Critics Consensus: Dark Shadows Doesn't Scare Up Enough Laughs

Plus, I Wish is graceful and touching, and God Bless America is a wild black comedy.

This week at the movies, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp reteam to spoof the 1970s horror soap opera Dark Shadows, with help from Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, and ChloŽ Grace Moretz. What do the critics have to say?

Dark Shadows

37%

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have made plenty of witty, macabre pictures together. Unfortunately, critics say their latest, Dark Shadows, lacks their particular brand of black magic -- despite moments of oddball inventiveness, the film suffers from jarring tonal shifts that prevent the story from resonating. Based on the 1970s soap opera, Dark Shadows stars Depp as Barnabas, a wealthy 18th century playboy who becomes a vampire after breaking a witch's heart. After a long slumber, Barnabas awakes to find himself in the 1970s -- and in the center of the squabbling family that now occupies his old mansion. The pundits say Dark Shadows looks fantastic, and Depp is enjoyable as always, but the movie never finds a consistent rhythm, mixing campy jokes and gothic spookiness with considerably less success than earlier Burton/Depp collaborations. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Depp's best-reviewed movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Portrait of Wally, a documentary about the legal battle over a painting by the great Egon Schiele, is at 100 percent.
  • Sleepless Night, a French thriller about a dirty cop involved in a botched heist, is at 100 percent.
  • Under African Skies, a doc about a reunion between Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo for the 25th anniversary of their Graceland collaboration, is at 100 percent.
  • You Are Here, a sci-fi drama about a woman who collects documents and recordings of a secret parallel world, is at 100 percent.
  • The Chilean import BonsŠi, a dramedy about a struggling writer looking for inspiration for his autobiographical novel, is at 93 percent.
  • Patience (After Sebald), a cinematic essay on the work of writer W.G. Sebald, is at 93 percent.
  • Nobody Else But You, an offbeat mystery about the investigation into the death of a Marilyn Monroe lookalike, is at 88 percent.
  • Hirokazu Koreeda's I Wish, aa drama about a boy who hopes for a miracle to reunite his divorced parents, is at 87 percent.
  • A Bag of Hammers, starring Jason Ritter and Rebecca Hall in a dramedy about a pair of con men who reconsider their ways when they mentor a 12-year-old boy, is at 67 percent.
  • The Road, a horror movie about the discovery of terrifying secrets in the search for missing teens, is at 67 percent.
  • God Bless America, a black comedy about a terminally ill man who reacts violently to what he sees as the stupidity of contemporary culture, is at 62 percent (check out director Bobcat Goldthwait's Five Favorite Films here).
  • Small, Beautifully Moving Parts, a dramedy about a pregnant woman who makes an impulsive road trip to visit her estranged mother, is at 50 percent.
  • Where Do We Go Now?, a comedy about a Lebanese town divided along religious and gender lines, is at 47 percent.
  • Transit, starring Jim Caviezel in a thriller about a family on the run from ruthless killers after stumbling upon a stash of money, is at 43 percent.
  • Girl In Progress, starring Eva Mendes and Matthew Modine in a dramedy about a teenager who attempts to stake out a life independent from her preoccupied mother, is at 35 percent.
  • Tonight You're Mine, a romantic comedy about two young rockers who are accidentally handcuffed to each other, is at 33 percent.
  • The Cup, starring Brendan Gleeson in a drama about a jockey overcoming adversity with the help of a veteran horse trainer, is at 29 percent.
  • Hick, starring ChloŽ Grace Moretz and Blake Lively in a drama about a pair of young hitchhikers who run into trouble on the open road, is at zero percent.

Comments

sunsaz

Chris Moore

Dark Shadows will still draw fans of the show as well as the usual Depp and Burton marks, but the audience on the fence will either stay home or go see Avengers again.

May 10 - 05:07 PM

canali c.

canali canli

doubt it...many ds fans of the series are angry at what burton the butcher has done with yet another (sign) ''reimagining'' of a classic...wasn't that turkey 'planet of the apes' enough, for gawd sakes...or 'alice in wonderland'...or...?

May 11 - 10:07 AM

DanielForth

daniel forth

agreed, i wouldn't be surprised if Burton does a Wizard of Oz "Re-imagining" by the end of his career.

May 11 - 12:05 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I actually Fell asleep in "Alice in Wonderland". I wasn't even tired. It was dreadful yes but sunsaz still may be correct. This movie Alice in Wonder land in which I snoozed through still made a HUGE amount of money especially for a non summer release. I expect the Hot Topic crowd to make this Dark Shadows a huge hit as well.

May 12 - 08:37 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Dark Shadows, doth thou tempt me. This film might do poorly enough that no one may even see me sneaking in without a ticket. It worked for "The Raven", although I think someone did see me, maybe just had pity for me or something.

Look at all these cowards flushing through the limited circuit. There's a couple interesting things, a couple docs (Under African Skies, Patience), a few imports (Sleepless Nights, Nobody Else But You, I Wish, Where Do We Go Now) and a lot of festival refuse and would-be direct-to-video stuff.

In a perfect world, the next Mark Ruffalo "Hulk" film will break all of these "Avengers" records. Everybody knows he stole the show.

May 10 - 05:41 PM

Premo Beat

John Noto

Ruffalo turned in an adequate but uninspiring performance. Whedon's script was front and center. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

May 11 - 09:29 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I didn't say Whedon shouldn't write the "Hulk" script.

May 12 - 07:44 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

I really thought Ruffalo was ok at best. The Hulk was the scene stealer.

May 11 - 11:14 AM

manwithoutfear19

Daniel Raimondi

hulk and Iron man owned that movie

May 11 - 12:16 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

Ruffalo was The Hulk. All the motion capturing was done by him as the Hulk.

May 12 - 08:39 AM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

Yeah but The Hulk wasn't exchanging quips around with others, he was grabbing Loki by the ankle. That was the best scene and I guess we can thank Whedon for it.

May 13 - 03:18 PM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

Poor Chloe Moretz. You got two rotten movies releasing on the same weekend. I was hoping Dark Shadows to be a straight up gothic vampire horror-drama. Then again, I have never seen the orignial show. When I saw the trailer, I was little put off by the comedic tone. That last line did crack me up.

"Are you stoned or something?"

"They tried stoning me, my dear. It didn't work."

I think I'll catch Dark Shadows on DVD but I would like to see it in the theater for kicks and giggles. This film is gonna get destroyed by The Avengers this weekend anyway. There's nothing for me until Brave. I wanted to check out Prometheus but now I can't due to the R Rating. I'll catch that one on DVD. For the time being, I can catch up on the other Alien films.

May 10 - 06:01 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Aren't the other 'Alien' films 'R' too? I think if you're grown enough to handle those, you'll be OK to handle "Prometheus". Tell your parents to chilly willy.

May 10 - 06:32 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I saw the long trailer for "Brave" and I'm sorry to say, it doesn't look interesting. More like "How to Train Your Dragonless Red-headed Stepchild".

May 10 - 09:04 PM

King  S.

King Simba

To be fair though, a number of Pixar films have had pretty weak trailers and yet ended up pretty good. The trailers for Wall-e for example showed nothing of the heart the film had, just Wall-e bumbling around. I actually think the Brave trailers are some of their better ones.

May 11 - 01:29 AM

Hans M.

Hans Morgenstern

True! Pixar films have too much depth to be summed up respectably in a trailer.

May 11 - 05:18 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I don't know about Pixar, Hans, but I do know this. That's an awesome Anna Karina/Alphaville pic!

May 12 - 07:45 PM

That Random Albino Kid

Dominic Dold

you do know, that even if the movie is R, if your parents come with you, you can get in. That's how I've seen R rated movies in the theaters.

May 11 - 05:04 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Pfft, just buy a ticket for something else and go into the 'R' movie. In most theaters there will be nobody there to stop you.

May 11 - 06:15 AM

Premo Beat

John Noto

Find one of the numerous fanboys that will undoubtedly be there and become their child for the night. I'd gladly take you under my wing, nobody should be denied seeing this in IMAX 3D.

May 11 - 09:39 AM

David Tanny

David Tanny

Honestly, I rather just go see Avengers again, and wait for Dark Shadows on Blu-ray.

May 10 - 06:25 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Aren't the other 'Alien' films 'R' too? I think if you're grown enough to handle those, you'll be OK to handle "Prometheus". Tell your parents to chilly willy.

May 10 - 06:32 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Dark Shadows looked uninteresting from the beginning; just another Depp and Burton team-up. Unless the two of them do something radically different together (I'm talking an entirely new spectrum; like gritty noire or something totally out of nowhere like that), then they need to let the bromance die down for a while and come back with some rejuvenated energy.

May 10 - 08:30 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

They need to do a movie where Depp is not all covered in white makeup, Elena Bonham Carter is nowhere to be found and have Depp act as a normal human being. Now that'd catch everyone off guard.

May 11 - 09:26 AM

Carole Jensen

Carole Jensen

Ummm, "Tourist, Rum Diary"????

May 11 - 05:36 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I wouldn't call Hunter S Thompson "normal"

May 12 - 10:57 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Neither of those were Burton-Depp collaborations.

May 12 - 02:38 PM

Arizona Sue

Arizona Sue

BLOW

Jun 5 - 04:00 PM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

I heartily agree, King. Dark Shadows had a stench about it from the very first trailer. The Gothic schtick is getting old. Depp used to be fascinating to watch under the veil of a new Burton creation, but now all I see is an actor giving hammy performances while wearing too much Kabuki makeup.

May 11 - 02:52 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Exactly. The only film Depp has really gave a performance in that was not goofy in the last few years was Public Enemies. I'd like to see him do more grounded in reality stuff like that for awhile.

May 12 - 02:44 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I saw the long trailer for "Brave" and I'm sorry to say, it doesn't look interesting. More like "How to Train Your Dragonless Red-headed Stepchild".

May 10 - 09:04 PM

King  S.

King Simba

To be fair though, a number of Pixar films have had pretty weak trailers and yet ended up pretty good. The trailers for Wall-e for example showed nothing of the heart the film had, just Wall-e bumbling around. I actually think the Brave trailers are some of their better ones.

May 11 - 01:29 AM

Hans M.

Hans Morgenstern

True! Pixar films have too much depth to be summed up respectably in a trailer.

May 11 - 05:18 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I don't know about Pixar, Hans, but I do know this. That's an awesome Anna Karina/Alphaville pic!

May 12 - 07:45 PM

Jaxx Raxor

Adam Jones

Not that I was going to ever see it, but I'm disappointed that Dark Shadows is getting mixed reviews. The trailers seemed quite interesting. I guess its not consistent enough to be a good movie. It should still get a decent showing from baby boomers who enjoyed the Soap Opera as well as Gen Xers and younger who love Johnny Depp and Tim Burton but I agree with everyone else that Avengers will probably win a second weekend. Dark Shadows should make at least $50 million this weekend because Depp is still such a large star.

May 10 - 09:39 PM

Fred Brooks

Fred Brooks

"The Avengers" will probaaly win the box office this weekend, come on now friend, that sounds like an April Fool's joke. No way in hell did i ever think that "Dark Shadows" stood a chance in hell of putting a dent in 'Avengers" armor. This film poses no threat whatsoever, but "MIB 3" in 2 weeks does.

May 11 - 02:33 PM

Vincent Fissore

Vincent Fissore

How about Battleship and the Dictator NEXT week?

May 12 - 02:32 AM

King  S.

King Simba

Neither pose much of a threat to Avengers. According to early estimates it made 29 mil on friday, with projections for a 100 mil second weekend. Even if it drops another 50% in its third weekend (and that's highly unlikely) you're still looking at a 50 mil third weekend, which is higher that even the optimistic predictions for Battlship and Dictator.

In fact, tracking for those films has been falling considerably. Avengers is really destroying the competetion. Granted, Dictator is a comedy, so it's budget is not that great, so a modest opening weekend doesn't matter much, but Battleship may be in trouble. It opened internationally, but as soon as Avengers hit theaters it's been destroying it, and will likely do the same to it domestically. At this point it'll be lucky to hit 100 mil domestically and 250 mil internationally. Granted, it's not a disaster like John Carter, but I doubt we'll be seeing any sequels.

MIB3 though should knock Avengers of the top spot. Still for a summer film to spend 3 weekends on top is really impressive.

May 12 - 06:56 AM

Fred Brooks

Fred Brooks

King S is right, "The Avengers" is projected to take in between 101-104 million this weekend, which is absolutely amazing. I see 55-60 million next week for "The Avengers", and neither "Battleship" nor "The Dictator" seem to have nearly enough firepower to overcome that amount. "MIB 3" will be the film to most likely unseat "The Avengers", and that's only because the film will have been out for a month by that time. "The Avengers" is starting to look like an absolute juggernaut and possibly the runaway winner for the box office crown this year.

May 13 - 04:40 AM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

Although this is not the best collaboration on Depp and Burton's resume, but Dark Shadows delivers good laughs although decent. But I'll see it then I'll rent it.

P.S. Michelle Pheiffer still looks smokin'hot.

May 10 - 10:41 PM

Bow Ties are Cool

The Holy Rainbow of Awesomness

If you haven't seen it, why are you judging it?

May 11 - 10:06 AM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

Like I said, I'll see it tonight, then I'll have to wait for a rental. The critics are right and it got mixed reviews. So what's the problem?

May 11 - 04:09 PM

Bow Ties are Cool

The Holy Rainbow of Awesomness

You said it was good without seeing it. Do I need to say why that is so idiotic? See it before you comment about it's quality. Also you have said stuff like "the critics are so wrong!" if you haven't seen it how do you know whether they are right or wrong?

May 12 - 12:10 PM

Carole Jensen

Carole Jensen

How can you post an opinion as fact when you haven't yet seen the movie? It is not only a comedy. There are violent, bloody scenes, murder and agnst. They just previewed only the funny scenes which I think made people think this isn't a "Real" movie.

May 11 - 05:39 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Wow, two rotten Burton films in a row. That's a first. Oh well, I hope Frakenweenie can turn things around as it seems like a really personel film for Burton (and given how he was making both that and Dark Shadows at the same time, it could be he put more of his effort on that film). As for Dark Shadows, I'll probably wait until it hits shelves to check it out, as I'm still curious about it, plus I've liked films with worse reviews.

On a side note, you gotta love fanboys. Seriously, this is coming from someone who's liked most of Burton's work, but the way Burton fans are slamming every critic who gives a bad review to Dark Shadows is just taking you fanboyism overboard. They're even attacking people like Ebert, accusing him of never being a Burton fan, even though he's given all of the last six Burton/Depp outings positive reviews. Admittedly, this kind sometimes lead to very ammusing results. Remember Spiderman 3? Fans attacked the critics who gave early negative review to the film without mercy and yet when they themselves saw the film they started accusing critics of being too kind on the film.

May 11 - 01:25 AM

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis


Alice in Wonderland made a billion dollars.

May 11 - 01:46 PM

tgibfo

Matt Ritchey

RT Staff: "You Are Here" link misdirects to "Death of a Superhero." FYI.

May 11 - 01:26 AM

King  S.

King Simba

To be fair though, a number of Pixar films have had pretty weak trailers and yet ended up pretty good. The trailers for Wall-e for example showed nothing of the heart the film had, just Wall-e bumbling around. I actually think the Brave trailers are some of their better ones.

May 11 - 01:29 AM

Hans M.

Hans Morgenstern

True! Pixar films have too much depth to be summed up respectably in a trailer.

May 11 - 05:18 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I don't know about Pixar, Hans, but I do know this. That's an awesome Anna Karina/Alphaville pic!

May 12 - 07:45 PM

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