Friday, May 12, 2017

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

My View:  King Arthur: Legend of the Sword  (2017)  A young Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) runs with his crew on the back streets of Londinium, unaware of his royal lineage. He then draws the sword Excalibur from the stone. With the sword and a mage (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey), he is ready to take on the tyrant Vortigern (Jude Law) – the man who murdered his parents and stole his crown. The director of this film, Guy Ritchie, also directed the two Sherlock Holmes films starring Robert Downey Jr. This movie feels like Sherlock Holmes goes to the Middle Ages. It has modern dialogue, fast quips and big action sequences that are done in slow motion, with the hero avoiding arrows “Matrix” style.  There is a lot of flash in this film but very little substance. I hated the performance of Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey who plays the mystical mage like she is a geek girl in high school. Hunnam does well in the action sequences, but the star of the film is Jude Law, whose scenes are fun to watch because he just goes over the top with his performance.  Overall, this retelling of the legendary tale just doesn’t work.    My Rating: Cable   King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Website
Indiefest Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer  (2016)  Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere) is a small time operator who befriends a young Israeli politician (Lior Ashkenazi) at a low point in his life.  Little did the two friends know that the young politician was bound to become the Prime Minister of Israel. This is a fascinating tale and Gere, as the well-worn small time “fixer,” is brilliant. You feel sorry for Norman almost as soon as he appears on screen due to Gere making himself almost disappear before our eyes in his frumpy suit. It’s an enjoyable tale of a man who, by accident, gets what he has always wanted and then loses it, mostly due to his past transgressions.  This isn’t a perfect film as it gets bogged down toward the end, but it’s worth seeing to experience Gere in this role.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Norman Website
My ViewSnatched  (2017)  When her boyfriend dumps her before their exotic vacation, Emily (Amy Schumer) talks her ultra-cautious mother (Goldie Hawn) into taking the vacation with her. They will go on a trip of a lifetime if it doesn’t kill them.  I was surprised by how much I laughed during this film because I hated the trailer, but the film is saved due to the great chemistry between Schumer and Hawn. Amy Schumer threatened to leave the project if Goldie Hawn wasn’t hired as her mother in the film, and thank goodness the studio listened. Hawn perfectly plays off of the sarcastic alcohol-fueled Schumer. Christopher Meloni is hilarious as an American adventurer who vows to help the women get back to the U.S. There is a scene in this film with Meloni that I thought a fellow film critic was going to die because he was laughing so hard. There are a few dumb gags, and the film does justice to its R rating, but overall this is a funny movie.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Snatched Website
IndiefestCitizen Jane: Battle for the City  (2016)  A documentary about the writer and urban activist Jane Jacobs, who fought to save historic buildings in New York City in the 1960’s. This is an intriguing film about the little guy being able to take on and win against big government. The film moves at a brisk pace and never becomes dull, using extensive archival footage to show what was happening in the battle to shape a city. Jacobs was an accomplished strategist who studied the streets of New York City and its people. The film does an excellent job of giving us both sides of the story; a battle between a very smart woman and a government who thought it could solve its urban problems with bigger and newer buildings. After seeing this film, you will come away with a feeling of respect for old neighborhoods in big cities and you might be inspired to fight for them.  My Rating:  Full Price   Citizen Jane Website
Forgotten Film: Smashed (2012)   (I reviewed this film back in 2012, but after talking to some friends, I realized that not many people have seen this film.)  Married couple Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul), whose love is built on their drinking habits, are tested when Kate decides to get sober. This is one of those films that is very hard to watch, just because the characters go through so much pain. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is outstanding as Kate, who lies at the drop of a hat to cover up her drinking but realizes, after waking up too many times in strange places, that she must change her life. Aaron Paul doesn’t do a bad performance as her husband, but this is Winstead’s movie, and she runs with it. You sincerely hope that she can get her life together, but you also know that it’s going to take some significant changes and sacrifices, including, probably, the sacrifice of her marriage.    My Rating: Full Price   Smashed Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Snatched:  Textile Breakdown Artist

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   The Mummy (2017)  Universal Studios is attempting to redo their lineup of classic monster movies, and this film looks like it could work. A stellar cast, including Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe, could go a long way to making this film special.   The Mummy Website
Until Next Time!

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