Friday, May 14, 2010

Your Weekend at the Movies, Giving to the Rich

Posted By on Fri, May 14, 2010 at 9:13 AM

Bugs Bunny was the best Robin Hood.
  • Bugs Bunny was the best Robin Hood.
Robin Hood: Once upon a time, there was this idea for a Robin Hood movie told from the Sheriff of Notthingham's point of view, where Robin Hood is the bad guy and the Sheriff is the misunderstood protagonist. Ridley Scott, among others, showed interest, as did his constant companion Russell Crowe. This project was discussed for years and years, until, after a thorough development process, they finally cracked it and found a way in: what if, instead of Robin Hood being the bad guy, how about a reinvention—one where Robin Hood is actually the good guy? And also, the movie is just like Gladiator. And lo, Robin Hood was rebooted without actually existing yet. Now, I must admit, I thought that Nottingham idea sounded pretty stupid, too, but at least it was an idea. The hook for the Ridley/Crowe is that it's some kind of origin movie. I'm fairly certain most Robin Hood movies throw in an origin story with their main story, absolutely free. (The Disney cartoon where he's a fox is a notable exception.) What I'm hearing is: finally, a Robin Hood movie with the vision to do in two hours what most Robin Hood movies accomplish in twenty minutes.

Actually, this sounds right up Ridley Scott's alley, and by the way, I think it's about time everyone admits that maybe the fact that Ridley Scott directed both Alien and Blade Runner is more coincidence than product of extraordinary vision. Also, Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe is pretty much the least interesting actor/director relationship of the past decade. Forget Clooney/Soderbergh, DiCaprio/Scorsese, Depp/Burton; Scott/Crowe barely measures up to Smith/Affleck. Given all that, I will still see Robin Hood, mainly because I share an apartment with someone who says there's basically no such thing as a bad Robin Hood movie, and secondarily because Cate Blanchett is awesome.

Letters to Juliet: Amanda Seyfried has mastered the art of playing high school, but most of her twentysomething roles thus far feel like the choices of a moony teenager: Mamma Mia, Dear John, and now this wan romance with nary a moment that would seem inappropriate for the Hannah Montana crowd (is the Hannah Montana crowd still called that? I am so old). You can read my full review if you're truly curious about what this entails. I guess it's a more harmless bit of spoonfeeding than Nicholas Sparks could whip up (and includes, all told, a far less ridiculous treatment of epistolary romance!), but I wish Seyfried could find the adult equivalent of her work in Veronica Mars, Mean Girls, Jennifer's Body, etc. So far, her 2010 champion movie is Chloe, less by virtue of her nudity (though there's that) than the fact that she doesn't come off like a seventeen-year-old's fantasy of grown-up life (well, maybe a seventeen-year-old dude with some healthy pretensions).

Just Wright: No-nonsense Queen Latifah (is there any other kind? Although, I should say, for a no-nonsense persona, Latifah sure appears in a lot of, you know, utter nonsense) falls for her physical therapy patient, a basketball star played by marginally successful rapper Common. The reviews haven't been good, but the trailers make it look marginally tolerable, or maybe I just saw Letters to Juliet and am hungry for any romance not based in letter-writing and falling in love after a single kiss.

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