Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017)

The Curse of the Black Pearl was an incredible experience for me when I was a little girl – it was awe-inspiring, frightening at times and unlike anything I’d seen in film before (I was 9 and still am terrified by the sea). Never before had pirates been attempted so ambitiously and brilliantly, with a strong story combining myth and legend, and some fantastic protagonists. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (or Dead Men Tell No Tales as it’s known to the rest of the world) slots exactly in the middle of the five films for me. It’s not the worst, but not nearly the best.

A crew of deadly ghost sailors, led by Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle and hunt their old nemesis Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Jack is down-on-his-luck, and his only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, known to break all curses of the sea. To find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with brilliant astronomer Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) and headstrong young man Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), who needs the Trident to free his father from his curse.

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Casting aside how good or bad they may be, what I love about all of these movies is that they all intertwine actual maritime myth and legend; Cortez’s gold, Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman, Blackbeard etc. I am yet to know whether Salazar himself is actually based on a Spanish myth, but either way, Javier Bardem really holds some scenes together here. But he is known for playing brilliant bad guys (No Country for Old Men and Skyfall).

The problem with Salazar’s Revenge is that it’s formula is getting repetitive: a villain is trapped in a cursed form because of the actions of Jack Sparrow, the villain seeks his revenge, two young adventurers aid Jack to find a mystical object of the sea and all are followed by the constantly angry East India Trading Company who chase them around the oceans (lead by the snarling David Wenham, who’s character really isn’t necessary at all). Another problem is that Jack is sometimes completely redundant in a scene, as it becomes more about Carina and Henry and their personal reasons why they need the Trident. Henry’s reason resonates with us more, especially if you’ve followed all of the Pirates movies.

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It has some great stand-out moments though, namely Jack’s hilarious narrow escapes from the  guillotine, when his crew attempt to rob a bank, meeting Jack’s Uncle (a genuinely funny Paul McCartney) and Salazar’s flashback to encountering a young Jack Sparrow. At times, bits of the action sequences are impressive. But, it’s a bit of a CGI fest as the plot lunges back and forth between stock characters and action sequences, with not one bloody sword fight! Mythology and exposition, too, is rarely explained and inconsistent (the Trident? Jack’s compass being able to free an entire cursed army from their cave? How Barbosa obtained that ruby? I could go on…)

The appearance of older and original characters though do make some impact, but that enough doesn’t make Salazar’s Revenge great. Also, what bothers me is that apparently there are MORE Pirates’ films to come – how?! The ending reaches a state of equilibrium, and there is nothing else that can be exhausted: no curses, myths, legends or characters we’ve followed for five films. I don’t see how it can evolve but, like the Disney ride these films are based on, we’ll just have to wait to ride it again.

 

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The Golden Globe Awards!

I am a sucker for the award ceremonies and tonight kicks it all off with the 72nd Golden Globe Awards! Hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for the third and final time, this year is going to be another exciting one, with some excellent films being nominated: Birdman (7 nominations), Boyhood (5 nominations), The Imitation Game (5 nominations), The Theory of Everything (4 nominations) and Gone Girl (4 nominations).

I think Birdman and Boyhood will very much steal the show here and set the tone for the awards season to come. But I thought I’d talk about some nominations, predictions on who will win and give my opinion on who I would want to win. Feel free to comment your own opinions too!

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Best Motion Picture, Drama
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything

Who will win? – Boyhood

Who I’d like to win? – The Imitation Game, purely because it was mesmerising

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Who will win? – Rosamund Pike for her phenomenal turn in Gone Girl, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it swings to Reese Witherspoon

Who I’d like to win? – If Rosamund Pike doesn’t win, I’ll eat my sock!

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
David Oyelowo, Selma
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler

Who will win? – Probably the toughest Best Actor category going, but probably Steve Carell

Who I’d like to win? – Hmmm.. Benedict Cumberbatch. Although all deserve it, and Eddie Redmayne surprised me so much in The Theory of Everything. And Steve Carell: wow!

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Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Who will win? – Patricia Arquette

Who I’d like to win? – Genuinely don’t mind as long as it’s not Meryl Streep!!

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K, Simmons, Whiplash

Who will win? – Again, another tough category to be in! But probably Ethan Hawke

Who I’d like to win? – Again, I don’t really mind, I love Mark Ruffalo, but I’d like to see Ethan Hawke win it

Best Director
Ava DuVernay, Selma
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, Birdman
David Fincher, Gone Girl
Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Who will win? – Richard Linklater, purely for the whole revolutionary 12 year span of filming

Who I’d like to win? – I know he’s quite esteemed already, but David Fincher because I really loved Gone Girl

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl”
Alejandro González Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”

Who will win? – It’s a toss up between Alejandro González Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. for Birdman or Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Who I’d like to win? – Graham Moore for The Imitation Game: Wonderfully story telling

Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical        
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Into the Woods
Pride
St. Vincent

Who will win? Birdman

Who I’d like to win? Probably Birdman. But perhaps Pride, as it would show that mainstream cinema has matured since Brokeback Mountain. But the fact that the American DVD cover has been removed of any homosexual references is possibly hinting at a no.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Bill Murray, St. Vincent
Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice
Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes

Who will win? – Michael Keaton

Who I’d like to win? – Michael Keaton

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Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars
Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Emily Blunt, Into the Woods
Helen Mirren, The Hundred Foot Journey
Quvenzhané Wallis, Annie

Who will win? – Quvenzhané Wallis is just taking cinema by storm despite the fact she’s still only 11 years old!! But probably Julianne Moore for Maps to the Stars

Who I’d like to win? – Again, I don’t really mind. I haven’t watched Maps to the Stars, however I’m often seeing that Julianne Moore was fantastic!

Best Animated Movie 
Big Hero 6
The Book of Life
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie

Who will win? – The Lego Movie

Who I’d like to win? – The Lego Movie. Although, Studio Ghibli’s The Wind Rises was significantly the best animated film this year but hasn’t been given a nod

Best Foreign film
Force Majeure (Sweden)
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (France)
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Tangerines (Estonia)

Who will win? – Ida, but I hear Leviathan is just as brilliant

Who I’d like to win? – Ida, but I don’t mind

Best Original Song 
“Big Eyes,” Big Eyes, Lana Del Rey
“Glory,” Selma, John Legend and Common
“Mercy Is,” Noah, Patty Smith and Lenny K
“Opportunity,” Annie
“Yellow Flicker Beat,” The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I, Lorde

Who will win? – Annie

Who I’d like to win? – Considering it is a musical already, Annie should win

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Johann Johannson, The Theory of Everything
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Gone Girl
Antonio Sanchez, Birdman
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar

Who will win? – Antonio Sanchez for Birdman

Who I’d like to win? – It’s a mainstream choice, but Hans Zimmer as the score for Interstellar was just to eerie and magical

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Overall, I don’t really mind who wins what (except if that person is Meryl Streep- sorry!) At the end of the day this has been another impressive year for cinema and I’m thoroughly impressed so far and cannot wait for what’s to come! Good luck all who are nominated and pre-congratulations to winners! (Not that any of them will see this post… A girl can dream.)

Although I love them, I struggle to watch the Globes and the Oscars because America’s Los Angeles is 8 hours behind Britain, and NBC’s coverage is difficult to access here. That being said, I always try to watch it… And always fail. Also, apologies for the so many tags, I tried to limit it to the names of films and anyone I mentioned, rather than every single name on the list.

What do you guys think about the Golden Globe Awards and my predictions/opinion?

The Imitation Game (2014)

A film that starts with the words “based on a true story”, more often than not, are some of the best films ever made and remain some of my favourites. Wartime thriller ‘The Imitation Game’ has now been added to that list and will resonate with me for a while.

‘The Imitation Game’ focuses on the British mathematician, cryptologist and utter genius Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his team of code-breakers (Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode included) who, in the darkest days World War II, were racing against time to crack the impossible German Code ‘Enigma’ that helped the Allies win the war. Not only setting it during his code-breaking days, it also takes a more personal touch: his teenage years, his prosecution for homosexual acts and his awful treatment afterwards. Chronologically, the film may have been boring and not half as clever as it was. But instead it wove in and out of these different time periods making it an interesting watch.

I liked the fact that writer Graham Moore included this character exposition and backstory. It made Alan Turing human, something that maybe his colleagues and others didn’t think he was. Many probably perceived him like one of the machines that he wrote about or wanted to create, yet at heart, he was just different living in a time where different was not accepted easily. It seems he was only truly ‘accepted’ a year ago, when he was granted a posthumous royal pardon for ‘gross indecency’. This man is remarkable, did so much for our country and changed the course of history, so why did it take so long? It is a true injustice. Please don’t mistake what I’ve said so far to mean this is a sad film, really it’s not. It is an engrossing thriller, it is ‘feel good’, and really shows Turing’s achievements, as well as our country’s achievements fighting in the war.

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No words can describe how in awe of Benedict Cumberbatch I am and as Alan Turing, he was mesmerising and captivating, presenting the complex Turing as the biggest code to break of all. He was also heart-breaking, and his poignant portrayal made me cry.

Keira Knightley is warm and calming as Joan Clarke, the only woman on the team. Forget how ever so posh she is, she is Alan’s only vice sometimes and seems to be the only person to understand him. She is subject to prejudice herself in the film; as a lady, she is different too and not meant for intellectual things it seems and is expected to take a husband and live out her days. Matthew Goode is equally as charming as Hugh Alexander. And Charles Dance, Mark Strong and Rory Kinnear are a welcome addition to the cast.

This is the best film I’ve seen in 2014 so far and no doubt it’ll be nominated for a few at the Oscars. “Are you paying attention?” Alan Turing asks you and, honestly, ‘The Imitation Game’ will really grab your attention.

‘The Imitation Game’ is in cinemas now!

‘The Imitation Game’ European Premiere

Three words to sum up the day: People, Rain and Pigeons!

Yesterday, 8th October, was the opening night gala of the BFI London Film Festival at Leicester Square’s Odeon featuring the highly anticipated film ‘The Imitation Game.’

‘The Imitation Game’ focuses on the British genius Alan Turing and his team of code-breakers who, in the darkest days World War II, were racing against time to to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win the war. It also looks into the life of Alan Turing: his teenage years, his prosecution for homosexual acts and his awful treatment afterwards.

This is a film I’m hugely excited about; the trailer blew me away, it’s dramatic, it’s a period drama and the main star is Benedict Cumberbatch. He is an incredible actor and is someone I’m quite in awe of.

Myself and a friend rocked up at about midday, where nothing had been set up, so we went for something to eat and rested our feet ready for the day ahead. We came back to be faced with a huge queue, so we joined it and then were escorted to the barriers. A few pre-warnings if you are a true film fan and have never been to a premiere:

1. They are unfair. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been waiting for hours and hours, when it comes to the actual event, there will be someone there who only turns up 5 minutes before, gets through the barriers, has no idea what it’s all for but still manages to get a better spot/pictures than you.

2. There will be people there who just see celebrities as a piece of meat. They don’t actually care about the film, it’s credentials or the people who made it, they just want pictures and autographs of the stars to show off and/or sell.

3. Those people will get on your nerves. They will make comments like “no-one cares about the Director! Why does anyone want to speak to him?” Refrain from hitting them.

Anyway, negative moment over because Premieres are actually really fun and no matter where you are, when the action starts, it is genuinely exciting to see the stars, the crew and how the film industry and media works right in front of your eyes!

Unfortunately when the event did start, it poured down with rain, which, understandably, makes it really difficult to sign, pose and speak to fans. Keira Knightley was the first to arrive in a stunning gold dress, then many crew members like Director Mortem Tyldum and screenwriter Graham Moore, then other cast like Charles Dance, Mark Strong and Allen Leech arrived looking very dapper. Then the dashing Benedict himself arrived, and of course the crowds went crazy. Many of the stars didn’t really come over to the fans off of the red carpet, but Benedict Cumberbatch made a valiant effort, despite the awful weather, which I thought was extremely decent of him.

During an interview when the interviewer told him the fans loved him, he looked overwhelmed and replied with: “I love you all too of course, and I’d just like to say, thank you all so much for coming down to today, standing around for hours in the cold and rain just to support us. I’m sorry that any autographs are soggy and I’m sorry I couldn’t come to everyone and I’m sorry that I couldn’t pose for your selfies and any photos because of this weather, but I adore you all and thank you.” Or something roughly along those lines, but whatever wording he used, I thought it was brilliant of him to recognise us and showed his character that he truly is a gentleman.

Apologies for rambling on. But despite the classic British weather for this classic British tale, it was a highly entertaining day and recommend everyone does it! I will post up some photos, most of them awful I’m afraid and it will be the case of “Spot the Star.” I will also post the trailer up too, as I believe everyone should go and see this film!

‘The Imitation Game’ will be released in the UK on 14th November 2014, a week before it’s US release on the 21st November.

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