Jeff Nathanson

Jeff Nathanson

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Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review

Weak

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

Rush Hour 3 Review


Bad
For all the talk of his beguiling cameo as a police chief, Roman Polanski shows up in Rush Hour 3 for exactly two scenes for about two minutes. In fact, the French police have absolutely nothing to do with anything in the third Rush Hour installment. Polanski simply acts as a diacritic; a punctuation mark to let us know we're entering and exiting the French portion of the program. And although they are given more screen time, Ingmar Bergman-regular Max Von Sydow and French actor/director Yvan Attal serve similar purposes: They're garnish on a liver sandwich made with moldy bread and mayonnaise that started going green around the time of the Bay of Pigs.

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

Rush Hour 2 Review


Good
I enjoyed the original Rush Hour, the 1998 action comedy that grossed more than $250 million worldwide. Through its central characters, played by Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, the film provided audiences with a fresh, exciting combination of action and outrageous comedy. Although not a great film, and certainly not worthy of a sequel, director Brett Ratner admirably stitched together two immensely different characters, finding a charismatic delight in the diversity of Tucker and Chan.

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

The Terminal Review


Good
No modern traveler has more notoriety than Merhan Karimi Nasseri, who has been stranded in Terminal One of Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport since 1988. Nasseri was expelled from Iran in 1977 and spent 10 years trying to gain political asylum in Europe. That all came to an end when his bag was stolen in Paris, essentially stranding him at CDG. In 1993, a movie was made about him (Lost in Transit), starring Jean Rochefort. Nasseri's life reappears on screen this year in The Terminal, courtesy of Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. And shamefully, Nasseri goes unmentioned in the movie's production notes.

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

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Jeff Nathanson Movies

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

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

Subtitled Salazar's Revenge in the UK, this fifth film in the long-running series never quite...

Rush Hour 3 Movie Review

Rush Hour 3 Movie Review

For all the talk of his beguiling cameo as a police chief, Roman Polanski shows...

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Rush Hour 2 Movie Review

Rush Hour 2 Movie Review

I enjoyed the original Rush Hour, the 1998 action comedy that grossed more than $250...

The Terminal Movie Review

The Terminal Movie Review

No modern traveler has more notoriety than Merhan Karimi Nasseri, who has been stranded in...

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