The best way to go into Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is to think of it as the first film in a brand new franchise; a franchise in which mermaids love men zombies won’t eat you and a Fountain of Youth exists but all laws of logic reasoning and competent storytelling don’t. Although screenwriters Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio were smart enough to sever the narrative ties to the first two sequels in their franchise’s fourth outing the latest swashbuckling adventure in the series shares most of the same faults its predecessors faced.
Director Rob Marshall (Chicago) steps in for Gore Verbinski in On Stranger Tides but you’ll be hard-pressed to find his contributions to the already-flashy film that finds our hero Capt. Jack Sparrow (the inimitable Johnny Depp) on the hunt for the fore mentioned fountain. Of course he’s not the only one looking for eternal life: also in tow are nameless stereotypical Spaniards the English crown headed by a reformed Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Blackbeard a ruthless pirate who looks and sounds a lot like Ian McShane. Their paths cross on numerous occasions as the story scrambles across the map culminating in a splashy battle in a magical meadow where Ponce de Leon’s greatest discovery lies.
Less a cohesive story and more a collection of individual set pieces linked together by nonsensical dialogue and supernatural occurrences the film isn’t all that hard to follow if you don’t strain yourself doing so. The sequence of events collide so conveniently for the characters you can’t help but call the screenplay anything but the result of complacency while the film itself sails so swiftly from point to point it’s actually a waste of time to dwell on plot holes and motives. Disrupting its momentum (which is one of the few things the film has going for it) is an unwatchable romance between Sam Claflin’s missionary Philip and Syrena (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) one of a handful of murderous mermaids who do battle with Blackbeard’s crew. Their bland courtship will have you begging for Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley to return to the high seas and that’s saying something.
The all-female fish people are one of a few additions to the Pirates world but their effect on the film is negligible outside of being the impetus for the coolest action sequence in the picture and perhaps the most unnerving of the series. The others include Penelope Cruz as Blackbeard’s busty daughter Angelica and Stephen Graham as shipmate Scrum. The former feels out of place among the cartoony happenings but provides much needed sass while the latter fills in for Kevin McNally’s Gibbs for much of the film and is a pleasure to watch for some hammy comedic moments.
As always however this is Depp’s show and he continues to put a smile on my face with his charisma and theatrical presence. Even though he’s operating on autopilot throughout you can’t help but marvel at his energy and enthusiastic output as he literally fuels the fun in the film. The same can be said of Rush who’s given a meatier and more significant arc this time around. He trades quips with Depp as if they were a golden-age comedy duo and they remain the most appealing attraction in the franchise. Though he brings an undeniable sense of danger to the picture I was sadly underwhelmed by McShane’s Blackbeard a character with such a domineering reputation and imposing look he should’ve been stealing scenes left and right. Instead I felt he phoned his performance in though that could’ve been the result of Marshall’s indirection.
No better than the genre-bending original but a slight improvement over Dead Man’s Chest and At Worlds End On Stranger Tides suffers centrally from lack of a commanding captain. Marshall’s role is relegated to merely on-set facilitator or perhaps liaison between legions of talented craftspeople that make the movie look so good. Whatever vision he had for this venture if he had a unique take at all is chewed up and spit out by the engines of the Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster factory rendering the film as mechanical as the ride from which it is based.
The Hollywood actress is already mother to seven-year-old son Ryder, from her marriage to rocker Chris Robinson, and she is expecting her second child with her British fiance, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy.
Hudson admits this pregnancy has been considerably different as she battles through nasty bouts of sickness.
She tells FOX411's Pop Tarts column, "I was sicker this time. I have more adverse reactions to certain foods. But it's easier mentally. I know what it feels like and I know what that is. I remember the sensations."
The Almost Famous actress is expecting a baby with her rocker fiance Matt Bellamy and she recently admitted she doesn't "feel prepared" as her summer (11) due date looms.
Hudson admits she didn't feel ready when she was expecting her son, Ryder, from her marriage to Chris Robinson, as she didn't own her own house until late in her pregnancy, so now she has been able to enjoy painting the new baby's nursery.
She tells QMI, "All's good. It's different this time. With Ryder, I didn't have a nursery. I didn't even have a house until I was seven months pregnant. This time I actually got to paint a nursery."
Hudson doesn't know the gender of the baby, so she decided to paint the room a neutral yellow, adding, "I'm going with neutral colours. I don't know what (gender) it is. Yellow's a good sunny colour for kids."
The Almost Famous star is expecting a baby with Muse rocker Matt Bellamy, who proposed to her last week (end24Apr11).
Hudson continued to work after she gave birth to her son Ryder, now seven, from her marriage to The Black Crowes star Chris Robinson - but she is adamant she will now be more picky about film roles so she can spend more time at home.
She tells Britain's Hello! magazine, "I'll have the baby to look after and Ryder is at an age where it's so fun with his baseball and karate. If I work, I'll have to go away from that and I don't want to miss another second of it.
"I'll carry on working but only if the film's really special. Maybe this is the time in my career where I shift focus and spend more time at home. It'll be interesting."
The Almost Famous star began dating the British singer last year (10) and the pair is expecting a baby together.
Bellamy proposed to Hudson last week (end24Apr11) in New York, but the actress kept the engagement secret until she was quizzed about a diamond ring on her wedding finger.
Appearing on America's Today Show on Wednesday (27Apr11), host Matt Lauer picked up on the new jewellery item before Hudson confirmed, "I haven't really announced it, I was waiting for someone to notice."
Hudson admits that despite their pending parenthood, they are in no rush to book a date for the nuptials.
She says, "I don't (have a date yet). Matt Bellamy, he's a beautiful man. I'm excited. But I think we're just going to sort of sit and do the baby thing for a little bit."
Hudson revealed the couple doesn't yet know the gender of the baby, although she's confident it's a girl - and the new tot is already taking after her mum, Hollywood star Goldie Hawn.
The actress adds, "She's so nuts in here. She's so wild. I kind of feel like it's got the (Goldie) Hawn gene. It's got my mom's lineage for sure. It's like dancing every day."
Hudson has been married once before - to Black Crowes rocker Chris Robinson, who is father to her seven-year-old son, Ryder.
The couple, currently expecting a baby together, met at the Coachella music festival in California last year (10) after they were introduced by a mutual friend. Hudson admits she soon found herself enamoured with the charming Muse frontman.
She tells InStyle magazine, "You always hear people say, 'I never thought this would be the person I would end up with,' but I don't think you ever really know...
"(I was) watching Radiohead's Thom Yorke with a guy I knew from high school, who introduced me to Matthew... Then I got distracted and said, 'I've got to find my friends; I don't know where they went.' He just looked at me and said, 'Come on, I'll take care of you.' That's when I went, 'Wait a minute, who are you?'
"Matthew was polite and immediately protective, which for somebody like me who's all over the place - one minute I'm over here and the next I'm over there - is important... Plus, he is just an amazing person.
"In the beginning I felt like, okay, this is going to be heavy. Am I prepared for this? Because it had been a while (since I had been in love), and I wasn't looking for that. But I just couldn't stay away. I wanted to talk to him and be with him all the time. On our first dates we would take long walks and talk the entire day."
Hudson, 32, who has a seven-year-old son with her ex-husband Chris Robinson, also reveals she didn't expect to have another baby so soon, adding, "Well, it wasn't like we didn't know what we were doing. There were no ovulation kits involved. We were tempting fate, and it worked... I didn't think I was going to have another kid until I was maybe 33 - that was in the back of my mind before I met Matthew. But we were so in love when it happened, it was just so exciting for both of us."
The Hollywood actress is expecting a child with her rocker boyfriend Matt Bellamy, and she admits the rush of hormones clouds her thinking and makes her feel high.
She tells Extra, "Being pregnant is wonderful. You do get the pregnant mush-brain... you know what it's like? It's like getting stoned."
Hudson has also revealed her doctor has advised her to keep her food cravings in check after she gained nearly 70 pounds (32 kilograms) during her last pregnancy.
She adds, "My doctor looked at me and goes, 'So let's try not to gain 68 pounds this pregnancy,' (I told her I wasn't) promising anything."
The Almost Famous star has a son, Ryder, with ex-husband Chris Robinson.
I Am Number Four a sci-fi action drama from D.J. Caruso (Disturbia Eagle Eye) about a teenage alien’s earthly travails has the look and feel of a CW series – i.e. lots of attractive young people some of whom possess supernatural abilities and superhuman amounts of angst and alienation. This is not a coincidence: Two of its screenwriters Alfred Gough and Miles Millar happen to be the creators and executive producers of Smallville a series chronicling Superman’s youthful pre-Metropolis years that’s now in its tenth and final season on the CW. (The script is adapted from a novel by Pittacus Lore.)
Unlike Smallville’s solitary Kryptonian I Am Number Four’s hero is not alone. Number Four (Alex Pettyfer) is one of nine gifted residents (each branded with a number for reasons not sufficiently explained in the film) from the planet Lorien who fled to Earth after their civilization was annihilated by the Mogadorians a race of mumbly trenchcoat-clad goons with tattooed scalps hell-bent on ridding the universe of its water polo players. (Indeed Pettyfer’s hair in the film perpetually bears that fresh-out-of-the-water look common also to surfers and lifeguards.) Together with his anointed guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) he travels from small town to small town adopting assumed names and trying to keep a low profile so as to avoid detection by the Mogadorians who have followed the Loriens to earth to finish the job.
I Am Number Four skillfully mines much of the same emotional territory of the Twilight saga and its variants albeit from a slightly geekier less melodramatic more male-oriented angle. (Michael Bay produced the film.) Four’s itinerant lifestyle and otherworldly heritage make the adolescent struggle to fit in all the more difficult; he’s anti-social broods a lot and acts out toward Henri telekinetically. (Kudos to Caruso for the unorthodox but effective choice of Olyphant a guy who always looks to me as if he’s about to stab someone as the father-figure). This is likely because Four is in the middle of that awkward alien superhero stage: special powers like hands that glow brightly and emit beams of energy spontaneously reveal themselves at inopportune times causing him to flee from physics class mortified. Pettyfer's really got the tormented bit down; if he can master a few more expressions he's really gonna go places.
Despite these difficult public moments and despite Henri’s repeated warnings to avoid earthly relationships Four manages to strike up an inter-species romance with fellow attractive outcast Sarah (Glee's Dianna Agron) Bella Swan’s blonde equivalent a former cheerleader who has since disavowed her popular-girl past. This in turn invites the fury of Sarah’s former boyfriend and current stalker a bullying jock named Mark (Jake Abel).
Soon however Four’s rites of adolescence must take a backseat to the more pressing matter of defending his species – and his adopted planet – from the Mogadorians who’ve tracked him to his Paradise Ohio location via that advanced alien technology known as YouTube. An apocalyptic battle set at Four’s high school ensues during which he is joined by a fellow Lorien Number Six (Teresa Palmer) a hot-blooded Aussie biker chick whose powers include the ability to communicate exclusively in double entendres. Four is also aided by Sarah a UFO-obsessed sidekick (Callan McAuliffe) and a shape-shifting puppy.
I Am Number Four’s climax largely abandons its appealing Smallville ethos for something more suitable of a film bearing the name of Michael Bay but made with a fraction of the effects budget. The orgy of destruction involving CGI beasts and laser guns and explosions and tons of acrobatic stuntwork comes off a tad cheap if not a little tacky. Hopefully the filmmakers will get a bit more cash to make the sequel which I Am Number Four's ending rather blatantly labors to set up.
The Hollywood actress began dating Muse frontman Bellamy last summer (10) and they announced in January (11) they are expecting a baby later this year (11).
And Hudson, who split from her rocker husband Chris Robinson in 2006, is determined to do all she can to make her new relationship work - by relocating to the U.K. for six months of the year.
She tells Britain's OK! magazine, "I have a feeling I'll probably be spending a lot more time here. I don't know about full moves but a half move probably. I love it here but we both travel so much. I'll be around, wandering the streets!"
The actress is expecting a baby with the British rocker and the tot is due later this year (11), but they don't want to know whether it will be a boy or a girl ahead of the birth.
And Bellamy admits that although they are discussing possible names, they will leave it until the last minute to make a decision.
He tells ET Online, "That (the gender) will be another surprise... We're starting to agree on names. Hopefully we'll think of something last minute."
Hudson is already mother to a son, Ryder, from her relationship with ex-husband Chris Robinson.