My weekly movie reviews. You can also read these on letterboxd.

This week focuses on three adaptations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.



Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

David Lowery’s film is a visual feast but that’s not enough to make a good movie. I admire the filmmaker for bouncing between studio films and his own passion projects but this adaptation of the chivalric poem is misguided.

It begins well with a strong opening showing the world of the characters and the dramatic entrance of the titular knight into the story. Again, the visuals are breathtaking. As Gawain goes along his journey, I questioned why everyone had complained so much about this movie, especially when Barry Keoghan shows up and steals the scene (as usual). The sequence with he and his scavengers is the most grounded of the entire film and also the best. From there, THE GREEN KNIGHT begins to unravel.

From the point Gawain is joined by a digital fox, the movie slips away into pretentious arthouse territory. What’s funny and foolish about including this CGI animal is that 1. It’s the only one of its kind in the entire picture. 2. What this filmmaker and others like him don’t realize is that getting a real fox to do a tenth of the things this little computer creation does would be far more impactful. Hell, stock footage would work better.

Lowery loses the grip he had on the audience, especially in a prolonged dull episode with Joel Edgerton and Alicia Vikander. The film finally finds its way again in a Scorsese-influenced finale with a great final shot. But Lower missed an opportunity here. He could have made a riveting and artsy picture without indulgence. Alas, he lost his way much like his protagonist.

Watched on Tubi.



Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

It’s not a good sign that I found this film to be cheesy even when I was a kid. It’s charm didn’t work on me then but I figured it deserved a second look as I make my way through the Sword & Sorcery genre.

Other than an always watchable Sean Connery (who must have worked on the film for a total of three days), the picture has just as much cheese as I remembered. The problem is that SWORD OF THE VALIANT takes itself too seriously. In contrast, the superior SWORD AND THE SORCERER (which should have been part of my upbringing) is a fun tongue-in-cheek romp that knows exactly what it is. This SWORD, however, flirts with being a serious, emotional picture as if it neglected to ever look itself in the mirror. If it had fully embraced its corny nature, then it might have turned into an enjoyable adaptation of the classic tale but it appears Stephen Weeks had ambitions he was unable to achieve.

Having directed at least one movie that I intended to be a serious work of cinema which turned into a farce, I can sympathize with his desires but I also cringed throughout his execution.

Watched on Tubi



Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

It baffles me as to why Stephen Weeks decided to remake this film GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT as SWORD OF THE VALIANT in the 80s. First off, he told pretty much the same story each time, doing very little to change his vision of the chivalric poem. He repeats many of the same sequences and even recast some of the actors.

Second, the original is superior to his update though neither film is that good. This earlier version is far less cheesy and can actually be taken seriously at times. The lead is a better Gawain and though it’s missing Sean Connery’s charm as the Green Knight, it also doesn’t have the distraction of a movie star.

There’s no doubt Weeks had a passion for this story. But like Hawks with RIO BRAVO and EL DORADO, the second attempt to tell the same story had diminishing returns. It’s too bad Weeks was not able to make a definitive Green Knight adaptation since he clearly tried hard to do so. As far as I’m concerned, there is no definitive film version of this material yet.

Watched on Tubi.