Victoria Simpson
I must say, I feel awful for Ridley Scott doing this movie because everyone's either A) expecting Gladitor, only in tights, or B) the one with Kevin Costner only with better accents.  It's neither, and I'm okay with that.  The plot is terrific.  Someone said it was too plot heavy and to that I say, nay nay.  A movie without a good plot is, in my humble creative writing student's opinion, trash.  A movie cannot be like a short story that has no plot and is all about whether or not the lady's coat being yellow means something.  It needs substance.  It cannot be all about slitting throats, either.  Robin Hood has never been a tale of gore, anyhow.  It's a tale of honor and freedom--tale of one man's defiance. Yes, this could entail gore, but not necessarily.  There is some decent action, by the by.  All I mean to say is, just because this movie is not Gladiator does not make it less of a movie.  It still has a great message.

So, some interesting things to notice about this movie are the many different things that remind me of various portions of English History and Lit.  You have the wild boys in the woods, like J.M. Berrie's Lost Boys or the boys in William Golding's Lord of the Flies.  There is also reference's to England's Celtic beginnings, if you pay attention to some of the carvings.  There was the wonderful portrayal of England and France's feud.  There were probably others that I missed, but you see my point.  This was story of England.  This is England's eternal story.  If you know anything about it's history, you know that unification has always been a crucial and too often lost thing for England.  I enjoyed seeing them come together for once.

Let's discuss Marion.  She's the first Marion I can actually tolerate.  Yay Cate Blanchett!  I do love her.  Best line in the movie?  "Good God, Marion."  She's along the lines of Queen Gorgo in 300.  She wasn't this haughty woman who doesn't need a man, but she wasn't a damsel in distress.  Congratulations, Hollywood, a woman that's relatable.  I can't give too much away, but suffice to say, she kicks major tail.

Another plus is that this movie is funny.  I actually liked Prince John for about ten minutes.

Robin Hood showed the importance of freedom, honor, and keeping your word.  Fight for what's right.  My favorite part?  It showed that community and family is important.  Those in the movie, in Nottingham, they took care of each other.  There was order, and they honored it.  Everyone had a place; everyone served.  The peasants honored Sir Walter, Marion, and Robin, and never once did those three take advantage of their people.

No, it's not Gladiator, but as a woman who has watched men fall by the wayside and seen the destruction of family and caring for your community, I appreciated it. I'm afraid many men will like it because there isn't enough bloodshed and fail to see the importance of honoring a woman and protecting the weak. They won't see that they need to be responsible.  But, I hope they do.  I really, really do.  Do men like that Robin Longstryde exist?  I think they do, but they are too few of them.

So, I give it four stars out of five.
Victoria Simpson
Hello, hello lovelies. I'm sorry it's been a while. However, I finished two books and am in the middle of a third (Lost: A Novel by Mr. Gregory Maguire, author of the famous Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Harper Fiction)).

However, today I wish to discuss a different novel. Let's talk about The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. She has also written Garden Spells (Bantam Discovery) and The Sugar Queen (Random House Reader's Circle) which are two books I love dearly. Allen writes stories that take place in the South. However, it's not Faulkner nor stories about rednecks nor, heaven forbid, Gone With the Wind. Instead, it's the South I was raised in and still enjoy today.

This novel is no different than the others. She writes about the South, a more magical South than you see in the news (and I do not mean that youtube video on the Creighton Leperchaun). Her South, which I believe is closer to the true South, is full of sweet smells, beautiful trees, classic architecture, old family secrets and legends, old money, those with no money, the best food, and just a pinch of magic. What makes this one even better? The addition of barbecue, that's what!

Here's an excerpt from Allen's site that sums the story up:  Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, offering them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth—but also in the hope of rekindling a love she fears might be lost forever. Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.

"A dusting of magic, the aroma of sugary cakes swirling through the breeze, and a girl who unwittingly brings change to a town of misfits makes for a sweet summer story filled with hope and forgiveness. The Girl Who Chased the Moon flirts with the supernatural while the light tinkling of a charm bracelet sounds in the night."
- Beth Hoffman, author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Plus, did I mention there was barbecue involved?  

Okay, now to serious reviewer business.  I cannot recommend this to most guys.  It's comfy, cozy chick lit.  Except, it's better than most chick lit.  Better than Nicholas Ruins Endings Sparks.  I do not like that man.  He ruins endings.  Exhibit A) Message in a Bottle.  

So, we've established A) I don't like Nicholas Sparks and B) Allen writes mainly for women.  However, if you are a guy and like that stuff, far be it from me to judge.  I pretty much eat her novels up like...well, barbecue.  She has beautiful themes in her stories that all tie together.  Her stories are hilarious. It is not classic literature now, but it does tell a good story.  Plus, she does not have any writer's quirks that annoy me such as noticeably bad grammar or irritating characters that the reader ought to be sympathetic towards (that was such an awkward sentence).  I read that book in one day--during finals.  Does that tell you how much I enjoyed it?

I guess I do have to list cons to be a good reviewer....*sigh*.  I guess the ending could have been less predictable.  I suppose there should have been a more sinister plot involved somehow.  But really, picking out things I didn't like about this story is very difficult.  She's one of my favorites.  Like I said, not really going to recommend it to men in general, but I'm okay with that.  Allen's stories are geared towards women without being all Danielle Steel damsel in distress romances where we learn the June Cleaver is the only way (not that I don't mind a Danielle Steel movie on WE when I'm feeling ill.  They're entertaining if Russia is involved in any way).  The point is, Allen's women are feminine without being weak and dependent.  They're very strong and always can stand on their own two feet.  They're very admirable.  In this one, Julia is an expert business woman who is also incredibly maternal.  I like that balance.  

Anyways, I give it five stars for me, four and a half for my readers, and for you macho guys out there who won't read it, three.  

Still....I can't help but say, I love that book.