Category Archives: Books

Robin Hood Teaser #1 (2018) *Look for the Hood*

While this looks nowhere near as egregious an error as last year’s King Arthur nightmare, I’m curious as to why Hollywood keeps feeling the need to “reinvent” stories like Robin Hood.  The character has been around for hundreds of years, has been interpreted dozens of times, and will be again, but there always seems to a need to rework a story that’s worked just fine: make it gritty and modern, give it attitude, whatever.  Those aren’t the things about the story or the character that have made it endure.  You CAN update a character and retain those qualities (BBC’s Sherlock did it and managed to produce the best adaptation of Holmes in my lifetime).  For more on the latest Robin Hood, read below and look for the Hood in November 2018.

In the film, a war-hardened Crusader and a Moorish commander mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure. Packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography, and a timeless romance, Robin Hood is a never before seen story of how Robin Hood became the icon and legend as we know him today.

The cast for the new Robin Hood includes Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eddie the Eagle) as the title hero, with Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained, Ray) as Little John, Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey) as Will Scarlet, Eve Hewson (Bridge of Spies) as Maid Marion, Tim Minchin (Californication) as Friar Tuck, and Paul Anderson (Peaky Blinders, The Revenant) as Guy of Gisborne.

Described as having a “gritty tone,” the film finds Robin Hood returning from The Crusades to discover a Sherwood Forest rife with corruption and evil. Teaming with a band of outlaws, he takes matters into his own hands to set things right, with very little merry-making along the way.

Otto Bathurst directs from a screenplay by Joby Harold. Robin Hood is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Basil Iwanyk, Tory Tunnell and Joby Harold. It will arrive in theaters on November 21, 2018.

Taron Egerton in Robin Hood

Movie Review: Ready Player One (2018) *All Pop Without the Culture*

Tye Sheridan in Ready Player One
What happens when reality gets to be too much?  Well, most of us depart it as soon as possible.  “Humankind cannot bear very much reality,” (little T.S. Eliot for you) and it’s true.  Especially in the hypersaturated information age, reality is an overwhelming non-stop sensory onslaught.  People need to check out to stay sane.  Some find healthy ways of doing this, others not so healthy, but the need for escapism remains.  In Ready Player One, the enter world has escaped a depressing society into a virtual reality playground known as the OASIS.  Inside, the whole world is engaged in a treasure hunt to find three keys that will unlock the ownership of the OASIS embedded in the system by its deceased founder.  If that sounds like an awesome premise for a story, you are correct.  The book is one of my favorite of the last decade.  Whether you like Ready Player One or not, is probably going to depend on whether you have read the book or not and know just how much better THAT story is than the one Steven Spielberg delivers. Continue reading Movie Review: Ready Player One (2018) *All Pop Without the Culture*

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Trailer #1 (2018) *Who Will Stand Against the Darkness?*

At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.

In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Here’s a breakdown of the photo:

Pictured from left to right: Jude Law plays a young Albus Dumbledore, taking on the mantle of one of J.K. Rowling’s most beloved characters; Ezra Miller makes a return as the enigmatic Credence, whose fate was unknown at the end of the first film; Claudia Kim appears as a Maledictus, the carrier of a blood curse that destines her ultimately to transform into a beast; Zoe Kravitz plays Leta Lestrange, who had once been close to Newt Scamander but is now engaged to his brother; Callum Turner joins the cast as Newt’s older brother, Theseus Scamander, a celebrated war hero and the Head of the Auror Office at the British Ministry of Magic; Katherine Waterston returns as Tina Goldstein, who has been reinstated as an Auror for MACUSA; Eddie Redmayne stars again as wizarding world Magizoologist Newt Scamander, who has now gained fame in the wizarding world as the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Dan Fogler reprises the role of the only No-Maj in the group, Jacob Kowalski; Alison Sudol reprises the part of Tina’s free-spirited sister, Queenie Goldstein, a Legilimens who can read minds; and Johnny Depp returns as the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is being directed by David Yates, from a screenplay by J.K. Rowling, and produced by David Heyman. The film Opens in theaters November 16, 2018.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Poster

My Favorite Scene: Forrest Gump (1994) “Jenny’s Grave”

Unlike most of humanity, I don’t love Forrest Gump.  CALM DOWN!  I respect the film for the performances and for breakthroughs in the craft of filmmaking, but in no way do I think the film is one of the greatest motion pictures of all-time.  “Gumpmania” swept the country in 1994, denying what should have been the most critically recognized film of the year, The Shawshank Redemption, the acclaim it has since received in the two decades since both were released.  Likewise, Tom Hanks has given at least three to five performances that were stronger Oscar candidates than Forrest Gump.  I will give the film credit, though, for some incredibly powerful, authentic scenes of types of emotion we don’t often see in film. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Forrest Gump (1994) “Jenny’s Grave”

In Theaters This Week (3/9/2018): A Wrinkle in Time, Gringo, The Strangers 2

David Oyelowo, Margot Robbie, Joel Edgerton in Gringo

Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week.   Disney vs. Disney this week as the House of the Mouse is finding itself competing against its own box office phenom: Black Panther. Continue reading In Theaters This Week (3/9/2018): A Wrinkle in Time, Gringo, The Strangers 2