Directed by Tim Burton.
Written by Andrew Kevin Walker.
Starring Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson and
Release Year: 1999
Review Date: 11/23/99
Warning: the following e-mail contains adult language, violence,
brief, "Gratuitous"-like nudity and adult themes.
Yep, you thought you had seen enough this
summer, but alas, I'm giving you more!
Thanks to Dave "Laid Back" Lee for supplying
the name of the new reviews. Of course, since he was the only
person who actually sent suggestions, I'm glad he came up with some
interesting ideas! The list has swollen to over 130 members, and I
have been asked more than a couple of times why the hell I even do
this. Well, in all honesty, the IPO has to be filed, but I will be
searching around over the next couple of months to see if I can get
the reviews published on a website or hard-copy editorial. Course,
if I can't use the rough language...
Feedback welcome on both the name of the
reviews...and the nicknames, which get harder and harder each year.
Since many of you will have complaints about your name, please let
me know if you want it changed!! (Oh, and if you want off the list,
just send me a note saying that I can go off and die somewhere.
The saying goes that you should do one
thing, and do it well. And, since I go to the movies almost as much
as I go to my job, going to see movies is what I do well and review
them I will up to the Oscars early next year. With that said, I
decided to write up the movie I saw Sunday night, as well as two
movies that I saw two weeks ago while in the quaint little town of
Fountain Inn, SC, home of Beth "Boy or a Girl?" Phillips and her
husband, Blanton "Packrat" Phillips.
Tim Burton has made a lot of great movies,
and almost all of them fall into two categories: Michael Keaton
movies ("Batman", "Batman Returns", "Beetlejuice") and Johnny Depp
movies ("Edward Scissorhands", "Ed Wood"). Add one more to Johnny's
list, a different take on the Washington Irving tale of the Headless
Horseman. Now, when I saw this preview, I got the feeling that this
was going to have a little more action than some of Burton's other
movies, and damn, was I right about that. The tagline on this movie
is "Heads Will Roll", and the studio wasn't lying when they said
that. This movie now may have moved into the decapitation hall of
fame, joining other contenders such as "Predator 2", "Braveheart",
and "The 13th Warrior." Regardless, let's make sure we're clear
from the outset: this movie is bloody as shit. Even in the scenes
that don't include heads getting lopped off, Depp and other
characters are covered in blood in any number of different
situations throughout the 100-minute movie.
Public service announcement: if you, or
someone you know, has young children and they're heading out to see
"Sleepy Hollow", GET A FUCKING BABYSITTER BEFORE GOING TO SEE THIS
MOVIE. I'm so sick of seeing small children in R-rated features, it
is now starting to get to me. I'm sick of walking out of a movie
theatre and seeing Mommy explain to little Bobby why this murderous
horseman is double-fisting a broadsword and a battle axe, chopping
the opposition into pieces! They rate these movies for a reason;
why do parents keep taking kids in?
Anyway, I thought this movie was amazing.
The visuals have to be seen to be believed: the horseman really is
frightening, and there is a scene where he invades one of the
townspeople's homes and slaughters everybody that I'm still
replaying in my head. The town, the Western Woods, and all of the
costumes for the period seem perfect, and nobody does dark better
than Burton. There is a sizable amount of graphic violence, but it
is done stylishly and with a DTS/Digital Dolby-equipped theater, the
sound accompaniment is unbelievable (Danny Elfman's score doesn't
The way that Burton approaches the
story--that of a murder-mystery with a forensics expert (Depp, as
Ichabod Crane) attempting to figure out whodunit--was interesting to
me even if it didn't make perfect sense. Crane arrives in Sleepy
Hollow with not much to work with: three of the town's citizens
have been found decapitated with their heads...missing, and the town
asks Depp to use his scientific methods of reasoning to figure out
who the murderer is. The list of possible killers gets pretty long
after it is figured out that the actual killer, a headless horseman,
is being controlled by the owner of the dead horseman's skull. It
sometimes seemed like Depp wanted to play the character as a
weakling, but he doesn't seem nearly scared enough when the horseman
is, say, 10 feet in front of him. He covers the gamut in terms of
emotions during this movie, but many times when he was asked to be
scared, Depp's crane simply faints for comic effect. It didn't
always work for me.
But, the complaints are minor beyond
that--some cheesy lines (the "bewitched" line comes to mind between
Christina Ricci and Depp) and Casper Van Dien, playing Depp's rival
in the early going as the boyfriend of Ricci's character: after
"Starship Troopers", I thought this guy had a future. I was dead
wrong! If you're looking for a good horror/action-adventure, this
one fits the bill.
Rating: $7.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard