Movie Reviews: Pirates of the Caribbean 4, and Hanna

It was a tough long weekend for me, so hubby took me out to see two movies I've been aching to watch.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Directed by Rob Marshall

The latest installment of the POTC series...ah, you know what? I don't really need to talk about it. They're looking for the fountain of youth. There's maps, magic, ships, races, mermaid...all the quest needed was a big rolling rock and a bullwhip. Depp is his usual Jack Sparrow self; Geoffrey Rush is his usual Barbossa self; Penelope Cruz is a pretty throwaway character whose name escapes me; and Ian McShane as the dastardly Blackbeard is, well...appropriately piratical, but he'll never hold a candle to Bill Nighy's Davy Jones.

It's hard to be surprised by anything in this franchise anymore, and I think they exhausted their story arc and character development in the final act of the original trilogy. But regardless of what I say, people are going to flock to see this film, and I won't discourage it. It's fun, action-packed, and utterly mindless. The perfect summer brain sorbet, as long as you don't have high expectations.


Directed by Joe Wright

I only heard about this film through accolades on Twitter, so the film has word of mouth--or Tweet--to thank for me actually going to see this. The innocuous title and poster tell you nothing. In fact, it's a coming-of-age tale in which a teenage girl, raised her whole life in a remote cabin by her father, sets out to get revenge for her slain mother against the woman who killed her.

This could have easily been made into a crass Hollywood big-budget picture, but instead, it was a subtle, well thought out, well-captured look at an extraordinary girl trying to make it through an ordinary world. Saorise Ronan played her role adeptly, walking the fine line between innocent and creepy. Costars including Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett (who I kept thinking was a poor man's Cate Blanchett when in fact it really was her) and the talented Tom Hollander add a wonderful array of challenges for Hanna to overcome.

It's a very different kind of film, but it's smart and uplifting, with enough action and drama to go around. I'd call this the date movie of the summer--a film that everyone can enjoy without mindless eyeball surfing, unnecessary explosions or gratuitous gore.

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