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May 10, 2012


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Eva Green???

Chloe Moretz is the main event in DS.

What ever happened to JOHN Murray, the Zeppo of the Murray clan?


"Eva Green??? Chloe Moretz is the main event in DS."

No kidding. Literally.


There's a real good chance I'll be checking out 'Dark Shadows' because of your praise, something I had no intention of doing before. I'm not a boomer but my dad is and I have memories of many hours spent watching, and being largely baffled by, the original soap in reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel in the early '90s. Despite my stance of largely ignoring trailers, I did feel mildly piqued when I saw the manic Barry White-soundtracked preview (nothing against Barry White, of course.) But I'm glad to hear to Burton and Depp are up to something more along the lines of 'Sleepy Hollow' than 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' Good reading as always, Glenn.

David Ehrenstein

Nice review, Glenn. "Dark Shadows" is great silly fun. My favorite moment is Johnny Depp's Barnabas yelling "Reveal yourself tiny enchantress!!!!"at a TV screen where Karen Carpenter can be seen singing "Top of the World."

And yes Chloe Moretz is really something.

Victor Morton

You were about 2.5 stars too generous to GOD BLESS AMERICA, Glenn. It is a vile, hateful piece of self-fellating garbage. I saw it at a Toronto Midnight Madness show in an auditorium full of Bobcat fanboys, whooping up and applauding every "let's be nice / let's be serious" rant, every kill shot, every straw man, every self-apologia ... truly one of the unpleasant experiences of my filmgoing life.


Wait. Goldthwait actually says that about LOLITA? Specifics, please.

Glenn Kenny

Yeah, when the teenage girl broaches the idea that the sad-sack hero—you know, the guy with cancer who's on a killing spree 'cause everyone's so MEAN and COARSE—might a) find her attractive and b) want to act on it, he launches into a defensive response that I believe begins "Fuck Vladimir Nabokov." And of course he mispronounces "Nabokov." I think that's on purpose, actually. To insult him more.


The jeremiad--another quintessential American art form that's fallen out of favor. I guess it works better when someone who knows the form intimately, like lapsed Calvinist Paul Schrader, writes the story. However, GOD BLESS AMERICA's premise looked almost too stupid not to be secretly good. Sorry to hear that it's just stupid. I'm also kind of creeped out by the idea that "Bobcat fanboys" exist.

Victor Morton

Actually, on the evidence of this movie, Bobcat could (in principle) make a good jeremiad. He certainly has ideas that one might call a prophetic critique (especially if one were Cornel West). But there is a reason Brother West doesn't make violent action movies. #ohwait #DoesThatCount?

Tony Dayoub

In re: DARK SHADOWS. Thanks for confirming what I've been thinking as I read these pre-release pans. That a) the soaps fans are incensed that the film isn't what THEY wanted it to be, b) most of the people who've panned the film just don't seem to get what it's going for, and c) Tim Burton is still in the fanboy doghouse for some reason.

It may not be the prototypical summer blockbuster, but something about it seems to hit a visual/stylistic sweet spot in me. I'm sure I'll like it.


Victor: I've never read West, so I am thoroughly confused.


Glenn: You exaggerate the Nabokov moment. Since in the context of the film the character is on a long rant, it's a bit exaggerated to say the film endorses that argument. Yes, it's what the character says in that moment but as I'm sure you've noted elsewhere we can't take a character's dialogue and assume it's the transparent position of the film or filmmaker...even in a movie that's a satirical rant

Victor Morton

I was referring to West's MATRIX appearances as a way of one-upping my joke about the prophetic tradition (bringing up Cornel West in a discussion of Bobcat Goldthwait is never not-funny). Regardless my point is, that a violent action film is a poor vehicle for a jeremiad about how coarse and mean people are (or rather ... how coarse and mean *Those* People are).


Got it. My recall of the Matrix sequels is not so lightening-quick as it once was. The cruelest symptom of old age.


@Tony - Just so's you know: a) I've never seen the DARK SHADOWS TV show; b) I get what the movie's going for; c) Tim Burton is not in my doghouse.

I just don't think the movie looks very good. Glenn has me reconsidering, but I was as down on that trailer as anyone.

Tony Dayoub

Well, Bill, then obviously my comment isn't directed at you.

But this next one is. Judging a film by its trailer or its director (which I must concede I'm oft times guilty of) is seldom the right frame of mind to go into a movie with. If I wrote off every Joel Shumacher film then I would have missed one of my all-time favorites, the admittedly flawed FALLING DOWN.


I can't speak for anyone else, but Burton for me is, if not in the doghouse, at least someone I don't trust as much as I used to, given the fact that, of all the films he directed over the past decade, SWEENEY TODD is the only one I retain any fondness for (I like CORPSE BRIDE a lot as well, but that's not entirely Burton's film). Still, given the fact I also have never seen the show, and I also sort of get what the movie is going for it, I'll see it (though, given my employment situation at the moment, it'll probably have to wait till it comes out on DVD).

That Fuzzy Bastard

I believe Burton is in the fanboy doghouse for not making a good movie since the mid 90s, and maybe, on consideration, long before. However bad God Bless America is, it can't be half as loaded with hatred for anyone not exactly like the filmmaker than that horrible Ayn Rand fantasy Mars Attacks.

Tony Dayoub

I know what the myth is, TFB. But the two movies lipranzer noted, as well as SLEEPY HOLLOW and BIG FISH, have enough virtues on the right side of the creative ledger that I have no doubt that the inevitable reappraisal of his career down the road will judge Burton as one of the more consistently great auteurs now working.


I have a joke that Belgium is the France many smug Englishmen would prefer France to be, in that it is a conservative monarchy, is properly grateful to Britain, doesn't make caustic comments about English culture, and is a lot smaller. With that idea in mind, Portugal is the real Spain, Switzerland the perfect Germany, Ukraine the more ameneable Russia, Pakistan the better India and Tim Burton the ideal Terry Gilliam.


But Tony, deciding if a movie looks good or bad based on its trailer is what a trailer is for. It's not impossible to be wrong in that judgment, but it's not ridiculous to make it in the first place.


"I believe Burton is in the fanboy doghouse for not making a good movie since the mid 90s, and maybe, on consideration, long before."

'Ed Wood' remains Burton's best by far.

Tony Dayoub


Subversives do work within the system, appearing as safe and conformist as everyone expects.


The dissonance comes between the fact that trailers are often cut and produced by those whose only intention is to sell product. Whereas one hopes that filmmakers, especially ones with as singular a vision as Burton, have loftier goals.

I don't find it disturbing that Burton is willing to make some concessions to commerce in order to get his films released (in contrast to Gilliam, who reminds me about the tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it).


"Ed Wood" is one of his best films, but I've got mixed feelings about the way he changes some bits of history, usually to romanticize things in a way that goes against the film's greatest strengths. ("Plan 9" opening at the Pantages?) I think my favorite Burton film has to be "Edward Scissorhands" - I almost want to say "The Nightmare Before Christmas," but I'm not quite sure of the collaborative balance between Selick and Burton.


Who said I minded that Burton is willing to make commercial concessions? I don't. What I mind is that the movie doesn't look funny to me. What should I do, especially since I didn't like Burton's last couple at all? That doesn't put him in my doghouse, but it makes me wary. And if the thing that's being put together with the sole purpose of selling the film to me does the exact opposite, as far as I'm concerned, why is it out of bounds to say "Hey, that movie doesn't look very good."

Glenn Kenny

Well. For myself, while I found the overt jokes in the movie mild to not-bad, for my money the best humor was the character stuff, particularly Depp waxing all moony over true love Josette and then immediately losing all resolve as soon as Eva Green's character so much as indicates her cleavage. Pretty classic. Not really indicated in depth in the trailer.

Tony Dayoub

And Eva Green is not only a quirky kind of gorgeous but a very good actress.

And gorgeous.


TFB, I enjoyed MARS ATTACKS, and didn't pick up any philosophy in it except for the one that says any movie where a Slim Whitman song is responsible for saving humanity from alien invasion can't be all bad.


Anyway, I'll see it at some point, and if I like it I'll be very pleased, and maybe not even entirely shocked. But right now I do have my reservations, and I hold them dear.


Also, and not to sound like I'm trying to start an argument over whatever's near to hand, because I'm not, but I don't think Eva Green is gorgeous in a quirky way. I think she's gorgeous in the way that the guy who thought up the word "gorgeous" was trying to illustrate.

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