The Films of Rob Marshall
Memoirs of a Geisha
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (February 6/16)
The Pirates of the Caribbean series continues with this typically overlong and mostly unwatchable entry that finds Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow on a quest to locate the fountain of youth, with the relentlessly broad character's efforts both assisted and hindered by a variety of off-kilter, underdeveloped figures (including Penelope Cruz's Angelica, Geoffrey Rush's Barbossa, and Ian McShane's Blackbeard). At the very least, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides deserves a smidgen of respect for jettisoning the ludicrously complicated narratives of its two predecessors - with the movie instead taking a relatively easy-to-follow path through a storyline that is, ultimately, impossibly tedious. The ongoing inclusion of hopelessly misguided action sequences perpetuates the film's often interminable atmosphere, with the most egregious example of this a long, dull stretch involving an attack by dozens of deadly mermaids (ie an overuse of computer effects lends this interlude the feel of a video game). Depp's nails-on-a-chalkboard turn as the dumbed-down, over-the-top protagonist certainly doesn't help alleviate the pervasively lifeless vibe, nor does the movie's inability to offer up a single interesting supporting figure (ie there's not a single interesting or worthwhile new character here). Filmmaker Rob Marshall's generic approach to the tired material is perhaps not unsurprising given the director's propensity towards misbegotten projects, and it's ultimately impossible not to wonder what drew everyone involved towards this personality-free trainwreck (aside from scads of cash, of course).