Film Review: The King (dir by David Michod)


Imagine a version of Shakespeare’s Henry V where Prince Hal is a lot less regal but a lot more whiny.  Also imagine a version where Falstaff is never publicly rejected by Henry but instead becomes one of his leading generals.  Furthermore, imagine that Robert Pattinson shows ups and does his best imitation of the obnoxious Frenchmen from Monty Python and The Holy Grail.  Also, finally, imagine a film that’s based on three of Shakespeare’s most popular plays but which does’t include any lines from those plays.  Imagine all of that and you’ve got The King.

Yes, The King is an odd film indeed.  It’s also a very long film.  You might expect that from a film based on three Shakespearean plays but, then again, since the film actually doesn’t feature any of Shakespeare’s celebrated language, you have to kind of wonder if it can actually claim to be a Shakespearean adaptation.  For instance, if I made a film about a sullen prince named Hamlet but totally leave out “To be or not to be” or the part where he sees his father’s ghost, am I truly adapting Shakespeare or am I just making a film about a guy named Hamlet?  Interestingly enough, while The King isn’t faithful to Shakespeare, it’s also not faithful to actual historical records.  It’s not Shakespeare and, despite using the name of actual kings and nobles from the 15th Century, it’s not really historical.  It could just as easily be about King Kevin and his struggle to lead the Land of Homily to victory over Possum Kingdom.  It’s hard to really understand what the point of this film is.

Timothee Chalamet plays Prince Hal, who will eventually become King Henry V.  Considering just how acclaimed Chalamet’s previous work has been (including receiving an Oscar nomination for Call Me By Your Name and probably coming close to getting a second one for Beautiful Boy as well), it’s a bit strange just how dull Chalamet is in this film.  As played by Chalamet, the future King of England is alternatively petulant and whiny.  He’s not happy about becoming king.  He’s even less happy about having to behead those who have been accused of conspiring against him.  He hopes to avoid war, even after the King of France taunts him by giving him a ball as an coronation present.  Chalamet wanders through the film with an eternally glum expression on his face.  When he has to rally the troops, he is unpleasantly shrill in a way that will remind viewers of one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s lesser performances.

Joel Edgerton, who also co-wrote the script, is a bit more convincing in the role of Falstaff.  Instead of the cowardly (but wise) buffoon who appeared in Shakespeare’s plays, The King portrays Falstaff as being a great warrior who merely likes to drink too much.  This, of course, means that Hal doesn’t have to publicly rebuke Falstaff or any of his friends but it also makes Falstaff a bit of a pointless character.  In Shakespeare’s plays, both the rebuke of Falstaff and the subsequent hanging of Bardolph were meant to show that the once irresponsible Hal was now placing his role of king above all else.  By removing that aspect of the tale, The King also removes the entire heart of the narrative.  That said, Edgerton is at least convincing as a warrior.

As usually happens when it comes to British historical epics, the film leads up to an eventual battle between the British and the French.  Robert Pattinson plays The Dauphin and gives one of the most brilliantly strange performances of 2019.  Wearing a blonde wig and speaking in an exaggerated French accent, Pattison gets all of the dirtiest lines and he has fun with them.  (“You have zee big balls,” The Dauphin says at one point, “and zee little cock!”)  In fact, Robert Pattinson seems to be the only person in the film having any fun whatsoever.  Chalamet looks miserable.  Edgerton comes across like a professional.  But Pattinson appears to be having the time of his life and you’re happy to see him if just because he provides a (too brief) respite from the film’s otherwise dour atmosphere.

As I said, The King is a strange film.  I’m not really sure what the point of it was.  The battle scenes are effectively bloody and the sets are all convincingly 15th century.  But otherwise, this movie is too pointless and too long.  Just because it’s about the 100 Years War doesn’t mean that film has to feel like a 100 hours.

Lisa’s Week In Review: 10/28/19 — 11/3/19


Reset your clocks

Between the end of this year’s Horrorthon and the changing of the clocks on Saturday night, I’m exhausted.  So, I apologize for not even attempting to be witty before presenting this week’s list of things.

Films I Watched:

  1. Angel On My Shoulder (1946)
  2. Black Sabbath (1963)
  3. The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)
  4. The Craft (1996)
  5. Dead Night (2018)
  6. Get Over It (2001)
  7. Goke, Body Snatcher From Hell (1968)
  8. Halloween (1978)
  9. The Hitcher II: I’ll Be Waiting (2003)
  10. I Walked With A Zombie (1943)
  11. The King (2019)
  12. The Living Skeleton (1968)
  13. My Teacher, My Obsession (2018)
  14. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  15. Quigley Down Under (1990)
  16. Vampire Over London (1952)
  17. Vampire’s Kiss (1989)
  18. Your Family or Your Life (2019)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. 9-1-1
  2. Dancing With The Stars
  3. Fear Thy Neighbor
  4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  5. Mrs. Fletcher
  6. Saved By The Bell
  7. Silicon Valley
  8. South Park
  9. Survivor 39
  10. The Voice

Books That I Read:

  1. Horror Hotel (1983) by Hilary Milton
  2. Nightmare Store (1982) by Hilary Milton

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. All Saints
  2. Big Data
  3. The Burning Hell
  4. Coldplay
  5. Crud
  6. Daemonia
  7. Goblin
  8. Haim
  9. Jakalope
  10. John Carpenter
  11. Lana del Rey
  12. Luna
  13. M4Sonic
  14. Rob Cantor
  15. Saint Motel
  16. Shakira
  17. Taking Back Sunday
  18. Thom Yorke
  19. Zeds dead

Links From Last Week:

  1. My Saturday of Books
  2. The Women Who Helped Build Hollywood
  3. A Little Tribute To Gary Loggins From The Cracked Rear Viewer Film Site

News From Last Week:

  1. Jordan Peele feels uncomfortable with fans dressing up as the Tethered from ‘Us’
  2. Black turtleneck shortage linked to Elizabeth Holmes Halloween costumes

Links From The Site:

  1. Leonard reviewed Doctor Sleep!
  2. Doc has a special Halloween message for all of our readers!
  3. Case reviewed The Last Halloween, The Bloody Ballad of Squirt Roberts, Night of the Slasher, the Halloween reboot, and an episode of Titans!
  4. Erin shared vintage Halloween postcards and The Covers of Adventures Into The Unknown!  She also wrote about the World Series and shared Image of Evil, To The Dark Tower, Strangers In The Night, The Rest Is Silence, The Big Binge, Frisco Dame, and She Killed In Cuffs.  She counted down the days til Halloween: 3, 2, 1, 0.  She wished everyone a happy Halloween and celebrated the end of the day!
  5. Jeff reviewed the debut of Man-Wolf, Night Trap, Bloody Wednesday, Lonely Water, Heavy Rain, Tale of the Vampire, Beyond: Two Souls, Absolution, the time Spider-Man met the Monster Maker, Ghost Watch, Detroit: Become Human, and The Good Son!
  6. Ryan reviewed The Ghost In The Darkness, One Winter Night, Malarkey, Rooftop Stew, and This Never Happened, along with sharing his weekly reading round-up!
  7. Because it was Halloween and all, I posted too much stuff to list here.  Feel free to search the sight and take a look though!

More From Us:

  1. At Days Without Incident, Leonard shared I Ain’t Superstitious!
  2. For Horror Critic, I reviewed The Craft and I Walked With A Zombie!
  3. For SyFyDesigns, I wrote Halloween Approaches!
  4. At my music site, I shared songs from Goblin, Luna, John Carpenter, Daemonia, Taking Back Sunday, Lana del Rey, and Coldplay!
  5. For the Reality TV Chat Blog, I reviewed the latest episode of Survivor!
  6. At Pop Politics, Jeff shared The UK Is Having A General Election, Beto’s Out, and Do Something With Your Clocks Tonight!
  7. On her photography site, Erin shared Dark Places, Signs of Life, Crowd, Winter Is Coming, Wall Snow, Morning At The Creek, and Isolated.
  8. Ryan has a Patreon! Please consider subscribing!

Want to see what I did last week?  Click here!

AMV Of The Day: Believer (Ace Attorney)


For our first AMV of November, here’s Ace Attorney!

Anime: Ace Attorney

Song: Believer by Imagine Dragons

Creator: purplemonkeypants AJ

Past AMVs of the Day

Weekly Reading Round-Up : 10/27/2019 – 11/02/2019


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Four new number ones stood out on LCS racks this week, all from DC, and all from the new(-ish) Black Label imprint. Did someone say something about diluting the market with too much product? Well, that’s what the “Big Two” have been doing for decades now, and we’re all still here, so why the hell would they stop? Marvel’s doing it with their X-books, and DC’s doing it with this ostensible successor line to Vertigo, so let’s see what they’re giving — or, more accurately, selling — us:

After three failed relaunches featuring a watered-down iteration of John Constantine, DC finally realized what they used to know : people want the real thing, and so here we finally have it with the one-shot special The Sandman Universe : Hellblazer #1. There’s a bit of irony at play here in that Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series spun out of the “dark corner”…

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If “This Never Happened,” Then Why All The Fuss?


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

If you’re a comics critic, the smart money is on not touching Alex Graham’s new self-published serialized “ongoing,” This Never Happened. Two issues in, it’s caused — and continues to cause — anything from ripples to seismic waves within the small-press community, depending on who you are and how close to Seattle you live.

I get it, I mean, shit — it’s a small scene, and some easily-recognizable figures within it are getting torched. Not with anything like the vengeful glee of Simon Hanselmann’s Truth Zone, but then, the folks on the receiving end of his barbs generally aren’t people he interacts with on a personal level frequently, much less former romantic partners. There’s a degree of distance between author and subject there, while Graham is offering no such safety. She’s putting you right inside her head, showing her lived experience, and — not to sound too cliched…

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