Tag Archives: shakespeare

Review: ‘Romeo & Juliet,’ Close Your Eyes and Think of Shakespeare

Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth in 'Romeo & Juliet'
Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth in ‘Romeo & Juliet’

If every generation gets the Romeo & Juliet it deserves, then this generation is doomed to relive the past in a reverential and utterly unremarkable series of close-ups.

Adapted without distinction by Julian Fellowes and directed without distraction by Carlo Carlei, the 2013 movie edition of William Shakespeare’s tragedy features Hailee Steinfeld (15 years old at the time of filming) and Douglas Booth (19 or 20) as the young lovers, and even there the casting is mismatched. Perhaps if Kodi Smit-McPhee (15) had starred as Romeo opposite Steinfeld’s Juliet, the story of two teenagers caught up in smoldering adolescent passion would have played better, and possibly would have elicited greater empathy for the characters.

As it is, however, Smit-McPhee is relegated to playing Benvolio, Romeo’s would be peacemaker of a cousin, and Booth and Steinfeld must endeavor to spark a relationship with chaste kisses and the utmost respect for one another’s personal boundaries. Frankly, it plays out like a college boy courting a 15-year-old girl, which makes it, more than anything else, awkward and uncomfortable. Neither of them is a disaster, but then neither is called upon to do much more than recite their lines with breathless abandon and stare into one another’s eyes at just the right angle to allow key lights to bounce off their irises.

To read the rest of this review, please visit Twitch. The film opens wide across the Metroplex on Friday, October 11.

Review: ‘Anonymous’

Rhys Ifans in Roland Emmerich's 'Anonymous' (Columbia Pictures)
Rhys Ifans in Roland Emmerich's 'Anonymous' (Columbia Pictures)

Roland Emmerich’s ‘Anonymous’ is a disaster movie of another kind. Over the past 20 years or so, Emmerich has steadily pumped out large-scale action pictures that provide a reliable source of entertainment for the masses. Thus, it’s completely fitting that he turn his attention to popular entertainment of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

As with all of Emmerich’s films since 1992 — Universal SoldierStargate,  Independence DayGodzillaThe PatriotThe Day After Tomorrow10,000 BC, and 2012 — his newest endeavor mixes together the best visual effects possible, a mawkish sense of drama, and intermittent attempts at comedic relief. Occasionally, there is a surprising performance that stands out, and that distinction in ‘Anonymous’ belongs to Rhys Ifans as the Earl of Oxford.

The Earl is a tragic figure, coming to the royal household of Queen Elizabeth I as a dashing, confident young man who desires to express a creative fire that burns within his soul, but also wishing to be a mighty man of war, as well as a protector of the young, flighty monarch.

The Earl and the Queen, played in their younger years by Jamie Campbell Bower and Joely Richardson, respectively, enjoy a comfortable, familiar relationship, which only serves to put Lord William Cecil (David Thewlis), the Queen’s most trusted advisor, further on guard. Cecil has his own agenda, which he discloses to no one in full, but he definitely doesn’t want the Earl and the Queen to get too close.

. . .

Standing apart from all the speculation, Rhys Ifans is pretty terrific as a haunted man crushed by a sense of duty and motivated by a love of country and his Queen. His performance alone is almost sufficient to make up for all the shortfalls of a tragedy that isn’t as persuasive as it needs to be.

— From my review at Twitch.

‘Anonymous’ opens today at AMC NorthPark and Landmark Magnolia in Dallas, as well as the Cinemark West Plano, Cinemark Legacy, and Movie Tavern – 7th Street in Fort Worth.