REVIEW: BLACK MASS

REVIEW – BLACK MASS – Is Johnny Depp’s return to form as James ‘Whitey’ Bulger in Scott Cooper’s Boston set gangster pic, actually true?

There is no doubt that Johnny Depp is beginning to tire of visiting children’s hospitals dressed as Jack Sparrow. Maybe he’s also fed up of having to sit in Tim Burton’s make up chair for seven hours every day to recreate some fantastical personage that ends up always looking like Johnny Depp with tons of make up. He might even have started watching his own movies, something he denied doing and then made Dark Shadows to show the reason why.

However, Scott Cooper’s “Black Mass” is not quite the masterpiece, to be ranked with the best of Martin Scorsese, that it obviously sets out to be. The fact that the nearest Scorsese film it resembles is the messy minor work The Departed – also set in Boston, also featuring a corrupt law enforcement officer – is perhaps a warning sign. And yet The Departed was a noisily entertaining lump of grunge with a wonderfully over the top Jack Nicholson performance, full of grand Guignol verve. Black Mass is altogether more respectable. It’s a polished piece of film that tastefully harks back to the seventies. It’s layered narrative feels like an after thought and its script has a tendency to lead the audience by the nostrils, but it isn’t dull. It’s good TV. Not great TV. Good TV.

James Whitey Bulger (Depp) is a small time hood, being squeezed by the Italian mafia but when John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) comes back to South Boston after landing a job in the FBI he brokers a deal whereby in return for the Italians, the FBI will turn a blind eye to, if not facilitate Bulger’s rise in the crime world.  Bulger himself is a weird Vampiric creature who is closer to the Madhatter than he is to Donnie Brasco. This is a huge problem with the film. You don’t see a character. You see contact lenses and a weird swimming cap bald piece. Just once I’d love Johnny Depp to be in a film in which he wasn’t review as ‘unrecognizable’. He is given lots of great scenes – the family recipe one feels like an instant classic – but this is also the problem: lots of great scenes does not a story, nor a character make. And many of the scenes appear to be at the service of Depp, showing how threatening etc he is. But it is a one note performance. A scene with his wife (Dakota Johnson) is so underwritten on her part that it feels like the two of them have never met let alone had a child together. Edgerton actually has the more interesting role and he pulls it off, amazingly, while still looking like Joel Edgerton!

For more Reviews, CLICK HERE.

OSCARS CEREMONY TO BE DIRECTED BY RIDLEY SCOTT

HOLLYWOOD – Ridley Scott is to direct the Oscars ceremony on the 22nd of February, featuring an exclusively white cast.

A spokesperson for the academy said:

We decided to take the ceremony in a new direction this year. Political correctness went mad the last few shows. We had Lincoln freeing the slaves, Django shooting the slave owners and 12 Years a Slave, being all about slaves as well. For twelve years. But now we have a black president and all that racism has been effectively dealt with so it’s time to get back to rich white people, mainly men.

So you called Ridley?

Absolutely. We thought that we couldn’t just pretend Selma didn’t exist although we tried our best. He came up with the idea of replacing the black cast with Joel Edgerton and Aaron Paul.

Fantastic!

Isn’t it? And although people are complaining about diversity, I’d say to them that the show is going to be diverse anyway. Look at Boyhood. White little boy, white big boy, white teenager, white young fella. What could be more diverse? Oh, and American Sniper, white guy shoots brown guys. What could be more topical!? Birdman, white guy worries about being too rich and successful. The Imitation Game, white guy wins the war. The Theory of Everything, white guy solves all the problems in the universe, especially Black Holes (that’s not racist is it?)

I don’t know.

Oh and my favorite. Whiplash. Two guys get incredibly pissy about perfecting jazz. And they’re basically white! That’s the twist.

For more Oscars news click HERE.

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS PHOTO NOVEL

HOLLYWOOD – The Biblical Epic Exodus: Gods and Kings by Ridley Scott has released the first look trailer, poster as well as a 67 page photo-novel of the film.

Although photo-novels were briefly popular in 1986, nary a one has been seen for just shy of two decades. However, Scott along with actors Christian Bale, Aaron Paul and Joel Edgerton have recreated the film via a series of still pictures with comic strip style speech and thought bubbles.  

Ridley Scott rushed in to the Studio Exec office in order to explain:

I love photo novels. Always have and always will. When Joel Edgerton revealed that he too was a fan, well, I thought why not use that and create publicity material. At first the marketing people said it would be a disaster, but I told them I was sick of them second guessing me. When I made Kingdom of Heaven everyone said I was mad to cast Orlando Bloom in the lead, but… Well, okay bad example. But I’m usually right.

Exodus: Gods and Kings will be released later this year. Exodus: God and Kings: The Photo-Novel is already available from all good book shops and Amazon.