hpmoon's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

A Return to Grace: Luther's Life and Legacy
21 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Among the many great things to say about this production, the cinematography was extraordinary for a documentary of this nature. I really wish that its national broadcast received more attention in the (fashion-conscious) press, but the film itself will never expire -- lasting another 500 years and more, giving a definitive view of how people generally grappled with the Reformation on its 500th anniversary. I'm wrapping up my own version that will focus in on the 95 Theses themselves (releasing on the anniversary day at 95thesesfilm.com), but the scale and elegance of this PBS-distributed film - actually directed by filmmaker David Batty - is beyond compare.

Calvary
Calvary (2014)
3 years ago via Flixster

I went to a preview screening with its star and director present, finding in the discussion afterward that there wasn't any grappling with theology behind the scenes (in other words, actual faith is lacking in this production's motivations). So, for example, even if it feels meaningful for the priest to be dressed in a traditional cassock, in reality, the overwhelming impression is that it was aesthetic opportunism: "he looks dark and menacing in that robe, let's use it!" Moreover, the basis of the film is an utterly humanistic point of view, less interested in forgiveness for those grossly cliched rural Irish peccadilloes, moreso contemporary outrage as usual against conservative judgment, advocating unquestioning tolerance in its place. In other words, accountability is totally outside of this world, while the priest goes about grumbling indecisively, deeply tormented with doubt, and a loss of faith.

And the larger picture too is that the filmmakers primarily found their motivation in that headline-grabbing, dramatically easy, priest child abuse scandal afflicting the Roman Catholic church continuously (with sin altogether, because humanity is imperfect). If we take a big step back and see this film as a whole, it is really a sort of Tarantino-inspired carnal delight at seeing bloody, violent chaos ensue as the ultimate murderer is avenging his childhood molestation. Using all the tools of dramatic manipulation available in cinematic storytelling, we are led to cheer, concluding that homicidal vengeance is an reasonable consequence of the other sin. From a faithless humanist's point of view, if people would just stop judging and being so hypocritical, we wouldn't be "forced" to retaliate: because we are naturally good. And the priest's function is restricted to tolerance of the perfect human inside. That makes everything easier.

Simply put, this was not a film for Catholics to celebrate -- and what an unfortunate twist if they get fooled by its intentions.?