The Last of Robin Hood: DVD Review

Still from The Last of Robin Hood
The Last of Robin Hood is out now on DVD and can be rented from Redbox, as well as other providers of both DVDs and streaming capability. This was a film I was desperate to see at the cinema. However, because of poor reception at screenings elsewhere, or due to the studio’s complete lack of faith in the project or their lack of understanding of how to market the film, it had a very limited release. After realizing that I’d missed the screener, if there was one in Las Vegas, it was out of the cinemas.

To read the rest of the review click this [link] to Viral Global News.

Christian Bale as Travis McGee? What the Fudge?

Christian Bale in promo shot

Okay, just when you thought that the worst casting decision in the world was Marky Mark as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted film, Hollywood chucks one out that is breathtakingly bad. Christian Bale as John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee. Really??

What the fudge people.

After this initial sense of outrage, disbelief and shock, it turns out that the movie is in a sort of “development hell.” The movie was first touted as a vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio as long ago as 2010/11 and resurfaced again in 2013. Scheduling problems took the Wolf Of Wall Street star off the picture and the last word was that Bale was being considered for the role of “salvage consultant” beach bum McGee.

Rosamund Pike, (Gone Girl) is now attached to the project and while that may be good news, the fact that Bale’s name is still associated with the film is not. It was the news of Pike’s connection to the movie that pointed out Bales as being the new McGee. One thing to cling to, however, is that Fox do not really seem to know what they are doing with this property.

From the very start, it looks like the studios have never read any of the superb John D. MacDonald’s series, first publicity blurbs talk of a “World War II” film. Trav was a Korean War vet, although later in the series this became a sort of “open to interpretation” as to which war he had participated. The time settings of the latter stories made the Vietnam War more likely than the big WWII.

At least twice Travis McGee and his best friend Meyer (an economist) have been portrayed on film. Australian actor Rod Taylor on the big screen and laconic actor Sam Elliott on television have both played the beach bum with a penchant for women “who are broken birds.” While both actors did a good job, Taylor seemed a better fit for the role in terms of physicality.

For the audio versions of the stories, TV’s old Mike Hammer, and later Carl Kolchak, Darren McGavin voiced McGee and became, for many, the perfect embodiment of MacDonald’s hero.

In the books, the author described McGee as a big man with sandy hair and “spit colored eyes.” The idea of Christian Bale, with his “tortured” air and intensity, playing the McGee is almost sacrilege. Perhaps in terms of size and delivery, Dick Van Dyke’s son Barry (Diagnosis Murder) comes closest to fitting McGee than any other actor out there.

Unfortunately with names like Bale and, now, Rosamund Pike being touted for the big screen version of The Deep Blue Goodbye, Van Dyke will never get a look in. The other downside is that at 63, Barry is far too long in the tooth to play the Florida bachelor. There may be other younger actors who would be a better fit than Bale, but in terms of box office he will be the stronger choice, as was DiCaprio initially.

Why the Batman actor is being considered for the role is mystifying. His latest film, where he depicts a tortured and intense Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings, proves that he cannot escape his usual style of performance even when portraying a biblical figure. At least on that film, he did not come unglued and scream at a technician on set.

It is a shame that the Fox project, which had the talented Dennis Lehane writing the script, cannot come up with a better choice for the role of Travis. Even Leonard DiCaprio, the studio’s initial casting, was not a good fit. Too young and not physical enough. No arguments with the casting of Rosamund Pike at all at this point but, please Fox, pick someone else to play McGee.

Sadly, it seems that Hollywood will most probably not get this one right. This is not too dissimilar to Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm, played for laughs by Dean Martin, where perfect casting for a more serious version of the American James Bond proved elusive. No one actor really fit the bill and it looks like Travis McGee may well suffer the same celluloid casting fate.

McGee had a quality that kept the reader coming back and wanting him to find the perfect mate. By the last book, The Lonely Silver Rain, Trav had a daughter and Meyer was delighted to see his friend become more mature. Sadly it was the last McGee adventure to be written. MacDonald, a prolific writer, was taken back by the muses and at least one reader cried tears of loss after learning that “McGee” was dead.

The author died in 1986 and was the same creative genius who wrote Cape Fear, made twice into a film, as well as The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything, and a slew of other novels and short story collections on top of some works of non fiction.

The news of Christian Bale being considered for the role of McGee does tend to make one wail in disbelief and scream out “What the Fudge?” However, it is nice to think that this evergreen character, who has been around since the 1960s, is interesting enough to still be considered a good property for the big screen. All one can ask is that a better candidate than Bale be cast at the end of the day.

And of course there is still the issue of Meyer. Knowing Hollywood, they will probably make the best friend a skinny woman thus changing the entire purpose of the economist. This project still seems to be stuck in developmental hell for the time being, despite Pike’s being “cast.” Hopefully scheduling conflicts will negate the American Hustle actor becoming the latest casting mistake in Tinseltown.

Michelle Rodriguez: Home Truths Hurt Amiga

Michelle Rodriguez photo op
Michelle Rodriguez, who has made a career out of playing ballsy women who say and do what they think, learned that home truths can hurt, eh amiga? When asked about the rumor that she was being considered for the part of Jessica Cruz in Green Lantern, she laughingly retorted that this was the “dumbest” thing she had ever heard.

Read the rest of the article on Viral Global News…

Fifty Shades of Grey: Critic Verdicts…Who Cares?

Screen shot of Grey and Steele from Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey  continues to spark a bit of controversy as various critics (but not this one) have given their learned verdict about the film, but really…Who cares? Certainly not the housewives who helped to make the book by middle-aged author E L James a runaway bestseller. Her target audience aren’t looking for Shakespeare between the sheets here – or is that between the whipping posts – they are looking for fantasy.

A dreamy escape from normalcy and the ever present pressures of trying to fit into the demanding world of modern feminism. These millions of fans have taken off their freedom and hung it temporarily in the closet while they enjoy the mastery of a self centered sadomasochist. It doesn’t hurt that the male protagonist is unbelievably wealthy, and powerful, with the added bonus of being drop dead gorgeous to the female audience.

Christian Grey was going to be Charlie Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy. He changed his mind quickly after being cast and backed out citing contract obligations with the hit television show he stars in. While fans of the book worked themselves into a frenzy over who would replace Charlie, the daughter of Melanie Griffiths and Don Johnson, Dakota Johnson, was named as the actress who would show all as Anastasia Steele.

I personally have not gone to see the film.  While still on the list for new screeners there is an issue of transportation as Phoenix is over 90 minutes away and I have no vehicle, but even if travel was not an issue, I would not be rushing to see it.

I am not a prude, after hearing about the bloody books, (James – who started out writing fan fiction about Twilight – wrote another two sequels to the original sex fantasy for the middle-aged and middle-married heterosexual female fans) an E-book of the first tale was downloaded and read.

While not being a housewife (Or feminist who fantasizes about it?) who yearns to be dominated by a man, I found Fifty Shades of Grey to be entertaining to a degree. James has a deft touch writing about the sex scenes while bludgeoning the reader with a female “heroine” who strains belief. Are there really college upper-grads who can manage to be that naive?  But, in reality,  are there any fans who care that her naivety is as real as ersatz eggs?

I doubt it.

Today’s world reeks of sexuality and sensuality. Children are being sexualized at an alarming rate and the art of coitus is being practiced by teens who are barely past puberty. James has proven that, while she may never equal the great authors, she knows what sells.

One cannot go on the Internet without discovering that in today’s world sex apparently equals pain of some sort. Sorry chaps, but despite what you’ve been told by those who want to salve your ego, size does matter. The bigger the better and all the more to hurt you with my dear.

Oh and if I can slap you around a bit and degrade you in the process that is the harsh icing on that bitter cake. Granted in the books, Anastasia is a somewhat reluctant but willing victim. Eventually liking the act of being submissive (while maintaining that ridiculous naivety throughout) and actually not managing to emotionally age by the end of the first book.

However…

As I’ve said, reading the book provoked responses from me that were surprising. It is erotica, no doubt about that and, while not the finest, it causes the blood to rush and one can only imagine that the female fans must be ready to attack the first bloke they run into after reading a few chapters, or seeing a few reels…

Which may be the main reason I  not to watch the film version after learning that Hollywood was going to rake in the money from the author’s fans. An entire cinema full Fifty Shades of Grey fans who sit in their seats squirming with excitement and imaginations running overtime is a frightening prospect.

*I mean, seriously? Have you seen how women act around male strippers?*

Critics of the male variety must have been mad to attend a non press preview, which I am sure existed, who cares what the rest of the world thinks. Women who are fans will go regardless of what some educated reviewer thinks.

So forgive me if I pass, the bloody book wasn’t that erotic or well written. Even if, like the old Heineken advertisements used to say, it “hits the parts that others can’t reach” for the female audience.

12 February 2015

Burt Reynolds Las Vegas Auction: Buying a Bit of Pop Culture

Burt Reynolds Las Vegas Auction: Buying a Bit of Pop Culture

Burt Reynolds fans are of a certain age, looking at the people browsing the pre auction opening of Reynolds memorabilia at the Brenden Palms Hotel and Casino proved that the demographic who are interested in buying a bit of a pop culture icon, and pretty prolific actor, are not part of the 18 – 49 preferred target group of the Hollywood machine. This 78 year old star, who had to wait until the 1998 film Boogie Nights to get an Oscar nomination, has been a presence in Hollywood and on the screens of the world, big and small, since 1958. It has been said of the Smokey and the Bandit star that he has had more failed television series than any other actor in Tinseltown and while that may, or may not be true, it is unarguable that few in that town have as many credits under their belt as Reynolds. The “Bandit” has 178 for acting alone.

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