“Peeps’ Movie Review”: “Dark Shadows”, “Jitters”, “50/50”, & “American Translation”

I’ve been rather busy lately, but we have been able to get a few movies in, so I’ll share my reviews of a new to theaters movie, one that’s now out on DVD, and two more that are less mainstream.

 

“DARK SHADOWS”

Back on March 17th, I blogged that as a child, when my sister and I would not take a nap, our mother would threaten to make us watch“Dark Shadows”, the daytime ABC gothic soap featured vampire Barnabas Collins, werewolves, witches, warlocks, ghosts, time travel, and parallel universes. The show ran from 1966-1971 for 1,225 episodes.  As a 5-year-old, that was some scary stuff.

When I heard that there was going to be a movie made based on the series, I was excited.

However, two months ago, when I saw the trailer for the movie that hit theaters yesterday, I wasn’t as thrilled.  Here’s what I blogged back in March, “I have to admit that the movie looks funny.  However, “Dark Shadows” to me is, well, dark!  I’m not sure I want a 2012 re-interpretation of a show that I feared, and secretly loved, as a child to be a comedy to make me laugh.”

I changed my mind and Ray and I went to see it Friday (and my friend, Kaye, was sitting right behind and I didn’t even know it until the movie was over.)

This time, Barnabas Collins, is played by Johnny Depp.  Although I did watch him on “21 Jump Street” when I was much younger and I did see him in “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Edward Scissorhands”, I’ve never seen another Johnny Depp movie, except for “Rango” and I won’t even comment on that one.

I was mesmerized by Depp!  Every line was delicately acted.  And, since it was a Tim Burton movie, it was creepy.  Although it had some very funny lines and scenes, it was scary.  I mean, really, he came back into the world in 1972.  Those were some scary times!

Along with Depp, the movie starred Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonhan Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Eva Green.

Pfeiffer was stunning, as always, and Chloe Grace Moretz (“Let Me In”) was so much fun to watch as a teenage vixen.  But, the show stealer was Eva Green, the villain in the movie.  She was incredible.

Now, after seeing Depp as Barnabas Collins, I can’t wait to see him in “Sleepy Hollow”, “Sweeney Todd:  The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”, and “Alice in Wonderland”.  However, I still have no desire to see the “Pirates” series.

Warning:  While the trailer plays the movie off as a comedy, it’s funny.  But, it is very dark, too!

GRADE:  B+

 

“JITTERS”

This 2010 Icelandic coming-of-age drama is relatively new to DVD.

While virtually unknown here in the United States, the movie was nominated for 8 Edda Awards, which is basically equivalent to the a combination of our Oscar and Golden Globe awards, since it’s for movie and television.

The foreign film (in English and Icelandic) focuses on 16-year-old Gabríel and his friends in Iceland.

Gabriel visits Britain for a week to improve his English skills, where he meets Markús, a fellow student who’s more outgoing and likes to party.

After going out together to drink, they sit under a tree and talk about what they want in life when they return to Iceland.  There’s a moment of awkward silence and the boys share a kiss. The next day, they head back home and go their separate ways.

In Iceland, we get to meet more of Gabríel’s friends and realize that all teenagers have issues they have to deal with, gay or straight, when hormones are racing and their families are always on their backs.

The movie is a sweet little drama and it’s interesting to see how many of the girls are desiring Gabriel, yet he sees himself as their best friend.  All the time, he can’t stop thinking of Markús.

Relationships and friendship are formed and a death brings the group closer.

I wish more American movies were as stimulating as this movie.  And, there were no superheroes and this wasn’t a sequel.

GRADE: A-

 

“50/50”

This dramedy from last year stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen.   The $8 million movie ended up grossing $39.1 million and ended up on many top ten best of lists at the end of 2011.

While I liked the movie, it wasn’t one of my favorites that I’ve seen this year.

Levitt plays a public radio journalists that doesn’t drink or smoke and jogs, but finds out that he has a rare spinal cancer.  His doctor suggests chemotherapy to see if that would make things better before an invasive surgery.

Rogen plays his best friend.  I know you need someone for comedy relief, but I kept thinking through the whole movie, how could Levitt’s Adam put up with Rogen’s Kyle as a friend.  I looked beyond his frumpy demeanor and he’s still tacky!

Overall, the movie was touching and enjoyable.

GRADE:  B-

“AMERICAN TRANSLATION”

(WARNING:  This is a French trailer and you do see a boobie!)

This French psychosexual thriller features moody bisexual Chris (Pierre Perrier) and his gorgeous girlfriend Aurore (Lizzie Brocherè) as they set out on a violent trip through the countryside.

Along the way, Aurore begins to see Chris’ dark side as he seduces gay men that results in a number of murders.

Perrier and Brocherè are very attractive leads and neither of them are shy when it comes to showing everything.

The movie definitely proves that the French are much more comfortable with nudity and sex than Americans.

GRADE:  A-

Anthony

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