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Movie Madness with Michael Doherty

Friday, 25 January 2008

It's Friday which can only mean one thing Michael Doherty is back on the sofa with all the latest release in Irish Cinemas this weekend.

Sweeney Todd (16)             

Courtesy: Warner Brothers
Starring:  Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman
Director: Tim Burton

Verdict: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was always going to be a hard sell as a movie musical. For one thing, it's a Sondheim score with few showstoppers (Not While I'm Around is the only one you're likely to find yourself singing in the shower). For another, it's a tale of murder, cannibalism and throat-slitting that would put Sam Peckinpah to shame in the blood-letting stakes. That said, we're talking Tim Burton here so we're guaranteed wonderful production design (take a bow, Dante Ferretti) superb cinematography (kudos to Dariusz Wolski) and of course, Johnny Depp.

Depp is hugely impressive as the malevolent barber, wreaking havoc on those denizens of London (notably Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall) who broke up his family. With his white quaff and silver cut-throat razors, Depp comes across as a demented Dickie Davies but he can certainly carry a tune and he has a fine rapport with Helena Bonham Carter's demon baker, Mrs Lovett. Elsewhere our own Jayne Wisner makes an impressive debut (now she can sing) as Todd's daughter, Johanna.

Sweeney Todd is a movie that's going to divide critics and audiences alike, but fans of Depp and Burton won't be disappointed.

Trivia: This is the sixth Johnny Depp-Tim Burton collaboration. They previously made Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), and Corpse Bride (2005) together.

Sweeney Todd has been nominated for 3 Oscars. Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction and of course a Best Actor nod for Johnny Depp. This is his third nomination, he has previously been nominated for Pirates of The Carribean and Finding Neverland.

The Savages (15A)                              
Courtesy: 20th Century Fox
Starring: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney
Director: Tamara Jenkins

Verdict: Phillip Seymour Hoffman is fast becoming the Gene Hackman of our generation. Not only does he seem to pop up in every other movie, he's also brilliant in every role he plays. This time around he's a drama professor who, along with sibling Laura Linney, has to come to terms with caring for his curmudgeonly father (Philip Bosco).

At times funny, at times moving, The Savages is a powerful drama graced by two of America's finest actors.

Trivia: The Savages has been nominated for 2 Oscars. Laura Linney has been nominated for Best Lead Actress and the film has also been nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

In the Valley of Elah   (15A)

Courtesy: Optimum Releasing
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, Jason Patric, Susan Sarandon
Director: Paul Haggis

Synopsis: On his first weekend back after serving in Iraq, Mike Deerfield goes missing and is reported AWOL. When Hank Deerfield, a former military MP and his wife Joan get the phone call with the disturbing news, Hank sets out to search for their son. Emily Sanders, a police detective in the jurisdiction where Mike was last seen, reluctantly helps him in his search. As the evidence grows, her missing person's case begins to look more and more like foul play, and soon Sanders finds herself in a fight with the military brass as she and Hank struggle to keep control of the investigation. But when the truth about Mike's time in Iraq finally begins to emerge, Hank's entire world is challenged and he's forced to reevaluate long-held beliefs to solve the mystery behind his son's disappearance.  (source yahoo movies)

Trailer Preview

The Dark knight

Courtesy: Warner Brothers
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman
Director: Christopher Nolan

Synopsis: With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman has been making headway against local crime...until a rising criminal mastermind known as The Joker unleashes a fresh reign of chaos across Gotham City. To stop this devious new menace--Batman's most personal and vicious enemy yet--he will have to use every high-tech weapon in his arsenal and confront everything he believes.

Trivia: When asked, "Why Heath Ledger as the Joker?" Christopher Nolan said, "Because he's fearless."

The Joker's character is based on his first two appearances in the comic books, as well as his portrayal in the graphic novel "The Killing Joke." To prepare for the role, Heath Ledger lived alone in a hotel room for a month researching the character and developing his performance, which he claims is based upon Sid Vicious and the character of Alex in A Clockwork Orange (1971). Ledger found the role extremely difficult, and suffered insomnia as a result.