Another Robin Hood

This film is all about spending money on labels. There are vastly different price tags on each of them. Some of them are branded bigger than the others, like the Gladiator label, that’s the one that comes with Russel Crowe, but you’ll find him in the ‘sword and stirring speech’ section, next to Mel Gibson’s Braveheart collection. In the reference section, if you’d care to wander down the aisles of ‘Historical Context,’ then you might find a few books open on Medieval class distinction, maybe a few pages loose about the Crusades or even the Magna Carta. I can almost promise though, this film has spent a lot more time in the gym than this library.

Ridley Scott and script writing team clearly passed their GCSE French. Well done. They probably could have taken it further, or maybe not at all. The French discourse may as well have been edited out. It did nothing but add a few confused loose ties that were simply dropped at the end. A waste of a fantastic language. It’s clear that their budgets didn’t cover their French connection labels.

Russel Crowe delivers a rather convincing English accent however. In fact all the characters seemed to have routes in Yorkshire, but at least Crowe washed well. His colour didn’t bleed as an actor, he did exactly as he was supposed to do. He filled out to his reputation and gave us what we would expect from such an established brand.

There was  a sense of individualism and a sense of identity as there were no numberless soldiers of an innumerable army. There were no blank faces or countless ranks of men. The final battle felt more realistic. It almost felt personal, emotions and a sense of fear was actually noticeable within the threads of expressions. A real feel of quality could almost be touched. At least these were extras, not computer generated masses.

The whole story felt plain. It’s been done before, there’s nothing new or outlandish about this re-branding of the Robin Hood label. Robin Hood is a legend, he’s a Medieval tale. This film tries to place it within some real life, historical context. It doesn’t quite fit. It tells the tale of how Robin Hood started, how he became an outlaw. It’s like a story to explain the legend. No need to say that this film is less than legendary. To be honest, it could have been compressed into an epilogue. If there is a sequel, then its epilogue will be sufficient enough, you won’t have needed to have watched the first film.

This is not a bad film ! The opening scenes of a French castle siege are spectacular. The costumes and set designs are drawn to a line of impressive detail and what is most noticeable, is the lack of super makeup. It’s actually noticeable, and quite refreshing. In cold contrast to her performance as the Ice Queen of Narnia, Cate Blanchett looks very much Medieval… not ugly, but positively peasant like. There are even little quips and catch phrases that are really funny, like an old man with morning-glory, or mates all thoroughly hung over. Always funny!

Also, the score isn’t exactly original, you aren’t going crazy if you think you’ve heard it all before on some other sword and castle epic, but there are impressive touches of amazing folk music. Some awesome riffs! Pick out the sounds when you go to watch it.

The film has done what it set out to do. It invites an audience to see what set of circumstances, within a torn and battered Medieval England, would have created such a hero as Robin Hood. It creates a sense of reality and reminds us, amongst a time where the world of cinema revolves around super heros with amazing powers or limitless resources. This is a refreshing touch to our big screens.

By George Richardson

Kele – Tenderoni Review

My head was still pumping with Kele’s Tenderoni, a rhythm more numbing than 50% oxygen, 50% nitrous oxide. NHS doesn’t brand it as Nox, basically, paramedics hand out free laughing gas. Hilarious.

You are allowed to experiment with this. This stuff is as addictive as cigarettes and alcohol! Kele has invented something that you can feel has strains of the Bloc Party chemical, but the effects are more stimulating. The bass line takes your head for free trip that doesn’t hurt, although you won’t be soothed. This is not trance. You can’t just let it massage your temples and slip into some simple head nodding, you’ll only sit uncomfortably, shifting with a dub beat. The synth laces a warming artificial tone that fills you from your gut and compels you to throw your arms up. This is certainly no cheap thrill or easy high. This won’t be a song that, when it finally gets edited for Radio 1, your Dad will be listening to it trying to be like you.

Bloc Party was relatively young. Releasing their first album in 2003, they only had three albums. It seems like the final nail in a Bloc shaped coffin as Kele releases his first solo album The Boxer on the 21st of June. Perhaps the rest of the band saw it coming. Apparently, Kele kept his habits hidden from his parents whilst he was studying English Literature at Uni. It was only until after the world heard their Silent Alarm that Kele confessed his musical dealings. By this point, smoke would have been thick and his mind buzzing in that Bloc Party delirium. It had a value that was so easy to take in again. The album soared through UK charts granting them fame and fortune. The rest isn’t history, it’s only a few years ago.

So why the spilt? My guess is that they weren’t aware of his new pastime. In a secret lyrical laboratory, Kele Okereke has created a strand of dance music. Its tailored to the club scene, something ‘bassy’, motivating, and infectious. I can personally add that as I was pumping my ears with Tenderoni, I overdosed. Side effects include; thinking you’re ‘ard, strutting, dancing like a DJ, and jumping around. I tried to jump down some steps, spurred by the effects of Kele, and I actually broke my ankle when I landed. The drugs the paramedics gave me were merely sobering aids, I was still high. I was still murmuring the song as I left the hospital in the evening.

Sorry girls, although he has an amazing body, apparently he recently came out as gay in March! Although sources are not certain.

If you watch the video more than a few times you’re going to need rehab.

Results day Review

“It could have been worse.” Disappointment was the favourite flavour apparently. The bitter taste was swallowed by everyone as they got their essays back. Everyone, except ‘that guy’ at the back of the room who always works so hard. He has no life. We don’t envy him anyway. – Sam Blithy

The seminar group got the results of their essays that were supposed to have been the product of their university education so far. When it’s put like that, frankly the results were hard to swallow. No-one choked on them, but there was an agreed murmur or silence that reflected a similar thought. Everyone could have done better. Disappointment tastes like that lump in your throat. It tastes like that waste of time and it compliments that other flavour of ‘could have done better.’

It can only be savoured to inspire harder work next time. The problem is that the taste is just so easily forgotten.

Essays are the bane of everyone’s life, surely? Although I have heard Anne say the words ‘pleasure’ and ‘essay’ in the same sentence before. In fact she actually said, “that’s the pleasure of essay writing,” when trying to explain the structure and process of essay writing. It didn’t work. Clearly, neither has an average of 16 years of education.

For extra helpings though, the class received their shorthand results. That tasted better, like cheap ice cream after eating something that had been really burnt. It took a while for the class to get itself organised as no-one really wanted their just desserts. What no-one wanted to admit was they all knew their results were horrible and so wanted to keep it to themselves, to stave that unsavoury pallet of scorns or ‘constructive critique.’ Eventually, like school kids queuing for a school dinner, pre-Jamie Oliver, the walked up to collect their pitiful marks one by one.

Something must be done. Things have to change. Lifestyle must be sacrificed because that bitter taste burnt some taste buds. Holding ones tongue in future seems like a good idea, less of the quirky anecdotes and more ‘getting one’s head down.’

Barbara Hepworth’s Sculpture Garden

Tree in Hepworth's Garden

Back in the days of A2 art, I did a project on Barbara Hepworth that I feel was most effective. This post is simply an experiment to upload pictures to the blog along with a quick blurb of Barbara Hepworth. I was in St. Ives yesterday and took a few photos. I managed to get a few of the sculptures inside the museum but due to copyright, those photos are not allowed to be displayed.

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture 1

Anyway, onto the artist…

Her sculptures defined a contemporary style of sculpture in a massive phase of art of the 20th century. The ‘Modernist Deco’ style is consistent in most of her pieces. Tell tale signs of her work include that of multi-textural surfaces, often smooth with modest colour pallets. They’re mostly very minimalist and organic, although at the same time, they have wire structures or very block-like geometric stances to them. Structurally, they often emphasise a strong sense of either negative space or positive form. She is not unique in exploring simple forms of positive and negative space. Another example would be Alexander Calder, who’s ‘Stabile’ sculptures use geometric and metallic shapes although in a fluid form.

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture 2

Hepworth’s Sculpture Garden is full of her works in stone, wood and wire, although the museum also displays her preliminary sketches and her colour ideas in pastels and paints. The more interesting aspect to the museum displays a section of her workshop. Unfinished sculptures in marble are left with tools laying beside the pieces. It gives a sense of ethereal presence. It also gives insight as to the points of her inspiration. In the workshop is a row of catus plants in pots. The shapes and forms seem to mimic the concepts in her sculptures.

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture 3

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture 4

Hepworth’s sculptures, although minimalist and bold, carry intricate balances of organic and geometric forms including wires, spheres, basic blocks or even peels of metal. All in all, Hepworth has managed to create something more convoluted and interesting out of basic and fundamental shapes and forms.

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture 5

I thought I’d just throw in some other photos too. I took loads, but I don’t want to drown my blog. I’ll check to see how long it takes to upload the page.

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture 6

Linear forms break up the negative space. This juxtaposition in style and shape create something unique and quite literally ‘eye catching.’ The sculpture invites the viewer to inspect the detail that is teased by light and shadows.

 

 

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture 7

Hepworth’s iconic manipulation of texture and tone is employed to enhance the abstract shape. The fluidity and movement of the sculpture is broken and jarred by the gnarled and wrinkled surface. Again, this sculpture plays with light and shadow to emphasise structure and shape with highlights and tonal disposition.

Barbara Hepworth Sculpture 8

Hepworth uses literally hundreds of different medias and materials. Here she plays with the concept of reflective and metallic surfaces, continuing with her motif with use of light and shadow.

The locals of St. Ives kept bragging about ‘the light’ of the place. They say that it’s simply beautiful and that it inspired artists from all over to work and settle in the place. It’s true, St. Ives is a pretty place. I’m not convinced that the light is any different, but perhaps I’m wrong. Clearly, Hepworth took full advantage over the concept of lights and shadows…

Great, photo project, done!