DVD Tuesday: ‘Pirates 3’, ‘Superbad’

by W. Andrew Powell

Pirates 3This week at a store near you, take a look at the latest DVDs, including the return of Captain Jack Sparrow, a night to remember for two awkward teenagers, and a nanny’s adventures in Manhattan.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Johnny Depp picks up his sword for the third time as Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s huge new franchise. Directed again by Gore Verbinski, At World’s End picks up a short time after the events of Dead Man’s Chest with Jack’s oddball group of “friends” trying to find a way to bring him back from death.

All the usual suspects from the series return, including Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, and Bill Nighy. Plus, keep an eye out for an excellent cameo by Keith Richards as the nine Pirate Lords of the Brethen Court are forced together when Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) threatens their existence.

At World’s End follows the trilogy with an exciting tale, and features stunning visuals, and some great fight sequences, but it’s not the finale I had expected. For one thing, the story is scattered and overly long-winded, and could have used some more editing. I was also surprised with some of the lamer plot-sequences near the end of the film, and the general lack of menace.

For fans of the series, it’s worth discovering how things wrap up after the cliffhanger ending of the second film, but this isn’t exactly an epic ending. It’s a lot of fun, the jokes run aplenty, the music is phenomenal, and even in this weaker film, Johnny Depp is still legendary.

The special edition 2-disc DVD has a number of good features, although overall the features are a bit dull. At the very least check out the on-set feature with Keith Richards and Johnny Depp, which was odd and brilliant all at once, and of course, the blooper reel.

If you liked 40 Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up, have I got the film for you. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera play two teenagers trying to do what all teenagers do in films: meet girls. They’re headed off to college soon and want to have some fun, but when they’re expected to bring alcohol to the big party, life gets a bit complicated.

Much like producer Judd Apatow and co-writer Seth Rogen‘s other films, Superbad is hilarious, and filled with over-the-top gross-out humour. However Hill and Cera are an amazing duo and the script is perfectly written for them. It’s also impressive, as many critics have pointed out, how the film balances all the gross humour with genuine heart.

This is definitely not the kind of comedy to sit down and watch with the kids, but Superbad still aspires higher than the usual brain-dead comedies. The film is best summed up by David Denby of the New Yorker who said in his review, “The movie succeeds as a teen’s wild fantasy of a night in which everything goes wrong, revised by an adult’s melancholy sense that nothing was ever meant to go right.”

The Nanny Diaries
Based on the bestselling novel that’s adored by countless young teens and tweens, The Nanny Diaries stars Scarlett Johansson as Annie Braddock. Annie is a young woman fresh from college who needs to find a job, but accidentally stumbles into work as a nanny. In her new job Annie is surprised to find that the family doesn’t get along very well at all, and perhaps Manhattan’s upper-crust aren’t the kind of people for her.

Co-starring Laura Linney as Mrs. X, Annie’s boss, as well as Paul Giamatti and Alicia Keys, the film likely could have been a big, silly hit, but instead most critics labeled it a boring rewrite of the hit book.

Geoff Berkshire of the Chicago Tribune called the film shallow, while Rick Groen of the Globe and Mail commented, “There’s a good movie buried inside The Nanny Diaries, and a good cast trying hard to dig it out. Too bad they don’t get much help.”

Other films available on DVD this week include A Stones Throw, The Last Man on Earth, and Arctic Tale. TV fans can pick up Battlestar Galactica: Razor, 24: season six, and Will and Grace: season seven.

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