Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you! :O
So don’t come running to me if you spoil the film!

Very unlike myself, I went to see a Disney film at the cinema; oh the actual terrible shock! I would have not chosen to go and see such a thing, except a group of friends were venturing out to do the very thing, so we tagged along and enjoyed the ride.

The cinema was absolutely packed, I love that whenever I go to the cinema simply with my sister there is always a very low attendance, but you add one other person to that group, suddenly the cinema always seems to be packed.

Directed by Gore Verbinski and Starring Johnny Depp (Jack Sparrow), Orlando Bloom (Will Turner), Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Swann), Jack Davenport (Norrington), Bill Nighy (Davy Jones) Jonathan Pryce (Governor Swann), Lee Arenberg (Pintel), Mackenzie Crook (Ragetti), Kevin McNally (Gibbs), David Bailie (Cotton) and Stellan Skarsgard (Bootstrap Bill)

Well, the film –most obviously- takes place after the events of Pirates of the Caribbean (Whatever they may be, I for one have not seen the original) and follows the misadventures of Jack, Will and Elizabeth, with all pretty much similar screen time which was surprising to see. Ok, so the point of the film is that Captain Jack Sparrow made a very Faustian pact with Davy Jones, and now like all these deals, Jones wants his soul. But of course, he won’t let him have it, and this is when adventure ensues.

Well, being a Disney film, and based on a theme park ride, the film is very much intended for children, and granted there were some funny parts, the humour was all very obvious, nothing extremely clever, so yes. Very much a children’s film.

Well, in comment to the actors, the real selling point of the film is no doubt Johnny Depp, an actor who is now so recognised, hoards of young girls –and women- flock to his every film. Though it must be said that he creates such a character that can be remembered, it is almost impossible to say much else about the other actors.
It was a little strange to see so many British cameos, and I was rather estranged in seeing Mr Jonathan Pryce playing a role in the film, but regardless it must be said that hardly any of the other actors/actresses really compare to Depp’s performance, which I must say isn’t exactly his best one either.

The soundtrack was pretty cool, sounded similar to Monkey Island, and had me singing –Monkey Island- for a few days afterwards.

Good pirate films are few and far between, and one thing that I loved of Pirates of the Caribbean DMC was simply the pirate aspect. The film was full of beautiful costumes, fitting to the era, and the locations were gorgeous, (cant say that and not think of Little Britain) and as I do not see many period pieces, I must say that it was some of the best mise-en-scene for a film I have seen in a while.

For one, the film was quite long, and dragged a little, the other obvious downfall to the film was its extremely open-for-sequel-end which I abhor in films (unless its Batman Begins because they took that from the comics and it was awesome). Otherwise the film was ok, it’s not going up there on my ‘best films of 2006’ but it was ok. Like Fantastic Four last year, Pirates of the Caribbean was simply an enjoyable family film, not something I would usually chose to go see.

As I’ve already mentioned the film was entertaining, with a standard script and standard performances from the actors, not terribly engaging, but then, I did not expect such of the film.
Though if you have a hankering for light entertainment on a hot summers day, I can safely say that you will have some fun watching Pirates of the Caribbean 2; though I myself would chose to see Superman Returns if such the occasion arose.

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 6/10
I love to see people’s reactions to films, and children are particularly vocal in this aspect, so much that the child next to me, jumped enormously at some parts, laughed her head off on others, making the film much more enjoyable. Because I feel that if someone else is enjoying it, it makes the experience much more entertaining.
It would be very interesting –in my humble opinion- that instead with the third in the series, that they do not bring back Depp’s character, just to see everyone’s reaction, because there is no way they are going to keep their flagship out of it.


Hard Candy

If you have not yet seen the film, there will be some spoilers in here for you! So if you do not wish to find out, or rather, work out the ‘twist’ I suggest you avert your eyes.

I went to see Hard Candy on a whim, I had heard that it was good and it was out of it, or the Lake House, feeling like watching a more intellectually challenging than the romantic remake, I decided upon Hard Candy, a film based on the hot-topic of chat room meetings.

Because you all love to hear the comings and goings on when I frequent the cinema, watching Hard Candy was particularly strange, as the staff had not turned the lights on in the screen, so it was difficult to find my seat and took me about twenty minutes until I could find it. The other patrons watching it were also out of the ordinary, not to be stereotypical at all, but they were pretty much all (although this was only 3) very old men, which I thought strange as old people don’t tend to frequent our ‘popular’ cinema, unless Johnny Cash is involved.

Directed by David Slade –who is up for directing 30 days of night, which will hopefully be interesting- Starring Patrick Wilson (Jeff Kohlver), Ellen Page (Hayley Stark), Sandra Oh (Judy Tokuda) and Jennifer Holmes (Janelle Rogers) making up a very small cast, which you really do not see these days, as the film is much more centrally character based than story.

I suppose the film’s synopsis was what drew me to the film –correct me if I’m wrong- but it’s the first film (tv seems to do it a lot) to touch on the subject of people meeting through internet chat rooms, and the idea of the male counterpart being in trouble made much speculation as to how the film could follow through.
So basically the film is about Hayley (14), who meets Jeff (23) over a chat room, and the two meet, she is very forward with him, and eventually it leads to him drugged and tied up in a chair, subjected to torture and the like, as she tries to have him confess that he (along with another person), murdered a young girl who had met a person over the internet.

Above all –and not surprisingly being a Lionsgate film- the film is extremely visceral, and very does little more than it says on the tin. With such subject matter the film could appeal to pretty much anyone, it’s a very hard film to peg to a particular audience, and while it is an eighteen; I am a little unsure why… from what I recall the film itself contained little in the way of violence, (the BBFC chops it down to ‘strong sadistic violence’) perhaps it is simply the situation, speculation and subject matter that gives it such strong a rating.

Now, with this film I can say that the main –and really only actual characters- characters played their parts flawlessly. Thankfully they cast Ellen Page (as Hayley); who despite being 18, looks very convincing as a 14-year-old (unlike some films that cast people in their twenties-thirties as teenagers.) I must say that –in my opinion- she played the role exactly as she should have, because I hated her like crazy, and I believe this was what they were trying to do. While all the time you are left sympathising with Jeff, who is all innocent and tortured and scared for his life due to the crazy 14-year-old. Then comes the twist –after the very long ‘torture’ sequence- and after watching the film for an hour-and-a-half you seem to understand what exactly is going on. The twist may be a shock, or you may have seen it coming. Personally I saw it coming in the back of my mind, but was kind of hoping otherwise.
Unlike I usually do, I wont disclose the twist because as simple as it is, it is also pretty effective.

The story was great, something new and not yet investigated before, albeit the idea of a 14-year-old getting the better of a 23-year-old is a little ‘out there’ it is also very believable in the context of the film. You’ve got a young girl who isn’t perfect, she keeps making mistakes, and he almost gets the better of her, but all the while through the clever writing makes for an extremely engrossing experience, Hayley’s dialogue really makes it seem like she is particularly enjoying herself, and Jeff’s whining and reasoning really makes you empathize with his situation and makes you want him to escape.

The best points in the film –as I believe I’ve probably already pointed out- were most definitely the acting from both Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page, who had me involved with their characters.
The other point of course is the current subject matter, thinking on the matter they could have taken the story any way possible, but the film itself was delivered greatly, the torture scene was one that shall be remembered for years to come (or it should be) though I must say I saw outcome of the torture from a mile off.
I did also particularly love it when everything started to go a little pear shaped for Hayley.

It really is true that when you try to remember something from some time ago you only remember the good points, and in writing this review it is very true. I can only remember fantastic parts of the film, and other than saying I hated Hayley’s character simply because I wanted to kill the girl there is little else I can complain about, even though my point should not be taken as a bad thing. David Slade wanted you to hate her, to want to kill her, because then you’re just as bad as Jeff.

The film was very much a new experience, filmed with a very gritty look and two actors before now I’d never heard of, a greatly enjoyable film, I suppose I can recommend it as pretty much a revenge film, nothing too clever, but not over the top ridiculous, maybe I could relate it on par to that of Oldboy or Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, but then I suppose maybe that isn’t a correct judgement…

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 7/10
Nice film, great acting, interesting subject matter, nice twists and turns along the way.

On another note, I have noticed a few regular people reading my blog, please don’t just lurk around in the shadows, comment on my blog, comments make me happy :D


The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you! :O

Usually watching a film at our independent cinema is pre-meditated, and I know well enough about the film to know that I wish to see it. Though in the case of Three Burials, I had never heard of it in my life –other than small mention and a review on blogcritics- but, as always; I picked a winner, and Three Burials was an amazing film.

Directed by Mr Tommy Lee Jones –in his directorial debut (if you excuse some tv show)- Starring Tommy Lee Jones (Pete Perkins), Barry Pepper (Mike Norton), Julio Cedillo (Melquiades Estrada), Dwight Yoakam (Belmont), January Jones (Lou Ann Norton), Melissa Leo (Rachel) and Levon Helm as the Old man with the radio.

The title, rather self-explanatory is based around the three burials of Melquiades Estrada, as well as the events leading up to his death, while also showing developing the bond between him and Pete, and those whose actions led to his death.
The last ½ of the film was fixated on Pete’s quest (with the unwilling help of Mike) to give Melquiades his ‘dying wish’.

The film itself is a strange piece. Set in modern day Texas –as constantly reminded through technology- the film has a feel of the past, this mainly coming from the inherent values of the old west, based on friendship, loyalty and commitment on Pete’s behalf for his best friend.

I must say the acting in Three Burials was superb, this comment coming mainly from Barry Pepper and Tommy Lee Jones, who as the main characters gave terrific performances. Especially Pepper, whose character truly evolved throughout the film, he had you hating him, feeling sympathy and overall loving the guy.
Tommy Lee Jones who held a character that you could only respect, every action had meaning, and you could never hate him for any of his decisions, can’t go without saying that although all acting in the film was great, Pepper and Jones really outdid themselves.

Similar to the Australian outback in the Proposition, Three Burials had some beautiful Mexican landscapes. Another plus to the film was its characters; the film took the time to explore just about every character, giving every person some sort of very human, relatable qualities.
There were also certain points in the film that came to mind, when I couldn’t help but laugh; two scenes in particular I remember were that of when Pete had to get the ants off Melquiades, and of course when Mike saw the television programme on the television in the desert –that point I just cracked up, not entirely sure if this was intentional for a giggle, but I sure as hell found that bit particularly hilarious.

One thing I know I can say is towards the timeframe of the film, it felt rather confusing at first; differentiating before his death and after his death, and made the film a little hard for me to pick up at first.

The film, overall was a very rewarding experience; really picking up in the middle of the film it never once faltered afterwards, with good performances from Jones and Pepper, I would recommend the film to anyone wishing to see something enjoyable, but also different.

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 8/10
To the strange title of the film I never expected what I received, though I what I did get was a thoroughly good film, and some nice characters.
The absolute feel of a western, but set in modern day.



If you have not yet seen the film, there may be some spoilers in here for you! :O
So you know… there is my warning, take heed if you must.

Now a long string of nice serious films came out last year, and Capote was one that I didn’t want to miss, though for some reason they did show Good Night and Good Luck upon release at our local Odeon.
Much like Catherine, I am most definitely not Philip Seymour Hoffman’s biggest fan. Though I must say he is a pretty darn good actor.

Directed by Bennett Miller –of whom I have never heard of- Starring of course Philip Seymour Hoffman (Truman Capote), Catherine Keener (Harper Lee), Chris Cooper (Alvin Dewey), Clifton Collins Jr. (Perry Smith), Mark Pellegrino (Dick Hickock) and Bob Balaban (William Shawn).

The film follows the period of time wherein Truman Capote -author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s- writes “In Cold Blood”; one of his most famous books. The film is more of an exploration of character than anything else.
The film was definitely not for those with a short patience, it is rather slow paced as an overall film even though it runs at only two hours.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was amazing, and if there is one thing he has proven in Capote; its his diversity of roles –whereas Catherine thought he only could act like a total arsehole- in Capote he proves that he can act as a complete arsehole that you also cannot bear to hate. It’s really Hoffman that drove the whole film, without him it would probably be nowhere as recognised. Also as always, it was funny to recognise a familiar face: Mark Pellegrino from the episode of the X-Files with Chad Donella.

The story was interesting, following Capote’s troubling decision from keeping the friend he had made -through research- (Perry Smith) alive through legal backing, and being in anticipation of his death so that he could finish his novel.

Strangely the music sounded familiarly composed, something like two composers melded together, it was weird, especially because I have never even heard of Mychael Danna (sorry Mychael), whole thing weirded me out –I’m usually good at recognising composers.

The film if anything, was engrossing, with such a large emphasis on Truman, and Truman alone. Otherwise little else calls to itself as alarmingly brilliant. The mystery of the murder is also an intriguing factor. Much like other films with similar subjects, Capote also invited you to feel compassion –of sorts- towards the rather gentle convict Perry Smith, who has a lovely surprising turnaround; one great part of the film.

Overall my comment to the film is that although it was a little different to what I had expected, it’s a slow paced drama possibly for those who enjoy good acting, a slight base on story and an exploration of the man; Truman Capote.

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 7/10
I was actually surprised that I managed to watch the film.. and after watching it I realised how different it was to what I thought it might be. I was defiantly not expected simply the delving into Truman Capote’s character rather than a story.
Also I must say that being the third film in a line of films taking audience at our little independent cinema.. My bum is not taking too kindly to the seating.