Two Movies That Discuss Death, But In Extremely Different Ways
Basically, one movie is about how in the past we were ignorant jerks who died from disease and our own violent tendencies towards each other, and the other movie is about how we as a society could very well let our own ignorance allow us to be violent towards each other in the near-future. It's just that in one nature plays a big role in killing people and in the other its an effort to reduce a population no longer affected by disease as much. The big question of course is if they are good movies, and I would say yeah, they're above-average if not amazing. Let's discuss them both now!
"A Million Ways to Die in the West"
Basically MacFarlane plays a nerdy guy who is kind of a loner except for his girlfriend who towards the start of the movie leaves him for a jerk obsessed with his fancy mustache--played deliciously by Neil Patrick Harris. However, MacFarlane meets a nice women in the form of Charlize Theron's character, but what he doesn't know is that she's actually the wife of an evil bandit played by Liam Nesson (who used to play sweet roles like the dad in "Love Actually" but since "Taken" seems to portray a lot of rough fellows).
3 out of 5 stars.
"The Purge: Anarchy"
The problem with the first "The Purge" movie was that it wasn't quite sure if it wanted to be a piece of social commentary or a horror film about a home invasion. "The Purge: Anarchy" moves away from the horror-angle into more of a straight-up action film with dashes of the social commentary. It works these message into the movie in a style a bit more elegantly than the first one with its occasionally ham-fisted, "Hey, we're making a statement here!" style.
These movies are made on a relatively tiny-budget in terms of wide-release movies and go on to do gangbusters in the theaters, so they seem to have touched enough of a societal nerve that a 3rd entry in the series is assured. I suppose by appealing to the part of us that wants to see violent action whilst also giving us a little bit of food-for-thought a successful formula has been stumbled upon-- e.g. "Let's give them violence but with enough of a message it doesn't feel like mindless blood and gore!" That said, the formula does result in a pretty enjoyable movie even if it still feels like the concept of the Purge is more interesting than "The Purge" movies themselves currently. Perhaps the fact that the 3rd film might be a prequel will shed some light on the origins of The Purge and be even more interesting--we can honestly only wait and see. That said, this is a solid...
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Quite Good, Just Not Great
"A Million Ways to Die in the West," and "The Purge: Anarchy" both tackle the subject of how we treat our fellow human, albeit in greatly different tones. Both show that even in a miserable world there can be good out there, but to be careful whom you trust because you could very well end up dead. Each movie also isn't necessarily great, but still quite good and a pleasant enough way eke out some entertainment. So yes, check them out should you need to fill a couple hours.