Transcendence

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Transcendence had a big budget. You can tell because everything is slick and glossy and high-definition-real-film-awesome-fx marvellous. Everything except for the script, which, though it is packed with zooty ideas and concepts, rolls out like it was drafted by one of those Internet Name Generators, one stilted, wooden cliche at a time. Also: Rebecca Hall has morphed into Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Depp is literally one-dimensional, and ultimately, not one of the long list of seriously impressive all star cast members can save it. Belen, New Mexico is the location, if you’re interested? No, I didn’t think so.

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger is everything you’ve heard about it, and more. Or less, depending on how you look at it. It’s certainly richly gorgeous to look at, and the scenes of the Wild West town and the construction of the railway look fantastic. But. But. Oh where do I even begin with the buts?

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The Lone Ranger is jump-the-shark literally from start to finish. The western stuff is all fine but – and I don’t mean to give anything away – it’s got all this ridiculous supernatural stuff, spirit walking and carnivorous bunnies and resurrection from the dead and a self-aware fire-jumping horse, that it’s like two completely different movies. Johnny Depp both underacts and overacts at the same time, and Armie Hammer is basically Prince Andrew Alcott from Mirror Mirror, stumbled in from that other, more charming movie. If you want to know what it’s like, think Pirates of New Mexico, all hubris and bombast and stunts and overblown score. Oh, whatever. One of these days I’ll come down off the fence and tell you what I really thought about it.

Alice in Wonderland

I’m never quite sure what to make of Tim Burton’s movies. There’s always a bit of an ick factor that I can’t put my finger on – though the presence of the (and I don’t know how to say this kindly) repulsive Helena Bonham Carter probably has something to do with it. His movies always seems to have all the right ingredients, but they just don’t quite work together. So it was with some trepidation that I took Rose and Kazi to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D over the long weekend.

It’s a re-imagining of the Alice tale, so Alice is a decade or so older and about to be farmed off in marriage to some pale and chinless aristocrat. She’s a revisionist, grrl-powerish Alice, this one though, so she rebels against her fate and falls down the rabbit hole into Wonderland again. But Wonderland has changed for the worse in her absence; the Red Queen has won the throne, and enslaved the populace, and it appears that Alice is the only one who can stop her.

So Wonderland itself was a bit grim – it looked post-apocalyptic, and frankly the gloom of 3D specs didn’t help. Johnny Depp’s a shameless old hack too – The Hatter is Jack Sparrow before he went to sea. I did like the scope of the opening scenes that were shot on location however, when young Alice is being sold off like so much chattel for an alliance with a wealthy business partner; the elegant garden party looks completely beautiful. It was filmed at Antony House between the villages of Torpoint and Antony in Cornwall, England, a property managed by the National Trust but still lived in (by some cunning aristo plot) by the Carew Pole family. Some 250 extras from the villages appeared in the scene.