Tag Archives: Ben Mendelsohn

Robin Hood (2018) Review



The man, the myth, the legend of Robin Hood. Derived from English folklore (most notably in the Late Middle Ages), Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw from literature, who (as the story goes) was from noble birth and fought during the Crusades before returning to England to find his lands taken by the sheriff, which made him turn against the greedy aristocracy of England and “rob from the rich and give to the poor”. It has also been said that he is highly skilled archer and a swordsman as well as being traditionally depicted in green garb. In addition, through its countless retellings and variations, familiar additions have been added to the Robin Hood lore, including a love interest with the fair lady Maid Marian, his band of outlaws “The Merry Men” (who live in Sherwood Forest), and his main antagonist the Sheriff of Nottingham or even sometimes in association with Prince John (in usurping the rightful but absent King of England (King Richard III), to whom Robin Hood remains loyal. While some tales are more extravagant than others, the common theme that runs through all is the character of Robin Hood is a sort of “champion” of the common people, fighting against the “injustice” in England, while remaining loyal to its rightful ruler. Thus, given his popularity in folklore and in the literary world, it came as no surprise that Hollywood would want to delve in the Robin Hood myth and project that image onto the silver screen. Throughout the years, there have been many adaptations (both live-action and cartoon series meant for the big and small screen, including 1943’s The Adventures of Robin Hood (starring Errol Flynn), Disney 1973’s animated feature Robin Hood, 1991’s Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves (starring Kevin Costner, Alan Rickman, and Morgan Freeman), Mel Brook’s comedic representation in 1993’s Robin Hood: Men in Tights, the BBC’s TV series Robin Hood (2006-2009), and Ridley Scott’s 2010 epic prequel Robin Hood, and many others. Now, Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate) and director Otto Bathurst present the newest cinematic iteration of the folklore outlaw hero with the 2018 movie titled Robin Hood. Does this movie add a new layer to the every-growing Robin Hood myth or does it completely flounder and miss its intended target? Read more

Ready Player One (2018) Review




Throughout the years, Hollywood has seen many famed directors rise to become legendary within the filmmaking industry; ascending on their own meticulous directorial merits when approaching a motion picture. Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Clint Eastwood, Cecil B. DeMille, and Francis Ford Coppola are just some of the names of the great ones that have made their mark in Hollywood and etched their names in the illustrious tapestry of movies. While a new generation of directors have emerged in modern times (i.e. Christopher Nolan, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo Del Toro, etc.), these legendary directors have been both respected by their peers and the entire Hollywood community as well as moviegoers everywhere. Such is the cases with director Steven Spielberg, who is among the noteworthy ranks of these “great directors”, becoming a classic household name that many (cinephiles and causal movie watchers) have come to known and the feature films he’s directed. His films, including such iconic movies like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, have become cinematic staples in not just in the realm of Hollywood, but in the history of movies. Spielberg has even delved into theatrical motions pictures that draw inspiration from very humanistic issues (war, terrorism, civil rights, identity, etc.), with films like Saving Private Ryan, The Color Purple, Schindler’s List, Amistad, Lincoln, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and most recently in The Post. Beyond the directorial chair, Spielberg has done (on several occasions) acted as a producer, executive producer, and even as a screenplay writer. He was also the co-founders of the movie studio DreamWorks Studio. Thus, with his fame growing and his film reputation amongst many being palpable (and celebrated) it’s no reason why Spielberg is considered one of the most powerful directors in Hollywood’s film history. Now, Warner Bros. Pictures and director Steven Spielberg gear up and head to the virtual world of gaming in the new film Ready Player One, based on the book of the same name by author Ernest Cline. Does Spielberg’s latest endeavor make a splash with today’s modern audience or is truly “game over” for this theatrical virtual video game world? Read more

Darkest Hour (2017) Review




Director Joe Wright has always gravitated towards doing historical period pieces for his film projects. Whether guide towards historical events or just the thrill of doing a costumed drama, Wright has brought several notable films to life. Perhaps his most famous one was his directorial debut, with 2005’s Pride & Prejudice, which starred Kiera Knightley and Matthew McFadden as the famous literary characters of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Following his film adaption of the Jane Austen’s beloved book, Wright went on to direct Atonement, which was based on novel of the same name by Ian McEwan and starred Kiera Knightley and James McAvoy in the lead roles. Wright received critical praise for Atonement, which was nominated for seven Academy Award nominations and won in the categories for Best Production Design and Best film. From there, Wright several other films, including 2009’s modern drama The Soloist, 2011’s action thriller Hanna, and his 2012’s cinematic adaptation of Lev Tolstoy Anne Karenina. His last project was back in 2014, with Wright jumping head first into big-budgeted filmmaking and J.M. Barrie’s timeless tale with the movie Pan. Set as fantasy prequel to the original story, Pan, which starred Hugh Jackman, Garett Hedlund, and Rooney Mara, was sadly a critical and financial miss, with many criticizing the film for its formulaic plot, over indulgence of computer generated imagery, and controversial cast decisions. Now, in attempt to bounce back from Pan, director Joe Wright and Focus Features (as well as Working Title) present the film Darkest Hour, a historical biopic on the early years of Winston Churchill as Britain’s Prime Minister. Does Wright newest endeavor find its historical stride or does it fail to translate cinematic revelation from this poignant figure in history? Read more

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review



For generations, millions of moviegoers and fans alike have rejoiced and celebrated the Star Wars franchise, one of the biggest and most recognizable names in all of science fiction (rival only to Star Trek). From the original film saga (Episodes IV, V, VI) to its prequel film saga (Episodes I, II, III), and to the start of its new film saga (consisting of Episode VII, VIII, IX), the legacy of Star Wars has grown, captivating many with its epic sci-fi universe of space pirates, aliens, stormtroopers, droids, and the Jedi, with the elegant lightsabers for a more “civilized age” and their mystical omnipresent lifestream power “The Force”. Beyond the core roman numeral feature films (seven out of nine currently produced), the Star Wars brand has endured and flourished, branching out to many (and I do mean many) other media outlets in order to expand its own universe. From comic books, to video games, to animated TV shows, and a plethora of book novelizations, which some have been accepted an official Star Wars cannon and some that have been have been dismissed as “Legends” aka non-official Star Wars cannon (a result due to Disney acquired Lucasfilms and the Star War franchise. With the success of Episode VII: The Force Awakens (and with Episode VIII coming out at the end of 2017), Lucasfilms (under Disney’s ownership) and director Gareth Edwards present the very first theatrical spin-off film of the Star Wars universe with the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Given its inherit hype and being one of the most talked about movies of all 2016, does this non-episode Star Wars entry deliver being a grand spectacle or is it a failed prequel spin-off that’s a far cry from a galaxy far, far away? Read more