Movies: A Lovely Indie and a Scary Documentary

 

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

This charming New Zealand film opened this weekend and is a great option for people looking at the movie listings and not finding anything remotely appealing. Ricky is a thirteen year old Maori boy in the foster system who gets in to a lot of trouble. He is taken to a new family (Bella and Hec) in the rugged New Zealand outback where he isn’t too thrilled to be.  Bella is warm and loving while Hec is more of a recluse who is uninterested in having Ricky around. Just as Ricky starts to bond with Bella, a tragedy ensues and Ricky and Hec land up in the wilderness with what seems to be all of New Zealand’s child services, police, military and some creepy outback folk hunting them down.

Of course Ricky and Hec bond during this experience with many heartwarming and comedic moments. There are also scenes that seem to be a shout out to McCabe and Mrs. Miller as well as Thelma and Louise. The characters aren’t new, nor is the story but there is still  a freshness to it that brings the viewer in throughout the hour and forty minutes. The Ricky and Hec characters are very well developed and there is no way you won’t be fully engaged with them. A side benefit is the extraordinary beauty of the New Zealand outback – a very different terrain than what we saw in Lord of the Rings.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is now tracking at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and even the harshest critics have a place in their heart for this nice little film. That’s two big Indie winners from New Zealand this year. The other is the Dark Horse which should be coming to on-demand this month if you missed it in the theaters. A good year for the Kiwis.

Zero Days

Zero Days is available in some theaters and on-demand. I can’t say as I fully understood this movie about cyber warfare despite the film makers ability to make the extremely complex world of cyber understandable to the lay person. It is a documentary primarily focused on the world of international cyber warfare and particularly focused on the Stuxnet virus. This virus was developed by the US and used by both the US and Israel to thwart the Iranian nuclear effort. The virus is able to affect equipment not connected to the Internet – in Iran’s case, their centrifuges. Basically, the virus has the potential of disrupting the entire world from banking to transportation to power, water etc. and the film makes sure the viewer gets the fact that Stuxnet has opened a can of worms that will change our lives forever.

The film calls for worldwide discussion on cyber warfare before a massive attack is waged with dire ramifications. For example, the Iranians responded to Stuxnet by building a huge cyber warfare organization which has waged attacks and many other countries have them state sponsored cyber terrorism operations.  If you want a good night’s sleep, this probably isn’t the film to watch before you go to bed. For those interested in cyber, science and an understanding of how wars will be fought in the future, this is an excellent documentary to see.

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