“Gods of Egypt”
I don’t mean to call out a fantasy film for whitewashing, but how can you have a movie about Egypt and the three lead actors are from Australia (Brenton Thwaites), Denmark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Scotland (Gerard Butler)? Let’s go a step further – how can you have zero Egyptian actors in the cast. Director Alex Proyas’ career banged to a start with 1994’s “The Crow.” It’s gone downhill in increments from there – “Dark City” (1998), “I, Robot” (2004), “Knowing” (2009), and now, it seems he’s fallen back entirely on tired plotlines and silly special effects. It’s almost as if the studio and filmmakers thought Thwaites (“The Giver”), Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”) and Butler’s (“300”) resumes would be enough to carry this script that doesn’t even hold true to the myths of Egypt. They don’t. Please Gods of Hollywood don’t make a sequel – pass.
“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”
Based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s bestselling novel – yes, a book that simply inserts zombies into another book about a group of sisters trying to get married in nineteenth century England was a bestseller. And now, it’s a movie adapted and directed by Burr Steers who’s navigated his way through a dark, little indie like “Igby Goes Down” and a sappy drama like “Charlie St. Cloud.” A large cast is led by Lily James (“Cinderella”) and Sam Riley (“Maleficent”). Both of which are surprising for a mash-up Jane Austin/zombie movie. And even bigger surprise is Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”) who steals the show in a small role. Grahame-Smith also wrote the novel “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” which was adapted to similar results. It’s like a melodramatic video game. As the title suggests, it just gives young audiences everything they want without making anyone think, but I’ll pass.
“Where to Invade Next”
Documentarian Michael Moore made strikes against corporate America in “Roger and Me” and “The Big One.” He took shots at gun control in “Bowling for Columbine.” He tried to burn down the Bush administration in “Fahrenheit 9/11.” He lost his patience with healthcare in “Sicko,” and he went for broke against the economy in “Capitalism: A Love Story.” In his first documentary in 6 years, he invades different countries to bring their best ideas back to America. Moore has been accused of being a slanted left-wing nut. Maybe, he does lean hard left, but he also presents some big ideas that are due further investigation. This may be his least confrontational film because it takes place outside of the United States, and instead of laying blame for a specific issue, he talks to a wide range of people about policies, procedures and freedoms that we’ve either forgotten or never knew we could have. It’s informative. It’s fun, and it’s worth a watch.