I generally dont condone the mixing of movies and hallucinogens. Its easy to miss the point of the film entirely because youre tripping out over whether the curtains beside the screen are moving or not. Having said that, every so often a film comes out thats just begging for that extra little sensory push. Well that time is upon us and the movie all you mad tabbers have been waiting for is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, opening Friday at the Village 8 cinemas .
We all know the story poor, goodhearted Charlie lucks into one of chocolateer Willy Wonkas golden tickets and, along with four other children and their guardians, wins a tour of Wonkas mysterious and magical chocolate factory. Accompanied by his Grandpa Joe, Charlie takes the tour, watches as the other children fall victim to their bratty, gluttonous shortcomings and, in the end, wins Wonkas heart and the factorys legacy while managing to teach the creepy and reclusive Wonka a thing or two about family as well.
Based on Roald Dahls classic book, director Tim Burtons Chocolate Factory is essentially the same as the classic 1971 film starring Gene Wilder. Wilder portrayed the quirky, eccentric Wonka perfectly, adding a menacing tone to the character as if Wonka were punishing the snot-nosed children for their greed and gluttony.
This time around, Johnny Depp plays the candy man, giving us a softer, more vulnerable Willy Wonka who is a uniquely childish, creepy, (and somewhat androgynous) character. As well, Burton has added some backstory to the Wonka character, giving him an overbearing dentist father who wouldnt allow young Willy any candy or sweets and didnt understand his sons creative impulses. Its a psychological groundwork explaining why Wonka ended up as a recluse, locked in his own magical candy land, uncomfortable with affection and out of place in Charlies family-oriented world.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a feast for your eyes, full of sweet visuals and tons of eye candy. From the industrial-gothic cityscape Charlie lives in to the chocolate rivers and hundred tamed nut-cracking squirrels Burton excels at what he does best: creating an elaborate world thats larger than life and full of constant surprises. Although Depps Wonka doesnt quite measure up to Wilders, everything else about this movie is epic and, while itll be a big hit with children, the grown ups will love it too. Especially the ones like my supermodel girlfriend, wholl most likely have a quarter bag of mushrooms mixed in with her peanut M&Ms.
Speaking of girlfriends, you know what I really hate? Weddings. Watching other peoples happiness gets old at the best of times and all the "I dos" and "Ill love you forever" crap can really drag on. Everyone knows that weddings are really all about free drinks and hooking up with the thirsty bridesmaids whove become temporarily insane by the romance and schoolgirl giddiness of it all.
At least thats what theyre all about to Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in their new comedy, Wedding Crashers , also opening Friday. The duo stars as cunning divorce lawyers who make a habit of crashing weddings for the women and wine. Its all fun and games until one of them falls for the daughter of a wealthy politician (Christopher Walken) and the chums find themselves on a weekend getaway with her family.
Wedding Crashers is a clever laugh of a film and Wilson and Vaughn, with their natural charisma, are ideal leads. Despite the forced, half-hour mushy moral lesson tacked on to the end, Wedding Crashers is still a funny, light comedy thats a perfect way to kick back while you wait for the walls to stop breathing.
AT VILLAGE 8 July 15-21: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Wedding Crashers; Cinderella Man; Madagascar; Bewitched; Herbie Fully Loaded; Mr. and Mrs. Smith; Batman Begins; War of the Worlds; Fantastic Four; Dark Water.
AT RAINBOW THEATRE July 15-21: Lords Of Dogtown.