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Entries in Pirates (12)

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

Friday
Mar112011

Request: Tyrone Power in "The Black Swan" 

Reader Appreciation Month
Several people requested this during the TCM Contest, most of them mentioning the modern Black Swan (2010, not a remake) so I thought I'd give it a go. Methinks people will be disappointed if Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara don't see themselves in mirrors or have hallucinatory mental breakdowns scored to Tchaikovsky.

Maureen O'Hara and Tyrone Power in "The Black Swan" (1942)

Sometimes I feel like I'm hallucinating when I look at Tyrone Power or Maureen O'Hara in Technicolor so maybe I'll be the one breaking down?

As the movie begins we see a pirate ship called "Black Swan" and a super saturated matte painting of a blue sky (no one speaks of matte paintings anymore) and the following campy text.

This is a story of the Spanish Main -- when Villainy wore a Sash, and the only political creed in the world was --- Love, Gold, and Adventure.

The last time I remember villainy wearing a sash was the X-Men Dark Phoenix saga -- Villainy wore a gold lame sash to be precise. But back to the beginning of the movie. A town crier is shouting "All is well". Oh foolish extra, that's the kind of thing you only shout at the end of a story. Otherwise, you're basically asking for trouble!

(I'm waiting to see what color Villainy's sash is.)

Turns out sashes aren't that much of a focal point of the costumes, mostly because Tyrone is always out of his. I present the evidence...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb072011

30 Seconds to Summer (Superbowl Leftovers) Pt. 1

As I was confessing on Twitter yesterday, I have literally never watched the Superbowl. Not once. The only football bits I've ever seen were in high school (I hung with the band geeks but was a choirboy), comic strips (Lucy is so mean!), in movies, and in Friday Night Lights. L-O-V-E that show. It returns in April for its final season. *sniffle*


Since movie studios bleed gazillion$ worth of their future profit$ to air 30 seconds of their potential blockbusters I $hould $hare them. It's like a hydra-headed episode of Yes, No, Maybe So. I'm listing them in the order I was curious about them BEFORE I saw the spots. Things may have changed.

superhero teases and more after the jump

 

Click to read more ...

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