Gods of Egypt

March 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites
Directed by: Alex Proyas (“Knowing”)
Written by: Matt Sazama (“The Last Witch Hunter”) and Burk Sharpless (“The Last Witch Hunter”)

With the #OscarsSoWhite controversy still fresh on people’s minds and the lack of diversity in Hollywood at a fever pitch, there is probably no worse time for a film like “Gods of Egypt.” With a cast of white, European actors playing Egyptian gods, it isn’t exactly working hard to combat the so-called “white washing” of the film industry. But can the quality of the film be enough to overcome its diversity issues? Spoiler alert: no it can’t.

As Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is set to become the new King of Egypt, Set (Gerard Butler) usurps the crown, stripping Horus of his eyes, and taking reign. In an effort to try to save the one he loves, mortal Bek (Brenton Thwaites) teams up with Horus to try and take the crown back from the merciless Set.

It is difficult to find a good place to start with the issues that plague “Gods of Egypt,” but one may start with the atrocious CGI. Right off the bat, the size differential between the Gods and the mortals look ridiculous, as if actors are playing in dollhouses. Beyond that, a lot of green screen rendering looks awful, and much of the design of computer graphics generated characters looks unfinished, fake, and unpolished. Simply put, “Gods of Egypt” features some of the worst CGI for a big budget movie in recent memory.

The actors of the film cannot be blamed for its terribleness, though they certainly didn’t do anything to elevate the material. Coster-Waldau continues to search for a film role that matches the greatness achieved by his performance in “Game of Thrones” and Thwaites is merely fine. Much of the blame should be shouldered by a really mediocre script that can’t decide what it wants to be or where it wants to go. In some scenes, it feels like a comedy, while in others the theme of love is hammered home with zero subtlety. The tone of the film also suffers, with many scenes playing as goofy, immature comedy which not only seems anachronistic, but corny as well.

Even though the movie is terrible in virtually every facet, it all seems to come back down to the core issue of a diversity problem. Where something like Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” featured white actors wearing make up to look like Egyptians, “Gods of Egypt” doesn’t even try to make it seem like their Gods are anything other than white, mostly British men. It’s a decision that feels almost equally as offensive. In fact, even Chadwick Boseman, one of the few racially diverse cast members, has a phony British accent slapped on.

Opinions of diversity (or lack their of) aside, “Gods of Egypt” is just a bad movie. It’s lame, boring, pointless, and difficult to follow. It would be one thing if there was some engaging visuals to look at, but they couldn’t even get that right. All in all, there isn’t a single quality of the film that keeps “Gods of Egypt” from being God-awful.

The Other Woman

April 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Cody, Reviews

Starring: Leslie Mann, Cameron Diaz, Kate Upton
Directed by: Nick Cassavetes (“The Notebook”)
Written by: Melissa Stack (debut)

For anyone in a committed relationship, the worst possible scenario has to be finding out that your spouse has been cheating on you. But what if you found out that your spouse was cheating on you with not one, but two women? Your first instinct would naturally be to befriend your wife’s mistress, right? No?

This is the situation in which we find Kate (Leslie Mann) in in “The Other Woman.” When a lawyer named Carly (Cameron Diaz) shows up to surprise her boyfriend Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, TV’s “Game of Thrones”) at his house, the door is answered by Kate, much to both of their surprise. As Kate digs deeper, she discovers her husband is cheating on her with Carly and the two form an unlikely friendship. When they follow him to a vacation to try and see what he is into, they find yet another woman he is seeing (Kate Upton). After being informed of the situation, the three team up to try and take him down and get their revenge.

Those who have seen Judd Apatow’s films know that a little bit of Leslie Mann goes a long way. While she can be incredibly funny, she also has the tendency to play the same character over and over again and a tendency to overdo her performances. You cannot fault her effort here as she is virtually unhinged and commits completely to the role. Her loud, rambling and hysteric characteristics, however, are more obnoxious than entertaining. Of particular surprise is just how bland of a performance and character Diaz portrays. Sure, a lot of it has to do with the lame script, but Diaz displays very little in the way of personality in her role.

Once the trio of jilted lovers bands together, the film becomes a retelling of tired, typical, sabotage tropes and juvenile potty humor. I mean honestly, how many times must we watch someone’s drink get messed with only to find them gripping the side of a toilet seat, sweating and grunting complete with sound effects. (Sorry for the spoiler). The story never really moves far beyond seeing how much damage the women can inflict on the three-timing husband, despite the films unsuccessful attempts at building a number of relationships.

The obvious goal of “The Other Woman” is to serve as a women’s empowerment film to anyone who has ever been played by a man, which is perfectly fine. Unfortunately, the gags are stale and the script is vapid, among many other problems. When it comes down to it, “The Other Woman” is an entirely unfunny affair.

Mama

January 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Directed by: Andreś Muschietti (debut)
Written by: Neil Cross, Andreś Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti (debut)

There’s an interesting dichotomy at work in the career of Guillermo del Toro. When it comes to directing, he’s known for his dark flights of fancy, plunging his films into twisted worlds haunted by fantastical, meticulously-crafted heroes and villains filled with pathos and often blurry lines between good and evil. As a producer, however, del Toro often lends his name to horror projects that begin with promise of del Toro-esque quality and end up as routine scary movie snores. The latest film presented by del Toro, “Mama,” unfortunately continues that trend.

“Mama” stars two-time Academy Award-nominee Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”) as punk rock girl Annabel who, along with her boyfriend Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), ends up taking care of Lucas’ young nieces after they’re found in a nearly feral state prowling around a remote cabin. The girls have been living seemingly on their own for five years after their father Jeffrey (also Coster-Waldau, for some reason) murdered their mother and fled with his daughters in tow. As Jeffrey prepares to pull the trigger on his oldest daughter, a mysterious specter snatches him away to his implied death and takes her place as the girls’ guardian, know to them as Mama.

“Mama” arrives with an interesting premise – feral children with a seemingly otherworldly caretaker readjusting to normal society – but ends up disappointing early on. First-time director Andreś Muschietti tips his hand too soon by revealing Mama’s supernatural status in the first act.

Muscheitti, who also shares a screenwriting credit, deflates any psychological tension the situation might naturally create (is Mama a figment of the girls’ imagination? Is one of them actually Mama?) and instead turns the rest of film into an hour of the audience waiting for everyone on screen to discover this malevolent ghost we’ve already seen in action. The final act of the film wallows in a few half-prophetic dream sequences before limping to a conclusion that throws plot points out the window to eke out an ending indifferent to the rest of the film.

On another note, the sheer ferocity of Mama is puzzling. She’s introduced saving a young girl from being murdered by her father, for which her savage behavior is wholly appropriate. When she ends up putting well-meaning people into comas for investigating why moths are crawling out of a moldy portal to another dimension that’s randomly appeared in a hallway, well…not so appropriate.