Yesterday, I had the (surprising, considering the increasing bloat of the franchise) pleasure of watching Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with my friend, Mary. It’s not gonna win any Oscars or BAFTAs any time soon, but it’s a good bit of silly, explosive, summery, popcorn-y fun (plus killer mermaids).
From IMDB, here’s the summary:
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penélope Cruz), and he’s not sure if it’s love — or if she’s a ruthless con artist who’s using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past.
Keeping in mind that I was trying to learn as much about my future study abroad
sites as possible, I noted, naturally, that most of the cast hailed from the British Isles.
This film included a quick, delightful shot of Captain Jack Sparrow nuzzling Dame Judi Dench’s neck in a carriage as he’s escaping from some soldiers (he’s stealing her earring, of course). Dunno what she was doing in a movie like this for all of a minute, but since she once won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth I for eight minutes, I guess she’s the go-to person for fast, delicious performances.
Also in the cast was the Spanish (by way of the Community of Madrid) actress, Penélope Cruz, as Angelica, Blackbeard’s daughter and Jack Sparrow’s former lover.
Considering her hit-and-miss reputation for picking English-language films, I found her performance enjoyable. She seemed to be having fun with this delightfully ridiculous and occasionally incoherent movie, swordfighting, bosomy-pirate-lady-fantasy costumes, and all.
Ms. Cruz has, though, a notable reputation in her native Spain, as she has starred in many films by one of my favorite directors, Pedro Almodóvar.
One of her most acclaimed performances was in her Oscar-nominated role as Raimunda in Volver, a film in which many secrets come to light as the matriarch of a family seemingly returns from the dead.
Despite the spookiness of the description, it’s not quite what it sounds like. And Ms. Cruz is earthy and resourceful as Raimunda, a woman beset with plenty of troubles (including a murder).
Here’s the trailer:
She did score a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as Javier Bardem’s scene-stealing, mentally unstable ex-wife, María Elena, in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. While this movie is the only one of Woody Allen’s repertoire I’ve been able to stand thus far (I guess I’m not much for his New-York-neurotic humor), a large part of my liking is because of the bracingly nuts María Elena.
Here’s one of her scenes:
Vicky Cristina Barcelona also spent many, many loving shots on the Sagrada Família of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona as well as some beautiful shots of Oviedo. While I don’t expect to see many celebrities in Spain (although my uncle, for some reason, managed to bump into two Spanish celebrities when I was there last, although I only remember one was a famous singer and the other a political pundit), it’s still nice to think I’ll be tramping down some of the same streets as Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Pedro Almodóvar.