Notes from the back row 

Rated Arrrrgh!


Well I hope you’ve all got some money left in your pockets because May is turning out to be a big one at the movie theatres. First Spider-Man 3 breaks all the records for an opening weekend (despite kinda sucking) and now Shrek 3 ( also a bit sub-par) has cleared over $100 million as well. Let’s see if three’s the charmer this week with the much-anticipated release of Pirates of the Caribbean – At World’s End , Disney’s third installment to the über-popular Johnny Depp vehicle that used to hold all the big-money records (including the ridiculous $1.1 billion the first two flicks have already brought in).

People will watch this movie regardless but will it be any good? Hard to say, Disney is keeping their treasure maps close to their chests and almost no one’s seen this thing.

What we do know is that director Gore Verbinski is returning to form a bit with more pirates and less computer-generated monsters and effects. That should mean more skullduggery and swordplay and less talking fish.

Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knghtly) team up with good old Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush, undead and ruling the film) to try and rescue Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from the bottom of the ocean, trapped in Davy Jones’s Locker. Meanwhile Jones and his ship, The Flying Dutchman, are out causing havoc on the high seas and the East India Trading Company wants to do away with pirates once and for all.

The good news is that Keith Richards (with a guitar) pops up in a cameo as Captain Jack’s long-lost father (or maybe he isn’t…) and Chow Yun Fat appears as a menacing Singaporian pirate lord (although his character never really pans out).

The other good news is that this is an end-fight movie, meaning the whole thing builds to a kick-ass battle sequence where all the pirate lords team up for a massive ship battle and swashbuckling, sword-fighting action sequence that takes place in a giant whirlpool. Sure, the story is pretty muddled due to all the characters, all the meetings, and all the double (and triple) crosses, and at 168 minutes it runs a bit long, but for a summer blockbuster popcorn movie Pirates 3 ain’t that bad, storyline clarity problems aside. These kind of movies rarely evoke profound epiphanies (does, “The trick isn’t living forever, it’s living with yourself” count as an epiphany?) but Captain Jack and his pirates-as-rockstars take on things should at least give Spidey a real run at those box office records.

But who cares? The Angelina countdown is on. That’s right, Angelina Jolie, greatest person in the world, was at the Cannes Film Festival this past weekend promoting her latest project, A Mighty Heart , which opens in just under a month (June 22). Early reports from the press screenings in Cannes is that it’s a tear-jerker, it’s awesome, and Angelina rules. Start checking days off the calendar right now.

Other Cannes Film Festival news is that the Coen Brothers ( Fargo, Raising Arizona, Big Lebowski) have returned to their old crime-thriller roots with their latest flick, No Country for Old Men, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name. No Country…   is a drug-deal-gone-wrong picture about a man on the run, the psychopath that chases him, and an old school sheriff who’s always one step behind. Tommy Lee Jones plays the sheriff and there’s plenty of blood, action and the Coens’ unique form of humour. Looks like this one will get a North American release sometime in November. You heard it here first.

AT VILLAGE 8 May 25-31:       Pirates of the Caribbean 3; Shrek 3; Spiderman 3; 28 Weeks; Blades of Glory; Hot Fuzz; Georgia Rule.

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