Worth donning the Hood? A Review On Robin Hood 2018

Robin Hood Poster

            The classic tale of Robin Hood is a legend among countries, continents, and media franchises alike.  Various iterations have been forged from the fires of Hollywood’s studios some epic portrayals of the English hero and others that some think should remain lost in the mists of stories.  Nevertheless, Lionsgate is attempting to revive the story again, in hopes that it will be a box office success and potentially lead to another trilogy.  What’s in store?  Robbie K here to help you out with that as we do another review on:

 

Movie” Robin Hood (2018)

 

Director:

Otto Bathurst

Writers:

Ben Chandler (screenplay by), David James Kelly (screenplay by)  | 1 more credit »

Stars:

Taron EgertonJamie FoxxBen Mendelsohn

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Actors:  A great movie relies on many things, but most fans go for their favorite actors.  In this film the casting was spot on with Taron Egerton being a prime choice for many given his popularity at the moment.  The English Actor interjects some modern edge to the role, that holds some class, spunk, and as my friends reported a new hot look to the mix. His portrayal certainly has a new sense of honor, but a little more rebellion behind it than the previous renditions.  Jamie Foxx on the other hand certainly has the disciplinary edge of the Little John, dropping his whimsical, clumsy nature for one with more fire and vigor.  Their chemistry is sensational, leading the rest of the cast to craft the next band of warriors for a new generation.

 

Costumes:  If actors are not pretty enough for you, then the costumes may be the ticket to pull you into the film further.  The new Robin Hood is like an Abercrombie designer combining modern flare with old English battle war apparel, to make some impressive looking outfits.  Perhaps in time for the next season Halloween, or maybe a winter coat for the holidays, the new style is certainly appealing in the long run.

 

The Action Flare:  This Robin Hood is certainly the type to take the flashy and flaunt it.  The trailers portrayed the action sensationally well, with graphics that have a certain element and angle that is unique, but also in that cheesy, artificial manner that Hollywood has been a fan of capitalizing on.  Robin’s hood’s flashy effects are probably a large reason for a theater visit, but it’s high energy and speed are certain to entertain younger audience members in their rather loud, visually intense moments.

 

Simplistic: In a sense, the movie at least has a finite presentation that doesn’t fall victim to the convoluted, artistic approaches some choose to do.  As such it brings cheap thrills and simplistic enjoyment in the grand scheme of things.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Sheriff Of Nottingham: No surprise, the bad guy isn’t my favorite character and that is okay However, the movie I don’t think took the character in a direction I thoroughly enjoyed.  This sheriff was a little to political and not enough strategy/action. His slimy nature and story design is lackluster and his inclusion in the film is only focusing on the political game that wasn’t the most entertaining twist on the story. This brings me to the next dislike

 

The Political Game: Robin Hood always had a political message and statement in it, the tale of the ragtag band of mercenaries standing up to rich in the name of the poor.  However, the 2018 remake gets a little too heavy in this aspect, focusing more on the discussions between all authoritarian power honors and the leaders of the rebellion.  This leads to dry dialogue, bloated speeches between the parties, and a small strategic strike at the powers that be.  Political enough for the strongly opinionated, and certainly a smarter approach in terms of dialogue.  Yet, it’s not the most entertaining, which leads to the next dislike.

 

Action:  The special effects are ready to go, with enough explosions and CGI to make Michael Bay proud.  Robin Hood though does not execute the action to the full extent the trailers hinted at for me.  Bouts are short, often reduced to mere minutes where the combination of random shots, CGI arrows, and extras flopping take point.  Sword fights are practically nil, and instead of a tense/engaging action sequence that other installments made famous, the movie is all about flash in the pan effects to get you from one political scene to the next.  It was a valiant attempt to kick the series off, but for this reviewer there are still other versions (namely the Disney version) whose action is much more involved and finessed than this modern rendition.

 

The Pace:  While the actions scenes help break up the monotony of the film, it still didn’t help with the pace of the movie.  Thanks to the political approach of the film, many may find it a bit sluggish in movement as they characters fall into heavy debates of how to handle all the funds.  It gets points for realism, but for me I was hoping for that same epic adventure the tale has been in the past.  After all, with stunts and arrow shots that defy reality, why would one not try to unleash the full potential of the pace and action with it.

 

Rushed Ending:  Maybe all the slowness means and epic finale to wrap everything up. Sorry, not the case for me.  Robin Hood’s bout with the Sherriff and his elite squad is much more lackluster than most of the films I’ve seen.  The final “battle” is more so a mob riot with only glimpses of actual combat occurring.  A semi impressive the plan, the finale had three errors that took away from the film. It starts with a rather boring fight, throw in a plan that was a little too easy and with little suspense, and then rapidly executed to the point of blink and you’ll miss a few things.  After all the waiting, how could they not end this with a bullseye we had been wanting.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            This rendition is not the complete picture I think Lionsgate was going for, and there is so much more to comment on in areas to improve.  While the casting is good and effects are ready to support the guerilla warfare motif, Robin Hood need some more editing and finesse to bring the most out of the film’s action.  Yet, if you are looking for a more realistic, representation of the political aspect of the days of yore, perhaps this is the hot ticket you have been looking for, and the slower, dryer pace will make you feel right at home.  Nevertheless, I’ll recommend holding out for this film, given everything coming out. 

 

My scores are:

Action/Adventure Thriller: 6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

It’s the Finale Countdown

Operation Finale Poster

            History teaches us many lessons, but sadly we sometimes are still too stubborn to learn when it things come wrapped in a convenient, shiny package.  Still, there are movies still trying to use their bucks to teach lessons in the tales they have to share. Tonight, yours truly attended the showing of the latest historical, biography, drama that hopes to make a mark.  What is in store?  As always please read to find out as I review:

 

Movie:  Operation Finale (2018)

 

Director:

Chris Weitz

Writer:

Matthew Orton

Stars:

Oscar IsaacBen KingsleyMélanie Laurent

 

LIKES:

 

Pacing:  For the most part, a drama like this is often slower than the movies I prefer, yet Operation Finale managed to meet this expectation. A brisk pace that allowed for detail, the audience was more than capable of finding that balance to tell it’s tale and not leave me falling asleep. 

 

The Class:  A Holocaust movie always runs the risk of diving into the dark, deep end of the horror pool, which can be hard to watch.  Again, Weltz and his team found the balance of making references to the horrible event, but adding a filter that alludes to the event without showing too much.  The result is crafting a piece of work that respectfully shows the events, but not in the distasteful display that many movies relish in.  As such, it doesn’t downplay the significance it, but rather integrates into the story.

 

The Relevance of Characters: A stuffed group into 2 hours is not easy to do, but Operation Finale made sure to integrate as many of the characters as possible and give a point to their inclusion.  No matter how small the role, each character has contributed to the operation in some manner to warrant their time on the silver screen. 

 

The History/Moral Lesson: The movie set out to teach lessons, and it certainly did.  History comes in a variety of forms, but this movie certainly felt like a visual book (yes I get the irony), still it’s an integrated piece of work that achieves the story telling history strives to obtain.  And like history, the moral lessons involves are poetically delivered without all the preachy planned speeches Hollywood writers love.  It’s the realism and musical score that drive all these lessons home, and a fantastic future for using this movie for teaching classes.

 

The Acting:  The movie’s bread and butter though is the acting. Character integration required a lot of dynamic play off of each other, and our cast was up to the challenge of bringing it to life.  At this point, all the secondary/supporting characters get a nod for their work, each member feeling like a part of the team that held their own emotional charge towards the common goal.  However, the key pillars of the movie are Ben Kingsley and Oscar Isaac the leads of the film. Isaac trades his X-Wing uniform for a more modest suit, and adapts the strong emotional power of an Israeli Jewish man forced to confront a lot of baggage.  It’s realistic, powerful, and the anchor to which much of the movie relies on and he rocks it.  As for Kingsley, the man is a legend for a reason and he beautifully opens the door of the antagonist role and the complexity that can come with it. Another balance of emotional prowess, the man will keep you guessing at what lies within the dark mind of the German War Elite.  The two together play a game of cat and mouse, and while not filled with gun play, or car chases, it’s this emotional tug of war that is immersive and kept me into the drama at hand.  Bravo to the casting director for bringing these powerhouses together.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Pace at times: Pacing is mostly good, but there are some slower moments that didn’t have quite the oomph that the rest of the movie did.  These parts bloated the movie more and didn’t quite deliver the punch for me.  Small dislike, but it leads me to the next limitation for me.

 

The Length:  The movie worked to portray a lot of angles on this historical event.  Operation Finale didn’t quite need to be over 2 hours for me, with probably at least 20 minutes being edited out with ease.  I see where it is going with the length to try and pay homage to those who lost their lives to the greatest tragedy, but in regards to the story it didn’t quite need the extra time.  Especially, when it comes to my next dislike.

 

The Other Character Stories: A lot of characters were introduced at the beginning, each played up for their emotional struggles to bring the former Nazi to justice.  And after a prolonged intro, many of the characters kind of stopped there. Operation Finale showed potential for very deep characters, and while the leads got the most dive into the psyche, the rest of the cast kind of got a fly over.  More integration and struggle would have been much appreciated for me to help further bring the group to life.  It’s not that the others were bad, but by explaining them a little more, the movie might have better utilized the 2 hours it had to have.  While the secondary crew accomplished their mission, some more tweaking could have strengthened things.

 

THE VERDICT: 

 

            For a historical drama. Operation Finale was one of the better ones to grace the silver screen in recent years.  While nothing like the legendary historical dramas that came before it, this film struck a balance I appreciated between historical presentation and dramatizing moments.  The two lead actors soared with their chemistry and by working around this entropy favored performance, brought the heart and soul of the cinematic work to life.  Still, the movie needs a little tweaking in investing in other characters to justify being greater than 2 hours as well as editing a few things out.  Still, this movie is probably a great example of classic story telling, and that element justifies the theater visit despite a lack of Big Screen effects.  Still, give this one a try when you can, I think you will enjoy it.

 

My scores are:

 

Biography/Drama/History: 8.0

Movie Overall:  7.0

 

 

Doesn’t Live To It’s Full Potential

live-by-night

 

Gangster movies have been a major component to American cinema for quite some time. With established films like The Godfather series, Scarface, among other films, sometimes it can be hard to produce a quality modern day crime film. But Ben Affleck has made an attempt this weekend with the movie Live by Night. Can Affleck’s recent resurgence revitalize the gang movie, or does his operation go belly up before it gets started?  Robbie K here with another review and as always appreciate the read.

 

LIKES:

  • Solid acting
  • Incredible Setting and Costumes
  • Very Detailed Description of a mob rising

 

Summary: Affleck’s stoic, monotone, performances continue to find footholds in a variety of parts, and his portrayal of a gangster with a conscience is spot on.  Although not the most emotionally dynamic character, Affleck’s tactics work in portraying a man struggling with the trials at hand. Chris Messina as his sidekick has more of an edge that helps offset the monotone delivery of the lead role. Other actors do their job of crafting the seedy mob family, being cunning, ruthless, or strong to accomplish their goals.  If the acting doesn’t sell the gangster setting than the costumes and scenery will do the trick. Live by Night uses the big budget of the film industry to recreate the roaring 20s, complete with old fashioned zoot suits, classic car models, and the nostalgic traditional models of high-end restaurants.  I felt I had traveled back in time in this flick, with only the high definition cameras and a recognition of modern day fabric to shatter the illusion.  Finally, the other component that sells the crime theme is the attention to detail of starting a crime syndicate.  Most other crime movies often have our character in an established family, but Live By Night twists this concept and casts Affleck into raising a satellite family in Florida.  Much of the film is focuses on how he establishes business contracts, allies, love, occasionally throwing in some conflict resolution that brings a little excitement to the film.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Slow pace
  • Awkward Summaries
  • Boring At times
  • Rushed over ending

 

Summary: Although some of my favorite mafia movies don’t have action, they at least have an engaging plot that is suspenseful.  Not the case for this movie. Live by Night is slow, often paying a little too much attention to monotonous details for building the empire.  The film tried to build the suspense with their overdone explanations that promised some heart crushing moments… only to wrap things up with a monologue from Affleck describing what happened.  These mundane, overlapping comments did little for me other than decrease the run time of the movie and I was disappointed at the lack of effort for drama.  The result for me was a very boring film not only in terms of action, but in emotional suspense as well.  If you look at the classics, the storytellers built up tension that climaxed at those gut-wrenching moments as a character was killed.  However in this film, they seldom came close to matching that suspense, the only exception being two moments near the end of the film. And speaking of the ending… it felt out of place for me.  Live By nights “exciting” climax has a heated battle that fits well into the theme of the movie, but finally relieves the boring moments.  Had they ended with the monologue after that it would have been perfect.  Yet, the movie didn’t stop and added an extra twenty minutes that summed things up, but in a manner that to me was very simplistic, rushed, and lackluster. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

Live by Night is a gangster movie that felt more like a video guide to starting a bootlegging operation.  It certainly has the look and feel of a gangster movie, complete with family drama, but it lacks that edge the mobster classics had.  Outside of a few moments, this movie was a little toned down for my tastes, and I didn’t like the monologue summaries as they robbed us of some exciting conclusions.  Therefore, this reviewer can’t recommend this movie for the theater outside of the look of the movie. 

 

My scores are:

 

Crime Drama: 6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0