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Thursday, January 27, 2011

THE RITE

By D.E.Levine

Director: Mikael Hafstrom
Writer: Michael Petroni and Matt Baglio (book and story)
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O'Donoghue, Alice Braga, Claran Hinds, Toby Jones, Rutger Hauer, Marta Gastini, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Arianna Veronesi et al.
Producers: Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson
Executive Producer: Robert Bernacchi
Co-producers: Christy Fletcher and Mark Tuohy
Associate Producer: Christopher Almerico
Line Producer (Italy): Gian Paola Viani
Original Music: Alex Heffes
Running Time: 114 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Drama, Horro, Thriller

After seeing Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, one has high expectations about his performance when he's in a thriller or drama.

In this film Hopkins plays a priest who conducts and teaches exorcism. To make the story we have to believe that satanic possession exists and exorcism works to cast Satan out.

Based on the actual experiences of Father Gary Thomas, a California priest who was assigned by his bishop to study exorcism at the Vatican, in the film the priest is from Chicago (Father Michael).

Seeking to leave the priesthood before taking his final vows (since he entered the priesthood to pay for his education), Father Michael is shocked to learn that he will owe over $100,000 in student loans if he does indeed leave the priesthood.

Assigned to Rome he dabbles in a variety of priestly studies and activities until he is advised to spend some time with an experienced exorcist.

Accompanying the elder priest to his various exorcisms, they are followed by a woman journalist, but there is no hint of romantic involvement between either of the men and the woman.

Instead, the film is eerily beautiful with cinematographic images made in Hungary that are eerily ancient and scary. While not as horrifying as The Exorcist and not as good as The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Rite is interesting and different than most of the gory horror films being made today, but towards the end it does become campy.

While The Rite is interesting, to fully enjoy it the viewer must buy into the concept that Satan inhabits people and can be cast out via exorcism.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

HALL PASS

By D.E.Levine

Directors: Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrlly
Writers: Pete Jones, Peter Farrelly, Kevin Barnett and Bobby Farrelly (screenplay); Pete Jones (story)
Cast: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Nicky Whelan, Richard Jenson, Stephan Merchant, Larry Joe Campbell, Bruce Thomas, Tyler Hoechlin, Derek Waters, Alexandro Daddario, Rob Moran, Lauren Bowles et al.
Producers: Mark Charpentier, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, J.B.Rogers, Bradley Thomas and Charles B. Wessler
Executive Producers: Marc S. Fischer
Co-producers: Kris Meyer and John Rickard
Original Music: Matthew F. Leonetti
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Comedy

What starts out as a movie about two wives giving their husbands freedom to cheat for a week turns out to be a reaffirmation of marriage.

The two wives are tsking the advice of a friend (Joy Behar) who's a successful psychiatrist, that letting her husband pursue other women strengthened her marriage, the two wives decide to give their husbands carte blanche.

Of course, the joke is that two very married men are probably too out of shape for extramarital sex, especially when they're given the okay to have it.

Hall Pass is funny and raunchy, but it's possible to relate to it totally. While it's somewhat crude, it's the type of crudeness that our society accepts.

Two middle-aged men and their friends are facing "middle age" and while they're good at ogling women other than their wives when engaged in their marriage, they aren't very successful at extramarital affairs when their wives give them permission.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

THE CHAPERONE

By D.E.Levine

Director: Stephen Herek
Writer: S.J.Roth
Cast: Paul Levesque, Kevin Corrigan, Jose Zuniga, Kevin Rankin, Enrico Colantoni, Israel Broussard, Jake Austin Walker, Ashley Taylor, Cullen Chaffin, Darren O'Hare, Nick Gomez, Annabeth Gish, Ariel Winter et al.
Producer: Michael Pavone
Executive Producers: David Calloway
Co-producers: Nancy Hirami and Suzanne Lyons
Line Producer: Todd Lewis
Original Music: Jim Johnston
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Comedy, Family

This film is another World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) venture into another form of entertainment. It stars one of the WWE's top athletes.

Paul Levesque has already made a name for himself as Tiple H, the number one WWE athlete, and he has also successfully ventured into film and television.

Definitely a feel good movie with an uplifting story, the story centers around Ray Bradstone who used to be the best wheel man in the robbery business.

Just released from jail, Ray has sworn he's going to go straight and rebuild the relationships with his daughter and ex-wife that were destroyed when he went to jail. He's determined to be a good parent this time around.

Unfortunately, with a record and limited skills Ray can't find honest work so he agrees to go in on a job with his former bank robbery crew.

At the last minute he reconsiders and abandons the thieves to join his daughter's class as a chaperone on a bus trip to New Orleans. Since he's taken the bank heist money with him on the bus, the robbery crew follow the bus to New Orleans.

What follows is comedic misadventure as Ray attempts to be a Dad to his daughter, oversee her relationship with a teenage boy, and thwart the bank robbers.

You can take the kids to this film and the entire family will have a good time and enjoy both the story and the acting.

While it may not win any awards, it's good, clean, enjoyable entertainment.