Posts Tagged ‘Penelope Cruz’

**Spoiler alert**

Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp and Ian McShane in a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesThere are basically two reasons we flock to theatres by the thousands each time a new Pirates of the Caribbean is released: Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow and the entertaining action sequences (choreographed to that now unmistakable theme music). The first Pirates film set up these expectations and spawned a successful franchise; however, if the fourth film — a reboot — was the first, I don’t think they would have made another. The fact that we can expect at least two more pictures from this cash cow ($90 million at the opening weekend box office for film #4) only leaves me to hope they learn from the many errors committed in the most recent instalment and deliver an improved chapter next round. (more…)

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Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp and Ian McShane in a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesAfter the complex story lines in the previous chapter, the goal for the fourth instalment was to keep it simple. In that it is successful — maybe too successful. The two-plus hours of the film weighs heavily on its viewing experience because so little happens for so much of the movie. In a pirate flick, the adventure of traveling from A to B should be better than a trip to White Castle. (more…)

This week’s releases include: a sci-fi tour de force; a famous, tragic love story; a plunge into darkness; the true story of a kind-hearted drug dealer; the ultimate public, political betrayal; an entrancing mafia tale; a new Charlie Brown narrative; an amazing crime drama; an appalling future; an HBO series about the New Orleans; and a documentary that demonstrates one man’s trash is another’s treasure. (more…)

MAY 4
Nine
The film follows the life of world famous film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he reaches a creative and personal crisis of epic proportion, while balancing the numerous women in his life; including his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his film star muse (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume designer (Judi Dench), a young American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), the whore from his youth (Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson) and his mother (Sophia Loren).

Special features include: commentary by director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca; “Behind the Look of Nine”; “Director Rob Marshall”; “The Choreography of ‘Be Italian’”; “The Choreography of ‘Cinema Italiano’”; “The Dancers of Nine”; “The Incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis”; “The Women of Nine”; “Making of ‘Cinema Italiano’”; and music clips: “Cinema Italiano” featuring Kate Hudson, “Take It All” featuring Marion Cotillard, and “Unusual Way” featuring Griffith Frank.

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They’re cute; they’re furry; and they’re secret agents with attitude. “Commando[s] that just happen to be guinea pigs.”

Juarez (Penelope Cruz), Blaster (Tracy Morgan) and their leader Darwin (Sam Rockwell) are highly-trained guinea pigs working for the FBI; their tech expert is a mole named Speckles (Nicolas Cage) and their surveillance is provided by a fly named Mooch. When the Bureau threatens to shutdown their operation, their supervisor, Ben (Zach Galifianakis), sends the special rodents on a mission to recover data from the computer of a suspected terrorist (Bill Nighy) in hopes of rescuing their department from the chopping block. When it appears the mission went awry and Agent Killian (Will Arnett) decides to permanently eliminate the team, Darwin becomes determined to prove it was successful and save the world from the utter destruction he knows is imminent.

The inclusion of voices of well-known actors is more of a draw to adults than kids, but the payoff is negligible; most of their voices are unrecognizable. Cruz attaches a sexy quality to her character, which is amusing, but with the exception of Cruz and Morgan the familiar personalities are hidden under the fur. However, the highlight of the movie is Bucky, the hamster that is part ferret, voiced by Steve Buscemi. He is hilarious and by far the most entertaining element in the film. It’s unfortunate he is only present for one act of the narrative and a short bit at the end. The mice trio are fun too, but chime in with one-liners more than anything else. “The horror, the horror!”

Unlike many of the Pixar animations, G-Force is directed entirely at kids with few jokes just for the adults. In this sense, Disney is successful because the kids will love the movie. The animals are cute and grade school funny. On the other hand, adults will have to settle for the few references to films older than the children they’re accompanying, such as Scarface, The Breakfast Club and Die Hard.


Woody Allen made a film without Scarlett Johansson. Coincidentally, it’s quite a bit better than his last few ventures.

Ian (Ewan McGregor) is unsatisfied with his lot in life. Instead of taking over his dad’s restaurant, he’s saving to invest in American hotels. He yearns to be like his well-off, exotic uncle (Tom Wilkinson). Ian’s brother Terry (Colin Farrell) is a compulsive gambler with a steady girl. But a lucky streak gets the boys enough cash to pay off their dream boat, which they fittingly name Cassandra’s Dream after the 60-1 long shot. But quick enough they’re in over their heads – Ian needs more investment money and Terry is in major debt. Their uncle has a solution to their problems, but it means a significant moral compromise on their part.

Allen returns to providing his intriguing character examinations, as well as an illustration of the great lengths a man will go to to keep a woman that’s probably out of his league. After several disappointments (with the exception of Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Allen has finally produced a film worthy of his time and ours.

Farrell and McGregor are wonderful; and Farrell once again displays his very competent acting chops. As they are very different people, their relationship as brothers is not based on how alike they are but on how they relate to each other, which they do in a very brotherly way. They match each other’s enthusiasm and melancholy nicely.

As with any Allen DVD release, there are no special features to evaluate.


There’s usually some concern about the seriousness of a May-December romance but should that be the concern of May and December?

David Kepesh (Ben Kingsley) is a seasoned art critic. After emancipating himself from an unhappy marriage, he began a life of meaningless sexual conquest, most of whom are students from the college at which he teaches. For years he is content with this lifestyle, but all that changes when he meets Consuela Castillo (Penélope Cruz). She is beautiful, smart and in need of wooing before she’ll end up between his sheets. But with unbridled passion and eventual love comes fear and it can be difficult to overcome – especially for a man who’s so unconsciously guarded.

David’s anxieties are illustrated in life-like vignettes that are not shown to be false until after they’ve inflicted their impact. He’s a man trapped in adolescence but as his situations become more adult, he struggles with the need to grow up. David endures many loses but it is through this pain that a better man emerges.

Kingsley is perfection in this role; it is easy to see why these women flock to his bedroom as he exudes charm and sophistication. Cruz is naturally beautiful, despite a couple of unflattering haircuts, and her relationship with Kingsley is sweet and plausible. Dennis Hopper has a supporting role as David’s adulterous friend but his appeal is a little less comprehensible.

The DVD bonus feature, “The Poetry of Elegy,” is a series of interviews with the cast and director Isabel Coixet cut with scenes from the movie.