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Big Bang

Director: Tony Krantz
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Sienna Guillory, Autumn Reeser, Snoop Dogg, James van der Beek, Bill Duke

13 May
Big Bang

Antonio Banderas in a gritty neo-noir that features femme fatales, complicated conspiracies, murder, and the end of the world? Sounds like someone has been sipping a bit too much of the genre homage Kool-aid. Long time producer Tony Krantz (The PJs, South Beach, 24) steps behind the lens to bring this highly usual detective drama to life. Considering his other directorial efforts (the stilted Sublime, the obnoxious Otis), he doesn’t have the track record to inspire a lot of confidence. Similarly, Banderas has traded whatever Hollywood heat he had in the past for the antiseptic artificiality of his Tinseltown lifestyle and preoccupation with Puss ‘N’ Boots. Sounds like he’s still a bit misguided. 



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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Ian McShane, Geoffrey Rush, Kevin McNally, Richard Griffiths, Stephen Graham

20 May
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Granted, everyone involved in this once noble franchise should have seen this coming. Disney, never one to deny fan feverishness (or a dollar), was going to get Captain Jack Sparrow back on the high seas with or without original series helmer Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp. The former was replaced by middling talent Robb Marshall. The latter just couldn’t say “no” to the dough. There is a “trying too hard” element to the trailer that suggests an acknowledged artifice, but there’s nothing really wrong with playing the pure commerciality card once in a while. Here’s hoping that the next installment - and there will be one - starts actually trying again.


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Midnight in Paris

Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen

20 May
Midnight in Paris

At this point, it appears Woody Allen is going to ride off into the cinematic sunset, convinced that he no longer has to pretend to play auteur. Instead, he will write his scripts, collect his casts, pick a locale, and shoot whatever he wants. In this case, he plays with the same uptight metropolitan RomCom angst, peppered with some fresh Parisian panache. Still, over the last decade, this once formidable filmmaking force has been completely unable to capture his past glories. Many won’t care - they’ll love everything he does. A more modern audience is probably starting to wonder how he earned such a reputation in the first place.


Since deciding to employ his underdeveloped muse muscles over five years ago, Bill has been a significant staff member and writer for three of the Web's most influential websites: DVD Talk, DVD Verdict and, of course, PopMatters. He also has expanded his own web presence with Bill a place where he further explores creative options. It is here where you can learn of his love of Swindon's own XTC, skim a few chapters of his terrifying tome in the making, The Big Book of Evil, and hear samples from the cassette albums he created in his college music studio, The Scream Room.

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