Film Review: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES (USA 2017)

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pirates of the caribbean 2017.jpgCaptain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.

Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Writers: Jeff Nathanson (screenplay)
Stars: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem

Review by Gilbert Seah 

 The 5th instalment of the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise has been delayed a year and then another to be finally released this year after budget and script problems. It is easy to see why. The film like most sequels comes across as louder and bigger but not necessarily better. Written by Jeff Nathanson based on a story by himself and Terry Rossio, the story is a narrative mess and all over the place. In the parts where it is barely coherent, the special effects and swashbuckling action totally destroys whatever left as a thread of a story.

The film begins with a boy rowing a boat into the vast ocean. A huge ship scoops the boy up from underwater where the audience learns that the boy is seeking his father (Orlando Bloom) to return home. The father is under a curse and the boy vows to seek the Trident of Poseidon which returns power to the seas and break the curse that prevents the father returning home. The film then jumps 9 years into the future. The boy is revealed to be now grown up as the handsome Brenton Thwaites who is locked beneath the ship after warning the captain of dangerous waters that no ship has ever come back from. When imprisoned, the ship is attacked by ghosts. Henry is met by an evil, hissing ghost by the name of Salazar (Javier Bardem). He is apparently a powerful and maniacal undead pirate hunter of the Spanish Navy who was trapped in the Devil’s Triangle. After escaping, he seeks the Trident of Poseidon to wipe out all piracy and exact revenge on Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). He asks Henry to pass the message to Sparrow that he is looking for him as he cannot relay the message as dead men tell no tales. Of course, all this make no sense. The story then jumps to anther point. jack Sparrow is robbing a bank.

No one really cares what happens. A female character Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) is further introduced into the story to form the romantic interest for Henry, who also ends up seeking that dreaded trident. To form a strong female presence in the film, she fights for women’s rights to study in the university at that time.

When Johnny Depp is not appearing half the time behaving as if he was drunk or high, the pirates are swinging all over the ship and beating each other up. Lots of props get wrecked with lots of pyrotechnics thrown in. The camera swirls around for no reason – to the sky, to the sea down to the vast expanse of beaches.

The film’s best segment which occurs at the start when Sparrow falls asleep during a bank heist is quite over-the-top, but the the rest of the film never matches that part.

It only took ten minutes of the film for boredom to set in and the film lasts a full 2 hours and 20 minutes. The few cameos of Paul McCartney and Kiera Knightley do not enliven the film either.

This should finally be the last tired entry to a tired series. Jack Sparrow and gang should be forever banished to the Devil’s Triangle. In this film, Sparrow is supposed to have lost his mojo and getting it back with Poseidon’s Trident. No kidding about that loss of mojo.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrGyD4kHTSE

 

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Happy Birthday: Geoffrey Rush

geoffreyrush.jpgHappy Birthday actor Geoffrey Rush

Born: July 6, 1951 in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Married to: Jane Menelaus (20 November 1988 – present) (2 children)

He won an Oscar for playing David Helfgott in Shine (1996), making him one of 12 actors to win the Award for playing a real person who was still alive at the evening of the Award ceremony (as of 2007).

 

SHINEShine
1996
dir. Scott Hicks
Starring
Geoffrey Rush
Armin Mueller-Stahl
THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARLPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
2003
dir. Verbinski
FINDING NEMOFinding Nemo
2003
dir. Andrew Stanton
Lee Unkrich
Cast
Albert Brooks
Ellen DeGeneres
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'HooleLEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE
dir. Zack Snyder
CANDYCandy
2006
dir. Neil Armfield
Cast
Heath Ledger
Abbie Cornish
SydneyWhiteElizabeth: The Golden Age
2007
Directed by Shekhar Kapur
Starring
Blanchett
Rush
The Warrior's WayThe Warrior’s Way
dir. Sngmoo Lee
Stars:
Dong-gun Jang
Kate Bosworth
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN AT WORLD'S ENDPirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
2007
dir. Verbinski
Starring
Johnny Deep
movie posterSHAKESPEARE IN LOVE
1998
dir. John Madden
Starring:
Gwyneth Paltrow
Joseph Fiennes
MOVIE POSTERMUNICH
1983
dir. Steven Spielberg
Stars:
Eric Bana
Daniel Craig

QUILLS
2000
dir. Philip Kaufman
Cast:
Geoffrey Rush
Kate Winslet
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesPirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
dir. Rob Marshall
Stars:
Johnny Depp
Penélope Cruz
MOVIETHE KING’S SPEECH
2010
dir. Tom Hooper
starring
Helena Bonham Carter
Colin Firth
MOVIE POSTERFINDING NEMO 3D
dir. Andrew Stanton
Lee Unkrich
Stars:
Albert Brooks
Ellen DeGeneres
MOVIE POSTERELIZABETH
1997
dir. Shekhar Kapur
Stars:
Geoffrey Rush
Cate Blanchett
MOVIE POSTEROSCAR AND LUCINDA
1997
dir. Gillian Armstrong
Stars:
Ralph Fiennes
Cate Blanchett
MOVIE POSTERTHE BOOK THIEF
2013
dir. Brian Percival
Stars:
Sophie Nelisse
Geoffrey Rush

 

THE DAUGHTER (Australia 2015) ***

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the_daughter.jpgTHE DAUGHTER (Australia 2015) ***
Directed by Simon Stone

Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, Anna Torv

Review by Gilbert Seah

Based on the Henrik Ibsen’s 2-act play ‘The Wild Duck’, THE DAUGHTER is Simon Stone’s gut wrenching drama adapted to a small loving town in Australia. It stars Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush who plays an evil father with a fondness for younger women and with no redeeming qualities. About to be re-married, his son (Paul Schneider) visits, only to open dark skeletons in the closet. This leads to things getting from bad to worse, leading to a suicide.

The film was shot in New South Wales, in an area of abandoned factories and logging forests in a soft light, like what would be expected in Denmark. Written also by Stone, the film is a compelling watch despite its over serious content that might turn out to intense for certain audiences. The play is simplified a bit, with the removal of a few characters but with no reduction in the drama.

Rush is always a pleasure to watch, even in the role of a much displaced character.

THE DAUGHTER is Stone’s first film, a little difficult to watch because of its content and a bit slow moving, made slower with a lot of slow option sequences.

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Movie Review: GODS OF EGYPT (USA 2016) **

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gods_of_egypt_poster.jpgGODS OF EGYPT (USA 2016) **
Directed by Alex Proyas

Starring: Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Courtney Eaton, Chadwick Boseman, Elodie Yung

Review by Gilbert Seah

The Lionsgate blockbuster GODS OF EGPYT has been plagued by many problems the most notable of it being a totally white cast for its lead characters. But this is the least of the film’s troubles. Made by Lionsgate, the HUNGER GAMES company that desperately needs a big hit after their stock plummeted 30% in one day after the earnings announcement, this $140 million production is only expected to gross, by industry estimates only $15 million on its opening weekend. To Lionsgate credit, it claims that it only footed $10 million of the budget, the rest covered by pre-sales and tax credits. The Australian Government apparently paid half the production costs.

The director Alex Proyas (I, ROBOT, THE CROW) claims that the world of Gods of Egypt never really existed. It is inspired by Egyptian mythology, and therefore it would make no sense to attempt any historical accuracy because that would be pointless — none of the events in the movie ever really happened. So, it does not really matter that the film was never shot in Egypt but down-under.

The story of Gods and man is set in Egypt. At the film’s start, the audience is given the heads-up by voice-over of the film’s setting. Apparently God and man are co-existing side-by-side. The film distinguishes one from the other by the size. Gods are figures that appear much taller (or larger) than humans. The film opens with a common human thief, Bek (Brenton Thwaites) stealing an amulet to offer it as a gift to his everlasting love. They attend the coronation of the crowning of the new King, Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), whose throne is stolen by Uncle Set (Gerard Butler with all the growling he can muster!) After that, it is the quest of reclaiming the throne.

Since when do Gods die or fight for a throne? And where does the idea of so many Gods living together ever come from? The main premise is as ridiculous as it looks and it does look even sillier in a big budgeted film. One best example is the scene of the coronation with the screen filled with thousands of spectators as far the the screen can hold. How then can they hear what is going on on the stage when the microphone was not invented then. The scene reminds one of MONTY PYTHON’S LFE OF BRIAN where the Monty Python group complain about being unable to hear what Jesus was preaching during the sermon on the Mount.

The film running more than 2 hours is CGI gone mad. The special effects, 3D and CGI are costly and look good on the screen. But the script meanders more than the Nile giving the impression that the writers are making things up as they go along. For a multi-million dollar epic, the one-liners could at least being funnier. “Run…”, “Run Faster”… are the best the film has to offer. The climatic fight is good enough, performed at the top of a pyramid, but the entire adventure turns out to be a totally boring affair.

Never has so much money been devoted to the realm of boredom.

 

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

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