Thursday 24 Apr
 
 

Sorcerer

William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
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Drama
 

Samson and Delilah / Of Gods and Men


Set in impoverished communities, the dramas ‘Samson & Delilah’ and ‘Of Gods and Men’ deal with issues of faith and forced exits.

Rod Lott April 13th, 2011

Two new films portray communities so minute, so insular and so far removed from ours, they may as well be science fiction.

While not documentaries, “Samson & Delilah” and “Of Gods and Men” focus on groups that are nonetheless real: Australian Aborigines and French monks, respectively.

Either way, you can’t get further from “Scream 4” this weekend. Hope you like subtitles.

Playing Thursday through Sunday at Oklahoma Museum of Art, 415 Couch, “Samson & Delilah” is neither a remake of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1949 epic, nor biblical in nature. This Cannes Film Festival honoree depicts the dull, dreary life among dwellers of the Central Australian desert.

Not much happens in the movie, at least initially, which I suppose is entirely the point. When he’s not huffing gasoline, teenage Samson

(Rowan McNamara) ambles about his surroundings — empty fridge, dirty water, hard floors, merciless sun — and listens to music and screws around in a wheelchair. Meanwhile, his sorta-kinda girlfriend, Delilah (Marissa Gibson), forced to act older than she is, cares for her ailing Nana (Mitjili Gibson).

Thirty-four minutes in, Samson decides he’s had enough, and his actions force his exit from the village; Delilah, cutting off her hair as if shedding her skin, accompanies him as they journey toward the big, bad city. Someone has to — Samson isn’t letting go of his ever-present, cut-in-half plastic bottle of fuel, whose fumes he constantly inhales to escape.

Writer/director Warwick Thornton brings more than a decade’s worth of documentary work to his feature debut, and it shows. The viewer is made to feel the despair and bleakness of his characters’ have-nothing lives, and the leads’ inexperience at acting makes it seem all the more real.

The same can be said for another Cannes winner, “Of Gods and Men,” a French film opening Friday at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W Memorial. Writer/director Xavier Beauvois nails — or so I assume — the lifelong commitment of Trappist monks who live a day-in-day-out life defined by ritual.

They go about their business of prayer and humanitarian work in a dirt-poor Algerian community, but find their rigid schedule upturned by the arrival of armed, radical Muslims, who invade their monastery and cluelessly demand, “Where’s the pope?” From there, the fact-based “Of Gods” is all about fleeing or fighting — in the monks’ case, fighting simply means staying put and having faith that God will work things out ... even if fundamentalist terrorists aren’t known for being open to negotiating peace.

So many parallels can be drawn between these two pictures, not the least of which are the challenges they present to audiences. I can’t say I enjoyed either — in fact, “Of Gods” lulled me into a state of numbness — but pieces may haunt you long after their ends — one tragic, one hopeful — are reached.

 
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