It’s autumn and that means your local movie theater is shoveling Oscar bait into the churning waters of entertainment to see who bites.
The Oscar race officially gets down and dirty Christmas day with each major studio releasing some sort of somber prestige film to bring us down on what should be a joyful day. Several years ago we had five—count them five Nazi-Holocaust themed films to choose from on Christmas day at our local multiplex. I’m not making a political statement here but maybe that’s too many Nazis in our Christmas stockings? Spreading the serious movies out a little during the year is probably a better idea.
Take a deep breath. This year we get Shakespeare. This autumn several major studios are testing the waters a wee bit early with tried and true Oscar bait—Shakespearian material played by respected actors. I’m fully on board with this idea and two new movies slated to open soon look very interesting.
The first movie is a modern day adaptation of Shakespeare’s political tragedy “Coriolanus” directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, due for limited release December 2. A bearded and beefy Gerard Butler also stars as Fiennes’ nemesis Tullus (now do I have your attention?)
The movie was filmed on location in Serbia and Fiennes has reportedly stayed true to Shakespearian language and storylines yet successfully transformed a tale of ancient Rome into a present day military tragedy. As you’ll see in the movie trailer, Fiennes looks a lot like Voldemort with a nose but he’s so intelligent and talented I’m going to overlook that shortcoming.
In case you’re interested in this kind of stuff, and I always am, the trailer music is by Groove Addicts-the Beast at the Door.
The second movie is “Anonymous” which puts forth the perennial theory that William Shakespeare was a fraud and didn’t author any of “Shakespeare’s” plays or sonnets.
This time the new suspect is the 17th Earl of Oxford. The Earl is dragged into the spotlight as the true author of the world’s most famous plays. A soulful eyed Rhys Ifans plays the part of the mature Earl of Oxford and gorgeous Jamie Campbell Bower plays the dashing, young Earl. Gifted Shakespearian actor and professional Shakespeare-basher Sir Derek Jacobi provides the prologue.
“Anonymous” looks like a big, rich historical dessert fashioned along the lines of “Amadeus”. The cast, costumes and setting are stunning. If you go to the website the original movie soundtrack is one of the most pleasing I’ve heard in a long while (the haunting music in the movie trailer is performed by Radiohead-“Everything in its Place”.)
“Anonymous” is due in theaters October 28th and I can’t wait to see it. Regardless of where you stand on the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays there’s certainly something here to spark your interest or encourage debate. This movie looks like a great adult day out with a long discussion afterward over a cup of coffee or a beer.
Vanessa Redgrave stars in both films. She must be the new Shakespearian go-to-girl.
This is the link to the “Anonymous” website its full of interesting and very interactive stuff:
PS. I hope you caught a glimpse of last night's big, beautiful harvest moon.