Posts Tagged ‘F. Murray Abraham’

The Tale of a Thief

Robin Hood

Director: Otto Bathurst

Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan, Paul Anderson, Tim Minchin, F. Murray Abraham, Scot Greenan

A revisionist retelling of Robin Hood for the Instagram generation gets a thrilling thumbs up.

With the gorgeous Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eddie the Eagle) as Robin, Lord of Loxley teaming up with Oscar winner Jamie Foxx (Ray) as Little John, director Otto Bathurst sets Robin Hood at the time of the crusades when Robin Hood is conscripted to fight in the holy wars in Arabia leaving his young girlfriend Marian behind.

Marian is played with panache and feisty femininity by Irish actress Eve Hewson (Bridge of Spies). While Robin is away fighting the crusades Marian meets the equally dashing but politically ambitious Will Scarlet played by Jamie Dornan (The 9th Life of Louis Drax, Fifty Shades of Grey).

Heavily influenced by Little John, Robin of Loxley with assisted training by the hunky Moor is roped into stealing from the rich to give to the poor. In this case the rich are represented by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham played with suitable menace by Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One, A Star Wars Story).

The powerful Sheriff answers to an equally corrupt cardinal played with vigour by Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus).

Robin Hood is an ideal escapist action adventure film with some brilliant fight sequences and excellent special effects held together by some incisive editing and a catchy score. Produced by Leonardo di Caprio, this Robin Hood perfectly played by Taron Egerton looks like there could be a franchise in the making.

Peaky Blinders star Paul Anderson plays the ruthless sidekick to the Sheriff, Guy of Gisbourne, who feels nothing at executing prisoners of war or burning down the commoner’s dwellings.

Robin Hood is a fun filled action adventure film quite slim on storyline and historical accuracy but definitely catering for the 21st century audience that is not too worried about authenticity as long as there is sufficient action.

Certainly entertaining, Robin Hood gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and scores an extra point for the really cool graphics that appear in the closing credits. Recommended viewing for light holiday fare.

Fading Reign of Art Nouveau

The Grand Budapest Hotel

grand_budapest_hotel

Director: Wes Anderson

Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton

Moonrise Kingdom director Wes Anderson assembles a hugely talented ensemble cast led by the irresistable Ralph fiennes as Gustave H.  a suave Concierge at The Grand Budapest Hotel who gets embroiled in a whimsical art theft after his benefactor dies mysteriously and her evil son Dimitri played by Adrien Brody pursues the eloquent and flamboyant Gustave in a fictitious republic of  Zubrowka representative of a modern day Yugoslavia or even The Czech Republic, but emblematic of a crumbling decadent and ravaged Eastern Europe.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a wonderful plot, inventive, hilarious, witty and beautifully orchestrated matched by a superb ensemble cast the likes of which haven’t been seen on screen for years including Oscar nominees F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus), Harvey Keitel (Bugsy), Willem Dafoe (Shadow of a Vampire), Bill Murray (Lost in Translation), Edward Norton (Primal Fear), Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton), Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) and Jude Law (The Talented Mr Ripley) – all consummate character actors and brilliant performers in the own right.

Each perfectly constructed shot in the Grand Budapest Hotel is a pastiche of old European movies and landscapes reminiscent of a time between the wars when civility was still in fashion. When Old European Hotels were lavish and comfortable establishments with Bell Boys, Lift Operators, Chefs and naturally charming yet slimy Concierges adding to the intrigue of its elegance. When Hotels were places to spend a week, when time was plentiful and guests came to languish in the extraordinary facilities of these beautifully decadent Hotels which populated the ski slopes and small towns of Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

grand_budapest_hotel_ver2

Even though, the fictional country,  Zubrowka is representative of a mixture of Eastern European countries which all suffered under the Nazi’s and then under the Communists, the institutional history of such a charming hotel remained the centre of a town’s attraction, where legends of its fabled guests were passed down over the decades. The Grand Budapest Hotel reflects an era when Art Nouveau reigned supreme especially in the 1930’s. This comedy set in 1932, featuring a complicated and whimsical if not absolutely witty plot is deftly handled by screenwriter Anderson who makes sure each of his cast members whether on screen for a second or for several scenes delivers a perfect performance.

The cast also includes Lea Seydoux, Mathieu Amalric, Owen Wilson and Tilda Swinton. Inspired by the works of 20th century Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, The Grand Budapest Hotel is expertly crafted, dazzlingly assembled and wonderfully executed. A real treat of a film which will sure to delight audiences for years to come  much like the Hotel whose guests found its hidden charms suitably enchanting. Highly recommended viewing and a winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival, The Grand Budapest Hotel is marvelous, whimsical, witty and comical with an underlying menace attached to the action, making the comedy almost tragic in its relevance.

 

 

 

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