Shakespeare

Let me start by confessing that I was a Theater and English major and have spent much of my academic career studying the works of the bard. William Shakespeare‘s plays were written as entertainment for the everyman and perhaps it does say quite a bit for the dumbing down of human civilization that work once enjoyed by the average Elizabethan “Joe” is now considered incomprehensible – but that doesn’t mean they are incomprehensible. Shakespeare’s been ruined for too many people who sat through interminable high school classes listening to their peers try to read it out loud. Director and star Ralph Fiennes has made his Coriolanus, one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, very accessible and very relevant. Maybe because I live in the land of Occupy Wall street, but scenes of heavily armed police ready to bash citizen protesters are chilling for me. There’s nothing really foreign about the language of the film (lifted straight from the stage play); it is still English for goodness sakes. Sometimes, it is a good thing for people to stretch their brains and challenge their minds. Yet, even so, the poetry of the film is used in a very natural way, making it very accessible to an audience not familiar with it. The story is hardly tough to follow, and the updating of the setting is not only effective, but really makes knowledge of Roman history unnecessary. The rise and fall of a stubborn, powerful man who seeks revenge against those who betrayed him […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr walks around his apartment naked, rents out hookers of various shapes and sizes then tries to pick up married women on a subway. He figures if it’s good enough for Michael Fassbender in Steve McQueen’s Shame, then it’s good enough for anyone. Of course, this leads Kevin to spending most of the rest of the day weeping in his birthday suit. Shaking off the humiliation, he decides to take in some culture and give Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus a gander, being one of them Shakespeare pictures and all. Unfortunately, he never stops giggling about the name of the movie long enough to decipher all of the fancy Elizabethan language, and Kevin ends up weeping again, curled up naked in his shower.

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The L.A. Times is reporting that Roland Emmerich’s latest film, Anonymous, set to open in theaters on October 28th, isn’t going to be playing on as many screens as originally planned. The film was at first slated to get a full-on wide release on thousands of screens, but after some pre-release polling showed that nobody really wants to go see this thing, Sony Pictures has decided to scale back the number of screens it will be showing on to 250. The public seems to really love Roland Emmerich, so I can only imagine the lack of interest in the film comes from the fact that it’s about Shakespeare and not New York City blowing up. Sony hasn’t lost all hope for the project’s success, though, as their distribution president Rory Bruer said of the move, “We love the picture and think it’s going to get great word of mouth. We’re committed to expanding it until it plays wide.” The plan is to open the movie in the biggest markets, trick people into forgetting how much they hated reading Shakespeare in high school with movie magic, and then open in the ‘burbs sometime in November after everybody has heard about how much this movie rules and how badly they need to go see it for a couple weeks. That’s a pretty ambitious plan. This better be a damn good movie.

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Coriolanus

I knew Ralph Fiennes was directing a modern dress version of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus”, but didn’t expect to see Fiennes decked out ready for full on modern warfare. Shooting has begun in Serbia and has the look of a war movie.

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Jane Austen is a zombie hunter, Abraham Lincoln’s going after vampires. It was only a matter of time before the Bard got into the act.

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Here is something fun for your Saturday afternoon. What would The Big Lebowski have been like if it were written by William Shakespeare? Here’s your answer.

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Pacino = King Lear. Hoo-ah!

“Who is it that can tell me who I am?” asks King Lear. Now we know that answer is “Al Pacino.” Can an iconic actor experiencing a career downfall play a King who watches the downfall of his reign?

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Will Smith in Seven Pounds

The poster for Will Smith’s upcoming holiday film, Seven Pounds, has been released, and as you can see it’s pretty much just a close-up of Smith’s head. Are they saying his head weighs seven pounds?

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The Cast of King Lear

In the world of remakes it may very well be that Shakespeare is the champion. The plays have been around since Elizabeth I sat on the throne and have endured as crowd pleasers for centuries. How many writers can say that?

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