Early 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.”
Ever since Match Point premiered at the Cannes film festival eight months ago, Woody Allen has been receiving some of his best reviews in years. His new film has been lauded as a much-needed change of pace for a director who has long been stuck in his ways, and in some ways it is that. It is set in England, not in New York (though earlier films like Love and Death and Everyone Says I Love You also took place, at least in part, outside the United States). It is a mostly serious dramatic feature, not a comedy (though earlier films like Interiors and Another Woman were even more explicit in their emulation of Ingmar Bergman’s sobering style). And it dwells just a little more than usual on the actual eroticism of sex, whereas earlier films tended to focus on the social ramifications of adultery rather than the sexual activity itself (though a few, like Husbands and Wives, were a tad more graphic).
Homer Simpson once declared that alcohol was the source of, and the solution to, all his problems. 20th Century Fox might have something similar to say about diehard fans of the Alien and Predator franchises, who have waited 15 years to see these sci-fi beasts duke it out onscreen, ever since the two biggest space monsters of the Reagan era were first pitted against each other in a Dark Horse comic book. Frustrated by all the delays, hardcore Alien and Predator fans have stirred up some pretty bad buzz over Alien vs. Predator, yet they are also the most likely to brave the bad buzz and check the film out for themselves.
The folks who brought you Pearl Harbor are now bringing you Black Hawk Down, and despite the fact that both war movies feature Josh Hartnett and Tom Sizemore in key military roles, the films are very different.
Where Pearl Harbor was full of saccharine romance, nostalgic production design and eye-popping special effects, Black Hawk Down is a decidedly grim and realistic account of a botched military operation that resulted in the deaths of 18 Americans and more than 1,000 Somalis eight years ago. Where Pearl Harbor was widely dismissed for its commercialism, Black Hawk Down tries very hard to earn respect. This is the film producer Jerry Bruckheimer hopes will be remembered at Oscar time.