Saturday, September 25, 2010

Robin Hood 2010

"We can't repay our good luck with bad grace, it invites darkness."

Director Ridley Scott tells the untold story of Robin Hood. Throughout history tales of Robin of the Hood have been twisted and contorted but essentially keeping the main characters in play. Here we are invited into the world of Robin Longstride(Russell Crowe) who as an archer in King Richard's(Danny Huston) army fighting in the crusades. After the crusades he returns back to England pretending to be Sir Robert of Loxley, a knight who had fallen in battle and who Longstride made a blood oath to return his families sword back to Nottingham and into the hand of his aging and blind father Sir Walter(Max von Sydow). Upon arrival in Nottingham he is offered a chance at redemption as Sir Walter makes Longstride an offer...Be my son, take his name, and comfort an old man in his dying days. Longstride agrees and stays on with his band of men where he fallls for the widow of Loxley Maid Marion(Cate Blanchett). Together they protect the lands from the injustice of Prince John(Oscar Isaac) and his henchman Godfrey(Mark Strong) along with an invading army from France heading to England for an all out war against a country that has turned against itself.

This is one of the freshest retellings of any story ever brought to film. Scott and Crowe are a dream team when collaborating together. While I did enjoy Kevin Costners portrayal in the 1992 version however campy it may seem now, none the less, Crowe is and will always be Robin Hood from now on and it was nice to see a Robin Hood with an English accent. Superior acting by all and the film was low lit and gritty making it more believable than most picures set in this time frame. This is the most realistic tale of Robin Hood ever made and Scott and his crew have definitely done their homework. Sadly I feel when the Academy Awards come around it will be left out due to its relase date. Max von Sydow and Mark Strong should recieve nods for best supporting actor and Crowe, Blanchett, and Scott also deserve yet another. While not picture of the year it is one bloody good time and one of the most entertaining films I have seen in awhile. 4/5- tom

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Leviathan (1989)

"Martin: I realize you must have gone through hell. "

"Justin Jones: Gone? Bitch, we're still here! "

I've been on this kick lately of watchin monster movies and not just ANY monster movies, but those that involve water or being underwater. A strange thing to be obsessed with, I know, but fun. Something about underwater movies particularly attracts me. They share a lot of the same qualities with Sci-Fi/Outerspace films in that they have a particular otherworldly, helpless and lonely aesthetic to them. Many of them involve a small team of people doing an otherwise boring and mundane job when some invading organism or natural catastrophe causes them to be trapped, fighting for their lives. "Leviathan" is no different. I suppose this should make it boring and predictable, however (for the most part) it does not. Its the poor man's "The Thing" or maybe the rich man's "The Thing", I'm not really sure which, either way it's essentially "The Thing" on the ocean floor.

A team of underwater miner's that include Peter Weller ("Robocop"), Ernie Hudson (c'mon, Ernie Hudson - dude is in like, every movie EVER MADE!) and a bunch of other faces you will for sure recognize, stumble upon a downed Russian sub. Six Pack (Daniel Stern) boards the sub and leaves with a safe he finds. I won't divulge any more details except to say that Six Pack develops a strange rash that doesn't end so well for him or the rest of the crew. What I love about the film is the way it doesn't try to explain EVERYTHING. They never really tell you exactly what the creatures origins are or exactly what is going on above water; they only hint, and it lends a real sense of mystery to the film and it makes you fill in the blanks with your own imagination which is often scarier than anything the filmmakers could have come up with. My only real complaint is the ending. It felt to easy and far to optimistic. Early on you realize that those in charge at mining company above water do not expect any of the miners to survive but when a few do in the end it's like, 'oh well, great to see you! glad you're alive" and feels so unbelievable.

Do not let one petty gripe stop you from checking out one of the best monster movies the 80s had to offer. Creature designs done by Stan Winston and directed by George P. Cosmatos (First Blood pt. 2 and Tombstone), "Leviathan" boasts a spectacular cast, good writing and a lot more believability than most of the films of this kind, especially those from this particular era. 3.5/5 -andy

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