Directed by Ridley Scott and written by Brian Helgeland (of Green Zone), Robin Hood stars Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett (as Lady Marion), Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Oscar Isaac (as Prince John), Mark Strong, Danny Houston (as King Richard The Lionheart), Eileen Atkins (as Eleanor of Aquitaine), Mark Addy (as Friar Tuck), and Matthew Macfadyen (as the Sheriff of Nottingham).
Below are snippets from several U.S.-based reviewers.
“The difficulty is that this Robin Hood has been misconceived twice over. The first misstep, albeit a defensible one, was the decision to make this an origins story, a kind of ‘Robin Before the Hood.’ While there is no lack of action and intrigue here, those expecting traditional Robin Hood satisfactions will be left wondering if it’d be asking too much to have the guys kicking back in Sherwood the way we remember them.” Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times.
“In one unfortunate regard, Ridley Scott’s grimy Robin Hood lives up to the actions of its legendary character: It, too, robs — just from richer movies.
“Scott’s bungled yet matinee-worthy take on that brave 13th-century archer who targets England’s corrupt royalty isn’t nearly as original as everyone associated with it reportedly believes. The fuss about how it boldly reinvents a beloved tale winds up as truthful as those laundry-detergent claims heralding a ‘new’ and ‘improved’ product. There’s no whiff of genuine freshness here.” Randy Myers in the San Jose Mercury News.
“In the new Robin Hood, Russell Crowe’s iconic medieval hero wears no tights, shows little interest in redistribution of wealth, scarcely bothers with the Sheriff of Nottingham, fights alongside Maid – sorry, Lady Marion and all but forces King John to sign the Magna Carta. … The result is less a Robin Hood story than an epic action movie that sees Crowe at the center of English history at the turn of the 13th century. It’s Gladiator in Sherwood Forest – only, for God’s sake, don’t mention Sherwood Forest either.” Kirk Honeycutt in The Hollywood Reporter.
“The interesting thing is the way in which Robin Hood fails. By being too long, too illogical, too silly, and most damningly by not really being about Robin Hood, at least not the one you’re familiar with. It’s a shocking turn of events given the pedigree of everyone involved. I predicted great things. I was treated to a largely aimless and irrelevant re-imagining.” Laremy Legel in the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
“The latest Robin Hood might as well be called John Doe in Chain Mail for all the resemblance it bears to the legendary character.
“That might not be so bad if the alternative portrait was intriguing. But Robin Hood, as envisioned by Ridley Scott and scripted by Brian Helgeland, is an unnecessary and wrong-headed reboot.” Claudia Puig in USA Today. (Review title: “Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood robs from the filmgoers.”)
Photo: Universal Pictures
Russell Crowe, Robin Hood
Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood has been greeted by less than merry reviews. And I’m putting it kindly.
Starring Russell Crowe as a Robin Hood with little in common with previous cinematic Robin Hoods – and those range from Douglas Fairbanks in 1922 to Errol Flynn in 1938 and Kevin Costner in 1991 – the latest retelling of the Robin Hood legend offers little of interest as well, according to movie critics.
Robin Hood, which features its title hero fighting the evil French (!), opened the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, located in where else but France itself. If the reviews from US-based critics are an accurate indication of the mood at the Cannes premiere, French attendees were likely too bored to feel offended.
James Mottram, of the London daily The Independent called Robin Hood an “inauspicious start” to the 63rd Cannes Film Festival, adding that while the Scott-Crowe Oscar-winning Gladiator (2000) “revived the swords-and-sandals epic, it’s hard to foresee Robin Hood precipitating a host of imitators. Not least because Crowe’s ho-hum take on the Nottingham outlaw never comes close to matching the blood-and-thunder of his gladiator. Playing Robin with all the mumbling machismo he can muster, there are times when watching him is as fun as a visit from the tax inspector.”
But why would Cannes want to open their prestigious film festival with Hollywood garbage? Sheer desperation for Hollywood-generated publicity, apparently. That, in addition to a convenient marketing tie-in: this week Universal is opening Robin Hood – a $237 million production ($200 million after rebates) – in the United States and in dozens of countries around the world.
Note: Universal had claimed that Robin Hood had cost $155 million. That makes you wonder about the real production cost of stuff like Universal’s own Green Zone (a major flop officially budgeted at $100m), Iron Man 2 (officially about $200m) and Avatar (officially about $220 million or whereabouts).
Robin Hood production cost source: TheWrap
Russell Crowe Robin Hood photo: Universal Pictures.
Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark in Iron Man 2
There were some positive reviews for Iron Man 2 out there now, but, really, a 5.9 average at Rotten Tomatoes isn’t exactly what I’d call a fruit I’d want to eat. Directed by Jon Favreau from a screenplay by Justin Theroux, Iron Man 2 brings back Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, in addition to, in order of importance, his iron suit, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, and Mickey Rourke.
Will the generally poor or not-all-that-enthusiastic reviews mar the film’s box office performance when it opens on Friday in the United States and Canada? You must be kidding. Expect huge figures.
But will this Iron Man sequel have Iron Legs at the box office? That remains to be seen. Don’t be too surprise if his legs turn out to be made out of plastic.
Below are snippets from several Iron Man 2 reviews, including a positive one from respected critic Roger Ebert, who is usually very generous in his movie reviewing. Maybe that’s one of the reasons Ebert remains so popular.
“As sequels go, this one is acceptable, nothing more, nothing less. … Given the non-organic way Iron Man 2‘s plot came into the world hatched by the producers in a series of meetings before a screenwriter was brought on it’s surprising that the film has any pluses at all. What makes the difference, at least for a while, is the sense of humor of screenwriter Justin Theroux, who also wrote for Downey in the manic Tropic Thunder.” Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times.
“The problem with Iron Man 2 isn’t just that it’s a loud, frenzied, clanking heap of rusting metal bits that fails to deliver much of the charm, humor or razzle-dazzle of the original 2008 blockbuster.
“Iron Man 2 is a polished, high-ozone sequel, not as good as the original but building once again on a quirky performance by Robert Downey Jr. The superhero genre doesn’t necessarily require good acting, but when it’s there (as in Iron Man and The Dark Knight), that takes it up a level. Downey here gives us a Tony Stark who is cockier and more egotistical than ever. Or, and here’s the key, he seems to be.” Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times.
“So you might say that the movie has something for everyone, which is fine but also, in the end, not quite enough. You’re left wanting more, but not quite the “more” “Iron Man 2” works so hard to supply.” A.O. Scott in the New York Times.
“The substance of the original Iron Man, the brain and the soul that set it apart from the typical seasonal fare and made it one of the best films of 2008, also have been blown to bits.” Christy Lemire in The Associated Press.
“The franchise still has a lot of spark, but next time they need to clean the corrosion off the batteries.” Peter Howell (giving the film a fresh tomato…) in the Toronto Star.
Photo: Paramount Pictures / Marvel.
English-language film reviewers have given mixed notices to another high-profile Hollywood production screened at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. But at least when compared to Ridley Scott’s widely panned Robin Hood, Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps could be called a major critical hit.
Written by Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff, and starring Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Michael Douglas (who won a Best Actor Oscar for his ruthless Gordon Gekko in the original Wall Street back in 2007), Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon, Frank Langella, Charlie Sheen, and Eli Wallach, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps opens in the United States on Sept. 24.
“Weirdly – and this may hurt the film’s chances this fall – Wall Street 2 goes soft on its main reason for existing. It would’ve been dull seeing the same old Gekko, to be sure. But his matchmaking duties this time out, however shadowy, defang the man. And wouldn’t this character at least betray a teensy bit of envy for all millions made by the hedge-fund wizards who came up after him? That’s the irony: So many legally sanctioned Wall Street gamblers made their hay after buying, wholesale, the glamorously unscrupulous image put forth by the original Wall Street.” Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune.
“Stone gets too fancy here and there. … A heavy reliance on multiple screens, graphics and digital tricks makes it feel like one is watching CNN with all its computer-screen busyness.
“This often distracts from what the characters are saying. With most movies, this might not be a bad idea, but the dialogue is so forceful, one wants to savor every zinger.” Kirk Honeycutt, who wonders if an actor can win two Oscars for the same role, in The Hollywood Reporter.
“Like the original Wall Street, it’s a darkly exciting steel-and-glass vision of piranhas in the water, of ruthlessly wealthy, nattily dressed men doing whatever it takes to make themselves wealthier. Stone, working from a screenplay by Allan Loeb and Stephen Schiff, conjures that same breathless atmosphere of dramatic liquidity, of a plot that hurtles along at the speed of information.” Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly.
“Stone is trying far too hard to explain the inexplicable, and there are graphs on the New York skyline, falling dominoes, bursting bubbles and neon share prices beamed on to the streets. The financial dramas Enron and The Power of Yes struggled with number-boredom too. If you don’t work in the financial sector, I suggest you take a crib sheet to the film explaining terms such as sub-prime mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps.
“You’ll also need to know the basic principles of nuclear fusion-based seawater energy production.” Kate Muir in The [London] Times.
“Like the 1987 film, this Wall Street installment is Oliver Stone in mainstream studio mode. Sure, his political slant on the financial crisis comes through loud and clear—the son of a Wall Street broker is preaching to the choir at this point—and he uses cigar-chomping alpha male Josh Brolin, who played George W. Bush in W., as this film’s embodiment of Wall Street greed and villainy, Master of the Universe Bretton James. (After playing Bush, ‘I’m still confused,’ cracked Brolin at the press conference.) But James, who is part of a sprawling ensemble, is less fleshed-out and articulate than Douglass’ Gordon Gekko in the first film. He’s a caricature.” Anne Thompson at Thompson on Hollywood.
“As [Gordon Gekko] himself puts it: ‘Money’s the bitch that never sleeps, and she’s jealous.’ That charmless maxim should alert you to the fact that this is a male picture about male heroes, with phallic Cohibas (Cuban cigars) and motorbikes. Twenty-three years on, Oliver Stone has given us the sequel to the most unsubtle father-son parable in cinema history, theoretically rebooted for our new post-crash era, but in actuality just as saucer-eyed and uncritically celebratory about it all as ever.” Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian.
Photo: Barry Wetcher / 20th Century Fox