Tag Archive: Dark Shadows


Making Do

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

One of the problems of renting movies from the store in town is that the movie I want to see is not always back and ready when I am ready.

Case in point, Sunday I was ready to watch The Odd Life of Timothy Green starring Jennifer Gardner and Joel Eddgerton.

I wanted to watch a life re-affirming movie, one that reminds me a of the joys that are mixed in with all of the sorrows.  The story is about a childless couple who write down all of the aspects of their dream child that they have not been able to conceive. Then they take the papers, put them in a box and bury the dream in the back yard. Imagine their surprise when a child comes from that spot who slowly reveals himself to be all of the things they dreamed. That was the movie I was hoping to see.

What I saw instead was the movie box with an empty hook for the tag.

Someone had beat me to the movie, someone was enjoying it but I was not.

Bummer.

That is when I went with my second choice, Dark Shadows starring Johnny Depp.

I had put this movie on my list of safe scares. Trust me, there are things here to scare a little kid but not a tweener or anyone older.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

A re-vamp of the 1960s soap opera, this movie brings Barnabas Collins (Depp) back to his mansion in Maine after being trapped for nearly 200 years. His goal is to bring greatness back to his surviving family members. Elizabeth Collins (Michelle Pfeiffer) is the strong matriarch raising her daughter while Roger (Jonny Lee Miller) is the weak willed patriarch more interested in lifting money than making it. Nor is he interested in his son, David,  who misses the mother who died at sea.

The family appears to be plagued by a curse. Their livelihood has failed, they are barely keeping the manor together. Elizabeth hires a new nanny for David who fits in perfectly, maybe too perfectly. But the curse is really a series of problems caused by vengeful former lover of Barnabas who has lived as long as he has and worked to create a fishing empire.

What works is Johnny Depp as Barnabas. He delivers lines well and remains true to the character, with the exception of one or two scenes that are entertaining but do not work. However, when he is paired with Pfeiffer the air crackles and pops. They share the same goal and intensity of saving the family. There are hidden layers for nearly every character that makes you want to keep watching.

However, I find there are some glaring problems with big holes in the plot and characters that do not stay true to themselves. I wanted more Victoria, David and Liz, less Doctor Hoffman. I wanted more gothic atmosphere and less killing.

For me this movie was a miss while my 15-year-old thought it was a hit. Perhaps it is a case of great style, little substance.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

As Halloween creeps ever closer, we think we should be watching scary movies.

 

And why not? The rental racks are filled with spooky fun and gory scary movies.

 

So perhaps you are watching Cabin in The Woods or Paranormal nth degree.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

As some of you may know, I am not a big horror movie fan. They give me nightmares and who needs that in their life when there are so many other scary things in real life. My questionable movie tastes run towards costume dramas, raunchy comedies and just about anything with Robert Downey Jr. or Johnny Depp.

 

And that explains why I am putting Dark Shadows on my list of movies to watch this month. The movie is a Tim Burton remake of the old soap opera that was camp at its best. This time around, Johnny Depp is playing Barnabas Collins whose casket has been uncovered by a construction project.

 

He was trapped there in the 1700s and it is now 1972. The world has changed but his family seems mired in disaster. The ineffective patriarch Roger (Johnny Lee Miller) is a bit of a playboy while his sister, Elizabeth (Michelle Pfieffer) runs the family. But their problems can be traced to one person, namely a 200-year-old witch by the name of Angelique (Eva Green) who has held a grudge against the Collins family for that long as well.

 

This is not a great storyline, I get that. But what this movie offers is the quirkiness of director Tim Burton playing with Americana and Johnny Depp. It is a movie that will see me with a big bowl of popcorn, enjoying every moment – I hope.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Next week there is another movie coming out that just seems wrong in so many ways and yet I am looking forward to seeing it. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter which is based on the book of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith in which our 16th president is re-seen as a vampire killer.

 

He has his reasons for hating the undead and he is quite good at taking them out. This movie is billed as coming from the imagination of Tim Burton who is a producer but not the director. That job went to Timur Bekmambetov who also directed Wanted. I have heard bad reviews, good reviews and everything in between.

 

I have heard it is a subtle comedy, kick-butt action or parallel universe gone wrong. Before Daniel Day-Lewis comes out with his defining performance of Lincoln in the Speilberg movie due out for later this year, I think I am watching this for some spooky campy fun.

 

Now I realize both of these movies are meant for teens and adults. I would not show either to my 11- or 8-year-old children. Luckily for them, the newest Madagascar movie is out on DVD in which the gang tries to get back to New York City disguised as a circus while wearing crazy rainbow afro wigs. It sounds crazy and ridiculous and probably not very good. Sounds like a party to me.

Image from IMDb.com

Can you imagine the fun of dancing around the living room when they do that ‘move it’ song?

 

Yep, my kids are pretty horrified at the thought – which is why I am considering doing it anyway.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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