Cinema Dispatch: The Northman

The Northman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features

Directed by Robert Eggers

So not only did The Daniels make one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, we got a movie from Robert Eggers just a few weeks after! Either someone out there likes me or I’m being set up for a huge downfall, which admittedly is thematically consistent with Eggers’ other work. Both The Witch and The Lighthouse were two of the best movies in their respective years and it looks like Hollywood is taking notice as they’ve given him a blank check to make his unique form of creeping dread and otherworldly terror as big and bombastic as any summer blockbuster! Do the bigger budget and expansive production give Eggers the room he needs to make the best movie of his career, or is he better suited for something on a much smaller scale? Let’s find out!!

Back in the time of The Vikings, there was a king named Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke) who was unjustly slain by his own brother (Claes Bang) in front of the young prince Amleth (Oscar Novak) in a power grab for his kingdom and his queen (Nicole Kidman). The prince manages to escape and swears vengeance on his uncle which he nurtures into a finely distilled ball of pure rage and spends the next twenty years bulking up and kicking butt until he is ready to take back his kingdom. Now a grown man (Alexander Skarsgård), Amleth pillages the countryside with a group of like-minded and similarly buff Viking dudes until he gets word that his uncle has been deposed and is living with the queen and their two sons on some farm in Iceland. He heads over there on a slave ship to try and get close to him while meeting the fair maiden Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy) who may or may not be a witch, and is similarly interesting in killing the man who will be enslaving them both. Amleth manages to stay unrecognized as he becomes one of his uncle’s slaves and plots his revenge which includes sewing chaos during the night and stabbing dudes with a magic sword he finds. Still, this proves to not be as simple a task as Amleth believed it to be for all those years, and now he’s faced with the true consequences of his actions which forces him to weigh the cost of his vengeance against the balance he hopes to restore with that blood. Will Amleth be able to avenge his father, save his mother, and be the hero that would make Odin proud? Will his uncle catch wise to this hulking blonde brute being the instrument of his torment, and even if he does realize his identity, is there anything he can do to stop his nephew from carrying out his quest? Is it just me or does a blood feud really do wonders for your physique? I mean jeez, they didn’t even have EMS back!

[THENORTHMANCD1 – I guess when you can’t get whey protein in a jar you just have to get it the old-fashioned way by drinking the blood of your enemies!]

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Cinema Dispatch: The Green Knight

The Green Knight and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24

Directed by David Lowery

The first trailer for this movie dropped in February of 2020 which was mere weeks before the world pretty much came to an end and movies were either shelved or released on streaming services for exorbitant prices.  I was definitely interested in seeing it as I had a vague understanding of what The Green Knight story was and seeing it realized on the big screen with such interesting visuals and an AWESOME looking design for the titular knight seemed like a slam dunk to me!  I was ready to open a spot for it on my top ten list of 2020 based on the trailer alone, but we all know what happened next, and much like Sir Gawain himself we all had to wait one year to see how it all worked out.  Was it worth holding out until we could return to theaters to release it, or was it would it have been a better idea to just toss it onto HBO Max and hope that everyone forgets it before the studio puts out their next movie?  Let’s find out!!

In the time of legends and poor hygiene, a young knight name Gawain (Dev Patel) was going about his life without much knighting to speak of.  Sure he had the title, but he spent most of his days waiting for glory and honor to come to him rather than seek it out himself.  Fortunately for him, opportunity presents itself at the King’s Christmas party where a mysterious green Knight offers anyone there a simple challenge!  Strike him once however they wish, on the condition that in one year’s time they will take the same blow from the Green Knight.  Feeling plucky and looking to prove himself, Gawain takes up the challenge and with one swift strike, chops the Green Knight’s head off!  Well so much for taking a blow next year, am I right?  Well… it looks like this will still come to pass as the Green Knight casually picks up his head and rides off into the night!  I mean it’s KINDA on Gawain to not assume some magical shenanigans were at play, but still; he has one year to make up his mind as to whether he will got to face the Green Knight at his chapel and go through with this game despite him being PRETTY sure that his own head is not so easily reattached.  Gawain seems to be willing to face his fate as he mounts a horse and starts his journey, but things are not as straightforward as they seem; not with the path ahead of him or the convictions in his own mind.  Will Gawain preserve his honor and face the Green Knight’s blade despite how unfair this all seems?  What challenges will he face along the way, and are they enough to make him waiver in his convictions?  Seriously, WHY DOES THIS GUY LOOK SO COOL!?  Maybe that’s how he gets people to fall for this; he just charms them with his rugged good looks!

Green Knight for Smash!!
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Cinema Dispatch: The Witch

WITCHCD0

The Witch and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24

Directed by Robert Eggers

It’s probably too soon to say we’re out of the New Year Doldrums just because this movie came out, especially considering it played the festival circuit throughout most of 2015,  but whether or not this release can be used to determine a trend at the multiplexes, at least it’s something interesting to break up the mundanity and outright crappiness that we can usually expect for the first two or three months of the year.  Does this movie deserve all the praise it’s been getting, or is this another overhyped festival darling that’s being release now because it couldn’t hack it during a better time in the mainstream circuit?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows a family of ultra-religious pilgrims who have voluntarily left the settlement to live on their own and practice their own brand of conservative Christianity in peace.  Just to clear, these are the Puritans who thought the Puritans that left England to separate themselves from that sinful country were not pure enough for them.  Clearly leaving them to their own devices is going to end well for everyone.  Spoiler alert: It does not because not too long after William (the father played by Ralph Ineson) sets up their homestead just outside the woods, the baby son seems to have disappeared out of nowhere.  What happened to him?  Oh trust me.  You will find out very quickly what happened to him.  Needless to say that losing one of the kids does not sit well with either the parents (especially the mother played by Kate Dickle) or the baby’s siblings of which there are four (Thomasin played by Anya Taylor-Joy, Caleb played by Harvey Scrimshaw, and the twins Mercy and Jonas played by Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson).  Now it’s clear to us that somewhere deep inside the woods is a witch, but the family hasn’t come to that conclusion yet and as things get stranger and stranger, they begin to suspect one another which only escalates conflicts and weakens their sense of morality which is easily replaced by fervor.  Can this family get over the loss of their child and come together to hash out whatever differences they may have?  Will the witch’s devious motivations become clear as her corrupting influence permeates though the unwelcomed guests?  WHY IS THAT GOAT STARING AT ME!?

WITCHCD1
“KING KONG AIN’T GOT SHIT ON ME-E-E-E-E-E!!”

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