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Quentin Tarantino defends Lone Ranger, slams Batman

- October 11th, 2013

Earlier this week, writer-director Quentin Tarantino threw movie fans for a loop by declaring The Lone Ranger one of 2013′s 10 best.

Now, just to shake things up further, QT is giving his two cents on Batman and surprisingly, he’s not a fan.

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Quentin Tarantino and a still from The Dark Knight Rises. REUTERS FILE

 

“Why? Because Batman is not a very interesting character,” he said in an interview with French weekly Les Inrockuptibles translated by Indiewire. “For any actor. There is simply not much to play. I think Michael Keaton did it the best, and I wish good luck to Ben Affleck.”

But even though he won’t be lining up for Man of Steel 2, QT did offer up his ideal actor to play the Caped Crusader. “You know who would have made a great Batman? Alec Baldwin in the ‘80s.”

And the Batman bashing didn’t stop there. Director Oliver Stone, who is circling a Martin Luther King Jr. biopic with Jamie Foxx, also weighed in on the Dark Knight.

“It’s only in the movies that you find this kind of fantasy violence,” he told Forbes. “And that’s infected the American culture; you young people believe all of this s—! Batman and Superman, you’ve lost your minds, and you don’t even know it! At least respect violence. I’m not saying don’t show violence, but show it with authenticity.”

Now, as for The Lone Ranger, Tarantino has revealed why the Johnny Depp bomb deserves a second look.

“The first 45 minutes are excellent,” Tarantino says. “The next forty-five minutes are a little soporific. It was a bad idea to split the bad guys in two groups; it takes hours to explain and nobody cares. Then comes the train scene. Incredible! When I saw it, I kept thinking, ‘What? That’s the film that everybody says is crap? Seriously?”’

The Lone Ranger was a box office disaster, earning less than $100 million domestically. Since its release last summer, Disney has severed its partnership with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and pushed back the release of Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean 5.

Still, the film joined Gravity, Before Midnight, This is the End, Frances Ha, Kick Ass 2, The Conjuring, Blue Jasmine, Afternoon Delight and Drinking Buddies as one of QT’s favourites of 2013.

“I still have a little problem with the film. I like Tonto’s backstory – the idea that his tribe got slaughtered because of him; that’s a real comic-book thing. But the slaughter of the tribe, by gunfire, from the cavalry, it left a bitter taste in my mouth,” he said. “The Indians have really been victims of a genocide. So slaughtering them again in an entertaining movie, Buster Keaton style… That ruined the fun a bit for me. I simply found it… ugly.”

Interesting, considering Tarantino’s Bag Men scene in Django Unchained was a bit of a laugher. But he took real issue with the genocide storyline in Lone Ranger. “Making fun of this, when America really did it, it bothered me,” he said. “That doesn’t stop it from being a good film, but they could have done without that.”

Quentin Tarantino’s top 10 films of 2013… so far

- October 7th, 2013

There is still three months left in the year, but Quentin Tarantino has already released his list of 2013′s best films. Billed as “an exclusive gift during the government shutdown,” the Quentin Archives has released QT’s favourite flicks of 2013.

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Because he was busy putting the final touches on Django Unchained, the writer-director didn’t list his top films last year. But his lists in 2010 and 2011 included films like Toy Story 3, The Social Network, X-Men: First Class and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.

One huge surprise on Tarantino’s 2013 list is his inclusion of last summer’s much-maligned Lone Ranger. Based on his inclusion, as well as my pal Bruce Kirkland’s review, I will definitely give it a look.

I haven’t seen everything on this list, but Gravity was a real standout for me. The Alfonso Cuarón-directed space thriller is quite possibly the best 3D film I’ve seen. Before Midnight was also an enjoyable instalment in Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s decades-spanning love story.

Here are QT’s faves of 2013 (so far) in alphabetical order. Let us know in the comments what you’ve dug the most. You can also check out my top 10 QT scenes that I assembled for his birthday earlier this year.


1. Afternoon Delight (Jill Soloway)

2. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)

3. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)

4. The Conjuring (James Wan)

5. Drinking Buddies (Joe Swanberg)

6. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)

7. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)

8. Kick Ass 2 (Jeff Wadlow)

9. The Lone Ranger (Gore Verbinski)

10. This Is The End (Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg)

‘Grown Ups 2′: Is Adam Sandler getting worse with age?

- July 12th, 2013

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OK, no one was expecting Citizen Kane, but we’ve taken a look around at the reviews for Grown Ups 2 and it’s on track to become one of Adam Sandler’s worst reviewed films.

If you thought the notices for The Lone Ranger and After Earth were bad, the reviews for Grown Ups 2 are on a whole other level of awfulness.

The movie, which Sandler co-wrote, has only garnered 7% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. That is worse than Johnny Depp’s Lone Ranger (27% positive) and Will Smith’s After Earth (11% positive).

It’s even worse than last year’s That’s My Boy (20% positive).

But perhaps the most glorious thing about a movie this bad is the many great zingers critics have come up with to slam it. We’ve assembled some of our favourites including some of the best barbs from Twitter.

From Bruce Kirkland at the Toronto Sun: “The interesting thing about Sandler’s career is that, as his comedy career spirals downwards, he seems determined to take all his friends with him into unfunny oblivion.”

From USA Today: “Even as temporary visitors, the audience can feel IQ points slipping away.”

From Screen Daily: “To paraphrase a previous, much funnier Sandler film: ‘What you’ve just given us is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever seen. At no point in your rambling, incoherent efforts were you even close to anything that could be considered genuine comedy. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having watched it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your souls.’”

From The Playlist: “This is the way our film culture ends: not with a whimper, but with a fart.”

From the Washington Post: “Grown Ups 2… seems to actually drain IQ points from its viewers while wasting a talented cast of “Saturday Night Live” alums, who are all capable of being much smarter and so much funnier.”

From Variety: “Grown Ups 2 is perhaps the closest Hollywood has yet come to making “Ow! My Balls!” seem like a plausible future project.”

From The Wrap: “Yes, it’s time for another visit to the Adam Sandler Death-of-Cinema Fun Factory, the big-screen version of a terrible sitcom where laugh tracks are replaced by the co-stars chuckling at their own awful material.”

From MLive: “The best thing I can say about Grown Ups 2 is that Rob Schneider is not in it.”

You’re probably wondering if anyone liked the film. It looks like Adam Sandler owes Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman a steak dinner.

He writes: “Sandler, working with his regular director, Dennis Dugan (the first Grown Ups, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, etc.), has figured out how to age his brand on screen in just the right way.”

If you do see Grown Ups 2, and I can’t see why anyone would, let us know what you think in the comments.


Critics savage ‘The Lone Ranger’

- July 3rd, 2013

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Yikes Kemosabe!

Johnny Depp’s The Lone Ranger is riding a wave of bad reviews into multiplexes today.

Usually the 50-year-old star is can’t-miss at the box office. But Disney could have a John Carter-sized problem with The Lone Ranger. The film has opened to some of the worst reviews of Depp’s career, and with a $225 million budget producers could take a huge hit on the film.

Critics have ripped the film to shreds, with over 70 negative reviews posted on Rottentomatoes.com. And Boxoffice.com is predicting Lone Ranger will open in the $30 million range, which is just slightly higher than Will Smith’s catastrophic After Earth.

Johnny…what happened? I haven’t seen it yet (and I do love Depp, so I probably will – bad reviews be damned), but Sun Media has its own lone ranger – Bruce Kirkland – who gives the film four stars.
“Lone Ranger ends with one of the most exhilarating, dynamic and death-defying action sequences ever filmed for a summer blockbuster,” Kirkland writes.

Besides that, you have to sift through rubble to find anything decent about the movie. But don’t worry, I’ve unearthed some dingers for your enjoyment.
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From Gawker: “It’s such a boring story. It includes a pocket-watch motif—several characters stare into clock faces just slightly less animated than them. Each tick mocks you for the time you’ve wasted.”

From Bloomberg: “At two hours and 30 minutes, “Lone Ranger” runs out of steam long before its locomotives do.”

From Culture Catch: “This small-spirited, 149-minute trek into the lobotomized minds of Hollywood’s most “creative” bigwigs is so far the worst offering of the summer season, and let’s just say it’s had some tough competition.”

From the Detroit News: “The Lone Ranger” is a pounding headache of a movie – loud, dumb, overlong and pointless.”

From the San Francisco Chronicle: “It represents 2 1/2 of the longest hours on record, a jumbled botch that is so confused in its purpose and so charmless in its effect that it must be seen to be believed, but better yet, no. Don’t see it, don’t believe it, not unless a case of restless leg syndrome sounds like a fun time at the movies.”
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Do you plan on seeing The Lone Ranger, or has Johnny Depp lost his mojo? Let me know what you think in the comments. Oh, and if you’re worried that only critics hated the movie, check out what people on Twitter have to say about the film.


Johnny Depp’s 10 best roles

- June 7th, 2013

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After kickstarting his career on TV’s 21 Jump Street, actor Johnny Depp (who joins the 50 club this weekend) slowly became Hollywood’s go-to actor when the part called for eccentric mixed with a dash of cool.

Tim Burton famously took a chance on the heartthrob by casting him in 1990’s Edward Scissorhands, and then again 1994’s Ed Wood. But until his iconic role as Captain Jack Sparrow, Depp was a bit of a niche thing, lingering on the periphery of Tinseltown’s A-list.

In the ‘90s, while contemporaries like Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves and Christian Slater (yeah, where is he now?) became household names, he eschewed big-budget fare in favour of edgier roles like Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man and Lasse Hallström’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? And when he tried to be commercial, like in the disastrous Nick of Time, Depp did his best to be different from the pack.

But in 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean came along and sent his career into orbit. Since then he has been mostly money, with a few notable exceptions – The Tourist, The Rum Diary and last year’s Dark Shadows.

Depp’s latest blockbuster, The Lone Ranger, opens next month, and before we get a look at Johnny’s Tonto, let’s take a look back at his best moments on film. Don’t like my choices? Sound off in the comments below.

CIA agent Sheldon Sands – Once Upon a Time in Mexico
I love this movie for Depp’s shirts alone – Cleavage Inspection Agency, I’m with Stupid – but there’s a whimsical swagger he uses to steal every scene he’s in.

Edward Scissorhands – Edward Scissorhands
In his first collab with director Tim Burton, Depp made himself virtually unrecognizable with thick makeup, dishelved hair and sharp protuberances for hands. His tragic dramedy wasn’t a hit at the time, but became a cult classic in the years that followed, and was the basis for his longest creative partnership. And hey, if there is one Depp film that needs a sequel, wouldn’t you like it to be this?

Jack Sparrow – Pirates of the Caribbean
I don’t even think Disney saw this juggernaut coming. But in a crowded summer movie season, a film based on a Disney ride ended up being one of the biggest films of 2003. Since then, the character has become his most lucrative spawning four sequels with a fifth due out in 2015.

Willy Wonka – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
For this performance, Depp told Ellen DeGeneres he imagined “what George Bush would be like incredibly stoned.” And here I thought he was supposed to be riffing on Michael Jackson.

Raoul Duke – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Depp shaved his head and chain smoked his way through his dazzling performance of Hunter S. Thomson’s alter ego in Terry Gilliam’s acid-filled Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Too bad 2011’s The Rum Diary didn’t have the same kind of fearless bravado.

Joe Pistone – Donnie Brasco
Going up against acting legend Al Pacino in 1997’s Donnie Brasco was Depp’s first real test. He passed with flying colours playing a real-life undercover FBI agent who infiltrated the mob in the ‘70s. It’s a stylish, understated performance that should have netted him an Oscar.

Sweeney Todd – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
By 2007, there was no dispute that Depp could act, but what about his singing? Tim Burton cast him as a serial killing barber who murders his customers who are then baked into pies. Oh yeah, and he likes to sing too. It was risky, but under Burton’s close eye, Depp proved he could be a villain and carry a tune.

John Dillinger – Public Enemies
It’s not a perfect movie, but Michael Mann’s gunfights, and Depp’s slick villain made 2009’s Public Enemies a treat to watch. Christian Bale’s G-Man also proved the Batman star could play a mean second fiddle.

Gilbert Grape – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
As the lead star in an ensemble film that co-starred Leo DiCaprio, Depp was the emotional centre in this quirky film about a family living in Endora, Iowa (Pop. 1,091). Grape has dreams for his future (maybe not big ones), but he’s the glue holding together a family that includes a 500-pound mother and a disabled brother. There was a real subdued gentleness in this performance that still shines through 20-plus years later.

Rango – Rango
I loved how Pirates director Gore Verbinski literally made an animated version of Depp for this hilarious desert flick. Who woulda thunk he had the vocal chops to play a fast-talking lizard? Or the time? It’s heaps of fun, and it’s one of the rare Depp films you can actually watch with kids.

Curious how Johnny has fared at the box office? You can test your knowledge by taking our little interactive. And if you don’t like my picks, let us know your favourite films in the comments below.