Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings (dir. Ridley Scott, 2014)

exodus-DF-02770Early on in Exodus: Gods and Kings, there’s a scene in which Moses, who is still an Egyptian prince oblivious to his Hebrew heritage, confronts an Egyptian viceroy named Hegep, who is supposed to be building a new city for the Pharaoh but seems to have diverted some of the funds towards his own luxurious lifestyle. Hegep tries to deflect Moses’ attention by pointing to the troublesome Hebrew slaves, and says he needs more resources to deal with them. As proof of how rebellious these Hebrews are, Hegep says, “Do you know what ‘Israelite’ means in their own language? ‘He who fights with God’.” An annoyed Moses replies, “‘He who wrestles with God’. There’s a difference.”

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Box-office forecast: How will Exodus: Gods and Kings perform theatrically compared to Noah?

exodus-scott-baleThe Hollywood Reporter says Exodus: Gods and Kings may gross between $25 million and $30 million when it opens in North America this weekend.

That would be slightly ahead of the $25.6 million that Son of God opened to in February, but considerably behind the $43.7 million that Noah opened to in March — but movies that open in December tend to stay afloat over the holidays, so Exodus could still be the year’s biggest Bible movie when all is said and done. (The Prince of Egypt, to cite one precedent, opened in December 1998 to only $14.5 million and still grossed $101.4 million in total — which is slightly more than Noah made in North America.)

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Golden Globes nominate Patti Smith’s ‘Mercy Is’ from Noah

patti-smith-darren-arnofsky-noahI’ve never paid much attention to the Golden Globes, but it’s worth noting that they announced their nominees today, and one of the lucky contenders is Patti Smith for her song ‘Mercy Is’, which plays over the closing credits of Noah.

Other than that, the Golden Globes basically ignored the year’s Bible-movie revival — but the Globes only offer awards for acting, directing, writing and music, and no one was seriously pushing Noah or Exodus: Gods and Kings in any of those categories except for music. It’s still possible that those two films will be recognized for their production design, costumes, sound editing and whatnot when the Oscar nominations are announced January 15. And maybe one of their composers will get a nod, too. We shall see.

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Watch: Exodus: Gods and Kings imagines what it would be like if the plagues came to modern-day cities

exodus-plaguesGive the publicity team behind Exodus: Gods and Kings points for creativity. The latest batch of videos asks you to imagine what the plagues would look like in modern-day cities such as London, Moscow, San Francisco and “Suburbia” — which is an interesting way of getting us to imagine what it might be like to sympathize with the Egyptians. Check ’em out below the jump.

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Ewan McGregor on playing Jesus — or, rather, Yeshua — and the Devil in Last Days in the Desert

last-days-in-the-desert_1200x800Two days ago, the Sundance Film Festival revealed that one of the many films premiering there next month would be Last Days in the Desert, starring Ewan McGregor as both Jesus and the Devil in a story set during the 40 days of temptation that followed Jesus’ baptism.

Yesterday, Entertainment Weekly posted the first official photo from the movie, along with an article that confirms that the “family in crisis” Jesus encounters on his way out of the wilderness is a first-century Jewish family: [Read more...]

Moses movies — the article’s up! (plus three new videos)

exodus-relevant-23I haven’t fully resolved the computer problems that I mentioned a few days ago, but I did manage to finish an article on Moses movies for Christianity Today. It gives a brief history of films and TV productions that have dramatized the life of Moses going back to 1903, and it looks at some of the key themes that have been explored across those films, including the brand new Exodus: Gods and Kings.

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