Film Screening 20th May, 2016

Poster for Gods of Egypt

Gods of Egypt 

7:30 PM, 20th May, 2016

  • M
  • 127 mins
  • 2016
  • Alex Proyas
  • Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Gerard Butler, Geoffrey Rush

So it’s ancient Egypt – but not as you know it. Not that you really knew it in the first place, as it all took place over 5,000 years ago. Though I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s not as you know it (or if you do happen to be an immortal god-like being, knew it).

This Egypt is ruled by gods and Pharaohs, but one god isn’t very pleased at how things are going. Set (Butler) is the God of Darkness and true to form would like a bit more darkness in the world. To effect this, he’s taking over the place and ushering in a new era of chaos and war.

Ra (Rush) as the Sun God, rather likes the light and puts Horus (Coster-Waldau) as God of the Sky to the task of making things right. But Horus can’t do it alone and enlists the help of young Bek (Thwaites), a mortal thief, to aid him in his quest. Maybe he should have chosen another God, but Bek’s beloved was kidnapped by Set so he’s at least got righteous fire on his side.

Director Proyas has given us another visually stunning film, with plenty of gold and destruction rightfully depicting the glory of gods and men. I like the reimagined representation of the gods’ adornments as armour, and the shots of Horus flying through the city as a man-falcon are quite amazing. Keep an eye out for some familiar Australian faces too, as Proyas filmed at home in Australia (using most of the crew from Mad Max: Fury Road, no less).

Steven Cain

Poster for The Last Witch Hunter

The Last Witch Hunter 

9:47 PM, 20th May, 2016

  • M
  • 106 mins
  • 2015
  • Breck Eisner
  • Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
  • Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Michael Caine

The genre is called urban fantasy, and I remember it becoming a thing – in literature – in the late 1980s. Books in the genre are still popular, but films with magic in a big-city setting have really struggled on the big screen – largely because they’ve tended to be so godawful. And yes, I’ll admit we’ve screened a few of these ourselves. That’s because we live in hope.

So this film, not a success at the box office, and taken by many as proof that Vin Diesel is of no interest to anyone when he’s not driving a car, came as a pleasant surprise to me.

The premise is that witches have been with us since time immemorial, and several centuries ago they were all openly trying to kill us. But as with many ethnic groups who were at one another’s throats in the Middle Ages, a peace has since been struck between witches and humans, and one of its chief enforcers is an accidentally-made-immortal man from the old warring days (Diesel) – the title character, who doesn’t hunt witches so much as police them. We know he must be a softie at heart, for all his gruesome backstory.

The film has a B-movie charm, without the insulting B-movie badness: the production values are strong; the dialogue doesn’t make us wince; the characters are actually worth taking an interest in; Vin Diesel and Michael Caine have an easy chemistry together, which I wouldn’t mind seeing more of.

Henry Fitzgerald