Dark Shadows

12year_disappointments

If there’s one word I think of that’s best tied to the story of film in 2012, it’s “disappointing.” That’s not to say that 2012 was a disappointing year for movies. I don’t know if it was the best in a while, as some of my fellow critics claim, but then I still haven’t seen a lot of the “best” titles of the year. What I do know is that there were enough movies that really, really, really disappointed a lot of people, and so I feel like I heard — or read — the word “disappointing” more than any other. Whether it was a long-awaited prequel to a classic helmed by the original’s director or the expected return to form for a filmmaker or a final installment of a much-worshipped superhero trilogy or a reboot of a beloved comic-based franchise or a new animated feature from a usually dependable studio, there were plenty of major releases that turned out to be less than satisfying. At least for some.

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Holiday Gifts for Movie Lovers

With Christmas fast approaching, if you’re anything like us, you’re probably starting to think about maybe thinking about doing some Christmas shopping. It’s cool. No rush. But what do you get the film geek who has everything when it comes to his DVD/Blu-ray collection? We collectors are a sick bunch, amassing hundreds if not thousands of discs, making it very hard for you to buy for us. Fear not, friend, for there are other movie related gifts that are not in disc form! Once, long ago, entertainment was something printed on pages of paper and bound. These objects, called “books,” were on a variety of topics, including many near and dear to the film nerd’s heart! So relax, check out this awesome selection of books for your film loving friends, and click on the image if you want to add it to your cart.

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Drinking Games

Fans of the original Dark Shadows television series may not have been wild about the Tim Burton big-screen adaptation of the story, but those who like Burton’s many collaborations with Johnny Depp should be interested. Depp plays the legendary Barnabas Collins, who was turned into a vampire by a scorned witch. After returning home to his family home of Collinwood after being asleep for almost 200 years, he faces a new world of 1972 and his old adversary… in color! This vampire comedy hits Blu-ray and DVD this week, so you can check it out for better or for worse. At least you’ll be seeing it in the appropriately-themed month of October, rather than when it hit theaters in May.

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Sound of My Voice A filmmaking couple infiltrate a cult in search of the truth regarding its enigmatic leader Maggie (Brit Marling), but the longer they stay the more one of them comes to believe her claims. The situation grows more dangerous when Maggie makes a spectacular claim and asks one of them to kidnap a specific young girl. Marling co-wrote the film with director Zal Batmanglij, and they’ve created a thought provoking, suspenseful and often surprising indie that feels bigger than it is by virtue of the ideas at play. Marling also delivers a spectacularly charismatic performance that just may have viewers lining up for a sip of her Kool-Aid.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This week it’s a series of second stringer fill-ins trying not to run things into the ground while regular columnist Neil Miller disappears for a while due to reasons both glamorous and mysterious (in true Lohan fashion, he’s cited both “exhaustion” and “being dehydrated”). And today it’s a laundry list of Internet people still crushing on Joss Whedon’s superhero extravaganza, The Avengers, because Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows shit the bed this weekend and we haven’t had anything shiny to come along to steal away our fickle attentions yet. Let’s get to it. The above image comes from an artist named Hannah, who has proven that her finger is firmly on the pulse of the Internet by paying tribute both to the death of beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak as well as the work of beloved nerd-God Joss Whedon by mashing up Sendak’s artistic style with the cast of The Avengers. Is cute, no?

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Today’s big story: Sure, The Avengers has made truck loads of money at the box office, but will The Dark Knight Rises make more? At least that’s what I’ve gathered from checking in on Twitter while disposing of Woodchuck Cider bottles in between episodes of my usual Sunday Afternoon Top Gear Marathon. Upon further inspection, we’ll come to note that Joss Whedon’s high-flying superhero team-up movie netted a staggering $103.4 million in its second week of release, dwarfing the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaboration Dark Shadows, which nostalgia-crawled its way to a $28 million dollar opening. As it turns out, the folks at Warner Bros. were hoping for something a little bit more.

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The Reject HQ Blog

They are building a moat, this machine of Hollywood. It surrounds the entirety of their kingdom of nostalgia. Beyond the moat is the land of original ideas, where great risks stalk drifters through forests of uncertainty. Inside the kingdom lies all the most familiar brands of yesteryear — the likes of The A-Team and Get Smart — all being mined for every bit of entertainment sheen they have left. There’s no end to the vast array of stories already told, and no end in sight to Big Hollywood’s desire to bring back those ghosts and parade them around on much bigger, pop-soundtracked stages. Clearly I’ve been reading too much George R.R. Martin lately, but the analogy fits. In recent years, the escalation of Hollywood’s mining of great things of the past has been blinding. From rebirthing the eighties to checking back in with the stylish sixties, today’s entertainment is all about nostalgia, done in earnest and frivolousness alike. And we seem to be eating it up, just as we may with Tim Burton’s refitting of Dark Shadows, his trusty Johnny Depp adorning the posters and billboards. But even with righteous cynicism considered, there’s always a little room for fun. And our goal this week on The Reject HQ Blog is to set a question to our roundtable of experts — which includes a few of our finest writers and you, the reader — is there a vintage television program (pre-1990, we’ll say) that you’d love to see remade as a movie? Consider […]

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Dark Shadows, the old ABC gothic soap opera, is such natural material for Tim Burton and Johnny Depp that you almost wonder why they bothered. Of all the movies and TV shows to remake, it’s perhaps the most logical choice for the men who brought us Beetlejuice and Captain Jack Sparrow, respectively, not to mention Edward Scissorhands and other offbeat luminaries in their partnership. Lighthearted macabre quirk is the tandem’s specialty and the primary operating mode of their new movie, a visually-pleasing haunted house/vampire comedy. But even if Dark Shadows is a case of safe, smooth sailing for its makers, it’s still far more spirited and thoughtfully made than most summer movie counterparts.

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Aural Fixation - Large

With Dark Shadows set to hit theaters this weekend, Warners hosted a small Q&A this past Tuesday to highlight what will be composer Danny Elfman and director Tim Burton’s fourteenth film together. I am notorious for getting lost on studio lots (I once accidentally wandered into a background shot during the filming of Private Practice while looking for a screening room), but I was pleased (and relieved) when I arrived and realized this event was being held outside making it easy to find (although the long line of Elfman fans flanking the venue was also a pretty clear indicator). It was a nice change of pace to be outside on a warm afternoon and seemed to put everyone in a good mood. While the Q&A was moderated, the goal of the afternoon was primarily to open the floor up to the fans and have them ask the questions. This can be a precarious opportunity when the questions are unfiltered (and sometimes cringe worthy) as anyone who has attended a Q&A can attest to. However this afternoon the questions (save for a few – no, Oingo Boingo will not be getting back together) were incredibly thoughtful and interesting. Elfman noted that doing events like this are something he gladly takes time to do as he loves interacting with fans and this was clear as he took every question seriously and gave each person his undivided attention when answering. The event was also to commemorate the release of Elfman and Burton’s 25th Anniversary […]

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If you’ve ever seen a Tim Burton movie, you know the guy is probably pretty awkward. At the very least, he’s gotta be soft-spoken, right? Which begs the question, “How interesting can a Tim Burton-only commentary be?” Well, we’re here to answer that very question with this week’s Commentary Commentary. In honor of Dark Shadows, Burton’s latest collaboration with Johnny Depp, we’ve decided to go back and delve into their first pairing, Edward Scissorhands. Burton took the commentary duties by his lonesome here, and I’m sure amid all the fumbling of words and general gracelessness there’s enough to pack in here to hold our interest. At the very least it’ll be an entertaining car wreck. So here, without further ado, is everything we learned about Edward Scissorhands from listening to its director, Tim Burton, speak on it. We didn’t learn Tim Burton is a strange guy. We knew that one already.

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Finally, readers, the summer movie season is upon us. So far this year has been solid, but sorely lacking in mega-blockbusters. John Carter did not deliver for the fifteen people who saw it and The Hunger Games, as successful and good as it was, wasn’t an epic actioner or packed with real spectacle. Yet there’s much promise in the action department for the summer of 2012, and it’s starting off just right, with something we’ve all been anticipating. Hopefully the rest of the summer will follow that film’s mighty lead…

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Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter don’t fit the bill of your average summer blockbuster. An adaptation of a slightly obscure soap opera about a vampire? We don’t see those often enough in the summer season. A hard-R actioner featuring one of our greatest presidents shredding vampires to bits? That’s another unheard of type summer tentpole. Although Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s names alone can create money out of thin air, Dark Shadows is not the sort of film we often see as a May release, and the same goes for June’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The man partly responsible for these two going-against-the-norm pictures is author/screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith. Grahame-Smith had to tackle some difficult tasks when it came to making these two projects – like making an accessible Dark Shadows film and adapting his own epic and tonally tricky novel, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Here’s what Seth Grahame-Smith had to say about writing for the screen, the soap-operatic tone of Dark Shadows, and the straight-faced badassery of Abraham Lincoln slaying vampires:

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Seth Grahame-Smith‘s unwritten Beetlejuice sequel is currently a big, fat maybe. As of right now, Smith has only gone as far to discuss the project with the studio, Tim Burton, and Michael Keaton, who all sound game, as long as one small little detail is taken care of: nailing the script. As I spoke to Smith yesterday, it was obvious he knew the stakes involved in doing a sequel to Burton’s beloved classic. I mean, who on earth wants to be the guy responsible for making a lame Beetlejuice sequel? Obviously, Smith doesn’t want that title. “When Warner Bros. first talked to me about it I said there needs to be two things to happen before I would even consider it,” said Grahame-Smith. “For one, it couldn’t be some kind of reboot or remake with a different actor playing Beetlejuice. I wasn’t interested in that. I wanted actual Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice and an actual sequel to the movie. Two, I said I’d only do it if Tim gave it his blessing and guided the process. I got both of those things: Tim to say if there was a good enough script he would help with the development of it and I got Michael Keaton to say, if the script was good enough, he’d be open to doing it.” He continued, “You know, what I keep telling people is I don’t want to do it unless we’re really sure that it’s worthy. The original is one of my favorite movies, so I […]

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If it’s a Monday, Hollywood is cleaning out the refuse left over from the weekend – like a big old mess of release date announcements and changes! While scheduling shuffles and calendar mix-abouts might seem like the driest of movie news, they often can signal studio confidence (or not) in a film, which could in turn give us an idea of how excited (or, well, not) we should be for the final project. And, thankfully, today’s announcements provide something for just about everyone. After the break, check out the newly-minted release dates for The Dictator, Ender’s Game, and Maleficent, along with news of potential conflicts and expectations for the films. Get your tickets now?

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It’s a mystery why Tim Burton gets stuck in the black and white world from time to time because he’s one of the few filmmakers who can make primary colors creepy. Apparently the marketing department for Dark Shadows is pretty good at it too. With Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz and more popping boldly into the foreground, these posters are a reminder of the idiosyncrasy inherent in some of Burton’s filmmaking: vibrant grays and disturbing, bright colors. Check them out for yourself:

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Alice in Wonderland tested my love for Tim Burton, a fandom I am fully aware is unpopular to have online nowadays. His Disney remake was garish, soulless, and calculative, all adjectives Burton’s greatest critics have said of him before. Alice in Wonderland felt like Burton at his most bored and expected, with zero sense of passion on-screen. Yet, with the release of the first trailer of Dark Shadows finally online, it seems as if Burton is having actual fun. Check out the trailer below to see Burton’s take on the material, including Johnny Depp turning down sex with Eva Green. Burton and company have had a tough time expressing the tone of the picture, but this trailer does it nicely: dark, tongue-in-cheek, and silly. Nothing about this screams “box-office smash!”, but that same sentiment could be applied to most of Burton’s hits.

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For a film that reportedly got a young Tim Burton fired from Disney, that same studio sure seems set on making Frankenweenie a big event film for them this autumn. Burton’s film, an expanded version of his 1984 live-action short that apparently didn’t go over so well the Disney honchos way back when, will now be getting an IMAX release on its already-announced wide release date of October 5. The film will be both the first black and white film and the first stop-motion animated picture to hit IMAX screens. Like Burton’s original short, Frankenweenie is a family-friendly spin on Mary Shelley’s classic novel “Frankenstein.” In Burton’s world, Victor Frankenstein isn’t a doctor driven to extremes by his desire to reanimate the dead, however, he’s just a kid who has lost his beloved pet dog Sparky. Young Victor takes it upon himself to bring Sparky back from the dead and some sweet and clever hijinks ensue. I don’t think Sparky kills anyone, and I am pretty sure he’s not concerned with learning to read, but who knows just how deeply Burton committed to his source material. Nathan showed us the teaser trailer for the film last week, and I’m still cooing over how perversely cute it looks (not to mention how cuddly Sparky, a dead animal brought back to life, appears to be). While I’ve never identified myself as a Tim Burton fan in the least, Frankenweenie looks to be both cute and clever, and I can’t stop myself from […]

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Barnabas Collins by Tim Burton

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of movie news, stories, articles, happenings and thingamajigs that is not interested in your excuses, just your unwavering loyalty. We begin tonight with a new look at Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows, courtesy of Hollywood Elsewhere’s ability to scan a page of the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair. It’s quite retro, somewhat chic, a lot emo and… oh, those bangs. Depp truly does have a bit of a Nosferatu thing going on, which is refreshing. At least he doesn’t sparkle.

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It’s already the second day of 2012, which means we’ll all be sober within the next day or two. It also means that we can officially start looking (through blurry eyes) ahead to the future. A future of promise and potential. A future of hope. A future of tingling anticipation that the road stretched out in front of us that leads to the cinema will be paved with gold. Will there be piles of excrement along the way? Of course, but we don’t know how many or how badly they’ll tarnish our yellow-bricked roller coaster ride. All we can see from this far out is the shimmering wonder of movies to come – the vast unknown that looks wonderful (and might just live up to the hype). In past years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), we’ve gone with a fairly arbitrary count of 20-30 movies. This year, we decided to prove that there were 52 movies worth prematurely celebrating (even though what we found were many more). That’s one for every week (even if there are some weeks with a few and some weeks with none at all). Regardless of the number, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Kate Erbland, Allison Loring, Landon Palmer, Brian Salisbury and Cole Abaius have joined forces to remind us all that there are a lot of great movies to hope for this year. Go grab a calendar and pencil in everything that gets your blood pressure up toward unsafe levels. It’s going to be a busy, flick-filled […]

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Alice Cooper has long been considered one of the preeminent denizens of the dark. With his lifelong commitment to horror makeup, heavy metal music, and golf, it couldn’t have happened any other way. So when director Tim Burton needed a music act to appear in his upcoming adaptation of the old, spooky soap Dark Shadows, Cooper seemed like an easy fit. Hero Complex reports that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is set for a cameo in the film where he will be performing his hit song ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy.’ The setup for the scene is that Johnny Depp’s character, wealthy vampire Barnabas Collins, is throwing an elaborate ball at his palatial estate, and he hires Cooper to be the musical entertainment. To bring Collins’s home to life, Burton and his crew have constructed an elaborate series of sets that includes a gothic mansion and a harbor city complete with piers and boats floating in an artificial ocean. Cooper was so impressed with what he saw that, while at a Universal Studios Halloween event, he opined, “They should take that set and make it a haunted house next year.” He also had some kind words to say about Burton, and how he and the director relate to and understand one another very well, “Rock and horror and comedy work together, that’s something I’ve known a long time and people like Rob Zombie know, and Burton knows that too …  I just saw Final Destination 5 and I was […]

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