Tag Archive: johnny depp

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

I hate it when I am looking forward to a movie and it doesn’t live up to what I had hoped it would be.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has been advertised for months. I was super excited to see Jude Law as a younger Dumbledore. Johnny Depp appearing as Grindelwald seems inspired.

crimes of grindelwald.jpgI knew that we would see Grindelwald’s beginnings as a leader of wanting only wizards to rule the world. I knew that there would be new and old characters developing the story further.

I didn’t expect the darkness but I should have because the timing of Grindelwald’s reign of terror coincides with WWII. And his message of a master race is eerily similar to Hitler’s messages from the early 1930s.

The movie starts with Grindelwald’s escape from New York, a scene in which enemies and partners are discarded like wet towels that are no longer needed. Soon enough we are finding out about his true intentions and desires. We see him slowly trying and winning more followers.

Meanwhile, Newt Scamander has continued to take care of his menagerie of creatures. Because of the events in New York City a few months back, he is no longer allowed to travel across international lines. But the ministry is willing to allow him to travel again if Newt is willing to ‘take care’ of the Credence problem.

Crimes of Grindelwald fullcastThere are other problems. When Queenie and Jacob show up in London, Newt knows immediately that Queenie has put Jacob, an American Muggle, under a spell. They want to marry but Jacob won’t until the law allows them to be married.

Soon enough all three find their way to Paris to find Tina, Quennie’s sister. Not to mention the situation with Dumbledore.

The animation of this movie is incredible. Magical creatures abound and seamlessly works on the screen. I feel as if we are in the London and Paris of the 1920s moving towards the 1930s with more fitted clothing but Marcel waves still abounding.

The problem is there are almost too many back stories that we need to make sense of everything. Some of our characters do not act in a way that seems true to the characters we have known. While Jude Law is good as Dumbledore and Eddie Redmayne continues to shine as Newt, there is something missing. The wonder of magic is simply not present enough despite Jacob’s efforts.

That compounds the fact that this movie is too dark in the story line, in the story telling, and in the characterization of Grindelwald. This is not a movie for children, as much as I wish it to be. It is better for teens and adults who might feel a kinship with Credence in his hunt for his real family.

The first movie had many magical elements and was fun. This second installment has moved to a darker place quite quickly and I feel the rest of the movies in this series will not go back to a lighter feeling. But how can it when we are talking about a holocaust?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Makeover at the Movies

Family Movie Night


by Karyn Bowman


How do you feel when an old favorite movie gets a makeover?



Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

I was thinking about this as my husband made plans to see The Lone Ranger at the drive-in. He is planning to take us to a double feature that also includes Man of Steel, the latest vision of Superman.


Both movies represent something from my childhood. Both movies present former heroes in a new light. And to be honest, I am not sure I want to see these movies.


I grew up with Clayton Moore playing the former Texas Ranger out to find justice. By his side was Jay Silverheels as Tonto. My brother and I watched the old serial episodes on Channel 9. It didn’t matter that we had seen many of the episodes time and time again. We loved them and played out the episodes in the yard.


So imagine my surprise when I saw the first renderings of Johnny Depp as Tonto. The white face and dark eyes along with the strange crow hat made me wonder just what Depp was doing? Would this be the ruin of the new movie or something interesting? It makes me wonder how far into the metaphysical world would director Gore Verbinski dip into in order to bring a different story to the big screen.



Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

And then there is Man of Steel. The story of Superman’s escape from a dying planet is the same but like never before Clark is aware that he has to hide his powers. Like never before he is aware of what makes him different and that fact is not going to be lightly glossed over. He cannot reveal his difference because people will not take the time to understand him.


Should we have pondered this before? I mean, why else does someone choose to leave their family on the farm to go to New York? Perhaps, it is why most people leave the farm and head to the big city – they hate the farm. A lot of people have done this in the past and no one gave it a second thought. Who wants to stay on a farm when they can be the big cheese elsewhere?


But what we love about Superman are his small town values. We love that he wants to help people, right wrongs and help America remain free. He fights for Truth, Justice and the American Way. He helps the little guy and children while protecting the Earth from outside force.


Recently, my 16-year-old watched Superman 4 in which Superman is working for World Peace and Lex Luthor is trying to destroy him. I forgot about some of the awful fashions but I also forgot the wistfulness of Superman and Luthor’s out-and-out greed.


Can I bear to see Superman/Clark Kent portrayed by someone other than Christopher Reeves and believe that person is Superman? Will I be able to watch Johnny Depp’s version of Tonto and not snicker – too much? I am not sure. But after Wednesday night, I might have an answer for you.


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.

Oh, there are questions and ponderings. When the answer lady looks at the search terms used to find their way to this humble blog, she is never quite sure if people really do not know these things or in serious need of a book.

Well, at least there is the internet and Google to assist those who have a question and need an answer.

Q. Who is older – Johnny Depp, Nicholas Cage or Barack Obama?

A. The Answer Lady knows this one without even looking up dates.

Why is that you ask?

Nicholas Cage is only six days younger than Answer Lady. Plus, her adorable 14-year-old is a huge Johnny Depp fan and tells Answer Lady all of the time that they were born on the same year. That would make both men 47.

President Barack Obama, Image from visitingdc.com.

Now, our president was born in 1961. In fact, he will have his 5oth birthday on August 4th.  So the answer to the question is that Barack Obama is older than Nicholas Cage and Johnny Depp.

Q. Why has my spider wort gotten leggy?

A. Spider wort loves spring weather. This grassy plant gets nice and high. Fuchsia or purple flowers bloom and it is quite lovely. However, once the heat of summer settles in the plant is not so happy, especially if it is in full sun most of the day.

Spiderwort in full sun, not pretty.

I have spider wort in full sun and in part shade. The plant in part shade is a little weepy but there for the most part. The plant in full sun is wilting, drying away and the patch of ground is looking bad. This fall, I am transplanting the rest of my spider wort to the part shade sections.

Q. Which is tastier – Elephant Ears or Funnel Cakes?

A. The answer to this question is that the Answer Lady does not have a clear concise answer. Both food items contain flour, sugar and grease. Both are sugared – granulated sugar on the elephant ear and powdered sugar on the funnel cake. You can get toppings on the elephant ears that make them even more tasty.

That does not answer the question and the Answer Lady must ask that dear readers begin to pipe in about their preference. As it is County Fair season, we are planning on an expedition to decide which is better. It is a tough job but someone has to do it. Does anyone want to join me and share in the load?

Image by Grafixar

Quiet On the Set

Getting REady to be the Ghost Girl

This past weekend I had the pleasure of watching my daughter take part in a movie. It is a thriller and she is the ghost girl.

Granted, this is no Hollywood production with big names and potential for superstardom. It is as about as indie as you can get. Once it is done the movie will only be about 10-15 minutes long.

This is how people get started if you cannot leave your hometown and go to Hollywood. Want to know something even cooler? The producer/director has a listing on IMDb.com.

Let me start at the beginning.

We have known Shannon Feaster for several years as our boys have been in school together since kindergarten. They share this interest of movies. When Johnny Depp came to our town to shoot a scene for Public Enemies, Dakota and David were first and second in line for hand shakes.

Dakota has been making small videos and made his first horror short last winter. It was really good, scary, unsettling.

So Shannon and Michelle (wife/producer/makeup artist/actress/whatever is needed) belong to a collective of people making horror movie shorts. They are given a prompt and put together their own scripts. The one my daughter is making an appearance in is called The Keepsake. It is spooky and scary with a bit a realism.

A director with his actor

Shannon is filming it in a friend’s house and on a local street. If you have never been on a film set, it is a fascinating process. I have been on the set of Prison Break which was really interesting with multiple cameras.

One scene that lasts a minute can take several hours as cameras get various angles. Perhaps the actors figure out a different way to do a scene that works better. Someone does a look in one scene they don’t do in another. Or after several scenes of doing the scene the actors get a case of the giggles.

I was fascinated. While the genre is not one of my favorites, I loved seeing the creative process play out. The need to get several takes of the same shot. The need for the rest of us not to move or make a sound as the mike catches everything. I felt the same way with the TV show I watched.

It was a great experience. I only hope my daughter appreciates it later.

Family Movie Night Column for June 16, 2010

 Now that family movies are all being made in 3D, I have to say I do not like it. Gives me a headache and adds little to the visual.

 We went to see Alice In Wonderland when it came to the movie theaters

Movie Poster from IMDb.com

in 3D. I hated the glasses, hated the way the color became murkier and thought the pop-outs were not that great.

 Here is the thing – a director such as Tim Burton does not need to do a 3D movie to make his movies more real, more alive. If you are a fan of his work of the last 20 years, then you know how he can make a person reach into their heart for every emotion.

 Perhaps you saw Beetlejuice(1988) or Batman (1989) or Edward Scissorhands (1990) and realized the depth of emotion that was in theses movies that also hi-lighted the strangeness of life that exists in our world.

 These elements are a part of Burton’s recent movies as well. Alice in Wonderland may have talking creatures, weird heads, and unnatural make-up but the characters are all people working through troubles,

Alice and the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. Picture from IMDb.com

working through a problem and trying to find a solution. While some might be destructive (off with their heads) or filled with denial, at some point one must deal with the decisions they make.

 “Wait, wait, this is a kid’s movie, right? How can you see all of this in a kid’s movie?”

 Here is what I am saying. Deeper thought can be always be found in any movie – adult, family, kid. Alice In Wonderland may have been marketed for kids but there is a message. The story is a familiar one of a girl falling down a hole into another world. But she has a task in this underground world, just like she has in the top world.

 In the story, Alice does not believe herself to be the right Alice and wants to find a way back home. But in that journey she learns she has a task that no one else can do. With the help of the rabbit, the Mad Hatter and Blue Caterpiller, Alice finds the answer she needs for both worlds.

The Mad Hatter before the big battle. Picture from IMDb.com.

 Masked in the fun and the hurly burly of the adventure and magical creatures we see the story of a young woman who sees how others have made their choices. She is not sure they were the right choices and wants to make sure hers for her life are the right ones.

 Still, rent this movie for the fun of it, for the journey Alice has to make. There are times when the situation may be too scary for the youngest members of the family. But those who are 8 and up should be able to understand what is happening with fewer problems.

 Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

 Let the world, or at least St. Anne, know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note to P.O. Box 306, St. Anne, IL 60964 or become my friend on Facebook.