The Last of Robin Hood

Annie at the movies

Six months ago, I compiled a list of movies to watch before going to the movies in 2014. It was a homework assignment for you all to become familiar with the old movies that were remade for this year, whether direct originals or early versions of the same stories retold. That was just the first part, covering only the new releases from January to June. As promised, here is part two. Looking over the second half of the year, one thing is apparent: there are fewer remakes. There are a lot of sequels, of all sizes, and I’ve avoided including the previous installments of series like Night at the Museum, Hot Tub Time Machine, The Trip, The Hobbit, Horrible Bosses, Madagascar, Dumb and Dumber, The Hunger Games, Paranormal Activity, Dolphin Tale, Cabin Fever, The Expendables, Sin City, Planes, Planet of the Apes and The Purge. Those are all givens. I also didn’t include the TV series of The Equalizer, which has been adapted into a feature, because that’s a TV series not a movie. Another note: fall release dates are never as pre-filled as spring and summer movie seasons. That’s because there are a number of movies that will premiere at Telluride/Toronto/Venice film festivals will wind up added to the slate for last-minute Oscar contention. I don’t know that any will be remakes or new adaptations of works previously filmed, but there’s a chance this list will wind up incomplete by the time late December rolls around.

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The Last of Robin Hood

With the recent premiere of Maleficient, we’ve all spent a good deal of time talking about Elle Fanning and her career turn as a real life Disney princess. But the focus is about to shift again to the older sister, with Dakota Fanning stepping into the shoes of a young and impressionable 1940s starlet in The Last of Robin Hood. After all, who would know more about struggling through Hollywood and rising to fame as a teenager than someone who has done it herself? The silver screen gal she’s portraying, Beverly Aadland, was in a bit of a different situation than Fanning, however. Aadland was a chorus girl just at the beginnings of her blossoming film career, with only a twinkle of Hollywood in her future and an overbearing stage mom (Susan Sarandon) at her side. It’s the beauty and talents of the — very, very — young beauty that catches the eye of Robin Hood himself, Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline), and the two begin a dangerous affair that crosses a few too many boundaries. At the time, Flynn was the toast of the town, a mega movie star who was virtually untouchable; charming, undeniably handsome and a beloved figure on the silver screen with roles in The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk. He was a dashing action hero that everyone wanted to work with, everyone wanted to be and everyone wanted to be with at the same time.

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The Last of Robin Hood

In Maleficent, Angelina Jolie recreates her iconic curse with such perfect charisma that it’s a big letdown when she changes tune about 2.5 seconds later as Disney strives to make her relatable. Our beloved villainess became the reactionary scorned woman, and all of that potential for more evil cackles flies out the window. Thinking about this terribly missed opportunity for excellent evilness, I couldn’t help but think about the many real-life, often larger than life names who have been immortalized in cinematic biographies in ways more bittersweet than satisfying. It’s great to see them and get the rush of their performance, but sad to watch it wasted on an inferior film, or a bit part in someone else’s larger whole.

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Dakota Fanning

It might sound creepy to hear that a fresh-faced, young actress like Dakota Fanning has been cast as the romantic interest of a crag-faced, old dude like Kevin Kline in a movie, but you have to understand that The Last of Robin Hood needs two actors with a huge age gap between them because it’s telling the real-life story of honest-to-God creep Errol Flynn. The film will be about the final years of Flynn’s life, when he was between the ages of 48 and 50 and carrying on with young actress Beverly Aadland, who was between the ages of 15 and 17. Susan Sarandon will be playing Florence Aadland, Beverly’s mother, who wrote a book that called Flynn out as being a statutory rapist. Sounds like a charming film? [via Deadline]

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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