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IndianGiver - Understudies

There’s a difference between being derivative and being inspired by something, a line a lot of artists can’t seem to find — or at least don’t care to.
04/22/2014 | Comments 0

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0
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Ridley Scott's 'Robin Hood' steals from rich film history and pays with violent entertainment


Doug Bentin May 20th, 2010

Movie buffs can have a lot of fun playing the "what if" and "what the hell" games with this new version of Robin Hood's adventures, of which there have been countless variations in film or on TV since...

Movie buffs can have a lot of fun playing the "what if" and "what the hell" games with this new version of Robin Hood's adventures, of which there have been countless variations in film or on TV since Douglas Fairbanks hippety-hopped through the Sherwood Forest of Southern California in 1922.

The most fondly remembered re-telling of the tale is the 1938 version starring Errol Flynn, and for good reason: It's the best, with its stunning color photography, operatic score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and heavy romanticism. Personally, I want my Robin Hood to be romantic. Anything else may be good, but by comparison, it's just historical fiction set at the turn of the 12th century.

This time out, 45-year old Russell Crowe ("State of Play") is the man in tights. Apropos of nothing, that makes him older than Sean Connery was when he played an aging archer in "Robin and Marian." I quickly accepted Crowe in the role, despite his age, because he doesn't play the character like an imitation Flynn or Fairbanks. Where they overplayed shamelessly, Crowe underplays.

This Robin has just returned from fighting in the Third Crusade with Richard I. This well-loved English king, who could barely speak English, was killed by an arrow through the shoulder and neck. Richard's heart was buried in Normandy, his entrails where he died, and the rest of him in Anjou.

But back to Crowe. His Robin is quiet and thoughtful, described as loyal, honest and naive. After a French attack on the party returning Richard's crown to England, Robin assumes the identity of Sir Robert Loxley, the crown's courier, because he can travel faster as a knight than he can as a yeoman archer. Back home, he delivers the crown to Richard's brother, King John (Oscar Isaac, "Body of Lies," who does enough overacting for Flynn and Fairbanks combined).

Another chore Robin has taken up is carrying the family sword of the real Robert Loxley, deceased, to his father, the blind Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow, "Shutter Island"). Walter fears that if his son's death becomes known, his widow, Lady Marion Loxley (Cate Blanchett, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), won't be able to hang on to the family estate.

Since the late Sir Robert has been off fighting infidels for 10 years and no one remembers what he looked like, Sir Walter hires Robin to continue pretending to be his son. Marion isn't wild about it, but she doesn't get a vote (and won't for another 650 years or so).

Meanwhile, back in the Tower of London, King John decides to raise money for the crown by raising taxes. When it comes to Robin Hood stories, this is where we came in. The Barons in the north of the country object and decide to rebel. They march down from the north while King Philip plans to march in from the coast.

At a meeting of the Barons, which John attends, Robin shows up with a speech about the rights of man and all that Magna Carta stuff. The Barons agree to help John if he will grant the people certain inalienable rights, which he does while holding his crossed fingers behind his back.

Just when Brian Helgeland's ("Green Zone") screenplay reaches the point where we start to feel some familiarity with films past, this one ends. That's OK, we remember what happens next.
The regular supporting cast is on hand, even if their characters are not filled in very well. We have Little John (Kevin Durand, "Legion") and the others. The Sheriff of Nottingham (Matthew Macfadyen, "Frost/Nixon") is a cipher, with the role of chief villain going to Mark Strong ("Kick-Ass"), Brit baddie actor du jour.

Directed by Ridley Scott ("Body of Lies") with his usual larger-than-life spectacle, "Robin Hood" is by and large " mostly large " a lot of fun. It's extremely violent, but not at all bloody. I think the adjective for this kind of thing is "rousing." It's History Channel lite, so you can guess how lite that makes it. "Doug Bentin
 
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