FROM my experiences I know every person treats religion differently. I also am aware of the differences between someone who is religious compared to a person who is spiritual. Some years ago I knew a man who went to temple every day to pray. He followed his religion’s customs and traditions fully, handing them down to his children. The interesting thing was after he died his wife stopped following the rituals; not totally but she became more relaxed about the structure shall we say. I know another person who partakes in all the customs of her religion, but her actions are not of a religious person. Just because you attend services and donate money to charity does not automatically make one religious. In other words you have to practice what you preach. This person discriminates against a variety of minorities; I am talking blatantly speaks out against them. I just sit and wonder how they can justify their actions based on how much they talk about their religious participation. THOUGH I understand the circumstances were devastating for the individual I still find it curious when they suddenly become religious. I have experienced this myself on some level at a time when I felt there was no hope of me coming out unscathed. It took place one of the times I was being chased by a group of bullies after school. Hiding behind a couple of garbage cans on the back porch of an apartment building, I could hear them below me. They must have been looking up at the porches of the 4 storied building before running up the stairs to only check on the top floor they could not fully see from the alley. I remember praying to God to keep me hidden from them until they came down the stairway and were long gone. Due to this experience I have gained insight or maybe it is sensitivity to the actions taken by someone experiencing tragedy, like the family in this inspirational fantasy drama. DEEP into depression from a tragic event Mack Phillips, played by Sam Worthington (Clash of the Titans franchise, Avatar), one day received a letter in his box without a postmark. It was from someone he stopped believing in. Based on the bestselling book this fantasy movie also starred Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures, The Help) as Papa, Radha Mitchell (Man on Fire, Looking for Grace) as Nan Phillips and Tim McGraw (The Blind Side, Country Strong) as Willie. I appreciated the idea behind this film’s story and felt the cast was certainly capable to bring the story to life. My issue lies with the director; the pacing was slow to the point I felt the story was dragging. Add in the script being stacked in favor of manipulating the viewers’ emotions to shed tears, I did not find this a pleasant movie watching experience. If the story would have been told in a more even handed way, allowing the audience to come to their own conclusions, I feel the film would have been better all around. Sitting next to me through this picture were a couple of friends who are more religious than me. Asking them what they thought, they felt the same way I did about the movie. The story was a sad one that did not give them a sense of comfort due to the poor writing and direction.
2 ¼ stars
My feet could not completely fit on the stairs; I felt like I was walking on tiptoe as I made my way up the spiral staircases. The echoes from my steps reverberated off the stone walls so it sounded like I was climbing with a crowd of people around me. I had left the outside of the centuries old structure with its marble panels of white, green and red; to slowly make my way up the inside of its dome. The fact that this building was completed in 1436 did not escape me; I could not stop taking photographs of everything that came into my sight. It was almost hard to process that I was making my way through a building that had been standing already for over 500 years; if it was not one of the oldest things I had seen, it had to be pretty close then. My goal was to reach the top and venture outside to look over the city of Florence, Italy. This building is known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers aka il Duomo di Firenze and to this day its dome is the largest brick structure in the world. As I finally reached the top and ventured out into the daylight, the sun flashed into my face. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the brightness and when they did, I was horrified to see the walls of the observation balcony had spray painted graffiti all over them. I felt it was incredibly disrespectful and plain old ignorant; why would someone do such a thing? Just watch this horror thriller and see what could happen when someone is disrespectful towards ancient objects. AFTER returning from vacation the Taylor family began to experience odd occurrences around their house. Husband and wife Peter and Bronny, played by Kevin Bacon (Cop Car, Black Mass) and Radha Mitchell (Finding Neverland, Man of Fire); noticed their son Michael’s, played by David Mazouz (The Games Maker, Touch-TV), behavior was being affected. What I liked about this horror film was the use of suspense instead of using graphic and bloody props to scare the audience. It also helped that the characters were placed in a typical setting and reacted in a way that was easily relatable. However, the script did not do anything new or different from the multitude of horror films I had seen before. I did not mind the acting but I felt there could have been more opportunities to increase the tension level or even scare factor if the writing was better. This production came across with a connect the dots story line that incorporated bits and pieces of stuff that had been done before; sort of like the writers were following a recipe where you add a little of this and a little of that, if you know what I mean. Even the briefest of an extra scene at the end of the credits essentially provided nothing for the viewers, so why did the writers add it? They should have left well enough alone in more ways than one.
1 ¾ stars