Because if I don’t, people might forget that this is actually a film site.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
It opened with a sequence of ran, fogginess and Keira Knightley looking bland. Quite an apt introduction to the entire film, I think, which has described by the friend I saw it with as “like The Matrix Reloaded, but with Pirates.” Yeah, so, it wasn’t overly impressive, although, to be fair to it, like the first, it was thrilling and entertaining at moments. Unlike the first, however, there were absolutely no laughs, and I seriously thought we were entering Bridget Jones II like territory when Depp said the line, “Why is the rum always gone,” because everyone in the audience looked at each other shiftily and groaned. Whilst we’re comparing it to other films, it was also a little like King Kong in how it tried to use any opportunity to show off what the creators could do with a computer, and as a result, the film was more a VFX spectacle than a proper movie. The script (which was co-penned by Collateral writer Stuart Beattie) was all over the place, and there was absolutely zero sense of pacing, character development or plot. Depp was good in his role, but we’d all been there, done that, with the first movie. Knightley and Bloom were terribly bland. The score was decent, but used many of the great tunes from the first, so there was not even an originality. And the final scene? I predicted it as soon as I heard the third was a follow on from second. Sloppy, sloppy filmmaking, and a desperate attempt to get bums on seats.
Now here was a film I liked! The plot was ludicrous, but unlike Pirates of the Caribbean, I was hooked for every minute of this crazy adrenaline-rushed ride. Violent and visceral, the film begins with a group of drug lord people coming to retrieve some stolen cocaine, only to find it has been flushed down the bath. Fighting, swearing and a bleak cliffhanger ensues. Then we’re sixth months into the future, where a cop has an assignment of getting into District 13 (the slums), and retrieving a stolen bomb. But he needs the help of someone. Anyway, not much point going into details of the plot (primarily because there isn’t one), this is a fun, brainless action movie with stunning martial arts sequences like they don’t make anymore. The ending surprised me (because it was happy, and the general film was rather bleak). Overall, a thumbs up from me. B+.
Thank You for Smoking
I’ve seen this one before. It’s a viciously amusing, amoral take on the world of spin, featuring Aaron Eckhart as the slimy spokesperson for cigarettes. Basically… that’s it, but there are an array of amusing supporting players, from Maria Bello’s “Mother Burgundy” (M.O.D. squad member: alcohol), Katie Holmes’ sly reporter and Rob Lowe’s Hollywood exec. This film takes us into the minds of those who work in spin, and we see what they do, how they do it and why they do it. Things pan out a little too conveniently to be completely believed (come on, this is a film), but overall, this is funny stuff. B.