Robin Hood
   Director: Ridley Scott, Paramount Pictures, Rated M, 140 mins

Unlike the swashbuckling classic The Adventures of Robin Hood which was made in 1938 and starred Australian actor Erroll Flynn, Ridley Scott’s adaptation is a magnificent epic that recreates the genesis of the legendary archer and outlaw (similar to that taken in Batman Begins).
   Scott teams up with Australian Academy Award winning actors Russell Crowe (Gladiator) in the lead role and Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth) as Lady Marian.
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   Following King Richard's death in France, archer Robin Longstride (Crowe) together with Will Scarlett (Scott Grimes), Alan-a-Dale (Alan Doyle) and Little John (Kevin Durand) return to England.
   Here they encounter the dying Sir Robert of Locksley, whose party is ambushed by the treacherous Godfrey (Mark Strong, Sherlock Holmes) who is secretly collaborating with the French to invade England.
   Robin fulfils his promise to the dying knight by returning his sword to his father, Sir Walter (Max von Sydow), who in turn encourages him to impersonate his son to prevent his land from being confiscated by the crown.
   At the same time Robin also finds himself being the ‘ready-made husband’ of Marian.
   Godfrey is appointed Marshal of England and uses his position to terrorise towns under the pretext of collecting taxes.  It is not long before Robin rallies the barons and the King to thwart Godfrey and the French invasion.
   Sensing that Robin's popularity makes him a threat, the King declares him an outlaw. It is at this point that Robin, his friends and his wife Marian move to Sherwood Forrest and where the legend of Robin Hood really begins.
   There is no doubt that Scott has taken a different approach in his telling of the famous legend as he provides a more dynamic and serious interpretation of the origins of Robin Hood and in doing so created a sprawling spectacle befitting of the legendary hero.
   Besides a refreshing storyline and some well orchestrated battle scenes there are also wonderful performances of the ensemble cast especially Crowe and Blanchett as well as von Sydow as Sir Walter (Shutter Island), William Hurt (Incredible Hulk) as William Marshal and Oscar Isaac (Balibo) as Prince/King John.
   Scott’s Robin Hood is enjoyable and entertaining, making it a worthy successor to the classic version of the late ‘30s and ensuring the legend continues.
VIC'S VERDICT:       4 Rubber Stamps


New York I Love You
   Release date: 19 May
   Directors: Fatih Akin, Yvan Attal, Randall Balsmeyer, Allen Hughes, Shunji Iwai, Wen Jiang, Shekhar Kapur, Joshua Marston, Mira Nair, Natalie Portman, and Brett Ratner. Madman Entertainment, Rated MA, 103 mins

New York I Love You is a different type of romantic comedy from the norm, comprising eleven short films (and an equal number of directors) which occasionally come together.
   Each segment runs about 10 minutes long and visually expresses the experiences of the individuals involved in each vignette –all taking place in and around their beloved city of New York.
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   This movie is in fact the second in a series of the Cities of Love franchise, the first being Paris, Je t’aime (Paris I Love You) and is produced again by Emmanuel Benbihy.
As such, each of the directors take turns to present their particular insights into the intimate lives of New Yorkers as they come to terms with their search for love.
   In summary the stories shows: a pickpocket meeting his match; a young Jewish woman in a cultural exchange with an Indian diamond merchant; a writer trying a new pick-up line; an artist seeking a model; a composer; two women connecting; a man taking a child to Central Park; lovers meeting; a teenager going to the prom with a girl in a wheelchair; a retired singer contemplating suicide; and an elderly couple taking a walk on their anniversary.
   Certainly some of the stories shown are clever and funny (including some wonderful twists)–such as the school boy taking a pharmacist’s daughter who is in a wheelchair to a prom, but others come across as flat or are simply confusing.
   With so many directors and script writers involved it is clear that rolling all the segments into one cohesive movie became too difficult a task, especially in fitting in such a diverse ensemble cast Orlando Bloom, James Caan, Julie Christie, Bradley Cooper, Chris Cooper, Hayden Christensen, Andy Garcia, Ethan Hawke, John Hurt, Shia LaBeouf, Cloris Leachman, Robin Wright Penn, Natalie Portman, Christina Ricci, Eli Wallach, and Anton Yelchin.
   To some this movie is reminiscent of that famous TV series of the 1960s The Naked City (referring to New York) and so one could be excused for using their memorable line: “There are eight million stories in the naked city”- “and these have been eleven of them”.
   Making a compilation movie is risky and even thoughNew York I Love You has a lot of potential, it just somehow doesn’t quite succeed.

VIC'S VERDICT:       2 ½ Rubber Stamps

To find out more about Victor Rebikoff click here.
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