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Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

At World’s End picks up right where Pirates 2 left off, with a resurrected Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) gathering a new crew to rescue Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from Davy Jones’ Locker.  The journey to the netherworld is just the tip of the seafaring iceberg as Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and company battle it out with a fleet of pirates in an ultimate conquest of the mighty seven seas.
It seems the case when a trilogy reaches the final chapter that the well of ideas start to run dry.  Whilst the previous Pirates films delivered plenty of bangs for the movie bucks, At World’s End offers up firecrackers instead.  The salty characters are in their usual abundance, but for the first time in the series they seem to play second fiddle to the opulent special effects.  The effects are certainly spectacular, but what made the series enjoyable was the zesty fun and interplay of its participants.   Less care seems to have been taken on the script, which appears to rest on the laurels of the previous films.
By top and tailing the film with action, the film exposes a rambling mid section giving time to ponder various plot holes.  Whilst previous films had their problems, these weren’t as noticeable due to the almost non stop action.  At World’s End’s heavy exposition saps the energy and fun from what should have the best film of the series.  With so little action, the film seems like an ordeal to watch at times, with the constant double cross and twists muddying the already murky plot waters.  The film still maintains the visual excitement of its predecessors however,  successfully re-capturing the fairy tale element within.
What saves the film from being a complete disaster are the performances.  Johnny Depp still has the manic energy that has made his anti-hero so popular.  Knightly and Bloom make for effective romantic leads, with Bill Nighy once again hamming it up outrageously as Davy Jones.  Geoffrey Rush steals the film from everyone else as a very fruity Barbossa.  Rush shines whenever he appears thus providing a much needed fun element in an otherwise dull film.  A memorable cameo by the old seadog himself, Keith Richards, works a treat, showing Jack Sparrow a few new tricks.
Third time isn’t necessarily the charm as At World’s End docks at the port a clapped out vessel.  The series deserved a fine send off with great performances not matched by the promised action which takes forever to arrive.  Despite claims this is the end of the road, the film does leave enough threads hanging for further adventures.  When - and not if -  the series returns, hopefully there is a renewed spring in its finely heeled pirate boots.
Rating out of 10:  6
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Infamous

The saying goes that there are two sides to every story.  The non-fiction book ‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote has formed the basis for two films.  Whilst last year’s ‘Capote’ won awards and praise, Infamous is no less worthy of applause due to successfully meeting the challenge of telling the same tale with a fresh angle.  If a story is interesting enough it can be told many times, with Infamous taking more risks than its forebear.
After reading about a mass murder in Kansas, Capote (Toby Jones) finds the inspiration he needs for a new book.  Arriving in the town he receives a bemused welcome from a township unsure of what to make of his quirky ways.  His determination to craft the ‘perfect book’ leads him to meeting one of the killers, Perry Smith (Daniel Craig).  This changes him forever as he becomes conflicted by twin desires of finding the ‘right ending’ and a growing attraction to Smith. 
The society circles in which Capote mingled provides the films’ crucial point of difference.  After holding court to the society maidens, it is Capote who becomes the fawning listener to Smith, who sees him as an intellectual equal.  Rather than presenting Smith as a mindless thug, the film shows that he could match the mind games that Capote seemed happy to play in order to get the drama for his writings.  Both Jones and Craig are excellent in their roles, portraying an almost romantic strange courtship.
The large ensemble cast all give solid support to Jones’s extroverted role.  The use of the characters talking to the camera helps flesh out the Capote enigma.  Whilst the viewer sees that he cherished his friends, he would also easily spill their secrets if it gained further entry into society’s upper echelons.  The dramatic and at times witty script fully embraces the sexuality that Capote exuded, providing for engaging viewing.
It seems unfair that Infamous is mentioned in the same breath as ‘Capote’, as it stands on its own merits.  One can never truly know the emotions that Capote went through, but the portrait presented shows a man who seemed to lose himself further with each new written page.  Infamous provides an additional fascinating look at a unique and compelling writer.
Rating out of 10:  8