Matthew Lickona 3 p.m., Jan. 20
The Lone Ranger
Hi-yo, Silver, stay away! Johnny Depp stars as Tonto, the vengeful Native clown without a tribe, in a film that is inexplicably named after his sidekick (Armie Hammer). Well, perhaps not inexplicably: the white man often gets top billing in these buddy pics. Still, it's Tonto who gets the backstory, the narrative arc, the final confrontation, and the character development (there's a reason he wears a dead bird on his head). Director Gore Verbinski is happy as ever to insert slapsticky humor amid scenes of mass slaughter, but what worked in the fantastical world of pirates and krakens doesn't play amid the grim realities of cowboys and Indians. But the film's greatest weakness isn't the tone or the focus or even the overstuffed plot and structure. Rather, it's self-hatred: The Lone Ranger devotes great time and energy to mocking the Native mysticism and Ranger heroism it ultimately affirms. 2013.
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