As I go through the movies of 2012 that I didn’t manage to see while in theaters, I’m starting to realize that there’s probably a reason that I chose to skip out on some. Because once they’re seen, things like Dark Shadows and Rock of Ages can’t be unseen.
Dark Shadows (2012) – I hate to have to say it even more frequently than I already do, but the evidence that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp should take a break from each other really can’t be ignored anymore. Not to say this is the worst product of their collaboration, but it definitely isn’t a step in the right direction.
Johnny Depp is entertaining enough as the pasty complected vampire, Barnabas Collins, as his aged characteristics and dress are contrasted with the current 1970s setting, but this doesn’t go too far into this creatively so much as just going for the obvious elements to joke about. At least we know what he’s going for, whereas who knows what the heck spurred on the character choices made by Eva Green and Chloe Grace Moretz. Both make weird choices vocally for their characters, but they were also given stupid characteristics to work with, including Green’s sexually motivated onesidedness and porcelain fragility, and Moretz’s random interjection of supernatural secrets. Most of the characters have their secrets that are thrown in as a one off during the film, but it’s far from creating the depth desired for each individual.
Dark Shadows is a somewhat fun, stylized story, but it’s far from the best vampire film out there.
Final Grade: C
As a compilation musical taking classic rock songs to carry through the story of the film, it suffers greatly from feeling as if the movie is structured around the songs with plot points thrown in to allow for certain numbers, as opposed to having a story that is complimented by music added in afterwards. Rock of Ages also suffers from unfocused storytelling, with subplots that don’t blend together as smoothly as they should. Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta play two young singers in love, and as unoriginal as it is (and confusing considering how often this stage fright suffering performer sings in front of people considering it is a musical), this could have easily carried a film all on it’s own as many musicals do (if cast with a stronger female singer), as opposed to having more scenes going towards the other characters. Like Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand. I doubt this story was going for shock value so much as just for SNL type laughs, but it was still awkward and probably simply to have two men singing songs that usually wouldn’t be sung together. The worse offender would have to be Tom Cruise though, as the never-really-there rock god slows the pace of the film to a crawl with each scene focused on him.
Considering T.J. Miller’s one minute cameo is one of the only great things about the movie (the other being the beat keeping hooker boots), Rock of Ages leaves a lot of room for improvement since you can only really go up from the grade it deserves. Until that happens, I’ll leave these older songs for the road trips when my dad gets to pick the radio station.
Final Grade: D-
See anything great this past week? Let me know and it might show up in the next “For Your Renting Pleasure.”