Sailing to the end of the world escaping Davy Jones’ Locker betraying your fellow shipmates forming alliances and/or crossing swords with either dead crustaceans or British government baddies is just another day in the life of these pirates whose convoluted interactions with one another rival any soap opera. The players have all returned: Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley) now a expert pirate herself; steadfast Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) estranged from his love Elizabeth and on a mission to save his father Bootstrap (Stellan Skarsgard); Capt. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) risen from the dead to lead the Black Pearl; Lord Beckett (Tom Hollander) the evil head of the East India Trading Company who has control of the Flying Dutchman as well as the inky Davy Jones (Bill Nighy); Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris) the mystic who may be a little more powerful than we think. And a few new faces too namely Capt. Sao Feng (Chow Yun-Fat) a cunning Chinese pirate. And then there’s Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) who since being rescued by his mates from the depths of hell has some great dead man’s tales to tell—as well as a few debts to pay. As the Pirates of the Caribbean get ready for their final titanic battle all their lives and fortunes--and the entire future of the freedom-loving pirate way—hang in the balance. Everyone does a nice job further developing their characters in this third installment. As the young lovers Knightley’s Elizabeth has gone from being a pampered—albeit feisty—lass to a full-fledged ass-kicking pirate (even if she has clean teeth) while Bloom’s Will once green at the whole hero thing turns into a true leader. Rush as the new and improved Barbossa isn’t nearly as menacing in human form as he was undead but his sparring with Captain Jack over who’s the rightful captain of the Black Pearl makes for some hilarious scenes. Nighy even gets to display a somewhat softer side to Davy Jones as we learn more about the octopus head’s backstory. Hollander (Pride & Prejudice) appropriately oozes villainy while Chow makes a nice addition as the grizzled Chinese pirate lord. Last but not least is Mr. Depp. Thankfully his Jack Sparrow isn’t as cartoonish as he was in Dead Man's Chest. In fact watching him interact with a whole pirate ship full of Jack Sparrow clones is quite something. But with a mixture of pirate swagger sexuality and effeminate mannerisms Jack never really changes—and that’s fine by us. And yes Keith Richards makes a well-placed cameo. That guy was born to play a pirate. Two hours and 45 minutes folks—that’s what you’re in for with At World's End. Even if you are a pirate fan that’s a lot of time yo-ho-ho-ing out at sea. Maybe director Gore Verbinski wanted to make four POTC movies but instead he’s forced to tie up all the loose ends—of which there seems to be an endless supply—in the third installment. At one point just to further things along Verbinski stages a long scene of exposition backstabbing and deal making by cutting between characters pacing around on their respective ships. We get it. Everyone has an agenda and no one can be trusted. To its credit however At World's End still manages to keep your attention with its amazing visuals. The production value and special effects on this trilogy rivals another famous trilogy involving a place called Middle Earth. In At World's End we have: the crowded waterways of Singapore and opulent den of Sao Feng; Shipwreck Cove where an important pirate summit is held; watching how the Black Pearl makes its way from a dry flat sea bed to the ocean AND the way to get from Davy Jones’ Locker back to the world of the living; and of course the final climactic battle at sea. The movie’s long but definitely worth its weight in gold doubloons giving just a whiff of possibility to a fourth one.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest does the right thing as a sequel: It maintains the same carefree spirit of the original and creates an even more fitting story to the whole Pirates lore. After narrowly escaping the gallows--with the help of his friends Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley)--and reclaiming his cursed Black Pearl it still seems Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) has a few more fish to fry. More specifically the barnacle-encrusted undead onboard the ghostly Flying Dutchman lead by Mr. Octopus Face himself Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). Jack apparently owes a blood debt to the inky captain and if he can’t find a way out of it--namely locating the secret contents of Jones’ famed locker--Sparrow will be doomed to eternal damnation and servitude in the afterlife [insert Jack Sparrow’s face of disgust here]. Making matters worse Sparrow's problems manage to interfere with the wedding plans of Will and Elizabeth who are forced to join Jack on yet another one of his misadventures. Depp’s Oscar-nominated performance as Captain Jack is still a marvel in slovenly pirate behavior with his slurred speech swaying swagger and slack waving arms. But whether channeling famed Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards or not it’s the duality of the character that continues to intrigue us. He is a lusty fearless man with a deeply defiant and somewhat sneaky streak but whose delicate features long dreadlocked hair kohl-rimmed eyes and almost girly mannerisms give him a subtly effeminate air that belies his macho antics. This time around young Brits Knightley and Bloom have a little more to do with Elizabeth’s growing attraction to Jack and Will’s reunion with his father Bill “Bootstrap” Turner (Stellan Skarsgård) who’s soul is stuck on the Flying Dutchman. And Nighy (Love Actually) once again makes his mark as an effective villain infusing his rather quirky acting ticks--the laconic delivery the laid-back attitude--which shines through all the special effects make-up. Let’s just say Nighy certainly rivals Depp in the arrogant rock star stance even if he has tentacles for a face. The other thing Dead Man's Chest does right is make things bigger and better. From a hair-raising sword fight on top of a spinning water wheel to the way Davy Jones and his crew look--all water logged and crustacean-like--the film’s production value is simply amazing. Returning producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski make sure the action sequences the sets the costumes the make-up and the special effects give the audience a familiarity to the original while also taking them on a whole new adventure. And if you are a fan of the Disney park attraction (the one at Disneyland not Disney World) the elements that got missed in the first one--the creepy bayou the beating heart in the treasure chest--are in this sequel. Dead Man's Chest does lag a bit from time to time especially in heating up the Jack Elizabeth and Will love triangle. But that’s OK. We enjoy watching their banter as much as we do the rest of it. And for those who’ll want more adventure after the movie ends Dead Man's Chest gives us a promise the third installment will be just as much pirate fun.
The time is the 18th century and with authentic settings steeped in a dense mass of fog Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl succeeds as a predatory period piece. In the Caribbean Sea Pirate Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) has just led a mutiny against the Black Pearl's captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) assailed the colonial town of Port Royal and kidnapped the Governor's daughter Elizabeth (Keira Knightley). Barbossa's motives are simple: a cursed treasure has doomed him and his crew to live eternally as the "undead " human by day living skeletons by night and the only way to lift this curse is to return the last missing piece of the plundered treasure and spill the blood of its possessor. It so happens that Elizabeth is wearing that very piece around her neck--a gold skull-embossed doubloon she took from her childhood friend Will (Orlando Bloom) whom her father rescued from a sinking pirate ship as a boy. Will promptly sets out to save her from Barbossa and finds an unlikely ally in Jack the bumbling and untrustworthy sea captain who just wants his ship back. But since these ghastly Pirates of the Caribbean can't be killed again sending them to Davy Jones's locker proves to be the challenge of a lifetime for Will and Jack.
It is a delight to see Depp in a new film (his last big feature was the 2001 historical horror thriller From Hell) and Pirates of the Caribbean's Captain Jack Sparrow is tailor-made for the former 21 Jump Street teen idol. The most intriguing thing about Depp's Jack Sparrow is the duality the actor gives the character: On the one hand Jack is this lusty fearless man with a deeply defiant streak. On the other his delicate features long dreadlocked hair kohl-rimmed eyes and almost girly mannerisms give Jack a subtly effeminate air that belies his macho antics. Depp who has said he equates 18th century pirates with modern-day rock stars used Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards as inspiration for the role and it comes across clearly in his slurred speech swaying swagger and slack waving arms. He obviously had fun and in the process created a rich multifaceted character; in fact Depp's performance here is so riveting that when Jack does not appear in a scene the film almost drags. The movie's co-stars also do a wonderful job with the material but their performances pale in comparison to Depp's. As the old wily Barbossa Rush brings an air of authenticity to the role of a weathered sea captain. The young Knightley who made her big-screen debut in the sleeper hit Bend It Like Beckham is enchanting as Elizabeth--a sharp-witted damsel in distress who knows how to hold her own--and the 18-year-old actress also holds her own alongside such an experienced cast. Bloom however is a bit bland as Elizabeth's devoted friend Will.
After his successful horror thriller The Ring director Gore Verbinski gives this supernatural adventure pic less terror and more humor. Inspired by the Disney theme park attraction of the same name and produced by explosion maestro Jerry Bruckheimer Verbinski's Pirates of the Caribbean unfolds a terrific tale which when combined with superb performances from Depp and the cast and genuine-looking sets makes for a great moviegoing experience. Verbinski pays close attention to detail here especially when it comes down to the costumes hair and makeup and does so by avoiding the usual buccaneer clichés such as eye patches hook hands and peg legs; with their deplorable hygiene and silver-capped teeth the pirates look undeniably real. Take for instance a scene in which Jack is speaking up close to a commodore: The navy officer slightly shrinks back after getting a whiff of his breath and we can understand why. The most challenging scenes for the director however had to be the fight sequences involving the pirates who turn into skeletons when exposed to moonlight. The characters switch back and forth from human forms to carcasses depending on their exposure to night light and Verbinski achieves this visual effect convincingly. But although beautifully executed the elaborate ship-to-ship battle waged between the Black Pearl and the Interceptor is too time-consuming and with the movie coming in at 133 minutes that could have been whittled down.
Rock and roll veteran John Phillips of the '60s group The Mamas and the Papas died of heart failure Sunday morning at UCLA Medical Center, his spokeswoman Elizabeth Freund told Reuters. The singer was 65.
Born in Parris Island, SC, on Aug. 30, 1935, he became an active participant in the New York folk community in the 1950s. He formed a band called the Journeymen, which included Michelle Phillips, whom he married in 1962.
Phillips then founded and became the main songwriter for the popular California quartet The Mamas and The Papas, whose most well-known tunes included "California Dreamin'," "Monday, Monday" and "Creeque Alley." The rest of the band included Michelle Phillips (they were divorced in 1970), Denny Doherty and "Mama" Cass Elliot, who died in 1974.
The Mamas and the Papas only played for three years, until 1968, but managed to have six top-five hits within that time. Although clearly of the hippie era, their soulful folk sounds were a testament to Phillips' creative influences. The group was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
His friend and producer Harvey Goldberg told Reuters, "There was a sophistication to the style of the melody and lyrics he wrote that almost approaches poetry." Phillips also has written songs for other artists, including the No. 1 hit "Kokomo" for the Beach Boys in 1988.
Ironically, Phillips was on a strong creative streak recently. He had recently completed an album of new material tentatively titled "Slow Starter," and he completed a record he started over 25 years ago with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones called "Pay Pack and Follow." It is set for release in May on Eagle Records in the U.K.
Phillips had received a liver transplant from his years of alcohol and drug abuse. But some tabloid reports suggested Phillips was waiting for another one. Phillips' eldest daughter, Mackenzie Phillips, was with him when he died and said he went peacefully. She said in a statement, "We are all mourning the loss of my Dad. He was a genius and a good man and will be missed. I spent the morning with my sisters Chynna and Bijou. We are all on our way to the beach where we will walk and swim and celebrate our father's life."
The singer/songwriter is survived by his wife, Farnaz, three daughters, Mackenzie, Chynna and Bijou, and two sons, Jeffrey and Tamerlane. His daughter Mackenzie is best known for her stint on the TV sitcom One Day At A Timeand can currently be seen in the Disney Channel's series So Weird. Chynna, another famous daughter, is a member of the reunited trio Wilson Phillips with Carnie and Wendy Wilson, daughters of Beach Boy Brian Wilson.
Jennifer Lopez was a winner and Elizabeth Hurley a presenter at Friday's VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards, but the real fun didn't start until after the high-fashion show was long over. Lopez, the first-ever Versace Award recipient for best, ahem, embodying the "energy and daring" of late designer Gianni Versace, partied with a bunch of pals at the library bar of New York's swanky Hudson Hotel on Friday night, the New York Daily News reports.
Keith Richards and Paul McCartney played pool with Designer of the Year recipient Stella McCartney, Paul's daughter. Kate Hudson played cutesy couple with Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson. Other partygoers included Moby, Sheryl Crow, Chris Rock, Liv Tyler, Lara Flynn Boyle, Christian Slater and fashion awards co-host Gisele Bundchen minus her main squeeze, Leonardo DiCaprio.
All was fine and dandy until 3 a.m., when Lopez and guests decided to spill out into the night air of the hotel garden. Hotel staff showed up and ushered the wild and crazy guests back into the bar after some hotel patrons (probably tourists) complained.
Meanwhile, supermodel turned actress Elizabeth Hurley turned heads of her own before and after the VH1/Vogue event.
MSNBC gossip columnist Jeannette Walls reports that Hurley arrived at the awards looking suspiciously disheveled with funnyman Denis Leary. Seems Hurley had smeared much of her Estee Lauder body glitter on the very married Leary's suit.
An "Access Hollywood" report Tuesday backed up Hurley's flustered arrival. As model-"Access" anchor Heidi Klum presented Hurley with a joke best dressed award -- a Barbie doll -- Hurley glared and sarcastically responded "thanks so much" before trying to make an exit.
Klum continued and asked Hurley if she was wearing any undergarments under her revealing dress. Hurley gave Klum a look of pure hatred before replying that it was none of her business. Icy!
On Saturday, Hurley was seen cozying up with millionaire Steve Bing at an Elton John concert in New York. Photos of the couple dancing naughtily were printed in London's Sun tabloid Tuesday.
Hurley has also been linked to billionaire Ted Forstmann since her breakup with her beau of 13 years, actor Hugh Grant.
What a weekend.
It's a long way til Super Bowl Sunday, but CBS execs -- God bless them -- are finally giving tube watchers a little something to fight their collective withdrawal.
And no, we ain't talking about football. For to our TV nation, there exists a certain phenomenon much more inexplicably addictive than sports, and it is called "Survivor: The Australian Outback."
Yes. After much media hype and requisite hush-hush, the Eye Network has unveiled this morning the 16 contestants on the sequel to its uber-bankable reality series, which debuts after the Super Bowl on Jan. 28.
The breakdown is as follows: Eight men and eight women (three of them married) ranging from a young pup at age 22 to a more seniorly age 53.
In terms of their occupations, there is an administrative assistant, two bartenders, a chef, a singer-songwriter, a Harvard law student, a personal trainer, an Army intelligence officer, an auto customizer, a corrections officer, a retired cop, a footware designer, a software publisher, an Internet project manager, a part-time nurse/homemaker and a farmer/teacher.
Taping of the Australia-set show was completed long before its air date, with the million-dollar winner and losers already determined. But those facts alone never stopped an average 28 million viewers from getting hooked on the first "Survivor." If anything, the measures to keep the outcome secret egged viewers (not to mention naysayers, speculators and spoilers) on even more.
And judging from fan reactions, reception to "Survivor 2" is going to be just as contentious, if not ratings-sweeping, as the network would hope.
"[I] caught a tantalizing glimpse of the new contestants for "Survivor 2: The Outback" on 'The Early Show' this morning. They've got a couple hot guys this time ... more babes than the last 'Survivor'…," one netizen wrote in the Deja.com chat room alt.musi.yes.
Another netizen contested.
"What's the point of seeing them before the show airs?" the chat roomer said. "Part of the fun was watching the show unfold and the 'characters' come out of their shells. Having preconceived notions about who these people are seems to ruin some of the enjoyment."
Either way, before you know it the nation will soon be addressing these televised 16 by their first names and know their idiosyncrasies by heart.
So take out your pen and paper. Here are their profiles:
Rodger Bingham -- 53, married, from Crittenden, Ky. Rodger is a teacher and also a self-described workaholic.
Amber Brkich -- 22, single, from Beaver, Pa. Amber is currently working as an administrative assistant. Among her many favorite activities are dancing, going out with her friends and ex-sorority sisters and just plain having fun.
Nick Brown -- 23, single, from Steilacoom, Wash. Nick is in his second year at Harvard Law School and hopes to become an Army officer after graduation. As he tells it, he is compassionate, incisive and ambitious.
Alicia Calaway -- 32, single, from New York. Alicia is a personal trainer who describes herself as charismatic, competent and passionate.
Colby Donaldson -- 26, single, from Dallas. Colby is a custom auto designer and builder who describes himself as imaginative, dedicated and flexible.
Maralyn Hershey -- 51, single, from Wakefield, Va. Maralyn is a retired police officer who describes herself as determined, dramatic and multi-faceted. And oh, she was one of the first women officers to be assigned to walking the beat.
Debb Eaton -- 45, single, from Milan, N.H. Debb is a corrections officer at a men's prison. Besides a son working as a Marine sergeant in China, Debb also has an outgoing, athletic and determined attitude toward life.
Elizabeth Filarski -- 23, single, from Boston. Elizabeth is a footwear designer who describes herself as impulsive, intuitive and devoted.
Keith Famie -- 40, divorced, from West Bloomfield, Mich. Keith is a chef and restaurateur -- or in other words, a cook who owns his own restaurant. Much like his cohorts, he says that he is creative, adventurous and passionate.
Kel Gleason -- 32, single, from Fort Hood, Texas. Kel is an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Army. Unlike the others, he didn't offer a self-description. But if it's at all telling, Gel likes to camp, fish and kayak with his dad.
Kimmi Kappenberg -- 28, single, from Ronkonkoma, N.Y. Kimmi is a bartender (no, not the bar in "Coyote Ugly") in the Big Apple who likes to think of herself as spontaneous, outgoing and creative.
Jerri Manthey -- 30, single, from Los Angeles. Like Kimmi, Jerri is also a bartender, but in her case, an aspiring actress as well. She would like people to know that she is adventurous, fun loving and spontaneous.
Mitchell Olson -- 23, single, from Union City, N.J. Mitchell is an aspiring singer/songwriter who describes himself as witty, outgoing and sexy -- albeit tongue-in-cheekly. For sure, Mitchell will stand high above everyone else since he is 7 feet tall.
Michael Skupin -- 38, married, from White Lake, Mich. Michael is the president of a software publishing company that he founded. He says that he is adventurous, a thrill seeker and a risk taker.
Jeff Varner -- 34, single, from New York. Jeff is an Internet project manager who describes himself as provocative, energetic and competitive.
Tina Wesson -- 40, married, from Knoxville, Tenn. Tina is a part-time nurse and a full-time mom. Her self-description: happy, content, adventurous, outgoing and very much in love.
Let the backstabbing and bickering begin.