Robin Hood (2010)

After checking the reviews on Friday, the first three I read were pretty bad and didn’t have many good things to say at all. And after a few people chiming in on facebook, my better half saying it’s Russell Crowe, and the fact that I had some movie cash from Apollo 13 bluray…OK…I will go ahead and go.

Ok, I am guessing everyone here knows the story of Robin Hood as there are probably more movies about this character than any other. This movie focuses on how Robin Hood came to be, From the Crusades in France, the journey home and what happens upon his return. Russell Crowe (Gladiator, The Insider), well, is just kind of there on screen as Robin Hood. He does what is needed of him, but nothing really shows off what he is capable of as an actor.  Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, Elizabeth) is of course Marion. She probably has the best performance of the entire cast, but again like Crowe, not near what she is capable of. The cast is rounded out with Max von Sydow (The Exorcist, Minority Report), William Hurt (Dark City, A History of Violence) and Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes).

Ok, after many reviews, some very good, some very bad….what did I think of Ridley Scott;s (Alien, Gladiator, Blade Runner) attempt at Robin Hood? Well, I thought it was just that, an attempt. Actually I thought the story was good, acting wasn’t terrible, and had they titled the movie The Archer and the King of England, I would have liked it. To me this had very few elements of an actual Robin Hood movie, other than characters names. we all know what Robin Hood is about…Right? Lets all say it together…..

He steals from the rich to give to the poor.

Only once did this idea make it into the film, and was quickly done with bags of grain, not even money or gold. Not once did they hide out in Sherwood Forest. Only in the end did Robin Hood do something outstanding with a bow and arrow, again another element of a Robin Hood movie that everyone wants to see were missing. Actually the movie ended where most audiences wanted it to begin. I know that was the way I felt.

There is another element to think about though, that could change my mind about the film entirely. A sequel. It was left open and at a point where you could now make a movie and call it Robin Hood and have it be what everyone was wanting out of this first film. When first seeing The Fellowship of The Ring for the first time, I was pretty ho-hum about the whole thing, but now seeing it and how it fits in, I like it much better. That could be the case here. Although at least with The Fellowship of the Ring, you knew there were two more films coming. If there is another Robin Hood, I may change my mind, but I would feel almost used, in the fact that I put in 2 hours and 20 minutes of my time just so Ridley Scott could set up the next film, which is the film I wanted  the first time. My final thought, if you do venture out to see this one, pretend like the title is The Archer and the King and you will be fine. Don’t expect to see much of what you know as Robin Hood, that is nonexistent.

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Proof of Life

085391905226fDespite negative reviews when this film opened, I actually enjoyed watching this film. This film is about a husband and wife just moving to South America. While building a dam, Alice’s husband, Peter, played by David Morse (Contact, 16 Blocks)  is kidnapped by a local militant group. Enter the negotiator, Terry Thorne. The rest of the film in a nut shell is the negotiating with the group for Peter’s release, with a few side plots and twists here and there.

Alice, played by Meg Ryan (You’ve Got Mail, City of Angels) and Terry Thorne, played by Russel Crowe (Best Actor Gladiator) are the two main characters and through the drama, supposedly develop feelings for one another. This was the only fault in the movie for me. I never did think there was much going on between them throughout the entire movie until they parted ways at the end. It made me feel like I missed out on a big romance, and I didn’t think there was much there as far as a relationship. They either should have made more of a romance and then it would have ended up like Bridges of Madison County with the wife left to choose who to be with in the end, or they could have left out the romance completely and would have been a good political thriller on it’s own.

In all, this was a better film than what the critics made it out to be. Even though the love story falls flat for me, there is plenty of action and drama to keep me more than interested. This isn’t one that everyone should see once in their lifetime, but for fans of movies, I would recommend it.

American Gangster

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Denzel Washington (Best Actor Training Day) and Russell Crowe (Best Actor Gladiator) make a great pairing for a movie. It is a shame they didn’t have more scenes together. When they finally are together in the interrogation scene, it really is good, the subtle things like pushing the coffee cup back and forth across the table. Just wish there were more of it.

The story is about Frank Lucas and his rise to power as a gangster. Russell Crowe plays Richie Roberts, the honest detective in pursuit of him. Not to give to much away, but I would have have liked to have seen an additional 30 or 45 minutes to the movie and focus on everything that happened once Frank Lucas was caught. That would have added a lot to Denzel’s character and solved the problem of screen time together. As far as the actors and actresses go, Ruby Dee got a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Not really sure why, she was good in her role, but had very little screen time, and her confrontation scene with Denzel was good, but very short.

It sounds like I am being picky here, so don’t get me wrong, this is a very well done and enjoyable film. Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) does a great job giving the film that 70’s feel, especially with the dulled back, washed out color palate and costumes and garnered an Oscar nomination for Art Direction. Since I do have the special edition of this movie, I am looking forward to watching the director’s cut sometime and see what all was added. This is a film that is worth taking in for sure.