is going to be a great year for movies. I’m confident of this. Since
we’re in this ride together I figured we’d get ready for the year in a
fun and exciting new way. First, over the course of the next fifteen
weekdays we’re going to highlight one mainstream film a day. Some of
them are slam dunks, some of them have a cloud of trouble floating
above them, but all represent a great way to spend a Friday night at
the movie theater even if it results in you ripping its ass thereafter.

of the things this site is built on is a love of movies. Some folks
think we’ve let some of that go by the wayside. I disagree, but
regardless, I want 2010 to be a year where this site restores some of
that wonder. Though the glass can never truly be half-full in a
business so driven by rehashes and hollow entertainment, we’re going to
have fun with it and prepare you guys with as many tools as possible to
make the moviegoing experience worth it. Especially as the internet
gets more and more bogged down with people who have no right serving as
an authority of film blabbering all over blogs and Twitter and beyond.

There’s a reason you come here.

Day Eleven

Robin Hood
Directed by Ridley Scott
Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, William Hurt, Kevin Durand, Danny Huston, Mark Addy, Max Von Sydow, Critters’ Scott Grimes
Written by Brian Helgeland, Ethan Reiff, and Cyrus Voris

The Gist
“He’s Robin Hood and the Sheriff!”
“He’s been a ghost all along!”

Regardless of what you’ve heard about Ridley Scott’s upcoming medieval romp, the bottom line is that it’s big. And familiar. Really familiar. There have been dozens of movies featuring the bowman with morals, many of them good but none with as much money and muscle behind them as this one. Ridley Scott likes to balance his smaller films with gigantic epic battle films and with the ever-reliable Russell Crowe [they did a flick you may  remember called Gladiator together] in the fold this is definitely one of the latter.

Since Ridley does grim and gritty so well, it’s going to be interesting to see how this fares under the treatment. It’s also going to be interesting to see what twists and spins he gives the material to make it interesting. Robin Hood’s an iconic character, but is he still interesting to modern audiences? With that cast, the bells and whistles Ridley can bring to the table, and all the best usage of big battle heroics technology can bring, will audiences care just so long as they see some good kills where arrows fly through eye sockets?

All the enthusiasm I can muster is that I’ll see it.

Fun Fact: The Kingdom of Heaven Director’s Cut is a fucking fantastic movie.

Participants to Watch
Mark Strong has gone from being the best thing in movies that are almost really good (Rocknrolla & Body of Lies) to being nearly typecast and overexposed. As the tough guy Sir Godfrey he gets to be hairless and physical and looks a lot less like a stretched-out Andy Garcia. He’s so good and he’s in so many big upcoming films, this is a movie that needs to showcase some new tricks before the best new character actor on Earth gets boring.

Danny Huston is another guy who has borderline overstayed his welcome unless he changes it up a little. Luckily he’s not playing the lead villain but rather Richard the Lionheart, the King who’s army features a certain archery fanatic. Sadly, Lionheart does not battle a Belgian in a drained swimming pool. Huston’s a good actor from a great filmmaking family, but he needs to mix it up. This role bodes to be a small one if you know the story, but it’s important that we buy him as something other than a schemer.

Fun Fact: The real Richard the Lionheart hated Jews!

Mark Addy is great and absolutely off the grid. After a few nice little flicks in the 90’s, he’s been absent from the mainstream movie scene. As he’s talented and incredibly likable, here’s hoping this film and its Friar Tuck role remind audiences of A Knight’s Tale and The Full Monty.

The Buzz
Not a whole lot, though the film’s development cycle sure has seen some ups and downs. The general reaction I get from folks who see the trailer is that it looks familiar. As if the Gladiator formula were applied to Robin Hood.

Best Case

We get a big, intelligent summer feast from one of the best and most fun directors alive and it is one of those flicks that lives in that weird world between action flick and boutique period movie that audiences and critics love so much.

Worst Case
It’s big and loud and gritty and we simply don’t buy into it anymore. I think it’s safe to say the film will do well internationally. Troy was massive overseas. But here in the states I cannot see it cresting 100 million unless it’s really well marketed and not Ridley Scott pulling a Tim Burton and going through the same motions.

CHUD’s Prognosis
I think it’s kind of in line to be a misfire.

Sad Fact: Longtime Ridley Scott collaborator and CHUD message board legend Paul Prischman passed away last holiday season from a long battle with cancer, leaving a wife and two young children.

Useful links
Official Site
The US Trailer
The UK Trailer

Not Useful Links

Discuss this column here.

Tomorrow: One of two very similar action flicks coming this year.