Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
for
April 2021


Okay, folks, here we go! Hang onto your hats! (And your lunches!) Because of the dearth of new movies coming out in the theaters (and ignoring any new movies that aren’t going to be in the theaters but only available via streaming for the low, low price of $29.99 plus a $6.99 per month subscription to Disney+, because I’m just not going to spend that much money to watch a Disney live remake of a Disney animated movie, even if it is set in period and therefore fair game for me to review for you), we’re stuck looking at some old and some new movies and mini-series available on Anna Sue’s Netflix subscription. And I’d like to quote old “Tricky Dick” Nixon here, tell you that, “I’d like to say this about that, and I’d like to make myself ... perfectly clear,” it’s not going to be pretty. As a matter of fact, some of it is very likely to be downright ugly with a capital Ugh. Nonetheless, I have a newsletter deadline to meet, and besides, as I have said many times before, our motto is, “We watch ‘em so you don’t have to.” So, pretty or not, ugh-ly or not, we’re gonna review some of these flicks for you so you can make up your own mind about whether to watch them or not without risking PTSD or permanent brain damage beforehand. (“It’s too late for me. Go on ahead without me; I’d just slow you down.”) Anyway, will all that as back story, this month Da’ud Bob reviews for you Episode 1 of 2020's six-episode series, A Letter for the King.

Starring Amir Wilson as Tiuri, Islam Bouakkaz as Arman, Jonah Lees as Jussipo, Jack Barton as Foldo, Ruby Ashbourne Serkis as Lavinia, Thaddea Graham as Iona, Nathanael Saleh as Piak, Gijs Blom as Prince Viridian, Omid Djalili as Sir Fantumar, David Wenham as Tiuri’s stepfather Sir Tiuri the Valiant, and Peter Ferdinando as Jaro, the setting of this film is three kingdoms who are at war. The introduction to the series describes it as: “An ancient prophecy. A message that could change the course of history. And a hero no one saw coming. Let the quest begin.” More prosaically, and more informatively, we learn that the story is based on a 1962 fantasy novel by Tonke Dragt, in which “Tiuri, a teenage squire, answers a call for help that sends him on a perilous mission across the three kingdoms to deliver a secret letter to the King.” He is, of course, chased by the bad guys who have killed his stepfather and taken his mother captive, by the Red Riders who are out to regain the letter he is carrying, and by some of his fellow squires who are trying to earn their places as knights. Oh, yeah, there’s some magic involved, and Tiuri hears voices sometimes.

Good points: Real chain mail. The castle hall. Much of the armor. Many of the helms. A proper tilt, with shattered lances and all. The yurts. And heraldry. The big black horse, Ardenwen. (No, really!)

Bad points: Much of the heraldry is of a middling sort. Some of the armor. Loaded, cocked crossbows being carried about or left lying around. Always a good plan – if you are trying to shorten the life of the weapon so it’s not useful to you when you finally need it! So many of the young fighters seem to be using their shields as counterweights when they strike with their swords. A good way to get killed! If you opponent gets around your sword, you are wide open.

Zero breasts. ¼ gallon of blood. Three dead bodies. Crossbow fu. Dagger fu. Sword fu. Shield fu. Gratuitous hawk. Gratuitous spooky chapel in a gratuitous skull cave. Academy Award nominations to the (uncredited) horse Ardenwen for being one of, if not the, best actor in the movie; and to the fighters’ coach (I missed catching his or his character’s name) for, in speaking of Tiuri, “He has the fighting instincts of a stuffed duck.” A 72 on the Vomit Meter. 1½ stars. Da’ud Bob says, “I tried to watch the whole series, but only made it halfway through the second episode. It’s an interesting concept, but it’s too full of just about every Middle Ages fantasy movie cliché you can think of, with so-so acting and script. Check it out!”


 

Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!


The Green Knight
July 30, 2021
A fantasy re-telling of the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Gawain contends with ghosts, giants, thieves, and schemers in what becomes a deeper journey to define his character and prove his worth in the eyes of his family and kingdom by facing the ultimate challenger. Starring  Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury.
The Last Duel
Now to be released October 15, 2021
Set in 14th century France, King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel. Directed by Ridley Scott, from a screenplay written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Jodie Comer.

Dungeons and Dragons
Now May 27, 2022
Plot undisclosed at this time, but like earlier iterations, it is based on the tabletop role-playing game. Directed John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, starring Regé-Jean Page, Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, and Justice Smith.




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