Tag Archives: comedy

Dark Shadows

I have never seen the original Dark Shadows, so I am coming in to this with only the trailers giving me pre-conceived notions. Being a Johnny Depp and Tim Burton vehicle, I expected more. All I could mange was a few giggles and stifle even more yawns.

Barnabus’ (Johnny Depp) family came to America in 1750 to expand their fishing business. The expansion was a success and the town was named Collinsport. Barnabas becomes a man, and Angelique  falls in love with him. She expresses her love to Barnabus, but it is unrequited. He instead falls in love with Josette. Angelique kills Barnabas’ parents, causes Josette to kill herself and curses him to be a vampire. (From what I have learned about vampire lore from books and other movies, a vampire is not created by casting a spell.) At some point after the curse, Angelique gets a mob to attack and bury the monster. He is set free in 1972 to find the family business and estate in ruins. Angie and her “ancestors”, have been running the company that has dominated Collinsport since Barnabas had “gone away.” (They neglected to say who exactly took over the business as the principal players were out of commission.)

The story seems to be based on 3 shaky topics- showing how comically out of place Barnabas is, needless sex references (specifically with Angelique [Eva Green] &  Doctor Hoffman), and depicting how obsessed Angelique is. More on this later…

The other players had potential to add to the story that was never explored, or was left on the virtual cutting room floor. It felt like everyone was just a backdrop to support Depp’s greatness. Here’s who we could have learned more about:

David Collins (Gulliver McGrath) – Descendant of Barnabas who is considered troubled because he can see and speak to ghosts, specifically his dead mother.

Dr Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter) – She is the consistently hung over, onsite psychiatrist who has been treating David for his “condition.” (There doesn’t seem to be much of a condition, except in the conversations about it.)

Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller) – David’s never present dad. We do learn one more important thing about his character later…

Carolyn Stoddard (Chloë Grace Moretz) – David’s older sister. A 15 yr old growing up in an unquestionably crazy situation, with nowhere to turn.

Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) – David’s nanny, as if having your own live in doctor is not enough.

Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley) – The drunken, underutilized caretaker.

David’s mother (Josephine Butler) – Or should I say the ghost of. She was introduced to us as a child masquerading as a ghost. A ghost in a sheet. Really? I think they wrote her in so she could be recalled to help add absolutely nothing to the haphazard, confusing ending.

What I took away from this is that no matter how powerful, successful, pretty or smart a woman is, she can still be monumentally crazy. 200 years after Barnabus’ imprisonment, Angie has built an empire, is (still) a witch, and haves whatever she wants. Except the love of a single man. When she learns that Barnabas has risen, she attempts to get him back.

I don’t know where Tim was headed with this one, but he missed the exit.

The Five Year-Engagement

Ugh… Ouch… *gut punch*…

Yep, that pretty much sums up how I feel about The Five-Year Engagement. Instead of just being critical, I have a way to fix this film. Make it a short. Use the first 15, and the last 10 min, then it would be great. Now I shall get back to the negative.

This was so bad on many fronts, I’m not sure where to start… I think main area of suckiness is that it didn’t know where to go. Tom Solomon (Jason Segel) is a successful sous chef of a San Francisco restaurant. Violet Barnes (Emily Blunt) is a student who gets accepted into a grad program in Michigan. Tom give up a promotion, (that he learns of after he has decided to move with Violet), to be the head chef of the owners new restaurant, The Clambar. As you can infer from the title, the engagement process is not a smooth one, and gets dragged out for, you guessed it, 5 years.

During this time, Tom is unable to be happy. He has given up his dream to follow the woman he loves across the country. His and Violet’s journey is not funny nor interesting. It’s sad and depressing. It seems more like a lesson in not being stupid about giving up the awesome things you have in a desperate hope that a single individual is the one for you.

While in Michigan, the best job Tom is able to find is at a sandwich shop. A large step down from sous chef. As the years go by, he adopts some hobbies including hunting, camping, brewing his own mead, and sweater knitting. During his hunting phase, he dresses everything in the house in carcasses of animals. And grows out lamb chop side burns. Violet has a moment where her professor misreads her signals and goes in for the kiss. This creates more unfunny issues. Jason Segal is also in danger of becoming the male version of Julia Roberts, right behind Hugh Grant.

They ultimately break up and try to proceed. Tom back in San Fran, with Violet staying in Michigan. MORE depression…

Here comes the spoilage, they eventually get together!!! Back to the goodness of this film. The opening is cute, where Tom has an elaborate plan to propose, during which flashbacks are inserted to show how they met at a costume party. Now jump to the end->  Violet has an argument with her sister Suzie (Alison Brie) while they use the voices of Elmo and Cookie Monster. Violet hatches an elaborate plan to propose to Tom. And if he accepts, they will get married right then. He does, they do, and it is truly heartwarming!

Jason, JuddNicholas, I expected more. The shock and awww… idea used in previous movies just doesn’t work here. Tom falling asleep in the snow and losing a toe. The aforementioned house covered in carcasses. Violet getting shot with a crossbow. Grandparents dying off before the wedding. Using Alex (Chris Pratt) as the abrasive comedic foil, he’s too abrasive. Oh yeah, forgot to mention he knocks up Suzie early in the movie and they end up married and ultimately ends up a good father and husband. Yet he retains too much abrasiveness to become likable. I’d rather see the characters die in a firey train wreck, then I might have some sympathy.