It’s Fourth of July weekend, and At The Movies with Peter Travers brings the fireworks with a fantastic new release: Public Enemies, in which Rolling Stone favorite Johnny Depp plays the great 1930s criminal John Dillinger. One might argue that the elongated weekend will give moviegoers a chance to see the utter crap that is Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen a second time, but then they’d be missing Public Enemies, a film Travers says is “made by a real filmmaker — Michael Bay, Michael Mann, you don’t confuse the two.”
Depp gives a electric, layered performance as Dillinger, with Christian Bale taking the role of Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent looking to end Dillinger’s blitzkrieg of bank robberies. These are complex men leading corrupt lives in a Depression-era setting that mirrors our own times. You know what you’re getting with Mann, who previously helmed Heat, Collateral and The Insider, and Public Enemies is just the latest riveting piece of cinema in the director’s oeuvre.
For every great summer film, however, there’s five lousy ones, and this week Travers places the cryfest that is My Sister’s Keeper in his overfilled Scum Bucket.
It’s the story of a girl (Abigail Breslin) who refuses to donate infusions and transplants to her older sister who is suffering from leukemia; Cameron Diaz stars as the daughters’ mom. The film uses every tear-jerking trick in the book” says Travers. It starts off passable but only spirals downward from there, capping it all off with a cop-out ending.
Finally, Travers revisits his new Transformers Scum Bucket to rail against something else about the film he has called the leading candidate for worst film of the decade. This time around, Travers takes aim at the blockbuster’s racial stereotyping.