In the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, a bunch of pirates run around and act like dicks while being pursued by ghosts and trying not to sink or get impaled by ghost swords. If my memory serves me right, that is basically the plot of all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The new one, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales rehashes the same plot, with Johnny “The Whore” Depp doing his whole drunken Keith Richards pirate routine again as Jack Sparrow. Actually, his Keith Richards routine has devolved into something more akin to Dudley Moore in Arthur 2: On the Rocks. I reference the Arthur sequel, for the original was somewhat funny, but the gag got real tired in part two. So it goes with Depp’s meandering, mumbling, tipsy performance as Jack Sparrow, the feared pirate that everybody in the world seems to have some sort of beef with, be them alive or dead. He’s laboring with a joke that stopped being funny four movies ago. This time out, a new legion of undead sailors is after Jack due to his having a compass that can lead them back to the land of the living, or some bullshit like that. The band of dead sailors is led by Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), some dude who was trying to rid the world of pirates in his living days, but wound up a cursed ghost under the sea due to a young Sparrow’s clever trick. While Salazar’s villain has his good, creepy moments, he can’t save this dreck.
4 The SurvivalistMartin McCann plays a character simply listed as Survivalist in the credits, a man living on a small piece of land in a post-apocalyptic world where food has grown scarce. It’s a lonely existence, but he has a crop to get by, and it’s all for him. That is, until a mysterious woman (Olwen Fouere) and her daughter (Mia Goth) show up looking to barter for food. After he refuses their offer of pumpkin seeds, Survivalist accepts the offer of sleeping with the daughter, and then things get a little complicated. Writer-director Stephen Fingleton has made a film that is relentlessly dark, and his film has next to nothing good to say about human beings. (Hey, the human race needs a good smackdown sometimes, am I right?) McCann is highly memorable as a nervous man who yearns for companionship but trusts no one. Fouere is the right touch of nasty as somebody who has been hardened by the apocalypse. Goth plays the film’s most sympathetic character, yet even she is a schemer with nefarious intentions. The darkness of this movie plays out until the bitter end. This is a film that aims to bum you out, and succeeds. I say this as a compliment (Available for download on iTunes and Amazon.com during limited theatrical release.)