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Johnny Depp

“PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES”  My rating: C- 

129 minutes  | MPAA rating: PG-13

At this late stage audiences for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” should know better than to expect any surprises.

Like all of its predecessors, “Dead Men” is as shiny and polished as a hand-blown glass Christmas ornament — and just as empty.

The plot (the screenplay is credited to Jeff Nathanson) is predictably incomprehensible.

Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), the grown son of series regular Will Turner (Orlando Bloom, who has maybe 90 seconds of screen time), is determined to save his father from eternal enslavement on the sunken ship the Flying Dutchman. (Thwaites is such a bland screen presence that he achieves the near impossible by making Bloom seem dynamic.)

To break that spell Henry will have to obtain several powerful talismans:  a pirate diary containing a hidden map, a compass with mystical properties,  Poseidon’s trident.

He bickers with a young woman, Carina (Kaya Scodelario), who is so much smarter than the oafish and superstitious men around her that she’s repeatedly condemned as a witch. Wanna bet they’re going to move past bickering and fall in love?

The series regulars — among them Geoffrey Rush as the dour Captain Barbossa and the crew members of the Black Pearl — give their usual one-note performances. Most of these characters were set in stone four movies ago and haven’t evolved one whit.

That goes especially for star Johnny Depp, whose Captain Jack Sparrow remains an unchanging and buffoonish blend of swash and swish. For this viewer, anyway, the charm wore off several films back. (more…)

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and as the two Julietas

Adriana Ugarte and Emma Suarez as the two Julietas

“JULIETA” My rating: B

99 minutes | MPAA rating: R

No contemporary director has examined mother/daughter relationships with the consistency or insight of Spain’s Pedro Almodovar.

At one time his latest effort, “Julieta,” would have been described as a “women’s picture.” But that superficial label fails to take into account the panache Almodovar brings to all of his projects (“Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” “Volver”).

Romantic loss has been his frequent topic.  “Julieta” takes a different approach, being a saga about parental loss.

Drawn from three short stories by Canadian author Alice Munro, the screenplay opens with a chance encounter on a Madrid street between the 50-something Julieta (Emma Suarez) and Bea, the childhood best friend of her daughter Antia.

Bea reports that she recently ran into her old friend at Lake Como, where Antia was shopping with her children.

Julieta is stunned. A dozen years earlier the teenage Antia vanished into a cult. Bea’s report is the first real proof that her daughter is still alive and that Julieta is now a grandmother.

Overnight everything changes. Julieta scraps plans to relocate with her boyfriend to Portugal. She moves back into the same building where she once shared a flat with Antia, desperately hoping that her daughter will come looking for her there.

And she is compelled to write down important incidents from her past.

In these elaborate flashbacks we follow the steamy relationship of the young Julieta (now played by Adriana Ugarte) with Xoan (Daniel Grao), a hunky fisherman. Their union produces Antia.

TO READ THE REST OF THIS REVIEW VISIT THE KANSAS CITY STAR WEBSITE AT http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/movies-news-reviews/article129896079.html

| Robert W. Butler

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