Mini-Reviews: Dark Shadows & The Dictator

Greetings all,

Today, here are two quick mini-reviews for Dark Shadows and The Dictator.


Dark Shadows

Directed by: Tim Burton

Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green


Dark Shadows -the most recent collaborative work of Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton- is the outlandish story of an imprisoned vampire by the name of Barnabas Collins who, when he is released, returns to his familial home only to find that 2 whole centuries have passed since his incarceration. Living in his estate now are his related descendants who are highly dysfunctional and distinctly desperate for his help and protection from the witch who “imprisoned” him so many years ago.

Based on the television series from decades prior and presented in the Burton-esque manner of cinematography, this film may appeal to the fan base of both (but not much more). With an impressive cast (including Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloë Grace Moretz, even Alice Cooper) and an impressive style, the film falls short of impressing in any other capacity. The collaboration of too many stories drowns this comedic dark tale in confusion-led disinterest. From multiple characters, to numerous creatures (witches, ghosts, werewolves, and vampires), to crisscrossing plot lines, and predictable twists, Dark Shadows falls victim to a tedious weaving of many elements which do not a great story make.

Tinkering back and forth between being a gothic thriller/romance and a dark comedy, Burton’s film misses the mark It’s no Beetlejuice. Even with Johnny Depp’s now infamous (mundane/repetitive?) mannerisms, Dark Shadows still fails to rise out of its coffin of boredom to bring audiences to life. Though laced with comedy and stylistic drama, it pains me to say that Twilight is more with its psuedo-vampire lore (At least Barnabas Collins didn’t shimmer with glitter)! I would love to tell you that the Burton-Depp partnership worked well for this one, however, I cannot. Dark Shadows did nothing more than induce yawns, confusion, and frustration.

As stated before, Burton/Depp fans will find something to enjoy in this film. I tried to enjoy it, but just couldn’t. If you check it out and like it, let me know. If you’d like somewhat of a differing opinion of this film by way of a review, check out Dan’s at Fogs’MovieReviews who gave this one a much higher score than I.

My Score1.5 out of 5 stars for Dark Shadows

The Dictator

Directed by: Larry Charles

Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley


“Mr. Controversial Cohen” returns to the big screen with this next film that attempts to push the boundaries of comedy through awkward, inappropriate, and racial/stereotyping antics. The Dictator is a story about the leader of the dictatorial country of Wadiya who comes to America and is naively cast into the streets of NYC. With the help of a young store manager (Faris), he attempts to regain his rule and his country from those who have taken it from him.

However, no one really cares about any of that. The film’s main focus is to show just how much Cohen can upstage his previous films (Borat, Bruno) with jabs at different races, genders, celebrities, politicians, etc. It’s no surprise that he is a polarizing actor, and that is exactly what people go to see his movies for.

The film very flippantly attempts to create a sense of attachment to the character through a “blossoming” romance between two of the characters, but there is very little substance to the 2-dimensional characters in the film. This movie continues to be a film all about “fun” with the possible “politically incorrect.” At one point in time, I remember asking myself, “Why is Oscar-Winner Ben Kingsley (Ghandi, Schindler’s List, Shutter Island) even IN this movie?” I mean, I can understand John C. Reilly and even Anna Faris, but Ben Kingsley? Meh, oh well.

Between comedy, drama, political statements, and more, this film doesn’t quite find it’s niche and therefore carries no substance. With very little substance, all that’s left to enjoy in a film such as this is the laughs that you may get out of it. Unfortunately, those laughs are few and far between.There is little to no reason to go see The Dictator. Not even for Megan Fox (for those of you who for some strange reason think she is worth watching). This raunchy and annoyingly boring film is not at all worth seeing. Save your money.

I wonder if Ryan Seacrest will go see it?

My Score 0.5 out of 5 stars for The Dictator

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: “Trailer Time Thursday!”



  1. I heard dismal reviews about Dark Shadows, and even though I like Tim Burton’s films and Johnny Depp, I’m not sure if I want to go see it. As you said, their hardcore fans will definetly go and support them and find something they like. As for the Dictator, I never considered it and Ben Kingsley, really? I don’t know how they managed to get him in there.


  2. I didn’t care for Dark Shadows; I’d give it more like a 2.5/5 because I was mildly entertained. Dictator for me is on the fence. It looks funny from the trailer, but now I’m not so sure. Good reviews.


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