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Cate Blanchett

A Serious-Minded ‘Robin Hood’ Stays Grounded

Don’t look to Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood for men in tights, or the preponderance of swashbuckling heroics seen in previous incarnations of the populist daredevil’s story.

Here, a brooding Robin, played by a somber Russell Crowe, is a valiant opportunist driven to greatness by a birthright he inherits well into adulthood. He’s an expert archer, of course, but as a guerrilla warrior, he is closer to Rambo than to the dashing adventurer portrayed most famously by Errol Flynn and Sean Connery.

Home Movies: ‘It’s Complicated’ Arrives on DVD, Blanchett’s ‘Elizabeth’ Rises Again

“If you want to have your situation fixed, you have to start dating,” a girlfriend tells Jane, setting the mechanics of her story in motion. “Anyone!”

Jane is a frustrated divorcée, played by the incomparable Meryl Streep, who warily watches her cheating ex Jake (Alec Baldwin) make off with his much-younger mistress turned wife (Lake Bell) as if going through some stereotypical midlife crisis. There’s still a spark between them – a family reunion leads them back to the bedroom after 10 years of separation – but is Jake still the one?

Hayao Miyazaki Contemplates Dreams, the Environment and the Elegant Simplicity of 'Ponyo'

Sitting before a standing-room-only crowd of 6,500, most of whom had waited hours to catch a glimpse of the silver-haired animation master and greeted him with a raucous standing ovation at last month’s Comic-Con convention in San Diego, Hayao Miyazaki played the part of reclusive auteur to perfection.

He was soft spoken and unfailingly polite as longtime friend John Lasseter, the Pixar Animation chief who describes his films as “unique and inspirational,” questioned him about Ponyo, his wondrously illustrated tale of a fish who turns into a little girl after discovering love in the human world.

If his answers came off as less than revealing, nobody seemed to mind.

The Unbearable Burden of Living Life in Reverse

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s farcical retort to the notion, espoused by Mark Twain, that the best things in life happen at the beginning and the worst at the end, demands a generous leap of the imagination. Fitzgerald dedicated roughly 25 pages to his whimsical tale of a man who begins life as a doddering senior and grows progressively younger. Here, director David Fincher and screenwriter Eric Roth attempt a bold re-imagining, using Fitzgerald’s premise as the foundation for a heartfelt rumination on the drawbacks of living life in reverse.

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