Pirates 5 Reviews

Disney is practically overrun with film franchises these days, but since Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides made over a billion dollars worldwide back in 2011, another sequel was inevitable. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales arrives in theaters this Friday, but what are the early reviews saying?

The consensus: maybe this film isn’t quite as good as the early buzz coming out of CinemaCon a few months ago seemed to indicate.

Find out more in our Pirates 5 reviews round-up below.
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american gods git gone review

(Each week, we’ll kick off our discussion of American Gods by answering one simple question: which character do we worship this week?)

Bone orchards, man-eaters, fire genies, oh my! The first three episodes of American Gods gave us a lot to swallow, but episode four, “Git Gone,” following Laura Moon’s journey to and from the grave, showed us that things aren’t just not what they seem when it comes to gods, but also when it comes to (seemingly) boring, uninteresting humanity.

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Alien Covenant

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant.)

In 1979, Ridley Scott unleashed Alien on unsuspecting moviegoers, creating something that would end up becoming iconic in the process. Scott, a filmmaker with a background in graphic design, took what was essentially the type of B-movie that cluttered up drive-in theaters and turned it into something greater – a haunted-house picture set in space, dripping with atmosphere and dread, heightened by grotesque creature designs from nightmare-expert artist H.R. Giger.

Alien would turn into a franchise, although Scott stayed away for most of it. He returned for the sort-of prequel Prometheus, one of the most polarizing films of his career. Fans expecting another Alien were sorely disappointed, as Scott no longer seemed interested in the simple, dread-inducing terror of his 1979 film. Instead, the filmmaker wanted to use the Alien mythology as a framework on which to build a more complex, existential examination of the origins of humanity.

Scott could’ve walked away from the Alien franchise after Prometheus, but instead he seems committed to riding this out to see how far it will go. He has returned with Alien: Covenant, which loaded its trailers and promotional material with the familiar xenomorph alien that fans are familiar with. This film, Scott seemed to be saying, would be the Alien-type film Prometheus was not. It was a trick, though. The filmmaker had more complicated, complex ideas in mind. They don’t always work, but you have to at least appreciate his willingness to experiment with them at this stage in his career.

Spoilers follow.

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Twin Peaks premiere review

Diane, it’s 11:04 P.M. on Sunday evening, May 21, 2017. I’ve just finished watching the two-part premiere of Twin Peaks season 3, the brainchild of creators David Lynch and Mark Frost that’s been the subject of hopeful speculation for more than two decades. If you’re wondering whether Lynch – who hasn’t directed a feature film since 2006’s Inland Empire – is still in top form, these two episodes put that question to rest. It’s still hard to believe, Diane, but Twin Peaks is back, and it’s just as enigmatic, engaging, and ambitious as ever.
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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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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 positive take on the movie. For a different perspective, you can read Josh Spiegel’s negative review.)

The planet upon which most of Alien: Covenant unfolds is not unlike the movie itself: it’s a vast and beautiful thing, though not without its share of dangers and unexplored territory. Covenant is an epic that sprawls across genres and ideas, some of which are better addressed than others, but in its final act, it shines just two beacons through the darkness. There’s its base DNA in the self-contained drama and horror of 1979’s Alien, and there’s the near-biblical story that director Ridley Scott now wants to tell about man and post-humanity, and the creation of life. The resulting mix is a thrill, in no small part because — for a franchise that seems so determinedly nihilistic — it’s surprisingly earnest.

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The House of Special Purpose review

(Every week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Fargo season 3 by answering one simple question: who f*cked up the most this week?)

Emmit Stussy’s (Ewan McGregor) neck is currently in the clutches of the big bad English wolf of Fargo season 3, V.M. Varga (David Thewlis). The Parking Lot King has fallen from his comfy throne, and in “The House of Special Purpose,” it looks like he’s helping to bring a few folks down with him. Then again, we could say the same for the entire ensemble on Fargo, who are all working together to help to seal each other’s fate.

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better call saul off brand review

(Every week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Better Call Saul season 3 by answering one simple question: who came out on top when the credits rolled?)

In true Better Call Saul fashion, this week’s big revelation comes as a whimper, not as a bang. It’s a quiet moment that underlines one of the biggest truths of the show: more than anything else, it’s a tragedy. Unfortunately, it’s a quiet that’s slightly undermined by how loudly Breaking Bad rings throughout this episode, as the comings and goings of the cartel, while granted a touch of the delicacy that makes Better Call Saul so special, pander a little too obviously after the tour de force of last week’s episode.

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Silicon Valley Hot Dog

(Each week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Silicon Valley season 4 by answering one simple question: what was the most awkward moment?)

Richard has another project, but does he have a new team for it? Possibly. “Teambuilding Exercise” picks up immediately after last week’s episode, with Richard creeping into Gavin Belson’s mansion at three in the morning.

Richard and Gavin – together again at last. It’s only fitting that their meeting is the most awkward moment of the entire show. Right from the start it’s obvious that Gavin is not in a good place, as his place is completely trashed.

“I was working through some issues,” he calmly states.

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head full of snow review

(Each week, we’ll kick off our discussion of American Gods by answering one simple question: which character do we worship this week?)

The fire and brimstone of last week’s introductions to Anansi and Czernobog was absent in “Head Full of Snow,” but what we lacked in impassioned speeches, we gained in methodical insight into the state of the old gods and Shadow’s continued agnosticism and apprehension to accept what he is seeing as truth.

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