Tune to The 2 Guys Named Chris Show every Monday to get the scoop on the latest new films and releases to DVD from a Canadian point of view. Julie Crawford, Film Critic for The Vancouver Courier, gives her two cents worth every Monday morning on Rock 92.
May 14, 2012
by Biggie Josh Ellinger,posted May 21 2012 7:22AM
The latest Johnny Depp-Tim Burton collaboration features Depp playing Barnabas Collins, a rich playboy who has the misfortune to break the heart of a witch, who then curses him, turns him into a vampire, and buries him alive. Two centuries later Barnabas re-emerges in the 1970s and takes over the ancestral home in Maine, much to the amazement of his ancestors who now live there. Based on a late ‘60s TV soap opera, the film also stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Moretz, but this is really the Johnny Depp show. Everything about Dark Shadows is over-the-top, from the production value to the comedy to Depp’s performance: it needed more oomph and less camp. Edward Scissorhands, an early Depp-Burton partnership, is an example of what this film should’ve, and could’ve, been.
A documentary about the dismal state of affairs when it comes to bullying in America, the film focuses on five families whose lives are affected by bullying, from parents who have lost their children to suicide, to a girl sent to jail because she was so desperate that she brought a gun on the school bus. Director Lee Hirsch filmed it on just a handheld video camera, adding as much realism as is possible. It’s not an easy film to watch, but with bullying running rampant in our schools, it’s an important one.
A superhero origin story about three high school seniors who are partying one night and stumble on a big ole hole in the ground, which contains a strange glowing substance. Afterward, the boys all experience headaches, nosebleeds and super powers. Two of the boys have fun with their new skills, but one kid, who has been bullied mercilessly at school and by his father at home, starts to see some of the dark advantages of his newfound power. Great effects and a very cool spin on the superhero genre.
Glenn Close was up for an Oscar for her portrayal of a woman in turn-of-the-century Ireland who poses for decades as a man in order to secure steady employment, and as a way to reject the gender expectations of the time. Albert works in a stately bed and breakfast without being detected as a woman, until a newcomer (Janet McTeer) comes in and both discovers her secret, and shows Albert a life she never knew existed. Production value is impeccable, but despite some great scenes I found Close’s performance unconvincing. An interesting film, not a great film.
Liam Neeson is on a plane with crew members from an oil rig when it crashes in the Alaskan wilderness. Not only are the men severely injured and battling frostbite and hypothermia, they have to fight off a pack of hungry wolves in order to survive. This is a tense survivalist pic that throws in some of the bigger questions about our humanity, which sets it apart from the pack. Plus I love that Neeson is pulling off a third act action-hero thing this far into his career, and he’s great here.
The Devil Inside
Yes, almost in time for Mother’s Day, this is the story about a daughter trying to discover why her mother confessed to the murders of three people 20 years earlier. She heads to a mental institution in Italy with two exorcists, in order to discern whether her mother is insane or demonically possessed. The acting is awful, the ending is ridiculous: this is low-grade horror at its worst. Go see Cabin in the Woods instead.