Subtitled Salazar's Revenge in the UK, this fifth film in the long-running series never quite gets its sea legs. With a waterlogged script and a startlingly murky production design, this is the first movie in the franchise that lacks a sense of swashbuckling merriment. It's lively enough to keep the audience watching, but it never quite makes any sense because any sensible details are lost amid the chaotic action sequences.
It opens with Henry (Brenton Thwaites), son of franchise veterans Will and Elizabeth (Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley in cameos), who is on a quest to free his father from his watery imprisonment. For this he needs Poseidon's trident, which only Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) can find with his magical compass. Except that Jack has swapped the compass to buy some whiskey. Then Will meets the feisty Carina (Kaya Scodelario), who's star-reading skills will come in handy. But the vengeful Salazar (Javier Bardem) is also after the compass and the trident, hoping to reverse his own ghostly curse. And as things heat up, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) dives into the pursuit as well.
What follows is a series of set-pieces in which these various factions scuffle for control of people and artefacts that can lead them in their quests for power. They all talk incessantly about the elaborately complex mythology, but it never makes any sense why each person knows only fragments of the lore. And it's also not easy to hear what they're shouting amid the general chaos of yet another epically choreographed fight scene. Thankfully, the actors are hammy enough to stand out from the sea of digital effects that fill the screen.
Continue reading: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review
After billionaire Arthur Shaw (Alda) is sent to prison for fraud, the manager of his insanely posh Manhattan apartment building, Josh (Stiller), is furious that his staff's pensions have been lost. So he teams up with his employees (concierge Affleck, chef Sidibe and lift operator Pena), a disgruntled ex-tenant (Broderick) and a local crook (Murphy) to steal back what they're owed. But they have to be careful, because an FBI agent (Leoni) is poking around Arthur's penthouse. And then there's the question of where all of those stolen millions are hidden.
Continue reading: Tower Heist Review
All of these stories take place in Manhattan, with only one or two brief forays into other boroughs, and they all centre around relatively well-off people, mainly white or Asian. They're also quite serious and emotional, with only brief moments of humour dotted here and there, although some make us smile more than others. Each is about a male-female relationship--marriages, brief encounters, possibilities, life-long companionship. Most have a somewhat gimmicky twist, and a few are intriguingly oblique.
Continue reading: New York, I Love You Review
Rush Hour 3 plunks our questionable partners, the loose-mouthed Carter (Chris Tucker) and elastic Lee (Jackie Chan), into an international scandal involving the Chinese Triad election that takes them from sunny Los Angeles to gay Paris. Lee's friend and employer Consul Hu (Tzi Ma) is about to blow the lid off the Triads when a sniper snags him a few centimeters north of his heart. Hu's friend Vernard (Von Sydow) OKs Lee and Carter's trip to his hometown of Paris, where, for one reason or another, the Chinese Triad have decided to have an election.
Continue reading: Rush Hour 3 Review
Unfortunately Ratner does not find the same joy in Rush Hour 2, an occasionally amusing comedic adventure that leaves us with a profoundly annoying Chris Tucker fighting for attention while Jackie Chan fights one-dimensional Chinese villains with his bare fists. The film contains some neat action sequences, a great third act, and the most hilarious outtakes I can remember - but the clash of genres feels intrusive and awkward. I wanted more excitement, more character dimension, and a whole hell of a lot less of Chris Tucker's irritating mouth.
Continue reading: Rush Hour 2 Review
It's well known or, at least, widely surmised, that the teamster's local, the union that drives the wheels of production, is mob controlled. So when often-overlooked FBI agent Joe Devine (Alec Baldwin) suggests to his superiors that the way to take down local mobster Tommy Sanz (Tony Shalhoub) is to lure him into a sting operation based on the illusion of a new Hollywood production, he's given the Bureau's green light.
Continue reading: The Last Shot Review
In The Terminal, Spielberg gives us Hanks as Viktor Navorski, a visitor from the fictitious country of Krakhozia in Eastern Europe. Hanks, made up to be pasty and lumpy, puts on a mush-mouthed accent reminiscent of Yakov Smirnoff, and finds himself landing at New York's JFK on a mission we won't discover until the end of the film. We know only that it involves a Planters peanut can.
Continue reading: The Terminal Review
So goes Catch Me If You Can, Steven Spielberg's second film of the year after the darker, more imaginative Minority Report. The director's cat-and-mouse game draws from Abagnale's autobiography and begins with the criminal's capture at the hands of FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). The film then slowly backtracks six years to explain both how and why these two men wound up at this point. Part of it has to do with Frank's father (Christopher Walken), a smooth-as-silk seller with tax troubles. But most of it has to do with Frank's need to test his wits against inferior playmates.
Continue reading: Catch Me If You Can Review
They'll hit the UK and Ireland this November.
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