Sunday, January 22, 2012

Movie: The Guard (4.5/5 stars) (2011)

One of my favourite movies of 2011, about an uppity Irish policeman, Gerry Boyle (Brendan Gleeson), forced to deal with an FBI agent (Don Cheadle) arriving to investigate $500 M (Half a billion. Is that street value?) worth of smuggled drugs.

Gleeson is awesome in this movie - not that he isn't always awesome, but he's given some of the best lines ever and they are delivered with complete seriousness, for example: "I thought only black men were drug dealers. And Mexicans." and "Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, these men are armed and dangerous, and you being an FBI agent you're more used to shooting at unarmed women and children..."

The FBI agent could have been anyone, but Don Cheadle does a good job of being the fish out of water in a small, Irish town where people just don't want to speak English to him. 

Hilarious comedy - worth watching. It's a real sleeper.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Movie: The Prince of Egypt (1.5/5 stars) (1998)

The Prince of Egypt is the story of Moses, starting as a child in a basket floating down the Nile (because the Pharaoh was killing Hebrew babies to control the population), to a young prince of Egypt, having a bit of fun, playing practical jokes with his adopted brother Rameses and eventually discovering his history and then being chosen by God to lead his people out of Egypt.

Things I thought were done well: I liked the voices and the animations, as well as the visual choices for some of the miracles and plagues. This is nothing less than a star studded cast,  Val Kilmer  (Moses AND God - not quite sure what the message was with that),  Michelle Pfeiffer  (Tzipporah - Moses' wife),  Sandra Bullock (Miriam),  Ralph Fiennes (Rameses),  Jeff Goldblum  (Aaron) and  Patrick Stewart (Seti) all do good jobs as their relative characters.

A few annoyances - they state at the beginning that they are faithful to the original story, however, leave Aaron out of the scene with the staff-to-snakes when Moses visits Ramases to free the Hebrews. I have no idea why. They also show Moses as regretful of the various plagues - sure, any normal man would be, but there is nothing of that in the original story.

The rest of the awfulness of the movie comes with the story itself. It's even more creepy/evil told as a children's story in cartoon form. It's obvious from the movie that God can pretty much do anything he wants to, but rather than free the slaves earlier, or even prevent the slavery from happening at all (I assume hundreds of years ago), he puts generations of Jews through torture for some reason before choosing Moses to free them. Also, he could free them in lots of ways that doesn't involve plagues like killing first born innocents, or drowning thousands of soldiers under the Red Sea who are just following orders of their king. No, no - none of that reasonable behaviour. Instead, he decides to really do some damage and kill people who haven't done anything wrong at all. It comes across as evil and more than a little petty and vindictive for a being who is essentially omnipotent. It's just a sorry, sorry story of an evil super being who doesn't care about people at all and doesn't mind a little pain and suffering.

Unpleasant movie to sit through and not worth the cool animations and the good voice acting to get there.