Vanessa Redgrave

Unfinished Song 2

Ah, movies about elderly British people. There has been somewhat of a groundswell of these movies over the years, with Quartet, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Ladies in Lavender and Calendar Girls. Typically, they feature Maggie Smith or Helen Mirren and show that, yes, while the Brits are thought to be stuffy, they are really crazy and fun! They also take old age by the balls by doing fun activities like posing nude or going on a wild vacay – probably with a life lesson learned along the way. Paul Andrew Williams’s Unfinished Song is yet another film falling into this “elderly British” bracket. And like the others, it features a group of oldsters doing a wacky activity and learning life lessons. It’s a syrupy yet pleasant film. Hardly the makings of a classic – there are many uncomfortable “senior-sploitation” moments and some format issues – the film rises above with good performances from its leads.

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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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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr puts on some 3D glasses to look at some puss… in boots, that is. He proceeds to rewrite fairy tale fiction to include more bodily function humor, an egg-shaped Zach Galifianakis and a hairy but still sexy Salma Hayek. Then, he heads to the reference department of his local library to discover who really wrote the complete works of William Shakespeare. When all signs point to Neil Miller as the real author, Kevin gives up, realizing he’s out of time. So he brings sexy back and heads out to kidnap Amanda Seyfried so he can occupy Hollywood and start a revolution together… or get arrested.

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For whatever reason, Roland Emmerich has decided to jettison his traditional style of destroying the world on film by way of pre-destined end-times or global warming or goo-covered aliens and has taken his cinematic endeavors in an entirely new direction. This time around, Emmerich doesn’t want to blow up the world – he wants to blow up literary history (and, by doing so, also blow up the minds, hearts, and souls of English lit majors everywhere). In Anonymous, Emmerich riffs on the theory that William Shakespeare didn’t actually write all of his works, and that the entire literary world has been at the mercy of the widespread lie that he did. At its heart, Anonymous is a conspiracy flick. About Shakespeare. It’s a Shakespeare-icy flick (you’re welcome). Somehow, Emmerich’s bizarre left-hand turn into historical whodunit gathered a solid cast that includes Edward Hogg, David Thewlis, Vanessa Redgrave, Rhys Ifans, Joely Richardson, and Rafe Spall. I don’t know if they’re in on the joke or not, but Anonymous still looks like the cheap punchline of a terrible joke that doesn’t quite make sense. Even the jokes about this film seem too strange to be real:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr isn’t a very merry man, taking a look at Robin Hood, Letters to Juliet and Just Wright.

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‘Letters to Juliet’ is a predictable, bland romance without much appeal, but then it wasn’t made for me and probably, FSR reader, wasn’t made for you either.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Kevin and Neil decide to be outlaws and scamper around the Magical Studio in the Sky like a bunch of merry men. This gives them an opportunity to impale Ridley Scott’s new version of Robin Hood while Kevin declares Letters to Juliet a better film.

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Ridley Scott’s untitled Robin Hood film has started shooting with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett taking on the roles of Robin Hood and Maid Marion. This is the fifth collaboration between Crowe and Scott.

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