billcr12

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Reviews

Rosa de Santa Maria
(2017)

EWTN Film
EWTN produces films with messages intended for Catholics or would be Catholics. I was raised in the Church but have drifted from a belief in any organized religion for over fifty years. A recent loss has steered me back into a need for some reason for our lives and I have attempted to pray in the way I was taught as a child. So far, it has not restored a belief in the afterlife but I continue to watch the movies on EWTN every Saturday night. Saint Rose of Lima is shown with badly dubbed english dialogue. Subtitles would have been better. The lead actress is fine as the saint but the acting is rather soap opera-ish. The visuals of purgatory are in the style of The Exorcist, a film I found silly. We are all a combination of saints and sinners and Rosa is shown as an extremely pious woman who prayed with fervor all of her life. I was moved by her portrayal but even so, I am still searching for my own faith.

Pixie
(2020)

Catholics be warned
I write this as a Catholic as a warning to fellow followers of the faith to be aware of some anti-Catholic sentiments in this film. I love Alec Baldwin. He stole Glengary Glen Ross in a short scene. Here he is drug dealing Catholic priest in rural Ireland. O.K., that part was funny for a while, but a scene in a church with the desecration of a statue of the Virgin Mary was too much for me. There are also some cheap shots at the faith throughout the movie. Otherwise, Olivla Cooke is beautiful and fine in the lead as Pixie, the daughter of a gangster on the run with two men and a bag of stolen drugs. The violence is routine and the scenery of Ireland is grand. If you are offended by mockery of Catholicism, avoid Pixie.

WolfWalkers
(2020)

Irish Magic
In a land with a tradition of great fables, here is one that is simply movie magic. A British Lord in control of Kilkenny in Ireland, orders that all the remaining wolves be killed in order for the land to be cleared. A man is the head hunter and his daughter, Robyn meets a a wolfwalker in the form of a fellow little girl named Mebh. She transforms into a wolf when asleep. Robyn attempts to help Mebh in saving the wolves and in finding her lost mother. The scenery of the animation is breathtaking and for an hour and forty-three minutes I could escape from this terrible year for awhile. Wolfwalkers is one of the best films of the year.

Marie Heurtin
(2014)

French Miracle Worker
This story was done in the 1960's with The Miracle Worker. Helen Keller was a blind and deaf American girl who was taught by Annie Sullivan to use sign language and became major figure in the movement for the rights of the handicapped. Marie(Ariana Rivoire) was a 14 year-old French girl who was taught by a young nun named Marguerite(Isabelle Carre) to communicate in the same manner as Keller. The acting is superb and the film will tear you apart. The compassion and drive shown by Sister Marguerite is the work of a living saint. In this world of madness, Marie's Story gave me hope for the possibility of redemption.

Yes, God, Yes
(2019)

Good Concept
As someone who had experience with Catholic school for my first six years in the 1960's, I could appreciate the story of a girl struggling with the concept of sin and hypocrisy. Natalia Dyer is a sixteen year-old girl who comes across a chat room online and acts upon her feelings of lust; one of the seven deadly sins, of course, and one which would send you to the fires of hell. George Carlin did a routine on impure thoughts and this continues in that vain. Dyer stays at a four day Catholic retreat with constant lectures by a priest who is not so pure himself. This is not an anti-Catholic film in any respect. It only shows the difficulty for all of us in dealing with sin and our personal failings as human beings. I can pray the Rosary every day and still have a problem with the Church of Rome and their rules. Meanwhile, Yes, God, Yes is an excellent film.

68 Kill
(2017)

A Wild Ride
I had low expectations for this film but was pleasantly surprised atr the wit of the script and the good chemistry between the leads, Matthew Gubler, Annalynne McCord and Alisha Boe. The violence is typical and over the top and the story is a wild ride like Pulp Fiction. Annalynne McCord is the head psychopath and she is perfect as the sex starved and blood thirsty femme fatale. Her rival, Alisha Boe, is both beautiful and funny. Gubler is the clueless lead and he is up to the task. Take a shot at this movie.

His House
(2020)

Good Horror Flick
This is a horror film with a message. Two people feeing civil strife in Africa wind up in Britain as asylum seekers and are treated like scum by Brits both black and white. They are put in some grungy housing with peeled wallpaper and roaches but they attempt to adapt to their new surroundings. The African couple playing the husband and wife are excellent. They endure ghosts and other evil spirits after their daughter has drowned on the journey on a small boat. The ending was quite a surprise and I highly recommend this movie.

Honest Thief
(2020)

Good Liam
Liam Neeson does another Taken film but this time the a pair of FBI agents are the bad guys. He blows up safes and has accumulated millions from his heists. He meets a woman right at the start of the movie and he falls in love with her and decides to turn himself in to prove his love for her. Temptation takes over as the lawmen decide to pad their retirement plans with a few million of the stolen loot. As expected, we get the car chases, fights and very little romance here. The script is nothing new but Liam is so good that it can be forgiven.

Je m'appelle Bernadette
(2011)

Beautiful
The Song of Bernadette is the most famous movie based on this subject and this film is even better. It shows Bernadette as a real person who is far from perfect. Every Catholic knows the story of the poor, illiterate peasant girl who sees the Virgin Mary and is mocked and ridiculed by those in charge. After several miracles, the spring there make believers out of most. She eventually became a nun and the site is one of the most visited by pilgrims in search of answers to their troubles. The lead actress is perfect as Bernadette and I highly recommend this moving film.

St. Bridget of Sweden
(2016)

Average
EWTN runs Catholic themed movies most Saturday nights and they are usually inspiring and well made. Saint Bridget of Sweden is colorful and well acted but it is not as good as previous offerings, St Giuseppe Moscati or Mother Cabrini. The Pieta prayer book begins with the fifteen prayers of St. Bridget with the background as to how she received the prayers from Jesus over the course of a year. The movie shows more of the political intrigue between Bridget and the popes of the time. Jesus is played by a man with a British accent and bad haircut. Fabiana Formica is fine in the lead but I was not as moved as I was from the St. Giuseppe or Mother Cabrini films.

Giuseppe Moscati: L'amore che guarisce
(2007)

Wow
EWTN just ran this movie in two parts and I cannot praise it highly enough. The broad and scope of the story seems like something out of a Dickens' novel. Giuseppe Muscati was a real life doctor who dedicated his all to short life to helping the poor. His best friend takes the easier path to title and money and Muscati treats so many without money that he is forced to sell everything he owns to provide for those less fortunate. The film just took my breath away. The message of hope and faith or something I need badly now, as my devout mother passed away recently and I have been trying to return to the childhood Catholicism of my youth. At the age of sixty-two, it is not easy. This example of a man who lived a life of extraordinary goodness gives me hope of the possibility of salvation.

Mother Cabrini
(2019)

Inspiring
As a child at a Catholic school, I remember hearing the name Mother Cabrini. I did not remember much about her. I came across this movie on EWTN. The real life nun started out life in Italy where the film begins with Cabrini already a nun. I wished to see more of her childhood and the process of her becoming a nun. She is asked by the officials of the church in Italy to travel to America to help with the struggling immigrant community in New York City of the late 1800's. Racism is nothing new, as the foreigners are treated like dirt by the citizen's as low lifes with another language. Cabrini set up schools and orphanages against almost impossible odds. The male dominated church had a problem with a strong and independent woman. In the end she succeeded and eventually was made a saint. The story is an inspiring one and the acting here all top rate. I highly recommend Mother Cabrini as a good escape from all the negative news we are subjected to every day.

Bacurau
(2019)

Overlong
This film is way too long at two hours and eleven minutes. Some severe editing was needed. It begins with a man driving a truck filled with water to a remote village called Bacurau. Some kind of unexplained evil government has taken over and the remote town needs water delivered by tanker to survive. Half way through a group of bad American fascists, led by a German, played well by Udo Kier, begin killing people and the people of Bacurau must defend themselves, much like The Magnificent Seven, a much better movie. Lots of violence and some nudity thrown in, including old and obese individuals. The cast is fine overall, but again, it is a bit of a marathon.

Mi-sseu-baek
(2018)

Sad Movie
A woman who has suffered abuse from an alcoholic mother sees a little girl in the street and befriends her and slowly draws closer and closer to the girl. She confronts the kids step mother and lowlife father who have been treating the girl worse than a dog. Korean social services is worse than ours in America. The story is a sad and riveting one. The kid is great and so is the lead heroic woman. I did not care for the sloppy editing and it makes the film a bit confusing. Even so, I highly recommend this tear jerker.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
(2020)

Funny
Sasha Baron Cohen is back as Borat, the intrepid journalist, and this time he mostly takes on McDonald Trump and Mike Pence. If you are a MAGA hat wearing viewer, you will be offended, but for all others, you will love Borat. It begins with our star in a gulag for offending his nation in the first film. He is released to bring honor to his nation by delivering a gift to Mike Pence. At first it is a monkey but later turns out to be his teenage daughter. Not as good as the first film, but still very funny.

Carnival of Souls
(1962)

Carnival of Snooze
George Romero did Night of the Living Dead six years after this film and he was obviously influenced by the style and atmosphere of it. Black and white with shadows and ghouls in bad makeup are what the two movies share. Dead has held up better through the years than Carnival. Hillgoss is fine in the lead but the storyline is rather silly. It is pretty easy to figure out right from the start. I don't know why it is a Criterion Classic. I was bored by this snooze fest.

The Decks Ran Red
(1958)

Mildly Entertaining
I watched this on Turner Classic Movies because of the beautiful Dorothy Dandridge. The problem is that she has a minor role and is on screen too seldom. James Mason is the star here. Broderick Crawford is the villain who plans to mutiny the ship and somehow sell it for a million dollars. The plot is extremely weak. The acting is fine but in the end it is just an average old black and white film with a story that is not very believable.

The Bad Seed
(1956)

Wow
I don't know how I never got around to watching this excellent thriller. Patty McCormack is riveting as Rhoda, a little girl who is a pig-tailed, smiling monster. A classmate drowns in an "accidental" death, while Rhoda comes home to mama to complain that the boy had won a spelling prize which she deserved to win. As the story develops, Rhoda's mom uncovers unsettling events surrounding her darling princess. Think of Billy Mumy in my favorite episode of the Twilight Zone, "It's a Good Life;" same character traits, but a girl this time. I was blown away by the story, the script, and the acting. I cannot recommend this film highly enough. If you have not seen it, do so.

Cast a Dark Shadow
(1955)

Good Story
Dirk Bogarde stars as a man who marries a rich, much older woman and offs her pretty quickly. She has left him a big old house but he has a cash flow problem and pusues another woman to support his easy lifestyle. He meets his match in a tough talking broad who will not put up with his BS. The script has some very sarcastic and funny lines and Bogarde is perfect as the money grubbing cad. I was happy to find an old classic on TCM and this is a film well worth your time.

A Good Woman Is Hard to Find
(2019)

Bolger is great
Sarah Bolger stars as Sarah, a woman who has lost her husband to a suspicious murder in a seedy Belfast neighborhood. Her young son witnessed the killing and has gone mute. A drug dealer steals cocaine from fellow pushers and he hides at Sarah's place and stashes his drugs there. Along the way, the underbelly of bad guys appear and do some extremely nasty things to other Irishman. Bolger is perfect in the lead and one scene with a social worker has a punch line which has to be seen to be believed. This is Tarantino, over the top dialogue, and, so far one of my best films of the year.

San Pietro
(2005)

Good Story
Omar Sharif is excellent in this biblical epic as Saint Peter. He is shown from the beginning as an early follower of Jesus of Nazareth. The script is faithful to the New Testament description of Peter's life as the orignal founder of Christianity. It runs a bit too long at over three and a half hours but EWTN ran it over the span of two Saturdays. The scenery is breathtaking and the acting good throughout. Sharif is perfectly suited for the role. I recommend this film for even lapsed Catholics such as myself.

Preferisco il paradiso
(2010)

Good Film
I usually watch violent films such as Pulp Fiction and the like and so this is a huge departure for me. Even with six years of early Catholic school education I was not aware of this saint. The story is an uplifting one and the entire cast is excellent. The story is inspiring even for non believers like myself. The movie made me want to believe but here we are in June of 2020 with the world on fire and no end in site. Even so, I can highly recommend this moving film.

Papa, sdokhni
(2018)

Russian Tarantino
It all begins with a young man with a hammer and bad intent. His girlfriend has sent him on a mission to avenge some bad behavior by her not so nice daddy. Guns, knives and drills are used with great bloodshed throughout this fun filled action film. There are a few funny moments, but overall it is just a blood fest. No one involved has any redeeming values. In the end it never reaches the greatness of its' obvious influences, Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction. Putting aside these criticisms it is still worth your ninety-eight minutes.

The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown
(1957)

Jane Russell as a Star
Jane Russell is a movie star who has just finished a film about a star being kidnapped. Two men abduct her and after a couple of days the press begins to speculate that it is a publicity stunt by the studio and actress. This is a light comedy and Russell proves to have good comedic timing with co-stars Keenan Wynn and Ralph Meeker. I had never seen Russell before and was impressed by her screen presence.

Mary Magdalene
(2018)

Joaquin as Jesus
Having recently watched Joker, Joaquin Phoenix's maniacal Charles Manson like demeanor stayed with me while viewing Mary Magdalene. The Prince of Peace had the look of a serial killer. Rooney Mara was fine as the title character, while staring blissfully at the founder of Christianity. The scenery is breathtaking but I am mystified as to the choice of a black Peter. I am not a biblical scholar, but even as a Catholic school student, we were never shown any black apostles. Peter with an African accent was a distraction. The two hour film moves at a very slow pace and I was not impressed with the story told here.

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