Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie review.

The surprise success of the Pirates of the Caribbean film series cannot be understated. Back when The Curse of the Black Pearl graced us with its presence, few would have seen it becoming the smash hit that it did, and no one would ever have imagined that Johnny Depp would receive an Oscar nomination for his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow, an eccentric and anarchic character who took the world by storm. Seeing the successful results, it didn't take Disney long to see that they had a new star franchise on their hands, greenlighting and releasing several sequels in the years since.

Unfortunately, very rarely did those sequels ever manage to capture the same spirit of the original, and after a very convoluted and reviled third entry, the studio tried to restore the series back to basics, with the result being the underwhelming On Stranger Tides. This summer sees the fifth entry Dead Men Tell No Tales, that intends to act as a farewell to the franchise, and to Jacky boy himself. Unfortunately if this film is anything to go by, a more accurate response would be good riddance.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Brief thoughts on Split.

Poor M. Night Shyamalan. After being thrust onto the Hollywood scene following his success with The Sixth Sense, the young talent - once touted as being the next Spielberg - was subject to one of the most notorious career fall-outs in recent cinematic history. No director was in more dire need of a revival at this point, and despite finding mild success with his low budget found footage flick The Visit (I myself was no fan of that film), I feel confident in saying that Split, in which three young girls are kidnapped by a man whose mind houses 23 distinct personalities, was just the rebirth he needed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"A Pirate's Life For Me" Retrospective: Part 2.

"No fear of evil curses, says you." Welcome back to my continuing coverage on Pirates of the Caribbean. As we set Jack's misadventures surrounding cursed Aztec gold and vicious sea monsters aside, it's time we ventured to the growing pirate war, and to the future beyond that. And take heed of these words, for in order to get my full points across and to tie the series and thematic knots together, I will have to spoil key moments on both current films and prior ones.

"Properly warned ye be, says I..."

Monday, May 22, 2017

"A Pirate's Life For Me" Retrospective: Part 1.

Drink up me hearties, for this Memorial Day, that scurvy scoundrel Jack Sparrow be back for one more plunderous and thunderous adventure, as those savvy scallywags Disney and Bruckheimer take the helm for the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film. ARRR!!!
 And talk about a property that's more successful than it had any right to be. As we all know, the Pirates of the Caribbean series is based on the hugely popular ride of the same name within all the Disney theme parks. The film series originally began near the end of Michael Eisner's tenure, at a time when other attraction based films such as The Country Bears and The Haunted Mansion became epic failures, and many would be forgiven for thinking this series would follow the same path. Instead, the original film was embraced by the general public and critics, and soon spawned what is now one of Disney's flagship live-action franchises, that is still so popular today, its fifth entry will probably make gangbusters at the box office whether or not it's any good. Hopefully that doesn't mean it takes that fact for granted. And once again, I'll be leaving my thoughts on every entry in the series leading up to the (supposed) finale to the franchise, here and in a follow-up with some rapid fire thoughts laid out on each entry.

So keep a weather eye open, mates, and proceed at your own risk. These be the last friendly words ye'll hear...

Friday, May 19, 2017

Alien: Covenant movie review.

38 years ago, a little known director named Ridley Scott brought us Alien, a horrifying and suspenseful sci-fi flick that terrorized audiences everywhere, and launched its main director to superstardom. In the decades since, the film has seen a number of sequels, the most notable example being James Cameron's also fantastic pluralized action film. But the series suffered an inevitable decline with two terrible sequels, and reached its consensus nadir with the indignity of the Alien vs. Predator crossover series, which left the franchise in the gutter.

Eager to restore his career-making franchise back to its former glory, Scott took the helm once more for 2012's Prometheus, that was intended to serve as a prequel, exploring the origins of the Space Jockey. That film polarized its audiences when it was released, mainly due to its frustrating vagueness and numerous loose ends that were clearly building to future continuations. Which finally brings us up to speed with Alien: Covenant, an entry that intends to restore the franchise back to its roots while also diving deeper into the mysteries of Prometheus. But does it succeed at either?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"The Terror of Alien" Retrospective: Part 2.

Welcome back, and let's continue our coverage of the Alien saga. Today, we take a look at the single most divisive entries in the series.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Brief thoughts on The Discovery.

"I just don't know why we think it's gonna be different somewhere else", mulls Jason Segel as he notes mankind's habit of repeating mistakes on an endless loop. For within Charlie McDowell's The Discovery, the afterlife itself has been proven an indisputable fact, a fact that has caused the unfortunate side effect of mass daily suicides, and men and women seeming all too eager to greet death like an old friend. It's a premise that serves for the film's intriguing set-up, and quite a heady one full of interesting ideas, but can the ideas alone make the film?

Monday, May 15, 2017

"The Terror of Alien" Retrospective: Part 1.

This Friday sees the release of the latest addition to the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant (or Liaen: Oven Can't, for those in Cambridge). One of the most beloved sci-fi franchises, as well as one of the most fluctuating in quality, the original film showing seven crew members facing off against a brutish unknown alien, has spawned numerous sequels, spin-offs, video game tie-ins, and one huge and enduring fanbase. So in preparation for the latest entry, I'll be running through my thoughts on every main series entry in chronological order (skipping over the AVP films, of course). However, unlike past retrospectives, and due to time constraints, this won't be in my usual format. Instead, I'll be leaving my thoughts on every film within two posts (I've got something similar planned for next week's fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie), so I hope you enjoy my thoughts.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie review.

This time three years ago, few people would have known who the Guardians of the Galaxy were. They were a particularly niche and obscure brand within Marvel Comics' storied history, given that their main cast included a tree man and a talking raccoon. So in an effort to expand on their ongoing cinematic universe, the company took a big gamble by giving the team of "A-holes" their own movie, which became a big hit back in its late summer release, becoming the company's breakout success.

The film played out like a long, unabashed love letter to 70's and 80's pop culture, becoming a Raiders of the Lost Ark of its day, and had one sweet soundtrack to go along with it. As the first big release of the summer movie season, director James Gunn is back to unleash his dysfunctional creations in one more quest to save the galaxy in Vol. 2, with all the irreverence that you would expect. So what have our fine heroes gotten themselves into this time?