Pirates of the Caribbean 5 Review

How convenient it is that one of the last lines of dialogue uttered in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, courtesy of Captain Jack Sparrow, sums up the experience of watching the film: “What a truly revolting sight.” Indeed. What was once the flagship franchise for Walt Disney Pictures has now become an unavoidable anchor weighing the studio down. This Pirates is perhaps not the most exhausting entry in the series, but it is easily the most visually and narratively incoherent.

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disney rides ranked

This is a banner week for the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. This Friday, Walt Disney Pictures releases the new entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, Dead Men Tell No Tales; it’s the fifth film based on the classic 1967 attraction. Also Friday, at the Disney California Adventure theme park in Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort, Marvel will make its presence known in the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission – Break Out! attraction, taking over from The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. But wait, as they say: there’s more. This weekend, Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World gets a whole new land, Pandora, themed to James Cameron’s Avatar. This combination of theme-park and movie-centric unveilings is the inspiration for the following, admittedly massive ranking of every single movie-inspired or movie-adjacent Disney attraction.

Get comfortable. We’re going to be here for a little while.

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Alien Covenant

(Because of the mixed reactions to the film from critics across the internet, we are running two reviews of Alien: Covenant. Here’s a negative take on the movie. For a different take, you can read Karen Han’s positive review.)

Ridley Scott has made two great films: Alien and Blade Runner. In spite of the sequel to the latter coming this fall, Scott has chosen to cross-breed these two science-fiction classics in making Alien: Covenant. Based on that title, you might hope that this will right whatever wrongs were incurred by his 2012 film Prometheus, which professed to start the origin story of the feared xenomorphs while populating that story with some of the dumbest characters in recent memory. You would be wrong. Alien: Covenant is basically the answer to a question that shouldn’t have been asked: what if Roy Batty was the lead of an Alien movie?

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snatched review

The world of comedy has changed vastly since Goldie Hawn’s last big-screen appearance in The Banger Sisters in 2002. Largely, comedy has progressed in the last 15 years, but Hawn’s return is not the banner occasion she deserves. Snatched, in which she plays the neurotic mother of a selfish wild child played by Amy Schumer, is mostly lazy and turgid. There are laughs stranded throughout, amidst a vast ocean of squandered potential.

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best mcu movies

Since 2008, Marvel Studios’ impact has become impossible to ignore and tempting to replicate. Though Marvel films were successful before the release of Iron Man – the X-Men series comes to mind – the introduction of characters like Tony Stark, Thor, and Captain America has inspired their competitors to copy the house style and build expanded cinematic universes of their own. That’s why Marvel’s choice to make Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014 was so striking, a welcome breath of fresh air after 6 years of movies that felt like pieces in a massive, interconnected, never-ending puzzle.

Guardians of the Galaxy requires little to no knowledge of the MCU at large; while Thanos and his lusted-after Infinity Stones are part of the story, someone could watch the film without knowing why that character and those stones matter outside of the film. In a lot of ways, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is more surprising, because it continues the stand-alone, self-contained storytelling established in its predecessor. All the first film’s characters, from Star-Lord to Baby Groot, have returned and remain outside of the world of the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the like.

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guardians of the galaxy opening scene

How a film opens says a lot about its style and tone, and can turn people off or make them sit forward in their seats with curiosity. This week’s big new release, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, has a hard act to follow; its 2014 predecessor had a memorable opening in which hero Peter Quill/Star-Lord dances through an alien world, blasting “Come and Get Your Love” on his old Walkman. As we wait to see if Vol. 2 lives up to the original, let’s look at 15 of the best opening scenes in movies.
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manipulated studio logos

Studio logos serve a general purpose for any movie. They can suggest a type of film – people have a basic idea of what a Disney movie entails – or simply a sense of pomp and circumstance. While there’s no shortage of studio or production company logos, there aren’t as many cases of filmmakers playing around with those logos in front of their movies. This list highlights 25 such unique cases over 80 years, from the goofy to the ominous.

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writer's strike

With a May 2 negotiating deadline right around the corner, a push from plenty of writers via social media, and an overwhelming vote yesterday in favor of authorizing a strike, it’s safe to assume that the Writers Guild of America (WGA) may again go on the picket line, aiming for fairer wages and a better health care plan. If you want more the details on why the guild is prepared to strike, we wrote a primer on everything you need to know.

WGA strikes aren’t entirely uncommon: in the last 60 years, they’ve gone on strike four times, the longest one taking 155 days in 1988. Most recently, the WGA went on strike for 100 days between November 2007 and February 2008. Because the landscape of film and TV had changed drastically since the 1988 strike, the impact on audiences was felt a little bit more notably. Relative to the current situation, looking back at the 2007-08 strike may offer a peek into what we can expect as audience members, presuming that the WGA goes on strike again next week.

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martinwarrior-redesign.indd

In an ideal world, Hollywood would focus entirely on wholly original films, from low-budget dramas to big-budget action/adventure/science-fiction stories. When the industry does go back to original storytelling, it can often yield major successes; we’re only a couple months removed from the low-budget original horror smash Get Out, released by Universal Pictures.

But hoping only gets you so far. Even the briefest look at the summer-movie calendar in 2017 and beyond offers sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots, revivals, and everything in between. Some of those movies, no doubt, will be a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean that something new in the world of movie universes isn’t needed.

So, in the spirit of “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” here’s a humble suggestion to the industry: if you want to find the next great franchise, you just need to adapt the Redwall book series. This is an all-but-guaranteed moneymaker that (mercifully) would also be a wonderful adaptation. Why? Let’s explain.

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the lost city of z review

What is it about the jungle that lures in filmmakers like a siren song? Over the years, auteurs like Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo), Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now), and Peter Weir (The Mosquito Coast) have married the untold beauty of unexplored lands with the obsession that borders on insanity exemplified by protagonists who go deeper into those lands. Now, we have a new entry in the subgenre: The Lost City of Z, courtesy of writer/director James Gray, telling a true story of a British explorer who’s seduced by the jungles of South America once and is unable to shake their pull on his psyche. While The Lost City of Z is perhaps not as overheated a depiction of the madness of obsession as Fitzcarraldo or Apocalypse Now, it’s no less entrancing and enormous.

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