Entries in the Category "public enemies"
Movie Reviews: Hollywood Satires
I loved this movie, in no small part because of Johnny Depp’s performance. I don’t know who first decided that Ed’s main character trait would be unflappable optimism--whether it was the screenwriter, whether it was director Tim Burton, or whether Depp brought that to the performance himself (I wouldn’t be surprised, honestly)--but damn if it didn’t elevate a pretty standard biopic to something unusual and sparkling. Depp did the same in his Oscar-nominated (remember?) performance in the first of the truly silly Pirates of the Caribbean movies. He said, “Pirate? Only if I can play it drunk and gay.”
Just a note on Johnny Depp: this guy is such a fascinating creature, honestly. You just don’t often find a character actor with a face as perfect as his. He is quite beautiful. Jeremy and I saw Public Enemies a few weeks ago and I couldn’t get over it then, either.
Martin Landau was terrific, too, of course, as Bela Lugosi—he won an Oscar, and for a comedy, which almost never happens. His one-sided rivalry with Boris Karloff made me feel somewhat uncomfortable watching Frankenstein the next day (like I maybe should have thrown Lugosi’s Dracula into the mix, too, just to be fair). Incidentally, Lugosi has the most insanely entertaining IMDB page ever. Just read the titles of some of the movies he graced with his presence! (Ghosts on the Loose, The Ape Man, Night Monster, The Corpse Vanishes, Black Dragons, The Wolf Man, Spooks Run Wild, The Black Cat, Invisible Ghost, The Devil Bat, Black Friday, The Dark Eyes of London, The Phantom Creeps ETC.)
Anyway, the movie has plenty to recommend it besides Depp and Landau. It shines a light on the motley crew of actors and producers and Baptist financiers who helped Wood to realize his cracked visions and shape them for the big screen; it does it in that special Burtonian way where viewers feel the need to align ourselves with the outsiders, cheer them on. It’s shot gorgeously in black and white and it even piqued my interest in seeing some of Wood’s notorious flops; so much so that, in a few weeks, when a theater in the area plays a Rifftrax version of Plan 9 From Outer Space, I’ll be there.
More satires from Preston Sturges and Robert Altman after the jump.