“Pirates of the Caribbean” Franchise is Not Dead Yet

pirates2017Disney began cranking up the publicity machine for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales by releasing the first advance poster and a teaser trailer for the fifth installment of the adventures of Capt. Jack Sparrow.

Interestingly, franchise star Johnny Depp is nowhere to be seen in either. Perhaps the studio’s marketing people (wisely) assume that everyone has a very clear image of Jack Sparrow already, and what they need to do is start introducing the new elements.

The clip focuses on this installment’s new villain, Captain Salazar, played by the wonderful Javier Bardem (SkyFall), who always place a brilliant baddie — and even won an Oscar for playing one in No Country for Old Men. Check it out:

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Pirates of the Caribbean 5… Yes, 5, Starts Filming

sparrowjackWe all know dead men tell no tales, but apparently dead franchises do… well, the Pirates of the Caribbean series is not quite dead, and reanimating corpses is sort of what the whole series is about, so who can really be surprised by another installment of Disney’s amazing cash cow, appropriately subtitled Dead Men Tell No Tales.

With the indispensable Johnny Depp back as Capt. Jack Sparrow, the franchise is now helmed by a directing duo, Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning, best known for 2012’s well-regarded seagoing Kon-Tiki.

Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush is also back as Captain Barbossa, with Kevin McNally as Gibbs and Stephen Graham as Scrum. They’re joined by n00b hotties Kaya Scodelario and Brenton Thwaites, as well as Golshifteh Farahani (late of the recent bomb Exodus: Gods and Kings). But the big news is that Oscar winner Javier Bardem is confirmed as the Big Bad, Captain Salazar.
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Look! Up on the Screen! It’s a Crappy Movie!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????All too often, we hear people say, in regards to awards, “It’s an honor just to be nominated.” Well, that’s not the case with The 34th Annual Razzie Awards, from the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation, designed as the anti-Oscars to point out the worst work of the year in Hollywood. It is definitely not an honor to be nominated. And actually winning? Well…

Here is a complete list of losers hacks nominees for 2013. You can find out who blew the biggest chunks when the losers winners are announced online March 1, the day before the Oscars.


After Earth

Grown-Ups 2

The Lone Ranger

A Madea Christmas

Movie 43
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Lone Ranger Reboot Looks Better in New Trailer

Judging by this second trailer, Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger is going to be a quirky a film that you will either love or hate; I cannot see much room for a middle ground.

After watching this, put me in the positive camp – at least for now. I like the peculiar humor on display here, even if it does delve into the silly. (Silver climbing a tree?) I am a big Johnny Depp fan, I trust him to do something interesting with the Tonto role. And casting the relatively unknown Armie Hammer (whose greatest claim to fame so far is playing the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network) looks like a great move, because his face won’t distract from the character he’s playing. Ironically, co-star Depp will be doing just the opposite.

Also? Giving the Ranger a supernatural origin? I like it.
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Shedding Some Light on Dark Shadows

The Dark Shadows movie was one of those projects in which I had just about zero interest when it was announced. I was intrigued by Tim Burton directing and using his buddy Johnny Depp as the centuries-old vampire Barnabas Collins. But the long-canceled ABC soap opera on which it was based was pretty much unknown to me, so there was no sentimental attachment.

But these new character images have really helped capture my imagination:

When the cast started filling in, the addition of names like Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Grace Moretz (the adorable Hit Girl from Kick-Ass) and Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach from Watchmen) started to counterbalance dull choices, like Helena Bonham Carter (no surprise there…). So I started to take a little notice.
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Lone Ranger and Sparrow — er, Tonto!

This is the first official photo from next summer’s The Lone Ranger, starring Armie Hammer as the masked avenger and Johnny Depp as Tonto.

It’s clear that this project is one of those reimaginings, in which the core concept is recreated with a new look. And this is certainly a new look. The heroic Ranger in black? Tonto in facepaint with a sparrow crow on his head?
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Melrose (same old) Place

It looks like last night was my last time watching the rebooted MELROSE PLACE, because the clichés are so overwhelming that it feels like I’ve already seen it all before.

Melrose cast

Melrose Place

Let’s start where the show did, with Riley’s fashion shoot. Designer Anton V. supposedly chose Riley as the…er, face of his his jeans because she’s real” and “not a model,” but then he dispatched her to a photo shoot where she was given the standard overblown hair, makeup and wardrobe that transformed her into somebody who was indistinguishable from a “real” model. Instead of a teacher with finger paint on her shabby dress, Riley looked just as plastic and fake and generic as any other jeans model on the planet. Anton completely sabotaged his own campaign. And what about that shoot?  “Photojournalist” Jo Reynolds (the returning Daphne Zuniga) was booked as the photographer, but even as Riley gushed about Jo’s soulful images from Darfur, Jo was shooting bland, windswept pictures of Riley that looked, yes, exactly the same as every other jeans ad ever.  “You’re a real woman!” Jo shouted. Or at least, the kind of real woman who hangs out topless at the beach. When a half-naked Riley bristled at Jo’s facile manipulation and stormed off the set, it proved Riley had really big…principles! We’ve seen it all before, so why bother?
Perhaps Riley’s plot was a cliché for the same reason that her fiancé, Jonah, was dispatched to the famous Paramount Pictures lot to meet a megaproducer Andy, who was talking to “Johnny” (Ooooh! “Johnny Depp”? The Johnny Depp?) on  his  cell, and dropping the name “Leo” (As in “DiCaprio,” maybe?). Of course Andy told Jonah he loves everything about his film — and only wants to completely change everything! Cliché, cliché, cliché. Why, it’s just like ENTOURAGE! Oh, those Hollywood types are all the same!
Which is the problem. Everything about this MP is more of the same.  Apparently the-powers-that-be are banking on the target audience of preteen girls being so young they have no frame of reference for a nighttime soap beyond 90210, GOSSIP GIRL and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. Well, the legendary newspaperman H.L. Mencken famously noted, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” (He didn’t know from Nielsen ratings, though…)
Finally, I leave you with the laugh line of the night, courtesy of Colin Egglesfield‘s Auggie: “Riley, I don’t know if you know this, but it’s kind of impossible to hate you.” Uh, no, it’s not. It’s actually quite easy to hate Riley. And her little show, too.