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Posts Tagged ‘Gerard Butler’

Gerard Butler, Ralph Fiennes in "Coriolanus"

“CORIOLANUS” My rating: B- (Opening Jan. 20)

122 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The rarely-performed plays of Shakespeare pose a problem for film adaptations. Lacking the familiar plots and Bartlett’s-heavy dialogue of a “Macbeth” or “Hamlet,” these minor works force filmmakers to come up with a creative presentational style if they’re to hook a modern audience.

With that in mind, director/star Ralph Fiennes makes of Shakespeare’s Roman play “Coriolanus” a modern-dress political fable about patriotism, loyalty and class warfare.

It’s quite well acted and if the text itself isn’t terribly compelling, the movie’s semi-documentary visual style and the political parallels Fiennes draws between ancient Rome and our own time engage both the eye and the intellect.

The plot centers on the Roman general Caius Martius (Fiennes), who has defeated the rebel forces of Aufidius (Gerard Butler). For his great victory the Senate renames him Coriolanus and names him Consul of Rome. But before getting the job the newly-named Coriolanus must gain the approval of the citizenry.  And that’s no small task, since he’s an aloof patrician who views everyday Romans as worthless rabble. Early in the film we see him turning back starving rioters who have attacked a government warehouse demanding to be fed.

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Gerard Butler in "Machine Gun Preacher"

“MACHINE GUN PREACHER” My rating: B (Opens wide on Oct. 7)

127 minutes | MPAA rating: R

God doesn’t need more sheep, impassioned lay preacher Sam Childers tells his small-town Pennsylvania congregation. He needs wolves, men and women willing to fight — physically fight — against Satan.

The evocatively titled “Machine Gun Preacher” (it sounds like a Roger Corman exploitation effort) is very much about the wolf lurking inside the most pious of us.

The story of the real-life Childers — a ex-con who found Jesus, created a mission for orphaned children in the civil war-torn Sudan and became a sort of vengeful freedom fighter against the depredations of guerilla leader Joseph Kony and his notorious Lord’s Resistance Army — is simultaneously inspiring and deeply disturbing.

And in the hands of director Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland,” “Monster’s Ball,” “Stranger than Fiction”) and star Gerard Butler (who redeems his recent history of gosh-awful rom-coms) it becomes one of the year’s most unusual and challenging films.

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