The first thing you notice about Jonah Hex is the fact that you can make a drinking game out of people saying the words "Jonah Hex." It happens so often I began to believe that this was simply how people used to greet one another in the Old West. You walk into a room: “Jonah Hex!” “Well Jonah Hex to you too buddy!” Take a bottle of whiskey with you into the movie* and take a shot every time someone says his name and you will have an incredible 74 minutes. You might also be dead at the end.
Why does it feel like I’m dedicating half the review to the use of the words "Jonah Hex?" Because half the movie is dedicated to uttering the words "Jonah Hex." Learn to love the sound of it. Josh Brolin sure did.
When our ‘hero’ (and I use that word in the loosest of possible terms) isn’t busy having people remind him of his name he is riding around killing people or being made fun of for his horribly scarred face. But when a villain from his past – and when I say "past " I mean from 10 minutes earlier in the film – turns out not to be as dead as we were led to believe in the opening monologue Hex sets out to get the revenge he really wish he could have gotten 15 minutes earlier. And that’s when the movie beings its plunge into logical implausibility. If you can find a single reason to give a rat's *** about anyone in this movie grip onto it with both hands brother and hold on tight – it’s the only way you’re going to care at all about this film.
It’s not the horse with side-mounted Gatling guns that got me or the silliness of dynamite crossbows; it was just how unlikable everyone was and how it leaned heavily upon cliché to tell a story without understanding how a story like this is supposed to be told. Revenge films are like romantic comedies: They rely entirely on a weak coincidence and delivering a series of emotional money shots that pay off for the audience in a big way. More importantly these money shots must be delivered in a very specific structure that allows people to forgive any thin or contrived story elements. Where a romantic comedy is "Boy Meets Girl Boy Loses Girl Boy gets Girl Back " revenge films are mostly comprised of "Guy Finds Simple Bliss Bad Guy Ruins Simple Bliss in a Cruel Manner Guy Left for Dead Guy Gets Revenge for All He’s Lost." Very simple stuff. Whether it’s Maximus in Gladitor or Eric Draven in The Crow or Charles Rane in Rolling Thunder the structure is the same. The key to a good revenge movie is a likable good guy a reason to care about his life truly despicable bad guys and a perfectly crafted ending for our hero in particular – often involving his death.
Right from the start Jonah Hex drops the ball. We open with him tied up and getting wailed on watching his family get murdered just out of frame and then get left for dead. But we haven’t found anything to care for yet and more importantly he immediately admits to having done everything he’s been accused of. This is revenge to begin with. Sure the movie eventually gets around to trying to explain why he didn’t really deserve it but only after 45 minutes of us pretty much disliking the guy. He’s mean unlikable murderous and his only friend in the world is a prostitute who tells us that she “Don’t play house ” just before begging Jonah to settle down with her. He’s got a great horse and a dog but doesn’t like them enough to have ever given them a name and every time someone finally gets around to killing him magical Native Americans show up to save his bacon AGAIN for no apparent reason other than his wife was Native American.
The only reason to root for Jonah at all is because he’s the protagonist and his antagonist (played comically by John Malkovich) is on a mission to I kid you not destroy America with a semi-magical nation-destroying weapon. Oh yes and we’re told the Mexicans call him “Terrorista.” A Terrorist hellbent on destroying America? In the Old West? You’d be hard pressed to find anyone you wouldn’t root for fighting that guy. This had all the hallmarks of being a WWE movie without the cool logo. If you’re 13 years old and you still believe wrestling is real this might be the movie for you. Otherwise it is an exercise in silliness designed to rob you of $10.
*Hollywood.com accepts no responsibility to cirrhosis of the liver or any sudden death caused by ingestion of alcohol occurring during the course of this game.
Bosses at the Motion Picture Corporation of America have acquired the film rights to Prisoner of Denver - a June 2004 Vanity Fair article co-written by the infamous gonzo journalist and the magazine's contributing editor Mark Seal.
The article focused on the case of 21-year-old Lisl Auman, who began a correspondence with Thompson after she was charged with the murder of a Denver, Colorado police officer.
Auman was handed a life sentence with no possibility of parole, but Thompson's piece helped overturn her sentence in 2005.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, producers are adapting the article, with a focus on Thompson and Seal's roles in the case.
Actor Johnny Depp, a longtime friend of the writer's, previously brought Thompson to the big screen in Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Bill Murray played him in 1980's Where the Buffalo Roam.
The Pineapple Express beauty landed the role of Johnny Depp's fiancee in the big screen adaptation of late author Hunter S. Thompson's book - and claims she "deserved" the part.
Heard insists she had a closer connection to Thompson's work than her rivals, who also included Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean co-star Keira Knightly .
She tells Britain's Live magazine, "I was far more deserving of my part in The Rum Diary than Scarlett Johansson. She's a good actress and I respect her, but I deserved to get the role instead of her.
"If I was going to lose to anyone, she would be a good person to lose to. But the part of Chenault called for an actress, not a famous person. I worked very hard to get the role - I auditioned and wrote a letter to the producers and a director about my connection to the part.
"I'm a big fan of Hunter S. Thompson and an avid reader, so I had something special to offer beyond what was written on the page."
The director's Disney adaptation, starring Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway, has grossed $7.68 million (£4.8 million) in its third week of release, keeping its distance from Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler's romantic drama The Bounty Hunter, which debuts at two with $3.36 million (£2.1 million).
Leonardo DiCaprio thriller Shutter Island slips one place to three with takings of $2.88 million (£1.8 million), while Jim Carrey's new movie I Love You Phillip Morris and Matt Damon's Green Zone round out the top five.
The film, based loosely on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass novels, has now made over $265 million (165.6 million) since its release.
Family film Diary of a Wimpy Kid stunned film experts by opening in second place - ahead of Jennifer Aniston comedy The Bounty Hunter and Jude Law's new movie Repo Men.
Wimpy Kid, which chronicles the problems of an under-sized schoolboy, opened with $21.8 million (£13.6 million) - a million more that The Bounty Hunter.
The three stars are all tipped to claim leading actor and actress Oscars nominations for the films Blue Valentine and Love & Other Drugs.
Experts at the Los Angeles Times newspaper's The Envelope blog also tips Angelina Jolie, Ben Stiller and Michael Douglas for Oscars gold for their roles in Salt, Greenberg and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Douglas won a Best Actor Oscar for his role as Gordon Gekko in the original Wall Street movie.
The film experts also predict troubled moviemaker Roman Polanski will be among the Best Director favourites for his film The Ghost Writer - even though he's fighting extradition from Switzerland to America for sentencing in a 32-year-old sex assault case.
And the early favourites for Best Film, according to the website, are Danny Boyle's new movie 127 Hours, The Kids Are Alright, Brad Pitt and Sean Penn's The Tree of Life, Inception, western remake True Grit, Clint Eastwood's The Hereafter and Johnny Depp's movie adaptation of his late pal Hunter S. Thompson's The Rum Diary.
The 300 star, who was recently linked to his The Bounty Hunter co-star Jennifer Aniston, admits the funniest report he's ever read was a story that suggested he had undergone a sex change.
Butler was also left bemused by a rumour that he keeps a jar of jam with him at all times.
He explains to MTV.com, "I read a rumour somewhere saying that I was actually a woman. And there was one recently where apparently I was just talking about Jen, saying, 'I'm not a gimp', going on about not being a gimp... how I want all these other women in my life.
"Then there was one about jam - apparently, I like to go into cafes and order scones and take out my mother's homemade jam, and I take it with me everywhere. And in the same article, it said apparently Johnny Depp likes to travel with his own toilet seat."
Nearly a century and a half after Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland first acquainted readers with the Mad Hatter the Cheshire Cat and the rest of the peculiar inhabitants of author Lewis Carroll’s fertile imagination filmmaking technology has finally developed the tools capable of properly rendering Carroll's exquisitely twisted world on the big screen. And who better to oversee the translation than Tim Burton Hollywood’s foremost mass-market purveyor of dark quirky fantasy? If there’s any director working today who can lay claim to Carroll’s creative inheritance surely it is him.
His creation Alice in Wonderland is fashioned not as an adaptation of Carroll’s two Alice-centered books but rather a kind of sequel to them its titular heroine (Mia Wasikowska) redrawn as the mischievous 19-year-old daughter of English aristocrats. Given more to chasing small animals than attending society functions Alice is the kind of adventurous free-thinking Victorian renegade who thinks nothing of drinking suspicious beverages found at the bottom of rabbit holes.
If only she were more interesting. Burton’s Alice isn’t so much a character as she is a tour guide leading us through the director’s $150 million museum of digital delights. Virtually everything on display in the film from the giant mushrooms of the Underland forest to the bulging eyes of Johnny Depp’s (literally) mercurial Hatter was either created or enhanced inside a computer presumably one with a direct connection to Burton’s cerebral cortex. (Interestingly the enhanced Depp bears a more than passing resemblance to Elijah Wood who the producers could have gotten for a lot less money.) Much like Alice herself it’s gorgeous to look at but never particularly engaging.
Were he alive today — and reasonably coherent — Carroll himself would no doubt marvel at the visual grandeur of Alice in Wonderland its CGI world as detailed and immersive as the most vivid of his migraine-induced hallucinations. But he might frown at the short thrift given to his characters. Esteemed cast members like Anne Hathaway (The White Queen) Crispin Glover (The Knave of Hearts) and even the mighty Depp can’t hope to compete with the beauty of their surroundings — instead of actors chewing the scenery the scenery devours the actors. (A notable exception is Helena Bonham Carter the cast’s lone standout as the screeching acerbic Red Queen.)
Alice in Wonderland is really designed to function as an inoffensive family flick and in that regard it boasts more than enough pretty fluff to keep the minds of most pre-teens occupied for the duration of a Saturday matinee. But afterward they might be hard-pressed to recount details of the story which involves Alice having to find a magic sword so she can slay a giant dragon and unlock the Legend of Zelda. Or something like that.
Filled with moments of fleeting exhilaration and empty whimsy Alice in Wonderland never really grabs the viewer in any meaningful way its overall experience more akin to that of a theme park ride than a movie. Which I half suspect was Disney’s intention all along.
JOHNNY DEPP has landed an unlikely Grammy Award nomination for co-writing album notes for the soundtrack to documentary Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Depp, a longtime friend of the late author, will learn if he's a winner when the Grammys are handed out in Los Angeles on 31 January (10).
Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins and Aaron Eckhart appear set to take the strange trip that is Hunter S. Thompson’s Rum Diary -- alongside Johnny Depp.
In the adaptation of the late Gonzo writer’s novel, Depp -- a longtime friend of Thompson’s -- will play an American journalist who moves from New York to work for a small newspaper in Puerto Rico.
Eckhart, if his deal is finalized, would play Sanderson, who along with Depp’s Paul Kemp is vying for the affection of Chenault, played by rising actress Amber Heard (Pineapple Express).
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Jenkins has already signed on the dotted line and will star as Lotterman, the man who oversees the rundown newspaper where Kemp works.
Jenkins was nominated last month for his first Academy Award nomination for his role in The Visitor. Eckhart was most recently seen as Harvey Dent/Two-Face in the summer blockbuster The Dark Knight.
Depp, meanwhile, hasn’t appeared onscreen since 2007’s Sweeney Todd but will be back in a big way this summer as John Dillinger in Public Enemies. The actor is also coproducing Rum, which was adapted and will be directed by veteran actor/director Bruce Robinson.
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