Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
December 2016

Having reviewed for you the first two movies in The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, Henry VI, Part I and Henry VI, Part II, this month we come to the third part of this second season, one of the most blatantly propagandistic pieces I have seen performed. The central character is written and played as an unmitigated villain, grossly deformed (far more than we now know that he was in real life), and despicable in nearly every way. For all of that, though, this play has been and remains one of Shakespeare's most popular, with a number of versions being filmed over the years. So I invite you, as viewers were invited weekly to do in the old TV series The Lone Ranger, to "return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear," as this month Da'ud Bob reviews for you The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, Richard III.

Starring Benedict ("Sherlock" and "Khan") Cumberbatch in the title role, with Ben Daniels as the Duke of Buckingham, Alan David as the Bishop of Ely, Keeley Hawes as Queen Elizabeth (no, not Elizabeth Tudor! This is set before her time), James Fleet as Lord Hastings, Luke Treadaway as Richmond, Al Weaver as Rivers, Keith Dunphy as Ratcliffe, Sam Troughton as George, Duke of Clarence, Robert Bowman as the Mayor of London, Geoffrey Streatfeild as King Edward IV, Jo Stone-Fewings as Lord Stanley, Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret, Judi Dench as Cecily, Duchess of York, and Paul Bazely as Catesby, the movie begins ten years after Henry VI's death with Edward IV being taken fatally ill, speeding Richard's disposal of their brother George, Duke of Clarence. Made regent to Edward's young son, also Edward, Richard is cursed by the vengeful Margaret of Anjou but nonetheless embarks on a ruthless policy to acquire the crown, disposing of cousins Rivers and Grey and engineering the deaths of the young prince and his brother . This final act loses him the support of his former ally Buckingham, who also comes to an untimely end. Richard is declared king with the widowed lady Anne as his reluctant queen but there are many in the realm seeking to depose him, notably young Henry Tudor, who will meet with Richard at the decisive battle of Bosworth Field.

Good points: The chess set and board. The highly realistic hump on Richard. (It took makeup three hours to get Benedict Cumberbatch into it.) The horses. The white rose tapestry. The tents. The sites for filming. The banners. The pendent seals on documents. The library(!). The costuming. The cloak. The armor. It turns out that Benedict Cumberbatch is in fact Richard III's second cousin, sixteen times removed.

Bad points: The "Burger King" crowns on the young princes. The fact that the play is basically Tudor propaganda (though, admittedly, well-written Tudor propaganda). You can see the current version of the Royal Arms (England quartered with Scotland and Ireland) in stained glass during Henry VII's coronation. Much of the fight choreography.

Zero breasts. 2 gallons of blood. 273 dead bodies. (So, all in all, it's not nearly the gore-fest that Henry VI, Parts I and II were.) Spittle fu. Dagger fu. Assassin fu. Axe fu. Sword fu. Arrow fu. Polearm fu. Waves roll. Gratuitous hump. (Richard had really bad scoliosis; he was not a hunchback.) Gratuitous jibes about Richard's hump. Gratuitous pig's head. Gratuitous prophetic visions in a mirror. Gratuitous head in a sack. Gratuitous nervous ring-tapping. Gratuitous rain. Gratuitous mud. Gratuitous fly. Academy Award nomination to Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III for his snideness and making Richard such a unlikable villain, and "Is there a murderer here? No. Yes, I am." and "And brief, good mother; for I am in haste." A mere 53 on the Vomit Meter. 3 stars. Da'ud Bob says, "By all means, check it out!"

Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!

December 23, 2016 Assassin's Creed. When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar (in al-Andalus, Muslim Spain) and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society. Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Ariane Labed, Jeremy Irons. Chock full o'CGI.


February 17, 2017 The Great Wall. A mystery centered around the construction of the Great Wall of China. Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe. (Period China, with that many white actors?)


March 24, 2017 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. (Formerly titled: 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.

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