The summer movie season has barely begun, and I’m already suffering from a nasty bout of threequelitis: exposure to a once-magical franchise’s tepid third entry. The latest Spider-Man and Shrek entries came up short, but this morose Pirates is the worst offender of all.
Picking up where last year’s Dead Man’s Chest left off, At World’s End finds Will Turner (Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Knightley) trying to locate Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp), now trapped in a purgatory-like netherworld. Once reunited, they must do battle with a variety of foes: fellow pirates (both dead and undead), British forces and, most ominously, a script stuffed with nearly three hours worth of nonsensical twists.
The impenetrable plot snuffs out much of the giddy frivolity that made the 2003 original such a surprising treat. Depp—still having a ball though increasingly uninterested in letting us in on the joke—and Geoffrey Rush, whose salty Captain Barbossa has been smartly resurrected, are lone standouts among the walking dead. A pirate’s life for me? Not anymore, thanks.
Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Shannon | R | [1.5 stars]
REVIEWED BY LEAH ROZEN
The couple in this gaga psychological thriller formicate madly, a fancy way of saying they hallucinate that insects are crawling all over them. Set almost entirely in a grungy motel room, Bug charts the mental descent of Agnes (Judd), a cocktail waitress, and Peter (Shannon), a Gulf War vet with whom she hooks up platonically in hopes that he’ll keep her bullying ex-hubby (Connick Jr.) at bay. A paranoid Peter claims the military has planted an insect inside him, and it has started multiplying. Soon the pair, jointly afflicted by increasingly disturbing delusions about creepy-crawlers, are riding an express train to Crazyville. Though the cast give admirably committed performances, viewers will just want to reach for the Raid.