Time Out São Paulo

This week's new releases, 22 June

A look at Friday's cinema releases.

Correct us if we’re wrong, but Tim Burton has to date released fifteen feature films, of which eight have starred Johnny Depp. Now we’ve got nothing against long partnerships here at Time Out (think Scorsese & De Niro, Herzog & Kinski), but the chronic fatigue which smothers Dark Shadows like the dust in a funfair haunted house suggests that the duo might want to consider taking a break from each other – and preferably from us, too. OK, there are moments here for the die-hard fans – as there will be with any director whose style has settled into self-parody – but for everyone else this is one to miss. 

Whilst on the subject of eccentricity (a word which Burton has reputedly attempted to purchase the copyright for), Febre do Rato (a.k.a. ‘Rat Fever’) debuts this week. Go along to judge for yourself whether director Claudio Assis has finally managed to make a movie which is less about himself than his characters. Generosity and subtlety have never been a characteristic of the Pernambucan filmmaker, but hope springs eternal.

Dark Shadows | Febre do Rato | E aí, comeu?

Dark Shadows (Sombras da Noite)

There are filmmakers who, in finding their voice, create a whole new language. Fellini did it, as did Kubrick and Bergman, and even the late Ken Russell. Can the same be said of Tim Burton? Nobody can deny the man has style – the question is, is there any substance behind it?

Thinking back on his previous output, the answer must surely be no. Saving Edward Scissorhands, a sweetly creepy romance, and Ed Wood, a poignant tribute to the worst filmmaker of all time, Burton's films rarely amount to anything more than an amusing tour through the spooky world the director has created for himself. It is a hopelessly banal place, as plastic as a Barbie mansion with the walls painted black, in which nothing truly scary or unpredictable ever happens.

Sadly Dark Shadows, inspired by a 1970s sitcom, follows the same creaky template. In the film, our hero, played by Depp, is turned into a vampire and buried underground after unwisely rejecting the advances of Eva Green’s witch, Angelique Bouchard. Two centuries later, in 1972, he is freed from the grave to find his descendants squabbling and broke. In the course of rebuilding their fortunes, he meets Angelique again and enjoys various escapades, all of which end happily for everyone apart from that nasty old witch.

In all this, we find none of the vitality or irreverence of Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers – the film which Dark Shadows most resembles – and not even a shadow, dark or otherwise, of what we might call great cinema.

Dir. Tim Burton, USA, 2012. Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz, Eva Green, Jakie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller. 113 min.

Read the Dark Shadows review 

Febre de rato

Claudio Assis seems finally to have overcome his immature attachment to shocking his audience with a catalgoue of brutal situations and barbaric characters, as seen in Mango Yellow and Bog of Beasts. Now, instead, he seems prepared to show a genuine interest in exploring the lives and unfolding interactions of his characters – a shift of emphasis which vastly benefits both this film and the audience watching it.

We begin by meeting Zizo, a nonconformist poet who lives an isolated existence editing and distributing his own self-funded anarchist tabloid. The title of the film is a term popularised in Recife, referring to how a person appears when they lose control – the question is, will meeting the young Eneida cause Zizo to lose it, or will it provide the lifeline to reality which this lonely young man so desperately needs?

Dir. Claudio Assis, Brazil, 2011. Irandhir Santos, Nanda Costa, Matheus Nachtergaele, Conceição Camarotti, Juliano Cazarré.

Don't forget this will be screened without subs, so it's recommended for fluent Portuguese speakers.

E aí, comeu?

In the publicity material published alongside E aí, comeu? (rough translation: ‘So, did you sleep with her?’) we encountered the slightly hysterical question, “Did you see that movie Muita Calma Nessa Hora?’ We didn’t, but we carried on regardless. ‘If you saw it, then you absolutely can’t miss this new comedy …’ the press release went on (and on).

Allow us to spare you any more of the suffering we endured, both at the hands of the press release and movie itself. You absolutely can, and should, miss this new comedy. Indeed you should run away now, as fast as you can, to protect your last remaining brain cells from this stereotypical trash which is served larded in sexism and without even the slightest redemptive hint of irony or self-awareness.

Dir. Felipe Joffily, Brazil, 2012. Marcos Palmeira, Bruno Mazzeo, Emilio Orciollo Netto, Dia Paes, Tainá Müller, Laura Neiva, Juliana Schalch. Duração não informada.

Don't forget this will be screened without subs, so it's recommended for fluent Portuguese speakers.

By Time Out São Paulo editors


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