Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors, Film Reviews

Review: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

It’s easy to pick on something like a celebrity cameo to measure a movie’s hollowness. So if I tell you that soccer god-turned-style icon David Beckham pops up halfway through the new King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, I trust it will stir plenty of anticipatory ridicule. Beckham submits to uglifying makeup scars for his role as some kind of medieval taskmaster here. (Same 21st-century Eurotrash haircut, though.) The thing is, Beckham’s brief appearance is actually one of the livelier moments in King Arthur, especially because it accompanies the celebrated—you might say legendary—moment when Arthur royally yanks a sword from a stone.

If a celeb cameo supplies a highlight in a movie, the movie is probably in trouble. Such is the case with Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur. Ritchie does something unexpected here: Although he broke through to the blockbuster arena by blanding out his style in a couple of Sherlock Holmes movies, he’s gone back to his roots. The bro-centric camaraderie and Brit-lingo of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch is attempted here, as though the knights of the Round Table were just another group of lads deciding where to get the next pint.

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Posted in: by Kathleen Murphy, Contributors, Film Reviews

‘3, 2, 1 … Frankie Go Boom’: Sweet Raunch

Ron Perlman and Charlie Hunnam

Though deliciously rude and crude, 3, 2, 1 … Frankie Go Boom possesses a surprisingly sweet heart. The failures and foibles of one Frankie Bartlett, screwed-up man-child, are lovingly embraced fun-house mirrors of Everyman’s (and woman’s) existential condition. Rollicking its transgressive way toward defining grown-up masculinity, Jordan Roberts’ screwball romp never stoops to the misogyny and other infantilisms rampant in so many Peter Pan comedies. Like Some Like It Hot (one of Roberts’ favorite movies), Boom celebrates the ways in which nobody’s perfect.

At first, 3, 2, 1 … Frankie Go Boom reads like the worst title ever. But its baby-talk syntax and climactic collapse eloquently signpost all the pratfalls, sexual and otherwise, that have bedeviled and humiliated Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) since boyhood — courtesy of his compulsive-prankster brother Bruce (Bridesmaids‘s Chris O’Dowd). The title also evokes that breathless momentum of let’s-pretend child’s play that characterizes Roberts’ only apparently episodic, all-over-the-map narrative style.

The film begins life as a pastel home movie in which gleeful Bruce tricks his sibling into “going boom” into a backyard “grave.” Twenty-five years after that first downfall, Frankie has holed up in a womb-like trailer in Death Valley. Writing books he never finishes, he’s hiding from the millions who enjoyed the Internet video of his disastrous wedding: Compulsive filmmaker Bruce thoughtfully recorded the moment when Frankie discovered his bride had cheated on him with his best man. Somehow their mom (Nora Dunn) convinces Frankie to come home to celebrate Bruce’s graduation from drug rehab. And thus begins Frankie’s descent into a fresh hell of beleaguered manhood.

Continue reading at MSN Entertainment