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Non-Review Review: Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides

I give a lot of credit to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides for managing to cast aside a lot of dead weight from around the franchise’s neck. After the original film, it was apparent to anybody with half a brain that audiences weren’t flocking to the cinema to see the adventures of Will and Elizabeth, but the following two sequels insisted on keeping the large and expansive cast – long after it became clear that the writers had little idea what to do with them. The result was a trilogy that often felt over-loaded and over-burdened. This time around, adopting a ruthless approach to the supporting cast, the screenplay only really brings back Captain Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa as lead characters. Which is grand, because they’re who we’re here to see after all? The rest of the movie doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it strolls along pleasantly enough.

Life's a beach...

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Non-Review Review: Nine

I have to admit, I greatly enjoyed Nine, even if it never really felt substantial or fulfilling. I’m not convinced that the film works as a story, but it does provide director Rob Marshall the opportunity to put together setpiece after setpiece, each choreographed with impeccable skill. Indeed, given his ability to stage glitzy sequences and the sheer volume of talent in front of the camera, coupled with lavish production values and a mesmerizing setting, it’s easy to forgive Nine its faults – the most glaring of which is that nothing really happens for the first three-quarters of it, and then stuff happens which doesn’t necessarily feel earned in the last quarter. Still, it looks damn pretty and the soundtrack is quite catchy.

Now that's a showstopper...

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