Robin Hood Men in Tights (15)

Robin Hood Men in Tights (15)
Release date: 17th December 1993 (UK)
Rewatch date: 7.10.2017

From IMDB: A spoof of Robin Hood in general and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) in particular.

Robin of Locksley, known as the most skilled archer of the land, has just returned to England after fighting in the Holy Crusades, where King Richard the Lionhearted is also fighting. Robin finds that much of what he knew of England has gone to ruin, including his longtime family home having been taken away, all at the hands of the evil Prince John, Richard’s brother who has assumed the throne in Richard’s absence. Neurotic John is basically being controlled by the equally evil Sheriff of Rottingham, everything they doing to fatten their own coffers at the expense of the commoners and peasants. As such, Robin recruits a band of merry men to help him battle Prince John and the Sheriff, they who include: Blinkin, his blind longtime servant; Ahchoo, the misguided son of Asneeze, the man who helped him escape from prison while fighting in the Crusades; Little John, who seems to think that being called Little is only coincidental to the fact of he being a hulking man; and Little John’s friend, Will Scarlet O’Hara, a master with daggers. In going to the palace, Robin falls in love at first sight with Marian of Bagelle, a maid of the court. Marian is looking for the man who has the figurative and literal key to unlock her heart (and more private parts). The Sheriff has his own eyes on Marian, he who in turn is the object of desire of Latrine, a powerful hag of a sorceress of the court. Robin and the Sheriff in particular have a fight to the death mentality to achieve their end goals, which for both are protection of the throne for their trusted royal, and the heart and cherry of Maid Marian.


The Good
Let’s start strong; Cary Elwes. The dreamy, beautiful and charming Dread Pirate Roberts of the Princess Bride (1987) doesn’t seem to have aged a day in this Robin Hood send up.
He’s the perfect leading man and this film is no exception. He hits the comic notes perfectly and brings the Britishness to the spoof.
I will always love this man, and while this may never be my go-to movie of his, but I will think of it fondly.

The film has Mel Brooks’ signature jokes throughout the movie, they’re solid jokes that are comparative to Monty Python. The tone of the religious based jokes are light hearted and tactful. Something that films today could learn from.

Now, the most important thing about this film is that it’s a spoof before Scary Movie killed the genre; Men in Tights has a plot and can be followed.

The Bad
Some of the jokes are rather outdated, it’s the nature of spoofs. The jokes that pack the most punch are the relevant ones. However, it does mean that they date, fast.

It’s nowhere near as good as Brooks’ previous spoof Spaceballs (1987). It might be that I’m much more of a Sci-fi girl than a fantasy one, but it doesn’t flow as easily; feeling a lot longer as a result.

 

The Ugly
Some of the jokes miss the mark completely; mainly to do with age and growth of society. Some of the jokes delve into the sleazy uncle territory and at some points it takes itself a little too seriously.

Final Thoughts
It’s a good watch for when you’re not in the mood for Monty Python or Princess Bride. It’s not as smooth as it would have come across in 1993, but there’s enough jokes to chuckle at to forget the eyebrow raising misses.

Sleepy Hollow – 15

Sleepy Hollow – 15
Release date 22nd Novemeber 1999
Trailer
Rewatch date: 1.10.2017
From IMDB:
The curse of the headless horseman is the legacy of the small town of Sleepy Hollow. Spearheaded by the eager Constable Ichabod Crane and his new world ways into the quagmire of secrets and murder, secrets once laid to rest, best forgotten and now reawakened, and he too, holding a dark secret of a past once gone.

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Sigh. Back when I still enjoyed watching Johnny Depp. I remember seeing the posters declaring ‘heads will roll’ during the summer of 1999. I so desperately wanted to see it. It wasn’t until the following summer that I saw it and fell completely in love with the whole production. To the point that it became the focus of one of my Textile projects in Year 11.

For me, it’s my favourite Tim Burton film; replacing my love of Beetlejuice in a heartbeat. While there are elements within the film that identify it as a Burton, it also stands apart from the others for many reasons.

Their heads weren’t found severed. Their heads were not found at all.

Casting

Long before I got bored of the Burton/Depp bromance, this was the epitome of their partnership. Depp is the beautiful and charming, if not wimp like Ichabod Crane. It’s on the cusp of being cartoonish, but the darkness of the plot keeps it at bay and allows the role to provide the heavy film with a little humour.

Christina Ricci is a far better fit for this than Burton’s two other leading ladies from his past and future; Winona Ryder and Helena Bonham Carter. Ricci plays the bewitching Catrina quite perfectly.

Keen eyes will spot Burton regular Jeffery Jones as the Reverend, but it’s the bulk of the remaining cast that makes this a winner for me. It’s a British feast of acting chops; Miranda Richardson, Ian McDiarmid, Richard Griffiths and Michael Gambon. Well done if you recognised three of those names from Harry Potter. Yet to be a thing when I watched it the first time, Gambon was not a regular face to me, but clearly someone of calibre. It was upon a later rewatch I cooed ‘Dumbledore’, and of course Miranda Richardson will forever be ‘Queenie’ to me.

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The millennium is almost upon us. In a few months, we will be living in the nineteenth century. But our courts continue to rely on medieval devices of torture.

Style
This was one of the first films that really grabbed me for its stylisation; the tone, the use of camera lenses to add depth and almost a lack of colour to the film and the flashbacks for exposition.
That tree! The tree of the dead; such a wonderful and gruesome focal point for a lot of the film’s second half. It still fascinates me to this day.
The soundtack is one of Danny Elfman’s best work and I long for the day the Royal Albert Hall announce that they will be showing this film with a live orchestra.
There’s something odd and compelling about the use and representation of blood in the film. Going back to consider the filters used on the cameras I did a bit of research and it appears that the liquid used was actually bright orange in order to appear red in the finished film. Again, the physicality to the process can only add to the movie’s brilliance. Especially when you consider how most films would fix this now post-shoot.

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 Kill it! No, no! Stun it!

Christopher Walken
I know he wasn’t the Horseman; there was a stand in/ stunt guy for those headless scenes. However, he is so convincing when on screen; I chose to believe it actually is the legend himself.
He’s a brilliant, yet scary man and perfect casting to round out this amazing movie.

No, you must believe me. It was a horseman, a dead one. Headless.

Blade Runner the Final Cut(15)

Blade Runner the Final Cut(15)
Release date: May 1982 (Although the version I watched was from 2002)

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From IMDB: A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

The Good
Harrison Ford was okay as Detective Rick Decker. Part Indy, part Solo and a clear inspiration for Bruce Willis’ Fifth Element character Korben Dallas.
The noir elements (some at least), including Femme Fatale Sean Young, are quite interesting and complement the film’s beautiful score.
I can’t deny that visually it’s stunning. Some of the graphics have aged incredibly well and some of the costume choices are inspired. Zhora’s first appearance for example, is perfectly on trend. Her bejewelled body and face are currently the height of festival and club night fashion.

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The Bad
This is a filmic demonstration of style over substance. The plot is sort of there. I guess; if you squint and turn your head. Except no time has been spent on merging and streamlining some of the separate elements. There were too many metaphorical motifs and slow scenes full of interpretation.

I didn’t feel any motivation for Ford’s character, I didn’t feel anything, at all. In fact, considering the film explored the primary difference between humans and replicants and that difference being emotion; there was very little emotion. From anyone.

The Ugly
That excuse for a romantic scene. Harrison Ford, all in a fuddle about the replicant Rachael who has saved his life doesn’t want her to leave. He pins the door closed before throwing her, rather violently I might add, to the opposite wall before demanding Rachael to repeat his words.
I’m sure it was meant to be romantic, but it left me feeling uncomfortable. Debate about replicants aside; there’s a clear issue with consent here. Coaching Rachael into consent is a huge concern for me. Especially when it’s Harrison Freakin’ Ford; the beautiful man shouldn’t need forced love.

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Final Thoughts
I was bored. Bored, I say. It was slow and disconnected and I needed the Wiki plot it find out what on earth was going on (and I wasn’t on my phone or multi-tasking, before you ask).

I’m now reconsidering whether I want to see the new edition out this week.

Poseidon Adventure (1972) PG

Poseidon Adventure (1972) PG
From IMDB: A passenger ship, on her way to the scrap yard is pushed to her limits by the new owners to save on the dismantling fees. A tidal wave hits her, flipping her over so that all the internal rooms are upside down. A priest takes a mixed band of survivors on a journey through the bowels of the ship in an attempt to survive

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I will always love this movie. So many films, and even tv shows (Dr Who, I’m looking at you), have recycled this narrative format to varying results and receptions. However, nothing, not even Sly Stallone’s Daylight (1996), will take the place of the Gene Hackman fronted disaster movie.

What perhaps works so well about Poseidon Adventure is that at its heart is its characters; a priest, young siblings, a couple who boost each other and encourage themselves to continue and a reformed prostitute with her arresting officer turned loving husband.

The film’s simplicity does not rely on special effects to drawn us in and make us feel the peril, but instead it gives you time to get to know the ensemble, their fears and their motivations for survival.

When the boat tips, rendering the passengers trapped as the water threatens to drown every living person on board, you feel for the characters you have gotten to know. The only solution is to get to the engine room, which is now at the top of the capsized vessel. As with many subsequent disaster movies, the people are reduced in number as people of authority disagree about the best course of action.
The plot progresses, the survivors a met with challenges that some don’t survive. It’s not always the ones you suspect either, which is refreshing. Especially as we get into the final act and our protagonist bravely gives his life. It’s a brave move for a Hollywood movie; all the remakes have this archetype survive. You don’t see it coming and the sacrifice is sincere.

While some things may not have aged as well, it can all be overlooked on that sleepy Sunday afternoon when you want a blockbuster with heart, modesty and a plot a little closer to reality.

 

Watch if you like:

Daylight
Poseidon (2005)
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)