Tagged: Christopher Lee

The Hobbit Battle Of Five Armies

Summary: Peter Jackson’s last foray into the world of Middle Earth begins with Lake-town under severe attack after Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) has left the Mountain and is looking for revenge. Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and co can do very little but watch as the attack occurs.

Meanwhile while others group together to rescue Gandalf (Ian McKellan), Bilbo is left stunned as the Mountain has a strange affect on Thorin (Richard Armitage) who seems to be going crazy as he insanely looks for the Heart Of The Mountain. His group grow increasingly worried as various armies march on the mountain to claim it and Thorin continues his search without honouring his debts or even bothering to help those who are trying to defend the Mountain.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, New Zealand

Director: Peter Jackson

Screenwriter: Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, J.R.R. Tolkien (novel)

Cast: Richard Armitage (Thorin), Erin Banks (Lobeila Sackville Baggins), Timothy Bartlett (Master Worrywort), John Bell (Bain), Manu Bennett (Azog), Nick Blake (Percy), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Jed Brophy (Nori), Adam Brown (Ori), John Callen (Oin), Billy Connolly (Dain), Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug/Necromancer (voice)), Luke Evans (Bard), Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Stephen Fry (Master Of Laketown), Ryan Gage (Alfrid), Mark Hadlow (Dori), Peter Hambleton (Gloin), Miranda Harcourt (Olga), Ian Holm (Old Bilbo), Brian Hotter (Otho Sackville Baggins), Stephen Hunter (Bombur), Kelly Kilgour (Soury), William Kircher (Bifur), Martin Kwok (Ragash (voice)), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel), Simon London (Feren), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Ian McKellan (Gandalf), Thomasin McKenzie (Astrid), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), Mark Mitchinson (Braga), James Nesbitt (Bofur), Mary Nesbitt (Tilda), Peggy Nesbitt (Sigrid), Dean O’Gorman (Fili), Lee Pace (Thrandiul), Sarah Peirse (Hilda Bianca), Mikael Persbrandt (Beorn), Allan Smith (Ragash), Merv Smith (Tosser Grub), Conan Stevens (Keep Of The Dungeons), Ken Stott (Balin), John Tui (Bolg), Aidan Turner (Kili), Hugo Weaving (Elrond)

Runtime: 145 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Adam RossYou can check out Adam’s The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #111.

Stars(3)

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(2.5)

 

Nick GardenerYou can check out Nick’s The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #111.

Stars(3)

 

David Griffiths:

Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth six-peat is understandably a life-long ambition that he wanted to achieve. Outside of George Lucas and Star Wars it is arguable that no director in the history of cinema has ever shown so much dedication to a series of films. And let’s be honest while The Lord Of The Rings trilogy were a real feat in filmmaking The Hobbit series has rarely reached the same amazing peaks. The first film while serviceable at times seemed more like a documentary on a walking tours of New Zealand than it did as a huge mythical epic, while it was also plagued by the new technology Jackson brought to the film which had some cinema goers feeling like they were watching the film in fast forward.

What gave us hope that Jackson would be back to his best with The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies was its predecessor, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. Smaug was what everybody was expecting from this series, Jackson back to being able mix good characterisation with some very creative action, but sadly it seems that film is going to be the high mark of the series because Five Armies seems to be completely hit or miss.

The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies is going to be a film that will be enjoyed if you like epic battles, but if you’re a serious movie buff there will still be things that seriously irk you about the film. The battle itself is lengthy but to be honest the directors of Game Of Thrones seem to have spoilt us so much over the past couple of seasons that even some of the action here seems to be a little disappointing on the big screen.

There are several moments during which the audience will be left completely scratching their heads. For example the scene in which Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Saruman (Christopher Lee) and Elrond (Hugo Weaving) sweep in to save Gandalf not only contains some shockingly bad special effects that look like they may have been lifted from a 1980s straight-to-video nasty but also leaves you wondering that with the power of Elrond on show for all to see why he doesn’t then and go and help out with the battle?

Then to be honest there are some incredibly amazing moments in the film as well. Some of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Thorin’s fight scenes with Orcs on the ice-cap mountain do look extremely good, despite the fact that at times such as Legolas’ rock-jumping sequence the audience is left having to suspend their believability of what it is happening. Then Jackson also creates some very touching moments between characters that tug on the audience’s heart strings in a way that an epic action film like this shouldn’t be able to. The up-and-down nature of The Hobbit series seems to battle itself to no end in this finale of the franchise.

With such a huge ensemble cast gathering together for this final film, it’s understandable that some actors don’t get the screen they deserve. As previously mentioned actors like Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett have their skills completely underused while Billy Connolly seems to only turn up for the comedic effect of playing Dain. The big winners out of The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies are Orlando Bloom, who on the back of his performance in Smaug should have done enough to remind Hollywood producers that he is always a pretty decent actor in big blockbusters, Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage. Freeman has become a really easy actor to warm to throughout the series while Armitage who was mainly a television actor before this series of films has really revealed himself to be a seriously good character actor who should have a huge career ahead of him.

It is sad that Jackson’s Middle Earth saga has come to a close, it is even sadder that it has had to happen with such a mediocre film, especially when you take into consideration the lofty heights set by The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. That may well be something that comes to haunt Jackson’s career from here on in as it is just too easy to compare anything he makes now back to a series that really changed the cinema landscape. The best hope that The Battle Of Five Armies has is that it is like Unexpected Journey and begins to grow on you the more times that you watch it.

Stars(3)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Army reviews: For our full The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies review make sure you check out The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #111. You can also read our review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Logo

This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Adam, Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘Penguins Of Madagascar’, ‘The Imitation Game,”Big Hero 6,’ ‘The Water Diviner,’ ‘Night At The Museum 3: Secret Of The Tomb’ and ‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies′ . This episode also contains interviews with Ken Jeong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Christopher Lee, Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom and Cate Blanchett.

To listen to the show you can download it for free from our Podcast Channel – Listen/Download here.

Night Train To Lisbon

Summary: Raimund Gregorius is a Latin teacher from Berne. Encountering a book by the Portuguese poet and doctor Amadeu de Prado, he takes a train to Lisbon determined to find out more about the writer who appears to ask the very same questions that plague him: the purpose of human deeds and the unrealised potential of each and every life. His restless quest across Lisbon uncovers a contradictory portrait of a clever and brave yet conflicted man who lived at the time of Salazar’s dictatorship.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th December, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Germany, Switzerland, Portugal

Director: Bille August

Screenwriter: Greg Latter, Ulrich Hermann, Pascal Mercier (novel)

Cast: Helena Afonso (Maria Prado), Beatriz Batarda (Young Adriana), Nicolau Breyner (Da Silva), Sarah Buhlmann (Catarina Mendes), Tom Courtenay (Joao Eca), Marco D’Almeida (Young Joao), Dominique Devenport (Natalie), August Diehl (Young Jorge O’Kelly), Bruno Ganz (Jorge O’Kelly), Martina Gedeck (Mariana), Bomber Hurley-Smith (Young Bartolomeu), Jack Huston (Amadeu), Jeremy Irons (Raimund Gregorius), Burghart Klaubner (Judge Prado), Melanie Laurent (Young Estefania), Christopher Lee (Father Bartolomeu), Adriano Luz (Mendes), Hanspeter Muller (Mr. Kagi), Lena Olin (Estefania), Ana Lucia Palminha (Young Clotilde), Charlotte Rampling (Adriana de Prado), Jane Thorne (Coltilde), Filipe Vargas (Young Father Bartolomeu)

Runtime: 111 mins

Classification:M

OUR NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON REVIEWS & RATINGS

Greg King: Stars(2.5)

Please check Greg’s review of ‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2’ that is available on www.filmreviews.net.au

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(2.5)

IMDB Rating:  Night Train to Lisbon (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Night Train To Lisbon′: Please check our Night Train To Lisbon review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep 61.

Trailer:

The Hobbit

Summary: THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY follows title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug.

Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever… Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities…

A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA/New Zealand

Director: Peter Jackson

Screenwriter: Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh

Cast: Richard Armitage (Thorin), Timothy Bartlett (Master Worrywort), Manu Bennett (Azog), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Jed Brophy (Nori), Adam Brown (Ori), John Callen (Oin), Benedict Cumberbatch (Necromancer), Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Mark Hadlow (Dori/Bert Troll), Peter Hambleton (Gloin/William Troll), Ian Holm (OLd Bilbo), Barry Humphries (Great Goblin), Stephan Hunter (Bombur), William Kircher (Bifur/Tom Troll), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Sylvester McCoy (Radagast), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Bret McKenzie (Lindir), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), Michael Mizrahi (Thrain), James Nesbitt (Bofur), Dean O’Gorman (Fili), Lee Pace (Thranduil), John Rawls (Yazneg), Thomas Robins (Young Thrain), Andy Serkis (Gollum), Conan Stevens (Bolg), Ken Stott (Balin), Jeffrey Thomas (Thror), Aidan Turner (Kili), Stephen Ure (Fumbal/Grinnah), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Elijah Wood (Frodo)

Runtime: 169 mins

Classification:M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Review: 

While ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year, it also has the potential of becoming one of the most frustrating films of the year. Many audience members will find themselves being blown away as director, Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones, King Kong) once again takes them on a journey into Tolkien’s Middle Earth world but sadly the film is also let down by the fact that Jackson has experimented with a new of film-making.

Closely following the original novel ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ begins with Old Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) writing down more of his adventures for Frodo (Elijah Wood – TV’S Wilifred & TRON: Uprising). This time around he tells a story that occurred sixty years before the events of the original ‘Lord Of The Rings’ trilogy.

This new adventure sees young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman – Animals, Pirates! The Band Of Misfits) selected by Gandalf (Ian McKellen – Miss In Her Teens, TV’S Doctor ho) to take up the part of ‘burglar’ in a group led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage – Captain America: The First Avenger, TV’S Strike Back) that has the mission to returning to a once grand Kingdom (now known as the Lonely Mountain) that belonged to the Dwarves and then to defeat a Smaug the Dragon that took control of it and the gold that it contains.

But when they begin their journey they soon realise that there is a dark rising in Middle Earth. While this means the group is constantly under threat by a group of Orcs led by the war-chief Azog (Manu Bennett – TV’S Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms & Spartacus: Blood And Sand), a meeting with a wizard known as Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy – The Academy: Special, Eldorado) also reveals that a new evil has emerged, an evil known as the Necromancer (Benedict Cumberbatch – Wreckers, War Horse).

And while not giving away any spoilers the journey also sees the group meet up with old favourites including Elrond (Hugo Weaving – Cloud Atlas, Happy Feet Two), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett – Hanna, The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg), Saruman (Christopher Lee – Dark Shadows, The Hunting Of The Snark) and Gollum (Andy Serkis – Arthur Christmas, The Adventures Of Tintin) while also introducing new characters including the Jabba The Hut like Great Goblin (voiced by Barry Humphries – Kath & Kimderella, Mary And Max).

To the credit of Peter Jackson and the team of screenwriters (which included Guillermo del Toro) that helped put together ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ the film’s story carries quite well. Yes there are some slow moments before the journey actually begins but they are necessary to set up the characterisation of those going on the adventure. Others may find the singing parts (especially the stacking of the cutlery) a little too Disney, but others will also see this as an important part of bring Tolkien’s world to life.

The story does provide a great deal of suspense as various members of the small troop have their lives put at risk on a number of occasions although if you are thinking about seeing the film in the 48FPS format you should probably reconsider. At times the picture is too crisp to be believable and this format of showing the film leads to an annoying optical illusion that at times makes it feel like it is being played in fast-forward. The format does although enhance some of the battle scenes and it is almost virtually impossible to tell what is CGI and what is real but then at other times ruins the film by clearly showing that some of the backdrops have been made from cardboard or polystyrene while the rabbit sleigh sequence looks so bad you could be excused for believing that you are watching a badly made 1980s music video clip.

If you want to see ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ looking at its absolute best go and see it in 2D or in standard 3D form because the 48FPS will only ruin an otherwise brilliant film for you.

When it comes to the casting Peter Jackson has hit the nail right on the head. Martin Freeman is likable as the younger Bilbo Baggins but to be honest you never feel as close to his character as you did with Frodo in ‘The Lord Of The Rings’, but the real star here is Richard Armitage who brilliantly portrays Thorin, so well in fact it is a truly memorable performance.

If you choose to see ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ in the right kind of format you are in for a truly magical experience, but be warned if you see it in the 48FPS format you may be in for a disappointing time.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey′: Check Episode #13 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’.

Rating: 3.5/5

IMDB Rating:The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) on IMDb

Frankenweenie

Summary: From creative genius Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland,” The Nightmare Before Christmas”) comes Frankenweenie, a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life – with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 25th October, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Tim Burton

Screenwriter: John August, Tim Burton, Leonard Ripps

Cast: Dee Bradley Baker (Persephone van Helsing/Shelly/Were-Rat/Colossus/Mr. Whiskers/Driver (voice)), Robert Capron (Bob (voice)), Martin Landau (Mr. Rzykruski (voice)), Christopher Lee (Movie Dracula), James Hiroyuki Liao (Toshiaki (voice)), Catharine O’Hara (Mrs. Frankenstein/Weird Girl/Gym Teacher (voice)), Winona Ryder (Elsa Van Helsing (voice)), Atticus Shaffer (Edgar ‘E’ Gore (voice)), Martin Short ((Mr. Frankenstein/Mr. Burgemeister/Nassor (voice)), Melissa Stribling (Movie Mina), Charlie Tahan (Victor Frankenstein (voice)), Frank Welker (Sparky Frankenstein (voice))

Runtime: 87 mins

Classification: PG

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Frankenweenie’ Review: 

It’s something that fans of director of Tim Burton have never had to go through before… a patch where the legendary filmmaker has actually delivered some fairly ordinary films. Alice In Wondeland was one of the worst films he has ever delivered while Dark Shadows was good but nowhere near as great as the films that have earned Burton the respect of the film making world over his career. So it’s great to see Burton get to the top of his game once again with Frankenweenie.

Frankenweenie follows young Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan – TV’S Blue Bloods & Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) a gifted young student who listens too carefully to his science teacher, Mr. Rzykruski (Martin Landau – Dark Horse, Have A Little Faith) and brings his one true friend, his dog Sparky back to life after he is killed in a tragic accident.

Victor is quick to work out that he needs to keep the revived Sparky a secret from his parents (Catherine O’Hara – TV’S Leslie & Glenn Martin DDS and Martin Short – Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, TV’S The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That) but when fellow student Edgar (Atticus Shaffer – TV’S The Middle & Shake It Up) finds out what has happened it is only a matter of time until others including Elsa (Winona Ryder – The Letter, The Iceman), Bob (Robert Capron – Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, The Three Stooges) and Toshiaki (James Hiroyuki Liao – Applebaum, World Invasion: Battle LA) also find out and decide they can try and bring things back to life as well.

Frankenweenie sees Tim Burton return to the type of stop animation that made some of his early movies really stand out. Together with a great script Burton has used the animation of Frankenweenie to really take this film back to the period when it was set… in the 1950s. Throughout the film Burton pays tribute to horror films of the past in such a way that the film becomes a pure joy for any serious film lover to watch.

In fact while Frankenweenie is being promoted as a children’s/family film you would have to argue that this is one animated films that adults are going to love, even the script allows for some adult humor that will go right over the heads of all the kids in the audience.

The other part of Frankenweenie that makes this such a memorable film is the amount of work that the animators have put into each character. While some resemble characters from horror films of the past others are so strange and hilarious that you’ll end up laughing as soon as they appear on screen.

Frankeweenie sees Tim Burton return to his usual brilliance and you certainly won’t be disappointed.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Frankenweenie′: http://www.helium.com/items/2381893-movie-reviews-frankenweenie-2012 Also check Episode #5 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Frankenweenie’

Rating: 4/5

IMDB Rating:Frankenweenie (2012) on IMDb

Dark Shadows

Summary: An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 10th May, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: 26th September, 2012

Country: USA, Australia

Director: Tim Burton

Screenwriter: Seth Grahame-Smith, John August, Dan Curtis (television series)

Cast: Greg Bennett (Chet the Taxidermist), Susanna Cappellaro (Naomi Collins), Helena Bonham Carter (Dr. Julia Hoffman), Raffey Cassidy (Young Angelique), Alice Cooper (himself), Johnny Depp (Barnabas Collins), Eva Green (Angelique Bouchard), Jackie Earle Haley (Willie Loomis), Bella Heathcote (Victoria Winters/Josette DuPres), Ivan Kaye (Joshua Collins), Christopher Lee (Clarney), Gulliver McGrath (David Collins), Glen Mexted (Captain Rubberpants), Jonny Lee Miller (Roger Collins), Chloe Grace Moretz (Carolyn Stoddard), Alexia Osborne (Young Victoria), Michelle Pfeiffer (Elizabeth Collins Stoddard), Ray Shirley (Mrs. Johnson), Vincent Curson Smith (Young Barnabas – Aged 9), Nick Thomas-Webster (Timothy), Justin Tracy (Young Barnabus – Aged 6)

Runtime: 113 mins

Classification:M

 OUR DARK SHADOWS REVIEWS & RATINGS

Adam Ross: Stars(2)

Please check Adam’s Dark Shadows review of that is available on The Crat

Greg King: Stars(3)

Please check Greg’s Dark Shadows review of that is available on www.filmreviews.net.au

Nick Gardener:

Please check Nick’s Dark Shadows review of that is available on Southern FM

 

David Griffiths:

Dave’s review from Entertainment Scene 360

After seeing the trailer for Dark Shadows it is understandable that any fan of the original television series may want to give the ‘updated’ movie a serious wide berth. The trailer makes it seem that the filmmakers have taken what is a genuinely a quite dark show and turned it into a outlandish comedy that may even make Jack & Jill look like a viable option. Luckily though, you won’t be feeling that once you have watched it.

After seeing Dark Shadows, you realise that two things save this film. Firstly, it has Tim Burton at the helm as director. Burton brings his unique style of comedy to the film, the kind that has surfaced in some of his previous efforts such as Alice In Wonderland or Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.

Burton’s comedic style actually enhances the darker aspects of the film and you have to give him credit for inserting it into the film in such the way that it comes across as being creative rather than intrusive.

The second thing that makes Dark Shadows such a great watch is the great performance by Johnny Depp (we seem to be saying that a lot recently, even with films that bomb like The Rum Diary). Depp is completely unrecognisable as Barnabas Collins a vampire who awakens after two hundred years only to find that his family, now headed by Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer), are no longer business leaders and that his enemy, the sexual Angelique (Eva Green) now basically owns most of Collinsport.

The Angelique versus Barnabas storyline is what keeps the audience interested in Dark Shadows. It is easy to understand Barnabas’ hatred for her, after all she murdered his lover, cursed him to become a vampire, ruined his family and eventually sentenced him to two centuries of being chained and buried in a coffin. With all this going on it doesn’t necessarily take any special writing from the screenwriters to have the audience warming to Barnabas while really hoping for the demise of Angelique.

There are a lot of things to love about Dark Shadows, but there are some things that are slightly annoying. Product placement becomes a real issue in one scene of the film. All the creative ways that could have been used to introduce Barnabas to the seventies seem to have ignored in favour of a scene depicting him being blinded by the light of the golden arches on a McDonalds sign. It’s not hard to figure out that good ‘ol Maccas would have paid a pretty sum to have had that included.

It also seems at times during the film that the characters surrounding Barnabas, Elizabeth and Angelique have been completely forgotten in the script. Poor Chloe Grace Moretz does a wonderful job in the role of Elizabeth’s daughter Carolyn but she often seems to be conveniently left out of some of the important scenes. So, much so that when the plot twist that involves her occurs in the latter scenes the audience probably wouldn’t even give it a second glance. All you can hope is that if they do make a sequel that Moretz is given a lot more to do.

These are, however, just small gripes about a film that at the end of the day works amazingly well. For the most part the screenplay tells a story about a character that the audience is going to love (even if he kills a few people along the way) and the ‘big business’ storyline revolving around Angelique will certainly be lapped up by those critical of large corporations.

As mentioned previously, Depp clearly steals the show in the acting stakes, but it would be a crime not to mention Helena Bonham Carter’s quirky portrayal of Dr. Julia Hoffman. Carter always seems to shine when working for her husband (director Tim Burton) and Dark Shadows is no exception. In the hands of a lesser gifted actress, this role could hae become a total farce, but Carter knows when to push the comedy and knows when to hold back. The result is a portrayal of a character that wouldn’t seem out of place in Absolutely Fabulous.

Eva Green also steps up from her recent performances and seems to enjoy the fact that she is portraying the vampy ‘bad’ girl. In a lot of ways her performance completely outshines the one of Bella Heathcote who as Victoria (the ‘good girl’ and love interest to Barnabas) should be the one given the chance to shine. In reflection, Victoria is yet another character who seems to be a victim of being ‘forgotten’ in the script at times when her character should have been made a major focus.

Dark Shadows is a testament to the genius of Tim Burton. It’s a dark comedy enhanced by some great acting, a decent script and a soundtrack that really captures the essence of the 70s (watch for a cameo by Alice Cooper). This is a film that is well worth a look if you like your films on the quirky side.
Dave’s review from Buzz Magazine

With any ordinary director at the helm, Dark Shadows would have become the shallow comedy that its trailer hinted it could be. But Dark Shadows isn’t directed by any ordinary director, no it has the legendary Tim Burton (Alice In Wonderland, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) in charge… and with his unique sense of humor infused into this dark tale you have a very good film indeed.

Based on a television series Dark Shadows tells the story of Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp – 21 Jump Street, The Rum Diary) a young man who is cursed by a witch, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green – Perfect Sense, Womb), and becomes a vampire whom is then imprisoned for 200 years.

When Barnabas is awakened he finds that Angelique has destroyed his family’s business and now pretty much ‘owns’ the town that his family set-up. Even the mansion he once lived in is in ruins as his distant relatives struggle to make a dime.

Barnabas arrives back at his old home and encourages his relatives, Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer – New Year’s Eve, Personal Effects), Roger (Jonny Lee Miller – TV’S Emma & Dexter), Carolyn (Chloe Grace Moretz – Hugo, Hick), David (Gulliver McGrath – Hugo, The Long Night), the family doctor, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter – Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Toast) and the butler, Willie (Jackie Earle Haley – Louis, A Nightmare On Elm Street) to help him rebuild his family empire and destroy Angelique.

And while trying to get used to the culture of the 1970s Barnabas also tries to find out how to impress the 1970s’ female when he finds himself falling for the Collins family governess, the mysterious girl who calls herself Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote – In Time, Beneath Hill 60).

Tim Buton’s cool imagination runs riot with Dark Shadows and it is one of the things that makes the film work. The film’s humour works, and despite some of the jokes being really obvious it seems to fit with the films style. But more importantly Burton gets the right mix of comedy and darkness. As a result you like Barnabas as a character despite the fact that he does in fact kill innocent characters throughout the film.

The screenwriters need to be congratulated for that, but they also need to be thanked for not taking away any of the suspense that this film needs either. Together with Tim Burton they really have created a surprisingly good film.

As a credit to what a fine actor he is Johnny Depp manages to outshine everyone else even though this is an ensemble cast. He is unrecognizable as Barnabas, a role he seems to totally lap up. Eva Green gets the chance to announce herself as the ‘baddie’ but so many of the rest of the cast, such as Chloe Grace Moretz, really aren’t given enough screen time to allow them to shine. You especially feel sorry for poor Bella Heathcote who does nothing wrong but at times it feels like her character has been forgotten about by the script. Let’s hope that if a sequel gets made some of the other characters get a look in as well.

As far as a good mix of horror and comedy goes Dark Shadows works absolute wonders and is a joy to watch. Dark Shadows is a lot better than its trailer suggest and really does deserve to be seen on the big screen.

 

Stars(3.5)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3)

IMDB Rating:  Dark Shadows (2012) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Dark Shadows′: Nil.

Trailer:

Summary: With the help of a courageous fellowship of friends and allies Frodo embarks on a perilous mission to destroy the legendary One Ring. Hunting Frodo are servants of the Dark Lord, Sauron, the Ring’s evil creator. Of Sauron reclaims the Ring, Middle-earth is doomed.

Year: 2001

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2001

Australian DVD Release Date: 15th April 2010 (new version)

Country: New Zealand/United States

Director: Peter Jackson

Screenwriter: Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, J.R.R. Tolkein (novel)

Cast: Noel Appleby (Everard Proudfoot), Sean Astin (Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee), Sala Baker (Sauron), Sean Bean (Boromir),Jorn Benzon (Rumil),  Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Orlando Bloom (Legolas Greenleaf), Billy Boyd (Peregrin ‘Pippin’ Took), Marton Csokas (Celebron), Megan Edwards (Mrs. Proudfoot), Mark Ferguson (Gil-Galad), Ian Holm (Bilbo Baggins), Alan Howard (The Ring (voice)), Peter Jackson (Albert Dreary), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Lawrence Makoare (Lurtz), Ian McKellan (Gandalf The Grey), Peter McKenzie (Elendil), Sarah McLeod (Rose ‘Rosie’ Cotton), Dominic Monaghan (Meriadoc ‘Merry’ Brandybuck), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Ian Mune (Bounder), Craig Parker (Haldir), Cameron Rhodes (Farmer Maggot), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli), Andy Serkis (Gollum/Witch King), Harry Sinclair (Isildur), Liv Tyler (Arwen), David Weatherley (Barliman Butterbur), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Elijah Wood (Frodo Baggins)

Runtime: 178 mins

Classification: M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ Review:

Originally appeared on www.helium.com.

For science fiction fans ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ was the beginning of an epic journey, for film fans this was the beginning of a franchise that would change the cinema world forever. Many doubted that director, Peter Jackson would ever be able to bring the classic work of J.R.R. Tolkein to the big screen, but he did it and created history along the way.

‘The Fellowship Of The Ring’ is the first film in ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ series at sees aging wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) realise that the power of a very special ring is starting to get the best of a curious hobbit called Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm).

Gandalf asks young hobbit, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) to look after the ring but when it is soon realised that the evil Saruman (Christopher Lee) is raising up the dark forces and is desperate to gain the ring Gandalf instead decides that it is time for Frodo to go and destroy the ring in the fires of Mordor.

Soon Frodo is joined by the likes of Samwise Gangee (Sean Astin), Peregin Took (Billy Boyd) and Meriadoc Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan) on a journey where they need others including Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Legolas Greenleaf (Orlando Bloom) to protect them. But with danger at every corner and never knowing who to trust this is never going to be an easy journey.

Peter Jackson draws in the audience from the very beginning. Normally in a franchise you would never expect a main character to die in the first film, but Jackson shows very early on that that isn’t the case with ‘The Lord Of The Rings’. Both Frodo and Gandalf’s lives are put at risk on a number of occasions and as a result you are kept on the edge of your seat.

Jackson also captures the landscape of New Zealand remarkably well and despite this largely being an action film you can’t help but marvel at the beauty of the film. He also uses that same creative eye when creating some of the ‘creatures’ that appear on screen and despite a couple of dodgy moments it is easy to see why this film was ahead of its time when it comes to special effects.

Despite being such a monumental however ‘The Fellowship Of The Ring’ does have its downfalls at times. With so many characters being introduced in this the first film it is at times difficult to keep track of who-is-who and it is a little disappointing that you don’t get to learn a little more about important characters such as Aragorn and Legolas. It’s hard to care for them during battle scenes when you haven’t really been told that much about them.

‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ is an epic movie of every scale but it is a film that Peter Jackson should be extremely proud of it as it was a fantastic way to kick off this series of films, and despite being the first of a trilogy the audience certainly doesn’t feel like they haven’t been taken on a journey by the time the final credits roll.

Other ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ Reviews By Dave Griffiths: Nil

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IMDB Rating: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) on IMDb

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