It’s been 14 years since a group of British actors starred in one the most widely debated Christmas movies of all time. Love Actually starred Andrew Lincoln before he was slaying zombies, Chiwetel Ejiofor before he was leading Best Picture-winning dramas, and that cute kid (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) kids before he was helping Bran Stark on Game of Thrones. This being the reboot/reunion era where no good (or hated) thing can be left alone, Love Actually is back with a mini sequel of sorts.
Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the most popular franchises of all time, and yet only one out of its four movies are remembered in a positive light. Gore Verbinski’s The Curse of the Black Pearl was a throwback to old school popcorn blockbusters, a family-friendly adventure full of expertly choreographed action, led by a rebellious hero with some romance. The original hit led to three sequels that broke multiple box office records for the Disney property, yet the Pirates franchise only soured in the mouths of critics.
When last we saw Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow he was, I don’t know, doing pirate stuff probably? After the first Pirates of the Caribbean, 2003’s The Curse of the Black Pearl, all these movies began to blend together. Some sword fights, a mystical MacGuffin, an all-powerful bad guy, a couple battles at sea, blather, mince, repeat. Even though the latest, Dead Men Tell No Tales, comes from a new pair of directors (Kon-Tiki’s Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg), it’s basically indistinguishable from the three previous sequels, except that it’s even worse than they were.
I could pretend to be one of those Love Actually haters (read: everyone on the internet) and say a bunch of snooty things about the beloved rom-com and its upcoming reunion sequel. I could say, “Oh gosh, here we go again with the most overrated holiday romance of the century,” or drop a couple hot takes about how it’s actually a terrible or misogynistic movie. But the truth is, (oh god, I’m about to publicly out myself here…) I love Love Actually, and I don’t care what you think. So I found the new trailer for the reunion short film in honor of Red Nose Day, kind of stupidly cute? Sue me.
A certain branch of criticism against the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie back when it came out in 2011 focused on the fact that this was the first one with barely a trace of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, two characters we’d all grown to love through a trilogy of movies, and, arguably, who are the actual heart and soul of the series. Without them, On Stranger Tides felt adrift, unable to find an emotional focus despite introducing a new generation of generically attractive leads. The good news for those of us who have stuck with the series this far is, thanks to the new international trailer, we know Elizabeth is coming back too. Along with a few more of Captain Jack’s “friends.”
Last month we learned that director Richard Curtis was reuniting with the cast of his beloved (and annually derided) 2003 holiday classic Love Actually for a new short film in honor of Red Nose Day. The short will premiere during this year’s Red Nose Day Special in May, but you don’t have to wait that long to see how much your favorite characters have changed, as NBC has released the first teaser — which sees the whole cast revisiting the iconic moment when Andrew Lincoln adorably / creepily shows up on Keira Knightley’s doorstep with a series of messages.
It seems like forever ago that the original Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was an unexpected Hollywood hit, a questionable adaptation of a popular carnival ride that somehow managed to be one of the best action movies of the year. In the original film, Johnny Depp surprised us all with his mimicry and knack for physical comedy, even bringing home an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow. Fast forward a few years, however, and the franchise seems to have devolved into what we originally feared: a hollow cash grab from Disney that has quite clearly overstayed its welcome.
This review contains basic plot details for Collateral Beauty which for some reason were not included in the movie’s trailer. If you don’t want to know the movie’s basic premise, don’t read this article. I would also recommend not seeing the movie, but that’s up to you.