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Johnny Depp (#110 of 20)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Starring Jude Law and Johnny Depp, Gets First Trailer

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Starring Jude Law and Johnny Depp, Gets First Trailer

Warner Bros.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Starring Jude Law and Johnny Depp, Gets First Trailer

When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, our own Eric Henderson bemoaned: “J.K. Rowling’s newest salvo in a career spent writing mostly about the world of wizards exists so resolutely outside of salience and so doggedly within the comfort of escapism that even witch hunts, underground railroads, self-righteous religious fundamentalism, parallel societies with their own discrete presidents, and harbingers of world war are all presented with the same weightlessness of anything under Hermione Granger’s levitation spell: Wingardium leviosa.” Warner Bros. is now going back to the well with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which is set to be released almost two years to day after the first film arrived in theaters to fill the hole in the hearts of Harry Potter fans the world lover. And judging from The Crimes of Grindelwald’s first trailer, we are in, perhaps, for a darker experience, though the footage suggests that Eddie Redmayne, reprising his role as half-blood king of the gingers Newt Scamander, will continue to leave us shook by his uncanny ability to avoid eye contact at all costs.

Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, Starring Johnny Depp and Daisy Ridley, Gets First Trailer

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Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, Starring Johnny Depp and Daisy Ridley, Gets First Trailer

20th Century Fox

Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, Starring Johnny Depp and Daisy Ridley, Gets First Trailer

Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is among the English writer’s most acclaimed novels. Published in 1934, it sees master detective Hercule Poirot traveling to London, after a pit stop in Istanbul (by way of Aleppo no less), on the Simplon-Orient Express, where he meets Mr. Samuel Ratchett, a malevolent American who fears for his life. A day later and the train is caught in the snow, and when one of the passengers is discovered murdered, it’s up to Poirot to solve the crime.

Summer of ‘88: Short Circuit 2

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Summer of ‘88: <em>Short Circuit 2</em>
Summer of ‘88: <em>Short Circuit 2</em>

Hollywood has rightfully made a big show of distancing itself from its blackface legacy, a tradition that stretched from the full-tilt racism of The Birth of a Nation all the way to Laurence Olivier’s 1965 version of Othello, not to mention the grotesque caricatures many black performers were forced to inhabit. But surprisingly little mention is made of brownface, the equally unpleasant practice of having white actors creep a few shades darker than usual, donning bronzer or maybe just getting a serious tan, in order to portray Latin, Native American, or Asian characters. Maybe it’s because it’s still going on to this day (seen recently in The Big Wedding and currently with Johnny Depp’s turn as Tonto in The Lone Ranger, although rarely in as baldly ill-advised fashion as in Short Circuit and it’s 1988 sequel, which finds Fisher Stevens going Sub-Continental as Indian robotics engineer Ben Jahveri, Quik-E-Mart accent, goofy mannerisms, and all. Putting aside the fact that most modern-day portrayals of Indians still haven’t moved very far beyond these rote stereotypical trappings, the film’s cartoon presentation of this character seems alien to an otherwise open-minded, tender movie, its kid-aimed messages on the fragility of life and the importance of acceptance backed up by surprisingly solid filmmaking.

DOC NYC 2012: Radioman and Shepard & Dark

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DOC NYC 2012: <em>Radioman</em> and <em>Shepard & Dark</em>
DOC NYC 2012: <em>Radioman</em> and <em>Shepard & Dark</em>

Friendship manifests itself in many different forms, and can occasionally be one-sided, and with Radioman and Shepard & Dark, DOC NYC presents two very different observations on the avenues through which individuals feel fulfilled, or alienated, by those they consider close comrades.

Radioman—née Craig Castaldo—is ready for his close-up. Presented as an amusing profile more than a compelling character study, Mary Kerr’s Radioman is the documentary equivalent of having a droll conversation with a stranger at a dive bar while refusing to acknowledge any disturbing subtext within the stories told. Despite having an apartment, the once-homeless Radioman still leads a life that’s mostly of a vagabond, spending most of his days researching “on location” movie shoots in New York City and wandering the streets in search of a film set. Consistently fascinated by the process of filmmaking, Radioman also possesses a childlike excitement for the prospect of briefly appearing as an extra. Through a combination of persistence and the appearance of an essential NYC bum, he can be found in over 100 films—even if it’s just the back of his haggard head.

Poster Lab: Lincoln

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Poster Lab: <em>Lincoln</em>
Poster Lab: <em>Lincoln</em>

When the poster for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln first dropped, there was little to say apart from “it’s arrived.” However handsome, this grayscale shot of Daniel Day-Lewis sporting familiar facial hair is void of ambitious design elements. The use of profile calls to mind the 16th president’s most famous likeness, but beyond that, the only flourish of note is the Gladiator title font.

Of course, that hardly mattered to the millions who clicked, viewed, and shared the image, the first official ad linked to this beefy merger of actor, director, and subject. It was about this time last year when we were given the first poster of Meryl Streep as The Iron Lady, another baity promo that didn’t need to reach beyond an announcement. Such momentous roles from such venerated thespians—both of whom hurdled to Oscar’s front line with a single in-character photo—basically sell themselves. If there’s anything provocative within the Lincoln poster, it’s a dose of quiet audacity, a knowing awareness that no bells and whistles are necessary here. If posters could talk, this self-satisfied specimen would merely echo the common sentiment: “I’ve arrived. Ogle me.”