Robin Hood – A Movie Review

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May 172010
 

In 13th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power. And whether thief or hero, one man from humble beginnings will become an eternal symbol of freedom for his people.

“Robin Hood” chronicles the life of an expert archer, previously interested only in self-preservation, from his service in King Richard’s army against the French. Upon Richard’s death, Robin travels to Nottingham, a town suffering from the corruption of a despotic sheriff and crippling taxation, where he falls for the spirited widow Lady Marion, a woman skeptical of the identity and motivations of this crusader from the forest. Hoping to earn the hand of Maid Marion and salvage the village, Robin assembles a gang whose lethal mercenary skills are matched only by its appetite for life. Together, they begin preying on the indulgent upper class to correct injustices under the sheriff.

With their country weakened from decades of war, embattled from the ineffective rule of the new king and vulnerable to insurgencies from within and threats from afar, Robin and his men heed a call to ever greater adventure. This unlikeliest of heroes and his allies set off to protect their country from slipping into bloody civil war and return glory to England once more.

Genres: Action/Adventure and Drama; Running Time: 2 hrs. 11 min.; Release Date: May 14th, 2010 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content.

Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, William Marshall, Mark Strong, Mark Addy, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, Kevin Durand, Max von Sydow

Directed By: Ridley Scott

We went to see this film at an earlier showing Friday evening to avoid some of the crowds. The film is no Gladiator, maybe one of the best films, but it is a decent movie. I got my money’s worth.

One of the problems with the film is a sense of urgency. Instead of sometimes lingering to develop the story, it often charges ahead and can seem somewhat aimless. Also, often the music overpowers the dialog. Combined with the accents, it can be hard to understand.

Crowe and Scott reunite again and Crowe gives a solid performance as a rougher and tougher Robin. Blanchett too is solid as an older Maiden, showing she is a tough woman who also willing to fight: a woman that properly would not have existed in this period. Strong shows once again that he is an excellent villain, having stared in Sherlock Holmes and Kick-Ass, a man who thinks about his own self-interest. Strong has been making a good career as villain for hire and he was the strongest actor in the film. The American in this English set film did well, William Hurt was very strong as the wronged advice in the King’s court, whilst Huston seemed to be having a blast as Richard I and obviously shows he is not as noble he seems.

This film felt like an origins story, a start to a new film series. This is Robin Hood that has not been seen on-screen like this before. I actually hope there is a sequel and the Merry Band get more film time.

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Vantage Point

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Mar 142008
 

Movie Poster for Vantage PointEight strangers with eight different points of view try to unlock the one truth behind an assassination attempt on the president of the United States.

Director: Pete Travis

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Cast: Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Edgar Ramirez, Zoe Saldana

I took about half the day off to make up for a holiday I wasn’t able to take because of a training class. It’s been sprinkling rain since about 11 a.m., which is actually pretty nice, so I decided to see an afternoon movie. I find that’s a great way to really feel like you’re playing hooky.

Obviously, the movie I selected was Vantage Point. These sorts of political thriller, terrorism plot films are generally fairly formulaic. Vantage Point took something of a unique approach to presenting the complete story. The story actually starts at what might be considered the middle of the film, and then telling it from eight different points of view. Be warned, this could be mildly irritating for some people because after you see one point of view everything is suddenly rewound and shown from the next person’s point of view (this is done six times) before they all converge into a finale filled with one adrenaline-fuelled car/chase sequence.

I admit it was a bit cumbersome, and I was growing impatient, but by the fourth “rewind,” I was totally into the story, and it did have a lesson about how we each perceive what is going on around us. I’m rating the move about a seven.

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Mr. Brooks

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Nov 062007
 

Mr. BrooksAfter Mr Brooks (Costner) receives a “Man of the Year” award, we find out he is a serial killer haunted by the voice of his alter ego inside his head.

Director:
Bruce A. Evans

Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller

Cast:
Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, William Hurt, Marg Helgenberger, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Danielle Panabaker, Aisha Hinds, Lindsay Crouse, Jason Lewis, Reiko Aylesworth, Matt Schulze, Yasmine Delawari

Lay and I watched this movie on DVD Saturday night. Lay started talking about wanting the movie to end in an unconvential way, and boy did he get his wish. 

Costner movies are so hit or miss. He’s the LAST person on earth that I’d expect to be playing a serial killer. His demeanor is too gentle and even. In this movie he is cold, brilliant, methodical, and heartless. Definitely not the traits we normally expect from Kevin Costner. And yet, it’s fascinating to watch. I found myself kind of rooting for him, and then had to remind myself what his character is. Top notch acting from him. That slow, gentle, deliberate pace gives it a surreal sense of unease that a lesser actor couldn’t match. It is exactly his everyman persona that makes this movie work.

In the tone of the movie, I was thrown by Costner’s previous work as well. He’s best known for somewhat light and under-realized fare. Mr. Brooks is anything but. This is a very, very dark movie, to the point that it’s uncomfortable in places.

Kudos as well to William Hurt, who isn’t known for playing this sort of role. It would have been easy for his character to descend into cliché, but it doesn’t. He holds the right note, and the chemistry between him and Costner definitely works.

The real star of this drama is the story, and the script. It is very well written but for one character. Frankly Demi Moore’s character as a trust fund rich detective seems to be written almost as an after-thought. I guess the rest of the movie is so well written, her part stands out for the lack of depth. On top of that, she does a bad job with the part by overacting and trying to pull too much out of a flat character.

It would have been easy to turn this into a gore-fest (and it is graphic in some parts), but it’s nice to see a film that doesn’t have to go for the visceral reaction to achieve it’s tension. This is an assault to the mind, not the eyes, and it’s exceptionally well done.  This Costner movie was a definite hit.

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