Sunday, February 24, 2019

Robin Hood review

There have been many productions of the English folk tale of Robin Hood. The last movie version I saw was Ridley Scott's dour Robin Hood. (2010) And to be frank, none have bested the classic Errol Flynn version, The Adventures of Robin Hood. (1938) Now comes this year's Robin Hood to take on the legend of the man who steals from the rich and gives to the poor.

Lord Robin of Loxley (Taren Egerton) is drafted to fight in The Crusades is taken away from his love, Marian. (Eve Hewson) While in the Holy Lands. he becomes disheartened by war and tires to prevent the execution of Yahya's (Jamie Foxx) son. Robin returns to England to find that the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) is seizing property and taxing the population to fund the war. Yahy had come to England to discover who is funding the war and try to stop it. He sees Robin and offers to help him rebel against the Sheriff.

Okay, you've got to be wondering how a hip African American actor like Jamie Foxx is going to be fit into a thirteenth century English folk tale. And if you're thinking it's a bit silly, you would be right. I mean this version of Robin Hood with Foxx reminded me of 1991's Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves with it's cramming of the talented African American Morgan Freeman into that movie And don't get me wrong, I'm all for diversity when it's not artificial. The problem with this casting will become apparent. By the way Mel Brooks had some fun with the cramming of a hip African American in an English folk tale. In Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) it was with Dave Chappelle in the Freeman role. Brooks also added some rap music.

David James Kelly and Ben Chandler'screenplay tries to put some modern touches in this folk tale. I mean the Sheriff is a tyrant and he decries the migration of foreigners. Sound familiar? And there is a theme that war is perpetuated by men in power. But if you are going to go with this type of metaphor, you better write an interesting and entertaining movie. I did not really care about what was happening to the people. And get this. Robin's merry men are given a short shrift. We don't even get the fabled Sherwood Forest until the end and then it's a throwaway line. And then there is Foxx's character. Robin Hood is supposed to be unknown to the authorities because most of the time he's wearing a hood. But Foxx runs around medieval England without a mask. Think about it. He's a hip black guy in the middle of lily white England. And no one notices.

But what about the performances? Well, they're okay given the material. That being said, I couldn't help but notice that Egerton and Mendelsohn looked like they just got a five hundred dollar haircut from a Beverly Hills stylist. I mean didn't guys in the thirteenth century have long hair? Good to see F. Murray Abraham again even if it's a stereotypical villainous Cardinal.

Director Otto Bathurst doesn't handle the action scenes well. He relies on fast cutting and the choices
in the editing don't allow the audience to enjoy the stunts or the action. Second, this movie looks low budget as it feels as if every scene has been shot on one set. And it's a set that looks like one street. If the script would only allow the Robin Hood to say venture into Sherwood Forest but alas it was not to be.

Look if you're going to do a fresh take on the Robin Hood legend, then get it out of the thirteenth century.  I have fond memories of a science fiction take in the late sixties.  It was a cartoon called Rocket Robin Hood. Of course there's Robin and the Seven Hoods (1964) featuring Frank Sinatra.

Robin Hood hints at a sequel.  I'm guessing that the producers are optimistic that  this movie will do great at the box office or home video. .  I say to them, I believe that Republicans will support Medicare for All.  Keep waiting, America.  Both have equal chances of happening.   And hey Taren Egerton, don't hold your breath for a sequel. Get ready for the next Kingsman. The grade for Robin Hood is C.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Best Science Fiction Film of 2018

This year's best science fiction film of the year could be considered a family movie.  It's all about family.  Just turn it off once the credits roll because the mid-credit scenes wreck it unless you've see Avengers: Infinity War.  The "coveted"  Basement Blog Science Fiction Film of 2018 goes to:

Ant-Man and the Wasp.

It's a mix of quantum mechanics, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, a family's love, and comedy.  It's better than its predecessor.

Best Film of 2018

While the Oscars have no host and are afraid of offending people, here at the Basement Blog, we have no such fear. We also don't have a show, host, or staff.   You see it's just me. But I digress. There's one film in 2018 that deserves the 'coveted"  Basement Blog Film of the Year for 2018. It is:


Director Spike Lee mixes beautiful filmmaking, humor and social commentary in a tale of an African American police officer infiltrating the Klan. When one listens to the racist ideas of the Klan, one can hear them echoed today with our current president. President Trump.  Lee sends a strong message against hatred in America.