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Review: Pirates of the Caribbean- On Stranger Tides (2011)

See that proverbial dead pirate horse? See that Disney dude beating it? Yup.

Captain Jack Sparrow is not only still alive, but apparently, still doing enough things to warrant a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie. In this chapter, Jack has ditched Elizabeth Swan and Will Turner for Angelica (Penelope Cruz) and Blackbeard (Ian McShane). This time, the gang is after the mythical Fountain of Youth.

This fourth installment of the franchise is an obvious exercise in how movie-goers will see things that they know. While completely unnecessary, On Stranger Tides does make a solid Pirate’s movie. After all, it couldn’t get much worse from the drawn out, confusing plot of the third installment, At World’s End. The absence of Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom does, however, hurt. The chemistry between Cruz and Depp is no match between the strange love triangle of Knightley, Bloom, and Depp. On the bright side, there was actually a new character introduced that was not completely one-dimensional. That, of course, was the missionary Phillip. The film doesn’t match the scope of the other three (The creators mentioned that they couldn’t get much bigger), but that actually helps make it feel like a separate entity out of the group, instead of blending all into one memory of boats, pirates, and rum. Supposedly, they hope to start off another trilogy with On Stranger Tides. Let’s hope this is the last time, even though it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

My Rating: B-

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Review: The King’s Speech (2010)

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Another day, another highly acclaimed movie to watch. With The King’s Speech, I was watching 4 Oscars. I just keep waiting and waiting for the great movie to not meet expectations and fail miserably. Alas, that day will have to wait, because The King’s Speech did not disappoint.

The film is based on the historical story of King George VI (Colin Firth), and his speech impediment which leads him to speech trainer, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). The story is not only that of his overcoming of his stuttering problem, but also his relationship to his brother (Guy Pearce), his relationship with his wife (Helana Bonham Carter), his unlikely rise to the throne, and the emergence of Hitler and Germany.

I’ve read that this is a very boring film. It has no sex, humor, or action, some reviewers say. They are, partially right. There are barely any outdoor scenes, let alone “action scenes”, there is no sex, but humor is present in the film. Surprisingly, the movie was very entertaining, and at no point in the two-hour period did I want the movie to just end.

In my mind, the best part of the film, was not the fantastic acting done by the all-star cast, but the way the film was shot. There is a sense of being closed in during the movie. Firth’s speeches are filled with tight shots, as if you can feel the walls closing in, and the air being sucked out of the room. The loud throat noises, and the look of being unable to breathe really makes you feel for his character and being unable to express himself through words.

My Rating: A