Tag Archives: Renaissance

Tulip Fever

Amsterdam, 1634; an artist (Dane DeHaan) is hired to paint a portrait of Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz) and his young wife (Alicia Vikander), but falls madly in love with her. The co-writer of Shakespeare in Love (1998) takes on the Dutch Golden Age and its notorious tulip mania without having anything interesting to say about … Continue reading Tulip Fever

Intolerance: D.W. Griffith’s Epic Revenge

THE CRUEL HAND OF INTOLERANCE.  The premiere of D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation in 1915 must have been a hurtful experience for the director. The film’s portrayal of African Americans resulted in charges of racism and incited riots in several cities. The director felt that he was being treated unfairly, and one can’t emphasize … Continue reading Intolerance: D.W. Griffith’s Epic Revenge

The Girl King

As a child, Kristina (Malin Buska) is trained to become queen of Sweden; once in power, she shows greater interest in science and culture… and falls in love with her lady-in-waiting (Sarah Gadon). More closer to the truth in its portrait of the monarch than the Hollywood classic Queen Christina (1933), but still infinitely inferior. … Continue reading The Girl King

A Tedious Tome Turned Into a Miniseries

I recently finished Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” and felt utterly frustrated. A historical novel, the book covers 35 years in the life of Thomas Cromwell, the lawyer who became chief minister to King Henry VIII in the mid-1500s. We are introduced to vivid descriptions of Cromwell, his family, the King and everybody who played a … Continue reading A Tedious Tome Turned Into a Miniseries

How Hollywood Underestimates Life After 1492

I’m about to finish “1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created” by Charles C. Mann, the 2011 bestseller that explored just how much the Columbian Exchange changed the world and how globalization began. A followup to “1491”, which portrayed the Americas prior to Columbus’s “discovery”, the book takes us through the grim and often surprising … Continue reading How Hollywood Underestimates Life After 1492

The Three Musketeers

EVERY LEGEND HAS A NEW BEGINNING. In the early 1600s, three musketeers reluctantly join forces with young D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman), who wants to become one of them, and do battle with enemies who’ve stolen da Vinci’s airship blueprints. Yet another version of this tale, spiced up by the man behind Resident Evil, who throws in … Continue reading The Three Musketeers

Anonymous

WAS SHAKESPEARE A FRAUD? At the end of the Elizabethan era, the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) hires a playwright called Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) to act as his front, hoping to use his own plays as a political weapon. A labor of love for Roland Emmerich that nevertheless turns out much like his previous … Continue reading Anonymous

The Other Boleyn Girl

IN A TIME WHEN A WOMAN’S DESTINY WAS DETERMINED BY HER FATHER, ONE SISTER FOLLOWED THE RULES. THE OTHER DEFIED THEM.  In 1520s England, Queen Catherine is unable to give Henry VIII (Eric Bana) a son and the King’s attention wanders to two beautiful sisters, the Boleyns (Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson)… The story of Anne … Continue reading The Other Boleyn Girl

Black Adder: Hilarious History

At a time when Rowan Atkinson chooses to make another Johnny English, one certainly needs to be reminded of an era when he was actually funny. Those days were the 1980s and Atkinson’s pinnacle of achievement became the TV series Black Adder. Conceived by him and Richard Curtis while they were working on Not the Nine O’Clock News (1979-1982), … Continue reading Black Adder: Hilarious History

The Tudors

After writing two movies about Elizabeth I, Michael Hirst turned his attention to another Tudor, her father, the guy who was married six times and had two of his wives beheaded. Over four seasons, we followed the tribulations of King Henry VIII as he struggled to find a woman who could give him a male heir, separated … Continue reading The Tudors

Kagemusha: Thieves and Warlords

Five years after the highly memorable Dersu Uzala, director Akira Kurosawa returned to an environment that he knew well. But this time, the lavish production of Kagemusha became so expensive to Toho Studios that Twentieth Century Fox ended up paying the shortfall after a bit of persuasion from Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas who … Continue reading Kagemusha: Thieves and Warlords