Silence is not for everyone. It is a heartbreaking story about Jesuit priest whose job was to spread the Gospel (Good News). In 1587, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Imperial Regent of Japan and Unifier of the country banned Catholicism. Japan, who chooses Buddhism as their nation’s religion. Hideyoshi proclaimed Christianity as dangerous and executed 26 Christians in Nagasaki as a warning to those who went against Japanese customs.
After an Italian Jesuit priest, Father Alessandro Valignano (Ciarán Hinds) receives news that Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson), a Portuguese Jesuit in Japan, renounced his faith after being tortured. Ferreira’s two young pupils, also Portuguese, Fathers Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), set off in disbelief to find him. Kichijiro (Yōsuke Kubozuka), an alcoholic fisherman who fled Japan (later revealed to be a Christian who renounced his faith to save himself), agrees to guide them. At the Japanese village of Tomogi, the priests are surprised to find the local Christian population driven underground. They eagerly welcome the priests, who administer long-awaited sacraments and confessions to the people. A samurai searching for suspected Christians, whom the villagers refer to as “the inquisitor” (Issey Ogata), straps some of the villagers to wooden crosses on the beach and places them in the ocean, where the tide eventually kills them. The bodies are then cremated on a funeral pyre so that they cannot be given a Christian burial.
Garupe leaves for Hirado Island, believing that their presence forces the shogunate to terrorize the village. Rodrigues goes to Gotō Island, the last place Ferreira lived, only to find it destroyed. Wandering around Gotō, he struggles over whether it is self-centered and unmerciful to refuse to recant when doing so will end others’ suffering. He eventually reunites with Kichijiro, who betrays him into the hands of the samurai. An old samurai, who had earlier accompanied the inquisitor to Tomogi, tells Rodrigues that other captured Christians will suffer unless he commits apostasy.
Rodrigues is taken to Nagasaki, where he is imprisoned with the captured Christians from Gotō. At a tribunal, he is told Catholic doctrine is anathema to Japan. Rodrigues demands to see governor Inoue Masashige (Issey Ogata), who he learns to his dismay is the old samurai. Rodrigues is returned to prison, and Kichijiro arrives. He explains that court officials threatened him to give up Rodrigues, then says he is a Christian and asks to be imprisoned to be absolved of his betrayal through a confession, which Rodrigues reluctantly grants him. He later is released after agreeing again to step on a fumi-e (a crudely carved image of Christ), an act symbolizing rejection of the faith. Rodrigues is brought to witness a famished Garupe, and three other prisoners (who have apostatized) about to be drowned. Garupe refuses to apostasize, and the prisoners are drowned.
While Silence is not based on a true story it is based on true events. Japan used the above mentioned methods to get Christians to renounce their religion and did in fact, kill 26 of them as a warning. 55 more were killed in 1632 through out the missionary period on Mount Unzen and approximately 1000 were killed overall. The ban was lifted in 1873. There are roughly 500,000 openly practicing Christians in Japan today. Silence was directed by Martin Scorsese and is a historical drama worth your attention. It’s an incredible film with incredible acting and an incredible story to tell.
[SILENCE is nominated for Cinematography]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged adam driver, andrew garfield, catholic, christian, father cristovao ferreira, francisco garupe, fumi-ekichijiro, inoue masashige, inquisitor, issey ogata, japan, liam neeson, martin scorsese, mount unzen, nagasaki, samurai, sebastiao rodrigues, silence, tomogi, yosuke kubozuka
Almost Christmas is funny but sad. You might be cheered up on one hand but if you’ve ever lost a loved one, especially during the holidays, memories will come flooding back. After loosing his wife, Walter Meyers (Danny Glover) still living in the house where he and his wife raised their children, decides to have the traditional Christmas dinner with all the family, as usual. However, Walter knows if his daughters Rachel (Gabrielle Union) and Cheryl (Kimberly Elise) and sons Christian (Romany Malco) and Evan (Jessie Usher) can spend five days together under the same roof, it will truly be a Christmas miracle. As the family begins to gather, Walter realizes this reunion, without his wife, is easier said than done. The first family member to arrive is Aunt May, (Mo’Nique) who is a no nonsense tell-it-like-it-is kind of gal with lots of spunk. Cheryl, a doctor and the eldest daughter, arrives for the holidays with her husband Lonnie (J. B. Smoove), a former basketball player who was famous when he played overseas in Croatia. Rachel struggles to financially support herself and her daughter due to her recent divorce and is studying to become a lawyer. Walter’s eldest son, Christian, struggles with balancing his campaign to become a congressman and his desire to spend time with his family. Christian even invites his campaign manager, Brooks (John Michael Higgins) along, to get more work done. Evan is a successful football player recovering from a shoulder injury, however when his coach tells him his arm is completely healed, Evan struggles to give up his pain medication.
The dysfunction and laughs started the moment Aunt May arrived. Walter remained melancholy throughout the movie. It was uplifting to see the family come together at the end and Walter come to gripes with his loss. Almost Christmas was heart warming and gave a profound message to all at a time when we really need some comfort. I think this movie is a refreshing change from the normal hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged almost Christmas, aunt may, brooks, cheryl, christian, danny glover, evan, gabrielle union, jb smoove, jessie usher, john michael higgins, kimberly elise, lonnie, mo'nique, rachel, romany malco, walter meyers
God’s Not Dead 2 is another faith based movie where the existence of GOD is put on trial to prove HE is still alive and real. Like the first God’s Not Dead, the burden of proof is on the student. In this sequel, a teacher named Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) is in danger of being fired and having her teaching credentials revoked because she referenced Jesus in the classroom where GOD is not allowed. Grace violated school policy when she was accused of teaching and or preaching religion to her students. Even though she was asked a question that required the answer she gave, the school still decided to have her prosecuted despite all she had achieved as a teacher. A student recorded Grace’s comment and reported her. The board asked her to apologize but she stood by her beliefs and the fact, that in her mind, she had done nothing wrong. The student Brooke Thawley, (Hayley Orrantia) who asked the question in the first place, was instructed not to talk to or contact her teacher during the court proceedings. Brook’s parents were told, if they win, it would look good on Brooke’s resume and any college would be happy to have her in their school and even help pay for her tuition. Grace’s lawyer, Tom Endler (Jesse Metcalfe) an agnostic, was hell bent on winning as he didn’t like loosing any case and put his all into winning this one. Pat Boone played Grace’s grandfather, Ray Wise played Pete Kane, the atheist prosecutor, Robin Givens played Miss Kinney, the atheist principal, David A. R. White plays Reverend Dave and Benjamin Onyango plays Reverend Jude. There were quite a few themes that had nothing to do with the actual movie like “God is not Dead” was not an issue. No one said GOD was not dead. Another was the student who recorded and reported the incident is actually a christian.
I thought the case was fairly simple since the teacher really didn’t preach or introduce religion into the lesson but only answered a question using the same words presented to her. It seemed everyone was against her except the students who loved her, including the student that asked the question. After reading many reviews by non-believers, it has become clear to me, that the opinion of the United States in these modern times has changed drastically. Most people just don’t believe any more. Many feel this movie is just propaganda and many feel it is pointless. There is one quote that come out of this movie I’d like to share. “I would rather stand with GOD and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by GOD.” GOD is Love — how many non-believers have read the Bible? How do you have an opinion about something you haven’t even read or studied? Regardless, GOD is not Dead 2 is a story about an incident that took place in a classroom and it’s validity was decided in a court of law. The acting was good and the story was inspired by several incidents that took place on several campuses, according to the credits displayed at the of the movie. I fail to understand why so many people are so offended because the story was told in a movie. I didn’t think this particular incident was worthy of a trial but since it did go to trial, I couldn’t ignore the facts or the findings. Of course you would have to see the movie for yourself and form your own opinion. It’s been documented that if you’re a believer, you’ll love the movie and if you’re not, you’ll probably hate it. I did like it but thought it was a waste of tax payer’s money to bring it to trial since the teacher did not try to teach the Bible or bring her point of view or opinion into the lesson. She answered a question truthfully with a fact that was presented to her by a student who actually was a believer already. You probably should wait for the DVD.
Posted in CHRISTIAN TALK, DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged agnostic, atheist, benjamin onyango, brook thawley, christian, classroom, david a r white, GOD's not dead2, grace wesley, hayley orrantia, jesse metcalfe, melissa joan hart, miss kinney, pat boone, pete kane, preach, ray wise, reverend dave, reverend jude, robin givens, school, tom endler
God’s Not Dead is an amazing movie on every level. I had heard really good things about this movie. After seeing it, I have a few good things to say myself. I’ve seen a lot of Christian based movies but none like this one. God’s not Dead is based on true events surrounding abusive tactics used on some college campuses. A student, Josh Wheaton played by Shane Harper, is challenged in his philosophy class to prove that God is not dead or fail the course. The class is being taught by a dogmatic and argumentative atheist professor played by Kevin Sorbo. The student, Josh, goes in depth, refuting every well know philosopher’s findings. Josh is put down by his family and girlfriend and urged to sign a required paper, put to the class, that states God is Dead. There are several stories being told that nicely comes together in the end. Willie Robinson and his wife from Duck Dynasty had a small but significant part in the movie. As a side note, David A.R. White played Reverend Dave who looks and reminds me so much of Keith Urban that I had a hard time focusing on him as a reverend. You will definitely shed a tear or two, as God’s not Dead is packed with emotional stories from start to finish. From the music to the acting, God’s Not Dead is very much alive and a winner in my book.
Posted in CHRISTIAN TALK, DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged abusive, argumentative, atheist, campuses, christian, class, dogmatic, duck dynasty, GOD, God's not dead, josh wheaton, kevin sorbo, philosophy, professor, shane harper, student, tactics
While I am a staunch Christian, I didn’t like this version of the life of Jesus. It didn’t flow, it was choppy and all over the place. It seemed to highlight many significant events from the “New Testament” instead of telling a complete story. I’m not sure why they made “Son of God”. Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” is hard to follow. There is also another older TV mini series (“Jesus of Nazareth”) that was excellent. “Son of God” is a spin-off of the History Channel’s mini-series, “The Bible.” In” Son of God” I found several differences between scripture and the movie. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, he never went into the cave. Jesus simply shouted “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43). This really doesn’t change anything but movies like this teaches people who may not know what happened. I also didn’t understand why Jesus (played by Diogo Morgado) was always smiling, even when He was angry. That doesn’t lend itself to the reality of His feelings about what was going on. There were a couple of other inconsistencies but again, insignificant. I feel the filmmakers lacked respect for true scripture. My biggest problem was how choppy the movie was and one problem I’ve always had, the Bible says Jesus’ skin is bronze and His hair white, like lamb’s wool (Rev 1:12). Also in that part of the country, people were not white. I’m not saying Jesus was Black but he certainly was not white with blue or light gray eyes. There was nothing different, only lacking in “Son of God” and other than spreading the Gospel, which in this case was not completely accurate, I can’t recommend that anyone should see this movie.
Posted in CHRISTIAN TALK, DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged bible, christian, Diogo Morgado, excellent, history channel, inaccurate, Jesus of Nazareth, john, mel gibson, mini- series, passion of the christ, scripture, son of God
I was expecting so much more from this film. After hearing all the hoopla and seeing the trailer, I really thought I was in for a real thrill ride. Between all the plots and the flash backs, it became a little difficult to focus. I’m not saying that it wasn’t good because it was a decent flick but it dragged in some parts. The great acting really saved this movie. Several spurts of energy from Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence reeled me back into focus. Bradley and Christian were superb, lending a lot of character to the scenes. Bale looked fat and cheap as a con man in the 70s while Cooper looked more like a fashion plate, odd for an FBI agent. I got a few laughs out of American Hustle as well as an opportunity to see a little bit of history. They say some of this really happened, they just don’t say which parts. Because there are so many movies out right now, I recommend waiting for the DVD. If you are an Oscar buff, you might want to see it now, since there is a great chance it’s going to get an Oscar nod.