Our picks: Movie Reviews

“V for Vendetta”

Starring: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt and Tim Pigott-Smith

Directed by: James McTeigue

3 stars for graphic novel fans

4 stars for everyday viewers

Weeks before the March 17 release, I ran out and bought the complete graphic novel “V for Vendetta” by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.

Just one week before the release, I finished the novel. It was incredible. Dark, meaningful and inspiring, with touches of dark humor and the Rolling Stones. I couldn’t wait to see the movie.

Until I actually saw it.

The entire world is in chaos. The United States is now known as the Former United States, and London has been overtaken by a totalitarian government complete with a power-hungry Chancellor (Hurt) and his henchmen, known as “fingermen.”

The residents surrender to curfews, lack of privacy, strict TV programming and the extermination of gays, Muslims, blacks, Jews and the few people who try to fight back. Save for one: V.

V (Weaving) is labeled a terrorist, but is in fact a freedom fighter. Armed with a personal vendetta and the help of the lost and lonely Evey (Portman), V tries to light a fire under the asses of London in the name of freedom. Meanwhile, Inspector Finch (Rea) tries to uncover and stop V’s plans.

As a huge fan of the novel, I didn’t enjoy the cinematic changes made to the plot. They ignored Evey’s complete vulnerability and V’s strong character and cryptic nature.

An overly goofy scene is added, and although it is funny, it just doesn’t fit the theme. There is also a final, violent showdown that I found ridiculous and completely unnecessary.

However, many scenes are taken verbatim from the novel and are amazing to see on-screen. Weaving brings life and personality to the mask and the character, displaying perhaps the best acting I’ve ever witnessed.

The movie is exciting, and the plot and acting are rich. It makes me think of how far the PATRIOT Act will go one day. But changes made from the original story hindered my overall enjoyment.

“The Libertine”

Starring: Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton, John Malkovich, Paul Ritter and Stanley Townsend

Directed by: Laurence Dunmore

1.5 stars

“You will not like me.” These were first words, spoken by John Wilmot (Depp), the Earl of Rochester and the main character. They should have been, “You will not like this movie.”

Set in the 17th century, the story jumps around about Rochester’s broken marriage, his plays, his numerous affairs with acting whores, his strange relationship with King Charles II (Malkovich), his attachment to a struggling actress (Morton) and his fatal disease which is a combination of pox and perhaps syphilis.

The plot is hard to follow, and many times it is impossible to understand the heavy English accents and slurs.

By the end of the film, the sleazy, insensitive Rochester (having coached and impregnated the now-famous actress, left his wife, and insulted the king with a play about women pleasuring themselves with giant, wooden dildos) redeems himself by losing his nose and preventing the king’s brother from being murdered for being Catholic – I think.

Depp, as always, owns the character. His performance doesn’t sway in the midst of an overcomplicated and boring plot. However, his talents weren’t enough to save the movie.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t see it. You will not like it.

“The Pink Panther”

Starring: Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Beyonc? Knowles, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer and Jason Statham

Directed by: Shawn Levy

3.5 stars

Having never seen the original Pink Panther movies, I walked in the theater with a clean slate, but low expectations. Martin is funny, but the movie looked cheesy and over-the-top.

Turns out, the movie is cheesy and over-the-top, but it’s also hysterical!

The famous Pink Panther Diamond has been stolen and its owner murdered.

In an attempt to divert the media’s attention from the case, Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Martin) is called to “crack the case” while big fish Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Kline) begins the real investigation.

Little does Dreyfus know that Clouseau isn’t as stupid as he looks. Or is he? Martin, as the bumbling Clouseau, is a comedic genius!

The humor ranges from fart jokes to blatant sexual innuendo. The laughs keep coming until your eyes tear and your belly hurts.

Knowles, as expected, was a disappointment and probably the worst part of the movie.

But despite her dull acting talents, it’s b