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Drama-free

Film_1centurianSQBut that’s not a good thing for ‘Centurion’
In an old Monty Python routine, a maniacal barber about to shave an unwary customer and stropping his razor, starts muttering, "Blood, spurt, artery, psycho!" That about sums up the plot in Centurion, a budget bloodfest from Neil Marshall (The Descent) about Roman Legionnaires trapped behind enemy lines in the far north of Britain. It has the same molten pewter look (and shiny red blood) of Zach Snyder's 300, and aspires to the same level of epic classical tragedy, but Centurion lacks even the minimal dramatic resonance of Snyder's pulpy take on the Spartans.

Based on another nugget of historical fact, the disappearance of the entire Ninth Roman Legion into the mists of Britain, Marshall envisions a troop of battle-weary soldiers, far from home, their leave indefinitely cancelled, trapped in "a new kind of war … without honor … without end," in an environment so hostile "even the land wants us dead." Sound familiar?

Having set up the timeliness (and, sadly, timelessness) of his soldiers' plight, Marshall turns away from politics to Film_centurionfocus on individual acts of courage against impossible odds. But the fact is the Romans are the invaders; they have no business in Britain except conquest, and if the indigenous tribes (in this case, groovy-looking blue-painted Picts) respond with savage guerrilla warfare to protect themselves and their land, who can blame them?

Struggling to create empathy for his characters, Marshall offers Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), son of a slave/gladiator, and the de facto leader of the proverbial ragtag group of survivors who go off in search of their captured general (Dominic West) after their legion is led into a trap and slaughtered. This group is made up of the usual suspects: Greek, Syrian, African, Tuscan, an athlete, a cook. An unlikely rescue attempt (the Picts all ride off for some reason, leaving their prize captive scarcely guarded) only gets the Roman soldiers, fleeing on foot, pursued by a mounted band of Pictish warriors led by a vengeful and relentless female tracker (Olga Kurylenko).

Marshall tries to earn points for his trendy kick-ass women warriors, but he also takes special glee in showing men punching women in the face; it happens over and over. Meanwhile, heads are bashed, throats gashed, limbs severed, and torsos impaled, and when Marshall imposes stirring music over the carnage, fishing for a tragic dimension the action never earns, it's just laughable. (PG-13). 97 minutes.

CENTURION ★1/2 (out of four)

Wth Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, and Olga Kurylenko. Written and directed by Neil Marshall. A Magnolia release. Rated (PG-13). 97 minutes. Watch film trailer >>>
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Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

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