From a 1960’s afternoon soap opera, comes Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp as the cursed vampire Barnabus Collins. His 18th century love, Josette (Bella Heathcote), died under the spell of Angelique (Eva Green). Segue to 1972 and Barnabus is freed when construction workers discover his buried coffin and his thirst is quenched on their blood. Angelique’s antagonist, Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer), is the matriarch of the famous Collins family and their decaying 200 year old mansion, Collinswood. Barnabus enters his old haunt and meets the family and the new nanny, Victoria (also Heathcote). Of course, his appearance creates a new spell of curses, animals of the night and the demise of a band of hippies. I was very entertained by Dark Shadow and it is the easy, quizzy nature of Depp mixed with Tim Burton’s artful direction in their eighth collaboration (the first was the unique Edward Scissorhands) that kept me captivated. The rich photography, the crumbling house on the hill, the scintillating performances by an all-star cast and more than a few laughs added up to success.
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
Formerly, the British escaped to Italy or a Greek Island when they wanted to depart the Isles, but here, it is India and the hope for a growing nation in the midst of modernization. Reality has a way of destroying the myth in a hurry as this great cast led by Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson and Maggie Smith. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a rundown and torn apart shell owned by the optimistic and energetic son of the former owner. That each finds him and herself willing to alter their uncomfortable life situations as their surroundings slowly improve. This movie is a positive addition in a genre void of quality in recent years. The standard has been Julia Robert’s “Eat, Pray, Love,” which undercuts its own themes. Exotic is sometimes subtle and witty and a bit less glossy in a good way. It is a drama with comedy just outside the bounds of cliché.
Sound of My Voice
Here is a piece of fiction loaded with the evocative. It is difficult to describe the emotions of the two documentary film makers (Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius) who set out to explore a new cult. Maggie (Brit Marling), who claims to be from the future, is the brain behind this tightly knit. Through rituals, forbearance and a complicated handshake, the interlopers find themselves uncomfortably drawn in by the anticipation of the future and Maggie’s unsettling mystique. True, Sound of My Voice does contain elements of several novel and movie plots, but this one is fresh and one I won’t soon forget.