“Dark Shadows” was a gothic TV soap opera about a vampire that acquired a cult following in the ’60s. Director Tim Burton has reworked that material into a comedy in his new film, also titled “Dark Shadows,” which opens Friday, May 11. The movie begins in 1752. Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) is a rich New England playboy. He romances Angelique Bouchard and breaks her heart. Bouchard is a witch, and she casts a curse on Barnabas that turns him into a vampire, and buries him alive. Bouchard is played by French actress Eva Green, 32 (“Kingdom of Heaven,” “Casino Royale”).
In 1972, Collins is accidentally freed from his tomb. The living members of the Collins family are a pretty sad lot with oodles of hidden secrets. Michelle Pfeiffer co-stars as the family’s matriarch. Helena Bonham-Carter, Burton’s wife, plays the family’s live-in psychiatrist. The film’s score is by Danny Elfman, 58, who has scored every Burton film since 1985.
“The Dictator” opens Wednesday, May 16. Sacha Baron Cohen, 40, stars in the satirical comedy as the dictator of a North African Arab country called the Republic of Wadiya. His character, Gen. Adm. Aladeen, appears to be based largely on Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi. In the words of the studio press release: “It tells the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.”
Aladeen visits America and culture clashes ensue. If it lives up to its trailer, the film will be Baron Cohen’s best. I am curious whether this movie will prompt a lot of reactions in the Arab world. “The Dictator” is directed by Larry Charles, 55, who also directed Baron Cohen’s previous mock documentaries, “Borat” and “Bruno.” Co-stars include Sir Ben Kingsley, Megan Fox, Anna Faris and B.J. Novak, 32 (“The Office”).
I reported on Feb. 2 that actress Drew Barrymore, 36, was engaged to Will Kopelman, 33, an art consultant from a Jewish family distinguished in the arts and business. My guess was that the couple would wed in a Reform Jewish ceremony. Last week, E! Online reported that the couple plan to wed June 2 and that the groom’s family rabbi will likely officiate. The wedding will take place at Barrymore’s really fabulous Santa Barbara estate. The bride is expecting, by the way.
The Philadelphia Phillies added relief pitcher Michael Schwimer, 26, to the big league roster on April 25. Schwimer, who had a bar mitzvah, was briefly up with “the big club” last August. A video of him fulfilling a Phillies tradition was featured at that time on ESPN: The 6-foot-8 Schwimer had to walk across the Phillies’ ballpark carrying snacks to the bullpen in a “Hello Kitty” backpack, reportedly wearing a pink feather boa. Team tradition requires that the “most rookie” relief pitcher do this.
I just found out Jemima Kirke, 27, who plays Jessa, the English girl on the new HBO series “Girls,” is the daughter of a Jewish mother, Lorraine Dellal, 60, and non-Jewish father (former “Bad Company” drummer Simon Kirke). Lorraine’s father, Jack Dellal, 83, is a famous and very wealthy British real estate developer whose parents were Iraqi Jews. Lorraine’s mother, Zehava Helmer, is a former Israeli stewardess. The premiere Israeli center for dance, the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv, was funded by Jack in memory of Lorraine’s sister, who died in childhood. As I previously wrote, two of the other leading “Girls” characters, Hannah and Shoshanna, are played, respectively, by Lena Dunham, 25, and Zosia Mamet, 23.
Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.