Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)
Opinions on this movie have been largely negative, so I want to preface my thoughts with a reminder that I'm a hardcore fan of pirates in general and this series in particular. I didn't care much for On Stranger Tides, but I sincerely love the initial trilogy, including At World's End.
Having said that, I also love Dead Men Tell No Tales. It's silly and it doesn't explain everything, but those are both things that I love about the series. It fixes a problem I had with Stranger Tides, which was trying to make the story about Jack Sparrow. The initial trilogy was all about Elizabeth and Will, with Sparrow thrown in for flavor. Dead Men returns to their story through their son and it totally works for me. Powerfully, in fact. I don't know if there was sea mist in our theater or something, but I definitely felt moisture on my face by the end.
Carina's being pretty awesome was an added bonus. She's no Elizabeth Swann, but I like her and would love to see where her story goes. Which sums up my feelings for the whole series at this point. After Stranger Tides, I hoped that a fifth movie could put the series back on track and that's what's happened as far as I'm concerned. The future of the series is up in the air, but my finger bones are crossed for it.
Rewatched this to get read for Alien: Covenant. It has a lot of plot and character problems, but those are balanced by the themes and look of the movie. I don't love it, but as disappointing as it was the first time I saw it, I don't dislike it either. I wrote a whole article on it back in the day, so check that out for more thoughts.
Alien: Covenant (2017)
As a sequel to Prometheus, it's an improvement. Characters still do stupid things for the sake of the plot, but the story is more clear this time and it's just generally more exciting and scary.
But as a prequel to Alien, I question its right to exist. It answers questions that I've been curious about, but I'm not sure that I actually wanted the answers to. Or maybe it's answering them in a way that I'm not satisfied with. I had a good time with it and would put it third in a ranking of the whole series, but I didn't love it.
A Room with a View by EM Forster
I love the Merchant Ivory film so much that I have most of it memorized. Thought that this Spring would be a good time to finally read the book.
I was surprised at just how faithful the movie is. And it was tough not to imagine those actors in their roles as I read. If anything, I prefer the movie's ending. It's not drastically different, but it does make Lucy's revelation more emotional and exciting. I appreciate the book's additional insights though. For instance, I never picked up on why Lucy chose Schubert instead of Beethoven when playing for Cecil's family. Forster makes that clearer, though he's still subtle about it. And there's a whole subplot about George's mother that's left out of the film.
Lovely book that makes me want to revisit the movie soon.
Jam of the Week: "Sometime Around Midnight" by The Airborne Toxic Event
I love songs that build and this is a great one. It starts simply with a string intro and some beautiful, Edge-influenced guitar, but increases in complexity and intensity until it's just raw feeling. All of which mirror the lyrics about running into a former girlfriend at the bar and the wild, emotional spiral that results.