Yesterday caught Pirates of the Caribbean, and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. A rollicking adventure, it has what you’d expect: lots of swords, ships with damned men, parrots on shoulders, cannons, a damsel in distress (who can hold her own in a fight). It also has good stuff you wouldn’t expect — heaps of good humor, Johnny Depp doing an amazing Keith Richards impersonation, delightfully gruesome skeleton special effects (reminiscent of Harryhausen), clever allusions to the theme park ride, and just a very well sustained sense of fun.
Seeing Keira Knightly in Bend It Like Beckham, you knew an ingenue that pretty would be cropping up again, and IMDB shows her to be quite active. I’m curious about Love, Actually — writer Richard Curtis has proved himself repeatedly in the past, from the Blackadder TV series to Four Weddings and a Funeral to the underappreciated Bernard and the Genie. This will be his directorial debut.