by Rob DiCristino
Robin Hood (2018, Dir. Otto Bathurst)
Why the hell am I telling you this? Because that’s what you’re getting from 2018’s Robin Hood. Taron Egerton is Robin of Loxley, who returns from The Crusades to find his estate shuttered, his community oppressed by the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn), and his girl in the arms of Will (Jamie Dornan), a would-be politician who hopes to create institutional change from within. With the help of Yahya (translated to “John” and played by Jamie Foxx) and Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin), Rob becomes the Hood, a symbol of vigilante justice fit to contend with the likes of the Sheriff, his enforcer (Paul Anderson), and the corrupt Cardinal Franklin (I shit you not: F. Murray Abraham). Though he spends his nights stealing from the rich to give to the poor, by day he plays the part of the clueless Lord Loxley, earning him the ire of social activist Marian (Eve Hewson), the love he left behind long ago. Marian knows he can do better, that he can be better, and Rob must decide whether or not to show her the truth.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018, Dir. Fede Alvarez)
The Girl in the Spider’s Web finds cybergenius Lisbeth Salander hunting for Firefall, a computer program that can remotely access the world’s nuclear arsenal. Firefall’s repentant creator, former NSA specialist Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant), has enlisted Salander to find and destroy the program before it falls into the wrong hands. Though Salander easily acquires Firefall, she immediately finds herself the target of NSA agent Edwin Needham (Lakeith Stanfield), Swedish intelligence officer Gabriella Grane (Synnøve Macody Lund), and a terrorist cell called the Spiders, headed by her estranged sister, Camilla Salander (Sylvia Hoeks). Desperate to help Balder and his son August (Christopher Convery) escape to America, save the world from nuclear annihilation, and confront the demons of her long-forgotten past, Salander again enlists the help of hacker ally Plague (Cameron Britton) and journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudanson, who is apparently not The Room’s Greg Sestero).
Evil Dead 2013, Don’t Breathe), whose remarkable visual style gives the film a few moments of genuine beauty. They’re both working overtime to make The Girl in the Spider’s Web feel like more than an empty rehash of things we’ve seen before, and it’s a true shame that they’re ultimately unsuccessful. There simply isn’t enough for Lisbeth to do, and even her would-be familial drama is relegated to one or two scenes that — barring one frightening image — resolve themselves without much incident. Still, given a quality story, Foy and Alvarez could eventually team up for the best Dragon Tattoo of all.