Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
February 2016

Sometimes I have to question whether continuing to make new movies of Shakespeare plays is worth the effort. No, really! It's like this: Anna Sue and I went to see the latest movie of a Shakespeare play. We had to drive some distance, as it had been put in limited release and there were only two theaters in the area (in the tenth largest city in the United States!) which were showing it. When we got to the box office window, we saw a sign posted there that, at least to me, was a pointed remark at the state of educational affairs in this country. The sign said, I kid you not, "'Macbeth' plays with original Shakespearean dialogue. There are no subtitles." (Emphasis in the original. I have a photograph to prove it.) Now, don't get me wrong. I understand that a lot of movies need subtitles for those of us who don't speak French, or Chinese, or Japanese, or Hindi (to choose just a few examples of such movies in my own DVD collection). But you have to know that the sign was put up there because someone (or several someones) was unable to understand Shakespearean English! (Emphasis mine.) And that's just sad. But so it was that Anna Sue and I paid our money, went in and sat down, and waited through a number of previews for movies for which we are most certainly not the target market, and this month, Da'ud Bob reviews for you director Justin Kurzel's vision of Shakespeare's "Scottish play," Macbeth.

Starring Michael Fassbender in the title role, with Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth, Paddy Considine as Banquo, Lochlann Harris as Fleance, David Thewlis as Duncan, Jack Reynor as Malcolm, Sean Harris as Macduff, Elizabeth Debicki as Lady Macduff, Seylan Baxter as the Older Witch, Lynn Kennedy as the Middle Witch, Kayla Fallon as the Young Witch, and Amber Rissmann as the Child Witch, you should already know the overall plot to this play. It's a story of ambition and murder, and the toll that both take on the psyches of the two leading characters. This version took a few novel turns from many productions of the play: Justin Kurzel added the fourth (child) witch just because he liked 7-year-old Amber Rissman so much, even though she has no lines in the movie. Birnam Wood was set afire and its sparks and ashes were blown by the wind up to "high Dunsinane hill." Macbeth is played as suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. And there are mood shots. Lots and lots of "mood" shots. (Which actually fit pretty well; the movie was filmed on location in Scotland and England.)

Good points: It's Shakespeare, and Shakespeare's words. (Without subtitles.) The witches are less supernatural than "weird sisters;" you get the feeling that they are war widows, having lost husbands and sons to the war. The outdoors costumes. The church and cathedral floors. Scottish accents (except for Lady Macbeth's, which is French). A lot of the cinematography, especially of the landscapes. It's not just a film of a stage version of the play.

Bad points: The indoor costumes. There's a strong Byzantine influence on some of the costuming, for no reason that I can determine. Carrying swords in belts without scabbards. Slow motion blood dripping. I have no idea what that embroidered thing that Duncan wore around his neck was supposed to be. It was quasi-heraldic, with a rampant lion, the current Scottish flag (a blue field with a white saltire, or X, on it), and three bear's heads (though three bear's heads are on the arms of the Scottish clan Forbes), along with some other artistic stuff.

Zero breasts. Five gallons of blood. 58 dead bodies. Sword fu. Dagger fu. Fire fu. Crossbow fu. Head rolls. Waves roll. Gratuitous dirt. Gratuitous slo-mo battle scenes. Gratuitous funeral pyres. Gratuitous hostage dinner theater. Academy Award nomination to Michael Fassbender for giving us a new, albeit dark, look into Macbeth. A 92 on the Vomit Meter. Four stars. Da'ud Bob says, "Subtitles? We don't need no stinking subtitles! Check it out!"

Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!

February 26, 2016 in the U.S. 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, Geoffrey Rush, Rufus Sewell.

I saw the previews for this movie in late December. It's gonna be bad. Really bad.


February 25, 2016 in Israel; August 12, 2016 in the U.S. Ben Hur. A falsely accused nobleman survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Jack Huston, Nazanin Bodiadi, David Walmsley. Based on the novel by Lew Wallace, a remake of the 1959 classic that starred Charlton Heston in the title role.

No official website yet.

June 10, 2016 Warcraft. An epic fantasy/adventure based on the popular video game series. The origin story of the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs, with an emphasis upon both the Alliance's and the Horde's sides of their conflict. Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Daniel Wu, Toby Kebbel.


February 17, 2017 Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur. The young Arthur runs the back passages of Londonium with his crew, not knowing his royal lineage until he grabs Excalibur. Instantly confronted by the sword's influence, Arthur is forced to make up his mind. He joins the rebellion and a shadowy young woman named Guinevere, he must learn to understand the magic weapon, deal with his demons and unite the people to defeat the dictator Vortigern, the man who murdered his parents and stole his crown to become king. Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Katie McGrath, Eric Bana, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey.

No official website yet.

Return to Da'ud Bob Page

Return to Home Page