Friday, August 24, 2012

Quick Shots 16

Title: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, Keith Richards.

Brief Synopsis: Capt. Jack Sparrow (Depp) returns, and with the 'help' of Capt. Barbossa (Rush) heads out to find the fountain of youth. Former Sparrow flame, Angelica (Cruz) shows up and also has the fountain of youth in her site as well - mostly because she works for Blackbeard (McShane).

Opinion: I have always enjoyed the Pirates films, but here most of the main cast from the previous three films are gone - Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom being the two major ones - with Depp and Rush returning. Newcomers Cruz and McShane pickup the slack for the most part. The films, however, always belong to Depp and he continues to play the Sparrow character well. They don't catch lightning in a bottle twice here - Curse of the Black Pearl has yet to be topped - but it fits in nicely with the rest of the films.

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Title: Friends with Benefits.

Starring: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, Richard Jenkins, Andy Samberg, Nolan Gould, Woody Harrelson.

Brief Synopsis: Dylan Harper (Timberlake) is an art director for a small internet company in LA and Jamie (Kunis) is a recruiter trying to lure Harper to NYC for a job at GQ magazine. Not really wanting to take the job and leave LA and his family, Jamie really plays up the city to Dylan - who ends up taking the job. Not knowing anyone in NY, he befriends Jamie and the two of them - having difficulty in the dating world - agree to sleep with each other, but remain friends.

Opinion: A film just like this one came out called No Strings Attached with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. This one, however, is much better. As much as I like Portman, the chemistry between Kunis and Timberlake were just way better - and honestly the story itself was just better. Plus, Harrelson was amazing as a secondary character - stole every scene he was in.

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Title: Monster House.

Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Steve Buscemi, Kevin James, Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, Jason Lee, Kathleen Turner, Nick Cannon, Jon Heder.

Brief Synopsis: A kid's parents (O'Hara and Willard) leave for awhile on Halloween night and leave a babysitter in charge. Him and his friend, along with a girl they sort of know, begin to investigate the house across the street that appears to have a life of its own.

Opinion: My son loves this film and convinced me to watch it with him. I have no issues watching family films, and especially animated features. So, I gave it a shot - and it was a really decent story, along with a ton of great voices. However, the animation itself sort of freaked me out and wasn't that up to par. But, it did have a great story and a nice meaning/lesson at the conclusion.

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Title: Dolphin Tale.

Starring: Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Morgan Freeman.

Brief Synopsis: Based on a true story, a young boy Sawyer Nelson (Gamble), whose father we are led to believe died in the military, has closed himself off for the most part from the world, except his cousin - who just so happens to be joining the military. On the way to a summer school class, Sawyer stumbles upon a washed up dolphin whose tail is stuck in a crab trap. The dolphin is taken to a local rehabilitation center, headed by Dr. Clay Haskett (Connick Jr.). The dolphin proves to be a miracle in many ways, including helping Sawyer out of his shell and possibly saving the struggling rehabilitation center.

Opinion: I caught a small bit of this a little awhile ago, and I probably would have watched the whole thing if I hadn't had to leave. It was a pretty remarkable story, and I thought it was put together very well. You never know what you are going to get with young actors being put in starring roles, but both Gamble and Zuehlsdorff did a nice job. Connick Jr., Judd and Freeman were also great in their roles. And, honestly, the dolphin did great. A heartwarming story and great to watch with your family.

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