Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 43 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




 

 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 12, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 19
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Ritchie's King Arthur a schizophrenic reworking of a legendary tale
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD
Now playing


Where it comes to Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, I honestly don't know where to begin. Did I enjoy aspects of this crazed, schizophrenic reworking of the Arthurian legend? You bet I did, moments of action, derring-do and physical comedy leaping off the screen with raucous enthusiasm. Does the movie on the whole work? Heck no, not even slightly, the whole thing a muddled jumble of ideas, themes, tones and colorfully anarchic visuals that all seem to exist in about seven different films and not one, cohesively focused one.

One thing I can say, this is not the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table most are familiar with. The literary iterations of Arthur, whether they be Geoffrey of Monmouth's, Thomas Malory's, T. H. White's or Marion Zimmer Bradley's, play almost no part whatsoever in this new variation, screenwriters Ritchie, Joby Harold (Awake) and Lionel Wigram (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) ditching the romantic notions of the myth for something that strays far more into J.R.R. Tolkien territory than it does anywhere else. There is no Lancelot, no Guinevere, and other than being talked about in hushed, revered tones paying him all kinds of respect and admiration there's also no Merlin. One feels that, if this movie is a hit, all three are being kept in reserve for future adventures of the boy King who can wield the mystical sword Excalibur, but those expecting to see any of them make an appearance here will be seriously disappointed.

Orphan street thug Arthur (Charlie Hunnam), raised in a brothel, does what he can to protect those dearest to him in the violent, seedy neighborhoods of Londinium. While he and his devoted gang do their best to stay off the local authority's radar, turns out the conniving King Vortigern (Jude Law) has other plans. The magic sword Excalibur, a blade only the rightful heir to the British throne can wield, has risen from the depths of the sea embedded in a massive stone. All young men have been ordered to see if they can pull the weapon from its resting place, that person the son of the beloved former King Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana) and thus the rightful ruler destined to take the place of the wicked Vortigern and a warrior destined to bring peace to a Britain continually on the brink of war.

It's basic stuff, and while the sword in the stone myth is present, that's it as far as Arthurian legend is concerned. The story, for all its hyperbolic excess, is actually pretty simple, owing more to Greek mythology than it does to Celtic lore. It's messy and all over the place, some elements working beautifully while others drown in melodramatic excess. The characters, other than Arthur and Vortigern, are barely fleshed out, and if you were to ask me what any of them did during the film other than scowl, curse, fight, bleed and die I'd be hard-pressed to remember it.

That's not entirely true. About a third of the way through a mysterious Mage (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) enters the picture, and she goes full-on Beastmaster on a number of occasions, getting snakes, bird, guard dogs and other various beasts to do her bidding with slinky, seductive determination. She also gets to talk a lot about Merlin, the creation of Excalibur and the Lady of the Lake (whom she might actually be; I honestly could never figure that bit out), all the while also urging Arthur to stop looking away at the demons haunting him and use past tragedies as fuel to defeat Vortigern and his magical monstrosities. The Mage is an intriguing character, and while she doesn't exactly showcase much in the way of emotion (a fact not helped by actress Bergès-Frisbey's uncertain English), there's something haunting hiding behind the woman's eyes that kept me continually fascinated.

Visually, even with the video game cut scene stylistics of much that transpires during the biggest action sequences, Ritchie has outdone himself with this one, conjuring up images of astonishing virtuosity that are extraordinary. Veteran cinematographer John Mathieson (Gladiator, Logan) outdoes himself once again, the intensity driving his compositions palpable and invigorating first scene to last. Production designer Gemma Jackson (Finding Neverland, 'Game of Thrones') outdoes herself once again, and while I have no idea how historically accurate Annie Symons' (Glorious 39) costumes are (I'm guessing not very), that doesn't make them any less fantastic. Best of all is Daniel Pemberton's (Steve Jobs) incredible score, his rousing, frenetically kinetic themes adding a jolt of electricity the film would never have survived without.

As positive as all of that might be, I still can't decide if any of it is enough to make up for the crazed, idiotic lunacy of the various elements Ritchie does his best to try and pull together into something of a cohesive whole. Pulling on some of his past efforts, most notably Snatch, Sherlock Holmes and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. while at the same time trying to go in a direction that's part comic book superhero madness and another The Lord of the Rings fantasy sincerity, it's rare when any one sequence fits snugly alongside any of the ones next to it. The sheer lunacy of it all becomes increasingly obnoxious and frustrating, the final battle a full-on nonsensical assault on the senses that bends time backward and forward while in the same moment reminding one of a big boss battle from video games like 'Diablo' or 'The Legend of Zelda.'

Look, I'm an Arthurian junky from way back. I've read The Once and Future King at least a half-dozen times. I think John Boorman's Excalibur is one of the greatest films ever made. I find Disney's The Sword in the Stone to be a timeless animated treasure I could sit down and watch fifty times in a row and never grow tired of. But that doesn't mean I can't pan an adaptation when I feel it has gone off the rails, the animated Quest for Camelot, Jerry Zucker's First Knight and Antoine Fuqua's King Arthur odious variations on the tale that in my view should be watched by absolutely no one and forgotten about entirely, if possible.

Ritchie's attempt sits somewhere in the middle of these takes on the story, his movie bouncing between marvelous and dreadful for the entire length of its 126-minute running time. But while Hunnam might be a fine Arthur and Law a heinously abhorrent villain worth despising, the story's inability to maintain narrative cohesion and the lack of suitably interesting secondary characters certainly takes its toll as events progress to a conclusion. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword might go down swinging, but that means it does in fact still go down, Excalibur's magic sadly not nearly enough for Ritchie's latest to win the day.


Hawn's return makes Snatched a comedy bargain
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

SNATCHED
Now playing


After her musician boyfriend (Randall Park) breaks up with her on the eve of their nonrefundable Ecuador vacation, recently unemployed ne'er-do-well Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) somehow convinces her homebody mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) to join her on this South American excursion. Eager for adventure and convinced she'll never do anything of note with her life, Emily has a chance encounter with James (Tom Bateman), a suave, handsome traveler who promises to show both her and her mother the time of their lives.

What he doesn't tell them is that he's working for Columbian kidnapper, drug dealer and slave trader Morgado (Oscar Jaenada). Next thing Emily and Linda know, they've been whisked across the border to be held for $100,000 in ransom. But fate smiles on the pair, if only for a brief second, mother and daughter escaping into the jungle. Urged by the U.S. State Department to make their way to Bogotá and the American Consulate located there, Emily and Linda must put their differences aside as they try to survive this ordeal. In the process they both learn things about the other they'd not taken the time to discover until now, rediscovering familial bonds of friendship and love they'd both thought had been forever lost.

Snatched is, probably not too surprisingly, nowhere near as serious or as emotionally complex as that brief scenario might make things sound. Working from a script by The Heat scribe Katie Dippold, director Jonathan Levine's latest bit of crazed lunacy might not be as inventive or as effective a genre mash-up as previous films like 50/50, Warm Bodies, The Night Before or All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, but that doesn't make it any less fun. It's an episodic bit of hyperbolic silliness that proves to be an excellent return engagement for the previously retired Hawn, the Oscar-winning actress showing she hasn't lost a single bit of her effervescent touch in the 15 years between this movie and her last on-screen appearance, 2002's middling misfire The Banger Sisters.

Not to say there aren't a few hiccups. There are, not the least of which is a subplot concerning Emily's agoraphobic, selfishly childish little brother Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz), an entire section devoted to him and his battles with State Department stooge Morgan Russell (Bashir Salahuddin) absolutely dreadful. There's also another running gag involving fellow Ecuadorian travelers Ruth (Wanda Sykes) and Barb (Joan Cusack), and I honestly don't know what to make of it. But Cusack, who has no dialogue (the reason for that I will not spoil), delivers a performance of such physical magnificence watching her work is a continual hoot, so as obnoxious as Sykes is and as silly as these secondary characters might be, she makes these moments craftily amusing all on her own.

There is another problem, and it's a somewhat unforeseen one, and it is Schumer herself. Not because the actress doesn't generate laughs. She does. Plenty of them. To say she isn't funny in the film would be the definition of an alternative fact. No, the issue is that, standing next to Hawn, Schumer's limitations as a dramatic actress become instantly clear. She can't hold her own alongside her talented costar, and whenever Dippold's script asks them to emote or connect on a deep, interior level only one of the twosome is able to consistently pull these scenes off. Where Schumer was able to get through Trainwreck without this being a problem, here it is impossible not to take note of her limitations, Hawn blowing her off the screen with an effortless confidence that's frequently impressive.

But at barely 90 minutes in length, and with Levine orchestrating things with such assertive precision, the movie never overstays its welcome, offering up enough genuine laughs to make practically all of its missteps not worth obsessing over. There's a great bit involving Christopher Meloni as a Romancing the Stone Michael Douglas wannabe that builds to a spectacularly insane conclusion, while a running gag involving a dog whistle is paid off nicely during the film's final act. Most of all, Snatched is a glorious showcase for Hawn, and while she's not the focal point of this dopey silliness she's still the one I couldn't take my eyes off of, the actress' return more than enough to make the matinee ticket price required to see this one an outright bargain.








SIFF announces lineup for Seattle International Film Festival's 43rd edition
------------------------------
Seattle Symphony presents Broadway Rocks with Seattle Men's Chorus and guest soloists May 19-21
------------------------------
MOR presents new commissions on Europe's Roma people during the Holocaust
------------------------------
28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards - NYC; Debra Messing calls on Ivanka Trump; 'It's time to do something': Billy Porter receives the Vito Russo award
------------------------------
Rainbow City Performing Arts -

MEET OUR NEW DIRECTORS

------------------------------
Shirtless Sondre Lerche brings pleasure to Seattle
------------------------------
Lea Michele explores places of love and emotion at the Moore Theatre
------------------------------
To Bring You My Love:

PJ Harvey in peak form at the WaMu

------------------------------
U2 descends to Seattle with 30th anniversary tour of The Joshua Tree
------------------------------
A Magic Flute full of magical touches
------------------------------
Seattle Opera's The Magic Flute

An addendum

------------------------------
Seattle Shakespeare Company presents a 1930s movie musical A Midsummer Nights Dream
------------------------------
An American in Paris - sacre bleu
------------------------------
5th Avenue Theatre and Broadway composers team up to raise money for famed Oregon high school theater program!
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------
Frank Ocean cancels Sasquatch appearance; Against Me! headed to Seattle in September
------------------------------
Ritchie's King Arthur a schizophrenic reworking of a legendary tale
------------------------------
Hawn's return makes Snatched a comedy bargain
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1707 23rd Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News 2017 - DigitalTeamWorks 2017

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News