‘Dark Shadows’ the big hit among weekend’s new releases

The Takeaway

Big names are behind the big movies out this weekend.

There’s Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s latest collaboration, Dark Shadows, and Jack Black’s latest endeavor, Bernie. Perhaps slightly less star-studded but still expected to be a popular hit this weekend, Girl In Progress is also set for release this weekend.

Dark Shadows is inspired by a 1970s cult classic, a sort of soap opera that aired on ABC. It focuses on a vampire who’s been asleep for centuries and wakes up in a modern world he’s totally unfamiliar with.

Rafer Guzman, Newsday’s movie critic, said he was surprised at just how much he enjoyed the new film. In the wake of years of vampire-mania around Twilight and True Blood, he wasn’t expecting anything new to come from another vampire movie.

“It’s actually very funny. I thought it was pretty fresh and a little daring as well,” Guzman said.

Kristen Meinzer, culture producer at The Takeaway, shared Guzman’s sentiments of not expecting to like the film and being pleasantly surprised.

“I thought it was good fun. They have a good sense of humor about it. They know what to joke about,” Meinzer said. “Like a lot of Tim Burton movies, it goes on maybe 15 minutes longer than it should have, but I really enjoyed myself.”

Meinzer called it a reboot of Edward Scissorhands, more than anything else.

Eva Mendes stars in Girl In Progress, which Guzman described as a tween comedy. It’s about a girl who’s trying to grow up and become a woman, by following a specific set of rules.

“It’s very serious in some parts. There’s a suicide attempt. There’s a sexual situation,” Guzman said. “It’s also very silly in parts. Kind of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, in a way. It doesn’t quite gel for me and I wasn’t quite sure what the movie was trying to do or what audience it was really appealing to.”

That said, though, Guzman said the acting is well-done, particularly by Mendes.

Bernie, based on a true story, is the tale of a funeral director who kills a woman in his town, but gains the support of the town because the woman is so universally disliked.

Meinzer said Black and Shirley Maclaine were incredibly enjoyable in this film.

“Unfortunately, they’re not on screen enough. A lot of the story is told through the speculation and the gossip of all the townspeople, including real townspeople from the real case,” Meinzer said. “But the gimmick gets a little tired at the end.”

Meinzer said she would have liked to see more Black and Maclaine.

“That being said, pretty good,” she added.

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