Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Guy Ritchie’

Charlie Hunnam

“KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD” My rating: D+ (Opens wide on May 12)

126 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Having shrunk the great Sherlock Holmes to fit the limited palette of short attention span theater (more Vin Diesel than Conan Doyle), filmmaker Guy Ritchie has now unleashed his reductive skills on the Arthurian legend.

Predictably, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” is visually elephantine and dramatically stunted.

Know from the start that this “Arthur” has about as much in common with Malory or Tennyson as “Clash of the Titans” did with Bulfinch. Basically it’s a big shapeless slice of sword-and-sorcery, CG battles and quirky humor (providing you find it at all amusing).

In a prologue the kingdom of Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana) is seized during a great battle (war elephants the size of battleships…in England) by his scheming brother Vortigern (a sneering Jude Law, who portrays Watson in Ritchie’s Holmes franchise).

Before dying Uther sends his young son Arthur off to safety.  The boy grows up to be hunky Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”), raised in a brothel and unaware of his royal origins. He’s protective of the harlots who sheltered him, and regularly attends classes at a dojo run by an Asian martial arts master. (Seriously, there’s dialogue referring to “kung fu.” In Medieval London.) (more…)

Read Full Post »

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo

“THE MAN FROM UNCLE” My rating: C+

116 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Having dragged down the great Sherlock Holmes to our world of short-attention-span cinema, Guy Ritchie now turns his camera on a fondly remembered TV series from the 1960s.

And, to give credit where it’s due, he has had the good sense to go easy on his usual hyperkinesis. “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” isn’t particularly memorable, but it introduces some interesting ideas and avoids the most headache-inducing elements of this director’s style.

The original was television’s answer to the James Bond craze. Unlike the overtly satiric “Get Smart,” “U.N.C.L.E.” (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement) took a dry, tongue-in-cheek approach to international spying.

And in Napoleon Solo (portrayed back in the day by Robert Vaughn) the series gave us an impossibly unruffled, cooler-than-cool protagonist, who could view his own imminent demise with sardonic indifference.  The series was so huge it spawned action figures, toy guns and much more — one of the lunchboxes even has a home at the Smithsonian now.

Ritchie and a small army of writers give us an origin story that is less impressive for its dramatic elements than for its painstaking re-creation of swinging Europe in the ’60s.

Things get off to a busy start when the nattily dressed Solo (Henry Cavill, the current Superman) enters squalid East Berlin to spirit Gaby (“Ex Machina’s” Alicia Vikander), a tomboyish auto mechanic, over the Berlin Wall to freedom.

Their escape is almost foiled by a Soviet agent (Armie Hammer), who with his slow-burn,  hulking presence and almost superhuman strength seems a close relation to Robert Shaw’s assassin in “From Russia With Love.”

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Downey as Sherlock...man of 1,000 disguises

“SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS”  My rating: C 

129 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

The Robert Downey Jr.-powered “Sherlock Holmes” franchise, like the “Transformers” franchise, makes me feel very, very old.

Both series are hugely successful. Apparently they make other moviegoers terribly happy.

But they leave me feeling…empty. For all their visual razzle dazzle, there’s no there there. I might as well be beating myself over the head with an inflated pig bladder for all the pleasure these movies provide.

I know, I know. What a disagreeable old man I have become.

It’s not that I cannot appreciate superficial charm.  But these movies aren’t charming. Just superficial.

(more…)

Read Full Post »