Tagged: Eva Green

 

Poised to thrill audiences around the nation, the Alliance Française French Film Festival has today unveiled the full line-up for its eagerly anticipated 31st season at www.affrenchfilmfestival.org

Spreading its cinematic stardust across 8 cities and 4 satellite locations, the Festival, which is proudly presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, Unifrance Films and screening partner, Palace Cinemas, will commence its national tour from 10 March until 19 April and is set to thrill audiences with a stupendous selection of 49 contemporary and classic French films, many enjoying their Australian premiere.

 We’re also delighted to announce that dynamic filmmaker, Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders, Macbeth, True History of the Kelly Gang), who has long taken inspiration from French cinema, will be the 2020 Festival Patron.

 Additionally, acclaimed director/actor, Zabou Breitman, whose lyrical, animated drama, The Swallows of Kabul (Les hirondelles de Kaboul), has won plaudits from critics and audiences alike on the international film festival circuit, will be visiting Melbourne to introduce a screening of this, her latest feature, which she directed with Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec. This special Festival event is slated for the evening of Tuesday 17 March at Palace Cinema Como, and will be followed by a filmmaker Q&A.

 On a more sombre note, this year has already experienced horrific bushfires ravaging our land and robbing so many of their lives and homes.  The Alliance Française, and venue partners thereby invite you to join us in helping those impacted by this tragedy by supporting special previews of How to Be a Good Wife and In the Name of the Land (both screening courtesy of Palace Films) to be held in all capital cities on 9th and 10th of March.  100% of tickets sales for these sessions will be donated to the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Appeal and Rural and Remote Mental Health.

And in celebration of mankind’s great capacity for kindness and compassion – which often comes to the fore in times of crisis – the Festival will launch the 2020 season with The Extraordinary (Hors normes)one of the most gloriously uplifting films to emerge from France in recent years, which will screen courtesy of Madman Entertainment.

 The latest feature from renowned filmmakers Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano (who delighted with The Intouchables and C’est la vie!), The Extraordinary is inspired by a true story and was honoured as the Closing Night Feature at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. For twenty years, Bruno (Vincent Cassel) and Malik (Reda Kateb) have run two separate non-profit organizations where they train young people from underprivileged areas to be caregivers for autistic youth abandoned by the state system. But the authorities, concerned that they’ve never sought certification and that many of their carers aren’t ‘officially’ qualified, decide to mount an investigation.

 The result of two years’ immersion in the lives of the two associations, The Extraordinary is a crowd-pleasing charmer, which will have viewers experiencing a gamut of emotions as they fall in love with a host of extraordinary characters in exceptional circumstances.  It’s a testimony to the great things that can be achieved when people support one another in the face of adversity.

 And concluding the 2020 season, on a deliciously whimsical note, will be The Bare Necessity (Perdrix)the directorial debut of Erwan Le Duc, starring Swann Arlaud, Maud Wyler, Fanny Ardant and Nicolas Maury.  Set within a tiny town nestled in the woody mountains of Vosges, this sweetheart of a movie, which delighted hardened cynics when it premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2019, looks at the romantic mayhem that ensues when an enigmatic young woman forces a stagnant family to re-define their boundaries and begin to truly live.

 With so many highlights bursting from this year’s programme, it’s impossible to list every film, but read on for some of the delights to be savoured:

 

A FRIENDLY TALE (Le Bonheur des uns)

Director:  Daniel Cohen                                                        

Cast:  François Damiens, Vincent Cassel, Bérénice Bejo

In this delicious tale of tested loyalties, the close friendship of two long-time couples is put at risk when one of the two wives unexpectedly becomes a best-selling author, upsetting the intricate balance of this formerly close-knit quartet.

 

AZNAVOUR BY CHARLES (Le regard de Charles)

A Film by Charles Aznavour, Directed by Marc di Domenico                                                                 

Narrator: Romain Duris

Crooner, Charles Aznavour, beguiled his legions of fans with a dream of romance.  But his life beyond music was even more extraordinary.  An actor, political activist, diplomat and filmmaker, this enthralling documentary, with rare footage, reveals a complicated, multi-talented man who entertained for the greater part of a century.

 

DEERSKIN (Le daim)

Director:  Quentin Dupieux                                                                 

Cast:  Jean Dujardin, Adèle Haenel, Albert Delpy

With his life in disarray, Georges might not be able to control his circumstances but he can control his wardrobe.  Believing that the deerskin jacket of his dreams is the answer to all of his problems, Georges’ delusions gradually increase each time he wears it, edging his obsession closer to a violent delirium.

 

EDMOND

Director: Alexis Michalik                   

Cast: Thomas Solivérès, Olivier Gourmet, Mathilde Seigner, Dominique Pinon

Paris, 1897. Although not yet thirty and clearly gifted as a writer, Edmond Rostand already has two children, many anxieties, but scant literary success.  When given three weeks to write a play for a mercurial star of the stage, all he has is the title, Cyrano de Bergerac.  Can he accomplish the impossible?

 

FAREWELL TO THE NIGHT (L’adieu à la nuit)

Director: André Téchiné                                                                            

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Kacey Mottet Klein

Muriel, a respected member of her idyllic local community, is horrified to discover that her visiting grandson, who claims to be heading to Canada for work, has in reality been radicalised by Islamist extremists.  His plans to fight for ISIS in Syria expose this ordinary woman to a moral dilemma of heart-breaking proportions.

 

HOUSE OF CARDIN

Directors: P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes

Synonymous with glamour, refinement and sophistication, this documentary provides a rare glimpse into the world of a 20th century icon. Allowing unprecedented access to his personal archives, we follow Cardin from his birth in the Italian countryside circa 1922, to his move to France where he made his name in fashion.

 

HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE (La bonne épouse)

Director: Martin Provost                             

Cast: Juliette Binoche, Yolande Moreau, Noémie Lvovsky, Edouard Baer

In 1968 amidst the lush regions of Alsace, the head of a housekeeping school that transforms teenage girls into ideal housewives, has her pristine life implode when she encounters her long-lost first love whilst simultaneously learning that her business is on the brink of financial ruin.

 

IN THE NAME OF THE LAND (Au nom de la terre)

Director:  Edouard Bergeon                                                     

Cast: Guillaume Canet, Veerle Baetens, Anthony Bajon

Returning to France in the late 70s, Pierre marries his sweetheart and takes over his father’s farm.  But twenty years onwards, Pierre is exhausted.  With mounting debt, what was once satisfying begins to take an insidious toll on his family who risk being torn apart by the property that binds them, in this powerful tale of resilience.

 

LA BELLE ÉPOQUE

Director: Nicolas Bedos                                                                    

Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Guillaume Canet, Doria Tiller

Disillusioned, his long-term marriage on the rocks, a man is given a second chance when he encounters a company offering a unique theatrical service that enables customers to revisit memories through carefully orchestrated re-enactments, thus allowing him to return to 1974 and the peak of his happiness.

 

THE LOST PRINCE (Le prince oublié)

Director: Michel Hazanavicius                                                           

Cast: Omar Sy, Bérénice Bejo, François Damiens

Djibi, a devoted single father, transforms into a heroic Prince in the nightly fairy-tales he tells his beloved 7 year-old daughter, Sofia. But as the years pass, Sofia is ready for her own stories with different heroes.  But is the Prince ready to become just a memory of his daughter’s childhood?

 

LOVE AT SECOND SIGHT (Mon inconnue)

Director: Hugo Gélin                                                                         

Cast: François Civil, Joséphine Japy, Benjamin Lavernhe

After waking in a parallel universe, Raphaël finds his wife, Olivia, is nowhere to be seen and his professional achievements have vanished.  Without Olivia, his life is empty, but winning her back proves harder than he could have imagined – especially when he realises she doesn’t even know who he is!

 

MY DOG STUPID (Mon chien Stupide)

Director: Yvan Attal                                                                             

Cast: Yvan Attal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Eric Ruf

Henri, a writer in the depths of a mid-life crisis who hasn’t released a successful book in 25 years, strikes-up an unconventional friendship with a stray, bad-mannered dog who inspires him and his dysfunctional family to re-examine their lives and attitudes towards each other.

 

THE MYSTERY OF HENRI PICK (Le mystère Henri Pick)

Director: Rémi Bezançon                                                                                 

Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Camille Cottin, Alice Isaaz

The late Henry Pick, in life an unassuming Breton pizza marker, is celebrated as a brilliant author when a lost manuscript, attributed to him, becomes a literary success.  But one outspoken intellectual thinks the whole thing is a sham, and, after losing his wife, his job and his prominence due to his opinion, decides to uncover the truth.

 

ONLY THE ANIMALS (Seules les bêtes)

Director: Dominik Moll                                                             

Cast: Denis Ménochet, Laure Calamy, Damien Bonnard

Set in an isolated town in the lush, wintery mountains of southern France, the film opens with the departure of Evelyne, a local woman whose disappearance during a snowstorm soon reveals itself as murder. This act of violence gradually unveils the hidden agendas of several locals, setting the unexpected into motion.

 

PROXIMA

Director: Alice Winocour                                                              

Cast: Eva Green, Zélie Boulant- Lemesle, Matt Dillon

As the only woman in the European Space Agency astronaut-training program, single mother Sarah struggles with guilt over the limited time spent with her young daughter, which escalates when she’s invited upon a year-long space mission – Proxima – forcing her to choose between her work and her child.

 

ROOM 212 (Chambre 212)

Director: Christophe Honoré                                           

Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Benjamin Biolay, Vincent Lacoste

After Maria reveals a long history of affairs to her husband, she opts to spend the night at a hotel opposite their home. But this is a “magical night”, and it’s not long before time collapses upon itself opening a window into the past where young passions are revisited and the very concept of love, questioned.

 

SIBYL

Director: Justine Triet                                                           

Cast: Virginie Efira, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Gaspard Ulliel

Dissatisfied with her life, Sibyl, a psychiatrist, decides to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.  Casting professional ethics aside, she secretly uses the private sessions of her actress patient, Margot, as inspiration for her novel, a decision that irreversibly impacts upon both their lives.

 

SPREAD YOUR WNGS (Donne-moi des ailes)

Director: Nicolas Vanier                                                          

Cast: Jean-Paul Rouve, Mélanie Doutey, Louis Vazquez

Christian, a visionary scientist, studies wild birds. For his son, a teenager obsessed with video games, the idea of spending a vacation with his father in the middle of nature is a nightmare. However, father and son soon bond over a daring project to save an endangered species, which takes them on an incredible journey.

 

THE SWALLOWS OF KABUL (Les hirondelles de Kaboul)

Directors: Zabou Breitman, Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec                        

Voice: Simon Abkarian, Zita Hanrot, Swann Arlaud

Based on the cherished novel of the same name, this critically acclaimed, animated drama follows two couples living in the Afghan capital during the 90s and the impact Taliban rule has on each relationship. Through their individual love stories, unforgettable characters emerge amid the devastating impact of armed combat.

 

THE TRANSLATORS (Les traducteurs)

Director: Régis Roinsard                                                 

Cast: Lambert Wilson, Olga Kurylenko, Riccardo Scamarcio

Nine language experts, hired to translate the final book of a bestselling trilogy, are in lockdown within a luxurious bunker. But when the top-secret manuscript’s first ten pages appear online, their dream job implodes.  The culprit has to amongst them and the publisher is ready to do whatever it takes to unmask who it is.

 

TWO OF US (Deux)

Director: Filippo Meneghetti                                                    

Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, Léa Drucker

In this emotionally compelling tale, pensioners Nina and Madeleine have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is tested when circumstances trigger a series of events, preventing them from moving freely between each other’s apartments.

 

VERNON SUBUTEX

Director: Cathy Verney                                

Cast: Romain Duris, Céline Sallette, Florence Thomassin, Julie Fournier

When Vernon Subutex, an unemployed former owner of a once legendary record shop, is evicted from his flat, he’s helped by old friend rock star Alex Bleach. But Bleach’s sudden death makes Vernon a deadly target when it’s discovered that he’s in possession of 3 mysterious videotapes owned by Bleach.

 

WE’LL END UP TOGETHER (Nous finirons ensemble)

Director: Guillaume Canet                         

 Cast: François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Gilles Lellouche, Laurent Lafitte

About to turn 60, nearly broke and estranged from his former friends, restaurateur Max embraces solitude at his soon-to-be-sold beach house.  So when his ex-buddies arrive for a surprise celebration, he turns them away. But this cannot be – something has to be done! The sequel to 2010’s star-studded comedy, LITTLE WHITE LIES.

 

ZOMBI CHILD

Director: Bertrand Bonello                            

Cast: Louise Labèque, Wislanda Louimat, Adilé David, Ninon François

Haiti, 1962…A man is resurrected from the dead and trapped in a nightmare of slavery. Modern-day Paris…Haitian teen Mélissa, the new girl at an elite school, is invited to join a secret ‘literary sorority’.  But the incendiary family secret she harbours becomes a source of fascination to others, who exploit her heritage with shocking results.

 

National dates and venues for the 2020 Alliance Française French Film Festival are:

     

SYDNEY:

 

10 March – 8 April

 

Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema, Palace Central & Hayden Orpheum Cremorne      

MELBOURNE:

 

11 March – 8 April

 

Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema             Como, Palace Westgarth, Kino Cinemas & The Astor Theatre

PERTH:

 

11 March – 8 April

 

Palace Raine Square, Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX,

Windsor Cinema & Camelot Outdoor Cinema

CANBERRA:

12 March – 8 April

Palace Electric Cinema

ADELAIDE:

17 March -14 April

Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinema

BRISBANE:

18 March -14 April

Palace Barracks & Palace James Street

HOBART:

19 – 28 March

State Cinema

AVOCA BEACH:

19 March – 1 April

Avoca Beach Picture Theatre

PARRAMATTA:

26 – 29 March

Riverside Theatres Parramatta

BYRON BAY:

31 March – 12 April

Palace Byron Bay

BENDIGO:

17 – 19 April

Star Cinema

BALLARAT:

17 -19 April

Regent Cinemas

From the creative minds of Disney and Tim Burton (Franenweenie, Sweeney Todd) comes a brand new adaption of the classic film Dumbo. Now members of the cast – Danny DeVito (Batman Begins, The War Of The Roses), Eva Green (Kingdom Of Heaven, Casino Royale), Michael Keaton (Batman, Beetlejuice) and Colin Farrell (In Bruges, S.W.A.T.) take us behind the scenes to show us what to expect.

Emilia Clarke 2

We take a look at who were the most popular stars online this week.

  1. Emilia Clarke
  2. Bryce Dallas Howard
  3. Amanda Peterson
  4. Chris Pratt
  5. Tom Hardy
  6. Eva Green
  7. Margot Robbie
  8. Joe Manganiello
  9. Rachel McAdams
  10. Taryn Manning
  11. Arnold Schwarzeneggar
  12. Jai Courtney
  13. Channing Tatum
  14. Taylor Kitsch
  15. Shailene Woodley
  16. Amber Heard Depp
  17. Alexandra Daddario
  18. Jennifer Lawrence
  19. Britt Robertson
  20. Sofia Vergara
  21. Scott Eastwood
  22. Bella Thorne
  23. Matt Bomer
  24. Omar Sharif
  25. Cara Delevingne

Dakota Johnson

We take a look at who were the most popular stars online this week.

 

  1. Dakota Johnson
  2. Amber Heard
  3. Jamie Dornan
  4. Margot Robbie
  5. Rosamund Pike
  6. Mila Kunis
  7. Chloe Grace Moretz
  8. Shailene Woodley
  9. Chris Pratt
  10. Gemma Arterton
  11. Emilia Clarke
  12. Emma Watson
  13. Emma Stone
  14. Channing Tatum
  15. Felicity Jones
  16. Tom Hardy
  17. Eddie Redmayne
  18. Jennifer Lawrence
  19. Lizzy Caplan
  20. Bridget Regan
  21. Bradley Cooper
  22. Scarlett Johansson
  23. Sienna Miller
  24. Tiffani Thiessen
  25. Eva Green

Rosamund Pike

We take a look at who were the most popular stars online this week.

 

  1. Rosamund Pike
  2. Sienna Miller
  3. Bradley Cooper
  4. Chloe Grace Moretz
  5. Jamie Dornan
  6. Shailene Woodley
  7. Dakota Johnson
  8. Margot Robbie
  9. Tom Hardy
  10. Jennifer Lawrence
  11. Jennifer Aniston
  12. Benedict Cumberbatch
  13. Ryan Guzman
  14. Johnny Depp
  15. Emma Stone
  16. Hayley Atwell
  17. Oliva Munn
  18. Scarlett Johansson
  19. Eddie Redmayne
  20. Anna Kendrick
  21. Lee Pace
  22. Eva Green
  23. Morena Baccarin
  24. Chris Pratt
  25. Leonardo DiCaprio

The Interview

We take a look at the most popular movies and TV shows searched for the internet over the past week.

  1. The Interview (2014) – James Franco, Seth Rogen, Randall Park, Lizzy Caplan
  2. Into The Woods (2014) – Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt
  3. The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies (2014) – Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett
  4. Unbroken (2014) – Jack O’Connell, Takamasa Ishihara, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlung
  5. Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014) – Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana
  6. Gone Girl (2014) – Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry
  7. American Sniper (2014) – Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner, Cole Konis
  8. Game Of Thrones (2011) – Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Maisie Wiliams, Emilia Clarke
  9. Exodus: Gods & Kings (2014) – Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, Sigourney Weaver
  10. Interstellar (2014) – Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy
  11. The Imitation Game (2014) – Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech
  12. American Horror Story (2011) – Evan Peters, Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy
  13. The Equalizer (2014) – Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloe Grace Moretz, David Harbour
  14. Cinderella (2015) – Lily James, Helena Bonham Carter, Hayley Atwell, Cate Blanchett
  15. The Walking Dead (2010) – Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Steven Yuen
  16. The Drop (2014) – Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts
  17. Foxcatcher (2014) – Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave
  18. Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015) – Robert Downey Jnr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth
  19. Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (2014): Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Own Wilson, Dick Van Dyke
  20. Marco Polo (2014) – Lorenzo Richelmy, Benedict Wong, Joan Chen, Remy Hii
  21. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014) – Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson
  22. The Maze Runner (2014) – Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
  23. Penny Dreadful (2014) – Josh Harnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Simon Russell Beale
  24. Arrow (2012) – Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Susanna Thompson
  25. Annie (2014) – Quvenzhane Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne

Lee Pace

We take a look at the most popular stars on the net this week.

  1. Lee Pace
  2. Chloe Grace Moretz
  3. Shailene Woodley
  4. Lizzy Caplan
  5. Jennifer Lawrence
  6. Margot Robbie
  7. Rosamund Pike
  8. Tom Hardy
  9. Lily James
  10. Evangeline Lilly
  11. Chris Pratt
  12. Edward Herrmann
  13. Eva Green
  14. Emma Watson
  15. Anna Kendrick
  16. Karen Gillan
  17. Scarlett Johansson
  18. Richard Armitage
  19. Benedict Cumberbatch
  20. Alison Brie
  21. Naomi Grossman
  22. Scott Eastwood
  23. Emily Blunt
  24. Theo James
  25. Jack O’Connell

Sin City; A Dame To Kill For

Subculture Entertainment and Icon Distribution are happy to announce that we are giving you a chance to win some double passes to see Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. We have five double passes to giveaway so for you chance to win them just make sure you listen to the latest episode of The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show.

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For will be released in Australia on the 18th September, 2014. It is directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez and stars Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis and Eva Green.

Whatever you do make sure you don’t miss our Sin City: A Dame To Kill For competition.

The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show

This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Nick, Adam, Dave and Greg take a look at new release films ‘Tracks’, ‘Vampire Academy’ and ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’. This episode also features interviews with Zack Snyder and Eva Green.

Also make sure you check out the great new Cultastrophe competition thanks to Cinema Nova and also listen for your chance to win a copy of The Turning on DVD or Blu-Ray thanks to Madman.

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

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: