CYMBELINE (2014)

cymbeline

Written & Directed By: Michael Almereyda
Based On The Play By: William Shakespeare
Cinematography By: Tim Orr
Editor: John Scott Cook & Barbara Tulliver 


Cast: Ed Harris, Milla Jovovich, Delroy Lindo, Ethan Hawke, Kevin Corrigan, Penn Badgely, Anton Yelchin, Dakota Johnson, Bill Pullman, John Leguizamo, James Ransone, Vondie Curtis-Hall, J.D. Williams, Spenser Treat Clark 


 A gritty story of a take-no-prisoners war between dirty cops and an outlaw biker gang. A drug kingpin is driven to desperate measures. You would need a big name cast to keep the audiences interest. Unless you have Shakespeare purist fans. As there is no real style and feels closed in and claustrophobic


So with this cast other than Ed Harris, Ethan Hawke. you have actors who are more on the mainstream leading roles. Challenging themselves and trying to show they are more than pretty faces by tackling Shakespeare in a more contemporary way and trying to make it more of a crime story.

Though this is one of few times Ed Harris really get to play a leading role. Even if he is barely in the film his presence is always felt. Where as Ethan Hawke is an accomplished stage actor and leading man. So it is not strange to see him In This film. In more of a smaller but pivotal role. Though both heavily featured on the poster. they seem to leave it a showcase for the other actors. As most of the tale revolves around the younger supporting characters. They still revolve more around Harris’s character.

Though it still comes off as slow and claustrophobic. Throughout the performances feel more forced and never quite natural. I understand the language might be out of place, but usually in successful adaptations the actors still find a way to make it convincingly theirs. The material never seems to come alive. Even with such a violent tangled tale.

It’s a shame as the film has a good recognizable cast and strong material that doesn’t feel like it ever comes full circle and maters by their presence. Small scale can be realistic in a kitchen sink drama way. Here that style adds very little, but is definitely a stylistic choice.

The film offers us glimpses of the underworld they operate in but never quite fully explained. Yet we see constant back deals behind closed doors. That every so often becomes a little confusing. Though by the third act it all becomes more clear.

The film feels like an experiment. While also trying to follow the popularity of Shakespeare and the adaptations of it. It tries to stick to it’s more indie roots by choosing a play that is less well known. So that maybe fewer audience members can find fault with it.

This is Director Michael Almereyda’s second attempt at a modern shapespeare tale. He directed an adaptation of Hamlet with Ethan Hawke that similarly had mixed but better results.

Strangely this is one of the few of Shakespeare’s tragedies that has more of a happy ending. Once you get through some deaths and a general massacre.

The film comes off more as a rich fairy tale. That seems inspired by the show SONS OF ANARCHY, with it’s dirty cops and criminal biker gang. Just as that show was inspired by the tale of HAMLET.

Grade: C

BATTLE OF THE SEXES (2017)

battleofthesexes

Directed By: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
Written By: Simon Beaufoy
Cinematography By: Linus Sandgren
Editor: Pamela Martin 


Cast: Steve Carrell, Emma Stone, Bill Pullman, Andrea Riseborough, Natalie Morales, Sarah Silverman, Elisabeth Shue, Martha MacIssac, Alan Cumming, Eric Christian Olsen, Fred Armisen, Mickey Sumner, Wallace Langham, Matt Molloy, Bridey Elliott, Chris Parnell, Mike Vogel, Tom Kenny, Jamey Sheridan 


In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the 1973 tennis match between women’s world champion and ex-men’s-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. The fiercely private King was not only championing for equality, but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, as her friendship with Marilyn Barnett developed. And Riggs, one of the first self-made media-age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family and wife Priscilla. Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today.

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THE EQUALIZER (2014)

EQUALIZER

Directed By: Antoine Fuqua
Written By: Richard Wenk
Based on the Series Created By: Michael Sloan & Richard Lindheim
Cinematography By: Mauro Fiore
Editor: John Refoua 


Cast: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloe Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman, James Wilcox


A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her.

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THE EQUALIZER 2 (2018)

equalizer2

Directed By: Antonie Fuqua
Written By: Richard Wenk
Based On Characters Created By: Michael Sloan & Richard Lindheim
Cinematography By: Oliver Wood
Editor: Conrad Buff 


Cast: Denzel Washinton, Ashton Sanders, Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman, Pedro Pascal, Orson Bean, Sakina Jeffrey 

Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?

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