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The Ladykillers (2004)
A fun ride.
The Tom Hanks character reminded me of the George Clooney character (Ulysses) in "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou." Listening to Tom Hanks deliver some of his monologues (ie., the long toast that I thought would never end!) really cracked me up. Hanks makes the movie really great! My friends kept looking at me in the theater because I was laughing so loud. I thought it was really funny. No great character development, but the acting out of the stereotypes was quite well done. The Coen Brothers always have very artistic cinematography. This film is no exception. Also, the soundtrack with the church choir is wonderful. Stay for the credits if you enjoy the choir. This film will become the sleeper hit of 2004. Definitely worth the price of the ticket. Don't miss it.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Silence Screams Film's Impact
Kudos to Mel Gibson for the production of this tremendous film - a film that not only accurately portrays the sadistic cruelty of a Roman crucifixion in the first century A.D., but also clearly relates the steadfast resolve of Jesus to suffer such a death as the sacrifice that solved humanity's sin problem.
Thousands exited the sold out cinema in silence - a silence that screamed volumes about the impact of this film upon its audience. I give this film a 10 for its life changing impact.
At the same time, I am disappointed at the somewhat stereotypical portrayal of some of the characters; most notably, the `tormented and misunderstood' Judas, the `wimpy' Pilate, the `controlling' Caiaphas, and `powerful partner' Mary, the mother of Jesus. Even more disappointing is the feeling I often got that Mel was `preaching to the choir' in the sense that much of the powerful truth of this good news about Jesus was revealed only to those who already knew the Biblical accounts.
*** ALERT *** POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD ***
For example, the specific earthquake damage to the temple and the reaction of the religious leaders is part of the evidence of Jesus' victory cry: `It is accomplished.' Sad to say, exactly what was accomplished and what the earthquake damage had to do with it was lost in the storytelling of this film. Also, the abbreviated resurrection scene only hinted at the real impact of Jesus' accomplishment.
*** END OF SPOILERS ***
Still, in all, this powerful film certainly portrays the passionate suffering of Jesus on our behalf. I hope you will go and see this film.