Movie Review #3085 PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN : DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES.
Fifth installment of the Pirates franchise that was originally based on the Disneyland theme park ride. Like the previous sequels, this one moves further away from the rollicking boys-own pirates-on-the-high-seas tale and further into the supernatural realm with Jack Sparrow and Capt Barbosa going up against new bad guy Capt Salazar, suitably portrayed by usual bad guy actor Javier Bardem.
The Will Turner/Elizabeth Swann pairing is reduced to cameo along with another aging rock star appearing as another of Capt Sparrow's rellies (won't spoil by disclosing!). Formula is much the same as before and the CGI is up yet another notch if you can keep up with manic screen activity, which was certainly a challenge for these 57 year old eyes.
No real further character development from the mainstays but a few loose ends tied up and more revelations as to who's kid is whose.
Usual happy ending as Jack and the boy's sail off into the sunset with a short post-credit scene that prepares us for the fact that there will be a sixth installment. I'm reliably informed by IMDB though that this is likely to be the last so expect a few deceasings I think.
At 2 1/2 hrs, is long and gets a bit tedious in parts but remains true to the franchise genre even if words like horse, flog and dead do easily come to mind. 7/10.
Movie Review #3765 ALIEN : COVENANT
Second in the Alien reboot series, following on from 2012's Prometheus which sought to provide a precursor to all the nasties.
This one takes its lead from the original 1979 Alien although is not really a remake as it does have a character all of its own; true to say though that the basic concept of alien gestation is still the same.
As usual our synthetic friends play a major role in the proceedings and there are a few twists and turns as we follow the intrepid explorers through the mire of alien encounter, which of course does have more than a few ups and downs.
No real stand out performances although Michael Fassbinder is suitably sinister in his synthetic role(s) and part of the charm of the originals was Sigourney Weaver's Ripley character, of which an equivalent isn't present in this outing. However we do have a small cameo turn from Aussie Guy 'Priscilla' Pearce at the entry as the nasty Mr Weyland which, whilst hardly a compensation, does set the scene nicely.
Overall not as impacting as the original as that one was a 'ne'er been done before' however nonetheless an entertaining little reboot that quite clearly sets in motion a chain of sequels that will no doubt culminate with lessons in boredom as so many sequels do. 7/10.
Movie Review #3016 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2.
Follow up to 2014's movie of the same name, this is another rollicking rock'n'rolling sci-fi extravaganza focusing on lead dude Peter Quill's parentage so cue one Kurt Russell to answer that one for us in the form of the nefarious Ego.
The original charm is there along with screen-flashing CGI that explodes like fireworks at a pace my late 50s eyes could barely keeping up with. All the favs return along with the customary new faces to prevent the formula from going stale.
Vegehead Groot who sacrificed himself at the end of Vol 1 also returns, regenerating as a cute but sometimes irritating little weed requiring the same translation skills as before against his limited 'I Am Groot' vocabulary.
As per the original there are no stand out performances but it's not that kinda movie anyway. Plus the soundtrack plays an important role although disappointingly, the trailer features The Sweet's Fox On The Run (one of my 70s favs) yet in the movie itself it is conspicuous by its absence.
Overall Vol 1 was a pleasant surprise and Vol 2 successfully follows in its footsteps as a 'more of the same' plus we are assured at the end that there will be a Vol 3 so in around 2020 keep a look out for it. 8/10
Movie Review #6290 GOING IN STYLE
A comedy which is really a social commentary on growing old in America and what some folks are driven to in order to survive.
Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin are three geriatrics who decide to rob a bank to retrieve their swindled pension fund. Negotiating the usual perils of geriatric-hood, the guys devise a plan based on a previous heist that successfully netted kazillions however make one basic mistake: they ain't as young as the other guys.
Ann-Margret, Christopher Lloyd & Matt Dillon turn up in supporting roles and contribute to the shenanigans nicely plus there are the customary old people gags but not so many that it stereotypes. And I must say watching Mr Lloyd in a Doc Brown role a la Back To the Future was quite enjoyable.
No doubting the screen presence of Mr's Caine and Freeman are the main reason it carries off although Alan Atkin as their foil, works nicely too. Took Nikki with me to see and overall whilst reasonably amusing, she commented that if it had been a British comedy it would have been absolutely hilarious.
Movie Review #297 DENIAL.
Courtroom drama based on the defamation lawsuit brought by Holocaust denier David Irving against Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher Penguin Books. Lipstadt's book Denying the Holocaust according to Irving had defamed him for his views that the Holocaust and any role Hitler may have had in Jewish persecution was largely false.
So sets the scene for a lengthy trial quite nicely portrayed in this slightly overlong rendition which does however create in the viewer a sense of strong support for Lipstadt by virtue of generating such a distaste for Irving.
Timothy Spall, one of my favourite British actors is Irving while Rachel Weisz is the feisty but somewhat nervous Lipstadt & both are top notch. However I'd say equally as good was the performance by Tom Wilkinson as lead defence attorney Richard Rampton, who at one point had us convinced he'd fluffed it only to emerge victorious by sticking with his original strategy despite Lipstadt's attempts to sway otherwise.
Does getting you thinking about the whole freedom of speech thing though and how, no matter how distasteful we might find an opposing view, there is always a seed of doubt sown when weighing up each perspective.
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.