Archive for May, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides

The pirates are back!  The fourth installment of the growing Pirates of the Caribbean franchise sheds some main characters but Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as the devilishly hilarious pirate remains.  On Stranger Tides focuses on Jack’s journey to the Fountain of Youth.  Unlucky for him, the Spanish, the English and Blackbeard all have the same goal in mind.  In order to receive the bounties of the fountain, a ritual including two silver chalices from Ponce De Leon’s ship, and a mermaid’s tear is required.  The race is off to find the needed elements and the fountain all the while battling each other and the bizarre circumstances they find themselves in.  Hector Barbossa (Geoffery Rush) returns as a privateer for the English Navy in a subplot as he seeks revenge on Blackbeard (Ian McShane).  Angelica (Penelope Cruz) stars as Jack’s twisted love interest and Blackbeard’s crafty daughter.

As you can tell from the short summary I just gave, the over-the-top mythological storylines are back.  Sword fights on rafters, Jack swinging through the streets of London, and explosions also continue throughout this fourth installment.  Continue reading

Limitless

It is human nature to see how far you can take yourself.  In Limitless, a solution is offered to reach the maximum potential of anybody.  A small clear pill is what takes the antagonist of Limitless from down and out writer to the peak of achievement.  Edward Morra (Bradley Cooper) originally appears on screen as a writer with writers block.  His life is stalled and a happen-stance run in with his brother-in-law find his exposed to an untested but groundbreaking drug, NZT.  This drug allows the user to access 100% of his brain instead of the usual 20%.  With one intake, Edward, Eddie, is able to draft his novel and turn his entire life around.  Along with a hefty price tag, the drug attracts attention from other high minded individuals seeking to get their hands on the limited stash.  Eddie must battle other NZT users while maintaining his relationship with his girlfriend, Lindy (Abbie Cornish) and employer, Carl Van Loon (Robert DeNiro)

Eddie’s transition from slob to genius take place as soon as the drug hits.  The audience’s first sign of the ‘high’ state is a fish eye lens from Eddies point of view.  The filmmaker makes obvious cinematic chooses such as the fish eye lens and color changes to allow the audience to quickly know the difference between the states.  This came across as unnecessary and belittling.  I find it distasteful that the director has to dumb down plot points to make them accessible to the audience, the difference in character intuition and intellectual prowess was enough.  What was interesting about the drug state was how Eddie and others learned.  Continue reading

Happy Rapture

Hope the world doesn’t end, but if it does…Happy Rapture.

Water for Elephants

Welcome to the spectacular world of the circus in the 1930’s.  Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, Water for Elephants follows the story of Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson) from his years at Cornell studying veterinary sciences through his unlikely journey to the circus.  Although never graduating, Jacob finds work as the show vet for August (Christoph Waltz) and his Benzini Brother’s circus.  Riding the rails of this spectacular show, Jacob experiences the protocol of life under August, the hard times that faces the working men of the circus and the affection of August’s wife and main attraction Marlena (Reese Witherspoon).  August, in an attempt to keep the circus profitable, purchases an elephant named Rosie.  Jacob becomes the trainer which brings him closer to Marlena.

The film is pitted as a romance between two unattainable lovers but as the movie continued I cared less about the romance and more about Jacbob’s relationship with the elephant.  The pending failure of the circus causes August to act out in rage against Rosie.  Jacob becomes not only the trainer but the guardian of Rosie and eventually Marlena against August’s aggression.  Continue reading