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Rosemary's Baby (50th Anniversary Retrospective)

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Entries in religiosity (78)

Tuesday
Apr242018

Tribeca 2018: Sebastián Lelio's "Disobedience"

by Jason Adams

Movies are hard on people who leave. Homecomings are where it's at - the triumphant reestablishment of the family unit over adversity. Those who go away were mistaken. They were selfish. They were only looking out for themselves. Disobedience is about a woman who leaves. And it's about her homecoming, but one fraught with error - one we'll see slowly unravel as a ruse; not at all what it seems. 

Ronit (Rachel Weisz) is a photographer in New York who gets a message that her father in London has died. She flies back for the burial, and as she does we see she comes from an Orthodox Jewish community and her father was a beloved Rabbi - slowly, the black hats close in around her. And from under them suddenly a friendly face - Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), and soon after his wife Esti (Rachel McAdams). These three clearly have history. These early scenes are thick with unspoken things - the trio move slowly through quiet spaces, sorting themselves into place...

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Sunday
Apr012018

Beauty Break: He is Risen

Did you love Jesus Christ Superstar Live!? John Legend was in spectacular voice as Jesus and kudos also to Tony nominee (and one of my favorite Broadway stars) Norm Lewis as Caiaphas. But the scene stealer of the night was Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon who stole the show as Judas Iscariot. He was a glittering reminder, particularly in disco chainmail in the closing fantasy sequence (since Judas had already committed suicide), that live performing is a unique skill set. Imagine your average movie star trying to keep up that much physical and emotional energy for two plus hours while leaping around a stage and singing at the top of their lungs. If anything Dixon's energy only grew as the night wore on. Just stunning. (I'm not talking about his body, but that too.)  

Though Jesus Christ Superstar! was in some ways an odd dated musical choice for a mainstream family event (it's not remotely 'funny' for one)  it was the best produced "Live" musical since that became an annual thing. The set design and direction were amazing, culminating in a major wow of a finale. Still don't love the Andrew Lloyd Webber score and can't fathom why people doing the orchestrations for Lloyd Webber revivals never think to subvert the oh-so-70s electric guitar sound (also a weird issue with the 1996 Evita movie) but you can't have everything.

Since this particular production had all kinds of gorgeous men in fine voice and equally fine body, let's end this Easter weekend sharing photos of the hottest men to have ever played Jesus in the movies or on television before John Legend's go at it. The gallery is after the jump...

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Saturday
Mar102018

Retro Randomness: Come to the Stable (1949)

by Nathaniel R

Have you ever queued up an old movie no one talks about anymore hoping to discover a gem?

You imagine that it's only been forgotten or is underdiscussed due to the vagaries of when and where movies are available in the ever changing landcape of viewing technologies, Such was my fantasy when I sat down to watch Come to the Stable (1949). This French nuns in New England comedy was my biggest viewing gap in 1949 Oscar history. In fact, I didn't even know it was a comedy.

Alas the fantasy of stumbling upon a forgotten gem didn't last long. Still, Come to the Stable's tagline must have been true in 1949. It read...

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Wednesday
Feb142018

Review: The 15:17 To Paris

by Eric Blume

Has Clint Eastwood lost his mind?  That’s the thought that swirled through my mind for the first hour of 15:17 To Paris, because every choice is so shockingly wrong-headed that it feels unfathomable. Say what you will about Eastwood’s films, but even his detractors would need to admit that his movies are generally well-acted and sure-footed.  I had to stay through the end credits not to see the name of the cinematographer, but to ensure that there actually was one.  In fact, it’s Tom Stern, who has shot most of Eastwood’s films.  Out of respect for these two gentlemen and their intelligent work together in the past, let's assume that on this film they were attempting to take Eastwood’s infamously brisk, limited-takes directorial and shooting style to its ultimate breakneck limit.  Their new film looks uglier and less artful than your average TV procedural...

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Friday
Nov032017

Talking About Passion and the Films of Stephen Cone

by Glenn Dunks

In some ways, Stephen Cone is an unlikely name to warrant a retrospective. And yet in other ways, he’s a perfect choice. Those who already know this writer-director likely typify him, not incorrectly, by the way he infuses queer-leaning narratives with themes of religion and faith. But considering Cone’s films – of which he is likely best known for Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party from 2015 – have rarely ventured out of the queer film festival circuit and his earlier works remain virtually unseen, Talk About the Passion: Stephen Cone’s First Act is actually a well-timed way to learn about a filmmaker who is clearly doing enough right to stick around for a little while yet.

His debut as a feature direct after several short and medium-length titles was In Memoriam, a film that sits rather out of place among Cone’s filmography. Following a man who becomes curiously obsessed with the story of a couple who fell from their roof while drunk and who decides to make his own movie about their love, it plays very much like a low-budget stereotypical first film full of artistic flourishes and awkward narrative beats. It’s not a bad film, but it is also hard to decipher exactly what it was that Cone was attempting to say beyond a very basic reading that everybody’s story deserves to be taken seriously.

He followed that one quite quickly with The Wise Kids, released in the same year. This was the first time his own life as the son of a Baptist minister came into play on a feature (many of his shorts dealt with religious themes) and mixed with what I assume is his experiences of growing up gay (correct me if I am wrong). While it is certainly not averse to some of the same directorial greenness that he showed in In Memoriam, The Wise Kids proves a significant step up...

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Tuesday
Oct242017

Doc Corner: 'One of Us' and 'Thy Father's Chair'

by Glenn Dunks

Not content to let scientology corner the market in controversial religion exposes, directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady focus their attention on New York’s Hasidic community in their latest feature. A dramatic change of pace after last year’s celebrity bio-doc Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, the filmmakers return at least somewhat to the themes of their most famous film, the Oscar-nominated Jesus Camp. Yet despite the potential cross-over to be found in the pair that seek to uncover the alarming practises of organised religion, One of Us is a much different beast.

Unlike that earlier film, which trained its cameras on the inner-circle of a camp for raising the next generation of evangelicals, One of Us observes from the outside, following the stories of three individuals who have attempted to extract themselves from the community and tell some often haunting and traumatic tales of their times within it...

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