Ealasaid/ April 4, 1998/ Movie Reviews and Features, Writing

Originally written for The Occidental.

The famed production company, Merchant-Ivory, is teaming up with renowned actor Kenneth Branagh to make a ground-breaking series of adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays. Adding to the excitement caused by the production of these films is the success Branagh is having in signing classically trained actors to play the lead roles.

The first, King Leer (due later this month), stars Branagh himself as a decrepit widower-king determined to split his kingdom amongst his daughters, once his is certain of their love for him — to be proven in his royal bedchamber! Exciting action ensue as the elder two eagerly cooperate in a number of intriguing positions. The third (and his favorite), Coldelia (Kate Winslet), refuses, only to be banished and wed to the king of France… who proves his nation’s reputation very, very true on their wedding night! Due out later this month, King Leer looks like it will be a huge hit at the box offices!

Soon to follow are Pleasure for Pleasure, a tale of intrigue which follows the Duke of Vienna (Branagh again) as he attempts to reform the morals of his people while traveling incognito; As you Lick It, in which a young woman (Helena Bonham-Carter) masquerades as a man to live out her lesbian fantasies; Much Ado About Tonguing, which tells of a young spitfire’s (Emma Thompson) discovery of the joys of oral intercourse; Sexlet, the story of a young prince (Leonardo DiCaprio) seduced by his mother; The Pimp of Venice, which follows the trials and tribulations of a man (John Malkovich, wonderful as ever!) following the oldest trade of all; and Julius Pleaser, which examines the real relationship between the famed emperor and Brutus (rumored to be played by Jeremy Irons and Gabriel Byrne!), all in colorful and graphic style!

When asked why he chose to do the series, Branagh said, “I think it’s time that the American people had a version of Shakespeare to which they could relate.”

So what’s the bottom line? If Branagh pulls through and gets these films out on the market, the public can look forward to a very educational series of films. But if you’re looking for straight-laced art films, go somewhere else!!

This is my article for the April Fools’ edition of the paper… so if you were either hopeful or offended, I just gotta say…