Tusk (2014) – Kevin Smith

9 12 2014

I was excited for Tusk.  I loved the concept, I love campy B-movies, I was intrigued by Johnny Depp and Haley Joel Osment’s surprise casting, I’m a fan of some of Kevin Smith’s work, and I thought this looked like a kind of return to form for Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp.  But nope, this film failed on almost every level.  I did love the Walrus suit, it was disgusting and campy in all the right ways, but outside of that nothing worked. The humor ranged from bad to cringeworthy, tons of scenes were either completely unnecessary or just dragged on and on, and a lot of the dialogue was awful (most surprising coming from Kevin Smith), and not in a fun B-movie way.  This one’s for Kevin Smith’s die hard fans only.

2/10

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Most Anticipated of 2011

25 01 2011

There’s a strong chance I haven’t even heard of most of the movies that will end up being my year-end favorites, but as of now, here’s what I can’t wait to see:

20) Source Code

Duncan Jones’ follow-up to Moon, one of my recent favorites.  Honestly, I didn’t care for the trailer much, but I’m excited for this based on Jones’ name alone and the fact that it’s another original sci-fi.

19) The Grandmasters

Wong Kar-Wai’s new film about Bruce Lee’s trainer.

18) J. Edgar

A Clint Eastwood directed biopic about J. Edgar Hoover starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  Not usually a biopic fan, but I can’t wait for anything Leo does at this point.

17) Tintin

Peter Jackson produces, Spielberg directs.  I’m honestly not very familiar with the source material, but I like the idea of Spielberg making an animated film, plus he and Peter Jackson should make a great combo.

16) The Hunter

An Indie thriller starring Willem Dafoe.  I can’t say exactly why I’m anticipating this one so much, just have a good feeling about it.

15) The Skin That I Inhabit

Pedro Almodovar’s latest.  That’s all I know about this one.

14) Hobo With a Shotgun

Like Machete, this was originally a fake trailer.  Should be another good 90 minutes of Grindhouse fun.

13) The Rum Diary

The first film from Withnail and I director Bruce Robinson in 19 years.  Johnny Depp stars in his 2nd Hunter S. Thompson adaptation.

12) Meek’s Cutoff

Kelly Reichardt and Michelle Williams are collaborating again after 2008’s Wendy and Lucy, which was great.  This is about settlers traveling through the Oregon desert in the 19th century.  Could be amazing.

11) Hanna

The trailer makes this look like a blast.  Good director, good cast, should be fun.  Check out the trailer here.

10) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The Social Network was so good that I can’t wait to see this.  David Fincher’s next has some of the same cast and crew as Network, with Trent Reznor writing the score and Rooney Mara taking the lead role.  Even though I don’t like the idea of Hollywood remaking every recent successful foreign film, I’m on board with this one.

9) The Borrowers

The new Studio Ghibli film, written by Hayao Miyazaki.  Can’t wait.

8.) Wuthering Heights

Andrea Arnold’s follow-up to Fish Tank, one of my favorites from last year.  Classic source material, can’t wait to see what she’s able to do with it.

7) Shame

Director Steve McQueen and his leading man Michael Fassbender’s follow-up to their amazing 2009 film Hunger.  I can’t see this duo not going 2 for 2.

6) Drive

Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Valhalla Rising) is one of the most interesting up-and-coming directors around, and this is first big “Hollywood” film, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Ron Perlman.  The film is about a stunt driver who discovers that he has a price on his head.  Can’t wait to see what Refn does with a more straightforward story like this.  My hopes are sky high.

5) A Dangerous Method

The third film from David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen, this time also starring Michael Fassbender (!) and Keira Knightley.  The film’s about Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, and it should be amazing.

4) Hugo Cabret

Martin Scorsese directing a kid’s film?  In 3D?  I’m happy to see Scorsese trying something so new, and the source material is great.  It’s also got a good looking ensemble with Chloe Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Michael Pitt, Christopher Lee, Ray Winstone, and Sacha Baron Cohen.

3) Melancholia

Lars Von Trier’s follow-up to Antichrist.  I love anything Von Trier, and I love sci-fi, so my expectations are pretty much through the roof on this one.  Von Trier jokingly said that he’d have “no more happy endings!” before filming this one, and sure enough the plot deals with Earth’s imminent destruction.

2) The Tree of Life

I said the same thing last year, but I can’t remember a time when this wasn’t on my most anticipated list.  It looks like all the delays are finally over, especially since a beautiful trailer was released recently.  Terrence Malick movies are always an event, and this sounds like it could be one of his best.

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

It’s been an incredible series, and the end is looking to be 2 hours of epic non-stop climax.  I thought part 1 was amazing, so this should basically be the best thing ever for big Potter fans.  I’ll be sad when it’s over.





Alice in Wonderland

10 03 2010

It’s almost old-hat to say that the Tim Burton and Johnny Depp duo’s lost its magic touch.  Their first collaborations, Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands, everyone loved.  They were both wonderful character studies that showcased both Depp’s acting talent and Burton’s unique style, and everything was pointing towards them becoming one of the seminal acting/directing duos along with Scorsese/DeNiro, Hitchcock/Stewart, and so on.  I don’t know what happened after that; obviously the temptation of a fat Disney paycheck was too much to pass up, and apparently Burton has also made some sort of life-long deal with Hot Topic. 

For Alice in Wonderland, he’s sucked out every last drop of heart from the original and possibly made the most lifeless, boring film of his career.  Practically the whole film is CGI.  Everything looks perfect and spotless and therefore lacks any trace of humanity.  It looks like a video game.  As for Johnny Depp, as odd as his character is, it still feels like he’s just phoning it in, mostly thanks to the many obvious similarities to his Willy Wonka performance.  The pale make-up doesn’t help his case, either.

RATING:  5/10





The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

13 01 2010

Poor Terry Gilliam, without a doubt the unluckiest active director.  His persistent production troubles have been well documented ever since his late 90’s film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote became a catastrophic failure and never even reached the light of day.  Health and weather issues, among many other things, killed that film, and since then Gilliam’s luck has only gotten worse.  The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is his latest, and Gilliam of course had the daunting task of finishing the film after its star, Heath Ledger, passed away midway through production.  This turned Imaginarium easily into the most intriguing movie of the year if for no other reason than to see how in the hell Gilliam would pull it off.

Heath’s unfinished role was completed by Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Johnny Depp, and some clever rewrites.  Of course, the result is pretty confusing.  It’s impressive that Gilliam was able to finish this at all, but in the end even the characters don’t seem to know what’s going on, let alone the audience.  The reasoning behind the constant transformation of Heath’s character is never fully explained, and as you might expect is quite distracting.  However, what does remain of Heath’s performance is fantastic, and it’s wonderful to be able to see his last work. 

So with all the aforementioned flaws in mind, I do have to say that I loved this movie.  Gilliam hasn’t made anything with this much visual spectacle since The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and despite the mess of the story I was more than willing to go along for the ride, if just for all the stunning eye candy.  Some of the sequences were so imaginative that I was in awe, which goes to show that when Gilliam’s at his best he’s hard to top.

RATING:  8/10





Imaginarium character posters

10 11 2009

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“The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” trailer

9 10 2009

Personally, I think it looks amazing.  And man, what a cast.

For those who don’t know, Heath passed away before filming was complete.  His role was finished by Depp, Farrell, and Law (that’s right, they all play the same character).  Should be, at the very least, interesting to see how Gilliam pulled this off.