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Thursday Movie Picks: Shakespeare Adaptations

Thursday Movie Picks is hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Visit her website for this year’s themes and join in! This week is all about Shakespeare adaptations. When I was looking for movies for this week, I realized that I haven’t seen a lot of adaptations or have already used the movies in a different week. Since I didn’t want to repeat movies, my last pick is a movie that I want to watch. Here are my picks for this week.

Gnomeo and Juliet – As the title points out, this is an animated retelling of Romeo and Juliet. They are garden gnomes in two warring households, and would usually hold lawn mower racing fights to show whose family is the toughest. The two gnomes – children of the leader gnomes – meet in the dark while trying to get a flower, and eventually realize that the other belongs to the enemy family. Spoilers – this doesn’t end tragically for the two lovers. 

Merchant of Venice – I have only read four of Shakespeare’s work to date, and this is my favorite play so far. The adaptation, however, is bland. This is one of those cases where I prefer the play over the adaptation. 

Macbeth – For this, I am pertaining about the 2015 version of Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. The cinematography looks great, and I’ve always wanted to see this story played out onscreen.

Comments

  1. I've only seen Macbeth, which I wasn't a fan of but like you said the cinematography was gorgeous.

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    1. I heard that the movie is mediocre but it does look fantastic.

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  2. Don't say the name of the Scottish Play! It's bad luck! Anyway I watched bits of the Fassbender Scottish Play but I was tired I couldn't be bothered to finish it. Might have to revisit it. Haven't seen the other picks.

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    1. I hope to get through it. By the looks of it there's a lot of scenery involved and not a lot of talking in them

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  3. I also went with Gnomeo & Juliet and Macbeth and I didn't like either of them.

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    1. Gnomeo and Juliet did take liberties with the story (did away with the tragic parts) but I still enjoyed it.

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  4. OOOOOOOOH are you talking about the Pacino version of Merchant? I haven't seen it, but I did see him do it on stage and he was a very interesting Shylock. I love that play, too.

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    1. Yes! I probably should have mentioned that was the Pacino one. I didn't like the adaptation but I liked the play.

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  5. I haven't seen any of these! I would like to see the Macbeth version for sure.

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  6. Only watched Gnomeo and Juliet as well as Macbeth, but I only loved Macbeth. It's harrowing and almost classic. Fassbender and Cotillard really slay there. Let alone the visuals; love it!

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  7. Nice picks. Gnomeo & Juliet is a good example of how flexible the Bard's work is. It's strange but definitely a nice try. I too was disappointed in Merchant of Venice, Pacino was spot on but the film was ramshackle. I haven't seen the Fassbender/Collitard version yet, it's on my list but I chose another older reworking of the same work.

    The spins on Shakespeare's work are seemingly endless so coming up with three this week turned out to be a snap.

    Hamlet (1996)-Kenneth Branagh adapted, directed and stars as the tortured Dane supported by a cast that is drawn from the cream of the British acting world with a few choice American stars pulled in for good measure. What makes this version stand out from the myriad others is Branagh’s decision to pull the play out of the dingy and poorly lit 14th century to the lush baroque 19th, resulting in deserved nominations for Art & Costume design, making it a far more vivid experience. That’s a great help since he has also chosen to present the entirety of the play’s nearly four hour run time. In a cast that includes Derek Jacobi, Julie Christie, Robin Williams, Gerard Depardieu and Judi Dench among so many others it’s difficult to choose any MVP’s aside from Branagh but Kate Winslet as Ophelia and Rufus Sewell as Fortinbras, the crown prince of Norway are memorable. It’s a challenging view but worthwhile.

    Joe MacBeth (1955)-Updating the Scottish play to the criminal underworld of 1930’s America this violent take on the tale (it begins with the title character blowing away a crime boss then going directly to his own wedding) is an inventive twist on the material. Excellent work by Paul Douglas and Ruth Roman as the murderous mobster and his rapacious Lady M hold you rapt as the homicidal pair climb the ladder of success over an ever increasing pile of bodies.

    Kiss Me Kate (1953)-The Taming of the Shrew moved into the world of the modern theatre and musicalized by Cole Porter. Famous stage star Fred Graham (Howard Keel) tries to dissuade his equally famous ex-wife Lilli Vanessi (Kathryn Grayson) to postpone her upcoming marriage so she can co-star with him in a musical updating of The Taming of the Shrew. She agrees reluctantly since their relationship post-divorce is as combative as their married life so it’s not smooth going. Add in several flies in the ointment including second lead Lois Lane(!) (Ann Miller) and some mobsters who are mistakenly putting the squeeze on Frank for a debt Lois’s boyfriend owes and it’s a wacky time backstage. Onstage though there are some amazing dance numbers performed by four of the best dancers of the 50’s (Miller, Carol Haney, Bob Fosse and Bobby Van) and great music sung by all including “It’s Too Darn Hot!” and “From This Moment On”. One of the great musicals, originally shown in 3-D.

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  8. Gnomeo & Juliet is underrated, in my book. It isn't the greatest, but it is entertaining. I appreciate that. Haven't seen your others, yet.

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  9. Aw Gnomeo and Juliet is just great ridiculous fun and for once its a happy ending. Loved the latest Macbeth and agreed - beautifully shot.

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