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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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

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

Baby Driver

Year: 2017
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez

Written by Rhys Bowen Jones

Odeon’s ‘Screen Unseen’ is a regular event in which the cinema chain hand picks a film for an early screening. In the build up to the eventual screening, Odeon release very cryptic clues for the film they’re showing. This film’s clues were “Political hangover,” “Soon shorter star, surrogate shop,” “Tiny, dark, waiting in the wings, “ and “Fingers ‘n Finest formed.” I’ll let you figure out exactly how they link to the film in question, but as you can tell, Edgar Wright’s ‘Baby Driver’ was the ‘Screen Unseen’. For a film to join the ranks of previous ‘Screen Unseen’ films like ‘Moonlight’, ‘The Revenant’, and ‘Whiplash’, Odeon certainly had high hopes for ‘Baby Driver’. Those high hopes were not unfounded. ‘Baby Driver’ is one of the films of the year so far.

‘Baby Driver’ is the story of Baby (Elgort) and his adventures as a getaway driver for mysterious criminal and bank robber Doc (Spacey). As far as the plot goes, giving much else away would ruin some of the surprises and magic you have in store. In ‘Baby Driver’, you have a film where the motto seems to be “it’s not about the destination, it’s how you get there.” Both the film and its title character get from Point A to Point B in the only way they know how; driving really fast to the sound of a really loud, really eclectic iPod. It’s a blast.

From the first scene, Wright lets us into idea of the film. Baby is the getaway driver and he is our lead character; he is the focus of our story. While some of his criminal associates are off performing heists, that is purely background noise to Baby’s enjoyment of music. The first song we hear is ‘Bellbottoms’ by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, a blues-y, headbanger of a song, and the entire heist is ignored in favour of Baby air-guitaring and air-drumming and miming along to the song. Instantly, Baby comes across as charming and likeable and once the driving begins, almost impossibly talented. The first car chase, in the red Subaru that’s all over the trailers, is spectacular. It’s an intense, white-knuckle thrill ride through the streets of Atlanta. There are close shaves, clever tactics, handbrake turns galore, and accompanied by the song in question it becomes one of the best car chases I’ve seen in years. This becomes a common theme. Every car chase or major set-piece in ‘Baby Driver’ is on its own level of awesome.

As a huge fan of Edgar Wright, his Cornetto trilogy, ‘Spaced’, and ‘Scott Pilgrim’, I found his energetic style of filmmaking to be a perfect fit for ‘Baby Driver’. Even small, conversation filled scenes are punctuated with small sound cues at just the right moment or gesture. I got the impression as the film went on that the visuals on screen were so meticulously planned from the get go, almost as if the scenes themselves were filmed with a song in order to truly nail the timings. Everything you see in Baby Driver can be matched to a musical influence of some description, gunshots were in perfect sync with the music playing overtop, and even Doc explaining an upcoming heist had the rhythm of a drum solo. Wright manages to keep the pace and flow of the film at such a high level that I have no doubt that there are moments and jokes that I didn’t catch on first viewing and will require a second or third viewing. What a shame.

Given the talent on show, it should come as no surprise that the performances are terrific across the board, particularly from Elgort, Foxx, and James. Foxx’s Bats is a loose cannon, a difficult business partner when the business is crime and several characters find themselves on the wrong side of Bats. Lily James’ Debora leaves a long-lasting impression too as she comes across so endearingly from her very first appearance. It’s possible that there’s a manic-pixie-dream-girl element to her as she is Baby’s perfect match instantly, but when James pulls off the character so well you can’t help but be swept up along with Baby and his love for her.

Baby Driver’s driving force is no doubt its music. Judging by my Spotify playlist having increased in number by no less than 15 songs, there’s something for absolutely everyone as the song choices span several decades. ‘Baby Driver’ does for 80s blues what ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ did for 70’s rock. ‘Baby Driver’ covers every base it can in a soundtrack that no doubt took almost as long to get right as it did to actually film. A late chase sequence to the sound of a Queen song had my mouth agape for its duration as it was such a perfectly intense song for the visuals on screen. That scene, as well as several others, were utterly breathless and I can’t wait to see them again.

If I had a gripe about Baby Driver, I would say it’s in its third act as some characters make some choices that are questionable, possibly going against what we’ve been shown in the previous 90 or so minutes. One character has been far-removed from the key action until the third act and when they are, they appear to brush off fairly brutal violence very casually. That said, it’s a small gripe that has no bearing on my overall opinion of the film.

‘Baby Driver’ is a blast. It’s exciting, funny, heart-warming, and very original. The performances are terrific, it’s written and directed superbly, and all being well, ‘Baby Driver’ should be one of the big hits of the summer. Edgar Wright, you’ve done it again.

Rhys’ verdict: 9.2/10

First Trailer For Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver Arrives!

The much anticipated trailer for Edgar Wright (Sean of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World)’s ‘Baby Driver’ finally dropped in the wee small hours of the morning, flanking it’s premiere screening at SXSW.

The outing at SXSW seems fitting for a film that seems to be driven (excuse the pun) by music.

Ansel Elgort plays the Baby of the title who, the trailer quickly explains, is a driver for nefarious characters, but due to a childhood trauma has to play music to drown out a hum in his head. Kevin Spacey is on top Frank Underwood bad guy duty, while Jamie Foxx and Flea add in some comedy relief.

The dialogue seems to be a carefully studied pastiche of every heist movie going, and there is more than a touch of Tarantino about the relationship between Baby and the woman of his dreams (Lily James). Add in Wright’s penchant for lightning fast cuts, kinetic stunts and a fallible human element, Baby Driver looks like it’s going to be pure, high octane fun.

‘Baby Driver’ races into theatres 16th August 2017

Written by Abbie Eales

Netflix Highlights: February

So it’s March already, crazy right? But let’s not forget about February just yet! Our Netflix expert, Mark Blakeway, has put together this handy list of all the best new films which were added to the site last month.


LOVE

Love
Gasper Noé has some incredible films to his name (Irreversible, Enter The Void are personal favourites), but unfortunately for him he has set a standard so impeccably high that it was inevitable this would eventually lead to disappointment. His 3D film ‘Love’ may not meet the credible artistic heights of his previous work, but it’s now available on Netflix for you to enjoy. With the up-close-and-personal money shots you would expect when the words “3D” and “sex” are thrown together, his largely unloved ‘Love’ is for those looking for something a little different.


django-unchained-jamie-foxx

Django Unchained
If you’ve not been out to see Tarantino’s newest feature ‘The Hateful Eight’ yet, perhaps you can find the time (all 160+ minutes of it) to catch up one of his previous films, ‘Django Unchained’. Set in the Deep South, Jamie Foxx stars as Django – a slave looking to find his wife who was also sold off into slavery. Immensely violent, with a great script brought to life by a fantastic cast (Samuel L. Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerri Washington, Christoph Waltz), ‘Django Unchained’ is completely over-the-top and self-indulgent, but would you expect anything less from Tarantino.


departures

Departures
A tale of a man who leaves his dream job in an orchestra and becomes a nōkanshi – a traditional Japanese ritual mortician. The social and emotional effects of this decision and the impact on his life are explored in great detail, and at times it can be a little melodramatic. However, this 2009 Academy Award-winning Japanese film has an abundance of style, a score to match and a fantastic cast, so it’s difficult not to be captivated by this story. At just over two hours long – and the bulk of the film about death – it’s not for those easily trigged by long drawn out upsetting scenes backed by classical music.


Lone-Survivor

Lone Survivor
‘Lone Survivor’ details the events that took place while four Navy Seals attempted to carry out a counter-insurgency mission to take down one of the key Taliban targets.  Even though the title of the film essentially gives the game away, it does not detract from the sheer intensity of this war film. Set to epic music by Explosions In The Sky, this is a bloody, fast-paced and action-packed story based on real events. Some may deem it to be extremely dramatic, while others may find the violence obscene, but it is a remarkable tale that gets the heart racing.


Liar Liar

Liar Liar
Everyone should have seen this movie by now, ‘Liar Liar’ is an absolute comedy classic that deserves to be watched over and over again, and chances are you will have done so considering the amount of times it has been on TV. It is by no means groundbreaking; it is just a man who cannot help but tell the truth for a bit, but with Jim Carrey’s completely over-the-top style (as seen in the likes of Ace Ventura and Bruce Almighty) this film has been a comedy favourite for decades. They don’t make ’em like they used to.


TENURED

Tenured
Gil Zabarksy stars as Ethan, a teacher with the added perk of having “tenure”, which in his head means he can do pretty much anything and can’t be fired. He swears in class, lets the kids do whatever they want, and generally dosses about achieving nothing. A sudden change in his life, combined with a Principle who hates him, results in him directing the school play – and everything comes under threat. It is a formulaic, easy-going, predictable comedy with a bunch of good performances, but the laughs keep on coming, unlike many other indie comedies that try to get sentimental.  Perfect viewing when you don’t want to pay too much attention to anything.

Watch This Space: April 20 – 26

Welcome to our newest feature – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

The standout release this week in the UK is of course, ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’, the sequel to the hugely successful ‘Avengers Assemble’. Hoards of superhero fans will be flocking to the cinema on Thursday 23rd, so be prepared, maybe wait a couple of days.

From last week, a risky choice but one which may well pay off if it’s your kind of thing, is Russian thriller ‘Child 44’. Starring Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman, the film has received mixed reviews, but this star-studded adaptation of a modern literary classic is surely worth a trip to the cinema.

Finally, released on Friday 24th is ‘The Good Lie’, starring Reese Witherspoon. This looks set to be another emotional, thought-provoking film in the vein of recent dramatic releases. It may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s certainly an alternative choice to the more action-packed, testosterone-fueled options for the week.

ON TELEVISION

Tuesday 01:15 GMT: If you fancy a late night classic (or early morning depending on how you look at it), head over to Film4 for the showing of ‘No Country For Old Men’ starring Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones. You won’t regret it. 

Wednesday 19:40 GMT: Settle down with the family and stick BBC Three on, for the highly enjoyable, animated flick ‘Chicken Run’. Director Nick Park (Wallace & Gromit) produces another perfect, plasticine adventure to please all.

Thursday 22:30 GMT: Rev up your moped, because ITV4 are delivering a cult classic with the fantastic ‘Quadrophenia’. Starring Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash and Sting, this is an integral part of British cultural and cinematic history that you have to see.

Saturday 00:35 GMT: Remember that catchy ‘Gold Digger’ track from Kanye West? Why not find out where it all started, with the award-winning biopic of Ray Charles. Catch ‘Ray’ on ITV3 in the early hours of Saturday morning. 

Saturday 23:05 GMT: Planning to stay in on Saturday night may not be as bad a decision as you first thought. On Channel 4, watch the hilarious ‘Role Models’, starring Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin to you and me). 

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Shutter Island: With Mark Ruffalo turning angry and green again as The Hulk this week for ‘Age Of Ultron’, why not enjoy him in a slightly more human role alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. ‘Shutter Island’ is creepy, clever and very confusing but perfect because of it.

2001: A Space Odyssey: Last week, JumpCut UK gave you guys the chance to win a copy of ‘Interstellar’, in what was our most successful giveaway to date. Admittedly, this was our first giveaway, but it was a huge success all the same. To celebrate this, we thought you should check out the original space exploration classic.

Blade Runner: The best part of the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer from last week, was undoubtedly the appearance from Han Solo, AKA Harrison Ford. The legendary actor is also set to reprise his role in the upcoming reboot of ‘Blade Runner’, so make yourself acquainted with the original.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Nick Deal