Monthly Archives: September 2012

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



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

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.



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

IMDB Rating:  Dark Shadows (2012) on IMDb

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


You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet

Summary: Featuring an all-star French cast including Sabine Azéma, Pierre Arditi, Michel Piccoli, Lambert Wilson, Anne Consigny, Mathieu Amalric and Hippolyte Girardot as themselves, the performers are summoned to the home of a recently deceased playwright friend. Shown a video of drama students rehearsing the dead writer’s retelling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, the actors find themselves drawn into proceedings by first repeating the lines and eventually being compelled to act out the parts together.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 13th June, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: Nil

Country: France, Germany

Director: Alain Resnais

Screenwriter: Alain Resnais, Laurent Herbiet, Jean Anouilh (play)

Cast: Mathieu Amalric (himself/M. Henri), Pierre Arditi (himself), Sabine Azema (herself), Jean-Noel Broute (himself/Mathias), Anne Consigny (herself), Vladimir Consigny (Mathias), Sylvain Dieuaide (Orphee), Anny Duperey (herself), Jean-Christophe Folly (Monsieur Henri), Hippolyte Giradot (himself/Dulac), Gerard Lartigau (himself), Laurent Menoret (Vincent), Michel Piccoli (himself), Denis Podalydes (Antoine d’Anthac), Vinmala Pons (Eurydice), Michel Robin (himself), Andrzej Seweryn (Marcellin), Jean-Chretien Sibertin-Blanc (himself), Michael Vuillermoz (himself/Vincent), Lambert Wilson (himself),

Runtime: 110 mins



There are no reviews available for this title.

IMDB Rating: You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet (2012) on IMDb



In The House

Summary: Bored high school teacher Germain (Fabrice Luchini) continually complains to his wife (Kristen Scott Thomas) about the declining quality of student writing until the work of sixteen-year-old Claude reignites his interest. Detailing his friendship with fellow classmate Rapha, Claude writes of his growing obsession with his friend’s attractive mother. Uncertain whether it is fact or fiction, Germain’s critique influences the direction of Claude’s story until the teacher’s interest becomes as questionable as the one between Claude and Rapha’s mother.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 27th June, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: France

Director: Francois Ozon

Screenwriter: Francois Ozon, Juan Mayorga (play)

Cast: Catherine Davenier (Anouk), Fabrice Luchini (Germain), Denis Menohet (Rapha Artole), Emmanuelle Seigner (Esther Artole), Kristin Scott Thomas (Jeanne Germain), Bastien Ughetto (Rapha Artole), Ernst Umhauer (Claude Garcia)

Runtime: 103 mins



David Griffiths: Stars(4)

Please check Dave’s review of ‘In The House’ that is available on The Helium Entertainment Channel

Greg King: Stars(3.5)

Please check Greg’s review of ‘In The House’ that is available on

Nick Gardener: Stars(3.5)

Please check Nick’s review of ‘In The House’ that is available on the Episode #38 of The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3.5)

IMDB Rating: In the House (2012) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘In The House′: Please check Episode #38 of The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show for more reviews of ‘In The House’.


Monsier Lazhar

Summary: In Montreal, a Year 6 class is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of their beloved teacher, Martine. Having learned of the incident in the newspaper, Bachir Lazhar, a 55 year-old Algerian immigrant, makes his way to the school and offers his services as a substitute teacher. Little by little, Lazhar comes to understand this motley but endearing group, among whom are Alice and Simon, two charismatic pupils particularly affected by their teachers passing. Yet while the class begins to heal, nobody in the school is aware of Lazhars painful past. Nominated for an Oscar in 2012 and from the producers of the award winning INCENDIES, MONSIEUR LAZHAR is a profoundly moving story about a group of young schoolchildren coming to terms with the adult world before their time, and the inspirational educator who transforms their lives.

Year: 2012

Australian Cinema Release Date: 6th September, 2012

Australian DVD Release Date: 20th February, 2013

Country: Canada

Director: Philippe Falardeau

Screenwriter: Philippe Falardeau

Cast: Marie-Eve Beauregard (Marie-Frederique), Seddik Benslimarie (Abdelmalek), Mohamed Fellag (Bachir Lazhar), Daniel Gadouas (Mr. Gilbert Danis), Helena Laliberte (Martine Lacchance), Louis-David Leblanc (Boris), Vincent Millard (Victor), Sophie Nelisse (Alice L’Ecuyer), Emilieri Neron (Simon), Jules Philip (Gaston), Brigitte Poupart (Claire), Danielle Proulx (Mrs. Vaillancourt), Francine Ruel (Mrs. Dumas), Sophie Sanscartier (Audree), Marianne Soucy-Lord (Shanel), Gabriel Verdier (Jordan)

Runtime: 94 mins


Dave Griffiths’s ‘Monsieur Lazhar’ Review: 

If Monsieur Lazhar were an American film it’s the kind of film that Robin Williams (Happy Feet Two, Old Dogs) would be falling over himself to land the lead role. This is a hart-warming film that touches on some deep topics, it will make you cry but it will also restore your faith in the fact that modern cinema can still make real films with heart.

The film follows the events that occur after a popular teacher hangs herself in the classroom of her Montreal school after suffering from ‘personal problems’. Her hanging corpse is discovered by one of her students, Simon (Emilien Neron – Un Teur Si Proche) and also seen by another, Alice (Sophie Nelisse – newcomer).

With the school in crisis, the headmistress Ms. Vaillancourt (Danielle Proulx – Reste Avec Moi, TV’S Lance et compte: Le grand duel) is desperate to find a teacher for the upset class. In steps Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag – Je Vous Ai Compris, Zarafa) who announces himself as a teacher from Algeria. What he chooses to leave out is the fact that he is a refugee looking for asylum in Canada after the murder of his family back in Algeria. While he fights for the right to stay in Canada he finds himself trying to bond with a group of students who are still unsure of why their beloved teacher took her life.

Diector/screenwriter, Philippe Falardeau (It’s Not Me I Swear, Congorama) proves with Monseur Lazhar that if you have a good script to begin with that normally the film is going to turn out looking amazing. This is the kind of film that captivates the audience from start to finish. Falardeau not only allows the film to concentrate on how the children deal with their teacher’s death but also raises some pretty intense suspension about Lazhar himself.

It is obvious that Falardeau wants the audience to ask questions, and to be a little uneasy at times. He sets Lazhar up as a likeable character but when some secrets about him are unearthed you begin to wonder whether or not he has some sinister plans behind him. This suspision and the fact that the character of Simon seems to be falling apart right in front of the audience’s eyes soon has the film dipping out of the drama genre and becoming a really involving thriller.

The power of the film does come from strength of Falardeau’s writing but a lot of credit must also be paid to the cast. Mohamed Fellag puts in an award-winning performance in the title role and he is well supported by relative newcomers Emilien Neron and Sophie Nelisse who show the world that they are some of the most talented child actors going around. Both of them put in performances well and truly above their age.

Monseur Lazhar is a very special film indeed. This well written gem is one of the best films to surface in 2012, a must see for those who love good cinema.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Monsieur Lazhar′: Dave’s other review of ‘Monsieur Lazhar’ can be found on the Helium Entertainment Channel

Rating: 5/5

IMDB Rating: Monsieur Lazhar (2011) on IMDb