Film, TV and the Arts

Film, TV and the Arts

Friday, 18 May 2012

Dark Shadows: Have Burton and Depp lost the element of surprise?

Some say "We've seen it all before", but could it be more a case of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are copping some flack at the moment for their recent work, and in particular their new film Dark Shadows. The magic has gone, say some. The ideas are falling flat, say others. However, the number one criticism they’re facing is that we’ve seen it all before.

Some have tired of the comic-gothic Burton sensibility, the extravagant Depp performances and bemoan a lack of invention, a characteristic which was abundant in their earlier work. That last point carries some weight. Despite its entertaining premise, there is precious little genuine originality on show here, particularly in an age when vampire films are ubiquitous and often parodied. However, the general criticism that Burton and Depp are covering well-trodden ground can be looked at another way: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Review: Marley

Kevin Macdonald's detailed documentary provides an insight into the enigmatic reggae icon

Bob Marley’s music is some of the most ubiquitous and universally popular ever written. A mainstay of teenage iTunes collections, Marley’s reggae seems destined to remain widely listened to and adored. However, it is certainly the case that Marley the man is not so well known. The image emblazoned on t-shirts and posters worldwide, is the face of an enigmatic man.

Kevin Macdonald’s epic documentary, Marley, attempts to tell the story of this man, drawing on the wealth of material which the Marley estate has in its possession, new interviews with many of Marley’s relations, friends and closest associates, and, of course the music.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Review: The Cabin in the Woods

A spoiler-tastic look at one of the most talked about films of the year

One of the most talked about films of the year so far, The Cabin in the Woods is supposedly the movie which is impossible not to spoil. Though I happen to disagree with that assessment, I fear the wrath of those who would tell me that I ruined it for them. Certainly, a lot of the fun is working out what exactly is going on, so I shall merely say that I think the film is an absolute hoot, give you the slimmest of plot summaries, and ask that, when you’ve seen it, you come back here to read further.

So, here’s the slim plot summary: a bunch of college kids head off for a weekend in a cabin. In the woods. Before they get there, there is a sinister, stereotypical man who seems to be a harbinger of doom. They carry on regardless and head to the cabin. In the woods. Sounds familiar, but will all go as you expect? Well, go, see and come back.

Assuming that everyone who is reading from this point onwards has seen the film, this article may well turn into an all-out spoiler fest.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Trailerwatch: New Amazing Spider-Man Trailer

There’s a new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man, the Spider-Man reboot which stars Andrew Garfield, due to be released on 3rd July in the US, and the 4th July in the UK.

In it, we see Garfield’s Peter Parker as a moodier, more contemplative prospect than Tobey Maguire’s version. There’s a little more of the mystery over Parker’s parents. It also contains plenty of Rhys Ifans, which is marvellous.

Oh, and we see more of the Lizard, more of the all-swinging Spidey, a good gag, and what looks like the most astonishing set-piece prospect of the summer.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Trailerwatch: New Dark Knight Rises Trailer

Almost as if in response to the release of Avengers Assemble, a new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises has been released.

Whilst the Reel 6 verdict was that Avengers Assemble was a blockbuster masterpiece, it has to be noted that Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight remains the high watermark of recent superhero movies.

Expectations for the conclusion of the trilogy are high, and the first trailer was predictably impressive visually, but it seemed a little cluttered. Was it perhaps going to be a slightly overblown finale which might crumple under its own weight?