kkurman, on the beat. 5 May ’11
This week was all POC, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ that is.
Went to the all media pre-screening at the magnificent, old Hollywood movie palace the El Capitan the other night and what a show! Geoffrey Rush was there and the place was packed. I love how they get the crowd all worked up by having a live organist playing the grand, silent movie era, Wurlitzer in the pit. The movie is fantastic, funny and fast moving. Capt’n Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), the Spanish, the Brits (led by the not-to-be-trusted Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Blackbeard (Ian McShane, ‘Deadwood’) the most fearsome pirate of all time, race to be the first to re-discover The Fountain of Youth. They all have their own reasons for wanting to get there first, Capt’n Jack, strangely, seems to be doing it for the love of a woman, Blackbeard’s daughter, Angelica (Penelope Cruz). As usual, the production design is top notch and the script is tighter than the last two. The action sequences, in 3-D, are thrilling, especially the feeding frenzy of the mermaids! Speaking of mermaids, the Bloom/Knightly young lovers’ roles have been replaced by a couple of new faces you will probably be seeing more of, Sam Clafin as a young missionary and Astrid Berges-Frisbey as the mermaid, Syrena. All-in-all, alot of fun and a must see!
Most folks are betting on which will be the biggest 1st weekend box office take; POC ‘On Stranger Tides’ (Disney) or the Marvel Comics’ franchise summer blockbuster ‘Thor’ (Paramount). Despite seeing ‘Thor‘ in the impeccable screening facility on the Paramount lot, it wasn’t good enough to make up for, hyperbolically speaking, one of the worse scripts ever penned. With a stellar cast and seemingly limitless budget, director, Kenneth Branagh, managed to produce an empty yawn of a picture that was overwrought and obvious at every turn. Chris Hemsworth as Thor, certainly looked the part, but the script didn’t really give him much to work with, if that, or additionally the 3-D, could have helped materialize this character off the comic-book page. I couldn’t help but wonder what Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgard, all stellar, award winning actors, were doing in this picture. Money, I suppose, is a demanding master. Anyway, my vote goes to ‘POC‘, ’cause who doesn’t love Capt’n Jack Sparrow and who can ignore the siren call of mermaids? I mean, really!
Aside from the clash of the box office Titans, most of the attention now is being directed at the TV. As mentioned in previous TOTT’s, Cable has all the money and a captive audience, a match made in heaven. The Showtime series ‘The Borgias’ is in full swing and tearing up the screen with murder, sex and intrigue. A lavish production with good, historically accurate writing, ‘The Borgias’ is shaping up to be a Sunday night ‘must watch’. Based on the original mob family at the turn of 16th century Rome, the Borgia family was the model for Machiavelli’s (played here by the distinguished British actor and musician, Julian Bleach) classic primer for iron-fist governance, ‘The Prince’. Jeremy Irons is perfect as the corrupt-to-the-bone Pope Alexander VI, formally Rodrigo Borgia. His son, the infamous Cesare Borgia, is wonderfully and chillingly, played by Francois Arnaud. Everyone in the cast is actually really getting into their characters and the energy is electric.
The problem arises in that HBO is running ‘Game of Thrones’ at the same time. Both are repeated throughout the week, but the dilemma is which to watch first. Both are episode-to-episode cliffhangers and both are emotionally fraught, costume dramas. The character development is so good you can’t help becoming involved in loving, hating and cheering on your favorites.
‘Game of Thrones’ is a fictional adaptation of ancient, feudal Europe. The writers have created a masterful allegory of the universal struggle for power. HBO has once again nailed their production design with a visually stunning imaginary world populated with perfectly cast, ensemble performances.
I’m out of space, we’ll have to pick up the story where we left off next time…so,
That’s it for now. See ya’, Salam Alik!