Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Dec 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

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 >>>
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Dancing In the Rain

District Attorney Bob Lee’s death in October stunned the Santa Cruz community, but he had battled cancer fiercely—and privately—for more than a decade. Now one of his closest friends reveals the remarkable inside story

 

Our Gifts - Fiery Sacrificial Lights to One Another

Wednesday is Christmas Eve, Hanukkah ends and the Moon is in Aquarius, calling for the new world to take shape at midnight. Thursday morning, the sun, at the Tropic of Capricorn, begins moving northward. The desire currents are stilled. A great benediction of spiritual force (Capricorn’s Rays 1, 3, 7) streams into Earth. Temple bells ring out. The heavens bend low; the Earth is lifted up to the Light. Angels and Archangels chant, “On Earth, peace, goodwill to all.” As these forces stream into the Earth they assume long swirling lines of light, in the likeness of the Madonna and Child. The holy child is born. Let our hearts be “impressed” with and hold this picture, especially because Christmas may be difficult this year. Christmas Day is void of course moon (v/c moon), which means we may feel somewhat disconnected from one another. It’s difficult to connect in a v/c moon. Try anyway. Mercury joins Pluto in Capricorn. Uh oh … we don’t bring up the past containing any dark and difficult issues. We are to attempt new ways of communicating—expressing aspirations and love for one another, replacing wounding, sadness, lostness, and hurts of the past. Play soothing music, pray together, have the intention for peace, harmony and goodwill. Don’t be surprised if things feel out of control and/or arguments arise. We remember, before a new harmony emerges, chaos and crisis come first to clear the air. We are to be the harmonizers. Christmas evening is more harmonious, less difficult, more of what Christmas should be— radiations of love, sharing, kindness, compassion and care. Sunday, Feast Day of the Holy Family, is surprising. Wednesday is New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2014. Taurus moon, a stabilizing energy, ushers in the New Year. Happy New Year, everyone! Peace to everyone. Let us realize we are gifts radiating diamond light to one another. Living sacrificial flames!

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Let My People Go

There’s a lot to like in Ridley Scott’s maligned ‘Exodus’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Best Bites of 2014

A look back at the year in good taste

 

What downtown business is good for both one-stop shopping and last-minute gifts?

The Homeless Garden Project store. Because it is a community effort and has really useful and beautiful things, and allows you to connect with a lot of folks who are doing great work in Santa Cruz. Miriam Greenberg, Santa Cruz, UCSC Professor

 

Vino Tabi Winery

One of Santa Cruz’s most happening areas to go wine tasting is in the westside’s Swift Street Courtyard complex. Ever since a group of about a dozen wineries got together and formed Surf City Vintners (SCV), the place has been a hive of activity, and a wine-tasting mecca. Adding to the mix is the lively Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing beer company—making Swift Street Courtyard a perfect spot for a glass of wine or a pitcher of ale.

 

Betty’s Eat Inn

Yes, she’s a real person; no, this isn’t her