1. Robin Hood (Universal, 3,503 Theaters, 140 Minutes, Rated PG-13): This film could have been so much better. You can’t often say that sort of thing before you even see the film, but in this case you can.
See, the script for this was sold on its unique twist. It was told from the point of view of the Sheriff of Nottingham. He would be the protagonist and Robin would be the antagonist. Having Robin Hood be the villain would have been a fresher take on the overdone concept and would be a film I’d like to see.
But that was all before Ridley Scott signed on to direct and Russell Crown signed on to play Robin. Then the script got rewritten to a more conventional telling of the story, albeit more gritty and Gladiator-esque.
If that wasn’t enough to keep me away, the snippets of Oscar Isaac’s hammy, scenery chewing performance as Prince John would finish the job. That rivals Sting’s performance in Dune as the most over-the -top acting in a film by someone with a British accent.
2. Letters To Juliet (Summit Entertainment, 2,968 Theaters, 105 Minutes, Rated PG): I don’t know if I am typical of every guy, but one of the reasons why I don’t like romances is often they don’t make sense.
Take this one, for instance. A young woman travels to Verona and visits the wall of Juliet where lovelorn tourist leave letters to Juliet for advice (which is a real place and the practice really does happen in real life). There she finds a decades old letter from a woman asking about the love of her life (which somehow escaped the notice of the “secretaries of Juliet”, a group of women who, no lie, answer every letter addressed to Juliet. I imagine they answer ones addressed to Juliet left at the wall. I saw it on one of Samantha Brown’s shows). Not only is she able to track down the woman after 40 years or so, she is also able to track down her paramour too. Which would be logistically impossible and logically dubious. Along the way the girl find true love with the older woman’s grandson.
Yeah, I am not nearly as old as Vanessa Redgrave’s character, but I have moved six times over the span of just 20 years. I’d bet many readers out there will have moved at least once. So Amanda Seyfried’s ability to track down Redgrave in the first act totally breaks my suspension of disbelief.
3. Just Wright (Fox Searchlight, 1,831 Theaters, 111 Minutes, Rated PG): In most media, but especially TV, you’ll have a case where the rather sizable man is paired with a shapely woman. As a rather sizable man of immense girth, I can tell you this seldom happens in real life. You’ll find a lot more match-ups like John Goodman and Roseanne Barr than Kevin James and Leah Remini or Mark Addy and Jami Gertz. Yes, these kind of pairings do occasionally happen in real life, but there is usually extraordinary circumstances involved.
This film is a reversed gender version of those sitcom pairings, with the zaftig Queen Latifah paired with in story basketball played Common. However, it is presented differently than the male/female relationships. Latifah, who produced the film as well, presents her character as a kind, intelligent woman with a good heart, and not a blowhard nincompoop. You can see how Common’s character would be attracted to her as a person. This pairing is believable.