Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
for
January 2015

I always find it interesting to see what I would term a "different take" on one or another of Shakespeare's plays. There have been some really good ones: Ian McKellen's Richard III with its setting in the 1930s; Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood, setting Macbeth in feudal Japan; 10 Things I Hate About You, placing The Taming of the Shrew in a modern California high school. There have been others, of course, which did not hold up quite so well: the production of Shogun Macbeth came across as merely campy and overblown; and I've heard of, though not seen, a Romeo and Juliet set in the Wild West of America that I'm told was pretty bad. So I was trying to keep an open mind about this "sexy high-octane retelling of the classic Shakespeare story" of Macbeth, but I had my reservations, as well, since the setting was modern Melbourne, Australia, taking place among the gangs and drug lords. It actually turned out to be better than I had expected, and so this month Da'ud Bob reviews director Geoffey Wright's 2006 version of "the Scottish play," Macbeth.

Starring Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans) as Macbeth, Victoria Hill as Lady Macbeth, Steve Bastoni as Banquo, Gary Sweet as Duncan, Matt Doran as Malcolm, Lachy Hulme as Macduff, Kat Stewart as Lady Macduff, and Craig Stott as Fleance, if you don't yet know the basic plot of this tale of overweening ambition and descent into madness, you should be able to locate a quick synopsis in about 30 seconds on-line somewhere. As one of Shakespeare's most popular plays, it's easy enough to find.

Good points: It's Shakespeare's words. The music throughout is appropriate to the action on the screen. The treatment of Macbeth's "Is this a dagger I see before me?" monologue, where the "dagger" is the shadow of the leaves of a long-leaved plant on the door. Lady Macbeth is treated more sympathetically than in many productions. Showing Banquo's ghost only in the mirror was an interesting way of treating his appearance to Macbeth. The use of a lumber truck from "Birnham Timber" to have "Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill ... come" was very clever. The many voiceovers seemed to work well, not disrupting the flow of the action.

Bad points: Parts of the play were omitted (though this is a common occurrence with filmed versions of Shakespeare's plays), but others were rearranged in order to keep the action flowing. For those familiar with the play, this was sometimes distracting, because spoken lines were missing entirely or else not where you expected them to hear them (e.g., Macbeth's "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow" monologue was placed right at the very end of the movie instead of right after [Spoiler Alert!] Lady Macbeth's death). The literal presentation of the witches' brew ingredients. The "tramp stamp" tattoos.

Eight breasts. Five gallons of blood. 29 dead bodies. Hammer fu. Screwdriver fu. Spray paint fu. Pistol fu. Machine gun fu. Garrote fu. Bottle fu. Knife fu. Wine glass rolls. Gratuitous graveyard vandalism. Gratuitous cocaine. Gratuitous worms. Gratuitous silencer. Gratuitous slo-mo. Gratuitous (simulated) sex with the witches. Academy Award nominations to Sam Worthington as Macbeth for making the transition from reluctant murderer to bloodthirsty tyrant seem so natural, and to Victoria Hill as Lady Macbeth for her portrayal of a woman at first ambitious for her husband, but whose will collapses under the strain of what her husband is becoming and her own participation in that transformation. A 92 on the Vomit Meter. 3 stars. Da'ud Bob says, "It really is a 'high-octane retelling' of the play. Check it out!"



Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!

Now in wide release Exodus: Gods and Kings. Batman, err, that is, Moses leads the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. Christian Bale, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, John Turturro. Directed by Ridley Scott. A Biblical scholar has noted that the warrior Moses of this movie and the Moses of the Bible have very little in common.

http://www.exodusgodsandkings.com/

Beginning January 4, 2015 on ABC TV. A four-week mini-series. Billed as a comedy. Galavant. Once upon a time, the dashing hero Galavant lost the love of his life, Madalena, to the evil King Richard. Now, our fallen hero is ready to take revenge and restore his "happily ever after." But it won't be without a few twists and turns along the way. Joshua Sasse, Timothy Omundson, Vinnie Jones, Mallory Jansen, Karen David, and Luke Youngblood.

http://abc.go.com/shows/galavant

2015 Macbeth. Yet another film of "the Scottish play," this time starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, and David Thewlis. Currently in post-production.

No website yet.

2016 Gods of Egypt. The Egyptian god of darkness, Set (Gerard Butler), has taken the throne of Egypt for himself. A young thief (Brenton Thwaites), with the aid of the god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) seeks to defeat him. Brenton Thwaites, Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Georffrey Rush, Rufus Sewell.

No website yet.

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