The first five minutes felt like an extended trailer and the next 20 was a British gangster film set in the mythical dark ages. There were quite a few jumps of style and I’m not sure if it worked, but as a viewer it certainly kept you on your toes. As a recreation of Arthurian myth it’s all over the place – Ritchie takes bits and pieces and weaves it into a story of his own making, but some of the ideas are quite refreshing – how the sword got in the stone being one of my favourites- and also the cost of magic power that Vortigern pays being another. Plus the channelling of Mordred’s magic through a coven of acolytes circled around him looked great and seemed to show that the makers of the film thought about how magic might work.
What I still can’t get over though are the giant elephants – the size of mountains. Where did that idea come from? Just crazy.
So what happens? In a nutshell – Arthur’s dad is killed by his own brother (Vortigern) who uses magic powers to defeat Arthur, who is unbeatable facing mortal men because of his magic sword. Arthur – a young boy escapes and grows up as a street kid in old Londinium town. He becomes the leader of a criminal gang. Vortigern grows in power but fears the legend that the true king will come – that true king is the one able to draw the sword from the stone. He tests everyone in the kingdom – eventually Arthur gets his turn …
The effects and style of the film are stunning. The humour you will have seen before in Guy Ritchie films – I’m not personally a fan, but the look of the film and the use it made of diverse myths carried it for me. The main actors were all pretty good, so I would say yes worth seeing – but be prepared for it to be a bit daft.
There’s apparently going to be a film version of a little known book by an unknown writer out soon that for some reason is causing a bit of excitement – The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien I think it’s called. Some fella by the name of Jackson is directing.
Anyway here’s the trailer for it. I’m really not sure about those hairy feet.
Despite it being a Guy Ritchie film and despite it being a bit over the top, I actually enjoyed the first Sherlock Holmes move. I thought Robert Downey put in a good performance. The new film is out in December and involves Sherlock and co. chasing Moriarty across Europe and also Noomi Rapace in her first major post-Lisbeth role.
I blogged about the Season of the Witch film earlier in the year, and that seems to have given it the right royal kiss of death! It’s not been released yet and according to various sources including BD Horror News has been scheduled for reshoots in September. It seems that there was a clash with the similarly themed The Last Exorcism, and also some of the initial screenings weren’t that impressive.
I like Ladyhawke quite a bit because of the historical fantasy setting, but it does look a bit dated now. The Company of Wolves though is by far my favourite and doesn’t look dated at all, despite being 25 years old. Based on Angela Carter‘s short stories, the film is a fantastic retelling of fairy tales combined with werewolf legend. It’s a beautiful and powerful film.
Here’s the trailer:
My historical-fantasy short story Bisclavret (The Werewolf) is available at Smashwords. You can see a free preview or buy the whole thing for $0.99.
Some work seems to have been done on the previously threadbare website for Season of the Witch! Unfortunately the site still uses annoying flash players to slow down loading of content, but now there is more than just a brief synopsis and trailer video.
You also get sections on:
Story – the synopsis again with some weird sort of scrolling action going on – again not very user friendly!
Gallery – pictures each of which take about a minute to load because of the silly flash player!
Cast & Crew – also limited by the flash player
Downloads – wallpapers of different still photos and sizes
Doesn’t really add too much. I would be interested to see some sort of cast and crew interview or maybe a new trailer!
Here’s a bit more information about Season of the Witch, although there’s not much available apart from the synopsis and cast list at the moment. Apparently some screenings happened in December 2009, but no reviews yet. The film is due out in March 2010.
Nicolas Cage stars as a 14th century Crusader who returns with his comrade (Ron Perlman) to a homeland devastated by the Black Plague. A beleaguered church, deeming sorcery the culprit of the plague, commands the two knights to transport an accused witch (Claire Foy) to a remote abbey, where monks will perform a ritual in hopes of ending the pestilence.
A priest (Stephen Campbell Moore), a grieving knight (Ulrich Thomsen), an itinerant swindler (Stephen Graham) and a headstrong youth who can only dream of becoming a knight (Robert Sheehan) join a mission troubled by mythically hostile wilderness and fierce contention over the fate of the girl.