There are a couple of premises on which Black Mass relies in lieu of a unique selling point. One is the idea, mainly established by marketing over the years, that a radical physical transformation for a role equals a daring and probably great performance. The other is that the audience's familiarity with the structure of the real-life gangster movie is enough to justify doing it all over again. Both are fallacies, and neither is enough to make it sparkle.
Historically, the Western is a genre that requires patience. Typically, teenagers are not the most patient of people. Therefore, it stands to reason that Gore Verbinski must have been spectacularly drunk when he pitched The Lone Ranger: a 149-minute Western aimed at kids, smack bang in the middle of blockbuster season. That it flopped to the tune of $190 million is not a surprise; the fact that it is not nearly the disaster US critics heralded it as, however, is something of a welcome revelation.
Like dogs responding to a high-pitched whistle, film critics around the world pricked up their ears today when the stars of The Lone Ranger effectively blamed scathing reviews for its dismal failure at the box-office. As I'm technically a critic because I have a website and spare time and delusions of grandeur, I felt obligated to throw my hat into the ring. Then pick it up, dust it off and remove it from the ring, because the ring is stupid and even just having my hat in it for a second makes me a bit stupid too.
If there's anyone out there who actually thinks Disney's $250m blockbuster The Lone Ranger will turn a profit, be sure to vote with your wallet. You know, like how you all did with John Carter. (New poster from IMP).
Time to break out the Tim Burton checklist then. Comedy-horror with supernatural elements? Check. Johnny Depp? Obvs. Score by Danny Elfman? Yuh-huh. Helena Bonham Carter? Of course. Pop culture retread? Yes. The time has long passed when one of Hollywood's most original directors has become a parody of himself. And as his once twisted gothic visuals have now given way to colourful cartoonish CGI, you have to ask "Damn - why didn't you make a vampire movie 15 years ago?"
It's easy to make a poster for a Tim Burton film. Whack up the contrast, choose your gaudy neon colour highlight and let the PosterTron 6000 software do the rest. We thought the characters for Tim Burton's Dark Shadows were lacking something. So we made them better.
So Johnny Depp is in talks to play Jack Sparrow once again for more hijinks on the high-seas, but what could possibly be in store for Pirates Of The Caribbean next? Let's dredge the bottom of the barrel!