has only slightly more in the last half hour, in the opening hour he is onscreen for just under 10 minutes, with the remaining 10 minutes coming in the lat half hour, but they use what they have well, and it seems like he is in it, a lot more than he actually is.
My First 4DX Experience
I'm sure my enjoyment of this movie, was down to the 4DX Experience with two 12 year olds. The 4DX made it for me. Despite its flaws, I found it a better first time experience than Jurassic World. Which I loathed.
The villain of the piece was in full on pantomime mode, with the lame cliche reason of financial greed being his motivation. Chris Pratt was surprisingly subdued and the two sidekicks were awful. Bryce Dallas Howard stands out in this movie. Considering I hated her in the last movie, that is quite an achievement. What a waste off Jeff Goldblum. Considering I have seen him promoting the movie a lot, I expected him to be used a lot more.
As for the dino's, they all look great again, and I really felt for one in particular. Oh and d**n, the raptor Blue is so loyal to Chris Pratt. I'd love my own little Raptor Blue.
Considering what happened at the end, I'm intrigued with where they will take the next one. Surprising considering I wasn't interested in this one.
I Got This Wrong
Continuing my plan to watch every Steven Spielberg movie in order, I come to Amistad.
I hold my hands up, and say I was totally wrong on this movie. It did nothing for me the first time I watched it. Yet, when I rewatched it I was blown away. It's not perfect, its historically inaccurate and Morgan Freeman is surprisingly under used. We get a lot of shots of him looking on, but not actually doing a lot.
All the cast are great, and Spielberg knows how to tug on the heartstrings.
Amistad was mostly ignored by cinemagoers upon its release the 50th highest grossing movie of 1997. With a $44 million dollar domestic gross.
Cliched & Borders On Boring
Continuing my plan to watch every Steven Spielberg movie in order, I come Jurassic Park: The Lost World
I think this movie is the worst type of sequel. A Box Office sequel. The whole site B idea is awful. We seen eggs hatch and all the Dino DNA on the island in the first one. Lazy. Lazy. Lazy. And, because it doesn't offer anything new or innovative, it seems rather familiar and almost boring.
It does have some cool bits. The image of the trail of the raptors approaching the survivors in the field looks great. The trailer over the cliff sequence looked good and was intense when Moore was on the glass, but over all it made little sense and was just one of the movies many action sequences.
The human character are as cardboard as they come, and are scripted to do stupid things (than nobody would ever do in this situation) so the dinosaurs can chase and eat them.
An awful lot of it is set at night!! The night scenes allow Spielberg to use his most familiar visual trademark, the visible beams from powerful flashlights. Another Spielberg trademark is the absent Dad (this time played by Goldblum) Even a press conference announcing a dinosaur park is held at night.
The Lost World was the third highest grossing movie of 1997. Only Men In Black and Titanic grossed more than its $229 million domestic haul.
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Movie Event Of 1993.
Continuing my plan to watch every Steven Spielberg movie in order, I come to 1993. The year of Spielberg and Jurassic Park
THE movie of 1993. A true event movie. A 10/10 for me. I love this movie. So many memories. If Superman made me believe a man could fly, Jurassic Park made me believe dinosaurs can be brought back to life and run amok. There are some movies its hard to pick faults with. This is one such movie.
All the cast are great Sam Niel is perfect as your typical Spielberg hero, the ordinary man who must do something extraordinary, Jeff Goldblum hits the right notes not delving into comedy relief, despite having the movies funniest lines, Laura Dern is an actress I really rate, she never puts a foot wrong in a movie. Though I have to admit, I never noticed the obvious ass shot until today!! Where have I been looking for 25 years?? And both kids (Arianna Richards and Joseph Mazello) are just the right amount of movie kid cute/curious/scared/resilient!! A hard balance to get right!!
The special effects and CGI are almost faultless, with only one exception (the girl falling from the air vent) being obvious!! But that is seriously nitpicking!!
And John Williams score!! WOW!! I love it.
Jurassic Park scooped 3 Oscars and grossed $357 million at the domestic box office, to end 1993 as the highest grossing movie I'm of the year. Spielberg's 4th highest grossing movie of the year (Jaws, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, E.T)
Like with Jaws and Raiders Of The Lost Ark, I could watch Jurassic Park again tomorrow.
Misses The Mark On A Lot Of Levels
When it was first released, this movie caught me at totally the wrong time. I was 15 and my taste in movies was changing, I was a Robin Williams fan (thanks to movies such as The Fisher King, Good Morning Vietnam and Awakenings) and I knew Dustin Hoffman was great due to the movies of his I had seen (Marathon Man, Rain Man, Tootsie and Midnight Cowboy) and based on the trailer, I was expecting something different to what was delivered.
Dull, Bland, boring and (to steal a word from BobbyKlump) saccharine!! Spielberg's Daddy issues are right at the front and centre of this over long movie. Williams is your typical Spielberg Dad, in that he is absent (although he is present) with no time for his kids, as he is always at work. Or ignoring his kids whilst he deals with phone calls to do with work. When he is there he is usually snapping at them to shut up or grow up.
It takes to long to get going, there are too many characters, too much bad acting (The Lost Boys are especially bad) and too many props. The whole thing looks like what it is, a movie set, right down to the unconvincing backdrops. Then there are the endings!! Not since LOTR: Return Of The King have I seen a movie with this many endings!! One after another. Farewells. Poignancy. Lessons to be learned. Speeches to be made. Tears to be shed. It is embarrassingly excessive.
Of the cast Hoffman seems to think he is in a panto, Maggie Smith is a joy, I think the woman can do no wrong. Charlie Korsmo and Amber Scott (as the Branning children) are probably the best performers in the movie. Blink and you will miss Gwenyth Paltrow
Julia Roberts was nicknamed "Tinkerhell" because she was difficult to deal with, a reaction to her working conditions of solitude and green screen. Production had to be temporarily shut down, when she fled California after calling off her wedding to Kiefer Sutherland. A furious Spielberg threatened to fire her if she didn't return immediately.
Hook grossed $119 million at the domestic box office, to end 1991 s the 6th highest grossing movie!! Finishing behind T2, Prince Of Thieves, Beauty & The Beast, Silence Of The Lambs and City Slickers.
The Color Purple (1985)
It Should Have Swept The Oscars
Continuing my plan to watch every Steven Spielberg movie in order, I come to The Color Purple.
I think this is hands down the best movie of 1985. Yes I include Out Of Africa in that statement. It's not my favourite movie of 1985 (so many more easy to watch, enjoyable movie experiences that year) but it's the best. It's so powerful.
This is an insanely brave move by Spielberg!! Looking for a bit of credibility from his peers he chose to make a movie about subjects that are not suited to the movies! It is not an easy movie to sell, nor is It an easy movie watch. The main character Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) endures rape, incest, sexism, an abusive husband, domestic violence, chauvinism, the loss of her sister (The only person who truly loved her) and the loss of her children at birth.
Danny Glover is one serious piece of $hït in this!! He is vile, evil and despicable. Great acting. All of the cast is superb, none more so than Oprah Winfrey, she is superb as Sophia (what happens to her may be the saddest part of the movie) likewise Margaret Avery and Willard E. Pugh (who is the comedy relief as Harpo) Laurence Fishburn has a small role too.
And then, at the center of the movie is Whoopi Goldberg in what must surely rank as one of the most amazing debut performances in movie history. She should have been the winner of the Academy Award for best actress that year. She is perfect. Sady we lost a great serious actress when she started going down the comedic route.
I only have real complaint in that there should have been a tender and touching scene for Winfrey, but for some reason Spielberg decides to go for a slapstick scene that misses the mark.
Once again a Spielberg movie had me in tears, the end is one of the great heart-rending moments in the movies.
The Academy's prejudice against Spielberg is blatantly evident in the fact that he was not nominated for Best Director. The movie received 11 nominations, for Best picture, Best Actress, has 2 nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Best Writing, Best Art Direction, Best Cinamatography, Best Costume Design, Best Original Song, Best Score and Best Make Up, and a Best Director nod is conspicuously absent. And although The Color Purple had 11 nominations, it won not a single Oscar.
His movies made too much money and were too popular for him to be considered a real film maker. The Color Purple was the fourth highest grossing movie of 1985 (behind Back To The Future, Rambo: First Blood Part 2 and Rocky IV) grossing $179 million at the domestic box office.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Takes Me Back To My Childhood, Every Single Time
Continuing my plan to watch every Steven Spielberg movie in order, I come to E.T.
Alongside Field Of Dreams, this is a movie guaranteed to make me cry every single time I watch it. I don't know what it is, but I automatically become 5 years old every time I watch it. It is seriously flawed (My 12-year-old ripped it to shreds) but I can't hate anything about it.
Lots more product placement and Daddy issues
The end of the film was one of the most significant musical experiences for John Willims. After several attempts were made to match the score to the film, Spielberg took the film off the screen and told Williams to conduct the orchestra the way he would at a concert. He did, and Spielberg re-edited the film to match the music, which is unusual since the music is normally edited to match the film. The result was Williams deservedly winning the 1982 Academy Award for Best Original Score.
E.T was the number 1 movie of 1982, as it grossed $359 million at the domestic box office (beating Tootise (2nd) an Officer & A Gentleman (3rd) and Rocky 3 (4th). Giving Spielberg back to back number 1's and his third no 1 movie of the year, making him the most successful (box office wise) of all the people I have done this for.
Susan Backlinie is Naked Again In Poor Taste Jaws Spoof Scene
Continuing my plan to watch every Steven Spielberg movie in order, I come to 1941.
Spielberg totally gets this one wrong!! He even spoofs Jaws, right down to Susan Backlinie (Chrissie Watkins) reprising her role as the first victim in Jaws by playing a girl who goes skinny dipping at the beginning of this film. And whilst she has a nice bum, its in poor taste. You can check it out on youtube.
There are plenty of familiar faces Christopher Lee, Murray Hamilton (Jaws) John Belushi playing the same guy he always plays, Lorraine Gary (Jaws) Ned Beatty (Deliverance) Dan Aykroyd (making his American feature film debut) Warren Oates (Wild Bunch) and John Candy but it feels like he has just shot a bunch of sketches together. We have no reason to care if any of the characters lived or died.
Spielberg said "I'll spend the rest of my life disowning this movie."
1941 grossed $31 million dollars at the domestic box office against a $35 million dollar budget. It was a modest hit though, as it made almost $95 million worldwide.
Doesn't Work For Me
Continuing My Plan To Watch Every Steven Spielberg movie in order, I come to Close Encounters Of A Third Kind.
I'll admit from the off, I watched this movie when I was 10, did not like it at all, and have never revisited it since.
Spielberg left Zanuck/Brown and their deal at Univeral to make this movie for Julia and Michael Phillips at Columbia Pictures, with the budget set at $4.1 million. As is happened the effects alone would cost about $3 million, and the budge was estimated to run to $20 million. Columbia pictures were in financial difficulty by this point and had effectively bet the farm on this movie.
Julia Phillips was eventually forced to the sidelines due to her drug use. In her autobiography "You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again", she says how she and the studio did not want to meet Richard Dreyfuss' price of $500,000 plus gross points to play Roy Neary and offered the script to Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman James Caan and Steve McQueen. Pacino wasn't interested, Nicholson thought that any actor would be overwhelmed by the special effects. Hackman turned down the role because he was in a troubled marriage and could not spend 16 weeks on location-shooting. Cann wanted $1 million plus 10% of the gross, whilst McQueen turned the role down because he said he wasn't able to cry on film. So Phillips went back to Dreyfuss, and he became immortalized on film as Roy Neary.
Truthfully, like 2001, this one still leaves me a but cold. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it more today than I did all those years ago. All of the cast are grea, and its compelling at times especially during the first hour as Roy appears to be descending into madness. It is also refreshing to see a movie about aliens that does not involve them blowing New York up. But as it went on, I found myself willing it to hurry up. Spielberg's Daddy issues are front and centre in this one. Legend has it the cry baby scene is directly out of his childhood. I wonder what his Dad thought watching all these movies.
I noticed it in Jaws, and there is a lot of product placement in this one too Coca-Cola. McDonald's being obvious standouts.
Close Encounters Of A Third Kind grossed $116 million at the domestic box office (more than Saturday Night Fever, Annie Hall and The Spy Who Loved Me) to end the year the third highest grossing movie of 1977. Only Star Wars and Smokey & The Bandit grossed more.
The Sugarland Express (1974)
Hawn Could Have Been A Fine Dramatic Actress
Following Duel, movies heavily featuring cars were what Spielberg seemed to be offered, as he was set to direct Burt Reynolds in the action film White Lightning. He worked on it for a few months before quitting to take on this movie. "The one thing that I almost made was White Lightning the Burt Reynolds picture," Spielberg said "I spent two-and-a-half months on the film, met Burt once, found most of the locations and began to cast the movie, until I realized it wasn't something that I wanted to do for a first film. I didn't want to start my career as a hard-hat, journeyman director. I wanted to do something that was a little more personal." Reynolds was hurt by him quitting saying " He wanted out and it really hurt me, I felt like he just didn't want to work with me, and that was the reason. And he didn't."
Shot in perfect continuity (for financial reasons) The majority of this movie is filmed in a car. But there was no rear view projection or shoot it and then have the actors lip-sync later. Spielberg's timing was just right Panavision inc had recently developed and the Paraflex, the first totally noiseless camera, compact enough to be handheld or shoulder rested. Virtually the entire movie was shot in sync dialogue with only 10 lines a looped later. The Sugerland Expressis one of the first fiims to be shot in this then revolutionary style, though shortly, all filmmaking would follow suit.
This movie shows that Goldie Hawn could have been a fine dramatic actress had her career gone in that direction. Hawn's plan, slightly mad as it is, in fact does have an inner logic. I expected her infedelity (She prostitutes herself to a male neighbour for $65) to become a bigger issue. But it's surprisingly dropped pretty quickly.
There is no villain in this movie. Captain Tanner certainly isn't one. I also like a tender scene involving a Wile E. Coyote cartoon which was probably my favourite scene in the movie. This film marked the beginning of Spielberg's friendship with John Williams and we get a Spielberg trademark (images seen in a side mirror)
This is one of the few Steven Spielberg films that ends on a downbeat note. And boy what a downbeat note it is!!
Sugerland Express grossed $7.5 million (against a 3 million dollar budget) at the domestic box office.
Great First Movie, With Lots Of Future Spielberg Trademarks
Having finished my look at Johnny Depp's filmography. I have decided to focus on the work of legendary director Stephen Spielberg.
Duel was conceived of, filmed for, then broadcast as a made-for-TV movie in 1971, so it's inclusion here may be questionable. Still, two years after eight American broadcast, Duel was widely seen as a feature in Europe then, finally in April 1983, it did receive a limited American theatrical release.
They don't make them like this anymore.?Shot in 16 days for a cost of $425,000 Duel is a powerful story that shows Spielberg's serious potential as a director. Even here, there are things that would become trademarks and staples of his forthcoming body of work. In film after film, Spielberg's leading character would be a modern Everyman, tue ordinary guy (or girl) who rises to heroic proportions by choosing to fight back against seemingly unconquerable adversity. While the circumstances may be extraordinary they are not contrived, but the Spielberg hero usually confronts something basic and universal. It is also implied the hero David Mann is a father who is having troubles in his marriage, which could soon reach breaking point (meaning he would be the typical Spielberg absent father) We also get another trademark images seen in a side-mirror!! In this case the truck bearing down on David Mann.
For me the best scene in the movie is a scene in a diner, where David is trying to work out which of the men is the would be killer. The sequence is practically wordless, but it's done with such style it's great.
A few random tit bits. The phone number Dennis Weaver dials to call his wife at the gas station is not the standard "555" movie prefix!! I wonder how many people have failed that number!! Lol
With its original runtime of 74 minutes, the TV movie was not long enough to be released in theaters. Universal called Steven Spielberg back to shoot additional scenes in order to make it a 90-minute film. These new scenes were the railroad crossing, the school bus, the scene where David phones his wife and the opening scene where the car backs out of the garage and drives through the city.
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
The Original Was Better, But It Is Not Bad!!
Concluding my plan to watch every Johnny Depp movie in order, I come to Murder On The Orient Express.
Excluding the scars, this was the first time we has seen Depo sans make up in a movie since Transcendence in 2013 (some 3 years earlier) and truthfully it is a bit jarring to see how he is looking these days.
Although I prefer the original version, and I'm no fan of Kenneth Brannagh, I still found this enjoyable. All of the extensive cast are fine. And I'm glad they changed the killer this version. I'm not surprised the sequel will be made.
Murder On The Orient Express grossed $102 million at the domestic box office to end the year to 31st highest grossing movie of 2017.
Not As Bad As I Thought
So I just watched the Baywatch movie.
It's very uneven. Its main storyline was something from a pg movie with no real danger (real Scooby Doo pantomime stuff) yet the humour was from a gross-out r rated flick
The alleged comedy sidekick (who inexplicably gets the girl he lists after all movie) is awfully unfunny!! This type of character would have been cut from the American Pie type movies, so god knows how he made it in this.
It wasn't all bad. I laughter twice once when Efron said "Everything you are talking about dealing with, sounds like an entertaining, but far fetched tv show" And when the Rock made Efron fall in to the pool, the Hasselhoff cameo raised a smile (though I'd wish older celebrities would not have so much plastic surgery) All the cast look good none more so than Alexandra Daddario WOW I'm developing quite the crush on her!! The other babe Kelly Rohrbach was easy on the eye too, and I have to admit Zac Efron is winning me over.
I'm surprised this did as bad as it did, as I thought there would have been an audience for it!!! At least during its opening weekend, I'd have thought name recognition and the billing of The Rock and Efron would have brought the crowds in. Even changing its release date twice didn't help it.
Worst Of The Pirate Movies
Continuing my plan to watch every Johnny Depp movie in order, I come to the fifth Pirates movie. Salazar's Revenge, or Dead Men Tell No Tales depending what country you are in.
Whilst I wouldn't go so far as to say I liked it. I didn't hate it when it was released. Today I found it a real chore to sit through.
This movie represents a perfect example of what is wrong with movies these days a half-baked casserole of recycled elements from past installments of the franchise tossed together with lackluster action sequences and gratuitous special effects. like so many summer blockbusters, this is designed to deliver a momentary adrenaline jolt while providing audiences with a few familiar characters and elements. If it's the characters that keep film-goers coming back, Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow is the character most (if not over 90%) of the audience turn up to see.
Captain Jack does not turn up until after 20 minutes. By which point I had considered turning it off twice. Depp who was paid $55.5 million for his role in the fourth movie, netted himself a pay rise as he was paid £60 million approx ($78 million). But (much like Sly Stallone in Rocky V) he seems to have totally forgotten how to play Captain Jack. Instead he seems to be doing a drunken impression. This is a totally different Captain Jack than the one we met 14 years ago!!
The douche Paul McCartney has a pointless cameo which he was no doubt paid a fortune for.
Salazar's Revenge, grossed $172 million at the domestic box office to end the year to 18th highest grossing movie of 2017. So domestically it was the worst performing pirate movie, by quite some distance.
The film was a financial success worldwide, grossing $794 million, to end the year the 11th highest grossing movie of 2016 worldwide. The 10 movies above it, are a sad indictment of today's tastes. Every movie is a superhero, remake or sequel.
Continuing my plan to watch every Johnny Depp movie in order, I come to Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them.
There is no need for this movie. That's true of most sequels/prequels. This movie was made for one reason. The Harry Potter movies made money. A lot of money!! And Warner Bros were not ready to give up on the goose that laid the golden egg just yet. So they set about trying to kick start a new franchise.
These movies should not appeal to me, but I do enjoy watching them!! Maybe it's because of the fun my kids had watching them, and I got caught up in their excitement. I dunno. But I find it entertaining anyway.
I have a real soft spot for Eddie Redmayne, and I enjoyed his performance as Newt. In fact all of the leads are engaging. As for the movie sufficiently detached from the Potter books/movies so that a viewer doesn't need familiarity with the latter to enjoy the former. But there are enough call-backs for fans to know that we're still in the same universe. Depp filmed a secret cameo (which amazingly in this day and age, was kept a secret)
Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them grossed $234 million at the domestic box office to end the year to 12th highest grossing movie of 2016. So it was the lowest grossing and worst performing movie from that universe, but considering it was a prequel, that features none of the original cast I think it did quite respectably. Enough to warrant a second movie to be released this year anyways.
What A Waste
Continuing my plan to watch every Johnny Depp movie in order, I come to Alice Through The looking Glass.
There is no need for this movie. That's true of most sequels, but it's especially true of Alice Through The Looking Glass. This movie was made for one reason. Alice In Wonderland made money. A lot of it. Over $300 million at the domestic box office alone!
Original director Tim Burton is not involved with this one, and it shows, truthfully the movie as a whole is a mess. It rook me three attempts to get through it. All the major characters from the first film return, but Carter is criminally sidelined. The girl playing Alice is in every scene, yet, she makes zero impression!! Depp makes even less impact. Truthfully even writing this is boring me.
Despite Depp going on a huge publicity tour, and appearing at Disneyland as The Mad Hatter to surprise guests. Alice Through The looking Glass only grossed $77 million at the domestic box office to end the year to 39th highest grossing movie of 2016.
Black Mass (2015)
Depp Should Have Been Nominated
Continuing my plan to watch every Johnny Depp movie in order, I come to Black Mass
Depp gives a tour de force performance that reminds you why he was so much fun to watch in the first place. He shows us different sides of Bulger. We see the tender father, the loving son, the loyal friend and brother. But of course we see the cold, violent, psychopathic gangster. Depp's portrayal is by far the best thing he has done for years. Truthfully I expected an Oscar nomination, but it never came.
All the support cast is excellent; especially Joel Edgerton and Benedict Cumberbatch. Also look out for Juno Temple in a scene stealing sequence that begins outside a police station and ends in a deserted house. That's stayed with me, long after the movie ended. Peter Sarsgaardalso has some memorable scenes and I always like to see Kevin Bacon in a movie.
As good as the performances are, I don't love the movie. It's good to watch, but its not got much rewatchability. I don't like gangster/mobster movies in general anyway!! But I can still enjoy a great one. There are no heroes in this one, certainly no-one to root for (No Elliot Ness in Untouchables) except maybe incoming prosecutor Fred Wyshak (Corey Stoll), who begins the clean up at the FBI. The story is fascinating, although I wish it were done better.
Black Mass grossed $62 million at the domestic box office to end the year to 49th highest grossing movie of 2015. Which is pretty much on par with a movie starring Depp in his pre Captain Jack Sparrow days.
Worth A Watch Once
Continuing my plan to watch every Johnny Depp movie in order, I come to Mortdecai.
There are many ways for a movie to go wrong, and this one goes wrong in many of the most obvious ways. It has a generic story, bad writing, a lead with a dodgy accent trying too hard, the wrong director and despite a laugh or two, it's no fun.
This is the third collaboration of Depp and Paul Bettany. The pair previously worked together on The Tourist and Transcendence. Bettany remembered: "Johnny asked me if I'd ever read the Mortdecai books. I hadn't, and he gave me all of them. Afterwards, Johnny mentioned he was going to make them into a film, and asked if I wanted to play Jock." Depp said that while Bettany is not known as a comedic actor, he is one of the funniest people around.
I did laugh once or twice and I discovered Gwyneth Paltrow has a nice ass too. But overall, it's a tough one to say good things about.
Mortdecai grossed $23 million at the domestic box office.
Interesting Premise, But Poorly Executed.
Continuing my plan to watch every Johnny Depp movie in order, I come to Transcendence.
This is the movie equivalent to phoning it in. It has an interesting premise, if just don't think too much about the logic. But it's ruined by lame dialogue being spouted by actors phoning it in, and it ends with an all too predictable ending!! I complain when a film develops a semi intriguing story and then dissolves it with a routine and boring action sequence. And this is a prime example of such a thing!! I guess it must be contractual that every director who makes a thriller these days must blow his sets to bits.
This movie was better when the story scales down and let's you think about things. How much freedom and security have we already given up to the internet in the last 10 years?? We get Facebook adverts tailored to what we have discussed in messages or searched for on eBay?? And on and on. And we are ok with this?? There is a current investigation about Facebook selling private info. How much more will we sacrifice in the next 10?? The movie worked better, when it was on that level.
The acting is really nothing special, Depp (in nothing more than a supporting role) appears bored and seems his mind was elsewhere (maybe counting the $20 million he was paid) possibly spent less than 7 days on set. Morgan Freeman is also in phone it in mode too!!
Transcendence grossed $23 million at the domestic box office.
Into the Woods (2014)
Anna Kendrick Is A Delight In Enjoyable Musical
Continuing my plan to watch every Johnny Depp movie in order, I come to Into The Woods
Despite seeing positive reviews, I skipped this in cinemas, as I just thought it was more of the same from Depp!! I have to say I was wrong, as I seriously enjoyed it. I enjoy a good musical anyway and I love Anna Kendrick, so I am slightly biased.
I think Anna Kendrick is a great actress (see Up In The Air) but I tend to not love her movies, and usually only make it through them, due to me having a weird crush on her!! She is not obviously attractive, but she has a certain something about her. She does have a great voice, but she seems to be stuck making Pitch Perfect sequels and things like Mr Right and Get A Job, when she is capable of so much more.
One of my main problems with this is, it just tries to incorporate too many subplots!! Like with Dark Shadows trying to get years worth of storylines from the tv show in to one movie. This is the same!! Truthfully you could have almost removed the entire Emily Blunt character sub plot from the movie and it would not be missed!! There is just too much going on.
But I do enjoy it!! James Corden is fine and (one of the nicest celebs I have ever met) as is Chris Pine, sending himself up!! though I was surprised Meryl Streep got an Oscar nod here. As for Depp, he only has two scenes, and less than 5 minutes screen time. Here is his main one. Singing a seriously creepy song that more than hints at something creepier..... or maybe it's just me!! Lol All the songs are pretty catchy, and I watch this pretty often with my girlfriends daughter.
Into The Woods grossed $128 million at the domestic box office to end 2014 as the 23rd highest grossing movie of the year!!
The Lone Ranger (2013)
Continuing my plan to watch every Johnny Depp movie in order, I come to The Lone Ranger.
Before watching this movie today, I only knew a few things about it!! It had a troubled production, the studio interfered a lot, critics ripped it apart and it is one of the biggest financial flops of all time, allegedly losing the studio about 100million dollars.
Reading up on it, it really was a troubled production. The problems included bad weather, wildfire, a chickenpox outbreak, and the accidental death of a crew member. These problems and the spirally budget almost led to the film's cancelation. Until Depp, Gore Verbinski, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Armie Hammer equally deferred twenty percent of their salaries, to minimize the overall cost. Disney then changed chairmen and the new chairman became very hands on including editing parts of the movie himself!! Depp was apparently very unhappy that most of the Native American subplot was axed all together!!
On to the movie. I actually quite enjoyed it. To say I was pleasantly surprised, is an understatement, as I was not looking forward to watching this one. I asked my brother about it this morning, and he compared it to Waterworld saying "It's one of those movies people will like in 20 years time, when they watch it away from all of the hate" and I kind of get what he means!! It's not a great movie by any stretch. It's predictable, formulaic and it's all standard stuff, but it is certainly not a bad movie, I have seen a lot worse. I was entertained throughout and I laughed/chuckled and smiled more at this, than I did the recent Game Night. In fact I enjoyed this more than Jumanji!! I'm sure not many will share that thought though lol.
Depp was criticised for A, not being Native American (there is Native American blood on his grandmothers side) and for acting too much like Captain Jack Sparrow. I can see where the last criticism is coming from, but I think he is more like Sam from Benny & Joon, then Captain Jack.
I do have a few criticisms too!! A busty Helena Bonham Carter is on my dvd cover, but is only in two scenes!! I hate that!! Armies Hammer is devoid of any charisma and the twist was pretty obvious from quite early too!! But I was entertained throughout and not
Johnny Depp openly criticized the reviews by American critics. Depp said "the reviews were written seven to eight months before we released the film. They were reviewing the budget, not reviewing the movie."
The Lone Ranger grossed $89 million at the domestic box office to end 2013 as the 40th highest grossing movie of the year!!
Dark Shadows (2012)
Misses The Mark
Continuing my plan to watch every Johnny Depp movie in order, I come to Dark Shadows.
Following on from Alice In Wonderland being a blockbuster hit for Burton and Depp, expectations were high for this one, and I had high hopes too. I had not loved a Depp movie since Sweeney Todd (5 years and 8 movies ago) but the trailer looked promising and when Depp teamed up with Burton, I always enjoyed it. However, whilst this starts off promising, this is a bit of a mess. I think Burton tried to start a franchise and set about trying to incorporate too many subplots into the first movie (A common flaw these days) and a potentially fun movie gets lost. It's not all bad, it does make good use of the 70's music for example. A lot of the humorous moments come from Depp's reactions to 1970s pop culture and I enjoyed the love scene set to Barry White.
If they had set out to make a straight comedy like 21 Jump Street, it may have worked. But it's uneven tone makes it impossible to enjoy. Apparently, Depp was a big fan of the original series, and he was really excited to be playing Barnabus. This is the eighth collaboration between Burton and Depp and Burton is the director behind some of his greatest movies. Sadly ever since he graced our cinemas as Captain Jack Sparrow the fine actor of the '90s and early '00s has been replaced by a man with a penchant for over-the-top antics. His Barnabas is a drag, but not because he resembles a drag queen. It's because he seems to belong in another movie. He is far too camp for this movie's darker moments.
Michelle Pfieffer is ok, Eva Green is quite good, Helena Bonham Carter is surprisingly bland as is Johnny Lee Miller, whilst Chloe Grace Moretz is fine too, Christopher Lee and Alice Cooper pop up in cameos. This is the last film Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter worked on before their relationship ended. This was also Producer Richard D. Zanuck's (Jaws) last film.
Dark Shadows grossed $79 million at the domestic box office to end 2012 as the 39th highest grossing movie of the year!!