6:00 PM, 7th August, 2010
The famous English actress Emma Thompson has won two Oscars. One was the Best Actress Oscar for her role as Margaret Schlegel in the 1992 film Howard’s End. For what role did Emma Thompson earn her other Oscar?
Trick question. Emma Thompson won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for her script for the 1995 film Sense and Sensibility. In addition to starring in the original 2005 film Nanny McPhee, Emma Thompson also carefully wrote and rewrote that film’s screenplay. Thus Nanny McPhee was one of those rare delights; a film targeting pre-teen children which did not insult the intelligence of adults.
With Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, Emma Thompson again carefully wrote and rewrote the script, and Emma Thompson again portrays the eponymous hideous hero. The two films stand alone (except for one minor in-joke), so there is no need to watch Nanny McPhee on DVD before watching Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang at the ANU Film Group.
Since it is impossible to discuss the plot of Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang without giving away hilarious (or sometimes poignant) spoilers, I will conclude this review with some words of wisdom from Nanny McPhee herself:
“I have five lessons to teach. What lessons they learn is entirely up to them.”
“One of you is going to have to go and it can’t be the donkey.”
8:00 PM, 7th August, 2010
It’s Gladiator with bows and arrows!
Actually, this Robin Hood ‘origin story’ plays out more like a few leftover pages from Kingdom of Heaven than Gladiator, bringing an epic blockbuster scale to a character who is usually associated with relatively intimate banditry. Crowe stars as the eponymous bandit, who is at this point in time a fearsome archer in King Richard’s crusading army. Weary of life on the road and the intent of the crusade, Robin and his chums – Little John, Will Scarlet and Allan A’Dayle – desert and head home to England. Along the way they encounter a group of royal guards being ambushed by the sinister Sir Godfrey (Mark Strong), an English knight working for the French king. Upon returning to England, Robin poses as the leader of the fallen guards, Robert Loxley, at the bequest of Loxley’s father (Max von Sydow) and proceeds to woo his pretend wife, Lady Marion (Blanchett) as he defends her lands and thwarts a French invasion.
Though it strays substantially from the traditional Robin Hood mythology, with more than a few cheeky nods towards the traditional story as it skirts around it, Robin Hood is quite true to the spirit of the character in an unorthodox way. More importantly, it’s a rollicking action adventure that is as fun to watch as it is preposterous and features a great cast.