Tag Archives: Epic

Movie Review: The Northman (2022)

Now in theatres.

For its singularly violent vision and attention to authentic detail, this historical epic gets a mighty round of polar ice claps. A revenge tale told with impeccable craft, The Northman (B), directed and co-written by Robert Eggers, has dreamy scope and scale but a plot that’s a touch basic. Alexander Skarsgård is in beast mode with an intense physical performance as a man of few words, a descendent of royalty hiding out in a Viking gang ready to pounce into a binge of avenging against his wronged parents (a superb Ethan Hawke and Nicole Kidman). Between grisly saxon smackdowns, there’s a rather prolonged period of waiting in which Eggers must tread some murky maelstrom water. It takes a pillage of pulpy possibilities as the auteur throws in signature supernatural elements and supporting bits from some of his quirky past cast members such as Willem Dafoe and Anya Taylor-Joy. Claes Bang is also a menacing antagonist. Essentially every primary character gets a really good scream into the camera, and it appears the director just told them to give it their most primal. The divergent panoply of accents, however, owe more to the House of Gucci than the Norse code. Ultimately, fans of ribald historical action will dig this adventure through lands of fjords and volcanoes. The cinematography and art direction, especially in nighttime attacks and a few climactic fights, is stunning to behold. Eggers and acclaimed writer Sjón plum some intriguing legend and lore, as there’s a lot to unpack on this journey.

Movie Review: Braveheart

Mel Gibson’s sophomore directorial effort is a giant leap forward, a rousing 13th century Scottish epic about the life of real-life martyr and hero William Wallace, Braveheart (B). Gibson the actor does a credible job embodying the hero and rallying men to battle for sprawling battle sequences. The screenplay lets him down a bit, as it’s not great. But oh, the final reel, it’s enough to break your Mel-tale heart!

Movie Review: Legends of the Fall

Anchored by solid performances by Brad Pitt and others and filled with gorgeous scenery, Edward Zwick’s Legends of the Fall (B+) is a romantic ode to family and friendship in the early 20th century. Set in the shadows of the Montana Rockies, the film tells the story of three brothers (Pitt, Aidan Quinn, Henry Thomas) a stern father (Anthony Hopkins), a love interest (Julia Ormond) and a world on the brink of love and war. Prodigal son themes and some less successful WWI sequences are all eclipsed by the force of nature that is the central smoldering romances and breathtaking photography told to the score of James Horner. It’s a poetic, intoxicating story about living and learning and taking the journey.

Movie Review: Christopher Columbus: The Discovery

Director John Glen, who has made a career out of taking the final gasps of life out of creaky James Bond film entries in the late ’80’s, originally cast Timothy Dalton but found an even more bland leading man named George Correface to play the title character of Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (D+). Like the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria, this vessel is undeniably wooden. Even Marlon Brando can’t muster a glimmer of interest as a high inquisitor. This “Columbus for Beginners” wouldn’t even make a good mini-series if you split it up into episodes. This won’t be playing soon in a classroom near you.