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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Saturday, December 22, 2007


In this adaptation of the classic musical, Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp) is a barber who is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. After his release years later, Sweeney opens up a new shop and plots revenge against the judge (Alan Rickman) who sent him behind bars. But, before he does, he practices his knife skills on unsuspecting customers who have their necks cut along with their hair. The bodies of his victims then fall into the possession of Sweeney's girlfriend, Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), who carves them into delicious meat pies that become the talk of the town.

Cast Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Jamie

Campbell Bower, Jayne Wisener (more)

Director(s) Tim Burton

Writer(s) John Logan

Status In theaters (wide)

Genre(s) Musical

Release Date Dec. 21, 2007

Running Time 116 minutes

MPAA Rating R - for graphic bloody violence


Sweeny Todd is a Burton film through and through and I can't really imagine anyone else capturing the feel of the stage musical as well as him. Visually, it's a stunning world Burton has created devoid of life, color and happiness. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter performances, in their gothic apparel and cadaver like make up, is truly a spectacle to behold. While it's apparent both aren't professional singers, they can sing and sing they do. Both have interesting voices that have very specific tenors to them and they fit perfectly for the respective characters. Bonham-Carter in particular is wonderful and when she and Depp exchange lyrical strings it pure glory. Johnny Depp's take on Todd is wonderful as well, giving him a very single minded yet desolate existence. There is never a sliver of happiness in his face, only pain. Sasha Baron Cohen impresses in his limited role as well, belting out a song that surprised me. Those expecting to find a light fun musical here will be severely disappointed. This film is dark gory and melancholy. It's exactly the kind of film you wouldn't expect a big studio produce with big name actors and release during the holidays. Burton doesn't hold back on musicals gore and here you will get plenty of springing fountains of blood on screen. In truth, it is like a slasher film with musical numbers and it's a wonderfully macabre experience.



Based on a true story (and a book by George Crile), Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks)

was a very real congressman from Texas who engineered the arming of the mujahideen in Afghanistan who were waging a long war with the Soviets during the 1980s. Assisting Wilson was a CIA operative (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who operated outside the agency, and while they believed they were doing the right thing, they ended up arming the men who would one day house Osama bin Laden.

Cast Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Ned Beatty (more)

Director(s) Mike Nichols

Writer(s) Aaron Sorkin

Status In theaters (wide)

Release Date Dec. 21, 2007

Running Time 97 minutes

MPAA Rating R - for strong language, nudity/sexual content and some drug use


Charlie Wilson's War is the kind of smart well acted films you wish were made more often. Adapted for the screen by Aaron Sorkin, it posses a wonderful wit and underpinning irony throughout. Mike Nichols has crafted an engaging drama that rarely insults the audience's intellect. Tom Hanks turns in a solid turn here and eh seems to really enjoy himself as Charlie Wilson. Tom Hanks make Wilson's unbridled charisma come through onscreen and makes the entire proceedings believable as result. Tom Hanks being good is no surprise and Philip Seymour Hoffman delivering another knockout performance isn't either. Every time he's screen he just infuses the screen with more relevance and make everything seem more important somehow. When both throw verbal barbs back and forth at each other, it as entertaining as dialogue can get on screen. Julia Roberts isn't quite up to task with her male counter parts, she's not bad by any respect but she plays her character a bit too stereotypical for my taste. While this film is mostly enjoyable it does have some issues. While the script is quite smart there are moments where it feels the need to state the obvious. In particular the ending does kind of knock you over the head with the films stance when it wasn't needed. Still, it's an entirely enjoyable adult dramady that sure to not disappoint.



This fake biopic follows Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly), who struggles to become a major recording star.

Cast John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Tim Meadows, Kristen Wiig (more)

Director(s) Jake Kasdan

Writer(s) Jake Kasdan, Judd Apatow

Status In theaters (wide)

Genre(s) Comedy

Release Date Dec. 21, 2007

Running Time 96 minutes

MPAA Rating R - for sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language


Walk Hard misses the mark from being truly classic but it does have some excellent moments throughout, in particular the musical numbers. Using Walk the Line as the main template, this film does a good job of poking fun at the musical bio pics. It covers every possible cliché you can think of. John C. Reilly is great here and continues to show that he as solid an actor as they come. His comfort level with singing is readily apparent and the songs are the best part of the film. The songs are excellent satires of pretty much every genre of music throughout the last 50 years. Jenna Fischer is luminous and does a great job in the faux June Carter Cash role. Kristen Wiig is also provides some great moments as Cox's first wife. While the players provide some solid performances the movie does falter on occasion. At times it starts to feel like an SNL skit that been drug out and some of the moments feel more like something out of the Scary Movie franchise than anything else. That being said Reilly all in performance is worth a look and sure to provide more than a few laughs.


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