Tag: Johnny Depp

Among director Wes Craven’s earliest films, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) represents a breakthrough.

Craven, a former English teacher with a Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins in writing and philosophy, cut his teeth in the film industry in the early 1970s by editing and directing hardcore pornography. He rose to prominence with THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) and later, THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977) — films legendary for their savagery, unrelenting ferocity, and bleak nihilism.

December 10, 2015 / / Main Slate Archive

Tim Burton is all about extremes. Though his most recent film, BIG EYES, was a fairly straightforward biopic, his earlier films were stylistically far departures from our typical realities. Often his films feature two opposing factions, and the fun part begins when the two halves meet. BEETLEJUICE is where the dead met the living. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (which Burton produced, but did not direct) is where Christmas meets Halloween. The fissure between worlds in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS is much easier to see and feel than it is to describe. While there are many obvious ways to contrast Edward’s (Johnny Depp) world with the suburban pressure cooker he briefly visits, it can be especially interesting to look at the role of industry and mass production in these two worlds, as that is where Burton is especially murky.

February 3, 2012 / / Main Slate Archive


Rango – 2011 – dir. Gore Verbinski

In preparation to play an exaggerated, though realistic, portrayal of Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp spent several months living in Thompson’s basement looking through the writings and mementos from the drug filled adventure that became the book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Depp was also studying his mannerisms, he wanted to bring the whole aura of Thompson, with the guns, the drugs, and more, to life. When the film adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas came out, Depp received a lot of positive reviews for the way that he accurately portrayed the larger than life persona of Thompson. In the years since Fear and Loathing, Depp has found various ways to pay tribute to the man that let him into his home. When Thompson died in 2005, Depp paid for the outlandish funeral party. He also narrated the Alex Gibney 2008 documentary, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Depp has even stated that Thompson was part of his influence for the character of Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.  In 2011, Depp ventured into the animated Wild West in the form of a chameleon, in the popular film Rango. Though the character is animated, as well as a reptile, one can see that Depp intended the unnamed chameleon to be a tribute to the author.

December 30, 2010 / / Main Slate Archive

Edward Scissorhands – 1990 – dir. Tim Burton

We first meet Edward Scissorhands when Peg, the Avon lady, decides to visit the shadowy mansion overlooking her suburb and only manages to find someone lurking in the attic. Edward (Johnny Depp) is pale white and covered up to his neck in all manner of black vinyl and leather, but Peg (Dianne Wiest) is immediately sympathetic to this creature-man. As soon as she sees him, she begins her attempt to initiate Edward into the suburban life, despite the most obvious obstacle: Edward has blades for fingers.

January 25, 2010 / / Main Slate Archive

Arizona Dream – 1993 – dir. Emir Kusturica

“But what’s the point of breathing if somebody already tells you the difference between an apple and a bicycle? If I bite a bicycle and ride an apple, then I’ll know the difference.” That’s one of the first of many philosophical musings from Axel Blackmar, the searching twenty-something protagonist of Emir Kusturica’s willfully strange 1993 film Arizona Dream. It’s a statement that prepares the audience for all that comes next. That is, at least well as the audience can be prepared for all that comes next.

By KJ Hamilton

Dreams do become reality. But, whatever you do, don’t fall asleep. A Nightmare on Elm Street, in my opinion, is one of the scariest horror films of all time. I tried to figure out why as I screened the film for about the fiftieth time.

I think I have figured it out. It is one thing to be chased by a machete-wielding psychopath when you’re awake. You might have half a chance to escape, depending upon your role in the plot. But, when we sleep, our subconscious reigns; anything is possible. It is in this state that we are at our most open, most vulnerable. There are only two options: be asleep and dream or wake up. It is during sleep that the body replenishes itself; with the goal of awaking refreshed and renewed.

February 6, 2009 / / Film Notes

By Christina Moreno

(1990) John Waters

Though not the typical tacky filth-fest movie many of us know, Cry-Baby is definitely a John Waters film.  Full of over-the-top parody of teen culture of the 1950’s and a great performance by Johnny Depp’s cheekbones, Cry-Baby has reached the cult status like most Waters’ films.  Some other notable faces in the movie include Ricki Lake, Iggy Pop, and Traci Lords. It’s cheese and camp, which is a trademark of any good Waters movie and should be embraced by anyone who sees them.  For those unfamiliar with John Waters’ work, it may come across as a bad movie, but that’s what John Waters is known for: making bad movies (that are so bad they’re good).  Cry-Baby’s appeal is that it takes the squeaky-clean image of the 1950’s and rolls it around in the mud, but still keeps a nostalgic charm about it.  The ironic thing is, Cry-Baby isn’t that different from more “serious” teen genre flicks of the era, such as Rebel Without A Cause.  Just compare the two together.