Trailer Review/Actor Analysis: Johnny Depp and Black Mass


Actor Analysis
I used to be a huge Johnny Depp fan. For me he reached his peak around the time of Sweeney Todd. After Sweeney he has been on a downward slide, especially critically. Johnny has become a caricature of himself as seen in his last film, Mortdecai.
In the 90s Johnny had a string of indie hits and he could do no wrong. He did some great work in Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Johnny’s films weren’t always successful, but he seemed to take a lot of risks and to do very different roles.
Of course, Pirates of the Caribbean changed everything for Johnny. At first it seemed he was able to maintain his artistic integrity while making huge bucks fronting a blockbuster franchise. But an island and four (I think) pirate movies later and Johnny has become kind of pathetic. He is always donning a silly costume and his acting has become more exaggerated. Long gone is the subtlety of Donnie Brasco. Now it’s all about weird wigs and dramatic flourishes. So can Johnny, an actor once praised for his quiet, quirky talent make a comeback?

Trailer Review
Black Mass is Johnny’s last chance at reclaiming his past glory. If Johnny can show off his acting chops again then his recent lackluster past will be easily forgotten. But if not, it will just reaffirm the fact that he is now a has-been.
This first trailer for Black Mass is very strong, incredibly promising. It’s one of the best cut trailers I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a great technique to take one small, dramatic scene from the movie and accentuate it with great music and brief flashes of the rest of the film. But maybe this is one of the only strong moments in the film, trailers often show off the best stuff first.
There’s also Johnny’s costume, which is both good and bad. I like the whitish grey contacts, they are really eerie and entrancing. But that forehead, my God they could have named this the forehead movie. And I don’t find the old age makeup all that convincing, but then again I don’t know how old the character should be.
As for the actors Johnny is surrounded by a great cast that we just get a glimpse of, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, etc. Johnny’s acting here though is hard to judge. I think he is pretty good, but I also think the music adds a lot to the tension and helps him quite a bit. I also don’t find his accent to be very convincing. I think Johnny is acting more than actually inhabiting the character, but he definitely has me intrigued and hopeful.
It would be great for Johnny to succeed, but he’s become such a disappointment that I am doubtful. The studio has some faith in Black Mass as it is scheduled for release September 18, early in the awards season. Give your thoughts on Johnny and the trailer below. What are your favorite Johnny Depp films?

Trailer Review: Beefy Batman v Sad Superman: Dawn of Sexiness, But Where is Khal Drogo


It has been quite a while since I did a trailer review, but nothing has really interested me that much till now. The other day EVERYONE was talking about the Star Wars trailer. It was all over my news feeds. I don’t give a flying fuck about Star Wars (never seen any of the movies), so I was actually pretty annoyed.
But now here is finally a trailer that I have been looking forward to for some time. It’s a pretty good trailer, but it has some problems, mainly the lack of Aquaman. No, I’m kidding. But not really though because the world needs more Jason Momoa.
The tone of the movie is very dark, which personally I think is a great way to go. It helps distinguish the DC films from the Marvel ones. It also has the same tone as the Dark Knight trilogy, which is both good and bad. I can see why they would want to copying something that was so effective before. But it is really hard to live up to the standard set by Nolan and co. That’s what worries me about this trailer, some of the obvious times that it copies the Nolan films. Things like Bruce Wayne brooding as he stares at his bat suit. Batman standing on top of some ridiculously high thing looking over the city. Batman’s gravelly voice (although it might be a modulator). The Batmobile scene.

But there is something here that I think will really distinguish Ben Affleck’s Batman from Christian Bale. And that’s anger. Rage. This Batman has a long history behind him and he is PISSED. You can just see it in Ben’s face. And that’s what excites me the most about this film. Christian Bale’s Batman was sad and mopey and mostly blamed himself. But I think Ben’s Batman is going to project that anger more outward. I think he is going to be totally bad ass and a really dark Batman. This Batman feels dangerous to everyone around him, not just to criminals. A lot of people are doubting Ben, but I think he’ll pull it off.

The trailer’s take on Superman is also quite different than any other big screen interpretation of the character. He isn’t just a heroic figure he is also shown to be frightening. There’s an ambiguity around him that could finally make him a really interesting character. My only problem here is Henry Cavill. The guy is gorgeous, but I’m not convinced of his acting skills. He’s a little bland and wooden at times. I’m not sure he can bring the depth needed to Superman this time around, especially when he’s opposite Ben Affleck.
Visually the film is looking great, there are some really amazing shots in the trailer. This isn’t really surprising since it’s a Zack Snyder film. I honestly don’t have too much faith in him, but hopefully he can do well if given the right screenplay. Visually I also love how Batman looks. At first, when I saw the very first on set picture I didn’t like the Bat suit. But here it really works! I love the size of it/Ben. Ben looks so beefy and good….. And the light up eyes are really cool too. As you can see most of my excitement is about Batman, not Superman. So that’s another worry I have. Will Superman be all that interesting when he’s standing next to Batman? We’ll find out when Batman V Superman hits theaters next year.

Share your opinion on Beefy Batman and Sad Superman below!


Ray Donovan: Season 1, Episode 1; The Bag or the Bat


This is my 100th post!!! Somehow it feels very appropriate. I’m switching up my Deadwood viewing with a little of Showtime’s motherfucking Ray Donovan! The two shows have a little more in common than you might initially think. Deadwood focuses heavily on the formation of civilizations and societies. Ray critiques the society of Hollywood, its superficiality and its hypocrisy. But that isn’t the main thrust of the show. It’s real focus is on the concept of masculinity, what it means to be a ‘good’ man. It’s something the protagonist, none other than Ray Donovan (as played by the luscious Liev Schreiber) struggles with constantly as well as with some other demons. It really is similar to Seth Bullock on Deadwood. Both characters are quiet, lone wolfs. They have an inherent sense of what is right and a strong desire to do justice and to protect others. Both men also have a deep seated anger within them that they sometimes fail at controlling. The big difference between Ray and Seth is that they operate on opposite sides of the law.
Two other things the shows have in common are 1) Paula Malcomson (Trixie on Deadwood, Abby on Ray). Paula is much much better on Deadwood, but that is more so because of the writing on the show and Trixie is a much more sympathetic character. Abby with her Boston accent and Carmela-lite attitude (Sopranos reference) really makes the audience want to strangle her sometimes. But Paula as an actress is always great. And #2 is…. MOTHERFUCKING IAN MCSHANE!!!! YES!! The third season of Ray Donovan airs this summer and Ian will be joining the cast!!! I am so excited!! But then Katie Holmes is going to be too which is very disappointing. So my feelings are pretty level at the moment.
So the fact that the third season is coming near is why I have decided to re-watch Ray Donovan. The show is about Ray, a Hollywood fixer who takes care of celebrities and their (usually illegal) problems. But when Ray’s father, Mickey (Jon Voight), gets released from jail early Ray has some of his own problems to fix.

This show has been flying under the radar a bit which I think is a real shame as it is genuinely good. The first episode is a little unoriginal though to be honest. It has A LOT to cover. But as the show continues it just gets better and better. It’s an intelligent show that covers a variety of topics, some more originally than others, but it’s a fun watch. The acting is all around amazing, it’s a great cast. Liev is of course amazing, but Jon Voight steals nearly every scene he is in. He has a lot of fun playing Mickey and that definitely comes across effectively.
• The episode starts with Mickey being released from jail. And what’s the first thing he does? Murder a priest!
• This week’s problem situation involves a basketball player waking up next to a dead girl he had been partying with the night before. Understandably the guy is freaked out.
• But Ray’s reaction is: “Do you think you’re the first person I’ve dealt with woke up with a dead body…”
• Lena (played by the lovely Katherine Moennig), Ray’s assistant, reacts with “I hate it when that happens.”
• Ray is married to Abby (Paula Malcomson) and has two teenage kids, Conor and Bridget.
• Ray also has two brothers, Terry (Eddie Marsan) and Bunchy (Dash Mihok). As Bridget bluntly puts it, Terry has Parkinson’s and Bunchy was molested by a priest. This show isn’t always subtle.
• Abby has something up her ass (as she perpetually does) this episode it is her need to have Bridget go to a private school. So you betta get on it Raaaaay!! (That’s Abby’s nagging voice)
• Ray’s other Hollywood problem is Tommy Wheeler, a famous actor who was caught with a transvestite. This is a no no in Hollywood. Get caught doing drugs, waking up with a dead girl, and going to rehab are okay though, so Ray kills two birds with one stone by swapping Tommy with the basketball player.
• I want Lena’s style.
• Oh no wait, Ray has another problem, remember Abby and that private school? Well Ray has to do a favor for this movie producer guy, Stu Feldman, in order to get in a good word at a desirable school. The mission: stalk Stu’s girlfriend and find out if she is cheating on him. Even though Stu is married to someone else anyways. Good old Hollywood.
• The scene with Stu really highlights what sets Ray apart from other men. His silence, but also his inherent confidence in himself.
• Terry owns a boxing club.
• Man, there is A LOT going on this episode.
• Bunchy is an alcoholic. He also happens to be coming into his settlement from the Catholic Church to the tune of $1.4 million. Ray is obviously concerned.
• While Ray is on his stalking mission he discovers that the girl has ANOTHER stalker, a really creepy one. Ray’s instinct is to protect the girl, Ashley, thus blowing Stu’s cover.
• Long story short Ray and Ashley start making out and it’s sexy and all until OUT OF NOWHERE she has a FREAKING SEIZURE. WAY TO KILL THE MOOD. Apparently she has epilepsy.
• At least this freak occurrence prevents Ray from doing something he might have regretted. This continue to get weird as Ashley tells him “I love you” and calls him “Daddy.” Get out of there Ray!!!!!!!!
• Terry and Bunchy got in a fight, so protector Ray bails them out.
• Oh turns out Ray has a black half-brother!!! Ray is less than thrilled (Ugh, someone else to protect!)
• Meanwhile Mickey is having a good time, smoking a joint and dancing around with a prostitute.

• Ray threatens the creepy stalker by forcefully dying him green. I think it’s an old Boston mafia punishment. “If you come near her again, I’ll kill you.”
• Daaaaaaamn Liev can rock a suit.

• Ezra (Elliott Gould) is Ray’s mentor figure. But he is also another problem for Ray as he is beginning to suffer from dementia. Ezra even invites his mistress to his wife’s funeral!
• Meanwhile Mickey is on a plane leering and winking at a woman breastfeeding. The creepy bar has been raised.
• “No lie lives forever Raymond, it’s time to pay the piper!” This lie has something to do with why Mickey went to jail…
• Ashley becomes the stalker and stalks Abby. The creepy bar keeps going up.
• Ray’s reaction to the stalking? FUCKING ASHLEY. WHAT THE HELL RAY. If this was GTA Ray would have definitely failed his Stu mission and faded to black and white.
• Abby is suspicious of his cheating, tells Ray not to come home. It seems like this is a regular occurrence.
• Conor is getting into fights at school.
• Long story short, Ray and Abby attend a party that Stu also happens to be at. Stu informs Abby that Bridget will be banned from all private schools because “your husband fucked my girlfriend.”
• Ray doesn’t take this lightly and dramatically and awesomely breaks Stu’s wrist in a pool table.

• Ray reveals to Bridget that he had a sister, also named Bridget, who killed herself when she was a teenager. This still haunts Ray.
• Ray tells his daughter, “I’ll always protect you.” Their relationship is very important as the show goes on. Ray wants to be a better father than Mickey was.
• Ray explains his cheating ways to Abbey by saying “these women, I protect them and they get confused.” Sooooo that makes it okay?
• Ray warns Abby that Mickey is coming for them. “Don’t let the wolf in the gate.”
• Abby tells Ray, “You’re sick, Ray, you’ve got a hole in your heart.”
• Ray has a meeting with Mickey at the fight club. Threats are made. Ray leaves in anger.

• “If you can’t laugh, what are you going to do, cry all the time?” Mickey wants to forget the past, but the past was so traumatic for Ray he’ll never forgive or forget.
• Mickey does some cocaine with Bunchy, like any good father would.
• Creepy stalker still stalks Ashley. Ray beats him to pulp with a bat. “I warned you.” Ray seems sorry to have to inflict such violence on the guy.
• The episode ends with Abby letting the wolf in to meet the kids.

This episode gets 8/10. Give this show a chance if you haven’t already. It’s both fun and quite deep. Also Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight give some of their best performances.

Vanilla Sky (2001)


“I’ll see you in another life when we are both cats.”
I was watching this silly show, Celebrity Style Story, the other day and the focus of the episode was Tom Cruise. The commentators are pretty shallow on these kinds of shows, but when one of them said that Vanilla Sky seriously sucked I was extremely shocked and angry. What an asshole!! How dare he say such a thing?! Vanilla Sky is amazing! Then I went and googled the ratings for Vanilla Sky and found I was in the minority. On IMDB the film has a rating of 6.9 and on Rotten Tomatoes a measly 41%.
So what gives? I was first recommended this movie by a cab driver one day. The driver gave a somewhat spoilery synopsis of the film and it sounded extremely convoluted, but hey, I love Tom Cruise so when I saw the DVD cheap at a pawn shop I grabbed it.

Clever Bob Dylan reference!
Clever Bob Dylan reference!

And I love the movie, a lot. It is based on a Spanish film, Abre Los Ojos. Cameron Crowe directs and adapted the screenplay for the English version. Tom Cruise plays David Aames, a young, vain, rich man that seems to have it all. That is until one of his lovers turns his whole world upside down.
There is something about this film that appeals to me on a deeply emotional level. It is hard to pin point why exactly. Part of it is that I relate to David quite a bit. I’m not rich like him, nor am I as confident. But I can relate to the hubris of youth somewhat. David feels invincible, nothing can touch him. Early on in the film he and his friend, Brian, nearly get hit by a truck. But they make a narrow escape. David laughs with glee, as he never really felt all that threatened to begin with. He’s young, good looking he has his whole life ahead of him.

But David is brought down by his own ego and whimsical attitude. Yes, it is the accident caused by his lover, Julie (Cameron Diaz) that in a lot of ways ruins his life. But this act is only a symptom of David’s own selfish actions. He treated Julie carelessly and didn’t care about the effect his frivolous actions had on her. But the accident is also a result of his sense of immortality, of never having anything go wrong. David falls in love with Sofia (Penelope Cruz) at first sight. He vows to change his ways and be a better person in order to be worthy of her love. But then Julie shows up, offering herself to him. Even though David is in love with Sofia he feels he can have his cake and eat it too. Why not have one last romp with Julie? Sofia will never know. Well it is that selfishness and ignorance that changes David’s whole life.

I find this film to be quite deep and it is able to convey a very strong message without being too preachy. It is an emotional film brought to life by some incredible acting, particularly Tom and Penelope. No wonder they started dating after filming this, the chemistry between them is great. Their scenes together are very touching and intense.
The film looks great, I love the use of bright colors. I also enjoy the foreshadowing that happens early on as well as some of the visual metaphors. I really like the structure of the film as well, which I think is probably what turns other people off the most. Vanilla Sky is sort of a dream within a dream kind of film which can feel like a cheap twist in a lot of films. But I think it really works here and simply strengthens the message of the film, it isn’t done to get a cheap shock out of the audience. I also really enjoy the pop culture references, particularly near the end of the film. The soundtrack is also phenomenal, anything that uses Bob Dylan gets an A+ in my book.

Some dark humor.
Some dark humor.

Simply put, I love Vanilla Sky because of the emotional impact it has on me every time I watch it. I’ve never felt so emotional about a film, nor have I been able to relate to one the way I do Vanilla Sky. It stays with you for a long time after watching it and it really makes you question how you behave in your own relationships. Vanilla Sky is also very creative and there is no other movie like it. I think it is extremely underrated and it is some of Cameron Crowe’s and Tom Cruise’s best work. Maybe I’m crazy, but I give Vanilla Sky 9.5/10


Please feel free to give your opinion of Vanilla Sky, whether you love it or hate it. I would love to hear your take on it.

Deadwood: Season 2, Episode 1; A Lie Agreed Upon Part 1

“Welcome to fucking Deadwood!”
The second season of Deadwood kicks off with a bit of a bang. The first season ended on a positive, hopeful note. But the second commences with plenty of violence, aggression, and negativity. I think a few months have passed between the two seasons, enough time for Bullock to build a house anyways (did he do it himself?). Al has a real hard on for Bullock this time around, I’m not totally sure why. They end up having a great fist fight that sends them flying over the balcony over into the muddy street. Al appears to win the fight and just as he’s about to deliver Bullock the final blow, he looks up into the eyes of Bullock’s newly arrived son. Al is unnerved by the boy (does he see himself in him?). He lets Bullock go.

Joanie has managed in the time since we last saw her to gather up enough money to buy a building and some whores for her own brothel, the Chez Amie. Joanie must be extremely clever because she was able to keep it all a secret from Cy. Cy is shocked and extremely pissed off when the whores arrive in town and Joanie announces her departure from the Bella Union. Cy is incredibly close to losing his sanity now, as he suffers a near nervous breakdown. But there’s nothing sympathetic about him here. He is at his most vile and despicable as he bides Joanie and her girls farewell. He is truly disgusting and no doubt he’ll try to undermine Joanie every step of the way.

Molly Parker as Alma Garrett.
Molly Parker as Alma Garrett.

Bullock and Alma have been having an affair for quite some time now. Everyone in town seems to know about it (part of why Al and Bullock get in that fight). Things get complicated with the sudden arrival of Bullock’s wife and his child. Bullock’s wife is his brother’s widow and his ‘son’ is actually his nephew. As such, Bullock has a really strange relationship with them. It is incredibly formal, and always awkward. They barely know each other. After the wife and child’s arrival, Alma becomes a quasi-stalker. She goes over to the hardware store, bearing gifts for the newcomers and wearing, of course, a scarlet dress. But she clearly just wants to scope them out and see how Bullock is doing after his fight with Al. This scene is the height of awkwardness as everyone says “how do you do” about ten times. All the players are very polite with one another and keep up the appearance of respectability. But everyone knows about Alma and Bullock’s affair and I’m sure that now his wife knows too.
• We get a real, good sex scene between Alma and Bullock. The aftermath of it is ruined yet again by her HAIRY ARMPITS. Please Alma, KEEP YOUR ARMS DOWN.
• Alma: “After we’ve made love are you sometimes happy?”
Bullock: “So often with you I’ve been perfectly happy.” He doesn’t really show it, yet I’m sure it is sincere. Bullock and Alma are able to relate to each other in a way that they can’t with anyone else.
• Al: “[Bullock] don’t know if it’s breathing or taking it in through fucking gills. He is that fucking cunt-struck. They’re afloat in some fairy fucking bubble, lighter than air—him, her snatch and his stupid fucking badge.”
• Al has some kind of mysterious pain in his abdomen going on.
• Calamity Jane spotting! She is shown asleep on a horse. A carriage going by wakes her up, she screams “Cocksuckers!” and falls back asleep.
• The carriage is carrying Bullock’s wife, Martha, and son, William, as well as Joanie’s whores. William is entranced by the whores’s jiggling breasts. I think he also farts? Typical boy, I guess.
• The fight between Bullock and Al is quite messy. Dan hits Bullock with the butt of his shot gun. Charlie and Sol get shot accidentally by one of Al’s guys. It’s just chaos.
• Alma has employed a tutor for Sofia. Alma is EXTREMELY cunty with her. I really hate Alma.
• Bullock refuses to go into his new house with his wife and son. He gives her a letter instead as he goes to say a kind of ‘goodbye’ to Alma. The letter is kind of weird because he only writes about how he built the house in extreme detail.
This episode is a little slow at times, so it gets 3.5 Hoopleheads.
Instances of:
• Fuck(er)(ing): 52
• Cocksucker: 8
• Balls: 3
• Cunt: 5
• Snatch: 2
• Piss: 4
• Hoopleheads: 1


Collateral (2004)


I feel the same way about almost all the Michael Mann films I’ve seen. I hate his camera techniques and sometimes his films are even a little dull, emotionless. But then he throws an action sequence at you that blows your mind, making you forget all the things you’ve disliked about the movie so far. For me, Collateral isn’t all that different. Collateral is the story of a cab driver (Jamie Foxx) taken hostage by a contract killer (Tom Cruise) for a night as the killer completes a series of hits.
Collateral is by far my favorite Michael Mann film (Public Enemies is my second, surprisingly). While it is slow at times (especially at the beginning) overall it is very exciting. The story is great, a really suspenseful, thrilling plot. And the two actors that bring it to life are quite compelling. I never really liked Jamie Foxx until I saw Collateral. He is quite convincing as Max, a good, ambitious guy who can never follow through on his plans. He really feels like an average Joe, someone the audience can easily envision themselves as being. The moment that really blew me away though was when Max has to pretend to be Vincent. It is so difficult for him at first and he just remains his timid self. But then, suddenly Jamie flicks this button and he IS Vincent. He’s commanding, charismatic, and someone who should not be fucked with. It’s a great turn by Jamie Foxx and one of the film’s highlights.

Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx.
Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx.

And then of course there is Tom Cruise in one of his best turns, and a rare turn as a villain. I LOVE Tom Cruise. He is one of my all-time favorite actors. There’s a reason why Tom Cruise is the biggest movie star on the planet. He ALWAYS delivers. Tom’s known for his big blockbuster roles, but he is just as effective in more understated films that aren’t so focused on action. I adore him in Rain Man (he is really underappreciated in that film). And he is great here as Vincent. He brings his natural charisma and presence to the role as well as a malice and dangerous quality that the audience rarely sees from Cruise. The whole movie hinges on how convincing Tom is as Vincent and he does not disappoint. And the great thing is, Vincent isn’t some out of control psychopath, chewing the scenenery and screaming constantly. No, Vincent is quite realistic, He’s calm, controlled and he has some opinions that make him relatable. He doesn’t kill people for fun, it’s his job (and he also thinks people are assholes).

He even does the signature Tom Cruise run!

Collateral is a great thriller, something that is really rare this days. It has a great blend of action and also raises some great conversations about the nature of humanity. This is a highly entertaining film that satisfies the audience’s desire for action while also treating them like intellectuals instead of complete idiots (as most films seem to do). Collateral gets 8.5/10