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Peter and Paul (1981)
Riveting Performance by Anthony Hopkins
I first saw this on TV and was overwhelmed. It's a decent account of the story of Paul's journeys as he spread the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus Christ from his conversion on the "road to Damascus" to his final imprisonment in Rome. If you've read the Acts of the Apostles, or the epistles of Paul, you won't be surprised except by the continuity of this well-written script. You may also learn how Paul's background as both a Jew and a citizen of Rome facilitated his founding of many churches.
Anthony Hopkins was overwhelming as the Apostle "Paul". There were minor distractions, most notably Eddie Albert of "Green Acres" and Raymond Burr of "Perry Mason" hired (no doubt) for there (TV) "star power". Robert Foxworth is primarily known as a TV-star who has a long career in "made for TV movies" and guest and starring roles in many popular dramatic series.
Afterwards, as I read the writings of Paul in the New Testament, I can still hear Hopkins' voice in my head ... his articulation, phrasing, pauses,and conviction resulting in highly effectual communication. Yes, he was and is that good, even to today's role as the Norse God, Odin. His masterful style remains strong.
I bought this on VHS and loved it. Years later, I bought it on DVD. It remains unavailable online. Why? I don't know. Sir Anthony Hopkins is a major movie star. This protégé of Lawrence Olivier went on to star in many major movie productions such as "The Elephant Man", "A Bridge Too Far", and "Magic". Previous to 1981, he had done many fine and honored "made for TV movies", such as "The Bunker" (Adolph Hitler) and "The Lindberg Kidnapping" (Bruno Hauptmann).
You can still buy this on DVD from Amazon. Unfortunately, that remains our only source for viewing this breathtaking Christian drama. Someday, I hope to see it available on VUDU, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu or some other streaming outlet. Until then, I'm content to have a copy of the DVD.
The Book of Daniel (2013)
This movie may surprise you
"The Book of Daniel" surprised me. This movie has been in my Netflix cue for months. I kept passing it by suspecting it would be boring, like many other "religious movies". I love most of the popular movies; but, this is a non-blockbuster that I think is really good! Why? Maybe because it is faithful to its source -- The Book of Daniel.
I got new appreciation of those fantastical stories: "Daniel in the Lions' Den", "The Fiery Furnace", and "The Handwriting on the Wall". More importantly, I got new insight to the Babylonian Captivity, Babylon's Kings and the person himself: Daniel.
Again, this is not a "Hollywood Epic". Even though it's a low budget, modest presentation, it really works. I was engaged from its opening scene with a sword to the throat of Daniel, to its final scene which left "this Daniel" with a lump in his throat. (Know what I mean?)
The Four Feathers (2002)
Has anyone seen the original?
I watched this movie again out of homage to Heath Ledger. I still lament the death of this fine young actor. I trust he would have appreciated anyone sitting through this movie out of respect for him. I also trust that anyone who has seen the original Zoltan Korda's "The Four Feathers" (1939) will concur that this movie does not hold a candle to the original. NOT IN ANY SHAPE MANNER NOR FORM! So, in brief, please watch the 1939 film. You will be amazed at the difference, the grandeur, the historicity, the inspired acting, and the coherent plot. All this and more is lacking in the 2002 version. (I apologize for the harshness of my review to the fans of this movie. But, trust me, if you see the earlier version, you'll see where I'm coming from.)
Captured The Era/True to the Book
Don't mean to be too exuberant, BUT this was a heart-warming movie. Woody Harrelson is perfect in his pathetic role as loser. (Consider "Palmetto" and "The Money Train.") He is a winner at this type of role. Yet, in his portrayal of this father of a large family and the husband of a "stand by your man" and "look to the sunny side of life" woman. Woody manages to evoke our pity and makes us reach for understanding. A terrific supporting role.
Julianne Moore, the star of the movie, is the heroine, the mainstay who keeps everything together. Never been out of her little town of Defiance, Ohio(it's real, look it up!) until one of her daughters drives her to Goshen, Indiana. What an adventure! 100 miles from home. A different state, even though its hard to tell. This daughter is the story teller, the author of the best selling book that became a movie. She captures the 1950s, the silly excitement of writing a catchy commercial phrase, and the heroism and humor of a large family growing up in an era long gone.
It will not be a blockbuster. Opening night, which we wouldn't have missed, was in a large, mostly vacant theatre. Everyone clapped their approval at the close. I'm guessing that most of us had read the book before going.
If you're one of those who haven't read the book, don't worry about it. The movie is like a "To Kill A Mockingbird," in that it captures the book beautifully. (Doesn't deny you the pleasure that comes from reading the book; but let's you in on the wonder of it all.) I have a feeling this movie will fade from view within a few weeks. It may also be one of those movies that ends up in the Academy Awards for best screenplay, best supporting actor, best actress. So, don't let it slip away without YOUR seeing it tomorrow or next weekend. These are the kind of movies, and the caliber of performances that are so rewarding you really need to give it a look see. (Then, buy the book!)