Showing posts with label Keira Knightley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Keira Knightley. Show all posts

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Director David Frankel's "Collateral Beauty" Begins Filming

Filming Begins on the Ensemble Drama “Collateral Beauty” with an All-Star Cast

Will Smith, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Michael Peña, Naomie Harris, Jacob Latimore, and Helen Mirren Star; David Frankel is Directing

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Principal photography has begun on New Line Cinema’s and Village Roadshow Pictures’ thought-provoking drama “Collateral Beauty,” being helmed by Oscar-winning director David Frankel (“Dear Diary,” “The Devil Wears Prada”). The film has been slated for release on December 16, 2016.

“Collateral Beauty” features an all-star cast, including Will Smith (upcoming “Suicide Squad,” “Concussion”), Edward Norton (“Birdman or [The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance]”), Keira Knightley (“The Imitation Game”), Michael Peña (“The Martian”), Naomie Harris (“Spectre”), and Jacob Latimore (“The Maze Runner”), with Oscar winners Kate Winslet (“The Reader,” “Steve Jobs”) and Helen Mirren (“The Queen,” “Trumbo”).

When a successful New York advertising executive (Smith) experiences a deep personal tragedy and retreats from life entirely, his colleagues devise a drastic plan to force him to confront his grief in a surprising and profoundly human way.

Frankel is directing “Collateral Beauty” from an original screenplay by Allan Loeb (“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” “21”). Loeb is also a producer on the film, together with Bard Dorros (“Triple 9”) and Michael Sugar (Oscar-nominated Best Picture “Spotlight”) under the Anonymous Content banner; Anthony Bregman (“Foxcatcher”) for Likely Story; and Kevin Frakes (“John Wick”) for PalmStar Media.

Frankel’s behind-the-scenes creative team includes director of photography Maryse Alberti (“Creed”), production designer Beth Mickle (“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”), editor Andrew Marcus (“American Ultra”) and costume designer Leah Katznelson (“How to Be Single”).

A presentation of New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow Pictures, “Collateral Beauty” will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Patricia Arquette Wins Best Supporting Actress Oscar

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood” WINNER

Laura Dern in “Wild”
Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods”

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" a Disappointing Reboot

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 57 (of 2014) by Leroy Douresseaux

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)
Running time: 105 minutes (1 hour, 45 minutes)
MPAA - PG-13 for sequences of violence and intense action, and brief strong language
DIRECTOR:  Kenneth Branagh
WRITERS:  Adam Cozad and David Koepp (based on characters created by Tom Clancy)
PRODUCERS:  David Barron, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mace Neufeld, and Mark Vahradian
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Haris Zambarloukos
EDITOR:  Martin Walsh
COMPOSER:  Patrick Doyle


Starring:  Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh, Lenn Kudrjawizki, Alec Utgoff, Nonso Anozie, Seth Ayott, Colm Feore, and David Paymer with Mikhail Baryshnikov

The subject of this movie review is Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, a 2014 action and espionage thriller from director, Kenneth Branagh.  This is the fifth film in the Jack Ryan film franchise, which began with 1990's The Hunt for Red October (based on the novel by the late author, Tom Clancy).  Shadow Recruit focuses on a young Jack Ryan as he tries to uncover a Russian plot against the United States.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opens at the London School of Economics, where Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) is a student.  The film also opens on September 11, 2001, the day of the terrorists attacks on New York City and Washington D.C.  Ryan joins the U.S. Marines after the attacks, but he is critically injured during a mission.  While undergoing recovery, Ryan meets and falls for Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley), a young medical student.  Muller, however, is not the only one who is watching Ryan.

Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner) of the CIA recruits Ryan into the agency.  A covert analyst, Ryan works for a Wall Street stock brokerage as a cover.  There, he discovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy via a terrorist attack.  Ryan first dangerous mission takes him to Moscow to face the sinister Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh), but this dangerous mission suddenly takes a decidedly lethal turn.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a reboot of the Jack Ryan film franchise.  This is actually the second reboot of Jack Ryan, as The Sum of All Fears (2002) was a fresh start for the franchise with Ben Affleck as Ryan.  Shadow Recruit is also the first Jack Ryan film not based on one of Tom Clancy's novels.  Perhaps, not being based directly on a Clancy novel is the missing ingredient for this film.  It lacks the complexity and large size of Clancy's work.  As for the screenplay:  Tom Clancy ain't Shakespeare, but he was quite good at what he wrote, and screenwriters Adam Cozad and David Koepp are not Clancy

Shadow Recruit does not have to reinvent the action-thriller, let alone the Jack Ryan movie, and it certainly does neither.  This film is a well-produced movie with some good moments, especially those that take place in Moscow.  Ultimately, Shadow Recruit is nothing special, nor is it particularly slick, a characteristic of big-budget, big studio American action films.

I like Chris Pine, but I think that at the age of 33 (when the film was made), he looks too young and too boyish, and lacks the gravitas to play Jack Ryan.  Kenneth Branagh plays beneath his talent here, and it's evident; he looks tired/bored as Viktor Cherevin.

Seriously, I think Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is best as a past-time you watch on an over-the-air television station one lazy Sunday afternoon.  Sadly, though, I think the Jack Ryan film franchise is done for, and that's a shame.

5 of 10

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

2014 British Independent Film Award Nominations Announced - Complete List

In 1998, Raindance created the British Independent Film Awards to celebrate merit and achievement in independently funded British filmmaking.  The awards also honor new talent and promote British films and filmmaking to a wider public.

On Monday, November 3, 2014, the nominations for the 17th Annual Moët British Independent Film Awards were announced in London, at St Martins Lane.  London actor, Jared Harris, presented the nominations.  The winners will be announced at the 17th awards ceremony on Sunday, December 7, 2014 at the Old Billingsgate in London.

The 2014/17th Annual Moët British Independent Film Awards nominees:

BEST BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM -Sponsored by Moët & Chandon
Mr Turner
The Imitation Game

BEST DIRECTOR - Sponsored by AllCity & Intermission
John Michael McDonagh – Calvary
Lenny Abrahamson – Frank
Matthew Warchus – Pride
Mike Leigh – Mr Turner
Yann Demange  – '71

Daniel Wolfe, Matthew Wolfe – Catch Me Daddy
Hong Khaou – Lilting
Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard – 20,000 Days on Earth
Morgan Matthews – X+Y
Yann Demange –  '71

BEST SCREENPLAY - Sponsored by BBC Films
Graham Moore – The Imitation Game
Gregory Burke  – '71
John Michael McDonagh – Calvary
Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan – Frank
Stephen Beresford – Pride

BEST ACTRESS - Sponsored by M.A.C Cosmetics
Alicia Vikander – Testament of Youth
Cheng Pei Pei – Lilting
Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Belle
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Sameena Jabeen Ahmed – Catch Me Daddy

BEST ACTOR - Sponsored by Movado
Asa Butterfield  – X+Y
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Brendan Gleeson – Calvary
Jack O'Connell – '71
Timothy Spall – Mr Turner

Dorothy Atkinson – Mr Turner
Imelda Staunton – Pride
Maggie Gyllenhaal – Frank
Sally Hawkins – X+Y
Sienna Guillory – The Goob

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - Sponsored by St Martins Lane
Andrew Scott – Pride
Ben Schnetzer – Pride
Michael Fassbender – Frank
Rafe Spall – X+Y
Sean Harris – ‘71

Ben Schnetzer – Pride
Cara Delevingne – The Face of An Angel
Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Belle
Liam Walpole – The Goob
Sameena Jabeen Ahmed – Catch Me Daddy

20,000 Days on Earth
Catch Me Daddy
The Goob

Chris Wyatt - Editing - '71
Dick Pope - Cinematography - Mr Turner
Robbie Ryan - Cinematography - Catch Me Daddy
Stephen Rennicks - Music – Frank
Tat Radcliffe - Cinematography - '71

20,000 Days on Earth
Next Goal Wins
Night Will Fall
The Possibilities Are Endless

Emotional Fusebox
Keeping Up With The Joneses
The Kármán Line

Blue Ruin
Fruitvale Station
The Badadook

Flim: The Movie...
Keeping Rosy
The Beat Beneath My Feet

THE RICHARD HARRIS AWARD (for outstanding contribution by an actor to British Film)
To Be Announced

To Be Announced

Announced at the Moët British Independent Film Awards on Sunday 7th December

For further information on MBIFA, visit

For further information on Moët & Chandon, visit

For further information on Raindance, visit

Thursday, November 14, 2013

2013 European Film Award Nominations List

by Amos Semien

The European Film Awards (EFA) recognize excellence in European cinematic achievements.  They have been presented annually since 1988 by the European Film Academy. There are over ten categories, with the most important being the “film of the year” award.  Formerly known as the “Felix Awards,” the European Film Awards are restricted to European cinema and European producers, directors, and actors.

The host cities alternate, as Berlin hosts them every other year while other European cities get the chance in between the years in which Berlin hosts.

The film, The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium), a love story from Felix van Groeningen, leads the 2013 EFA with five nominations.  This film is also Belgium’s official entry for the foreign language category in this year’s Academy Awards.  Paolo Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty), an homage to the city of Rome, received four nominations.

The more than 2,900 EFA Members will vote for the winners.  The awards will be presented in Berlin on December 7, 2013.

26th European Film Awards (2013) nominees:

European Film 2013:
Italy, 130 min
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY: Giuseppe Tornatore
PRODUCED BY: Isabella Cocuzza & Arturo Paglia

Spain/France, 104 min
PRODUCED BY: Ibon Cormenzana, Jérôme Vidal & Pablo Berger

Belgium, 100 min
DIRECTED BY: Felix van Groeningen
WRITTEN BY: Carl Joos & Felix van Groeningen
PRODUCED BY: Dirk Impens

Italy/France, 140 min
DIRECTED BY: Paolo Sorrentino
WRITTEN BY: Paolo Sorrentino & Umberto Contarello
PRODUCED BY: Nicola Giuliano & Francesca Cima

Germany, 83 min
PRODUCED BY: Marcos Kantis & Alexander Wadouh

France, 179 min
DIRECTED BY: Adellatif Kechiche
WRITTEN BY: Abdellatif Kechiche & Ghalya Lacroix
PRODUCED BY: Brahim Chioua, Vincent Maraval & Abdellatif Kechiche

European Comedy 2013:

Spain, 90 min
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY: Pedro Almodóvar
PRODUCED BY: Agustín Almodóvar & Esther García

Italy, 100 min
DIRECTED BY: Riccardo Milani
WRITTEN BY: Fabio Bonifacci
PRODUCED BY: Nicola Giuliano & Francesca Cima

Denmark, 111 min
DIRECTED BY: Susanne Bier
WRITTEN BY: Anders Thomas Jensen & Susanne Bier
PRODUCED BY: Sisse Graum Jørgensen, Vibeke Windeløv

Croatia/Serbia, 93 min
DIRECTED BY: Vinko Brešan
WRITTEN BY: Mate Matišić & Vinko Brešan
PRODUCED BY: Ivan Maloča

European Director 2013:
Pablo Berger for BLANCANIEVES
Felix van Groeningen for THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN
Abdellatif Kechiche for LA VIE D’ADELE: CHAPITRES 1 & 2 (Adele: Chapters 1 & 2)
François Ozon for DANS LA MAISON (In the House)
Paolo Sorrentino for LA GRANDE BELLEZZA (The Great Beauty)
Giuseppe Tornatore for THE BEST OFFER

European Actress 2013:
Keira Knightley in ANNA KARENINA
Barbara Sukowa in HANNAH ARENDT
Naomi Watts in LO IMPOSIBLE (The Impossible)
Luminita Gheorghiu in POZITIA COPILULUI (Child's Pose)

European Actor 2013:
Fabrice Luchini in DANS LA MAISON (In the House)
Toni Servillo in LA GRANDE BELLEZZA (The Great Beauty)
Tom Schilling in OH BOY

European Screenwriter 2013:
Tom Stoppard for ANNA KARENINA
Giuseppe Tornatore for THE BEST OFFER
Carl Joos & Felix van Groeningen for THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN
François Ozon for DANS LA MAISON (In the House)
Paolo Sorrentino & Umberto Contarello for LA GRANDE BELLEZZA (The Great Beauty)

Here are the previously announced nominations and winners:

European Discovery - Prix FIPRESCI:
Äta sova dö (Eat Sleep Die), Gabriela Pichler, Sweden
Call Girl, Mikael Marcimain, Sweden, Norway, Ireland and Finland
Miele (Honey), valeria Golino, Italy and France
Oh Boy!, Jan Ole Gerster, Germany
La Plaga (The Plague), Neus Ballús, Spain

European Animated Feature Film:
The Congress, Ari Folman, Israel, Germany, Poland, Luxembourg, France and Belgium
Jasmine, Alain Ughetto, France
Pinocchio, Enzo d'AIò, Italy, Luxembourg, France and Belgium

European Documentary:
The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark, Norway and UK
L'Escale (Stop-Over), Kaveh Bakhtiari, Switzerland and France
L'Image Manquante (The Missing Picture), Rithy Panh, France and Cambodia

European Short Film:
Cut, Christoph Girardet & Matthias Müller, Germany, 12' (Vila do Conde nominee)
Dood Van Een Schaduw (Death of a Shadow), Tom Van Avermaet, Belgium and France, 20' (Valladolid nominee)
Houses with Small Windows, Bülent Öztürk, Belgium, 15' (Venice nominee)
La Lampe au Beurre de Yak (Butter Lamp), Hu Wei, France and China, 15' (Drama nominee)
Letter, Sergei Loznitsa, Russia, 20' (documentary) (Krakow nominee)
Misterio (Mystery), Chema García Ibarra, Spain, 12' (Berlin nominee)
Morning, Cathy Brady, UK and Ireland, 21' (Cork nominee)
As Ondas (The Waves), Miguel Fonseca, Portugal, 22' (Ghent nominee)
Orbit Ever After, Jamie Stone, UK, 20' (Bristol nominee)
Skok (Jump), Petar Valchanov and Kristina Grozeva, Bulgaria, 30' (Clermont-Ferrand nominee)
Sonntag 3 (Sunday 3), Jochen Kuhn, Germany, 14' (Tampere nominee)
A Story for the Modlins, Sergio Oksman, Spain, 26' (documentary) (Sarajevo nominee)
Though I Know The River Is Dry, Omar Robert Hamilton, Egypt, Palestine and UK, 20' (Rotterdam nominee)
Yaderni Wydhody (Nuclear Waste), Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, Ukraine, 25' (Grimstad nominee)
Zima, Christina Picchi, Russia, 12' (documentary) (Locarno nominee)

Carlo di Palma European Cinematographer Award: Asaf Sudry for Lemale et Ha'Halal (Fill The Void), Israel

European Editor: Cristiano Travaglioli for La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty), Italy and France

European Production Designer: Sarah Greenwood for Anna Karenina, UK

European Composer: Ennio Morricone for The Best Offer, Italy

European Costume Designer: Paco Delgado for Blancanieves, Spain and France

European Sound Designer: Matz Müller and Erik Mischijew for Paradies: Glaube (Paradise: Faith), Austria, Germany and Fran.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Poster for "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" Debuts

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Based on the character created by bestselling author Tom Clancy, “Jack Ryan” is a global action thriller set in the present day.  This original story follow a young Jack (Chris Pine) as he uncovers a financial terrorist plot.

The story follows him from 9/11, through his tour of duty in Afghanistan, which scarred him forever, and into his early days in the Financial Intelligence Unit of the modern CIA where he becomes an analyst, under the guardianship of his handler, Harper (Kevin Costner).  When Ryan believes he’s uncovered a Russian plot to collapse the United States economy, he goes from being an analyst to becoming a spy and must fight to save his own life and those of countless others, while also trying to protect the thing that's more important to him than anything, his relationship with his fiancée Cathy (Keira Knightley).

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Chris Pine, Keira Knightley and Kevin Costner
Written By: Adam Cozad and David Koepp

Coming Soon

Watch the Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit trailer only on Yahoo! Movies

To watch the trailer:

Official website:
Official Facebook:
Official Twitter: @JackRyanMovie
Official Hashtag: #ShadowRecruit

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Jack Ryan" Begins with Kenneth Branagh as Director



Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom, Inc., and Skydance Productions announced today that principal photography has begun on “JACK RYAN,” from Academy Award®-nominated director Kenneth Branagh, starring Chris Pine, Academy Award®-nominated Keira Knightley and Academy Award®-winner Kevin Costner. The film is shooting in New York, Moscow and London and is slated for release on December 25, 2013.

Based on the Jack Ryan character created by bestselling author Tom Clancy, the film is a contemporary action thriller set in the present day. The original story, written by David Koepp (“ANGELS AND DEMONS,” “WAR OF THE WORLDS”), follows a young Jack as he uncovers a financial terrorist plot.

Lorenzo di Bonaventura (the “TRANSFORMERS” franchise, “RED”) will produce through his Di Bonaventura Pictures banner, along with Mace Neufeld (“THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER,” “PATRIOT GAMES”) and David Barron (the “HARRY POTTER” franchise). David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Paul Schwake of Skydance Productions (“MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL,” “TRUE GRIT”) will executive produce along with Tommy Harper (“MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL”).

“JACK RYAN” stars Pine (“STAR TREK,” “RISE OF THE GUARDIANS”) as the title character; Knightley (“ANNA KARENINA,” the “PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN” franchise) as his fiancé Cathy Muller; Costner (“HATFIELDS & MCCOYS,” “DANCES WITH WOLVES”) as Ryan’s CIA handler Harper; and Peter Andersson (“THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO” trilogy) as security agent Dmitri Lemkov. Branagh, in addition to directing the film, will take on the role of Russian oligarch Viktor Cherevin.

About Paramount Pictures Corporation
Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.

About Skydance Productions
Skydance Productions creates and produces elevated event-level commercial entertainment. In its strategic partnership with Paramount Pictures, the David Ellison-led company co-finances and produces several films per year with the studio. The first film to be co-produced under the partnership was the Coen Brothers’ “True Grit,” which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards© and has earned $250 million worldwide. Most recently, Skydance productions released the Paramount feature “Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol,” starring Tom Cruise, which has made more than $694 million worldwide and growing. Upcoming films include “Jack Reacher,” based on the best-selling novels by Lee Child, directed by Christopher McQuarrie and starring Tom Cruise, set for release on December 21, 2012; “The Guilt Trip,” starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, slated for release on December 25, 2012; “G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation,” starring Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson, set for release on March 29, 2013; “World War Z,” directed by Marc Forster and starring Brad Pitt, set for release on June 21, 2013; “Star Trek Into Darkness,” starring Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine; and “Jack Ryan,” based on the Tom Clancy character and starring Chris Pine, directed by Kenneth Branagh and produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld, set for release on December 25, 2013. Additionally, Skydance is producing, along with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, “Without Remorse,” written by Shawn Ryan.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: Cronenberg Plays it a Little Safe in "A Dangerous Method"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 31 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux

A Dangerous Method (2011)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada (with Germany, Switzerland, UK)
Running time: 99 minutes (1 hour, 39 minutes)
MPAA – R for sexual content and brief language
DIRECTOR: David Cronenberg
WRITER: Christopher Hampton (based upon his play, The Talking Cure, and also on the book, A Most Dangerous Method: The story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein, by John Kerr)
PRODUCER: Jeremy Thomas
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Suschitzky (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Ronald Sanders
COMPOSER: Howard Shore
Golden Globe nominee


Starring: Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Vincent Cassel, and Sarah Gordon

A Dangerous Method is a 2011 Canadian historical drama from director David Cronenberg. This film’s screenplay is by Christopher Hampton and is based on his play, The Talking Cure.

Another source for A Dangerous Method is the book by John Kerr, A Most Dangerous Method: The story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein, which was also the basis for Hampton’s play. The film is a fictional account of the real-life turbulent relationships between Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology; Sigmund Freud, the founder of the discipline of psychoanalysis; and Sabina Spielrein, who was a patient of Jung before she later became a physician and one of the first female psychoanalysts.

The film opens in the first decade of the 1900s. Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a young woman suffering from hysteria, arrives at the Burghölzli Clinic, the preeminent psychiatric hospital in Zurich, Switzerland. The young Swiss doctor, Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), begins to treat Sabina using word association and dream interpretation as part of his approach to psychoanalysis, a radical new science devised by Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen).

Jung and Freud begin to correspond, and Freud adopts Jung as his heir apparent and also as his Aryan (or non-Jewish) ally against the European medical establishment, which is anti-Semitic. Jung finds in Sabina a kindred spirit, and soon they begin a sexual relationship. However, Jung and Freud’s relationship begins to fray, and Jung’s relationship with Sabina becomes more complicated than Jung anticipated.

A Dangerous Method’s movie poster may suggest that the film is about a love triangle. The film is really about Jung’s relationship with two people, with more of the focus on the Jung-Spielrein relationship. As Jung and Spielrein, Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley, respectively, give strong performances by conveying the passion between the two people who must often remain restrained and repressed as a matter of societal conventions. Neither actor comes across as delivering the typical too-aloof performance that actors sometimes give when appearing in costume or historical dramas. Knightley plays Sabina as coiled and imprisoned, waiting to explode to the freedom that will allow her to be herself. Fassbender makes Jung fervent with the desire to investigate and explore that cannot be put out by the coolness of discovery. Viggo Mortensen gives the kind of tart and showy performance that can make a supporting actor a scene stealer, and he does indeed steal every scene in which he appears. Honestly, I never imagined Freud to be as Mortensen depicts him – cool and sexy.

Director David Cronenberg is known for the coolness and aloofness evident in even his most daring, unusual, and controversial films. Sometimes, there is a clinical attitude in his movies that restrains the narrative, its ideas and characters. A Dangerous Method would seem to be the perfect film in which Cronenberg would be correctly detached, even distant; however, the relationships explored in this film dare the storyteller to be objective, though I will give Cronenberg and his primary actors credit for giving this film a humorous undercurrent, especially in the first half. A Dangerous Method is a very good film, but, although it is about doctors and science, the emotions, sensations, and passions needed to be given more freedom than they are here. A Dangerous Method is a tad dangerously distant.

7 of 10

2012 Golden Globes: 1 nomination: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” (Viggo Mortensen)

Friday, April 27, 2012


Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: 2005 Take on "Pride & Prejudice" is a Winning Romance (Happy B'day, Keira Knightley)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 103 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Running time: 128 minutes (2 hours, 8 minutes)
MPAA – PG for some mild thematic elements
DIRECTOR: Joe Wright
WRITER: Deborah Moggach (from the novel by Jane Austen)
PRODUCERS: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Paul Webster
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Roman Osin (director of photography)
EDITOR: Paul Tothill
Academy Award nominee


Starring: Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Talulah Riley, Carey Mulligan, Brenda Blethyn, Simon Woods, Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Hollander, and Donald Sutherland, Kelly Reilly, Tamzin Merchant, and Judi Dench

The subject of this movie review is Pride & Prejudice, a 2005 British romance film. This French-British production is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, which was first published in 1813. The 2005 movie was the second time the book had been adapted as a feature film, while there have been numerous television adaptations, including a few in non-English speaking countries.

Mrs. Bennet (Brenda Blethyn) has five daughters: the radiantly beautiful Jane (Rosamund Pike, who is, of course, radiantly beautiful), the spirited Elizabeth or Lizzie (Keira Knightley), the feuding Mary (Talulah Riley) and Kitty (Carey Mulligan), and Lydia (Jena Malone), and the girls are well aware of their mother’s fixation on finding them husbands and securing their futures financially. Thus, begins a story of love, misunderstandings and class divisions in England in the 18th century.

The excitement and drama begins when a wealthy bachelor, Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods), takes up residence in a mansion near the Bennets’ home. Serene and beautiful, Jane catches the eye of Mr. Bingley. Meanwhile, Lizzie catches the eye of her distant cousin, Mr. Collins (Tom Hollander), who, as the nearest male relative, will inherit the Bennets’ home upon the death of Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland). Lizzie refuses his offer of marriage, with support of her father who dotes on her, but angers her mother.

Mr. Bingley has an even wealthier friend, the snobbish Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen). There is something between Lizzie and Mr. Darcy, but their many spirited and often quarrelsome encounters are not an encouragement for union. When Mr. Bingley abruptly leaves for London, Lizzie blames Mr. Darcy for contributing to what seemed like a likely marriage between Jane and Bingley. However, a crisis with the youngest daughter Lydia opens Lizzie’s eyes to what Mr. Darcy is really like. The fuss and confusion leaves no one unchanged, and forces each person to examine personal beliefs, but will it bring Mr. Bingley and Jane and Lizzie and Mr. Darcy together?

Working Title Films’ (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually) production of Pride & Prejudice is the first theatrical film version of Jane Austen’s classic 1813 novel in 65 years (since a 1940 film starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier). Director Joe Wright presents Austen’s novel of first impressions and the issues surrounding courtship and marriage among the landed gentry as a comic romance that satires the politics and procedures of engagements while still tugging at our heartstrings. If the film bears more than a striking resemblance to Ang Lee’s 1995 Jane Austen adaptation, Sense and Sensibility, it’s because Emma Thompson, who wrote and starred in that film, reportedly did extensive rewriting of Deborah Moggach’s screenplay for this film.

However, Sense and Sensibility was a somber drama with comic touches, while Pride and Prejudice is thoroughly romantic and comic. There are moments of serious contemplation and ugly class confrontation, but for the most part there’s comedy in the romantic goings-on. Dario Marianelli’s score, highlighted by lush and swirling piano melodies, capture both the mood of sweeping romance and sly comedy. The production values (costume, art direction, photography) juxtaposes the different environments: middle class and upper class, impeccably clean mansions and dusty middle class farmhouses with startling frankness that makes the audience understand how wide the division between classes was. It makes it easier to laugh at how Lizzie keeps missing the obvious about Mr. Darcy and at how Mr. Darcy seems so befuddled and clumsy for all that he shows arrogance and conceit on the surface. We can both laugh at and deeply appreciate Mrs. Bennet’s desperation in obtaining financial security for her daughters in the form of husbands who, if not well-to-do, have solid professions.

The performances are remarkable in that they fit a comedy so very well, although they would seem too light and flimsy were this straight drama. If Keira Knightley initially came across as wrong for the part in a Jane Austen adaptation, she proves that wrong. Her high-spirited, tomboyish persona and droll comic wit (which isn’t obvious unless you really pay attention to her in other movies) bring Lizzie to life as a fully realized, three-dimensional, rich character. Knightley understands the tone director Joe Wright set for his adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, and she meets it in this winning romance.

9 of 10

2006 Academy Awards: 4 nominations: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” (Keira Knightley), “Best Achievement in Art Direction” (Sarah Greenwood-art director and Katie Spencer-set decorator), “Best Achievement in Costume Design” (Jacqueline Durran), and “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score” (Dario Marianelli)

2006 BAFTA Awards: 1 win: “Carl Foreman Award for the Most Promising Newcomer” (Joe Wright-director); 5 nominations: “Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film” (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Paul Webster, Joe Wright, and Deborah Moggach), “Best Costume Design” (Jacqueline Durran), “Best Make Up/Hair” (Fae Hammond), “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” (Brenda Blethyn), and “Best Screenplay – Adapted” (Deborah Moggach)

2006 Golden Globes: 2 nominations: “Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical” and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical” (Keira Knightley)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Monday, January 2, 2012

"Bend it Like Beckham" is Something Different and Nice

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 131 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Bend it Like Beckham (2002)
U.S. release: 2003
Running time: 112 minutes (1 hour, 52 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for language and sexual content
DIRECTOR: Gurinder Chadha
WRITERS: Paul Mayeda Berges, Guljit Bindra, and Gurinder Chadha
PRODUCERS: Gurinder Chadha and Deepak Nayar
EDITOR: Justin Krish


Starring: Parminder K. Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys-Myers, Anupam Kher, Archie Punjabi, Shaznay Lewis, Frank Harper, Juliet Stevenson, Shaheen Kahn, Ameet Chana, and Shaznay Lewis

Bend it Like Beckham is a 2002 comedy/drama and sports movie from director Gurinder Chadha. The film is set in West London and focuses on a young woman who rebels against her orthodox Sikh parents to join a football (soccer) team.

If you’ve never heard of David Beckham, the “Beckham” in Bend it Like Beckham, that’s okay. He’s currently the world’s most famous soccer player or footballer, and soccer still has a long way to go in the States. Still, Beckham, the movie about a young woman who battles her parents Old World ways to forge her own future is not only a really good “feel good” film, but also unique because it’s Asian/Sikh cast makes it very different from the all-white family films that we usually get.

Jesminder Bhamra or Jess (Parminder K. Nagra), who has loved soccer since she was a little girl, gets an offer from her new friend Juliette Paxton (Keira Knightley) to join an girls soccer team that is part of an all-female team. Jess’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bhamra (Anupam Kher and Shaheen Kahn) detest their daughter’s interest in soccer although she excels at it, seeing it as an affront to their orthodox Sikh ways, especially as their daughter Pinky’s (Archie Punjabi) wedding day approaches. Jess, however, rebels against them; she concocts elaborate lies that usually fall apart, but her biggest sin is when she joins her team for a big tournament in Germany.

Although the story touches on a number of family issues, including obligation and tradition, the script approaches ideas as frivolously as a sitcom. There is a serious clash of cultures going on here, and although the film is a laundry list of conflicts, the screenwriters never treat any of it seriously. For instance, during a soccer match, an opponent throws Jess to the ground and calls her a “paki,” which is a sadly popular ethnic slur against many Asians in England. When Jess retaliates, the referee throws her out of the game, but not the bigoted ho. This directly ties into the experiences Mr. Bhamra had when he moved to England, but the director brushes past the trauma of racism and just moves onto the next funny scene.

Bend it Like Beckham is light, frothy entertainment. It is funny, and though a bit of a chill tempers its warmth, I credit it for being quite entertaining in spite of a few warts.

6 of 10

2003 BAFTA Awards: 1 nomination: “Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film” (Deepak Nayar and Gurinder Chadha)

2004 Golden Globes: 1 nomination: “Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy)

2004 Image Awards: 1 nomination: “Outstanding Motion Picture”

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Empire Awards Name "Inception" Best Film

The Empire Awards are named for Empire, Britain's best-selling film magazine. The Empire Awards are voted for entirely by the British film-going public.  The 2011 Jameson Empire Awards were presented at a ceremony in London, on Sunday, March 27.

2011 Jameson Empire Awards winner:

Best Film presented by Kirin Ichiban – Inception

Best Director presented by Sony – Edgar Wright

Jameson Best Actor – Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)

Best Actress presented by Citroën – Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Best Newcomer – Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass)

Best Comedy – Four Lions

Best Horror – The Last Exorcism

Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Best Thriller – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Best British Film presented by The Industry Trust – Kick-Ass

Empire Inspiration presented by HMV – Edgar Wright

Empire Hero presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey – Keira Knightley

Empire Icon – Gary Oldman

Done in 60 Seconds – 127 Hours by Maeve Stam

Monday, February 8, 2010

Review: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead's Man Chest" a Bloated Corpse

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 146 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
Running time: 2 hours, 31 minutes
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of adventure violence, including frightening images
DIRECTOR: Gore Verbinski
WRITERS: Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio (based upon characters created by Stuart Beattie, Jay Wolpert, and Elliot & Rossio and Walt Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean)
PRODUCER: Jerry Bruckheimer
EDITOR: Stephen E. Rivkin and Craig Wood
Academy Award winner


Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport, Bill Nighy, Jonathan Pryce, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Cook, Kevin McNally, David Bailie, Stellan Skarsgård, Tom Hollander, Geoffrey Rush, Naomie Harris

When Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl debuted in early July 2003, it had already received mixed reviews from the nation’s major movie critics – many of them deriding the film for having been derived from the Walt Disney theme park ride, “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Disney certainly expected the film to be a hit, but surely they didn’t think it would gross just over $305 million in domestic box office take or go on to do just under $654 million in worldwide business. The Curse of the Black Pearl was the proverbial dumb and silly film that was very well made, a fantasy adventure that caught the imaginations of a broad audience, in particularly that all-important summer demographic – the family. Johnny Depp even earned an Oscar nomination for playing Pirates’ charming rogue of an anti-hero, Captain Jack Sparrow. All in all, this movie delightfully surprised me when I expected so little.

The first of two sequels just opened. Ironically, this new film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, actually turned out to be the un-fun dumb movie that I expected the first to one to be. It’s everything bad summer movies usually are – full of sound and fury signifying nothing, nothing, and nothing again.

Dead Man’s Chest opens to find the first film’s young lovers, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom, seems bored with this part) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley, ditto), imprisoned for aiding and abetting Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp impersonating a robot impersonating him from the first Pirates movie). The couple’s nemesis is Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), a British official with warrants for their arrests, as well as that of Sparrow, but Beckett’s really after something else. Will makes a deal with Beckett that would free him and Elizabeth, but Will has to find Sparrow and retrieve Sparrow’s apparently enchanted compass for Beckett. Elizabeth later escapes prison with the aid of her father, Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce), and makes her own deal with Beckett to find Sparrow.

Meanwhile, we learn that 13-years ago or so, Sparrow made a deal with cursed sea captain, Davy Jones (played by Bill Nighy with much assistance from CGI). For the cost of his soul, Sparrow got to be captain of a ship, the Black Pearl. Now, Jones, who has an octopus-like head, has returned from the gloomy ocean depths to claim his payment: Sparrow must hand himself over to Jones’ servitude and join the other sea phantoms aboard Jones’ ghostly ship, the Flying Dutchman. Sparrow’s only way out is to give Jones 100 souls in exchange for his one, but Sparrow doesn’t intend to honor even that deal. Sparrow intends to find the dead man’s chest. Buried in some secret location, it holds Davy Jones still-beating heart. The man or woman who possesses it can destroy Jones and/or rule the seas. Sparrow, however, isn’t the only one who wants the treasure of the dead man’s chest, and the fight to find it means that Jack Sparrow may not meet his deadline to appease Davy Jones.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest looks and sounds exactly like the first film, but whereas the first film was fun and filled with the spirit of adventure, Dead Man’s Chest is much darker. Magic and curses play a larger part, and the lead characters: Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann are all in much more peril. That makes for a film rotten with the stench of gloom, doom, and peril, which wouldn’t be bad if that made Dead Man’s Chest a good movie. Like everything else in this flick (acting, directing, shamelessness, etc.), this dark mood lands with resounding thud.

Dead Man’s Chest is noisy and ponderous, a lazy flick that goes nowhere. It begins well enough with an island misadventure – Sparrow, his Black Pearl crew, and Will Turner engaging in a madcap escape from a tribe of cannibals, but that’s the only bit of slapstick from this flick that recalls the original. It has a lot of potential, with many of the scenes and sub-plots ripe to deliver a good time, but ultimately the moviemakers just fumble it away. It’s hard to believe, but after 2½ hours, this movie goes nowhere. Dead Man’s Chest is just a setup for the third film in this franchise, which is currently titled, Pirates of the Caribbean: The World’s End (the second and third films were shot back-to-back). Dead Man’s Chest seems like the chopped-off half of a longer story because it is. I only hope that this next film, scheduled for release Summer 2007, is the better half.

3 of 10

Saturday, July 08, 2006

2007 Academy Awards: 1 win for “Best Achievement in Visual Effects” (John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charles Gibson, and Allen Hall); 3 nominations for “Best Achievement in Art Direction” (Rick Heinrichs, art director and Cheryl Carasik, set decorator), “Best Achievement in Sound Editing” (Christopher Boyes, George Watters II), and “Best Achievement in Sound Mixing” (Paul Massey, Christopher Boyes, Lee Orloff)

2007 BAFTA Awards: 1 win for “Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects” (John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charles Gibson, and Allen Hall); and four nominations for costume design, make up/hair, production design, and sound

2007 Golden Globes: 1 nomination for actor-motion picture comedy/musical (Johnny Depp)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Review: "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" is a Surprise

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 111 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Running time: 143 minutes; MPAA – PG-13 for action/adventure violence
DIRECTOR: Gore Verbinski
WRITERS: Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, from a screen story by Stuart Beattie, Jay Wolpert, and Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio
PRODUCER: Jerry Bruckheimer
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Darius Wolski (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Stephen E. Rivkin, Arthur Schmidt, and Craig Wood
Academy Award nominee


Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport, Jonathan Pryce, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Crook, Zoe Saldana, and Isaac C. Singleton, Jr.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that some movie critics and reviewers are stanking on Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl mainly because the movie is loosely based on a theme park ride at Disney World. That’s beside the point; it’s not like a theme park ride is the worst thing upon which a movie could be based, especially since we’ve all lost track of how many movies have been based upon skits from “Saturday Night Live.” All that really matters is the question whether this is a fun film or not, which it is – the rousing good, old-fashioned adventure film that Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas tried to be. I guess I should also mention that I have an incredible weakness for pirate films, so that could color my judgment.

Will Turner (Orlando Bloom, sexy elf-warrior from the Lord of the Rings films), a talented blacksmith, joins a the pirate captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and becomes a pirate himself to rescue the love of his life, Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) from the wicked pirates of the fearsome ship, The Black Pearl. Led by their mutinous Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush), the men of the Pearl are cursed and must break the ancient spell with the blood of Elizabeth.

Directed by Gore Verbinski (The Ring), Black Pearl is an SFX-laden movie distraction that’s worth the time distracted. The plot is bare (then, again aren’t most made-to-order blockbusters thin on plot), and the story gets muddled at the end, hitting more than it’s share of sand bars. Don’t think, enjoy. High production values, costumes, great sets, wonderful backdrops and vistas, the open sea, nasty pirates, colonial military, brave sea dogs, and a bucketful of obstacles facing our heroes – it’s the makings of a movie meant for summer or holiday release. If this is eye candy, it’s a sweet dessert without the worrisome aftertaste of plot and story that stays with you.

I always say that the price of a ticket is worth the cost if you can find at least two performances worth watching. Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow is a campy, burlesque pirate with an over-the-top nutty flavor. Every time you think that Sparrow might become annoying, Depp, in swarthy getup, rises to the occasion with a flourish of hand gestures and twisted facial expressions that for some unearthly reason endear him to the audience again. Not to be outdone, Geoffrey Rush, a very fine actor, hams it up with same intensity that he’d give to a “serious and worthy dramatic film. He gets inside Pirates, sloshes around when he wants to be zombie suave and then turns on nasty ooze when he’s supposed to be a really, really, really bad man.

Pirates of the Caribbean might occasionally play at being a pirate film in the classic tradition of old Hollywood, but it’s true to its modern roots. It’s a get-on-and-ride attraction with all the ups-and-downs and thrill machine delivery that Disney engineering creates in theme park rides.

6 of 10

2004 Academy Awards: 5 nominations for “Best Actor in a Leading Role” (JohnnyDepp), “Best Makeup” (Ve Neill, Martin Samuel), “Best Sound Editing” (Christopher Boyes, George Watters II), “Best Sound Mixing” (Christopher Boyes, David Parker, David E. Campbell, Lee Orloff), “Best Visual Effects” (John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charles Gibson, Terry D. Frazee)

2004 BAFTA Awards: 1 win for “Best Make Up/Hair” (Ve Neill, Martin Samuel); and four nominations for “Best Actor in a Leading Role” (Johnny Depp), “Best Costume” (Penny Rose), “Best Sound” (Christopher Boyes, George Watters II, David Parker, David E. Campbell, Lee Orloff)

2004 Golden Globes: 1 nomination for actor-motion picture comedy/musical (Depp)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Review: "At World's End" Excellent Conclusion to Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 03 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
Running time: 168 minutes (2 hours, 48 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence and some frightening images
DIRECTOR: Gore Verbinski
WRITERS: Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio; based upon characters created by Stuart Beattie, Jay Wolpert, and Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio and based upon the Walt Disney theme park attraction
PRODUCER: Jerry Bruckheimer
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dariusz Wolski (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Stephen Rivkin and Craig Wood
Academy Award nominee


Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Naomie Harris, Chow Yun-Fat, Jack Davenport, Jonathan Pryce, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Cook, Kevin McNally, Stellan Skarsgård, and Keith Richards

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End is an extravagant, entertaining, and exciting finish to the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, which hit a bump with the middle segment, the hugely boring, excessive, and gaudy CGI lump, Dead Man’s Chest.

Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) are allied with the resurrected Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) in a desperate quest to free Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from the surreal and mind-bending afterlife trap that is Davy Jones' locker. The trio strikes a deal with the Chinese Pirate lord, Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat), for a map to guide them to Davy Jones’ locker.

Meanwhile, Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) of the East India Trading Company has control of the terrifying ghost ship, The Flying Dutchman, and its captain, Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). Doing Beckett’s bidding, Jones and the Dutchman wreak havoc across the Seven Seas, destroying all pirate vessels and helping Beckett achieve his dream of ending piracy.

To save their way of life, Barbossa calls for a truly rare event, a meeting of the Brethren Court, a council the gathers the nine pirate lords of the Seven Seas. Treachery, however, abounds. Both Jack Sparrow and Will Turner secretly plot behind their colleagues’ backs – Sparrow to rid himself of his debt to Davy Jones and Turner to free his father “Bootstrap” Bill Turner (Stellan Skarsgård) from the Dutchman. All must ultimately choose a side in a final, titanic battle, as their lives, fortunes, and the entire future of the freedom-loving pirate way, hangs in the balance.

Amusing and exciting: I can say that about Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, but I certainly couldn’t say that about its predecessor, Dead Man’s Chest (2006). Whereas Dead Man’s Chest was painfully boring, exceedingly dull, and came across a mere filler material between the beginning and end of this story, At World’s End is showy (with costumes and production design that is so lavish it would give the Bourbons pause), amusing (a delightfully spry comedy for such a big budget production), and exciting (a whirlwind adventure that seems to span the seven seas, told in storytelling that is brisk and efficient).

Like they did in the original film, director Gore Verbinski and his stunt and special effects crew blended live action and CGI with such ease that the viewer might have a hard time separating solid realism from the magical un-real of Hollywood FX. In overseeing such an impressive blend of live action stunts and CGI wizardry (perhaps the best union of the two ever put on screen at that time), Verbinksi’s work was worthy of an Oscar nomination (which it didn’t get).

Verbinski’s success in directing this movie was also evident in the performances of his cast. Johnny Deep made Jack Sparrow a richer more dramatic character, and not just caricature fit for no more than merchandising. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley brought a touch of romantic drama to their characters’ storyline, and in their own way, transformed At World’s End from merely a summer blockbuster into an old-fashioned romantic adventure right out of the 19th century.

7 of 10

2008 Academy Awards: 2 nominations for “Best Achievement in Makeup” (Ve Neill, Martin Samuel) and “Best Achievement in Visual Effect” (John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charlie Gibson, John Frazier)

2008 BAFTA Awards: 1 nomination for “Best Special Visual Effects” (John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charlie Gibson, John Frazier)