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Me and Orson Welles (2008)
This movie is almost as theatrical as the play ('Julius Caesar') that is being staged in it. It reminded me of Hairspray (the version with John Travolta) and not only because Zac Efron is in it. The same artificiality of the sets, story lines and up-beat performances. Any moment, I expected Zac to burst into singing,and one moment he actually does! Christian McKay is excellent as Orson Welles but suffers from the same artificiality of the script as all the actors do. It took a while before I got into the right mood but from that moment on the movie was entertaining. For me the best parts are the glimpses of the adaptation of 'Julius Caesar' that was created by Orson Welles. I would have loved to be in the audience when it was first performed.
Robin Hood (2010)
Solid but a bit stupid
Robin Hood is a very professionally made film. Great actors, great production design, great images. It is nice to watch because you feel you are in the capable hands of Ridley Scott. But do not expect to be amazed by the story or the acting. Apart from dame Marion, the characters are two dimensional and predictable. The film pretends to be historically correct, but is of course a well dressed fantasy. There are a few battle scenes, filmed in the Gladiator way. They are exciting, but not very convincing. In fact, they are completely ridiculous when you think you are watching a historically correct film. The worst for me were the boats in the final battle, apparently trying to induce a D-Day feeling.
Overall, the story is off balance. Some scenes have a very slow pace, while other scenes, often key elements that explain how Robin Hood came into existence, are reduced to a few shots and proclamations. The end of the film tells it all: it reminds us that we were supposed to see the story of how the legend of Robin Hood started. The makers just forgot to tell it.
What a beautiful experience! I was told that the story is simple and disappointing, but to me it was extremely well done. It is exactly right for the occasion: present a completely new kind of cinema to an audience as big as possible. The beauty of the images is overwhelming, the characters are completely believable and not shallow at all.
My only complaint is that there is too much Aliens-like violence and too little time for just experiencing the strangeness of an alien world. My son is 11 years old. Just a little bit too young to see the film. I would have loved to give him this experience.
OK, the story is not the most original I've seen. But there is so much detail and the story is so effective and moving that I don't care. I laughed, I cried, I was angry. I felt every emotion I was supposed to feel. Including the joy of feeling your feet again... I can't imagine a story that would make this film better than it is now.
One thing that should be mentioned here is the influence of WETA, the makers of "Lord of the Rings". They added that special "unamerican" feel that made the LOTR trilogy so successful, and will do the same for the Avatar franchise.
Surely, now that the world of Avatar is established, we can expect more... much more! What a time to be alive! WOW!