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Entries in Pirates (12)

Thursday
May262011

Team Experience: Swim with Mermaids, Ride on Gaga

This week I asked the contributing Film Experience team how they felt about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and I also wanted to gauge whether we had any Little Monsters in our midst via Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" droppings.

You refused to see Pirates 4. What would ever bring you back to this franchise?


Michael: It's hard to imagine what could bring me back to the franchise at this point, (I feel like I only just got done sitting through At World's End) but a a 90 minute running time would be a step in the right direction.

Andreas: If Disney ever wants me to shell out for another Pirates movie, they'll have to go down a really surprising route, like selling it as "Andrei Rublev on the high seas." Or maybe they could introduce interesting characters! Some outrageous twist like that. What if they solved all their problems by just making Pirates 5 into Dead Man 2? They could bring in Jim Jarmusch to guest-direct, and use William Blake quotes for all of Jack Sparrow's dialogue!

Craig: Can they get all the sequels over with in one go and amalgamate the whole lot: The Hungover Kung-Fu Transformers of the Caribbean in the City of the Deathly Hallows Parts 2, 3 & 4 will be showing near you THIS SUMMER! Either that or they just cast the muppets instead of Depp, Cruz and company. I could easily do with another Muppets Treasure Island, thanks.

You saw Pirates 4. What did you think of the Mermaids?

Jose: The mermaids were truly preposterous! Where were their nice sea shell bras and their fuzzy crab and fish friends?

Although on the bright side, if it hadn't been for Syrena, we wouldn't have had a chance to see Sam Claflin shirtless. Is it only me or should Pé have played the queen of the mermaids instead of being stuck with that crappy character?

Kurt: It's such a shrug of a movie. That said, I liked the mermaids -- collectively, they were one of the film's very few inspired elements. The mermaid attack was the first action sequence I actually paid attention to. The depiction is neither totally accurate nor blasphemous. Just a new interpretation. And thank god for it.

What if Lady Gaga's "Borth This Way" was a movie?


Who should ride her cyborg self?

Andreas: I imagine Born This Way: The Movie as a cross between The Terminator, Showgirls, and Un Chien Andalou, but with extra preachiness thrown in. To be honest, I've always wanted Gaga to branch out into large-scale filmmaking just on the basis of the "Bad Romance" music video, so if she made exactly that, I'd be perfectly happy. The weirder, the better.

Jose: It would be a freaking Heavy Metal like extravaganza. Only two passengers should ever ride Gaga: Hedwig (from the Angry Inch)... 

...and  the Governator himself. Can you imagine those two in an action movie together?

Though you didn't ask who are they chasing/is chasing them  but I'll answer. There is only one being who can do that: Madonna. She needs to find the one camp movie role to make her a cinema icon.

CraigThe Gaga videos to date, all strung together, are like a kind of movie anyway, aren't they? But if Born This Way were a movie it would be directed by Alan Smithee. Burn (rubber), baby, burn! Edward Furlong would clearly have to ride on Gaga's mutant-motorcycle. And Gaga herself would have to talk in a weird robo-Austrian-motor dialect. Doesn't she already do that in some of her songs anyway? It's part of her charm.

Kurt: If Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" were a movie, it would, of course be Labyrinth 2, and on the back of Gaga's cyborg motorcycle would ride David Bowie's Jareth, clad in his signature wig and junk-hugging leggings. Together, Gaga and Jareth would rule over their combined armies of little monsters, and anyone who spoke against their doubly strong maze of fabulousness would be swiftly tossed into the Bog of Eternal Stench.

YOUR TURN

  • Who would you pay to see riding on Gaga's mutant-cycle?
  • Do you prefer your mermaids carnivorous or sweet and tuneful?

 

 

Monday
May232011

Box Office: Pirates, Having No Challengers, Steals All The Booty

No new movies dared challenge the fourth adventure of Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow so it easily outpaced older films and took home most of the gold. But given that the series has been an overperformer and that even cheating with those stupidly inflated 3D ticket prices, it was well underneath the grosses of the second and third outings. In even better news, Bridesmaids avoided the typical 50% second week drop, just as we predicted dipping less than 20%. That signals a long and lucrative run, powered by word of mouth, provided it can hold on to screens. That's always the trick in the summer.

The Box Office (Actuals)

01 PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES new $90.1 [review]
02 BRIDESMAIDS $20.8 (cumulative $59.3)
03 THOR $15.4 (cumulative $145.3) [review]
04 FAST FIVE $10.5 (cumulative $186.1)
05 PRIEST $4.7 (cumulative $23.8)
06 RIO $4.6 (cumulative $131.6)
07 JUMPING THE BROOM $3.7 (cumulative $31.3)
08 SOMETHING BORROWED $3.5 (cumulative $31.5)
09 WATER FOR ELEPHANTS $2.1 (cumulative $52.4) [review]
10 TYLER PERRY MADEA'S BIG HAPPY FAMILY $.9 (cumulative $51.7)

What About Woody?
Despite being on only 6 screens, Woody Allen's MIDNIGHT IN PARIS took in a huge half a million. It would have easily hit the top ten had it opened wider. Half a million on half a dozen screens is a big deal for a Woody Allen film opening that small, his best ever actually, even topping the relatively robust tiny opening for Match Point (2005). Was it Rachel McAdams and Owen Wilson? Was it the warm Cannes buzz? We've long believed that if more films opened while the media was talking about them it might help generate audience interest. But year after year auteur films lose all the momentum of their festival bows while they wait it out for six months-two years-never for a theatrical window.

What did you see this weekend? My weekend was an absurd bust. [Pity Party Alert!] I went to a birthday party out of town an entire day early and then, depressed at my costly flub, I went to the movies and was somehow two dollars short for a ticket and had forgotten my bank card. I sincerely hope your weekend was not as pathetic.

Saturday
May212011

Pirates the Fourth

Blockbuster franchises are not unlike waves in the ocean. That's true even for the ones that don't take place on the high seas. The marketing rhythmically churns them up and up until they break oh-so-formidably on opening weekend and then they're just foam. Which is to say that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides evaporates instantly after you watch it, leaving you with precious little to remember it by that you didn't already remember from The Curse of the Black Pearl back in 2003.

Ian McShane as Blackbeard

I saw Pirates 4 only a week ago. The only things I remember are as follows...

Read the full review at Towleroad

(I'd say it's better than the other sequels but that doesn't mean I can help out its dismal rotten tomatoes score and call it "fresh". And it's quite possible that I have blocked out all memories of the 2nd and 3rd movies for self preservation purposes. Oh Johnny...)

Friday
May062011

Links: Arthur Laurents, Joel Edgerton, Parker Posey, Will Smith

TV Guide A brilliant suggestion: put Parker Posey in the boss's chair in The Office. Did you see her on Parks & Recreation last night? She's dependable with hilarity, that one.
The Art of Manliness how to jump from rooftop to rooftop, like a frenzied movie hero.
Boobs Radley Imagined conversations between Scarlett Johansson and Sean Penn. Teehee.
My New Plaid Pants a big week for Joel Edgerton. A leading role in the new Kathryn Bigelow flick? Yes please.
Variety Quentin Tarantino wants Will Smith for his Django Unchained movie. In our opinion any actor would be crazy to turn Tarantino down. He nearly always finds something new or untapped in their talent. He's pure magic that way.
The Beats Within new blog on Madonna as a musician (still underappreciated). This is a really interesting interview with Guy Sigsworth who cowrote "What It Feels Like For a Girl"
Movie Morlocksk spends an evening with Terence Stamp. We love him.

Hey U Guys shows the delightful first image from a pirate movie from Aardman Animations. Hugh Grant will be voicing it matey.
THR It might be Keanu Reeves for Akira. Hollywood is just determined not to cast Japanese actors even though the property is the selling point.
Movie|Line is every Kate Hudson movie the same? Chart!
Salon looks at the best devil portrayals on film.

Finally...I meant to write about Arthur Laurents passing yesterday but this one made me sick with loss. The theater great had a hand in so many properties that are just magic (Rope, West Side Story, The Way We Were, Gypsy ... the list goes on) and he lived to be 92 years old; a long and accomplished life it was. He won Tony Awards and was twice Oscar nominated (both nominations were for the ballet drama The Turning Point) but somehow they snubbed his brilliant screenplay for The Way We Were which is only among the pinnacle achievements of its entire genre. Seriously name ten romantic weepies that are better; you can't!

His life was inspiring, too. Imagine having the guts to live as an out gay man as early as the 1950s. I didn't know where to begin -- I'd need a whole blog week. MUBI is terrific with the obituaries, always rounding up good articles to read, like this recent lengthy dishy profile from New York Magazine when the revival of West Side Story opened on Broadway.

Tuesday
Apr052011

Deja Vu: Oscar On Franchise Tides Pt. 2

Though I was about to pronounce 2011 unusually sequel-infested, it might not be much different than any other year. Perhaps it's just the Animated Feature category that has made it feel that way with so many high profile continuations. The difference might just be in how much it seems to be confusing the Oscar Prediction Process. Generally speaking in The Academy's 83 year history, they haven't been much for remakes and sequels and long running series. But times they are a-changing and have been since oh... Star Wars? You can't really stay totally immune to the repetitive charms of franchises if 65% of the movies released are series of some sort, as if the cinema were just one giant television and we all eagerly awaited the next episode of Fill in the Blank: The Further Adventures of That Pt.3.

 

Franchises have been part of Hollywood forever. From left to right: The Thin Man (7 films), James Bond (22+ films), Tarzan (80+ films), The Pink Panther (11 films), Star Wars (6 films), Batman (6+ features), Aliens (4+ features), The Godfather (3 films). But they haven't always been Oscar magnets

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas shook Hollywood up in the 70s, not just by creating "summer movie season" as we know it but also by opening the floodgates to repetitive Oscar charms. Previous long running franchises like Tarzan or James Bond hadn't managed much in the way of Oscar attention, perhaps viewed more as popcorn entertainments than quality filmmaking. The six-film Star Wars saga amassed 22 nominations and 10 statues, the four-film Indiana Jones adventures amassed 13 nominations and 7 statues. The most obvious ancestor and ultimate champion of this new form of long-form Oscar pull was The Lord of the Rings; over just three films it managed 30 nominations and 17 statues which was even more than The Godfather trilogy (29 nominations and 9 statues)

Two of the world's most popular franchises return this year. What will Oscar do with the Boy Wizard and Captain Jack this time around?

Jack Sparrow (3 films | 11 nominations | 1 win)

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
    5 nominations (Actor, Makeup, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Visual Effects) 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
    4 nominations (Art Direction, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Visual Effects*)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
    2 nominations (Makeup, Visual Effects)

The Academy has been quite generous with this series though they snubbed its quite awesome first film costumes by the strangely never nominated Penny Rose. But will they tire of it now that it seems like the series will never leave us? Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides can probably count on a Visual Effects nod since the series has never faltered there but maybe it'll pick up Sound Editing and Makeup too if they're not shouting "Enough already!!!" in unison.

Harry Potter (7 films | 9 nominations | 0 wins)

  • Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone (2001)
    3 nominations (Art Direction, Original Score, Costume Design)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
    N/A
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
    2 nominations (Original Score, Visual Effects)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
    1 nomination (Art Direction)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix(2007)
    N/A
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)
    1 nomination (Cinematography)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 (2010)
    2 nominations (Art Direction, Visual Effects)

As you can see from the list, there's not much statistical basis to support the wishful thinking (in some quarters) that AMPAS is itching to reward the entire series this year as it finally closes in its eleventh year of hogging the world's money with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2.  The series best bet for a first (!) statue is obviously an Art Direction career-win for Stuart Craig who has done marvelous work on the series. Here's how much they love his work on the series: they even nominated him last year the year in which he arguably did the least. The most perplexing nomination in the series history in terms of 'why then and what does it mean?' would have to be the cinematography nomination for Half Blood Prince. A cinematography get is a big deal and that one does make you wonder how many sixth place finishes, just outside of nomination range, Potter has managed over the years. If the answer is MANY then we might see them rewarding the franchise with a series best showing.

We can probably save the discussion of the third Transformers films and the tech situation with all those superhero films for a later time though let it suffice to say for now that the credits for Thor and particularly Captain America: The First Avenger are stacked with former Oscar players in categories like Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup and Film Editing. Who knew? Marvel ain't playin' around.

VISUAL CATEGORY First Oscar Predictions of Year new
AURAL CATEGORY First Oscar Predictions of Year new
Previously: Animated Feature | Actor | Supporting Actor | Screenplay