Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies! Today’s post includes a review of, “The Green Knight,” a film I actually went to the theater to see. No clue as to the last movie I saw at the theater before it, but it’s been a long while now.
The Green Knight (2021)
Starring: Dev Patel, Anais Rizzo, Joe Anderson, Alicia Vikander, Noelle Brown, Sarita Choudhury, Nita Mishra, Tara Mae, Atheen Frizzell, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, Chris McHallem, Ralph Ineson, Emmet O’Brien, Joel Edgerton, Barry Keoghan, and many more.
Director and Writer: David Lowery
Genres: adventure, drama
Synopsis: Gawain (played by Patel) is the nephew of the aging King (played by Harris) and Queen (played by Dickie, who played Kat’s sister on GoT.) As the story opens, it shows Patel as a cavalier young man who frequents brothels and imbibes large quantities of mead. When a Court holiday gathering has the King inviting Gawain to sit beside him in the chair next to his throne, it gets the gears turning in his head that it may be time to grow up. In a strange bit of serendipity the doors to the castle open and a mighty Green Knight (played by Ineson) rides in on a great steed and issues a challenge to all listeners: who will be brave enough to fight him? Further, they must meet the Green Knight in one year’s time at a distant chapel, where the Knight will return whatever strikes, etc. he is given to the one who steps up to fight him. Gawain impulsively volunteers. I won’t give away what happens, but the bulk of the story shows Gawain traveling to the distant chapel to fulfill the challenge a year later.
Impressions: I very much enjoyed the way the story played out, which is a hero’s journey. Patel is perfect for the role, as he has the purity of heart that’s needed for such a character. Although he is in fine physical form, it is his wits and his courage that he relies on as he travels. I also like that he doesn’t deny that he’s fearful of the challenges he encounters, yet he goes on despite some pretty harrowing events. I enjoyed the way it was filmed also, without the excessive CGI that grows so wearisome in a lot of these types of movies. I didn’t realize it at the time I went to see it or I may have skipped this one, but two actors I loathe, Joel Edgerton and Barry Keoghan, are in this. Thankfully, they had minimal roles.
Etc.: filmed in Ireland;
Awards: 1 nomination (so far)
There is an unusual looking spiral tower shown multiple times early in the film. This is a real building called “The Wonderful Barn“. It is located in Leixlip, Co. Kildare, Ireland. It is a folly that was built on the estate of Castletown House by the Conolly family in 1743. While it served a purpose as a granary, it is generally accepted that it was constructed primarily to provide work for the local poor who were suffering the aftermath of the Great Famine.
The Last Vermeer (2019)
Starring: Guy Pearce, Claes Bang, Vicky Krieps, Roland Moller, August Diehl, Karl Johnson, Andrew Havill, Paul Bentall, Olivia Grant, Adrian Scarborough, Marie Bach Hansen, Tom Mulheron, Cameron Jack, Susannah Doyle, Richard Dillane, Oliver Ryan, Simon Paisley Day, and many more.
Director: Dan Friedkin
Synopsis: This wonderful summary from imdb describes the plot so well:
Claes Bang stars as Joseph Piller in this captivating dramatic thriller set just after WWII – an all but forgotten true story – about a soldier investigating renowned Dutch artist Han van Meegeren, played by Guy Pearce, who is accused of conspiring with the Nazis. Despite mounting evidence, Piller becomes increasingly convinced of Han’s innocence and finds himself in the unlikely position of fighting to save the life of the colorful man with a mysterious past. The film also features Vicky Krieps.
Impressions: The plot of the film was compelling, especially as it is based on a true story. Did you ever wonder what happened to all of the artwork the Nazis stole from people during WWII? This is the story of one man who decided to fight back in his own way. I loved this movie not only because of the plot but because of the superior acting. Bang as Piller is the steadfast passionate seeker of truth and Pearce as van Meegeren, the ultra-wealthy yet “nobody” artist on trial for consorting with Nazis, both give stellar performances. The support cast is also superior. This movie examines not only the artwork but examines human nature and what being placed in a war environment is like. What would you be willing to do to survive it? Although it may be a grim topic, as so many war-themed movies tend to be, the atmosphere in, “The Last Vermeer,” is far from it.
Etc.: imdb trivia: Second time Guy Pearce plays a Dutchman. First time was in thriller/western Brimstone, which was directed by Dutchman Martin Koolhoven, who taught him the Dutch accent.; I believe part/all of this is filmed in The Netherlands.
Awards: 1 nomination
Antwone Fisher (2002)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Derek Luke, Malcolm David Kelley, Cory Hodges, Joy Bryant, Sally Richardson-Whitfield, Leonard Earl Howze, Kente Scott, Kevin Connolly, Rainoldo Gooding, Novella Nelson, Stephen Snedden, Leo Nepomuceno, Sung Kang, Cordell Stokes, Ellis Williams, Timothy Reddick, Yolonda Ross, De’Angelo Wilson, Jascha Washington, Vernee Watson, Viola Davis, Earl Billings, and many more.
Director: Denzel Washington and Writer: Antwone Fisher
Genres: biography, drama
Synopsis: Antwone (played by Luke) is a young sailor who gets referred for a mental health assessment after fighting with another young sailor. He’s sent to Dr. Davenport (played by Washington,) a Navy psychiatrist who has such a volume of patients come through that he is pretty much going through the motions to stay ahead of his caseload. Antwone shows a great resistance initially, but when he understands if he doesn’t talk there is no report and he may be booted from the Navy, he begins to open up. The problem is, Dr. Davenport has opened the floodgates of past trauma and their associated emotions for Antwone that can’t be easily shut again. The bulk of the story takes place from here, where Dr. Davenport joins Antwone on a journey through his past trauma and how that trauma has shaped who he is today. There are also sub-plots of Antwone’s attempt to have a healthy relationship with Cheryl (played by Bryant,) another sailor; and Dr. Davenport’s strained relationship with his wife, Berta (played by Richardson-Whitfield.)
Impressions: We’ve seen a million movies where the white male or female psychiatrist helps the white male or female patient process their trauma. We also know that it isn’t just white men and women who need healing from trauma; further, that non-whites are also psychiatrists. Why doesn’t Hollywood ever show it? Add on the military aspect of it, and you’ll see how important this movie is. Seriously! The way it is done is with such gentleness and sensitivity that it makes me weep just thinking about it. The acting is fabulous and feels like more than acting in that it is, using the Navy motif, the flagship of how to do it right as far as showing a person of color who has been traumatized developing enough trust in their therapist, who is also a person of color, to allow themselves to be helped.
Etc.: filmed in California and Ohio
Awards: 19 wins and 22 nominations
Antwone Fisher was working as a security guard at Sony Studios. Studio executives began hearing about his life story and offered to buy the rights. But Fisher refused, insisting that he write the screenplay himself. Fisher wrote 41 drafts, until he sold it to 20th Century Fox.
Once Upon a Time in Tombstone (2020)
Starring: Paul Clayton, Jerry Chesser, Jezibell Anat, Russell Dobson, Brad Owens, Charles Gabel, Ronald Blanton, W. Clay Lee, Wade Fullmer, Eddie Rodgers, Daniel Dobson, and many others.
Director and Writer: Christopher Forbes
Synopsis: The story of Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, and “the gunfight.” It’s a retelling supposedly based on historical fact, but I have no idea if that is true.
Impressions: This is a very low-budget product which glaringly shows. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of a look. There are some hunky cowboys in this!
BONUS (sort of) the whole movie was found on youtube:
Tokyo Godfathers (2003) Tôkyô goddofâzâzu (original title)
Starring: Toru Emori, Aya Okamoto, Yoshiaki Umegaki, and many other voices.
Director: Satoshi Kon
Genres: anime, street life, holiday
Synopsis: Three homeless people who live in a shack together and have a functional bond with each other find an abandoned baby. The baby triggers different emotions in each of the three. For the family man who abandoned his family, it triggers guilt and sadness; for the transgender woman, it triggers maternal instincts and longing; for the teenager, it triggers homesickness. It’s Christmas time and it’s cold outside. Through the harsh cold elements and other assorted barriers, these three are determined to keep the baby warm and safe and to find her parents so they can return her to them.
Impressions: This is one of those holiday movies that could easily become part of an annual viewing tradition. It’s heartwarming to see how they protect the baby. It’s also a close-up look of how the homeless are forced to live and how they survive. Some of the language is a little shocking and insensitive especially in regards to the transgender woman; however if you can acknowledge that’s probably the way it was back in 2003 when the movie was made, it might make it tolerable.
Etc.: Made in Japan; in Japanese language with English subtitles; lots of neat trivia about it on imdb.
Awards: 8 wins and 1 nomination
REAL BONUS: I found the whole “Tokyo Godfathers” movie *dubbed in English* for those of you who don’t like reading subtitles. You’re welcome!
Godzilla Vs. Kong (2021) (notice title is minus “King”)
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Bryan Tyree Henry, Shun Oguri, Eiza Gonzalez, Julian Dennison, Lance Reddick, Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir, Kayleigh Hottle, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Ronnie Chieng, John Pirrucello, Chris Chalk, Conlan Casal, Brad McMurray, and many others.
Director: Adam Wingard
Genres: action, sci-fi
Synopsis: The plot is pretty much irrelevant to the CGI. Godzilla is the mindless, raging monster, and Kong is the hapless hero that gets pulled off of his artificial home/island to help fight against Godzilla and the bad guys who are trying to tap into a world-dominating power that is found at the earth’s core but inaccessible – unless Kong, who we learn, was born there, can access the portal into the core and lead the villains to it.
Impressions: The CGI is polished and seamless with the live acting. If you disengage your brain and simply watch it for the CGI you’ll possibly like it. The acting, plot, dialogue, etc. is insipid and aggravating. I tried no less than three times to get through it and kept falling asleep. One of my biggest gripes with casting is the choice of Demian Bichir as the main human villain. What a miscast! He’s more of a sensitive type of actor that keeps getting miscast as a tough guy. Hollywood, please listen: give him a plum sensitive role and let him show what he can do.
Etc.: $200,000,000 budget !?!?; This is the first film in 59 years to feature both King Kong and Godzilla.
Awards: 1 win and 1 nomination