Wealthy fisheries baron, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) makes the mistake of rejecting the advances of his maid, Angelique (Eva Green) only to discover that she’s a powerful witch. After magicking Barnabas’ true love, Josette (Bella Heathcote) into committing suicide, she turns Barnabas into a vampire and locks him up in an iron coffin. Two hundred years later Barnabas returns to find the family business all but ruined and his crumbling mansion inhabited by his last surviving family members as well as a few hangers-on, including a governess who looks just a little bit too much like Josette. Determined to restore the family to glory, Barnabas must take on Angelique once again while also negotiating the rather different societal norms of the 1970’s. This clearly has Tim Burton stamped all over it… Bella Heathcote is the living embodiment of the corpse bride… and from a pure style/quirky charm perspective it kind of works. However this film feels like it’s suffered at the hands of over-editing, leaving it with scant character development and a lot of gaping plot holes. You could do worse, but if you want to immerse yourself in the weird and wonderful world of Mr Burton, this is not the place to start.
Cameron Diaz plays, Elizabeth, a gold-digging junior high teacher who drinks, smokes and swears her way through classes, safe in the knowledge that her wealthy fiancé will take care of her. When he dumps her, Elizabeth is forced to reassess how she’s going to pay for the boob job she’s always dreamed of. With the arrival of a new teacher in the shape of watch heir, Scott (Justin Timberlake), the path seems clear. But there’s competition not only for Scott’s affections but also to win a type of teacher of the year prize, with a whopping cash bonus. And Liz can’t help but be drawn to her penniless colleague, Russell (Jason Segel). I guess this was trying to be a kind of female version of Bad Santa, but it falls short. We’ll give it a C-. Shows promise but not living up to its potential.
It’s the summer of 1979 and deputy sheriff’s son, Joe (Joel Courtney) and his friends are attempting to make their own zombie movie. When they accidentally film a train crash, they realise that they might have captured something a lot scarier than some fake zombies. At the same time the army has descended on their small town, people and pets are disappearing mysteriously and no one will tell anyone what’s going on. This starts well and the kids are great, but once we get into the hard to believe government conspiracy and Spielberg trademark family values shtick it all gets a bit lame. It wasn’t for me but Mr Osbiston liked it so there might be some merit.
Aaron Eckhart plays Nick Naylor, the “face” of big tobacco, using all his best spinning techniques to defend the cigarette industry. Believing himself to be untouchable, Nick makes the rookie mistake of getting into bed with a beautiful journalist (Katie Holmes). Soon Nick’s secrets are out in the open, he’s out of a job and the persona he’s created is crumbling… but can the master of arguments argue his way out? This is a black comedy in the best possible style. Eckhart is perfect to play the slimy but oddly likeable, Naylor, and if you’ve ever relished the idea of argument as an art form you’ll love this. Highly recommended.