Both for his skillful portrayals of life on the lunatic fringe, and his capacity for playing dual roles on the screen – at once the architect of his own delirious demise and a bemused spectator to it – Johnny Depp has become Hollywood’s designated stand-in for the late Hunter S. Thompson, and rightly so.
Thompson, whose hedonistic exuberance and wry self-awareness inform the hard-living alter egos that people his fiction, returns, at least in spirit, in The Rum Diary, Bruce Robinson’s cheerfully meandering adaptation of the author’s second novel.
If you want to have a successful night out in this town, you need a plan—and it better be a good one. Since it's not always easy to strike that perfect balance between pre-dinner drink, food and a show, we bring you the Triple Threat series — a block-by-block guide to nights out that only require one parking space. In today's edition, the Lower Fillmore.
Summer is officially over, but Hollywood is still churning out enough remakes (Footloose, The Thing), tech-savvy adventures (Real Steel) and physics-defying thrillers (In Time) to make the adjustment that much smoother. With the first weekend of October about to begin, let's take a look at what the month has to offer.
Real Steel (Oct. 7)
The fighters: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Kevin Durand, Anthony Mackie
Calling the shots: Shawn Levy
Paradise Lost filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky were in court today to witness the stunning conclusion to a trial they’ve been following for nearly two decades, as Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley – the so-called West Memphis Three, wrongfully accused of mutilating and murdering three prepubescent boys – were set free after 18 years in prison.
The award-winning documentary series Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996) and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000) spawned a worldwide movement to liberate the three, who were maligned by a conservative Arkansas community largely on the strength of rumors about their ties to “black magic” and paganism.
It’s easy to get the feeling, after three surreal, increasingly confounding Pirates of the Caribbean swashbucklers and now Rango, an animated Western that plays like Fear and Loathing in the Mojave, that Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp can’t resist a bizarre flight of fancy.
It’s more a gift than a curse. Those little indulgences – the scenes that don’t quite fit in but often contain moments of pure, unfiltered imagination – confirm them as artists in an upper echelon of Hollywood’s elite, where playing it safe isn’t paramount. They follow their muse, conventional wisdom be damned.
Rather than wasting your weekend's entertainment dollar on a half-baked Dinner for Schmucks or the equally unpalatable Salt – sorry, I couldn't help myself – find your way to the Lumiere to catch the sleeper hit of the summer: Winnebago Man, Steinbauer's hugely entertaining tribute to an irascibly foul-mouthed pitchman. As always, here's a list of some of the finest films currently playing at an indie theater near you.
It would be impossible to approach Samuel Bayer’s A Nightmare on Elm Street without some cynicism. Wes Craven’s 1984 original remains an imaginative cut above typical ’80s slasher fare, introducing audiences to a hideously deformed bogeyman who attacks his prey at their most defenseless, in the realm of their dreams. It is at once audacious, terrifying and darkly comical, and it even introduced the world to a fast-rising newcomer, Johnny Depp.
One of the year's best films arrives this weekend in the form of Hot Tub Time Machine, a delightfully inane, raunchy comedy that puts the movies it will inevitably be compared to – last year's The Hangover, for instance – to shame. Elsewhere: