REVIEW: Robin Hood (2018)

Directed by: Otto Bathurst
Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Tim Minchin, Jamie Dornan

Written by Tom Sheffield

With countless films, books, and TV shows about the legendary outlaw,  we can probably assume almost everyone will have have heard of Robin of Loxely, aka Robin Hood, in some form of media. The last time we saw him on the silver screen was in 2010 played by Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, and in those 8 years Robin Hood has appeared in multiple TV films and shows, including Doctor Who,  Once Upon A Time, and Alyas Robin Hood (Bow of Justice) and many more.

Hell, there’s even films multiple films in the works focusing on Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and the Merry Men.  Disney are currently developing one under the title Nottingham and the Hood, the Wachowski sister’s have written, and will direct, a modern retelling of Robin’s story in their film Hood, and Sony are developing Marian which currently has Margot Robbie set to star in the titular role and will focus on her character as she mourns the death of Robin. It wouldn’t suprise me at this point if Disney announced a live-action remake of their 1973 animated classic and we see Robin Hood in fox form once again..

After fighting in the crusade for 4 years, Lord Robin of Loxley (Egerton) returns to Nottingham only to learn that the Sheriff of Nottingham (Mendelsohn) has pushed the people of the city to breaking point with his war taxes and tolls and they’re forced to work in the mines and constantly beaten at the hands of the Sheriff’s guards. Robin and John (Foxx), a former Arabian soldier, begin to plan their revenge by restoring hope to the people and hitting the Sheriff where it hurts most… his treasury.

It’s clear that Egerton put a lot of work into this film, even going so far as to train with YouTube archery sensation Lars Andersen. This definitely paid off in the final product because whilst some of the CGI shots were shockingly bad (some sticking out like a sore thumb), I could at least enjoy the fact that (for the most part) Egerton was being an actual badass with a bow. The performances from the rest of the cast are pretty good across the board, despite them not really having all that much to do. Hewson and Minchin were criminally underused and the film as a whole would of benefitted from giving the pair of them more screen time, especially as we start to learn more of what the pair have been up to in Robin’s absence.

The set and costume design is sure to confuse many who find themselves watching this film. The design of the character’s clothes doesn’t quite fit in with the medieval look of Nottingham. Taron Egerton could waltz down the streets of Hollywood in his Robin Hood get up and no one would bat an eyelid. Even the Crusader’s armour at the beginning of the film looks a little too modern for the setting, so much so you could have replaced the bows in their hand with a modern day rifle and it wouldn’t have looked out of place. That’s not to say the costumes don’t look good though. Some of them are really well designed and you’ll catch me wearing the Sheriff of Nottingham’s cloak when it hits the racks in M&S later this month.

The fight choreography was also very hit and miss. In some scenes it felt like their was a bit of creativity in the way Robin fought and sparked a little hope in me that it would build up to something special. Sadly this wasn’t the case and instead the audience is bombarded with pointless slow-motion shots of fists clenching, cloaks twirling, someone drop kicking a shield, and fire.. lots and LOTS of fire. As touched upon a couple paragraphs above, the CGI in some of the scenes is laughably poor. There’s one chase scene in particular that the poor quality is really noticeable on, and it feels like the constant burst of flames they’ve thrown in throughout were there to try and distract you from noticing the poor quality green screen.

As for character development, well, there was none. We know next to nothing about Robin, other than he’s a Lord and before the crusade he loved nothing more than just spending time in his manor with Marian (and doing dramatic kissing spins). Marian and the rest of the unassembled Merry Men may as well have just been another face in the crowd for this story because anyone could have stepped into their shoes. The film relies heavily on you investing in Robin and Marian’s relationship in the opening scenes of the film to add some emotional depth to the story later on but sadly they fall flat due to the  incredibly poor writing and pacing of the film.

The writing for Ben Mendelsohn’s Sheriff of Nottingham in particular was pretty underwhelming and whilst we know he CAN deliver an intimidating portrayal of a power-hungry villain (Orson Krennic in Rogue One, Sorrento in Ready Player One), the Sheriff of Nottingham just didn’t hit the mark for me here (despite Mendelsohn’s best efforts), and winds up becoming a pretty forgettable villain.

Whilst I left the cinema feeling like I’d just wasted 2 hours of my Saturday morning, my brother had the compete opposite feeling and was pretty damn happy with Robin Hood’s latest outing. My brother is a big fan of all things Robin Hood (and archery) and there probably isn’t a film, TV show, or character cameo that he hasn’t seen. Make of that what you will…

Sadly this is yet another misfire when it comes to telling the story of one of the greatest and most legendary outlaws. Maybe one of the multiple Robin Hood films currently in development might actually deliver? Just don’t tell me it’s not worth fighting for.

 

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LFF 2018: A Private War (2018)

Directed by: Matthew Heineman
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Faye Marsay, Stanley Tucci, Tom Hollander
UK Release Date: N/A

Written by Dave Curtis

War, what is it good for? after watching documentary filmmaker Mathew Heineman’s narrative debut the answer is clearly absolutely nothing. A Private War is a biopic which follows war correspondent Marie Colvin through her stellar career.

The true horrors of war are never an easy thing to see and war reporter Marie Colvin had been to them all in the last 20 years or so. She dared to go where others wouldn’t (Iraq, Libera and Syria). Rosamund Pike plays Colvin the award-winning journalist who it seems is more at home on the front line and in danger than when she is at home in London. She is not a likeable person, she struggles in social occasions and only seems to find peace when her life is in danger.

The film begins with an overhead shot of Homs (Syria) in 2012. It is completely destroyed, buildings are barely standing and there aren’t any signs of any life. A voiceover of Colvin can be heard being interviewed on why she does what she does. It quickly backtracks to earlier parts of her career. The film sets off re-playing key points in her life that will eventually lead to that fateful day in Homs.

We have seen films like this before but what sets A Private War apart is that this is so recent. This isn’t years and years ago. This is a conflict that is still happening.  There is no turning away and not showing what is actually happening in Syria, it dares to be truthful (much like Colvin). Strong images of dead bodies of adult and children are offered held for an uncomfortable long time. Heineman isn’t doing this by mistake, he wants you to see it, he wants to put you on the front line with Colvin, to see what she saw, experience what she went through.

Rosamund Pike really does capture the spirt and voice of Marie Colvin. This may be her best performance. It is definitely her best turn since Gone Girl. It is frustrating to watch her slip further and further into depression and PTSD. Marie is not really a likeable character, so being invested in her story can solely be attributed to Pike’s performance

There is also strong support from the rest of the cast. Tom Hollander is Sean Ryan her editor at the London’s Sunday Times. His overly caring but really pushy act is well balanced. He wants the stories, but it is really worth putting Marie in those situations? By the end, you can see the torment all over his face. Jamie Dornan’s plays Paul Convoy Marie’s trusted photographer who will follow her anywhere. Dornan’s Liverpudlian accent is just about passable. In some scenes, it just disappears completely. Stanley Tucci also has a small role but he pretty much plays himself (which isn’t a bad thing).

A Private War really lands when it eventually gets to Syria and the final 40 minutes is as tense and dramatic as anything that has been seen this year. The first hour, on the other hand, is a little clumsy. It bounces around from past to present and then back again in an uneasy fashion. It just needed to be a little smoother. It does get a little confusing which doesn’t help when you are just to connect to characters and the storyline.

When A Private War focuses on Marie Colvin covering at the front it really does deliver, but it is when she back in the UK and dealing with her inner demons that the film really struggles. Thankfully, Pike puts in a barnstorming performance which could attract some buzz when it comes to award season. A biopic on a war reporter may not appeal to many but it is worth seeing for Pike alone.

Dave’s Verdict

3

Robin Becomes The Hood In New ‘Robin Hood’ Trailer

“Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) a war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander (Jamie Foxx) 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 timelessromance.”

Directed by: Otto Bathurst

Cast: Taron Egerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Jamie Foxx, Jamie Dornan, Tim Minchin, Eve Hewson

Release Date: November 23rd, 2018

Rosamund Pike Is War Correspondent Marie Colvin In First Trailer For ‘A Private War’

“In a world where journalism is under attack, Marie Colvin (Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike) is one of the most celebrated war correspondents of our time. Colvin is an utterly fearless and rebellious spirit, driven to the frontlines of conflicts across the globe to give voice to the voiceless, while constantly testing the limits between bravery and bravado. After being hit by a grenade in Sri Lanka, she wears a distinctive eye patch and is still as comfortable sipping martinis with London’s elite as she is confronting dictators. Colvin sacrifices loving relationships, and over time, her personal life starts to unravel as the trauma she’s witnessed takes its toll. Yet, her mission to show the true cost of war leads her — along with renowned war photographer Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan) — to embark on the most dangerous assignment of their lives in the besieged Syrian city of Homs. Based on the extraordinary life of Marie Colvin, A PRIVATE WAR is brought to the screen by Academy Award nominee and critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker  in his pulse-pounding narrative feature debut”

Directed by: Matthew Heineman

Cast: Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Stanley Tucci

Release Date: November 2nd, 2018 (US – UK TBA)

A New Action-Packed ‘Robin Hood’ Trailer Has Been Released

“Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) a war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander (Jamie Foxx) 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.”

Directed by: Otto Bathurst

Cast: Taron Egerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Jamie Foxx, Jamie Dornan, Tim Minchin, Eve Hewson

Release Date: November 23rd, 2018

The Revolution Begins In The First Teaser Trailer For ‘Robin Hood’

“Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) a war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander (Jamie Foxx) 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.”

Directed by: Otto Bathurst

Cast: Taron Egerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Jamie Foxx, Jamie Dornan, Tim Minchin, Eve Hewson

Release Date: November 23rd, 2018

Fifty Shades Freed

Year: 2018
Directed by: James Foley
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora 

Written by Fiona Underhill

Well, we’ve finally reached the conclusion of the filthy film trilogy and I don’t know where to begin telling you about it. I still maintain that the first film (directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson) was pretty good and holds up to re-watches. However, the subsequent two (directed by James Foley) have been terrible and I think the gender of the directors is more than a coincidence here. If ever a film were crying out for the female gaze – surely this is it? If only STJ had been given the creative control she desired and wanted to stay on the franchise, we may have ended up with something of better quality. Yes – the source material is trash but the books could have been turned into either higher quality ‘arty’ films or more fully leaned into the enjoyably cheesy trash, but instead we have something unsatisfying and middling, which helps no one.

The reason the first film works so much better than the subsequent two is that the first film is explicitly ABOUT the sex and the red room. In the sequels, it feels as if the sex is shoe-horned in and all the tension has been lost from those scenes. In the first, Christian is dealing with his traumatic abusive past (he doesn’t like Anastasia touching him) and there is a clear link between this and his need to dominate in the bedroom. Anastasia is figuring out whether she loves this man enough to cope with the ‘contract’ and all of the weird sex stuff. The tension in the sequels is fabricated by a force outside of the couple and this is why they are so much weaker.

Surprisingly, this film dispenses with the wedding very quickly in a montage right at the start of the film and we move onto the honeymoon in the blink of an eye. Of course, the money porn is at the forefront with the honeymoon, as Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) is whisked away to Paris and Monte Carlo by her new husband Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). The ‘big bad’ from the second film; Anastasia’s old boss (Jack Hyde – why didn’t they just name him Jekylland?) is back, causing Christian to up the security surrounding Anastasia. This causes tension, as she just wants to go get drunk with Kate (Eloise Mumford – one of the more appealing actors from the trilogy). Christian spontaneously buys a house and the architect firstly comes onto Christian and then his brother, Elliot (Luke Grimes). Of course, interspersed with all of this plot are the infamous red room scenes, which are, you know, fine I guess. Bizarrely, Christian’s former mentor Elena (Kim Basinger) is in the trailer but seems to have been cut from the final film – although she still manages to cause problems for Anastasia.

Sigh. I am so frustrated by these films. They could have made both characters hotter; by giving Johnson a better haircut and allowing Dornan to keep his Northern Irish accent instead of his painful attempts at an American one. Christian has a beard for one brief, shining moment and then Ana tells him to shave – so that’s the end of that. Both Johnson and Dornan have been so much better in other things (‘A Bigger Splash’ and ‘The Fall’ for example), so why they are so bad here remains a mystery.

The reason I get so annoyed is that teenage girls and women deserve better. We deserve to have sexy films told from a woman’s point of view and yes, that view men through the female gaze. The closest thing we have at the moment is ‘Outlander’ on television which uses many female writers and directors. I will defend the ‘Twilight’ films (which I truly love and were a springboard for ‘Fifty Shades’ of course) and the ‘Magic Mike’ films, which were WAY higher quality than they needed to be. Oh, and I love Nicholas Sparks films too – sue me. Yes, Fifty Shades was written by a woman and she is responsible for many of the problematic aspects of the film trilogy. However, I still feel that if women writers, directors, casting agents and producers had worked on the whole film trilogy, things would be different.

However bad I think (particularly the last two of) these films are; I get exasperated by the level of snark directed towards them. It comes from a place of misogyny and snobbery. If a group of girls or women want to get together, have a few drinks and watch these films, then good for them. They should be allowed to enjoy them without being subject to the level of howling derision that is aimed at this franchise. ‘Chick flicks’ will never be taken seriously, even though films such as ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Girls Trip’ did so well financially last year. I just hope that ‘Fifty Shades’ has a positive legacy. More sexy thrillers (the types of films that Basinger starred in during the 80s and 90s) would be a great result. Just please, put more women behind the camera

Fiona’s Rating: 5.5 out of 10

The Final Chapter Begins In The First Trailer For ‘Fifty Shades Freed’

“Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Freed, the third chapter based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” phenomenon. Expanding upon events set in motion in 2015 and 2017’s blockbuster films that grossed almost $950 million globally, the new installment arrives for Valentine’s Day 2018.”

Directed By: James Foley
Starring: Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, Tyler Hoechlin, Rita Ora
Release Date: 14th February 2018

The JumpCut UK Film Awards 2015: The Nominees

After weeks of agonising over the films of 2015, our esteemed panel have finally submitted their picks for the first annual JumpCut UK Film Awards. The votes have been counted and the nominees are…


actors
Best Support Actress
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
Kristen Stewart (Clouds Of Sils Maria)
Marion Cotillard (Macbeth)
Rooney Mara (Carol)
Best Support Actor
Benicio del Toro (Sicario)
Idris Elba (Beasts Of No Nation)
JK Simmons (Whiplash)
Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina)
Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
Best Lead Actress
Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Emily Blunt (Sicario)
Olivia Cooke (Me And Earl And The Dying Girl)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
Best Lead Actor
Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation)
Jason Segel (The End Of The Tour)
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Miles Teller (Whiplash)
Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress
Abraham Attah
Alicia Vikander
Daisy Ridley
O’Shea Jackson Jr
Taron Egerton
Worst Acting Performance
Adam Sandler (Pixels)
Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys)
Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades Of Grey)
Johnny Depp (Mortdecai)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World)

 

technical

Best Director
Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Denis Villeneuve (Sicario)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Ridley Scott (The Martian)
Best Original Story
Ex Machina
Inside Out
The Gift
The Lobster
Whiplash
Best Adaptation
American Sniper
Macbeth
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Steve Jobs
The Martian
Best Cinematography
American Sniper
Macbeth
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Martian

 

Best Editing
Birdman
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Whiplash
Best Soundtrack/Score
Dope
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Whiplash
Best Visual Effects
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian

genre

Best Action Film
American Sniper
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Best Comedy Film
Inside Out
Spy
The Lobster
The Night Before
Trainwreck
Best Drama Film
Carol
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Straight Outta Compton
Whiplash
White God
Best Horror Film
Crimson Peak
Insidious: Chapter 3
It Follows
The Gift
Best Sci-Fi Film
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian

 

Best Documentary, Foreign, Indie or Short Film
Cobain: Montage Of Heck
The End Of The Tour
Kung Fury
The Lobster
World Of Tomorrow
Worst Sequel/Reboot
Fantastic Four
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Taken 3
Terminator Genisys
Vacation
Worst Film
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Pan
Paul Blart 2
Pixels
Vacation
Best Film
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Martian
Whiplash

miscellaneous

The “Guilty Pleasure” Award
American Ultra
Focus
San Andreas
Ted 2
The Interview

 

 

 

 



So there you have it – 24 categories with lots of films and individuals to celebrate. We will be opening up the voting to the public for the following categories: Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress, Worst Film and Best Trailer, and you can cast your vote here (voting closes 31st December). The rest of the categories will be decided by the JumpCut UK team, our official partners and a handful of expert guests, with all the winners announced on our special YouTube Awards Show at the end of January.