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All the King's Men (2006) [Blu-ray]

Anthony Hopkins , James Gandolfini , Steve Zaillian    Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Sept. 20 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Anthony Hopkins as usual May 26 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Really I saw many movies for Anthony Hopkins during the last 3 months and did not before have an idea about him , for sure he is a great actor and to some or most they do not know that he is a conductor as well and have a great musical works , but I do not think this move is one of his best , other movie named The edge as an example is much better than this one , but all in all his movies are great
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  114 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Rendition of the Book; the Criticism is Unwarranted Feb. 5 2007
By J. Reynolds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
If you read the magnificent novel upon which this film is based, then you see that the movie does a pretty good job of bringing the story to the screen. Also, I am familiar with hicks in Louisiana, and a lot of them DO have the same accent Sean Penn assumed in his role.

The only improvement I could suggest would have been more frequent use of Robert Penn Warren's own dialogue. For instance, when Burden criticized Stark for boring his listeners, for showing them pie graphs and talking statistics and finances, he was brief and low-key. In the book, Burden railed at Stark -- "Make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, pinch them in a soft spot, but for God's sake don't try to improve their minds." Several other instances occurred where the author's exact wording would have worked better.

Also, two interesting book story points were omitted: Stark's boy, the football player, toward the end was injured during a play and paralyzed from the neck down; Lucy resigned the rest of her life to caring for him. Also, in the end, Jack Burden and Anne Stanton finally married, fulfilling their destiny from youth. It made a good wrap-up.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "If you don't vote--you don't matter" March 30 2008
By R. Kyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"All the King's Men" is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by Robert Penn Warren. Warren, who shifted from poetry to prose to write this novel, got his inspiration from the Populist Louisiana politician, Huey Long.

The film, based on a screenplay by Steve Zaillian, is also based in Louisiana. The politician, Willie Stark (Penn), runs a parallel course to Long's illustrious career. He started out meaning well and his interest was always in the common man, 'hicks' like him. The story is narrated by newspaper reporter, Jack Burden (Law) who works for Sparks.

There's a lot of strong messages in "All the King's Men." You can watch it from the perspective of a soap opera, a parallel to contemporary politics (the discussion of the oil companies' influence, for example) or an Ivory Tower comparison to Machiavelli.

This film could have been great, had they decided a few aspects differently. To quote the film itself: "You only get a couple of moments that determine your life. Sometimes only one. And then it's gone. Forever." Probably the worst decision the directors made was changing the timeframe the film is set in. If you ignore that the film's set twenty years past Long's time, it works a lot better. I don't agree with the decision that the 50's are interchangeable historically with the 30's.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars inert drama April 18 2007
By Roland E. Zwick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Even a stellar cast made up of some of the finest talents in the business - Sean Penn, Jude Law, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Kate Winslet and Anthony Hopkins - can't save "All the King's Men" from being a tired, pointless remake of the Best Picture Oscar winner of 1949.

Robert Penn Warren based his original novel on the life and career of the notorious Huey Long, aka "The Kingfish," who served as governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932. Like Long, Warren's main character, Willy Stark, is a charismatic leader who offends the powers-that-be with his populist rantings, yet eventually becomes as lowdown, vile and corrupt as the politicians he initially railed against to get himself elected.

This theme of the corrupting influence of power - and the corrosive effect that corruption has on the American political system - may have seemed fresh and insightful in Warren's day, but it is strictly old hat today. Moreover, in Steven Zaillian`s pretentious rehash, Stark transitions from being an idealist to a cynic in such record-setting time that the audience is completely at a loss as to how to read the character. Is he a man genuinely committed to helping his fellow citizens who eventually loses his way, or is he just another snake-oil salesman from the get-go exploiting the gullibility of the masses to get what he wants? The film doesn't seem to know, and the audience, quite frankly, doesn`t really care.

Stunningly, the movie is helped not one whit by its strictly A-list caliber cast. Penn hams it up shamelessly as the over-the-top Stark, spewing spittle and bile, regardless of whether he is whipping a downtrodden audience into an emotional frenzy or plotting the downfall of his manifold political rivals. Law, on the other hand, underplays to the point of catatonia the part of the governor's idealistic assistant (and narrator of the tale) who sells his soul to the devil by doing Stark's dirty work for him, even going so far as to blackmail the very man who raised him, in order to prevent the governor from being impeached by the state senate. Clarkson, Gandolfini, Ruffalo and Winslet do little but stand around in the wings waiting for something dramatic to happen (as do we all), and Hopkins is simply too lazy to go through the trouble of even attempting a Louisiana accent let alone perfecting one. The movie definitely could have used some serious paring down from the original storyline, since it is stuffed to bursting with characters who come and go seemingly at random, and whom we really couldn`t care less about. To add insult to injury, James Horner's original music, with its overemphatic underlining and theater-rattling crescendos, should be studied in film schools as a model of how NOT to score a motion picture.

This movie doesn't hold a candle to such superior political dramas as "The Best Man," "The Candidate," "The Distinguished Gentleman" and, yes, even the original "All the King's Men," which boasted the incomparable Broderick Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge in the lead roles. Despite its coming from a simpler time, there was fire and passion in that version of the tale, two elements that are sorely lacking in this meandering, lethargic and undercooked remake.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What happened to the finished movie? Jan. 2 2007
By M. Dog - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This film had something very special going for it with its central casting of Sean Penn as Huey Long, the Kingfisher, the everyman governor of depression-era Louisiana (Willie Stark in the film). If ever there was a role designed for Penn's heated and emotive style of acting, this was it. True to that promise, Penn delivers a few (too few) wonderful scenes with Willie Stark delivering fire and brimstone from the campaign stump.

Other than these scenes, the film is an unformed washout. Willie Stark's transformation from righteous, wife loving common man to manipulative, self-serving adulterous political schemer is . . . . well there really is no transformation. It simply happens between scenes off camera, rendering a potentially fascinating character, rich with comment about the fallibility of human nature, into a black and white, boring nothing.

The film sort of meanders around with the character of reporter Jack Burden (played by the desperately miscast Jude Law)and his exceptionally average family story, which somehow includes lover Anne Stanton (played by the desperately miscast Kate Winslet) and her brother Adam Stanton, played by Mark Ruffalo (who was at least well cast but left hanging in limbo by some very lazy scriptwriting). On board also is the very talanted James Gandolfini, who must have owed someone a very big favor. I challenge anyone to explain to me what he was doing in this bumbling, mumbling role, so far beneath his station. All in all, I was left wondering how any of the principals managed to convince themselves the product was release-ready when watching the final edit.

Final note to Hollywood: let's strike a deal with England: From this day forth, no cross-accenting. Americans shall not play Brits; Brits shall not play Americans (particularly southerners). I think this simple piece of legislation would do wonders in maintaining good relations with that isle across the pond. Lord have mercy it was painful watching Mr. Law and Ms. Winslet giving it their best. All British actors use the exact same accent for anyone "southern"; a kind of a generic mish mash of drawl: all at once from everywhere and nowhere.

One finally final note: is it just me or does Jude Law seem a little less like the real thing with each role?

Not even slightly recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Warmed Over Willie Stark June 5 2007
By Mike J. Rice - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The movie didn't have budget enough to do justice to Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men.

The writer-director is new at the game and it shows.

Sean Penn either weighs 240 pounds in the movie or is padded to appear as though he weighs that much. Penn gives a scenery-chewing performance that is so overwrought it unbalances the film. His hairdo puts me in mind of the one Eric Blair AKA George Orwell wore in his heyday.

Trouble is, the hairdo features white sidewalls around the edge. So when Penn as Willie Stark puts on a fedora, as he often does in the film, he is not recognizable as the same Willie Stark sans hat. Its a major gaffe. A more seasoned Director would have found a way around this.

Penn indulges himself in wild gestures even when talking to the person right next to him.

Stark blows his stack throughout the film. The other performances are more low key, so the Willie speeches jar the audience and undo the quieter moments in the film.

The accents. Sean Penn's Willie is impossible to understand for the first third of the film. Jude Law's Jack Burden the reporter, is only a shade off his usual British accent. Not really American. Willie is romancing his woman aide Virginia Clarkson, in addition to his wife, a skater-stripper, and the Judge's daughter. The judge's daughter is played by Kate Winslet. She's an Aussie. The Judge is played by Anthony Hopkins. Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) has a thankless role as a political handler. Both Winslet and Hopkins are totally understandable but not particularly Louisiana accented. Patricia Clarkson is FROM New Orleans, but doesn't particularly have an accent.

The screenplay is a mess. There is no time for Willie to actually have the romances with the women. They are only alluded to. What is really missing though is a sense of the crowd, the base of any political film. Willie is never down among them, always above them talking over their heads. You have to hear something representative from the crowd to know what they're thinking. Apart from some sour looks, the film never gives a sense of who the voters are. The film needs to be opened up in the way stage-locked plays often are when converted to movies.

Instead of being a movie about a gargoyle in Louisiana politics, this film instead becomes a story about an insular group of political people infighting and romancing one another. The film lacks the necessary sense of the crowd that brings politics alive.
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