Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean

As I tend to watch movies for a living, periodically I am faced with potential career choices that might be more lucrative for me. A stint aboard a space mining freighter for the Weyland-Yutani Corporation is a bit too futuristic for me, and I’ve missed the boat for enrolling in med school or law school. However, there seems to be one way to make money that doesn’t seem to take any formal schooling: treasure hunting. Of course, before I kiss my wife and kids good-bye and embark on a whirlwind global journey to get rich off of other people’s plundering, I had to look into this career choice a bit. I started by thinking: Where can I dig up a buried pirate’s treasure chest?

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IntroBarFights

The World’s End was a great film, and amongst its many covered genres, it made a pretty big mark in the ranks of epic bar brawl movies. To celebrate, why don’t we explore some of the other great drunken tussles of the sci-fi and fantasy genres? Excellent. Glad you’re on board. Because no matter what sorcery or technology you have at your fingertips, there’s always time to get soused and hit someone.

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Boiling Point

The Avengers is kind of a major success. What, you hadn’t heard? Of course you did. Avengers box office is on the tips of tongues, internet screens, newspapers, and even within the pages of Time Magazine. You don’t make a billion dollars that quickly without garnering a lot of attention. With attention comes discussion. People always want to be included in the discussion, it helps get a little bit of that attention directed their way. If at this point you feel the need to point out the hypocrisy of this entire thing, go for it. What do I care? In attempting to be part of the discussion and gather up some of that sweet, sweet spotlight, everyone has been discussing the Avengers box office results and asking the question we all ask of super hero teams and double rainbows: What does it mean?

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It’s easy to stick some cool tats on a character and enhance their presence – and we all love cool looking tattoos. It gets better when there is thought put into the tattoos, such as Mickey Rourke’s surprisingly well-researched prison tattoos in Iron Man 2. What’s even better than that is when a tattoo is not only well thought out, but also speaks worlds about that character and the story surrounding them. It’s not always possible in the context of the film – but when it is, it’s nice to see. Here are some of the tattoos I’m talking about.

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The Gift Guide: Collectibles

It’s the final countdown. Dunuh na naaaa. Less than two weeks to go until Christmas, so naturally now’s the time to start buying things. Who needs organizational skills when you can imbue that action-film frenzied spirit into your final rounds of festive gift buying? Since I’m the collectible fiend around these parts, I’ve been tasked with listing the essential holiday gifts from that world for every film fan. It hasn’t been easy, and I’ve mentally spent way too much money in compiling the list myself. But hey, occupational hazard. Anyway, here follows 15 of the must-have collectibles for this holiday season, some regulars of the Merch Hunter column will recognize, and some will be brand new. Either way, they’re what movie lovers want. As this is my handiwork, you can expect a general mix of the uber-expensive and ultra-collectible as well as the affordable and accessible, more charming options. No snob am I….

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Another week, another introduction mentioning Christmas: after all, this week has seen the official unveiling of Christmas 2011 with the addition of Christmas decorations to the Disney Store’s online catalogue (that’s the actual scientifically proved start of the Christmas period, you see), and I’ll be damned if I let that one fly without a mention. Anyway, back to the serious business of movie merchandise, and three fairly light-hearted, but no less essential picks, with yet another beyond-awesome creation by Japan’s inimitable Medicom Toy company, some shoes bearing the face of the greatest movie villain of all time (no, sadly not Ballbricker from Porky’s), and baby clothes. Don’t judge me, I’m broody. For no reason at all, here’s a column dedicated disproportionately to Disney.

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It was in early May that we reported Disney was ready to get another Pirates of the Caribbean film off the ground, but that the series’ star Johnny Depp wanted them to hold off a little bit. He seemed to want a chance to do other things, but also intimated that he would come back for a Pirates 5 only if the right director and script were in place. Well, just two months later, On Strange Tides has made one billion dollars at the box office and The Wrap is reporting that Depp is already in negotiations to appear in a fifth film. It’s amazing how fast a billion dollars can move things along. The Wrap seems to be talking to sources close to the production (their cousin knows this guy who knows a guy) and apparently a rough draft for Pirates 5 has already been written, and Jerry Bruckheimer and his team of chained up screenwriters are meeting 3 to 4 times a week to get it up to snuff and make sure that it passes muster with Captain Jack. Perhaps that’s a bit of overkill on Bruckheimer’s part. The fact that the last two had terrible scripts didn’t seem to deter anybody from making these movies or going to see them in droves. Screw Pirates 5, I’m already getting excited for Pirates 17. I just hope they can get Depp back for it.

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While enduring the mild pain caused by Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I thought to myself, “Man, this Sam character is a real prick. What type of people actually like this person? This is the best savior we could get?” I then realized that I often find myself thinking this nowadays. We rarely get great, likable heroes or genuine badasses on film anymore. Most are either mopey, passive, or do morally questionable acts. I’m not referring to anti-heroes — although, I do include one on the list — but, rather, the unintentionally lame mainstream characters that aren’t the most compelling or charming. A few of these not-so-heroic characters aren’t due to bad acting. As you’ll notice, Leonardo DiCaprio made the list for Inception, where he gave a solid performance. While I wouldn’t say that most of the actors featured here impressed anyone, DiCaprio and a few others certainly did. Here are ten mainstream characters that exhibit very little heroics:

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Two-weeks or so after the release of the near-terrible Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, there’s already a list of directors that Disney is keen on to helm the fifth entry in the quality diving franchise. The list of filmmakers Disney is favoring is a bit surprising. There’s their top pick of Tim Burton, the always busy Sam Raimi, critical darling Alfonso Cuarón, Twilight 2 guy Chris Weitz, and the online venom drawer, Shawn Levy. Apparently an offer went out to Rob Marshall to return months ago, although he may be too busy with his Thin Man remake (*eye roll*)… Burton was rumored for the fourth film as well, but after Alice in Wonderland and Planet of the Apes, I don’t think I’ll ever be interested in seeing a big Burton action sequence ever again. And considering he’s currently working on Dark Shadows then Frankenweenie, he may be not have the time. Side note, when will see an original Burton film again?

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When faced with impending doom, people fit into two camps: fight or flight. Most basic instincts tell them to run from disaster, while risk takers and crazies instead rush right into the line of fire. In film, it’s a lot more exciting to watch those lacking common sense battle Armageddon, pirates, or hired thugs. We pick our sides and sit back as other people fight against an unreal force. However, movies have led us to believe that we must outlive the baddie in less than two and a half hours, or we’ll just become collateral damage. The world coming to an end has such a sense of urgency that it is almost impossible to avoid getting swept away by films like War of the Worlds, Zombieland, and Deep Impact, regardless of quality. Uncontrollable circumstances make it both exciting and unbelievable, but what about the films trying to be more than just an action piece? Romantic relationships shoved into the subplot of any film can feel contrived more often than not, and it’s most noticeably offensive when the world is coming to an end. Using whatever ingrained war skills or developing a game plan for the impending (and completely likely) zombie apocalypse should be priority number one over hanky panky. Or making it out of the dilemma zone of a volcano should take precedent over locking lips. Sometimes sex furthers the plot, rounds out a genre, or is just straight up gratuitous, but sex has its place in action films. However, […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets shanghaied by a group of drunken, smelly people he met in a pub. If only, if only these were really pirates taking him aboard a haunted ship. Alas, they weren’t. Let’s just say that there might be a few trips to the pharmacy in store for him. After surviving his if-only-it-were-real-pirates experience, Kevin took a shot at seeing Jodie Foster’s Beaver. Unfortunately, no one told him this was a title to an actual film, so he spent another few days in jail, missing any opportunity to see that new Mel Gibson film at all.

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Pirates of the Caribbean isn’t a comic book (unless they’ve put out supplemental comic books as part of a marketing blitz (which seems likely)), but the film franchise is now another official example of the new model being looked to by movie studios. First, it was Warners pointing their Batman to the bleachers with the news of rebooting the character before Nolan even rolls cameras on the next adventure. Now, the installments of Pirates that we knew we were getting are now officially going to be stand-alone stories. That may seem like a harmless announcement – or at least as harmless as more Rum-drunk Johnny Depp in mascara can be – but at the root of it is the promise of positioning the franchise to become another Batman who’s just become another Bond. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer claimed that test audiences loved the “freshness” of the new movie because it wasn’t really tethered to the previous installments. Thus, that same situation will carry over into the next films – ostensibly giving directors and writers the freedom to do whatever they want with what will become a stock character placed into zany new quests every few years.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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Boiling Point

Does anyone hate Johnny Depp? Sure, probably. That same person probably also hates chocolate, delicious potato chips, sex, and 8 year old whiskeys. In short, un-fun dicks. Johnny Depp is just one of those guys you have to love. He hasn’t been perfect over the years (The Man Who Cried) but even his odder films (Cry Baby, Dead Man) and his less than great films (The Astronaut’s Wife, Nick of Time) are generally worth watching. Depp was only briefly a secret, but he was never a true star until Pirates of the Caribbean launched him into the stratosphere. Then that cool, off-kilter actor suddenly became a familiar face on toys, notebooks, t-shirts, and the walls of teenage girls. Do I still love Johnny Depp? Of course. But Johnny, I think it might be time to take a break.

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Gore Verbinski’s Rango is not a spoof or satire of westerns. It is, in fact, a genuine western. Keeping that in mind, Verbinski hasn’t made an animated film with modern “of-the-moment” pop-culture references and a wacky hip soundtrack. Rango is no Shrek or Madagascar. The archetypes, the story, the score (courtesy of Hans Zimmer) and style is done in an old-school fashion, but with a slight twist. This isn’t Verbinski’s first western outing. The Pirates of the Caribbean films are total odes to the western and even some of Verbinski’s smaller-scale films – such as The Weather Man and The Mexican – feature the stampings of the genre. As for the realism, Verbinski wanted to keep his animated feature as grounded in live-action filmmaking as much as possible. Here’s what the soft-spoken eclectic director had to say about not making a western spoof, avoiding perfection in animation, and the meta aspect of Rango:

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The trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides debuts on December 13th, but we’re giving away a chance to see it before anyone else while luxuriating in the magic of Disneyland. You know, the place where you hassled Goofy as a child and proposed to your girlfriend as a man-child. If you live in Los Angeles and need a break from the 104th Annual Complete Shut Down of All Production and Life in the City, enter to win, and you might find yourself finally faced with a free chance to apologize to Goofy and to see Johnny Depp stumbling around Captain Jack Sparrow style before the rest of the planet. Cross your fingers, mark your calendars for December 13th, and take a stab at entering. But how do you enter?

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One of the many films that Oscar watchers have been talking about may not see the light of day until next year. Rum Diary for a while now has been pegged as a film with Oscar chances written all over it, but even if it lives up to what plenty are saying, don’t expect to see it during next year’s Oscar broadcast considering it might not be released until 2011. That’s what Aaron Eckhart told me and here’s one of the possible reasons why: Depp is off shooting Pirates 4 and that renders him unavailable to do press. Eckhart sounded pretty unsure about the release date, and he had this to say:

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sexypirate-1

Is there any more exciting film staple than pirates? Pillaging, raping, kidnapping, cannon-firing, parrot-owning, Sicilian-beating, Keith Richards-loving, one leg missing, singing and dancing pirates!

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ff-ninjaassassin

An orphan named Raizo, raised and trained by an ancient ninja clan, cuts a bunch of heads off while an investigator from Europol, Mika tracks down the group in connection with several high-ranking assassinations.

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