Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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In the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Captain Jack Sparrow is pursued by an old rival, Captain Salazar, who along with his crew of ghost pirates has escaped from the Devil’s Triangle, and is determined to kill every pirate at sea. Jack seeks the Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that grants its possessor total control over the seas, in order to defeat Salazar.

Disney has benefited with billions of dollars from this popular franchise based on the famous Disneyland ride, so it’s no surprise that they’ve gone and made a fifth one. Dead Men Tell No Tales is not the worst of the series but it’s not the return to form that many fans were hoping for. I did not walk in with high expectations so I can’t say I was disappointed, but I was not impressed either. Johnny Depp is back as Jack Sparrow, one of the most popular live action heroes of our time, and he’s still entertaining in the role, but his character barely serves a point in the plot this time around. He has lots of screen time and makes lots of jokes throughout but he’s never developed at all or given a reason to be there other than the fact that the villain wants revenge on him. Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario play two new protagonists to the series, and they both deliver solid performances, but their character arcs aren’t interesting enough to carry the film along. Javier Bardem stars as a frightening villain who starts out interesting but the dialogue and CGI make his character feel more comedic then threatening. Geoffrey Rush is also back as Hector Barbossa and is made a big part of the plot but his character’s writing failed to interest me.

I was never a huge fan of the series, but even those who loved the first few films won’t get much that they’re hoping for besides entertainment. The plot that drives the characters and the film forward are nothing near as compelling as the first film offered. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley didn’t reprise their roles in the last film, and here, they don’t appear much, either. The new young protagonists and the story that revolves around them just couldn’t fill that void or push the story forward well enough. There are some entertaining action scenes, such as a scene in which a bank is being robbed (not just the money, but the entire building is being dragged away), as well as one in which an execution is thwarted. There are moments that managed to entertain me and make me laugh, and shots that are done well, but the writers couldn’t come up with a story and character arcs that the audience could also enjoy. There are many magical concepts and backstories that were introduced but none of them made much sense or excited me at all. The movie doesn’t conclude terribly, but the post-credits scene sets up the potential sequel that I won’t be looking forward to.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales isn’t the sequel many were hoping for, and although it will manage to entertain viewers, especially younger audiences and fans of the previous films, but the uninspired and boring storyline and character arcs make this film far from the saga’s best use of its potential. You may like it for its action, but there are films in theaters right now that you’ll probably like much better, like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Alien: Covenant, and the new DC film Wonder Woman, which hits theaters this Friday.

Official epic artwork poster

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Everest

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Everest is the exhilarating true story of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which a climbing expedition on Mt. Everest, led by Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), was devastated by a severe storm.

After Gravity showed you the suffering of being in space, Everest demonstrates the horrors of being at the highest place in the world, at a cruising altitude of 747, in dazzling IMAX 3D. Everest is a visual spectacle, using barely any CGI or effects, and filmed beautifully, showing you the amazing but terrifying landscape of Mount Everest. Every shot is incredible and beautiful look at. I felt sucked into the movie’s setting when I saw it in IMAX 3D. The movie’s score is also very well done.

Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, and John Hawkes all did an incredible job acting as terrified climbers who have something to come back home for. Jake Gyllenhaal is also very good in his role, but he’s only likable and decently written, not amazing. Emily Watson and Keira Knightley are also good, but Robin Wright is miscast and overacted. Sam Worthington has a decent small role, and Michael Kelly is solid, too.

Everest may seem like it’s only some amazing views, but that’s not it. Once you’re an hour through the film, a storm approaches, threatening the climbers that we have related with. At this point, all the terror and amazement increases as the climbers struggle to survive. There is so much suspense that my breath was taken away from me, and I was on the very edge of my seat. It is very hard to watch what these climbers went through, but the theater experience ultimately leaves you in awe.

Everest is ultimately able to convey the beauty and horrors of the titular mountain in such a touching, amazing, and terrifying way. It is realistic, intense, wonderfully shot and directed, well-acted, and an unforgettable way too kick off the Oscar season.

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The Imitation Game

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During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

2014 has come to an end, and this movie is one of its best films. Every moment of the film kept me interested and pulled in to the story and the characters. The screenplay and dialogue are so great, at times it was funny, moving, and emotional. It was not slow at all, I actually thought it could have been a little longer, because the first hour went by way too quickly. The cast and acting in this movie are incredible, especially Benedict Cumberbatch, the star of the movie. I have seen him in many movies before, but this is his best performance yet. I didn’t feel like I was looking at an actor, I felt like I was looking at a real person. I felt close to the character at times, and cared for him. He definitely deserves a nomination. Keira Knightley was great too, but didn’t steal the show like Cumberbatch. She was very good, but nothing so special. The rest of the cast are also very good.

This movie really blew me away and interested me a lot. I now want to know a lot more about Alan Turing and this story. Overall, I loved this film and would highly recommend it. One of the best films this year, and one of the year’s best performances, from Benedict Cumberbatch. A definite Oscar contender, and a must-see.

The Imitation Game (2014) Poster