Category Archives: Drama

Drama

Flash Movie Review: Adrift

I FEEL BETTER WHEN I CAN always still see land, even if it is far in the distance. Maybe because of all the movies I have seen, from Jules Verne stories to historical events, I am anxious whenever I am on a boat or plane. Nothing that needs medication, but the idea of being on the water with no land in sight is not comforting to me. Even with my recent vacation last week, there were warning signs and fences posted along the shoreline preventing the hotel guests from swimming in the lake. You just never know what is lurking below the surface and I for one am not interested in finding out. I have only been on a cruise once and appreciated most of our travel time was done at night from port to port. It was easier for me to go to sleep and wake up in a different city without being exposed to open waters. The only thing I really had to deal with is getting used to the movement of the ship; it took me one full day to get myself steady where I was not feeling nauseous from the ship’s movements.      FROM MY ONE AND ONLY cruise I saw an abundance of wildlife. Seated by a window in the dining hall I happened to see a school of whales breaking through the water’s surface. I recall thinking about Moby Dick, wondering if a whale could do damage to our vessel. My biggest fear took place up until we set sail; I was concerned we would get caught in a storm while out to sea. I have seen enough action films like The Perfect Storm and The Poseidon Adventure to know the storm always wins or if not, does severe damage. If these concerns were not enough, recently there have been several instances where passengers became ill while traveling by boat. If one has an imagination they can really scare themselves with all the possibilities of different disasters coming close to them. So, you see why I am less anxious if I can see land while out on the water? The same thing goes for being in an airplane. The few times I have flown overseas was either done at nighttime, where I could not see anything or during the day, where I purposely had an aisle seat. I do not understand how people can be so calm when they are so far away from land. The 2 travelers in this action, adventure drama is a perfect example.      THEIR COMMOM LOVE OF THE water made Tami Oldham’s and Richard Sharp’s, played by Shailene Woodley (Divergent franchise, The Fault in Our Stars) and Sam Claflin (Me Before You, Journey’s End), decision easy to set sail together across the ocean. Their trip would not go as planned due to Mother Nature. Based on a true story this movie also starred Grace Palmer (Shortland Street-TV, Home and Away-TV) as Deb, Jeffrey Thomas (Slow West, The Light Between Oceans) as Peter and Elizabeth Hawthorne (30 Days of Night, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) as Christine. What made this film engaging was Shailene’s and Sam’s acting ability. They were so good together they came across like a real couple. The script jumped back and forth between two distinct time periods. At first, I found it kept my interest up; however, as time went on I felt this writing device was diminishing the emotional level of the scenes. For the circumstances taking place, I expected more details to be shown in the story. Nonetheless, the story was beyond amazing and this picture did a decent job of telling it. And as far as I am concerned if I had any interest in taking a ride on a sailboat, this movie pretty much ended it for me.

 

2 ¾ stars 

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Flash Movie Review: Beast

THERE WAS ONLY ONE WAY TO describe him and that would be surly. You hear that word and imagine it refers to some gruff, mean-spirited man. I know it could also be a woman but I mostly have heard males being described this way. In any case, who I am referring to is a little boy. I know what you are thinking; how could a young child act like this already? Well I really do not have an answer for you. The only thing I could come up with is the child has a defiant personality. You may be familiar with such a child; whatever you ask or tell them they always will do the opposite. The boy I described earlier was such a child. No matter what you wanted him to do he would always do the opposite. If you asked him to tie his shoe, he would say no. If you asked him to smile for a photo, he would look away or stare blankly at the camera. It was quite annoying to say the least. At some point the child’s parents started saying the opposite thing they wanted to happen, so the boy would essentially do want they originally wanted him to do. I agree it was a bit twisted.     SO YOU SEE THIS IS WHY I said there has to be some type of defiant issue a/k/a child/parent dynamics. Now I was not privy to the details about what took place behind closed doors; but I had to assume there had to be in some form an issue of dominance. Speaking about my childhood years, predominantly the teenage years, I kept my hair long for years just because I was constantly being told to cut my hair. I liked my hair but the reason being used for me to cut my hair was that it would look better; better for who I would reply. Maybe everyone goes through a stage growing up where they want to start to exert some independence. I totally understand it; but at some point, when do these remarks or should I say suggestions begin to be a power struggle? Can you imagine being told at say 30 years of age to wear your hair differently or change your makeup because the person would prefer you do it that way? I feel it is a test of dominance and if you want to see what I mean, then get ready to watch it in action in this film festival nominated drama.      LIVING AT HOME AND FEELING like she was being taken for granted laid the groundwork for Moll, played by Jessie Buckley (War & Peace-TV mini-series, Rosamund Pilcher’s Shades of Love-TV series), to quickly become enamored with the recent stranger who came to town, who the citizens thought was a murderer. With Johnny Flynn (Clouds of Sils Maria, Crusade of Jeans) as Pascal Renouf, Geraldine James (Sherlock Holmes franchise, Calendar Girls) as Hilary Huntington, Trystan Gravelle (Anonymous, One Chance) as Clifford and Shannon Tarbet (A Promise, Virtuoso-TV movie) as Polly; the story took a little time to sink in with me. I will say I thought the acting was excellent in an intense way. Jessie and Geraldine really stood out for me. The story was this twisted suspense that drew me in by its uneasy feeling script. There were unexpected twists in the story that just made me enjoy this movie more. I also thought the writer did an excellent job of creating an atmosphere of doubt; both in the characters and viewers. One would be hard pressed not to place themselves in such a situation. This really was a fresh, thrill ride of a picture that was worth watching even if someone told you not to go see it.

 

3 stars     

Flash Movie Review: Child of God

A HANDFUL OF STRANGERS STOOD AROUND videotaping a man on fire. The man was in a car accident that caused the car to catch on fire. A passerby saw what was happening and raced over to the burning man. He grabbed his coat and began slapping the accident victim, to snuff out the flames. Luckily the fire department showed up in time, extinguished the flames and rushed the victim to the hospital. It was reported later that the man survived with the help of the good Samaritan. The group of strangers captured it all on their phones. This was a true story that was reported recently here on the news. The idea of people being more concerned about filming an accident, to either share or post on one of their media sites, instead of helping a person in need is something I find appalling. There was a time where people would help those in need. It eventually diminished as more people withdrew, preferring not to get involved. I have seen this very thing on public transportation, where an altercation takes place and the nearby passengers scurry away from it. I could see if they ran to get help, but now people just want to leave as fast as they can.      WITH THE INCREASE IN VIOLENCE BEING reported currently I believe this isolation preference or desire is a contributing factor. It is so much easier to ignore a problem than deal with one. However, when the problem is a human being there can be consequences if the troubled person continues without getting some type of helpful treatment. The recent tragedies that have taken place across the country I find especially horrific. The shooting takes place, the news reports it, people question how it could happen and more times than not the parent of the perpetrator states their child was a good kid. Excuse me but I have a hard time with such a statement. It makes me wonder if the parent has been an active participant in the child’s life. One of the conversations I have been on posed this question: did we always have these troubled individuals around us and we just now are hearing more about them or are people getting crazier (someone else’s words)? I honestly did not have an answer. If someone begins displaying odd behavior traits I believe it needs to be investigated. I remember as a child there were a couple of people in the neighborhood who were labeled “crazy.” Luckily, they were harmless but I do not recall anyone questioning it. It appears the same thing was taking place in this film festival winning crime drama.      AFTER BEING KICKED OFF OF HIS bankrupt property Lester Ballard, played by Scott Haze (Midnight Special, Thank you for Your Service), had to figure out how to survive. His method took him further away from rational thought. Written and directed by James Franco (The Disaster Artist, Spring Breakers), I found this DVD disturbing. Scott was excellent in the role but I had the hardest time understanding him. It seemed like the other cast members Tim Blake Nelson (Fantastic Four; O Brother, Where art Thou?) as Sheriff Fate, Jim Parrack (Battle Los Angeles, True Blood-TV) as Deputy Cotton and Brian Lally (As I Lay Dying, L.A. Confidential) as Greer had no such issues. Based on Cormac McCarthy’s (The Road, All the Pretty Horses) novel I assume the story is better in print form; as a movie I felt the story dragged on. It certainly was thought provoking for me as the scenes turned darker and darker. But I must tell you I wanted the film to end; not because of the subject matter, but due to it not being entertaining. There still are parts of this story lingering in my mind; for example, is Lester the result of people’s inactions?

 

1 ½ — DVD   

Flash Movie Review: The Rider

I HAVE NOTHING BUT ADMIRATION for someone who spent their entire life working to achieve one goal. During a social engagement I was talking with one of the guests who happened to be a plumber. From the conversation we were having, he expressed how he always wanted to be a plumber ever since he was a little boy. While the other kids were playing at the public swimming pool, he was in it trying to figure out where the water was going in the vents by the side of the pool walls. Another time his parents caught him trying to take apart the kitchen sink and drain with his children’s tools. I found it interesting to meet someone who had only one goal and did not care what other people said about him. He did say his parents were not thrilled that he dropped out of college so he could devote all his time to learning his craft. Seriously, one must give him credit for knowing what he wanted to do and then pursue it to make it happen. How many of us wind up in a job that we either dislike or have no investment in it?      THINKING BACK TO THE DIFFERENT paths I was on for a career choice, it amazes me that I settled into a position that nurtures me. At one time I wanted to be a full-time fitness professional; like the people you see on the infomercials who have trademarked an exercise method. While that was going on I still had dreams of being either a writer, psychiatrist or veterinarian. All of this superseded my earlier career hope of being an international DJ. Remembering all of this, all I can say is I certainly had eclectic tastes. Do I have any regrets that I did not achieve one of these as my sole profession? Not really, as you can see I had varied interests back then; I never devoted all my time towards one path. On the plus side I presently continue to get much joy out of teaching fitness/yoga classes and writing these movie reviews. I realize not everyone experiences joy from what they do, so I am quite grateful. And if and when the time comes where I can no longer do one of them I cannot imagine I will feel lost. These things are only a part of me, they do not define all of me; unlike the main character in this dramatic, film festival winner.      AFTER A SERIOUS HEAD INJURY Brady Blackburn, played by newcomer Brady Jandreau, had to find a way to redefine himself since he was being told he could not do what he loved. Based on a true story this film was made up of newcomers; there was Tim Jandreau as Wayne Blackburn and Lilly Jandreau as Lilly Blackburn. Written and directed by Chloe Zhao (The Atlas Mountains, Songs My Brothers Taught Me), I was at first thrown by this movie. I wasn’t sure if I was watching a documentary or a drama. There was a simple pureness to everything in this picture. From the landscapes to the script to the acting; there was no additional fillers. I cannot say there was action in the story; it was more like a slow burn. Add in the close-up shots and they only intensified the emotional level which I found compelling. The sport depicted in this picture was something I truthfully never gave much thought to before; however, I believe this was an honest and real depiction of these riders. I guess I have only seen the top players on television since this story showed a whole different side. The story to me was haunting and I can only imagine how it must feel being told you cannot do what you love.

 

3 ¼ stars

Flash Movie Review: Disobedience

HIS BITTERNESS WOULD NOT ALLOW him to let go of his grudges; it is true. If he got into an argument or altercation where he felt just even slighted in any way, he would hold a grudge against the person forever. I understood because I used to do the same thing; but that was years ago. You can choose whether it was maturity or growing old, but I do not have the same intensity now like I did back then. Granted nowadays I will not forget, but I do not go out of my way to get back at the “perpetrator.” Instead I ignore the person, devoting as little energy as possible to them. There is a member at one of the fitness centers where I teach who was the owner of a company that was a customer of mine. We used to be on friendly terms and though they ran a little slow with their payments, he would work to get us paid. When the economy started to drop the payments got slower and slower. I had to call their accounts payable department and get a hold of him at the fitness center. Finally, when I found him he told me they were working on our invoices and not to hold up their orders; that he would remember who worked with them once they turned things around. So, I released his current order with us and after a few weeks went by his company filed bankruptcy. To this day when I see him I make no acknowledgment of his existence.      NOW THIS MAY SEEM HARSH to some of you, but it really does not take any energy away from me. It is as if he is a stranger passing me by, though by the look on his face he does try to avoid me. The difference I was referring to between me and my friend is he would have turned his feelings all to hatred and made foul comments to the owner any chance he would have seen him. His feelings for an individual would get twisted with any other negative feelings he had stuffed inside of himself; so, his reactions were always at an extreme level, way beyond what the situation warranted. As I am getting older I do not have the energy nor the desire to hold grudges. Sure, as I said before, I may not forget what happened but I do not want to spend my time resenting the individual who wronged me. I have seen some elderly people who are unpleasant to be around because they are filled with resentment and anger. If I was in a similar situation like what was depicted in this romantic drama, I do not know if I would want to be around those individuals.      IT WAS HARD FOR RONIT KRISHNA, played by Rachel Weisz (My Cousin Rachel, The Light Between the Oceans), to return for her father’s funeral to the community that had looked down at her. Their reason was still walking the streets. This film festival nominee also starred Rachel McAdams (Game Night, Spotlight) as Esti Kuperman, Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle, Ginger & Rosa) as David Kuperman and Allan Corduner (Defiance, The Merchant of Venice) as Moshe Hartog. Due to the beautiful acting from both Rachels I could get through the slowness at times of the story. The 2 actresses both had this special way of using their physical features to convey their feelings. It took some time for me to get used to the pacing before I was pulled into this film. I did find the setting interesting for it added a religious element to the love story that I found thought provoking. On a curious note I was intrigued with the way people dealt with their grudges.

 

3 stars       

Flash Movie Review: The Miracle Season

MAYBE IT IS PAYBACK OR simply karma from all those years doing nothing when we had a substitute teacher. Not that I did anything disrespectful, but allegedly I instigated a couple of disruptions. My thing back then was to shoot “spitballs” out of a hollow pen. I know that was not right; however, compared to some of the other stunts students did when we had a substitute teacher, my act was almost benign. There was one student who glued the teacher’s handbook to the desk. When the substitute came in and tried to lift the book up the back cover would not budge. The teacher had to spend time slowly trying to scrap the cover off the desk without ripping it too much. Another time we had a substitute who went to write something on the chalkboard but all the chalk and erasers were hidden by a couple of students. It was not easy for a substitute teacher to come in and take over the class for a day or two. For us students a sub meant it was going to be an easy day, at least in theory.      FAST FORWARD TO WHEN I BECAME a fitness instructor full time. In the beginning I had my schedule of classes but also would help the other instructors by being a substitute for their classes. Because I am one, I totally get members who want the same thing they are used to with an instructor. Here I walk in and have my own style of teaching; you should have seen some of the faces the members would make to show their displeasure with me. I subbed for a yoga instructor and as I began my introduction a member asked if I could turn off the lights. When I explained I could do it later in the class, after I see how everyone moves in the poses; the member harrumphed, rolled up her mat and stormed out of the room. This was before I even did one pose. It is challenging to fill in for a teacher who is popular with a strong following. When members find someone they enjoy they only want to work out with that particular instructor. If a substitute comes in they must perform at their best and try to win the participants over or at least not lose them 5 minutes into the class. Therefore, I understood and felt bad for the main character in this dramatic sports film.      AFTER A TRAGIC ACCIDENT THAT LEFT their volleyball team without a captain it was decided to move Kelley Fliehler, played by Erin Moriarty (Captain Fantastic, The Kings of Summer), into that position. She would not only have to win points but even harder, win over her teammates. This film based on a true story also starred Helen Hunt (The Sessions, As Good as it Gets) as Kathy Bresnahan, Tiera Skovbye (Midnight Sun, Supernatural-TV) as Brie, William Hurt (A History of Violence, Days and Nights) as Ernie Found and Danika Yarosh (Heroes Reborn-TV, Shameless-TV) as Caroline “Line” Found. The story in this picture was inspiring; however, I felt it was not executed to its best advantage. Pretty much this was a straightforward telling of the events and here is where I think the script does not do the story justice. There was nothing different about this film compared to others I have seen with this type of story. Without delving much into the characters, I never felt fully connected to any of them. The parts I enjoyed were the actual volleyball matches. Outside of that there was nothing horrible or great about this movie, which in sports talk I guess would translate it to not being a win or loss but only a tie.

 

2 stars          

Flash Movie Review: Kings

IF THE ADULTS DO NOT ACT RESPONSIBLY how in the world will their children be able to act it? I have seen some bizarre things take place between a parent and a child. First off, I still remember being at a park and watching a woman fill up a baby bottle with soda pop to give to her toddler. One of my favorite contradictions is when a parent scolds a child for bad language, you know a swear word; though the son or daughter was only copying the foul mouth of their mother or father. What I imagine to be more traumatic is when the adult in the family is either drunk or high while taking care of their offspring. We had here recently a news report about a family that was driving in a car that drove off the road into a lake. It turns out the parent was drunk. I have a friend who lost a nephew due to this same type of scenario except it was a car collision instead of a lake. Childrearing of itself is already a challenging experience and then some children having to deal with these added types of circumstances is just horrifying.     LUCKILY NOT EVERYTHING IS A DOOM or gloom situation; there are things I have seen between family members that were amazing. Listening to a parent explain discrimination gives me hope that the next generation will be better than the one before it. I firmly believe education is fundamental to the healthy growth of a child. Just think about it; if a child sees their parent acting afraid around a certain race or ethnic group of people, the child will instinctively become cautious around the same group. If the adult’s issues had been addressed before they manifested into fear, that adult could have stopped the cycle from being handed down to their offspring. I remember exactly where a very young me was, in a museum down in the city, when I asked about a person I saw who did not look anything like me or the people around me. Part of the explanation given to me was about countries and continents; there was no fearfulness or negative feelings put into the talk I was given. So, you see there are adults in this world who can be good examples for responsibility, thoughtfulness and compassion. The main character in this drama tries her best in the middle of rising racial tensions.      AS THE TRIAL IS TAKING PLACE about the police beating of a black man single mom Millie Dunbar, played by Halle Berry (Kidnap, Kingsman: The Golden Circle), is trying to keep her children safe from the tensions building in the neighborhood. With Daniel Craig (Logan Lucky, Skyfall) as Obie Hardison, Lamar Johnson (Home Again, The Next Step-TV) as Jesse Cooper, Rachel Hilson (The Good Wife-TV, Cass) as Nicole Patterson and Callan Farris (Brothered Up-TV movie, Square Roots-TV movie) as Ruben; this movie’s story revolved around the Rodney King trial back from the 1990s in California. I thought this was going to be an intense, thought provoking crime drama but the director and writers missed the mark—by a wide gap. The script was such a mess going from ill-placed humor to drama to action to sadness; there appeared to be no thought put behind doing a complete story. As for the filming I found it annoying that the director would continually cut to aerial shots of roof top houses. There were so many predictable scenes and I thought the sudden love angle was ridiculous; yes, that is right, in the middle of a riot let us kiss. This was a waste of actors and film. What a shame for such a newsworthy event to be told by a poorly written script.

 

1 ½ stars   

Flash Movie Review: Lean on Pete

SOME OF THE BEST CONVERSATIONS held are the ones between a pet and its owner. I am here to tell you there are a whole bunch of humans who could learn a lesson on communication, if they would watch and listen to owners talking to their pets. First off you would be hard pressed to find someone more compassionate and attentive than a dog or cat. I love both but I must say dogs have more facial expressions and possibly more empathy. Several years ago this happened but it is just as vivid in my mind now as it was when I saw it originally taking place. A friend of mine was going through a crisis; crying while curled up on their sofa. Into the room came their dog who took one look at its owner, came up to the edge of the sofa and jumped up onto a small open space by my friend’s feet. The dog walked behind my friend and plopped itself down between my friend and the back of the sofa, while putting a paw up on his shoulder. I was speechless as I saw the dog placing his head down on my friend’s back and its leg stretched out as far as possible into a hug.      SO YOU CANNOT TELL ME OUR pets do not understand our feelings. Simply look into your pet’s eyes and you will find pure love and affection. It is an unconditional love that makes your pet greet you when you get home; even if you were gone for 2 minutes, to them it seems like it was hours. Maybe you have had conversations where you are sharing your feelings with your friend and everything you say elicits a response from them, telling you they experienced the same thing. They may feel they are being compassionate but that does not always produce such results. I know someone who no matter what you say to them they always respond with a story that is worse than the one you told them. It is like they are in competition with you to see who has the most serious ailment or hardship. Sometimes we just need someone to listen to us and that is where pets make the perfect attentive listeners. They never judge us; all they want to do is love us. Though I have been focusing on dogs and cats, this film festival winning drama will show you another pet that helps someone through a crisis.      WITH HIS LIFE IN TURMOIL CHARLEY, played by Charlie Plummer (All the Money in the World, King Jack), finds comfort working at the rundown stables of owner Del, played by Steve Buscemi (The Death of Stalin, Norman). It is here he finds a true friend. Not since the movie My Friend Flicka have I seen such a beautiful connection being made between a boy and a horse. Charlie was nearly mesmerizing in his performance; one could feel his emotions and plight. With Chloe Sevigny (Love & Friendship, Big Love-TV) as Bonnie and Steve Zahn (A Perfect Getaway, Rescue Dawn) as Silver; I thought the cast did a wonderful job in bringing this story to life. The minimalist script created a slow and steady unfolding story; it felt like I was watching a novel come to life. I am a sucker for a movie with an animal in it; despite that, this was a worthy piece of work with believable characters who showed a true slice of life. Be prepared to experience your emotions as you watch Charley’s and Pete’s journey.

 

3 ½ stars   

Flash Movie Review: Chappaquiddick

IT IS SAFE TO SAY the majority of us has experienced the feeling of shock. Hopefully it was the type of shock that surprises or dumbfounds you; you know, like seeing a driver do something ignorant and illegal or seeing a parent pouring a soft drink into a baby bottle to feed their child. I used these two examples because I actually was a witness to them. For the driver they were impatient and did not want to continue creeping along until they got to their exit off the highway. So the driver drove off the road, down the gully running alongside then up the steep grassy hill. Their car looked like it was sliding down sideways but they just gunned the engine and eventually made it to the exit. So something like this would definitely be placed in the “shock” category in my book.      NOW THERE IS A DIFFERENT FORM of shock; the only way I can describe it, is that it numbs one’s brain. As if your brain becomes paralyzed, all the synapses lose current and stop connecting with each other. For the most part I tend to see this type of shock only on television shows and in movies, which is a good thing. I hope it is the same for you. Only a couple of my friends that I have known for years can tell when I am experiencing something close to this kind of shock. Years ago my friends made a surprise birthday party for me; I was totally unaware of it. When I walked into the place a photo was taken of me so there is proof on my face that I was completely stunned by the surprise. At least the shock was for a good thing because on the flipside getting “bad” news can certainly stop someone dead in their tracks as they say. I do not remember (see I am already preparing you for the shock) if I told you about an incident that happened during my medical scare last year. One evening I received a phone call from a doctor that was unfamiliar to me. I was at the movie theater waiting for a film to start. The doctor began telling me about my recent tests and said there was something else he wanted me to have checked out. If these were the only words he had used I would not have freaked out, but when he said “you need to do it sooner than later” my brain immediately short-circuited. For that reason I could appreciate on some level what was going through the brain of the main character in this historic drama.      THE FEAR OF DROWNING COULD have easily been a factor in Ted Kennedy’s, played by Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Everest), behavior after the car he was driving plunged off a bridge. That one car accident would alter the course of history. This film festival nominee also starred Ed Helms (Vacation, Love the Coopers) as Joseph Gargan, Jim Gaffigan (Away We Go, Going the Distance) as Markham and Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight, Nebraska) as Joseph Kennedy. This movie played out like a docudrama; there were times where I believed what I was seeing but then other times I felt the story was being embellished upon to create some excitement. Jason was excellent in the role as was Bruce Dern; as for the rest of the cast they were more background players for me. I would have appreciated if the script delved more into the history of the characters, especially the relationship between Ted and his father, but I understood this film was focused on one major incident. Since I would have no idea if what I witnessed in this movie actually happened, I left the theater with mixed emotions. It certainly was a tragic event, but I did not feel invested in the story.

 

2 ½ stars

Flash Movie Review: Paul, Apostle of Christ

I HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE TO experience a different religious service from mine, during one of the holidays. Entering into the cavernous building, I was immediately taken by the decorations that were hanging down every column and window. Golden gauze like fabric was gently swaying on the currents of air from the open windows. There was an elderly gentleman standing in the aisle that led to the seats. He was passing out ribbons that were attached to the top of wooden sticks, sort of like mini flags. Each of us were handed one; I asked my companion what we were supposed to do with these ribbons. They were to be used during certain passages of the service, where we are to wave them in the air. Okay that was different for me. But then there was another person standing behind the elderly man and she was handing out yellowish colored foam sticks, for lack of a better word; I swear they looked like large french fries! Each one was embossed with the word “HALLELUJAH.” Looking at my friend he was as perplexed as me. After everyone was seated a religious leader came out to explain what to do with the 2 items we were given. No disrespect but it felt like I was attending a sporting event; would we be doing the “wave” next?      THE SERVICE BEGAN AFTER THE organ player, who was perched up in the balcony, finished their song. What struck me rather quickly was the amount of songs being performed throughout the service. I could not remember ever hearing so much music at any religious service I attended previously. Being a people watcher I periodically scanned the people around me. Some of them were really into the music, waving their ribbons back and forth in the air; others were jabbing their foam sticks up and down in the air. If everyone had been sitting in bleachers you would have thought they were at a football game; it was surreal for me. At one point in the service the leader walked out into the crowd dribbling a basketball; I knew it, this was a game! No seriously he gave a speech about inclusion, touching on some of the hot topics currently in the news. I have to tell you it felt genuine to me; this individual was asking us to look at something in a different light. Though this was not the religion I was raised with I learned something new. I can say the same for this historical drama.      EACH TIME BEING FEARFUL FOR HIS life Luke, played by Jim Caviezel (The Thin Red Line, Frequency), persisted in visiting imprisoned apostle Paul, played by James Faulkner (Atomic Blonde, Game of Thrones-TV). Luke wanted to keep a journal of everything Paul was telling him. Set in Rome during the reign of Nero this film also starred Olivier Martinez (The Physician, Unfaithful) as Mauritius, Joanne Whalley (Willow, The Man Who Knew too Little) as Priscilla and John Lynch (The Secret Garden, Black Death) as Aquila. The first thing I appreciated about this movie was the script was written to tell a story. I do not know how much of it was true but I found it interesting since I have a general curiosity about different religions. However the script did not go far enough; it caused the actors to pale in their roles. I simply found them to be dull and wooden with their acting. Gratefully there was no heavy handed preaching to the viewers, but I would have preferred seeing more story and especially more historical background to the story.

 

2 stars    

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