Tag Archives: Keira Knightley

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Image result for pirates of the caribbean dead men tell no tales movie poster free useBeen a long time. Here’s to the return of WisTim.

Great cinema is precious, as sovereign as an angel and at times, a true blessing to behold. Such grandeur is not created unilaterally but by a team of stars both before and behind the lens. Such performance requires a certain deftness and composure. Superb film making mandates a chimerical touch, both a fascination and a mind willing to push forward both conceptually and contextually. It takes both aplomb and humility with a few pinches of stoicism.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the pole opposite of these accolades. Dark and desolate, overused and washed up, a stain on the record of a talent beyond his years. That is what POC 5 has to offer. It presents the marketing of a new chapter to one of the better franchises of the 21st century and promptly violates the pureness of it. It is what could have happened to The Force Awakens if the people who became a part of the project decided a tonal shift or crude humor was a missing part of the single most important franchise in film history. Instead, one of the better franchises of our times has been soiled like a sacrificial lamb, though the term sacrificial suggests this was something that needed to happen and it certainly did not. Literally no one was asking for this. No one was asking for a Seth Rogen-esque script writer, one fully reliant on his audience’s enjoyment of ill-mannered bacchanals.

There is one asteroid-sized problem with this scope: a small minority of Pirates of the Caribbean fans walked into a theater, not once, twice or thrice but four times and thought, “I hope this one is like Billy Madison but pirates and Depp.” It seems fair to make this claim because Pirates of the Caribbean had made billions from its loyal fan base that, presumably, enjoyed the content as it was. I do not recall reading a protest online from viewers decrying any Pirates film, vehemently berating the producers for not including more raunchy retorts and less substance in both character and narrative. Who asked for this?

If you haven’t caught the drift yet, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a shipwreck of what was a quite glamorous creative vessel that now, hopefully, has seen its final days. Like many great athletes that can’t bear to leave the game even if it is clearly time, POC5 is a reminder that the end of something beautiful is usually quite ugly.

Johnny Depp’s most critically acclaimed role, at least in these critic’s eyes, is blinding in this installment, a nearly severed connection to the lively, clever swordsman we have come to love. The quick-witted Captain Jack Sparrow is nowhere to be found. Instead, a drunk who’s lost his edge enters from behind the curtain. The envious Sparrow never failed to be one step ahead of us or to keep us enthralled in his parlor tricks. He was a tactician with a smirk of metal as much as he was a coach with near flawless decision-making, traits quite rare among seafarers. He was a king of the dramatic and a prince of the perverse.

That beloved character is physically present but mentally unavailable. The bedrock of this persona isn’t here, nor does it ever feel like Sparrow shows up. Johnny Depp is on the screen dressed as him but the character glorified over four films is not.

It’s especially painful to watch because I can’t emphasize enough how natural this role seemed to come to Depp. It allowed him to show his polished, witty delivery and there’s no doubt Captain Jack Sparrow is the most articulate pirate I’ve ever seen. Look at this. This scene is so Jack Sparrow it’s silly. I could watch this all day.

It does nothing in terms of plot, aside from get Captain Jack to a new location, but it’s premier Johnny Depp, utilized by a scriptwriter who clearly understands the heart of the man and his character.

You’ll be hard strung to find a scene even remotely as good as that here.

I have not been beguiled. Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is not arcane, some great mystery that critics and viewers alike can’t solve. It’s simply a generation that didn’t inherit the praised talent of its ancestors and can’t help but leave a taste of disappointment in all who hoped for more.

It’s hard not to be churlish here. With another captain at the helm of the project and writer at his side, Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales falls into the pit of off-color humor, which is so tonally off the mark. Pirates of the Caribbean was flamboyant, excessively melodramatic, making a show out of life. That presentation and exuberance doesn’t arrive and neither does the type of cinematic treasure we’ve come to expect.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Captain America: Civil WarDeadpoolAvengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe Babadook)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (SinisterOlympus Has FallenThe Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the Sun)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Ip Man 2Ip ManKong: Skull IslandThe InvitationHush)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Doctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide SquadBatman Forever)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Great WallRobin HoodUnderworldThe Do-OverX-Men: Apocalypse)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Power RangersUnderworld: EvolutionBatman & RobinBloodsportWar, The Ridiculous 6)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Most Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturionPlanet of the Apes)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (Avalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe VisitThe Fantastic Four)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: 46.

Prosaic rather than poetic, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales seems to miss the heart of what made Pirates of the Caribbean intriguing: that both Sparrow and the script could always add something extra that we didn’t see coming, like the scene above to surprise us. It’s a film that has betrayed its identity, and concurrently, its audience.

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Movie Review: Everest

Survival. At the most basic level, beyond our emotions and thoughts, survival is what resides. It is a simple and yet extreme notion. It is a brash concept and at times a heartless theme because survival can lead to cannibalism and such. It is a fire we all have inside us and it is one that is hard to combat.

In Everest, we will see a journey of experts and everyday men and women as they test their wills against the worst nature has to offer.

At least that is what we are left to assume. There is a specific scene cataloged in the script where Jon Krakauer, whose novel this film is loosely based on, asks these regular Joes why they want to climb Everest. The room remains silent. Eventually one character will say he talked to a group of kids in a school and wants to prove to them that if he can do the impossible, they can, too. Another will say he feels composed on the mountain, an idea I struggle to accept since he suffers in the cold for the remainder of the film.

This is a missed opportunity for director Baltasar Kormakur, who directed the buddy cop film 2 Guns, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. There are a lot of people who do not climb mountains and a large majority of them have never considered climbing one of the seven summits let alone Everest. That leaves the film with an uneducated and uninformed audience who knows little about the motivations or emotions involved with such a trek and yet the writing that can hook the audience in is left vague and to compound the problem, shooed under the rug. Removed from the thrill and rush that climbers may or may not receive from this film, the payoff of Everest is unclear if not non-existing.

This makes Everest‘s debut all the more depressing because at the beginning of 2016, the film’s eventual release was swarming with Oscar buzz. Its cast of Oscar-nominated actors Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal and actress Keira Knightley rose eyes and the visual spectacle that was betrothed for the screen was enticing.

While the film can be given a pat on the back for recording the biggest September worldwide IMAX opening with $7.2 million, it’s just as worthy, if not more so, to mention how far this film is from the cinematic mountain it’s trying to climb.

I saw this film in 3D and while the landscape is visceral and the visuals are inspiring, the hunger is there. This is Everest, one of the globe’s most enticing and dangerous endeavors. Surely there is more to offer than this.

Everest will make you feel the cold, and you’ll get chills down your spine, but they are the same chills you will get down your spine driving on the highway with your window down. It is not a tingle set aside for this film alone like it should be.

The tone changes whenever the plot requires it. Danger will set in but will soon flip to achievement when the group reaches the summit and then flip to something else in time for the next chapter of the story. Like Black Mass, which also received some Oscar buzz this past spring, the sincerity is absent and the tension is molded rather than birthed naturally.

The glamour and chill is there, but the tone that should accompany them is not. A very basic technique Kormakur samples is removing music from the film, instead allowing the silence to play to our ears. He lets our minds take hold of our emotions. This play requires us to feel connected to some partition of this film and since the motives of this expedition are never addressed, we find our hands grasping at air.

With a plot playing second fiddle to the true happenings of the story and tonal shifts too rampant, our cast of Oscar-nominated actors attempt to derive empathy from its audience. Connection to an audience can save a film. If audiences develop a care for the characters, they’ll be better engaged in the illusion of loneliness and cold that’s trying to be aroused here.

The script, however, especially in the dialogue department, competes with Everest for the Most-Barren-Item-On-Screen-Award. The dialogue is a sham and never diverts to themes of life, the pursuit of endurance, the empowerment of the human will, or the will to fight. Everything in this story is plot-based and call me cynical, but this plot is boring.

The characters, coupled with the writing, are the most downtrodden element of this debacle. Jake Gyllenhaal, who’s demonstrated great range in the recent films Prisoners and Nightcrawler, is flat-out ignored. Josh Brolin is given little screen time and Knightley is a sideshow. Jason Clarke is the high point of the acting gigs in Everest, but that isn’t saying much. The inability to originate emotion leaves an insensitive audience leagues from where the film should have wanted them to be: close and personal, engulfed in the snow and bitter wind.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Avengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe BabadookInterstellarChappie)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Black Mass, Enemy at the GatesAnchorman 2: The Legend ContinuesLeon: The ProfessionalEnemy)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Terminator: GenisysBlack SheepTwistedParkerHouse at the End of the Street)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (HerculesThe SentinelMad Max: Fury RoadBlitzThe Punisher)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (The Lost BoysZombeaversCrankErasedI, Frankenstein)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The VisitThe Fantastic FourThe Boy Next DoorThe ColonyIn the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (CyborgOutcastSabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. Evil)

My score for Everest: 57.

With a small clap for the visual department set aside, a ride down the highway with your sleeves rolled up might bring as much cold and indifference as Everest will force upon you. Kormakur’s youth as a director is exploited, leaving more experienced Hollywood thrills taking instructions from a novice storyteller. Had a greater emphasis been put on the crisp detail and magnitude of Everest, it might not have been so easily noticed, but as it stands, Everest is more of a climb for the people who made it then the audiences who watched it.

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Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice

Yesterday, I watched the 2005 rendition of Pride and Prejudice. Within the first ten minutes I knew I was going to hate it.

The movie is supposed to be about a family full of daughters, each of which is looking for a husband. Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) loathes Mr. Darcy (Matthey Macfadyen). Aside from that, nothing very important happens. There were so many things wrong with this movie that it’s truly hard to name them all but I’m going to try anyway.

1. This movie featured snobby dance parties with aristocratic arrogant rich people looking down their noses at everyone else.

2. Much of the dialogue is said so fast you can’t even understand it. It’s like they were auditioning to be a speed-talker for radio commercials. In the second half, the dialogue finally slows down, but I missed the first half of the movie so it hardly means anything now.

3. Even when they talk slow enough that you can understand the words coming out of their mouths, they talk in such a complicated vocabulary that you don’t understand the essence of what they’re saying sometimes.

4. Even if you can understand what their saying, most of the conversations end up to be pointless small talk anyway that do nothing to further the plot.

5. Eventually the director got the great idea of simplifying the vocabulary so people could understand what was happening but the director thought of this when there was about a half hour left in the movie.

6. All the girls in this are extremely immature and act like they’re 14. Keira Knightley and Rosamund Pike’s characters are the only two even slightly mature.

7. There’s some epic staring and walking that’s totally unnecessary. If there was much more, I was going to have to call the Twilight directors and suggest they sue for plagiarism.

8. There’s zero character connection in this movie for me. I can’t relate to anybody. To be honest, everyone in this movie is so snobby that half the time I wanted to punch the characters in the face. I could care less what happened to any of them.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Iron Man 3)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Star Trek Into DarknessNow You See MeMan of Steel, Monster-In-Law)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Oblivion)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one.

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The HobbitAfter EarthRoad to Perdition)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this.

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow.

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.”

My score for Pride and Prejudice: 34.

I must have looked at the clock like six times I was so bored with this movie. It takes way too long for anything to happen between Liz Bennet and Mr. Darcy and the chemistry between them seemed to struggle. There were very few bright points, if any. Seriously, don’t watch this people.

Modernizing this story would have made this a lot better. No one can relate to snobby people from the 1800’s. It’s a love story that could have easily been put into more recent times so that audiences could get some kind of character connection. A movie like this was doomed to fail from the start.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

There’s nothing to spoil here. It’s one of the slowest-moving movies I’ve ever seen. Don’t watch this. Save some brain cells.

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