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Who woulda thought?
I read about "The Gospel of John" in the newspapers, and the first thing that crossed my mind was, "Why another Jesus movie?" With "The Passion" coming just around the corner, "The Gospel of John" seemed a bit overshadowed by all of the hype Mel Gibson's movie was getting. Still, I did my research, being a fan of Jesus movies, and found some pretty good reviews. I still didn't expect it to be as good as it was, and as soon as I popped the DVD into my TV I was mesmerized for the entire three hours of the movie.
Henry Ian Cusick is absolutely amazing in his role of Jesus Christ. His only competition would be Robert Powell of "Jesus of Nazareth", but Cusick's performance was unlike any I'd seen before (and I've seen "Jesus" the miniseries with Jeremy Sisto, "Jesus" with Brian Deacon, "Matthew" with Bruce Marchiano, "The Greatest Story Ever Told" with Max Von Sydow, "King of Kings" with Jeff Hunter, "The King of Kings" with H.B. Warner, "Jesus of Nazareth" with Robert Powell, and both versions of "Jesus Christ Superstar"). His potrayal of Christ is absolutely effortless, which is even more impressive considering the fact that he's speaking word for word from the book of John. Not only does he do wonders with the script, but his overall interpretation of Jesus is unique and, for me, very inspiring. Cusick's Christ knows his mission and carries it out with determination, and, most of all, authority; but this doesn't hold back his human side either, and he is very believable as a loving, caring Christ (the single tear running down his face during the raising of Lazarus was so touching and convincing that it made ME cry). Some may believe that his attitude toward the Pharisees was harsh, and I'll admit that I was a bit taken back when he raised his voice more than once throughout the movie-- but as it progresses, his emotions seem appropriate for someone desperately trying to teach a message of salvation that no one seems to want to accept.
The special effects were very well-done. The scene where Jesus is walking on the water is finally convincing...
The only problem I had with the movie was that it seemed to shy away from the crucifixion. I was a bit disappointed at the way the movie zipped through one of the most crucial parts of the Gospel, especially with Cusick's passionate performance throughout the first couple of hours of the movie. The end result is about two hours and thirty minutes of beautiful cinematography and brilliant acting, and a really "blah" finale. The directors really missed the chance to make an impression by failing to utilize the most dramatic part of Christ's life. Cusick could have worked wonders with it.
As for the rest of the cast, each member was perfect. Even the minor roles were believable-- the Pharisees and the people on the street gave very in-depth, and occassionally passionate, performances.
"The Gospel of John" was one of the best potrayals of Christ I have ever seen. I highly recommend it, and just a heads up--the "Special Features" addition to the DVD set is a great bonus!
The Ring (2002)
I really hadn't heard that much hype about "The Ring". It was Thursday night, a three-day weekend, and I didn't think twice about going to see a scary movie (I do not fare well with horror flicks)-- I just wanted to have a good time. Wish I knew what I was getting myself into...
The movie, at first glance, seems a bit corny-- the girls talking about the video tape seems a bit abrupt and urban-legendish. However, the movie got creepy when the TV kept turning on by itself...and I can't even describe how freaked out I got when they showed Katie's corpse. Whoever did that model is a genius-- I don't think I've ever seen a more disturbing image in my life!! I was really tempted to get up and walk out of the movie theatre right then and there, but the movie sucked me in, and I decided to stick it out.
Well, the movie got scarier-- the plot is absorbing, the cinemetography was outstanding, and the acting was more than believable-- especially the little boy. His eyes were really freaky when he was imploring his mother, "You weren't supposed to help her!" And who would believe that Samara was the same girl who did the voice of Lilo from "Lilo and Stitch"?! The great thing about the movie was that it didn't spell out the plot for the audience-- the writer of the screenplay obviously thought a bit higher of the IQ's of the viewers, and certain aspects left to the imagination are much much creepier than spoonfeeding the plot to the audience. And the other thing that sets this apart from other creepy flicks is that the plot doesn't end with the usual "the-ghost-was-an-innocent-child-whose-murder-was-uncovered-and-whose-undisc overed-corpse-was-put-to-rest-so-now-everyone's-happy" note that most ghost stories end with. Samara was purely evil, and while the movie doesn't explain why, the fact that she just won't quit even when the movie ends was enough to freak me out. *shudder* I'm never having kids.
And of course, I must comment on the creepiest scene in the movie-- initially, throughout the movie, people (mostly middle school girls scattered throughout the theatre) would let out a scream or two at the scary parts (i.e. the centipede, and the corpse in the closet). However, when Samara starts walking toward the screen and out of the TV, they were screaming NONSTOP. That is probably the most memorable scene in any horror flick, next to the head-revolving scene from "The Exorcist". People were literally trying to crawl back in their seats.
Like I mentioned before, I don't fare well with horror flicks, and I spent most of the time hiding behind my coat through this one. But let me tell you, if you're going for an actual SCARY movie, not just a slasher that will make you sick to your stomach, then I highly recommend this one. The plot will make you think, the cinemotography is great-- and I really can't think of anything wrong with it. I give it a 10 out of 10.