Saturday, January 29, 2011

“Movie Preview: Soul Surfer - Orlando Sentinel (blog)” plus 1 more

“Movie Preview: Soul Surfer - Orlando Sentinel (blog)” plus 1 more


Movie Preview: Soul Surfer - Orlando Sentinel (blog)

Posted: 28 Jan 2011 06:16 AM PST

This is the bio-pic about Bethany Hamilton, the teen surfer who lost her arm to a shark, and got back in the water and back on a board because that's just who she is — a soul surfer.
Annasophia Robb landed the lead.

Oscar winner Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid play the parents.

"Soul Surfer" is in theaters April 15. This is a pretty soulful teaser trailer, I must say.

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Rite’ won’t make your head spin - Abington Mariner

Posted: 28 Jan 2011 09:40 PM PST

THE RITE (Rated PG-13 for violence, frightening images, language, sexual references.) Cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Colin O'Donoghue and Alice Braga. Directed by Mikael Hafstrom. 2 stars out of 4.
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 So far, Hollywood's treatment of exorcist movies has been if you've seen one, you've seen 'em all. That doesn't change much with "The Rite," the newest riff on the subject, this one "suggested" by the nonfiction book "The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist" by journalist Matt Baglio.

 Set first in America, then later in Rome, the film introduces us to Michael Kovak (newcomer Colin O'Donoghue), a young man who chooses not to follow in his dad's mortician footsteps, and opts, instead, to become a priest. But during his deacon year, he realizes that the religious life just isn't for him, that he "lacks the foundation."

As happens in movies like this (and purportedly in the real life story), there's a bad accident that affects Michael emotionally. An older priest (Toby Jones) decides that Michael, despite being a skeptic, would make a great exorcist; and, hey, there's this new exorcism school just getting under way at the Vatican!

"Why me?" asks Michael. But no good answer comes his way, and be fore you can say spinning heads and pea soup (and someone actually does use both terms in the script), Michael is off to Italy, learning about demonic entities in a classroom, pondering his vow of celibacy when a young journalist (Alice Braga) starts chatting with him, and being mentored by the unorthodox exorcist Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins).

 Father Lucas is said to be a man who gets results, as far as his exorcism expertise. He's also the kind of guy who likes to throw people right into the fray. While checking on a young, supposedly possessed woman, he calmly instructs Michael, who is at his side: "Do not speak to her directly, keep praying, good luck."

You won't find any spinning heads here, but there are plenty of people who know things they couldn't possibly know, along with the usual creepy voices, contortions, speaking in tongues, and some general gruesomeness. Watch out!

Other signs of evil include cats, frogs and a truly hellish-looking red-eyed mule.

The script seems to want viewers to be believers, while at the same time getting us to understand what makes both the exorcist and the exorcist-in- training tick. But only one of the people playing these characters can help.

Hopkins, as always, is up to the task, especially when certain events start to go wrong. Those blue eyes and menacing smile of his can sure mesmerize, and he's equally comfortable when having a pleasant chat with a companion or shouting at some unnamed demon to reveal itself. More important, no one will even blink when Father Lucas starts talking about his own inner weaknesses.

But O'Donoghue, either through lack of acting depth or misguided direction, comes across as a flat and uninteresting character. The film may be about fighting the good fight, but O'Donoghue's Michael doesn't appear to be much of a contender.

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