Tag Archive: rango


Now, the title of this post may be a little bit controversial and may leave people wondering “what on Earth are you talking about?”. After all, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is one of the biggest franchises in cinema history and Johnny Depp actually received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of one of the most famous characters of all time: the one and only Captain Jack Sparrow. Before I get started, I would like to say that I am a big fan of the character of Jack Sparrow and have previously named him as my favourite role of Johnny Depp’s; I have also stated previously that I believe Johnny Depp to be one of the best actors not to have won an Oscar. So why do I think this?

I honestly think that Johnny Depp is one of the most versatile actors of his generation, or at least he was earlier in his career. He has starred in a number of very successful films and his characters have been very varied throughout his career: from Ed Wood to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, from Alice in Wonderland to From Hell. Time and time again Depp has shown that he can bring his A game to the table at every opportunity. That is until he fell in love with the character of Jack Sparrow.

Captain Jack Sparrow was the first (and to date the only) character that Johnny Depp has returned to and played on more than one occasion, four in total with a fifth and sixth movie in the pipeline. So far we have seen Captain Jack Sparrow in Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End and On Stranger Tides. I believe that the choice to play Jack Sparrow is one that, if he wanted to win an Oscar, Johnny Depp should have steered clear from. As the Pirates franchise has got longer and longer the films have got worse and worse; the first was brilliant and quite rightly Depp was nominated for an Oscar for his performance; the second was good; third was very very long, confusing, boring and painful, whilst the fourth received mostly negative reviews and was the first in the series not to gain any Oscar nominations at all. If this pattern continues then Depp will surely become nothing more than simply a forgotten man.

For some reason, Depp’s other films outside the Pirates franchise have been very mediocre, verging on the line between average and bad largely. With the exception of Rango, Alice in Wonderland and Sweeney Todd Depp’s other films have been regularly panned by critics and audiences alike. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Dark Shadows, The Tourist, The Rum Diary and I think it is fair to say that anticipation for The Lone Ranger movie is very low indeed after poorly received promotional shots.

This is not to say that Depp’s versatility as an actor has gone. What I think has happened is that people now can only see Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow because of how iconic the character has become. This is the same way in which people recognise Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky or Rambo and Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Therefore I believe that when people watch Johnny Depp in his more recent films what audiences are actually hoping for is to see Jack Sparrow on the screen rather than Johnny Depp and there is no way that this can ever work in Depp’s favour.

Depp’s taste in suits are almost as versatile as his early career.

I still hold out hope that Depp wins an Oscar one day as I feel that his career really does deserve it, but I do think that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is a sinking ship and Depp needs to get away from it to further advance his career.

Obviously the big news of the week is the tragic death of film director Tony Scott who directed such hits as Top Gun, Man on Fire and The Taking of Pelham 123. I wrote about this the other day and said what a loss I thought he was to the world of cinema and in particular action films. There have been conflicting reports about the health of Scott since his death but all we know for certain is that it is a very sad time for his friends and family and wish them all the best.

Last week I wrote how Donald Faison was approached for a part in Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall as Dr. Gravity and now it seems as though the sequel to 2010’s hit film is moving on full steam ahead with their casting as there have been two very prominent rumours this week. Lindy Booth (Dawn of the Dead, Cry Wolf) is in talks to play another member of Kick-Ass’ superhero team Justice Forever – Night Bitch. The biggest rumour though is who is line to play The Colonel (or Colonel Stars in the comic book) and that is Jim Carrey! Carrey may seem like too much of a big name for a supporting role next to Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz but in recent years Carrey’s career has been stalling and faltering all over the place and this could be the big reboot that his career needs.

The Dark Tower is a series of books written by the world’s most famous author Stephen King. For a while now Ron Howard has been trying to push through a very ambitious and epic television and film collaboration to produce the books. This would mean that in between the films being released there would be a television series to sort of bridge the gap and provide fans with more of a knowledge of the story so you can see the difficulty of getting this done. And it seems as though big studios are shying away from pushing the project through. Universal Pictures has already turned it down and now so have Warner Bros. who were seen as the best studio to do this. With Russell Crowe attached to star it should have studios begging to produce it but the risk seems to outweigh the ambition at the minute. Media Rights Captial (who produced Ted) are now in serious discussions to produce The Dark Tower so maybe it could finally get to the big screen one day. I have only read the first book, The Gunslinger, but I did find it very very interesting and very different. I would love to see this project being greenlit and moving forward.

DreamWorks animation’s contract with Paramount is coming to an end at the turn of the year and is not being renewed. This would mean that DreamWorks have nobody to distribute their films, however they have now agreed a five year run with 20th Century Fox which will see them through until the end of 2017. The reason behind the contract at Paramount not being renewed is thus: Paramount are putting some serious effort into building up their own studio, possibly to rival that of DreamWorks (I imagine it will still be some way behind Pixar). You can see why Paramount would do this, last year they won the Best Animated Film Oscar for their Rango and that clearly has sparked an idea within Paramount to produce more animated features. As owners of Nickelodeon they already have plenty of animated characters to work with. I see the animation scope of films largely dominated by Pixar and DreamWorks (even though other studios do animated films) and I think Paramount will have a long road ahead of them to catch up with those two.

Johnny Depp is not having the greatest time at the minute, both in the film world and in his personal life. He recently split from wife Vanessa Paradis and it has been reported by the Daily Mail that while the couple were still together Depp was getting close to ‘multiple women including his publicist’ and he has been romantically linked to The Rum Diary co star Amber Heard. He also looks set to have to pay Paradis a huge ¬£100million in the divorce, but lets focus on his film career here.

Depp was once one of the most popular, consistent and versatile actors working in Hollywood and his back catalogue of films looks impressive: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, From Hell, Secret Window and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. It is a career that has seen Depp nominated for three Oscars in his time and despite not winning any just yet he has been praised as one of the best actors working today (a statement which I am in full support of). However, his career does seem to have taken a turn for the worse.

I think his decline started when he agreed to play Captain Jack Sparrow in more than one film because it is obvious to anyone who even has a passing interest in films that the Pirates franchise just keeps getting worse the longer it goes on and yet Depp continues to star in them. Despite that though, he still managed to churn out Public Enemies, Corpse Bride and Rango in between the doomed franchise. Yet these are just a few of his films, lets look at the rest.

Johnny Depp’s films used to be critically acclaimed every single time, it was one of the only certainties in life, along with the fact that Kristen Stewart will not smile and Russell Brand will never be a good actor. But in 2010, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, in which Johnny Depp starred as the Mad Hatter got very mixed reviews, a lot of them being negative. Despite this though, the film is the eleventh highest grossing film of all time! But then he teamed up with Angelina Jolie for The Tourist. The Tourist received negative reviews across the board. It was, however, nominated for Golden Globes for Best Comedy or Musical and Depp and Jolie received Best Actor and Actress¬†nominations¬†respectively. It was these nominations that saw the Golden Globes as a laughing stock that year because The Tourist is neither a comedy or a musical but is in fact a very bad film; when the nominees were announced to the press it is reported that the press room erupted with laughter at The Tourist‘s nominations.

The Rum Diary came in 2011 and was expected to be a hit with Depp at the centre of it. However, The Rum Diary also received negative reviews from critics and failed to make back even half of its relatively low budget $45million. It seemed that Depp’s box office draw was waning by now. Most recently Depp starred in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and even this film bombed at the box office, pulling in only a small profit. Depp’s next project is The Lone Ranger where he will be portraying Tonto but early reaction to the pictures of him in this role has not been overly positive and it could prove to be another flop.

And now, in the midst of all the trouble in his personal life, production on another future film of his The Thin Man, a noir remake of 1934 classic, has stalled. Apparently this delay is due to concerns with the budget, perhaps films are unwilling to finance Depp films as much as they once were. His box office draw does seem to be faltering slightly, there is no denying that and with Pirates of the Caribbean 5 set to be made with Depp still portraying Captain Jack Sparrow you do have to worry for the future of his career. Johnny Depp is often hailed as one of the best actors to never win an Oscar (not just by me) but he is in danger of going out with a rather large blemish on the end of his career. I, for one, hope that this proves to just be a blip and that he returns to golden form once again very very soon!

 

As it is Johnny Depp’s birthday (can you actually believe he is 49!?) I have decided to compile a list of what I think are his greatest ever movie roles. Depp has been acting since 1984 but I have decided to limit my choices to just five.

 

5. George Jung in Blow.

Johnny Depp plays George Jung in the biopic drama of the man who established the American cocaine market in the 1970s. As well as I can remember this is the first movie that I actually saw Johnny Depp in and since then I have been a fan of his. His portrayal as the drug smuggler here is an excellent one and I think Blow is often forgotten in favour for some of his more commercial work.

 

4. John Dillinger in Public Enemies.

This is another biopic where Johnny Depp plays the star; this time he portrays the notorious bank robber during his final years whilst being pursued by the FBI. The performance by Depp is something new entirely, he doesn’t try to recreate gangsters that have been seen on the screen before him as so many actors in modern gangster films try to do. Instead, Depp brings his own voice, walk and character to Dillinger; he plays him as a fact, as the cold hearted gangster and bank robber that history writes him as. Fantastic performance in yet another under rated film.

 

3. Rango in Rango.

Johnny Depp has only done voice acting twice in movies; The Corpse Bride and Rango. This was something relatively different for him. People are used to being able to look at Johnny Depp on the big screen when they go to see his movies, it’s what draws in probably half of the audience. Fortunately though, Depp gives a fantastic, colourful and vibrant performance as the ‘cowboy chameleon’ in a very enjoyable film.

 

2. Edward Scissorhands in Edward Scissorhands.

Released in 1990, this was one of Depp’s first major film roles and to this day remains one of his most iconic. We see Depp here create the character of Edward Scissorhands as a victim and his performance really helps the audience to feel for his character. I think that this is one of Johnny Depp’s most personal performances and it comes in a fantastic film. It also began the long working relationship between Depp and director Tim Burton.

 

1. Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Curse of the Black Pearl is something very special and is probably up there with my most enjoyable films; Dead Man’s Chest is good and very watchable; At World’s End is mind-numbingly dull and very confusing and who even cares that they made a fourth? As the quality of the movies in the Pirates franchise has declined Depp’s performance remains a staple in popular culture. This is probably his best and most iconic role of all time. Depp excels himself when he puts on the costume for Jack Sparrow and loses himself in the character, he creates a fantastic persona and it is a character that, given the right film, is one of the best characters ever created on film. Depp also loves playing Jack Sparrow and is the only character that he has ever portrayed on more than one occasion (perhaps proving that he should stick to playing characters just the once). But even if the films are not that good anymore people will still see them for Johnny Depp in his finest performances as Captain Jack Sparrow.

And the Oscar goes to…

The Artist took home five golden statues

So that’s that. Last night the awards season came to an end with the 84th Academy Awards. Despite winning the award in three of the big five categories The Artist will have to share the honour of most Oscars won this year with Hugo; both films received five Oscars each. The only real controversy came from an obvious source, Sacha Baron Cohen, but ultimately the show was well received and Billy Crystal did an infinitely better performance as host than James Franco and Anne Hathaway last year.

There were no real surprises on the night in terms of winners; The Artist has been a huge success and has won awards wherever it has been. At the Oscars it took home Best Film, Best Original Score and Best Costume Design whilst Michel Hazanavicius won Best Director and Jean Dujardin won Best Actor for their efforts on the film. Meryl Streep unsurprisingly won the Best Actress Oscar for The Iron Lady and Christopher Plummer (Beginners) and Octavia Spencer (The Help) took home the awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively.

It was nice to see Rango win Best Animated Film although the competition in that category looked very weak compared to the 2011 awards which included Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon. The Muppets returned to the cinema this year and took home the Best Original Song award for their ‘Man or Muppet’ number. Perhaps the only surprise on the night, if you’re really looking for one, is that neither Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II or Rise of the Planet of the Apes took home the award for Best Visual Effects with Hugo winning instead.

Below is a full list of winners of the 84th Academy Awards:

Best Picture – The Artist

Best Director – Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)

Best Actor – Jean Dujardin (The Artist)

Best Actress – Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)

Best Supporting Actor – Christopher Plummer (Beginners)

Best Supporting Actress – Octavia Spencer (The Help)

Original Screenplay – Midnight In Paris

Adapted Screenplay – The Descendants

Best Animated Feature – Rango

Best Foreign Language Film – A Separation

Best Original Score – The Artist

Best Original Song – The Muppets

Best Sound Editing – Hugo

Best Sound Mixing – Hugo

Best Art Direction – Hugo

Best Cinematography – Hugo

Best Make Up – The Iron Lady

Best Costume Design – The Artist

Best Film Editing – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Best Visual Effects – Hugo