Director Ridley Scott hit the nail on the head 10 years ago when he dressed Russell Crowe in a short leather skirt and handed him a sword.
Returning to that territory, Robin Hood will be Ridley and Crowe’s fifth collaboration together. They are to the quasi-historical epic genre what Burton and Depp are to dark fantasy: A winning combination, though they’re still in search of their Helena Bonham Carter.
Of course, no re-make can hold its head above the Disney version for “Most Cherished Isms By Cute Forest Creatures” (“Hiss, put it on my luggage!”) or elicit frolicking homoerotic dance sequences like Mel Brooks’ merry men in Robin Hood, Men in Tights.
Nor will any re-make inspire a raspy, over-sung ’80s karaoke love song. Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves forever holds that magical title.
So the question hovers: As Mr. Crowe hangs his hood on the massive cloak rack for Hollywood Robins, what will his trademark stamp on Sherwood Forest be?
Historical believability, for starters. In a recent interview with People, Crowe said Ridley’s version depicts the origins of the legend, exploring where Robin feasibly may have come from — instead of falling back on the fluffy featherbed of mythical clichés. Crowe also said Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood in Prince of Thieves resembles Jon Bon Jovi.
The storyline touches on Robin’s service under King Richard’s army against the French in 13th-century England. It also introduces the audience to Robin Hood, Sr. and depicts scenes from young Robin’s early childhood.
Finally, some answers.
Mathew MacFadyden (Pride & Prejudice) and his giant forehead play the Sheriff of Nottingham, while Mark Addy (Still Standing) seems perfectly cast as the squattish Friar Tuck. Cate Blanchette (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) assumes the role of Maid Marion. Will she grace the role, or steal the rug of masculinity right out from beneath Crowe’s feet? — BLAIR TELLERS
Iron Man 2
There once was a magnate of weapons
whose suit blew up evil in seconds.
But how can he deal
with ScarJo’s appeal
when a whip-handed maniac beckons?
— Luke Baumgarten
Dir: John Favreau • Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Scarlet Johansson, Mickey Rourke • May 7 • PG-13
Shrek Forever After
Shall I compare thee to the other Shreks?
I could, but I worry it’s not fair to.
Four films in, there’s not a funny line left,
though there’s one thing I will say about you:
Hollywood doth plagues of sequels infect
and there’s nothing producers won’t re-do.
At least while Mike Meyers is at Dreamworks’ beck
there’s no chance of another Love Guru.
— Luke Baumgarten
Dir: Mike Mitchell • Starring: Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy • May 21 • PG
SNL’s Will Forte disarms a warhead
and then saves your life
using only the following: duct tape, Swiss knife.
Val Kilmer’s a terrorist named Dieter Von Cunth,
has a buddy named Gunth-
er with hands ‘round your gullet.
But who’s got your back? The guy in the mullet.
— Michael Bowen
Dir.: Jorma Taccone • Starring: Will Forte, Ryan Phillippe • May 21 • R
Sex and the City 2
Miranda and Samantha and Charlotte and Carrie
are off on a girl’s trip to Dubai ... (Or somewhere)…
Life’s sandy and slow. No one gets their bon mots
and there isn’t a cloud in the sky.
You may think it’s strange there’s no Bergdorf’s in range
and we agree — the logic is hazy.
Why leave New York now, having never left it before?
Breaking formula’s totally crazy.
But it’s tough writing sequels after finding their equals,
it puts you in a corner quite scary.
See, this is the problem you face as a writer
when you let chronically single girls marry.
— Luke Baumgarten
Dir: Michael Patrick King • Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker & company • May 27 • R
Prince of Persia
Being color-blind is all well and good.
And we don’t think race ever should
Play a part in one’s hiring and firing.
But Gyllenhaal is a choice uncouth
For playing, in this, an Iranian youth —
Though his blue eyes are worth admiring.
Yeah, Prince is a game, but at best it’s lame,
And at worst, it’s a studio ploy,
To pick a white dude instead of Tony Shaloub.
Jake, stick to playing horny gay cowboys.
— Luke Baumgarten
Dir: Mike Newell • Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley • May 27 • PG-13
Also in May
Jack Abramoff wears the black hat, but the real villain is rampant congressional corruption in CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY (documentary • 5/7)
Andie MacDowell is the mother of a teenage boy trying to escape a hippie commune in HAPPINESS RUNS (drama • 5/7)
Annette Bening is an embittered birth mother and Naomi Watts is the grown-up child placed for adoption in MOTHER AND CHILD (drama • 5/7)
Twenty years later, BEST WORST MOVIE revisits Troll 2, and it’s still awful (documentary • 5/14)
Will an NBA star (Common) choose a trophy wife (Paula Patton, Precious) or his physical therapist (Queen Latifah)? Find out in JUST WRIGHT (comedy • 5/14)
Amanda Seyfried flutters her dewy eyelashes in yet another story of endless love, LETTERS TO JULIET (romance • 5/14)
Q’orianka Kilcher (The New World) defends Hawaii against American colonization in PRINCESS KAIULANI (historical drama • 5/14)
Jim Broadbent’s crazy-drunk and Brendan Gleeson (recalling In Bruges) is a gangster bent on revenge in PERRIER’S BOUNTY (dark comedy • 5/21)
Horndog Michael Douglas tries picking up the shards of his career and marriage in SOLITARY MAN (dramedy • 5/21)
As fourth-century Alexandria falls, Rachel Weisz stands firm as the atheist philosopher Hypatia in AGORA (drama • 5/28)
In MICMACS, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie) helms a whimsical fantasy about getting revenge on weapons manufacturers (comedy • 5/28)
In SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, George Romero himself brings us the Hatfields and the McCoys … and zombies! (horror • 5/28) — MICHAEL BOWEN