Shakespeare Reviews

This is something which I wanted to try for a long time: a sonnet sequence reviewing movies on a weekly basis with a video element to go along with it. Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that the fast turnaround of watch-write-record-edit-upload was unsustainable given my other responsibilities and deadlines (not to mention the expense of cinema tickets) so I reluctantly put the project on hold. For the time being, then, these stand as more of a set of pilot episodes or proofs-of-concept than a project in themselves. If there are any publishers who would like to fund this, or something similar, as an ongoing series, do get in touch!


I - All Is True
(Branagh, 2019)

A poet-playwright in his twilight years,
Who mourns the years-past passing of his son,
And frets about his unborn heirs, and fears
That he’s half-lived despite the work he’s done.

It passes prettily enough and is well played,
Predictably the famous cast are strong,
And yet, the thing’s direction’s rather staid,
Each scene beset by silence held too long.

It strives to make a greater truth unfold,
Spun from fantasy and bardic lore,
But scandals, arguments and secrets told
All fail to convince they sum to more.

It claims that ‘All Is True’ but can’t disguise
It makes a famine where abundance lies.


II - The Kid Who Would Be King
(Cornish, 2019)

A nation rent in twain turns hearts to bad,
A child pulls Exaliber from stone;
He finds his friends within the foes he had
So he won't have to face the dark alone.

A solid, clever screenplay lays the base,
On which the thrilling action beats can shine,
But at its core, this story makes the case
That kingship comes from heart, not rights divine.

A timely piece, which looks to youth and finds
A generation clothed in noble raiment,
It sees the might within young hearts and minds,
And also is good family entertainment.

So children, come and find your spurs in how
Thy youth's proud livery is gazed on now.


III - The Lego Movie
(Mitchell, 2019)

When sister tries with Lego blocks to play
Then Armageddon is the likely fruit:
This story tracks both sides of the affray,
And is (surprise!) a musical, to boot.

The film deploys its predecessor’s tricks,
But magic twice is power made diffuse.
The question builds, therefore, like coloured bricks:
‘Can these old tricks be really worth reuse?’

For me, although the rhetoric is rather stale,
The questions it discusses hit their mark:
Of conflict ‘twixt the feminine and male,
And if youth’s joy needs-must give way to dark.

All fighting siblings, should this movie viewest,
That fresh repair shall surely thou renewest.


Green Book
(Farrelly, 2019)

A racist takes a pianist on tour,
Through all the racisms of Southern States,
And on the way, through all they both endure,
They learn how they can be terrific mates.

Within itself, it is completely fine:
It passes well enough the time of day;
But how it deals with race feels too benign
And doesn’t really have a lot to say.

So here’s the rub: Best Picture brings compare
And doing so shall prove regrettable:
With other nominees, it’s hard to care
For work so vapid and forgettable.

In Oscar gold, are faults more clearly shown
Than having traffic with thyself alone.