Victoria Jelinek

The Tourist
November 4, 2010, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Published film reviews | Tags: , , , ,

The girlfriend of international fugitive Alexander Pearce, Elise (Angelina Jolie) picks up a tourist named Frank (Johnny Depp) on a train from Paris to Venice. Their plan is to persuade the police that Frank is Alexander, but then the ‘doppelganger’ becomes the target for a scary gangster.

Jolie and Depp have spent much of their careers playing roles in which they are dowdy, eccentric, neurotic, or freakish, so it’s forgivable that they’d want to take on a project that shows off their good looks before doing another ‘serious’ film or goofy Tim Burton movie.  But this film doesn’t ‘sizzle’, either in action, dialogue, or through benefit of a good chemistry between Jolie and Depp. And, while there are twists and turns, reversals and revelations, there is little to keep one engaged in this film.

This film is for those who simply want to look at one or the other actor in all of their charisma and beauty, or for those who are devotees of these actors’ work. For the rest of us expecting more, you’ll be disappointed.

When You’re Strange

This big screen documentary follows the band The Doors from their formation in 1965 to Jim Morrison’s death in Paris in 1971 (he’s buried in the world famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery).

Writer-director Tom DiCillo (JOHNNY SUEDE, LIVING IN OBLIVION) avoids talking heads retrospective interviews, with contemporary footage and still images throughout and a wry commentary read by Johnny Depp. It’s amazing that so much footage of The Doors at work and play exists (rare in the 1960’s), and there are even sequences from an unfinished underground film Morrison starred in.

Di Cillo covers the bad behaviour many rock bands are famous for, but his focus is on the music and he even takes the trouble to analyse The Doors’ unique sound (no bass, extra keyboards) and to assess what other members of the band contributed to the mix.

Ultimately, WHEN YOU’RE STRANGE is an essential film for Doors fans, but it’s enlightening to the uninitiated, too. Not only is there great music, it’s a compelling story of a troubled creator whose charisma was preternatural, and it captures a moment in time that will never be replicated.