Gwenyth Paltrow

Johnny Depp in Mortdecai

Is Johnny Depp a movie star anymore? He is certainly famous, but he doesn’t have the box office clout he used to. The actor consistently does well internationally, but in the States, he hasn’t opened a major release in years, at least one that wasn’t already an established brand. Transcendence, The Lone Ranger, The Tourist, Dark Shadows and The Rum Diary all bombed here. Of course, the quality of those titles aren’t up there with his finer films, so that’s a slight hindrance. Maybe all Depp needs is simply a really good movie to win back moviegoers. Reuniting with writer/director David Koepp is a step in the right direction. The two collaborated on 2004’s Secret Window, which is an especially good Stephen King adaptation. It’s also one of the last times Depp pulled off playing an average joe. For some reason he couldn’t do the same in The Tourist and Transcendence. There’s something very off about those performances. Maybe he’s been playing so many larger-than-life characters lately that an everyman no longer comes naturally to him. Whatever the case, Mortdecai may be a return to form for the actor. Depp is once again playing a heightened character, but the difference this time is he looks genuinely funny as the oblivious art dealer Charles Mortdecai, a man in search of a stolen painting connected to a lost bank account full of Nazi gold. If you want to see Depp playing a “bit of a moron,” watch the teaser trailer for the film below.

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Culture Warrior

The month of September is typically regarded as one of the least exciting and least eventful in the calendar year. It’s something of an interval month, a strange in-between phase sandwiched in the middle of summer Hollywood blockbusters and the “quality” flicks and holiday programming of the fall. In strictly monetary terms, it’s the most underperforming month of the year, and has even been beaten by the desolate burial ground that is January in terms of event-style opening weekends. But this may ultimately be a good thing. In fact, if future Septembers continue to exhibit the same patterns as this month, the time of the year in which schools go back in session and you can no longer wear all-white may prove to be one of the most interesting and exciting months on the wide-release calendar.

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Culture Warrior

For the past few weeks, cinephiles, journalists, and critics have been grappling with the notion of what ‘post-9/11 cinema’ is, has been, will be, and/or looks like. What they’ve come up with are a group of wildly different, potentially specious, but ultimately quite fascinating explorations on the relationship between art, commerce, and life – and by ‘life’ I mean, in this case, that rare type of event whose effect takes on an enduringly profound, universally personal, omnipresent ripple. The overwhelming conclusion that most of these observations end with is, rather appropriately and naturally, “I don’t know, but here are some thoughts.” Besides those works of audiovisual media that were directly inspired by, intentionally referenced, or somehow directly related to 9/11, it’s difficult to say exactly what a post-9/11 film is unless one allows for literally every film made afterward to potentially enter such a category. But perhaps we’ve been asking the wrong question.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

The ass-kicking superhero sequel Iron Man 2 opens and gives the Fat Guys a chance to talk about the kick-off of the summer movie season. They also lay down a Fat Guy Five about awesome superhero sequels… which was a lot harder than they thought it would be.

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The Cast of King Lear

In the world of remakes it may very well be that Shakespeare is the champion. The plays have been around since Elizabeth I sat on the throne and have endured as crowd pleasers for centuries. How many writers can say that?

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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