A Double Feature Review!
Robert Eggers’ (The VVitch and The Lighthouse) The Northman is a fierce and extraordinary piece of cinema. A visual splendor with Eggers’ craft oozing through the screen. The Viking mythology floods our senses. The acting (Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe) is top-notch, along with that roaring score. What a picture! Eggers doesn’t miss. 5-stars. In his third outing, Eggers continues to prove why he is one of the best modern filmmakers working in the industry today. Eggers has always been a visionary director, and The Northman showcased some of the director's greatest visual strengths. Co-written by Eggers and Sjón, The Northman is based on the legend of Amleth. Prince Amleth (Oscar Novak as young Amleth) is on the verge of becoming a man when his father (Hawke) is brutally murdered by his uncle (Bang), who kidnaps the boy's mother (Kidman). Two decades later, Amleth (Skarsgård as adult Amleth) is now a Viking who is on a mission to save his mother, kill his uncle and avenge his father's death. The Northman is chock full of Viking and Nordic mythology as Eggers throws the audience straight into the film.
Eggers' film moves with a nihilistic tone, yet it feels epic in every frame. Pulse-pounding, that roaring score (Robin Carolan and Sebastian Gainsborough) sinks its teeth into your veins. With gorgeous cinematography throughout along with an artistic vision guiding this film front and center, this is a movie that I have not stopped thinking about since I saw it in the theaters. All of the actors in this picture are phenomenal, with a special shout out to Taylor-Joy. Her presence might be small, but she packs a punch with every scene she is in. In addition, her chemistry with Skarsgård flows beautifully. Shot throughout Northern Ireland and Iceland, The Northman is a stunning picture that will eat your heart out. The scope and scale of this movie is massive and had me cheering in multiple scenes throughout. I implore you to go see Eggers' latest picture if you still have not seen it yet. The theater would be the best experience for a film this epic, but it is also available to now rent on VOD if it is not playing in a theater near you. So, sit back, relax, and let a valkyrie carry your cinematic soul through the gates of Valhalla.
The Northman is rated R (Restricted) Strong Bloody Violence | Some Sexual Content | Nudity.
See it in theaters or rent it on VOD.
Directed by Robert Eggers
Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe.
Downton Abbey: A New Era
Downton Abbey: A New Era is an utterly delightful picture. It’s comfort food for longtime fans of the series. If they continue making these films every few years, then I’ll continue to watch them. A New Era brings the Downton clan back to the big screen. Based on Masterpiece's hit TV show (Downton Abbey, 2010-2015), the British historical drama continues its story of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants in the post-Edwardian era. The TV show's timeline focused on events from 1912 to 1926. In 2019, the Crawley's had their first feature film made, which took place in 1927. Now, A New Era moves the Crawley family ever closer to the 1930s. All of our favorite characters return like Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville), Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern), Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael), Charles Carson (Jim Carter), Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan), Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt), John Bates (Brendan Coyle), Daisy (Sophie McShera), Tom Branson (Allen Leech), Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier), Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol), Joseph Molesley (Kevin Doyle), Phyllis Baxter (Raquel Cassidy), Andy (Michael Fox), Maud Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton), Isobel Merton (Penelope Wilton), and Violet Crawley (the great Maggie Smith).
It's a ton of characters that were well developed over the TV show's 5-year period, so the movies do not need to go into great detail because we have known them all for so long now. A New Era follows two main plots this time around. The first is the Dowager Countess' (Smith) newly inherited villa in the South of France. While the second is a film crew that wishes to use Downton as a filming location for a new silent film called, The Gambler. It's 1928, so the Silent movie industry is starting to become a dying breed because the "talkies" are currently the rising stars in the film industry. A New Era pulls heavily from the Singin' in the Rain (1952) "talkies" subplot throughout. Like a warm delicious scone, A New Era goes down easy and, in the end, will leave one satisfied. While the TV show can stretch out plot points, the movies have to wrap everything up into a nice big bow after two hours. But that is okay because this is such a delightful picture. I had a good time seeing my friends back on the big screen. Give it a few years, and we will be able to catch up with the Crawley family again. And someone please tell Mr. Bonneville to cut back on the bronzer in the next outing.
Downton Abbey: A New Era is rated PG (Parental Guidance) Thematic Elements | Some Suggestive References | Language.
Directed by Simon Curtis
Starring Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, Sophie McShera, Allen Leech, Rob James-Collier, Lesley Nicol, Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy, Michael Fox, Imelda Staunton, Penelope Wilton), and the great Maggie Smith.
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