Tag Archive: sweeney todd


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.

Rock of Ages: Review.

Rock of Ages is the big screen adaptation of hugely successful stage musical of the same name featuring some of the biggest rock songs of the 1980s. Bringing musicals to the big screen isn’t anything new with Mamma Mia, Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street and, later on this year, even Les Miserables all featuring in cinemas.

Rock of Ages is the story of a small town girl and a city boy who meet on the Sunset Strip whilst pursuing their dreams in Hollywood. Their love faces challenges with accusations of betrayal, self doubts and the threatened closure of famous rock club the Bourbon all playing a part in their relationship.

Tom Cruise is Stacee Jaxx; lead singer of huge rock band Arsenal and a stereotypical ‘sex, drugs and rock and roll’ rock star who has gone off the rails. Although, whilst the marketing of Rock of Ages will tell you this is a Tom Cruise film if you do go see it just for him then you will be disappointed. The main roles fall to professional dancer Julianne Hough and pretty boy Mexican actor Diego Boneta who are both actually really good to watch with a clear chemistry on screen and the two put in very enjoyable performances. Alec Baldwin, Bryan Cranston and Mary J. Blige all put in sustainable supporting performances whilst Catherine Zeta Jones puts in a performance that makes you question how you never found her annoying at all before this. Paul Giamatti is always reliable and does enough here as Stacee Jaxx’s agent. Russell Brand is awful; his accent constantly changing throughout the film, the delivery of his lines drier than the desert and his all round persona just stinking of desperation to be adored; whoever cast Brand in this film and keeps casting him in other films should really take a good hard look at themselves and ask them why they are doing this.

But it is the musical numbers that draw in fans of musicals and there are plenty of big songs featured in Rock of Ages: Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin, ¬†Foreigner’s Jukebox Hero, Poison’s Every Rose Has It’s Thorn as well as We Built This City by Starship. And the musical numbers are executed very well, fantastic vocals, loud music that create a very real atmosphere and an enjoyable two or three minutes when the songs are on.

Unfortunately though, everything else that isn’t being sung is incredibly dull. A lot of the comedy is misplaced and falls flat and for a light hearted musical the laughs are a pretty important part to enjoyment. The characters are very two dimensional and the dialogue is poorly written and feels very forced at times. It’s a musical so you can look past how quickly people fall in love and form a relationship because that’s what musicals are all about; a sense of utopia. But poor dialogue, poor characters, poor storylines and an all round poor structure take away from the solid performances and good musical numbers because it’s just not enjoyable as a film.

Lots of video games and books that are turned into films are very criticised heavily leading to calls for books and video games to be left on their own platforms and I think the same needs to be said here. Big musicals do well because they include the audience, they make the audience feel like they are a part of the whole performance (something for which Rock of Ages, the stage musical, takes very seriously and is very well known for) and doing this is not possible with films, you do not get the full musical experience watching on a screen.

This is something that should have been left on the stage and, despite Tom Cruise’s involvement and a great soundtrack, all round fails as a film.

My Rating: 4/10.

UK Release Date: 5th October 2012

Produced by Disney, Frankenweenie is Tim Burton’s latest directorial offering being released later on this year. The film is a feature length remake of Burton’s short film of the same name which was made in 1984.

The main character is Victor Frankenstein who, after the death of his dog Sparky, tries to bring his beloved dog back to life. He succeeds, only to face unintended and at times monstrous consequences. Whilst not working with regular collaborator Johnny Depp, Burton is still working with people he has worked with before with the voice cast including Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder and Martin Short, while Charlie Tahan voices Victor.

To be honest, I am not too fussed about this film. Of all Burton directed films I have seen I have only really enjoyed two of them (Sweeney Todd and the brilliant Edward Scissorhands). I’m not a big fan of stop motion animation; I think it looks slightly half hearted when compared to the animation of Pixar or even Dreamworks and the film will be in black and white which I cannot see attracting a younger audience to a viewing. The trailer fails to excite me even in the slightest which is a shame, because of all the excitement about the film I think I was expecting more, only to be disappointed.

I’m sure if you’re a fan of Burton’s directing and animation then there will be lots to enjoy but unfortunately, this is not for me.