The Lone Ranger

Silver & Tonto, with John Reid in the back. The horse is the smartest one.

I accidentally noticed that the reviews for this movie were very mixed — surprisingly, since I have to admit I wasn’t expecting to hear anything good about it at all — and now I know why, since I’m still making up my mind about it. It was definitely better than I expected, though I can’t decide if that actually puts it into the category of “good” or not.

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Terminator: Salvation

Because you need to have the image of John Connor and a Terminator facing off.

For some reason, when the sequels hit four, they tend not to put the number in the title anymore — probably a way to try to avoid the usual view of sequels as getting worse and worse. But the Terminator franchise is doing okay, really, maybe because they don’t rush. Four movies in twenty-five years isn’t exactly churning them out, but they’re still managing to attract the fans in droves. And the continuity people don’t even have to worry about what’s come before, because they keep time traveling and changing everything around.
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Dark Shadows

An apt but unfortunate coincidence, that this looks so much like the loser sign.

Dark Shadows is no longer a Dan Curtis Production, not by any stretch of the imagination, and that’s really a shame. I rented some of the original series on DVD from Netflix, and it was absolutely fun to watch. It was often melodramatic, sometimes the acting was so ridiculously over the top you wanted to giggle, and sometimes you would shake your head as a microphone drifted into the shot, or wince as someone struggled with a line. But somehow it still pulled you in, and while you didn’t quite forget all the rough edges, they just don’t seem especially important.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II

The kids are all right. I miss the beaded bag of holding, though.

So yeah, everyone who was ever in a Harry Potter flick is back, basically, unless the character was killed off, and sometimes even then. I think I got all the important people in the tags, at least, though I’m still working on why Helena Bonham Carter managed such high billing when she hardly says a word, and half the time, when she does, it’s when she’s really Hermione. They use that disguise potion again, which is no surprise. The only surprising thing is that not everyone uses it all the time.
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The King’s Speech

Bertie eyes that evil microphone warily.

Being the King of England isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. No, seriously. Michael Gambon (Book of Eli) as George V sums it up nicely when he tells his younger son, the Duke of York (Colin Firth) that they’ve been reduced to actors. We’re used to that these days, but back in the 1930’s, people still remembered a time when being royal meant that you could levy taxes and declare wars — if not all by yourself, at least without too much trouble from Parliaments and Prime Ministers.

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Alice in Wonderland

A shockingly red-haired, crazed, badly-dressed Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.

As soon as the movie starts, you know you’re watching the work of Tim Burton and listening to the work of Danny Elfman. It almost looks ordinary to start with — it’s a proper Victorian setting, with only a little girl’s dream to give any hint of the weirdness ahead. But you can forget about the little girl, because things quickly move ahead thirteen years, since this movie is about the 19-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska, who’s apparently twenty but looks more like sixteen), who remembers her adventures down the rabbit hole only as a vague, recurring dream.

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