Thursday, May 25, 2017

'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl' — THR's 2003 Review

On June 28, 2003, Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films brought the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie to audiences nationwide.
Director Gore Verbinski's adaptation of the Disneyland ride opened to $13.5 million, marking the best Wednesday opening of the year. The Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley starrer went on to put $305.4 million domestically in its box office treasure chest and would earn Depp an Oscar nomination for his now-iconic role as Captain Jack Sparrow. The Hollywood Reporter's original review is below:
Since the previous Walt Disney Co. film based on one of its theme park attractions was the unbearable The Country BearsPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is surprisingly not bad. For one thing, the filmmakers draw upon the entire legend and lore of pirate life — of high-seas ambushes, mountains of gold, cruel captains, lusty rogues, feisty damsels, drunken sailors, barroom brawls, ancient curses and furious sword fights. So the film pays bemused tribute not only to one of Disneyland’s most popular rides but those old swash-bucklers who once graced movie screens.
Screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio are mostly associated with animation, and this is one time when a cartoon approach in live action is exactly right: The movie’s flamboyant personalities and tongue-in-cheek action push the envelope of high camp without ever succumbing to sheer silliness.
This $100 million-plus production, stylishly directed by Gore Verbinski and lavishly produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, has the makings of one of the summer’s big hits.
The film includes a number of "scenes" from the Disneyland ride, such as the imprisoned pirates trying to coax a dog carrying a jailhouse key toward their cell to a raucous tavern featuring zaftig serving wenches.
But the smartest borrowing — and one of the best of the 600-old visual effects shots — is the living skeletons.
The curse of the title occurs when black-hearted Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) relieves fellow pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) not only of his command but his ship, the Black Pearl, and its treasure, leaving him to die on a tiny isle. Sparrow mysteriously survives and, as the movie opens, sails into Port Royal harbor in little more than a dinghy.
What Sparrow doesn’t learn until later is that the Pearls’ treasure carries a curse that dooms his former crew to sail the seas as the undead. Only moonlight reveals them as living skeletons.
The Pearl attacks Port Royal, just after Sparrow arrives, to retrieve a gold medallion. This is the last piece of the plundered treasure. If the treasure is completely restored along with the payment of a “blood debt,” the curse will lift. The crew also kidnaps the medallions’ owner, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), daughter of the governor (Jonathan Pryce). Two men pursue the Black Pearl, hoping to rescue this beauteous damsel: Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), a blacksmith and childhood friend secretly in love with her, and haughty Commodore Norrington (Jack Davenport), who fancies himself her fiance.
Despite his loathing of pirates, Will joins forces with Sparrow. The duo hijacks the fastest ship in the British fleet and sets sail for the Isla de Muerta, where the pirates hope to break their curse.
This sets up a series of set pieces of comic action and effects — the attack on Port Royal, the escape of Sparrow and Will, sea battles between the Black Pearl and other vessels, no less than two climaxes in a torch-lit island cave and, most impressively, moonlit battles between British sailors and pirate skeletons.
Actors try out a range of salty brogues that pitches much of the dialogue in a sea of confusing accents. However, Depp takes the opposite approach with precise enunciation of every line in what is best described as an accent-less accent. Depp plays his charming rascal in the lightheaded manner of a man who has either been in the sun too long or knows something no one else does. Perhaps it’s a bit of both.
Rush zeroes in on the comedy in his wily villain. Knightley continues to display the athleticism exhibited in Bend It Like Beckham as a damsel who is able and willing to fight and escape with the best of men. In the closest thing to a straight man in the movie, Bloom attacks his role with the pent-up fury of a man who only hates pirates because pirate blood races in his veins.
The large cast, costumed and made up as a fitly scalawags and sinister buccaneers, gives tremendous energy to every scene. There are many solid gags among this motley crew — the pirate forever chasing his false eye, the parrot trained to speak for its mute master, the series of fetching wenches who deliver slaps to Sparrow for past wrongs.
Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski and production designer Brian Morris manage to convey the giddy feel of the original Disneyland ride — that we are in a dark world, where we may safely gasp and giggle at its outlandish villainy and savage avarice. Klaus Badelt’s music is at times over the top, but he takes his cue from a production that banishes all subtlety.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Winners of Tickets to The Girl On The Train

We understand that you were so many who participated in the competition for tickets to the woman on the train, and we look forward even mad to seeing the film. The winners are now drawn and the two lucky ladies that each can invite two friends to the movies is:

Caroline A .: I have also developed a girl crush on Emily Blunt! My first meeting with her, must have been in the movie "My Summer of Love". The film is, in my opinion, not one of her best, but her performance as the alluring Tamsin, is at the top :)

Mille: Wild, wild, wild with Blunt in The Wolfman from 2010. The film is debatable, but the cast is wasted motion well and Blunt shiner as virtually every woman. In addition, it's great when she gets to go full british on :)

Congratulations! There are sent mail directly to the winners.

Friday, September 30, 2016

See the Avengers Give Donald Trump on Dry

That opinion is divided on the controversial tycoon and presidential candidate Donald Trump, is not unknown. But some are bigger opponents than others, and now a number of Hollywood stars joined forces against Trump.

Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo are among the actors who participate in a humorous campaign video calling Trump a racist coward that can destroy society. Av ...

Joss Whedon has directed the video, which may explain the impressive attendance from above Avengers actors.

It is not unusual for American actors intervene in political debates and presidential elections. Most often it is the Democrats who obtain support from Hollywood, but there are also prominent Republican stars like Clint Eastwood.

Whether the involvement of various movie stars have any effect out and about in the American home when the election takes place on 8 November, is more uncertain.

One can ask oneself whether it would move votes if a number of Danish actors stood and gave their views known?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Win Tickets To Nerve

The competition is made in collaboration with Nordisk Film

We shake just a little competition out of the sleeve here in the wake of the Danish summer. This time you can win tickets to the movie nerve with Emma Roberts and Dave Franco (yes, James Franco's younger brother) in the lead roles. Vee DeMarco (Roberts) lives a quiet life, focusing on his school work, but one day she will be tempted by the online game Nerve, a kind of interactive truth or dare. She meets the mysterious Ian (Franco) and together they will be drawn into the game as first seems like a reliable leg, but quickly develops into a risky competition with their lives.

It is Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman behind Nerve and previously made the documentary, Catfish, together. Both films have for the two instructors been a way to create dialogue about how we present ourselves online, and to what degree our online identity is consistent with our actual person. A fairly relevant conversation in these times when we increasingly live and communicate through online media.

And now for the competition. All you have to do to participate on tickets Nerve is to answer the following question in the comments section of this post: If you were to add a challenge to Nerve-game, what would it be? See possibly the trailer below for inspiration. We will draw two winners on Wednesday. August 24 pm. 12:00.

Photo credit: Nordisk Film + Niko Tavernise

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Jean-Luc Godard: a beginner's guide

Godard is as revolutionary and influential a hinge-figure in cinema as Joyce was to literature and the cubists were to painting. He saw a rule and broke it. Every day, in every movie. Incorporating what professionals thought of as mistakes (jump-cuts were only the most famous instance), mixing high culture and low without snobbish distinctions, demolishing the fourth wall between viewing himself as a maker of fictional documentaries, essay movies, and viewing his movies as an inseparable extension of his pioneering work as a film critic for Cahiers du Cinéma in the 1950s.

Here are six films from his enormously productive 1960s period, when he ground out one masterpiece after another, 14 in a mere seven years. Don’t feel limited to this one decade, though, the rest of his career is no less fascinating, infuriating and masterly.

À Bout de Souffle (Breathless)

The revolution starts here. A barely-there sub-Série Noire plot involving a vain and nihilistic petty criminal (Jean-Paul Belmondo) with a Bogie fetish, and his sometime American girlfriend (Jean Seberg). He shoots a cop and goes on the run – sort of – and then gets shot himself. The real revolution is formal, stylistic. Just as the Velvet Underground incorporated the “accident” of feedback, Godard used the flaws and formal no-nos of conventional cinema to reinvent cinema. Shooting without permits, using no real script (dialogue was post-dubbed), and liberated by the same new lightweight cameras that powered the 60s documentary boom, Godard achieved an off-the-cuff, free-form documentary feel that felt totally new and invigorating in 1960. He also shattered notions of high culture and low, proving that you could infuse seedy B-movie trash with Apollinaire and The Wild Palms, Shakespeare and teddy bears, Dovzhenko and Frank Tashlin. And nothing was ever the same again.

Le Mépris (Contempt)

At Cinecittà Studios in Rome, a film of The Odyssey, directed by Fritz Lang himself (one of the four or five giants who locked down the grammar of cinema, lest we forget), and funded by Jack Palance’s crude American producer, is slowly failing to get made. The screenwriter’s (Michel Piccoli) marriage to a frequently naked Brigitte Bardot, meanwhile, is slowly being unmade. Shot in widescreen and color by Coutard, Contempt is almost ridiculously gorgeous to look at, inflected primarily by Godard’s career-long obsession with the color red (JLG loves red almost as much as Michael Powell did), and graced with enviably smooth and elegant tracking shots, some of enormous length and complexity. And despite working with a higher budget (from Carlo Ponti, of all people), one never loses the impression that Godard showed up in the morning with an idea or two, found a pre-existing set or locale, and just started shooting. The result, however, is one of the masterpieces of French cinema.

Bande à part

The “cutest” and most accessible of all Godard’s early movies, Bande à part has ingrained itself into the international folk-memory of cinema, and is referenced in dozens of other movies, whether directly, as in Bertolucci’s The Dreamers, which re-enacts Bande’s famous nine-minute race through the Louvre, or indirectly, as in Tarantino’s production outfit, A Band Apart Films. At the centre is Godard’s then wife and 1960s muse, the utterly beguiling Anna Karina, who takes up with two criminals who plan to rob her rich employer. Mostly they just lark about in the perfect Paris of 1964, riding cars, bullshitting in cafes – including one moment when one character asks for a minute’s silence, and the entire soundtrack drops out for that period – and generally failing at being crooks. This is the approachable, antic, fun-loving Godard who largely vanished during his radical Maoist decade after May 68. Still a joy to devour.

Une Femme Mariée (A Married Woman)

Godard made a number of intriguing and provocative films about women’s lives in the 60s: Une Femme est Une Femme, Vivre Sa Vie, Two or Three Things I Know About Her, and this long out-of-circulation 1964 portrait of a woman being slowly but steadily eclipsed by advertising, consumer goods, fashion spreads and consumerism in general. Into the mix are thrown the early-60s Auschwitz trials in West Germany, extended montages of fashion photography, and the fetishization of leading lady Macha Meril’s body, which gradually becomes indistinguishable from the advertising that constantly assails her. For reasons not made public, A Married Woman was initially banned by the French censors. Godard believed that the ban arose not from the mild instances of nudity in the film, but because it was “an attack on a certain mode of life, that of air-conditioning, that of the prefabricated, of advertising”. All the horrors of modern life, in other words, made into great art.


A magical and bizarre sci-fi fantasy, somewhere between Cocteau’s Orphée and Lang’s Dr Mabuse movies, starring American expatriate actor Eddie Constantine – with his Warner Bros private-eye face and manner – as Lemmy Caution, an investigator sent to destroy the notorious Alpha 60, a sentient computer, half HAL 9000, half the computer in The Prisoner, much given to quoting Borges, that controls the city of Alphaville, absorbing the soul of the individual into the mindless mass of the collective. With his legendary cinematographer Raoul Coutard, Godard discovered the future – unevenly distributed, then as now – in contemporary Paris without building a single set. In Alphaville one can summon up a “Seductress Third Class” for assignations, but no one understands the meaning of “love” or “conscience”. Lemmy’s weapons are poetry and literature, their meanings ambiguous and ever in flux, and thus intolerable and rebarbative to Alpha 60, which is finally destroyed by the words “I love you.”

La Chinoise

La Chinoise – along with Weekend, another masterpiece from 1967 – closed off the first period of Godard’s career – the approachable era – and foreshadowed his politically committed, near-Maoist Dziga Vertov period in partnership with Jean-Pierre Gorin, during which he seemed determined to alienate anyone who’d ever loved his early work. La Chinoise (very loosely based on Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed) is a black comedy about political commitment, starring Nouvelle Vague icon Jean-Pierre Léaud and Godard’s future second wife Anne Wiazemsky (star of Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthasar), and is rife with visual jokes and audacious editing (keep an eye on the ever growing and shrinking quantities of Mao’s Little Red Book that appear on the shelves behind the direct-to-camera speakers). Weekend, which is extremely formally aggressive, contains one of the most striking and hilarious tracking shots in movie history, an endless traffic jam that somehow contains all of life – birth, meals, fist-fights, philosophical arguments, sex and death.