Feb 14

Not Another Shakespeare Movie!

Since my teen years, William Shakespeare has been my constant lover and companion.  I have to confess, we never really did a “getting to know you” session, though.  We went straight into the hot and steamy love affair.  I also admire historical fiction in general, in a “we can be friends with benefits” kind of way.  So when I first saw the trailer for Anonymous, it was already decided that I would see it.  I had to make a conscious decision to not research this story line ahead of time.  I wanted to come into this as clean as possible.  I have to say that wasn’t a mistake.  Jared and  I settled into watch this on a cold snowy afternoon and it was a solid choice.

The opening and closing way of pulling you into the movie was very Shakespearean in and of itself.  It was completely annoying to have the flashbacks in a flashback of a flashback, though, and did almost ruin the mood.  I felt like I needed a pen and paper to start taking notes on the timeline and who did what when.  This proved a useful tool however as I found myself rocking a wiki on my dear Williams life to see what was fiction and what was fact.  After all, isn’t the point of a good movie to send you home thinking about it later?

The movie takes the Oxfordian theory on Shakespeare (wiki it!  It was an interesting article!) as its base and builds a very elaborate story line, mixing historical fact and fictional liberties (like assuming the Queen of England could get pregnant and it go unnoticed!).   This is the brand of historical fiction I love.  It is passion and theory on the emotions of people who lived and died long ago.

Reading a historical textbook always was so damn boring to me in school, until Mr. Paddock, my 11th grade social studies teacher, taught me to not think of the month and year and event, but think of  the people of the times.  Shakespeare has often been referred to as the “Soul of the Age”.   This film portrays that very well, even if you don’t believe the Oxfordians and are a firm Stratfordian believer.   In the visual aspect alone, you are transported back to the early 1600’s and the dawning of a new age in England (even though the film was shot in Germany!).  Minor annoyances aside, I whole heartedly recommend RedBox-ing this movie!  It was not really worth a family going to the movies opening day, but it was definitely worth my money for a movie rental.  Don’t forget the cocoa and popcorn!

Jan 19

Straw Dogs: Just say no!!!!

For anyone who reads the plot summary and thinks to themselves “Wow, this sounds like a well thought out, exciting thriller!” I have three words for you:  Just say no!  Alexander Skarsgard has been the object of many of my (as well as many other women’s) late night fantasies (Sorry Jared!).  So when I saw he had a starring role in a movie, it was already on my must watch list.  Put him together with a cast full of other top quality actors, such as James Woods,  James Marsden, Laz Alonzo, and Dominic Purcell, well hell you would think you have a hit right?  Even the trailers made the movie appear exhilarating.

That exhilaration quickly turns into painful boredom as one is watching this film.  The beginning scenes in this film feel as though you are walking through three feet of mud in a snow suit.  The movie takes a great premise and a good thesis and ruins it by giving us boring and unmemorable characters.  David and Amy Sumner feel like a couple who are on their first vacation together and haven’t quite figured out how they feel about each other yet.  They feel far from the married couple of several years they are supposed to be.  Not to mention they do nothing to make us like David.  From word one out of his mouth you are already rooting for Charlie.

That is until Charlie has to talk.  It is actually painful to hear how badly Alexander Skarsgard’s accent fades in and out.   The only redeeming quality of the movie is the short and fast paced gore-riffic battle at the Sumner homestead.  You get a few inventive death scenes for the torture-porn enthusiast and that is about it.

This film tried to tell a story using only broad strokes and used too wide of a brush.  So for anyone looking to rent this movie, I say don’t!  From what I am told your money is better spent on the original.