Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End | B

director: Gore Verbinski
starring: Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Bill Nighy, Chow Yun-Fat, Stellan SkARRRRRsgård

The third chapter in the swashbuckling extravaganza that is the Pirates of the Caribbean has hit theaters, and while it’s an amazing achievement in the realm of visual arts, it leaves a lot to be desired in the story and resonance departments. Weighing at a whopping 168 minutes, At World’s End is a bloated, effects-laden monstrosity; emblematic of the upper echelons of the Hollywood blockbuster.

I’ll spare you the details of the story, and since there really isn’t one, that won’t be too difficult. Every line of dialogue in the film could’ve been replaced with, “ARRRR!!!” or “AVAST, ME HEARTIES!!!” and it wouldn’t have made any difference in the audience’s understanding of what’s going on. Seriously, there’s no complicated plot details to get caught up in. It’s a convoluted skeleton of a story that serves only to get you to the next jaw-dropping special effects sequence. And therein lies the reason to see the movie. The effects are unbelievably good, and likely the best to ever come out of Hollywood thus far (all apologies to George “What Plot?” Lucas and his Star Wars prequels).

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Still Lost

Some more speculation from the fallout of Lost’s third season finale:

  • Unless it’s an alias, it looks like the coffin contains neither Ben nor Locke. Some eagle-eyed HDTV owners have come up with this approximation of the obituary:

    “The body of Jeremy Bentham of New York was found shortly after 4 am in the 4300 block of Grand Avenue.

    Ted Worden, a doorman at the Tower Lofts complex, heard loud noises coming from the victim’s loft.

    Concerned for tenants’ safety, he entered the loft and found the body hanging from a beam in the living room.

    According to Jaime Ortiz, a police spokesman, the incident was deemed a suicide after medical tests. Bentham is survived by one teenaged son.

    Memorial services will be held at the Hoffs-Drawlar Funeral Home tomorrow evening.”

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So much for fate…is it 2008 yet?

That changes things a tad.

I had the whole “these aren’t flashbacks” thing figured out relatively early in the episode, but that didn’t lessen the impact of the final reveal of the season: (some of) our castaways made it off the island, and they aren’t too thrilled about it. Flipping the whole flashback convention (making the island the focus of said flashbacks) has been a long time coming, and this was probably the right time to do it. Next season will surely get off to a fast start (I hope), as we’ve got a lot to address, but I’m wondering if next season will follow the format of tonight’s finale, with “flash-forwards” instead of flashbacks. Anyway, more questions. Who rescued them? Did everyone make it off the island? Did anyone willingly stay? Did Desmond reunite with Penny? Did the remaining Others stay hidden? Why is a suicidal Jack so certain he made a mistake in leaving the island?

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The Fuse

Down at the courthouse they’re bringin’ the flag down
Long black line of cars snakin’ slow through town
Red sheets snappin’ on the line
With this ring will you be mine?
The fuse is burning
Shut out the lights
The fuse is burning
Come on let me do you right

Trees on fire with first fall’s frost
Long black line front of Holy Cross
Blood moon risin’ in a sky black dust
Tell me Baby who do you trust?
The fuse is burning
Shut out the lights
The fuse is burning
Come on let me do you right

Tires on the highway hissin’; something’s come
feel the wires and the tree tops hummin’
Devil’s on the horizon line
Your kiss and I’m alive

Quiet afternoon; an empty house
On the edge of bed you slip off your blouse
The room is burning with the noon sun
Your bittersweet taste on my tongue
{The fuse is burning
Shut out the lights
The fuse is burning
Come on let me do you right} (x2)

The fuse is burning… (x7)

Bruce Springsteen
The Rising
Release: 2002
Lyrics: Springsteen
Music: Springsteen

I will now crawl into a spider-hole and die.

The Buffalo Sabres went into Game 7 of the 2005-06 Eastern Conference finals down four starting defensemen and hanging onto the prospects of reaching the Cup Finals by the skin of their teeth. They entered the 3rd period up a goal despite seemingly insurmountable odds, before ultimately losing in a valiant effort against the Carolina Hurricanes. Since the moment the final horn sounded in that game, the team has had an intense, singular goal of reaching the Finals and finally claiming the championship that this city has desperately sought after for so very long. Wide Right, No Goal, Music City Miracle, No Goal II; the list goes on in the annals of Buffalo sports misery. This was the year Buffalo would shed the burdensome label of all-time “loser” and finally winning it all for the city that’s lived and died with its’ sports teams.

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Follow the yellow brick road…

Now we’re talkin’. There were a whole slew of things to mark off the “what does it all mean?” checklist tonight, which I’ll get to shortly; but of course, it wouldn’t be a Lost episode if we didn’t get a whole new slew of questions that need answering down the line.

As has become readily apparent over the course of the season, Ben has a tenuous hold over his band of Others, and at no time had that become more evident than in tonight’s episode. Ben could see control of the “tribe” being wrested away from him by Locke, right in front of his eyes. No one came to Mikhail’s aid when Locke beat him, no one questioned why Locke was able to force Ben to take him to see Jacob, and as we saw last week, they all see Locke as a messianic savior to lead them out of the tyranny of Benjamin Linus. Unfortunately, we also know Ben is a master tactician, always staying eight moves ahead of everyone else. Locke found this out the hard way, taking a bullet in the gut for his trouble.

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All My Friends

That’s how it starts
We go back to your house
We check the charts
And start to figure it out

And if it’s crowded, all the better
Because we know we’re gonna be up late
But if you’re worried about the weather
Then you picked the wrong place to stay
That’s how it starts

And so it starts
You switch the engine on
We set controls for the heart of the sun
one of the ways we show our age

And if the sun comes up, if the sun comes up, if the sun comes up
And I still don’t wanna stagger home
Then it’s the memory of our betters
That are keeping us on our feet

You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan
And the next five years trying to be with your friends again

You’re talking 45 turns just as fast as you can
Yeah, I know it gets tired, but it’s better when we pretend

It comes apart
The way it does in bad films
Except in parts
When the moral kicks in

Though when we’re running out of the drugs
And the conversation’s winding away
I wouldn’t trade one stupid decision
For another five years of lies

You drop the first ten years just as fast as you can
And the next ten people who are trying to be polite
When you’re blowing eighty-five days in the middle of France
Yeah, I know it gets tired only where are your friends tonight?

And to tell the truth
Oh, this could be the last time
So here we go
Like a sail’s force into the night

And if I made a fool, if I made a fool, if I made a fool
on the road, there’s always this
And if I’m sewn into submission
I can still come home to this

And with a face like a dad and a laughable stand
You can sleep on the plane or review what you said
When you’re drunk and the kids leave impossible tasks
You think over and over, “hey, I’m finally dead.”

Oh, if the trip and the plan come apart in your hand
You look contorted on yourself your ridiculous prop
You forgot what you meant when you read what you said
And you always knew you were tired, but then
Where are your friends tonight?

Where are your friends tonight?
Where are your friends tonight?

If I could see all my friends tonight
If I could see all my friends tonight
If I could see all my friends tonight
If I could see all my friends tonight

LCD Soundsystem
Sound of Silver
Release: 2007
Lyrics: James Murphy
Music: Mahoney/Murphy/Pope

Spider-Man 3 | B-

director: Sam Raimi
starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Thomas Hayden-Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard

Whoops. Sony Pictures won’t have to worry about losing any money on the third film in the Spider-Man series, as it’s likely going to set all kinds of box office records this weekend. I’d like to say it’ll earn that money because it’s such a great movie, but alas–it’s a mess. As was the case with the much maligned Batman franchise (before its reinvention with Christopher Nolan’s magnificent Batman Begins), the third Spider-Man flick tries to do too much in an effort to pack as many action set pieces and villains as possible into its’ bloated 2.5 hour running time instead of focusing on the heart of any great movie: the script. Joel Schumacher almost destroyed the Batman franchise when he took over on Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, and while Sam Raimi hasn’t nearly destroyed Spider-Man, he hasn’t left us going in the right direction.

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