Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

The pirates return for the fifth time, with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his not so loyal crew setting sail for a new voyage.

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Admittedly, the past few releases have been well below expectations, but this new addition to the franchise has given the pirate themed films a new lease of life.

With Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) making an unexpected return to the plot, his son, now 18 years of age, tracks down Jack in an attempt to save his father from his seemingly permanent cursed life aboard the Flying Dutchman. Needless to say, with the infamous Captain Jack involved, things don’t exactly go swimmingly, as he literally finds himself being chased across the seas by death. 

There is little to say about the acting; Depp, is, as usual, spectacularly brilliant as the lead role of Jack Sparrow, which is to be expected given the amount of times he has played the character. With the likes of Bloom, Rush and Bardem, it’s not surprising that the acting is elaborately wonderful throughout this production.

The special effects, too, have complimented the films overall aesthetic, without over-complicating the intricacies of the plot.

It is though, despite all the new characters and technology included, still the same old Pirates of the Caribbean formula and sooner or later fans will become disappointed with the lack of change this franchise delivers to the big screen.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Star-Lord and his troop are back to guard the galaxy against the most unlikely of predators.

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Since saving the planet and relinquishing their criminal reputations, the guardians have been busy freelancing their skills around the galaxy. But when Quill’s father makes an unexpected appearance, the team must put their business plans on hold.

Despite having a lot to live up to, as sequels go, this film truly does match expectations. The characters have been further developed and the special effects have been given a revamp. Rather than lagging behind, the story has been turbo-boosted with vigour, allowing for the characters to pursue their paths and continue their bond with the audience.

The acting, as is to be expected with such a star-studded cast, is beyond impressive, especially when taking into account the vast majority of it would have been done using green screen; they are in space after all.

What continues to amaze me the most about this franchise is the very fact that the creative team have been able make an audience fall in love with a CGI tree that says just three words: I am Groot.

 

 

 

Table 19

No wedding is complete without a little drama, and this wedding is no exception.

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There’s always that one table at a wedding that is crammed full of weirdos who have been invited out pity, and that is the very subject of this film. Table 19, as you may have guessed by now, is that such table.

From a married couple in turmoil to a teenage boy who’s trying to bag himself a girlfriend, this table has it all.

Though the plot has a great concept behind it, it never seems to reach its full potential, which is no more helped by the often sloppy acting, which is only marginally saved by Anna Kendrick taking centre stage. 

A film that’s entire focus is narrowed to a single table within the wider environment of a wedding is a difficult task and, unfortunately, one that I cannot say was successfully achieved within this attempt, which at most could be described as an experimental defeat.

Cinema Etiquette

Seeing as I spend a vast amount of my life at the cinema, I thought I’d document my experience.

Much like the film ’10 things I hate about you’, I have compiled a list of 10 unforgivable sins you can commit on a cinema outing.

  1. Arriving Late

There is absolutely no excuse for this, the time is literally printed in black and white; you wouldn’t arrive late to a job interview late, would you? No, and yet you think a simple ‘sorry, excuse me’ will make up for me missing the all important opening scenes because apparently not only are you late, it takes you about half-an-hour to actually sit down. Unacceptable.

2. Children

If it’s not a children’s film, then leave them at home. There’s nothing worse than having a three year old getting so bored they begin touring the cinema under the illusion the auditorium is just a massive play area. Not to mention the fact that apparently they need to empty their bladders every 5-minutes, which further upsets the equilibrium.

3. Babies

Speaking of children, babies are just as annoying, perhaps even worse, mainly because of that crying thing they do, which apparently most parents don’t think constitutes reason to leave.

4. Popcorn Munchers

Now, admittedly its not our fault that some nut-job decided that, possibly the world’s nosiest food, provides perfect accompaniment for the cinema, but that does not mean you have to live up to expectations and chew with your mouth open, prolonging that astonishingly annoying crunching sound. I think we can all agree that there is nothing worse than being unpleasantly surprised by a ginormous crunching sound just as the plot drops its biggest twist yet.

5. Can Openers and Slurpers

These guys are probably best mates with the popcorn munchers. Why, oh why do people wait until the middle of the film to open a can, it’s not as if you were given 20-minutes of advertisements to prepare or anything.

Likewise, we get it, your drink is finished, making horrific slurping noises isn’t going to make things better, at most you’ll get  an extra 0.01 ml out, just admit defeat already, some of us are actually trying to watch this film.

6. Phones

There is absolutely no excuse for this one, if you want to browse instagram, just stay at home. In case you haven’t noticed you’re in a darkened room, a bright light kind of draws attention and distracts everyone.

7. Armrests 

Just because you’re a man, or excessively overweight, does not give you the right to claim both armrests. We’ve all paid the same price, I deserve one of those armrests too. And if you are really that determined to hog both armrests, then can you at least try and keep your elbows to yourself?

8. Coughing

Yes, I know, we all get a tickly cough sometimes, but if your coughing is continuous, then the least you can do is excuse yourself from the screen whilst you compose yourself, as opposed to ruining the atmosphere for everyone else.

9. Talking

The cinema is not a social engagement, it should be a silent procedure. As such, talking is not permitted once the opening credits have begun and if you persist on doing so, then expect sour looks from your fellow cinema-goers, because no one likes the low hum of conversation during the film.

10. Excessive Laughter

At this point you might be thinking what an utter Grinch I’m being, but hear me out. Granted, we all laugh during films, it is only human nature after all, but there’s always that one guy who has to take it too far and is still laughing two scenes on; it really wasn’t that funny and you’re just annoying everyone, even your family and friends are embarrassed for you.

And that, Ladies and Gentleman,  pretty much sums up my cinema pet hates. I’d love to hear if you agree or not in the comments.

Free Fire

Comedy, guns and violence; what more could you want?

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In an abandoned factory where an arms deal goes down, two gangs meet to discuss the technicalities, but when shots are fired, all hell breaks loose as each member fights for their survival.

What is so remarkable about this film is it’s simplicity; the whole film remains in one setting, a setting which barely alters and yet remains the base throughout. Similarly, the characters commit to each of their roles without hesitation and with tremendous authority.

Though the film is nothing but a shoot-out, it still manages to entice interest despite its basic concept, perhaps due to the depth of characters and the comedy that provides room for the mostly fast-paced environment.

It is a film that goes nowhere, but has everyone hooked from the offset.

 

The Boss Baby

Alec Baldwin is a baby with big dreams and a full nappy.

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A sibling rivalry like no other occurs when Tim, the first born, is forced to welcome his new baby brother with open arms. But this isn’t just any baby, it’s a boss baby, who arrives in a mysterious taxi, wearing a suit and carrying a brief case.

Though the animation is full of life and a colour pallet that is sure to capture any young audience member, it is hard not to question the likeness of character animations between this film and that of Sony Entertainments ‘Storks’; a film that graced our screens in late 2016. The similarity between the characteristics is simply uncanny and in some sense questions the originality of the Dreamworks animators.

The humour throughout the film does however bring comic relief to both adults and children alike, with some jokes only recognisable to an older audience, with a big focus upon where babies come from, a tender subject for even the most adept of parents.

Despite the copious amounts of advertising that has encapsulated this films release, the film itself, unfortunately, does not stand up to its expectations.

 

BAFTAs 2017

Thoughts on the BAFTAs…

So I’m sure as many of you will know, Sunday evening was one of the biggest nights for British cinema, with global stars commuting to London’s Royal Albert Hall to hear Stephen Fry’s cinematic commentary as he reeled of the awards with a little help from some famous friends.

Now, as is so often the case with award season, decisions are made that not everyone agrees with, and I for one can second the notion that I certainly did not agree with many of the awards given and here’s why:

Best Film

Winner: La La Land

The Cinematic Explorer pick: La La Land

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For once, I actually agreed with the choice for the Best Film Award. This film was revolutionary for Hollywood cinema and brought back an aspect of film making that has long since been erased. Not to mention, the soundtrack alone is beautifully award worthy.

Best Leading Actor

Winner: Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

The Cinematic Explorer pick: Viggo Mortenson – Captain Fantastic

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In case you didn’t already know, Captain Fantastic was my absolute favourite film from last year, and so naturally I’m backing its characters and actors alike. Mortenson’s performance in Captain Fantastic is nothing short of epically thought-provoking; I can’t help by being angered that such an unusually independent film has been so horrifically overlooked by the academy.

Though as much as it hurts me to admit it, Affleck’s performance too was just as stunning in its execution and is, I suppose, well deserved on his part.

Best Leading Actress

Winner: Emma Stone – La La Land

The Cinematic Explorer Pick: Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

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Now, I love La La Land as much of the next person, but there’s no need for it to hog all of the awards; was taking over the golden globes not enough?

Meryl Streep, for me, was much more deserving of the award. No matter how old she gets, she never fails to delight in the characters she inhabits, and the fact that she can take on such a misunderstood character whilst pairing with Hugh Grant, is a wonderful show of not only perseverance, but proof of her love for the arts.

Outstanding British Film

Winner: I, Daniel Blake

The Cinematic Explorer Pick: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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I understand completely why the academy made the decision they did, I, Daniel Blake was an unbelievably powerful hit at the British government about the relentless suffering of many UK inhabitants. But this, for me, should not be why a film wins; a story about political induced suffering is a strong one, but that alone does not make a film award-worthy.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was the winner for me. Not just because I am beyond obsessed with the wizarding world, but because of the epic scale on which it has been produced, and the very fact that said production was 100% British.

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Voila Davis – Fences

The Cinematic Explorer Pick: Viola Davis

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In all honesty I have not seen Fences, mainly because it is yet to be released in the UK. However, having said that, I have watched all of the other nominated actresses in action and none of them particularly stood out for me. I can only therefore guess that Viola was indeed the correct choice in this category, mainly because I’m yet to see her give a bad performance.

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Dev Patel – Lion

The Cinematic Explorer Pick: Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water

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Dev Patel is of course deserving, as many of the nominated actors and actresses are, but for me Jeff Bridges truly excels in Hell or High Water, which is a sentence I never thought I would utter, simply because I have never been a particular fan of his. Which is why, he is, in my opinion so deserving of this award; he managed to change my opinion of him, no easy feat I can assure you.

 Best Director

Winner: Damien Chazelle – La La Land

The Cinematic Explorer Pick: Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals

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The La La Land director, Damien Chazelle, took home the award which was far from surprising given the film’s current hype.

But for me the true winner was Tom Ford. I must say that I didn’t particularly enjoy Nocturnal Animals as a film, I found it extremely bazaar and somewhat forced at times. But what I will say is that the way in which it was filmed was nothing short of miraculous and always kept the viewer aptly engaged throughout.

Animated Film

Winner: Kubo and the Two Strings

The Cinematic Explorer Pick: Zootropolis

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There seemed to be a massive hoo-hah surrounding the animation technique of Kubo, but having watched it myself I cannot see what the big deal is. If anything the animation seemed to me to be very jolted and disjointed as though I was watching it from the a very wavy ocean.

Zootropolis however, was, I think, one of Disney’s greatest feats to date, with the animators going the extra mile to ensure all elements of the variant sized inhabitants of the city fitted in with authenticity. From the varying sized doorways to the ingenious camera angles, I was nothing short of disappointed that this film seems to have gone unnoticed this awards season.

EE Rising Star Award

Winner: Tom Holland

The Cinematic Explorer Pick: Tom Holland

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I cannot even begin to tell you my love for this young actor, who has injected such enthusiasm and charisma into my all-time favourite superhero; Spiderman. He may have only been on screen for less than 10 minutes during Captain America: Civil War, but in that time he managed to restore my faith in Marvel’s casting crew.

Disclaimer: Yes, I deliberately didn’t comment on ALL of the awards, because I didn’t want to comment elements I felt inexperienced in judging.

Let me know your thoughts on the BAFTA wins in the comments below.