Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Director: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Writer: Jeff Nathanson
Sequel to: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Cast: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, Golshifteh Farahani, David Wenham, Stephen GrahamAngus Barnett, Martin KlebbaAdam Brown, Giles New, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Paul McCartney
Seen on: 30.5.2017
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Plot:
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is approached by a young man, Henry (Brenton Thwaites), who needs to find the Trident of Poseidon to break his father’s curse, his father none other than Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). As luck will have it, Jack also desperately needs the Trident as very recently, vengeful ghost Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) managed to free himself from the Devil’s Triangle and is now hellbent on ridding the seas of all pirates, particularly Jack. And even more luckily, Henry runs into Carina (Kaya Scodelario) who happens to have all the necessary clues to find the Trident – if she can only get out of being tried and executed as a witch.

My excitement to watch yet another installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series was rather low (especially with Johnny Depp the abuser at the forefront of the film), but since it became a group outing and there is a certain amount of nostalgia attached to these films, I ended up seeing it anyway. I shouldn’t have bothered.

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The Book Thief (2013)

The Book Thief
Director: Brian Percival
Writer: Michael Petroni
Based on: Markus Zusak’s novel
Cast: Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily WatsonNico LierschBen Schnetzer, Roger Allam, Heike Makatsch, Barbara Auer

Plot:
Death (Roger Allam) tells the story of the Book Thief: Liesel (Sophie Nélisse), a young girl who, after the death of her brother, gets dropped off by her mother (Heike Makatsch) with a foster family (Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson). While World War II takes Liesel’s surroundings in Bavaria and her foster parents hide a Jew, Max (Ben Schnetzer), in their basement, she and her best friend Rudy (Nico Liersch) are more taken with a little mischief. And Liesel is inexorably drawn to books, even when or maybe especially when she has to steal them.

I really loved the book but unfortunately that did not extend to the film. Weird accents, unfortunate plot changes and quite generally lengths overshadowed the film’s qualities for me.

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Green Lantern (2011)

Green Lantern is Martin Campbell‘s adaptation of the DC comics. The film was written by Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg and stars Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins, Taika Waititi, Michael Clarke Duncan, Geoffrey Rush and Angela Bassett.

Plot:
Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is a fighter pilot and basically the definition of irresponsibility. One day Hal stumbles upon a dying alien, Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison). Abin Sur is a Green Lantern, an intergalactic police force. His power source is a ring that can harness will power and which choses Hal to be Abin Sur’s successor. So Hal gets drawn into the world of the Green Lanterns and their biggest foe Parallax (Clancy Brown).

Green Lantern is not a particularly good film. Fortunately for its entertainment value it’s a pretty craptastic film. Would it have hurt if it had made a little more sense? [Topless Robot pretty much takes apart all the plot holes. In a very entertaining way.] Probably not. But then the movie would have had to leave out a few of the bad green screen scenes in front of fake sunsets – and really, who would want that?

[SPOILERS]

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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the fourth Pirates movie, directed by Rob Marshall, written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, starring Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Keith Richards and a mini-cameo by Judi Dench.

Plot:
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) arrives in England only to find out that he’s apparently been recruiting sailors. He quickly finds that Angelica (Penélope Cruz), who he has met in the past, has been posing as himself to find sailors for the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Blackbeard’s (Ian McShane) ship. They are trying to find the Fountain of Youth. Against his will, Sparrow ends up on the mission, followed by Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who was sent by the English king to find the Fountain himself but who also still has an open tab with Blackbeard.

I thought Pirates of the Caribbean was really a lot of fun. It’s pretty mindless, doesn’t make much sense when you think about it and the 3D really sucked, but it still ended up very entertaining.

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The King’s Speech (2010)

The King’s Speech is Tom Hooper‘s newest film, starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham-Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Derek Jacobi, Jennifer Ehle, Michael Gambon, Guy Pearce, Eve Best and Timothy Spall.

Plot:
Prince Albert (Colin Firth) has a stutter. His wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham-Carter) is very supportive and together they’ve tried almost every doctor. Finally, Elizabeth turns up Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), a failed actor who tries unconventional methods. Albert is hesitant about the whole thing but since his father King George V (Michael Gambon) grows older and weaker and his brother David (Guy Pearce) is unreliable and uninterested, he decides to go for it anyway.

The King’s Speech is an excellent film, with an amazing cast and a very good script (by David Seidler). The set and costume design was brilliant, too. I just didn’t like the camerawork very much.

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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010)

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is Zack Snyder‘s first animated movie based on Kathryn Lasky‘s novels and stars the voices of Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, David Wenham, Anthony LaPaglia, Abbie Cornish and Ryan Kwanten.

Plot:
Soren (Jim Sturgess) and his brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) are two owls almost ready to leave their nests. Inspired by their attempts to fly, they want to practice more after their parents left for the nightly hunt and promptly fall down the tree. Before they can figure out a way back up, they are snatched up by two owls who bring them to the “True Bloods”*, a group of basically Nazi Owls who abduct young owls to build an army and to harvest something they call flecks; metal flakes that seem to have a magical (and very adverse) effect on owls. While Kludd embraces the True Bloods’ ideology, Soren makes a desperate attempt to find the legendary Guardians of Ga’Hoole: warrior owls sworn to protect other owls.

The movie has a good plot and nice, if a little stereotypical characters (nothing too bad). But most of all, it’s visually absolutely stunning. Here’s a movie that’s actually worth to see in 3D.

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$9.99 (2008)

$9.99 is a stop motion animated movie by Tatia Rosenthal, based on short stories by Etgar Keret (who also wrote the script) and starring the voices of Geoffrey Rush and Anthony LaPaglia. Again, I saw it during the Anilogue Festival in Vienna.

Plot:
The movie is about the various inhabitants of an apartment home in Sidney. Dave (Samuel Johnson) is 28, unemployed and still lives with his father Jim (Anthony LaPaglia). When he sees an ad for a book explaining the meaning of life for only 9.99, he buys it. Unfortunately, nobody wants to listen to him explain it all. Meanwhile his brother Lenny (Ben Mendelsohn) falls in love with the model (Leeanna Walsman) moving into the building, while a boy called Zack (Jamie Katsamatsas) falls in love with his piggy bank. Ron (Joel Edgerton), on the other hand, gets visited by two inch tall guys after his girlfriend (Claudia Karvan) breaks up with him. In another flat, retiree Albert (Barry Otto) is incredibly lonely until he is visited by a rather bitter Angel (Geoffrey Rush).

I quite liked $9.99. It has no big revelations, it’s not going to make any best of the decade lists, probably, but it’s sweet, has a fine sense of humour and is nicely absurd. The design of the characters and the set was especially good.

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Triple Feature

Yesterday was very intense. I left work early (I started early as well) to be able to go to a triple movie feature. I finally saw Elizabeth: The Golden Age, There Will Be Blood and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. [You may call me crazy for doing that.]

Elizabeth: The Golden Age was amazing. I actually like it better than the first part (which was excellent as well and it had Vincent Cassel in drag).
Shekhar Kapur has a perfect feeling for the use of light and the effect of light and light in general. He could have made a little less “shots through ornaments” (he likes them, see also Elizabeth) but that’s ok.
The acting was a-fucking-mazing. I knew Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush do act really good. I also knew Clive Owen could but rarely would (this time he did). Surprises were: Rhys Ifans (I like him and I know he can act but I didn’t know he was in this movie) and Jordi Mollà (who I didn’t know before but who had the incredible ability to scream “I’m a totally fucked-up maniac and nothing can stop me” without uttering a single word). With that cast, I also have to give out a honorary mention of Abbie Cornish and Samantha Morton who were noticed :).
The dialogues were wonderful. Watching the movie I felt like I needed to take a pen out and write along. Or probably learn the screenplay (by William Nicholson and Michael Hirst) by heart.
Of course, the movie had some weak spots. I already mentioned the ornament shots. Then there was Archduke Charles, an Austrian who comes so the queen may see if he’s fit to marry. Anyway, Christian Brassington obviously doesn’t speak a word German (although he has a good German accent in English) but has to say a couple of sentences. I actually needed the subtitles to understand him because his accent was so bad. [Cate Blanchett had a better pronunciation.] That’s just embarassing.
And from the characterisation: Sir Walter Raleigh must have been one hell of a guy. First, he’s the perfect gentleman, funny, intelligent, knows how to tell a story, knows what he wants and has amazing green eyes (ok, those belong to Clive Owen). Then you might say he trips a little by sleeping with the queen’s chambermaid (or whatever you call the girls) [but I think that was only rational, not necessarily wise but rational – he knew nothing could happen with the queen]. Anyway, he gets Bess (the chambermaid) pregnant and instantly marries her and is happy with that. And after that he goes out and singlehandedly defeats the Spanish Armada.  That might be a little too much (but feeds my hope that somewhere out there might be a man who is a little bit like that).
Summarising: A wonderful film with wonderful actors and a wonderful script which has some minor faults. Plus: Clive Owen’s hotter than Joseph Fiennes.

On to There Will Be Blood:
I was actually very disappointed by this film. I mean, Daniel Day-Lewis is great, as usual, as is Paul Dano who does a very good job not disappearing beside DD-L. But the film concentrates so much on DD-L that everything else is lost.
The “deathmatch” between him and the church is actually no match at all, there never is a single shred of doubt about the outcome and I felt like laughing all the time about the “exorcisms”.
Relationships live and die with Plainview’s feelings, the other person he has the relationship with has no say in it. (And no matter how dominant one person may be, relationships don’t work that way.)
And the music was horrible. It was intrusive and didn’t fit. The beginning of the credits deserves an award for Worst Chosen Music In A Film.
I guess, if I ever had the chance to make a movie with Daniel Day-Lewis, I’d try to get him into it as much as possible. So I understand why Paul Thomas Anderson did it the way he did. But he should have cut about half an hour of the film and could have tried to incorporate some other actors in this film as well.
Without DD-L there wouldn’t have been a movie. With him, there’s great acting but not much of a film.

So we come to Sweeney Todd.
In a nutshell: Another masterpiece by Tim Burton. I loved it. I loved the story, the music, the costumes (K. [German] wrote about Johnny Depp‘s trousers, I have to point out his leather jacket) and the acting.
Let’s get the things I didn’t like out of the way: The opening credits. The blood was poorly animated, it looked much too sticky and he could have done better.
That’s it.
Of course, Tim Burton has this very distinct style and some people may call it repetitive but who cares? I love the way he uses colours, and the lack of them. As well as the way he uses the same actors to portray the same roles, gives it all a continuity. (Though I guess, Christina Ricci wasn’t available.)

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spot the five differences… I know, it’s hard…

The lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler were just wonderful.

And in the darkness
When I’m blind
With what I can’t forget
It’s always morning in my mind

And there’s another quote (this time from the script by John Logan) I loved, Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham-Carter) says: “There could be an us, you know. It may not be what I dreamed of and it may not be what you remember, but it could be an us.”
I may be overinterpreting here, but I also liked the reference to Edward Scissorhands: Mr. Todd holds up the razor and says: “Finally, my arm is complete again.”
I laughed my ass off during the dream sequence. The striped bathing suits flat did it for me ((c) Anita Blake).
I don’t know what to think of Jamie Campbell Bower yet. He knows how to sing, that’s for sure, but I don’t think him that good an actor. And he looks weird.

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Alan Rickman, of course, was great. And Sacha Baron Cohen as “Call me Davey” Pirelli had me almost falling off my chair. And Timothy Spall was the perfect cast for Beadle. (When I saw him, my first thought was “Mr. Croup!” but I mistook him for Hywel Bennett. Only my second thought was “Peter Pettigrew!“)
And Giles Anthony Stewart Head was there, if only for five seconds.

There are about a thousand more things I could write about this film, but I’ll leave it at that. I guess you know already what I’m feeling about it.