Entries tagged with “helena Bonham Carter”.


I believe that I’m done with the summer movies for 2018. What a dry season! After having barely survived the 2h30min of the most recent ‘M:I6‘ I was hoping to spend a more pleasant time watching the constellation of talented actresses which show up in the cast of Ocean’s Eight. Each of , , , or on the poster would be a good reason for me to buy my cinema ticket and popcorn and watch any movie they star in. How does it happen that the gathering of them all in ‘‘ resulted in a rather mediocre production, which barely extracts a smile and does not thrill (action-wise) at any point in time?

 

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5164214/

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5164214/

 

I am afraid that I need to blame director and script co-author for this failure. Ross succeeded quite well when he wrote and directed films that were at the fringe of mainstream, and I include here The Hunger Games. With Ocean’s Eight he is riding the waves of mainstream Hollywood blockbusters, not only continuing a series with a well established formula but also a tradition of big studios hits based on the combination of very popular actors bringing to screen stories of elaborated burglaries in famous museums or postcard touristic destinations. The problem is that this version of the old story no passion, no thrill, no original ideas. Yes, the burglars team is all-women but this direction was not enough put in works either, and the result is much lesser than the amount of talent that is invested and the potential promised by the cast.

 

(video source Warner Bros. Pictures)

 

The girls try to do their best. leads the team and devices a plan that is unfortunately never clear or too interesting to viewers,    brings to screen her usual ‘I am much more than I look about’ feeling but we never get what this ‘much more’ is about,  is perfect in her beautiful-but-not-too-smart role,  and has the chance of the only role with more comic potential and a better background story. The action trails, we have seen the laser beams dances too many times to enjoy it, The Metropolitan Museum is under-used as a location, and while shorter by almost one hour Ocean’s Eight eventually seems to last as long as ‘M:I6.  The bad news are that this film may be the best entertainment that we get this this summer.

When Tim Burton and Johnny Depp come together one already knows what to expect. Dark Shadows is the 8th film directed by Burton with Depp in the cast, the first one being Edward Scissorhands from 1990, maybe the most famous of all. We already know that a fantastic and strange world of weird beauty and ugliness will be created on screen. We know that it will be scary but that we need not take it more serious than necessary because we are now adults and fairy tales do not scare us any longer (do they?). We also know that Depp will again be hard to recognize, but will be himself as well, another entry in a series of fantastic characters that we – who love the actor – wish will last for as long as possible.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1077368/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1077368/

 

‘Dark Shadows’ is inspired by a TV show which gained cult status in the late 60s and early 70s which I have never seen or heard about before. It starts as a Gothic witches and vampires story in the 18th century to continue as a back-from-grave witches and vampire comical action in the contemporaneity of the TV show. Tim Burton and his script writers chose the path of creating from the perspective of 2012 a retro-actual comedy combined with situation gags about the culture, revolts and music of the 70s including a cameo appearance of Alice Cooper. These are actually some of the funniest moments in the film, as the rest of the story is pretty conventional and does not exceed the level of a mediocre comics-inspired intrigue.

 

(video source Fresh Movie Trailers)

 

Acting-wise we have of course Depp, as pale and as weird as ever. Besides Depp the film is blessed with exquisite cast including Michelle Pfeiffer which unfortunately seems lately to fade away from important roles, Eva Green which has a love scene like you never saw on screens before with Depp, and Helena Bonham Carter which I wish had spent more time on screen. And yet, despite moments of fun and splendid visuals that only the imagination of Burton can create, something is missing in the script. I did not see the TV show, and yet I had a very strong feeling of deja vu which could not be completely balanced by acting and spectacular visuals. A movie relying only or mostly on visual effects, as perfect as they may be, risks to feel like unfinished.

Here is a film whose destiny is to gather a lot of statuettes on the Oscar night this year, and this may be one of its problems in my eyes. The combination between a personal drama doubled by a physical or psychological disability (the stammering of the duke of York to become King George VI of England) which allows for great principal role performances and the obsession of the big screen with the British dynasty may lead for the third time in the last two decades for royalties get an Oscar ovation. It is not that ‘The King’s Speech’ lacks moments of good cinema, a good dramatic build-up and a human touch but somehow it is too much on the side of the predictable to my taste.

source www.imdb.com

Being duke of York is probably the most frustrating position on the planet maybe with the exception of being VP of the United States of America. You are one inch apart from the peak of the Universe, and yet most people in your kingdom or republic may not know your face. The spotlights fall so close and you are still in the shadows. Exceptional events do happen sometimes and the second-in-line is pushed ahead and needs to take responsibility. This is what happened with the duke of York who became king at the abdication of his brother Edward, just at the time the world and his country where to face the biggest challenge in history at the outbreak of the second world war. And yet, his historical fight was also a personal fight, as he head to overcome his stammering, a huge handicap at a time when leaders’ speech inspired nations and the relatively new media of radio broadcast was the most efficient propaganda instrument in the war.

(video source ClevverMovies)

The best moments of the film were for me the human dimensions that the characters of Bertie (King George VI) and Elizabeth received under the acting of Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter. I am no fan of the British royals, but I ended by really sympathizing with their representation in the movie. The personal fight of Bertie, his relation with the commoner family of his speech expert (Geoffrey Rush which is no less than wonderful as we can always expect from him) and the way he ends by facing the call of history at the right moment are well filmed and described. I liked less the way the historical context is described, with characters like king Edward or Winston Churchill reduced to their stereotype. There is one character though which draw my attention and this was Neville Chamberlain in a very exact supporting performance by Roger Parrott. I could not avoid thinking that this complex character and the dilemma of appeasement that marked his political career with the disastrous consequences did not yet get any screen version fit to the dimensions of the historical figure.