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"Sweeney Todd"


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#1 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 03:03 AM

Saw it in a preview screening tonight. It was a pretty amazing film. I was already quite familiar with the play, so I was happy to see it stayed mostly true to the source material (except for the omission of one of my favorite songs).

Wolski's work was quite good. Much more interesting and in broader strokes than the "Pirates..." movies. But he was definitely a good fit for this film.
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#2 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 08:09 PM

This was a pretty good movie. Johnny Depp was great in it, as was Tims directing and Wolski's Cinematography. But Dante Ferretti did a wonderful job on sets as well!

Seeing as how it did really well on opening weekend, I'm shocked they didn't put it on some more screens. It opened at $13 million on only 1200 screens, which is an average of $10,000 per screen. Thats pretty good for any film, even on opening weekend.

Edited by Landon D. Parks, 09 January 2008 - 08:11 PM.

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#3 Tim Partridge

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:37 PM

I saw this last night and had a gleaming smile on my face from start to finish. Yes, it may well be SLEEPY HOLLOW: THE MUSICAL, but it's further proof that Burton is a great director of comedy performances.

The art direction on this one might be the most satisfying and unstereotypical for a Burton movie since Anton Furst's work on BATMAN. As with First's work, the art direction of TODD isn't a bunch of Burton sketches translated literally to the screen verbatim. Everything seems to have been designed with the essence of a Burton movie in mind (muted colours, gothic stylisation), but with a basis in the real world, Victorian architecture and that Fellini-esque, Nineteenth Century music hall look that Ferretti has excelled at throughout his career. The visual knock out has to be the all visual effects created scenes set on the beach and pier, more like something from Ferretti's work on BARON MUNCHAUSEN (or anything Fellini).

On the cinematography front, I was suprised to see Mr. Wolski undertake this one, given that Phillipe Rousellot shot the last three Burton movies. Does anyone know the story here? Was Wolski recommended by Johnny Depp, given their relationship on the PIRATE movies? Overall, the work was very impressive, particularly in the shots where characters are seen through/reflected in misted and dirty glass (which must have been meticulously placed resin globules coordinated by Ferretti and Wolski). There is also some unwelcome "verite" handheld work, which seems very out of place in a Burton film, and makes you wonder how much input the director actually has in the photography of his visuals. Another few visually jarring moments come in a Wedding scene that is lit like an EMINEM video, as are some of the basement/sewer sequences, where the unrealistic contrast levels take you out of the movie. Outside of the photography there is also a seemingly misplaced CG/speed ramp flythrough of the London streets at the beginning, that again seems to question how hands on Burton is with the realisation of his visuals.

One of Burton's best though, if let down by some poor judgement regarding onscreen violence.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 01:01 PM

Considering Rousselot had three movies in release this year I think (Lions for Lambs, The Brave One, The Great Debators), he may have simply been too busy to shoot "Sweeney Todd".

I agree that it is a lovely work of production design without getting cartoonish. I love the big window in the main room and the view -- I kept wondering where the translite ended and the CGI began, since you saw, out of focus sometimes through the old glass, smokestacks belching smoke, etc. Plus they did some extremely low and wide-angle shots, which is very hard to keep a translite filling the view of the window.

The violence was meant to be Hammer horror-ish, bright red blood, but I agree that it got a bit much even for this movie.
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#5 Tim Partridge

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 01:28 PM

Agreed on the window/smoke stack/translite. Ferretti, Burton and Wolski seemed to avoid the cinematic trap of making a small Victorian London room unclaustrophic (usually for filming purposes), yet kept it theatrical. I really hope that smoke stack is all an on set, incamera gag! I also noticed the use of either dimmers on set (or simulated in the DI?) during these Barber room sequences, either for dramatic purposes or for moving into night. Expressionist yet motivated by the movie's own verisimilitude.

The "Hammer" blood thing backfired on SLEEPY HOLLOW, and here it just removes you from the movie. I am all for stylisation, but detached self aware pastiche at a film's expense is not acceptable (and doesn't help the argument that Burton is a poor storyteller). Same for all of the endless shots of corpses hitting the basement floor; it was very funny the first time, but after that we never needed to see the gag again.
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#6 John Allen

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 02:23 PM

It sounds to much like a gory movie for me. Also, I think Johnny Depp is a good actor, but I think he's just a little overated.
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#7 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 04:23 PM

I was cringing through the singing and found the whole thing looked very post-heavy.
A disappointing film.
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