Blow is a film that was released in 2001, starring Johnny Depp as real-life drug smuggler George Jung. It was directed by Ted Demme, whose body of work I am largely unfamiliar with, but the premise sounded like it had potential. Jung was one of the most prolific drug runners in American history, an associate of Pablo Escobar, and largely responsible for fueling the cocaine craze of the 70s and 80s. With that real-life background, and A-list stars Johnny Depp and Penélope Cruz, one could be forgiven for expecting this to be an interesting movie.
Sadly, as this film meandered its way through 124 minutes, I nearly found myself nodding off a couple of times. And since I stayed up for about three hours afterward organizing my music files, I don’t think it can be blamed on fatigue. Continue reading →
It’s a little strange for me watching and reviewing A Nightmare on Elm Street. Wes Craven’s franchise-launching film came out in November 1984, just a couple months after I started kindergarten. Sequels came fast and frequent, about once a year for the rest of the decade. Other kids who saw the films in grade school would describe them just like we would discuss any other exciting movies or TV shows we had seen. But my parents never rented anything like A Nightmare on Elm Street for me or my siblings (not that I blame them; to be honest, I’m more inclined to arch an eyebrow at the parents of those other kids.) As a teen, when I might have had a little more leeway in what I watched, I lived about twenty miles from the nearest rental place. So from childhood on I would be hearing these descriptions, and seeing merchandise for a film that I didn’t see. I’ve known what Freddy Krueger looked like for nearly as long as I can remember, but with one thing and another, I hadn’t actually seen any film with him in it until now. So, like I said, it’s just a little strange. Fortunately, A Nightmare on Elm Street doesn’t rely on any particular twists or turns that would be spoiled by a nearly 30-year viewing gap. Continue reading →
“You are, without doubt, the worst pirate I’ve ever heard of.” “But you have heard of me.”
Ahoy me hearties and landlubbers alike! Today be September 19, a most special day on the calendar. Fer in the year o’ our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five, two scurvy scallywags from the town o’ Albany, Oregon did land themselves a whale o’ an idea fer a holiday. Callin’ theirselfs Cap’n Slappy an’ Ol’ Chumbucket, these two bilgerats declared the nineteenth o’ September to be “Talk Like a Pirate Day”, dedicated to recreatin’ the authentic sound o’ the inauthentic romanticized view o’ the Golden Age o’ Piracy. The two kept the date as a joke between them for sev’ral years, until finally they shared it with the luminary Dave Barry in two thousand and two, and the holiday truly went international. The very next summer, a new motion picture did debut that were all about pirates, and though the producers may claim it just a coincidence, and indeed probably ’twere so. But ’twere a most fortuitous coincidence indeed, as the film inspired a resurgence o’ love fer all things piratical, an’ cemented the success o’ the newly inaugurated International Talk Like a Pirate Day. And so, on the tenth anniversary o’ that auspicious day, I can find no more appropriate tribute ta the day than ta spend it talkin’ wit’ me chums and mateys about the wondrous film that fueled the fire, as it were. So grab a mug o’ grog, and we’ll talk o’ Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Continue reading →
Heath Ledger may well be this generation’s James Dean. His career tragically cut short (though in his case more by a bad decision than by happenstance), he had a few more films than Dean, but like Dean was just reaching his peak at his death, and appeared to be on his way to becoming one of the all-time greats. His last few roles were among his best, and his final role in 2009′s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is no exception.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was written and directed by Terry Gilliam, with frequent collaborator Charles McKeown co-writing, and as one might suspect from both the title and the creators, it deals heavily in imagination. In fact, though it has something of a darker tone to it, it feels very similar to their earlier collaboration, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Continue reading →
The Tourist, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, was released in 2010 to decidedly mixed reviews. Most critics panned it, and the box office reception wasn’t a whole lot better; on RottenTomatoes, it’s sitting at 20% for critics and 43% for the general audience. Yet it was nominated for three Golden Globes — best actor and actress in a comedy or musical and best comedy or musical — and both of the stars, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp won Teen Choice awards for action stars. (Not that the Teen Choice Awards are a paragon of taste, mind you.)
I didn’t know most of those details when I sat down to watch the film, but I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about it. So I wasn’t at all sure on what to expect. Continue reading →
This morning I’m starting a new feature here on Morgan on Media, the Weekly Weblinks. I’ve been seeing a few other bloggers start up various “Follow Friday” features, or other ways to share readers around the net, and I felt like this would be a good way to do my part. Each Weekly Weblinks feature will include several links to specific blog posts that I have enjoyed reading, and think are worth sharing. It will also include various news tidbits that I felt like saying a few words on, but which didn’t warrant a full post on their own (news pieces where I do have more to say will remain as their own posts under Media News). And it’ll often have another item just for the fun of it.
Because these are articles that I’m finding as I go along the week, the exact nature and number of the links will vary from week to week. Bloggers who I follow are likely to have a greater representation — I wouldn’t be following them if I didn’t like what they write, after all — but other posts I come across can and will show up as well. If any of the posts sound interesting to you, check them out; that’s what it’s all about. Continue reading →
Not together, of course. I’m just being lazy on the number of posts I write. But apparently it was time for both directors to drop several small hints about the movies that they’re working on. First up, Tim Burton talks to MTV about his 2012 films, all of which — as one might expect — have Gothic overtones. It looks like the big one is probably going to be his adaptation of the vampire soap opera Dark Shadows. Does Johnny Depp star as vampire Barnabas Collins? Of course he does, it’s a Tim Burton film, and you can’t have that without Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Michelle Pfeiffer is also cast in the film, which makes at least three Burton alumni, as she starred in his Batman Returns — though hopefully this is better than that dreck. I have to admit, though, I’m not really the target audience for a vampire romance film anyway, so it’ll take some seriously good reviews to drag me to the theatre for that one. I do find it interesting that he’s having the movie set in 1972, the year after the series concluded in real life, and has eschewed the use of 3D because it wasn’t in vogue in 1972. So he might be treating the source material with some respect. Continue reading →
Bein’ that the 19th of September be “Talk Like a Pirate Day”, as it were, and finding mine pockets laden down with a dozen pieces of eight, I took meself down to the local second-run theatre to partake in the viewin’ of the fourth movie ’bout the Pirates of the Caribbean. As circumstances had conspired to prevent me from witnessin’ the spectacle in 3D, I opted for the standard picture-showing format instead. I can’t say as it would have a tremendous difference in any case.
Seein’ the fourth movie in a series is enough to give any savvy scallywag some stirrings of trepidation. A man goes into it wonderin’ whether ‘twil hold up to the better entries in the series, particularly when the series had shown some signs of succumbing ta scurvy. Givin’ extra pause for consideration was the new helmsman, Rob Marshall, replacing Gore Verbinski, and the logical though somewhat lamentable departures of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. True, their story had come to its nat’ral conclusion, and their persons being in the film would have been out of place. But it did set me to wonderin’ if the erstwhile Captain Jack Sparrow would be nearly as entertainin’ without his favorite foils.