Tag Archives: Johnny Depp

“21 Jump Street” – or how I stopped worrying and learned to love remakes…

No doves, no love, muddy funsters…

TL:DR version?  It’s a hoot – go rent it.

When the 2012 reinvention of “21 Jump Street” was announced, I confess to having had misgivings about it.

For one thing, remakes are the work of enfeebled minds, so utterly in thrall to easy cash and terrified of producing anything original that they desperately seek anything to remake, as the heavy conceptual lifting has already been done by somebody else.  All that has to be done by the ‘creative’ brains trust bringing the new version to life is to cut-and-paste contemporary pin-up actors and new music into the mix and make the marketing campaign obnoxious enough to bring teens to the theatres in their droves on date night.

Yes, kids, this is how we dressed in the late eighties and early nineties. Try not to hurl.

For another thing, this is “21 Jump Street”, dude!  Though utterly rubbish in execution, possessed of severely reactionary politics and as plausible and true to life as a “Fast & Furious” movie, the Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson, Dustin Nguyen and Peter DeLuise baby-faced cops undercover tv drama was a staple of my teen years and any new pretender to the throne couldn’t possibly do anything to justify its existence.  Misbegotten, I say to you sir/madam – misbegotten!

“But where shall we secrete your Rocket Launcher?”

Happily, it turns out after a viewing of said foul remake that I’m full of shizz and can inform you that this remake of the 80’s TV show is arguably one of the funniest comedies in years, managing the tricky feat of balancing the demands of obnoxious bromance bobbins, fast-paced action, well-observed high school clique tale and meta, self-aware comedy quite brilliantly.

A large part of the success of this film, after the bonkers direction of Phil Lord and Chris Miller (previous film – “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs”!) and Michael Bacall‘s deranged screenplay, is the playing of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.  Their on-screen chemistry is so immediate and so convincing that you find yourself pleasantly surprised by it and wonder why nobody thought to combine the two before – their bickering, name-calling and self-aware idiocy are a delight to behold, from their initial meet cute to the middle of the film, where the script contrives splendidly to play with our expectations of the actors, making nerdy, chubby motormouth Hill the most popular kid in school and buff man mountain Tatum seek solace in the bosom of the school’s science nerds.

There’s a plot – something-something-designer-drugs-in-high-school-hey-guns-lots-of-guns! – but it scarcely matters when the jokes are as funny as they are in this film and when our expectations are pretty much undercut at every turn, from character to incident.  I’m not saying that this film reinvents our experience of cinema or anything as profound as that, but the combination of likeable characters, unexpected events, non sequitur wit and blithe mayhem does manage to make what could have been a by-the-numbers cop flick ever so more palatable and enjoyable than I ever expected it to be.

Tatum, for example, is a joy in this film – I had him pegged as a dopey pin-up with minimal acting talent but he’s the funniest and most charming leading man who you could hope for, given the right material.  After seeing this, I suspect that the decision to delay this summer’s “G.I. Joe – Retaliation” to 2013 has bugger all to do with slapping a 3D makeover on the movie and everything to do with the fact that Tatum’s character being killed off in the original version managed to unceremoniously get rid of the biggest movie star in the damn flick – three of his movies this year have cracked a hundred million at the US box office and I’d be willing to stake my size 14 Vans on the fact that he’s the reason for those numbers.

A rare sequel that I’m actually looking forward to – if it has more Ice Cube shouting and being grumpy, more unexpected cameos and more barely allowable filth, then I’m there on opening weekend…

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“Dark Shadows” trailer brings the Camp Vamps…

Channelling his inner Jonathan Frid to fine effect, Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's none-more-gothic "Dark Shadows"...

Neatly side-stepping the negative chatter online about the closeness of the release date and the absence of a trailer, Tim Burton’s upcoming revision of 70’s gothic soap, “Dark Shadows” now has a trailer available and it’s looking pretty keen.

Separated at birth - Eva Green and Heather Graham. Discuss?

The campy and the scary seem intertwined in this first look – we’ve got flashbacks to the tragic past of Johnny Depp’s Barnabas Collins, some broadly comedic swipes at seventies kitsch (Who hasn’t wanted to destroy a TV when the Carpenters showed up on it?) and Eva Green playing a once-spurned  Witch who won’t take no for an answer (she’s handling the scary quite well – if there’s an actress who was born to do gothic and the ‘alluring/menacing’ dichotomy , it’s Eva Green).

"Vampires sparkle? Stake me now..."

The film opens on May 11th and looks like a must-see for me – I’m just hoping that screenwriter John August and Tim Burton can get the clash of tone between daffy comedy and tragic horror to mesh, because my favourite Burton flick is “Sleepy Hollow” and this seems reasonably reminiscent of that film’s vibe.

Plus, Eva Green.  Like, wow

 

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So, there’s a “21 Jump Street” movie happening?

This is clearly proof that I’m getting very old, very past it and increasingly befuddled by the world – not only is there a “21 Jump Street” movie, but it’s positively imminent.  And apparently reasonably entertaining.

Again, my gast is flabbered.

Man, Jonah Hill is an inspiration to us all...

I have fond, possibly misplaced memories of the original 80’s television series, which was one of the first American shows which was appointment viewing for me when my family first got Sky satellite TV back in the late 80’s.  It had a cool premise – youthful cops bust crime in high school by going deep cover – and actors like Johnny Depp and Holly Robinson engaging in super cool hijinks in none-more-Canadian locations, which seemed impossibly exotic to a teenager doing hard time in North Yorkshire suburbia.

Narcs, man! I'm telling you, those kids are Narcs!

And Peter DeLuise had a mullet for the ages – I doubt that a whole division of Poet Laureates could do justice to its fluffy majesty.

This gentleman, kids, was once considered very cool indeed.

So, there’s a movie – from the directors of “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meetballs”, just to compound the madness inherent in reviving this franchise  – and it features Jonah Hill and walking, talking piece of 2×4, Channing Tatum as the undercover cops busting-up shenanigans in high school, with Ice Cube giving it some gruff, paternal bad-assery in the Steven Williams role.

Never thought I’d see the day – from NWA to portraying The Man in an action comedy.  They’ve surely got to reference THAT particular switcheroo somewhere in the flick or they’re plainly not doing their jobs.

Go watch the trailer for the new film and see what you think – I’m saying ‘wait for DVD’, but your mileage may vary…

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Edgar Wright to direct “Kolchak” film?

We already knew that a film remake of seventies TV series “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” was on Johnny Depp’s plate – now we know that Edgar Wright may be directing the thing to within an inch of its life and adding a special layer of Fried Gold on top.

Edgar and zombie cohort, shortly before commencement of 12-inch single flinging smackdown...

As eager-eyed visitors to this blog may be aware, I very much heart Edgar Wright and his work – he’s up there with Ridley Scott and Michael Mann to me, as a film maker with a signature visual style:  You know a Wright movie when you see it.

And that’s what makes his hiring interesting – I couldn’t pick out anything in “Spaced”, “Shaun of The Dead”, “Hot Fuzz” or “Scott Pilgrim Versus The World” which would say “Hire this dude to make a period-set, neo-Gothic thriller”, so the prospect of him helming the “Kolchak” adaptation perhaps suggests that Johnny Depp and co are looking to do something different with their take.

Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak

The project at the centre of this announcement is pretty cool, too – “Kolchak – The Night Stalker” was a seventies TV scarefest which pitted news reporter Carl Kolchak against the forces of supernatural evil (let’s hope that the remake doesn’t go all contemporary and make him the host of one of those goofy SyFy “Ghost Hunters”-type shows) and was a big influence on “The X-Files”, which at least some of you reading this won’t be old enough to remember.

Thank you for making me feel bloody old.  Cheers.

No screenplay is yet in place, so I can’t see this one hitting cinemas much before 2014 – which should give Wright time to work on “The World’s End” a bit more, eh?  Sweet.

 

 

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A Season of Vamps – “Dark Shadows”

I’m not sure how this latest Tim Burton/Johnny Depp Goth Bro-Fest is going to play out, but it at least looks like it has the possibility of being fun.

And when was the last time that you could say that?

I’ve not personally enjoyed a Depp/Burton collaboration since the glorious “Sleepy Hollow” back in 1999 – and I’m hoping that this gothic soap opera adaptation is rather more akin to that film’s loving appropriation of Hammer horror iconography and genuine scares than the pallid, ‘chuck some CG at the screen and see what sticks’ work that Burton’s been turning out for the last decade or so.

The seventies setting of “Dark Shadows” is an interesting choice (I imagine it must seem as far away as the 1880’s to younger audiences) and the cast is to die for, with Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Lee, Alice Cooper, some dame called Helena Bonham Carter all rising from their graves in support of Depp’s curiously-hairstyled vampire playboy, Barnabas Collins.

Come on Tim – make a good film again.

 

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Geek News, October 7, 2011

I kind of prefer the Kristen Stewart version, weirdly...

“Entertainment Weekly” have some pictures in their current issue from the Tarsem Singh “Snow White” project – this is the one with Lily Collins and Julia Roberts, not the competing one with Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth (which looks a bit more interesting).  Still, those Tarsem colours, huh?

Den of Geek, meanwhile, has set pictures from the Vancouver set of Zach Snyder’s “Superman” reboot, “Man of Steel”.  For some as yet unknown reason, Henry Cavill has gone the ‘Jesus Hobo’ look.  It’s a look, I guess…

From "21 Jump Street" teen idol to multi-generational icon. Nice work if you can get it.

Empire reports that Johnny Depp is filling up his dance card – he’ll be the lead in a biopic of Theodor Geisel, aka Dr Seuss and star in a new version of Dashiell Hammett’s “The Thin Man”.

 

Topless Robot, meanwhile, have some updates on the imminent “Batman – Arkham City” game – meet Robin, everyone, or ‘Tim Drake’ as he’s known to his mum.

Single-handedly erasing those terrible, Chris O' Donnell memories...

Finally, Digital Spy has a trailer for season two of “The Walking Dead”, which returns to FX in the UK on 21 October, at 10:00pm.

 

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