Reviews written by registered user
|4 reviews in total|
5 computer animated animal characters go on musical adventures in their
backyards. Each episode has a theme, such as the kids being pirates,
vikings, jungle explorers, and arctic adventurers. Usually it is 4 of
the 5 main characters, and each episode ends with the imaginary setting
morphing back into the backyard with the kids retiring to one's home
for juice and a snack.
What sets this show above most is the remarkable musical and singing component. These kids can sing (especially tasha). Each episode varies in creativity, but the music and singing are consistently first rate. The shows are essentially 25 minute mini -musicals and the musical themes are fun, like the 50's, swing, jazz, and pop.
Parents with preschoolers who have had their fill of the same old purple stuff will find this dramatically refreshing. It is always a plus when a children's program is equally enjoyable by adults.
I hope they keep producing these for a long while.
Putting aside the Orthodoxy's objections to the film, this movie is
sabotaged by implausible artistic license, terrible casting and a failed
effort to make Jesus appear more "human." Harvey Keitel as Judas and David
Bowie as Pontius Pilate are enormous examples of square pegs in round
holes-they are far more distracting than anything else. This isn't the
time a biblical ensemble cast has underachieved.
Worst of all is Willem Dafoe as Jesus. As the actor has rightly pointed out himself, he's just like the guy next door- if the guy next door is a wako. The script attempts to give Jesus a flawed, human dimension, but Dafoe's Jesus comes across in as a smarmy, tortured, and incredibly unlike able Savior. Worst of all, his carpentry work is the crafting of crosses for crucifixion. He even assists in an execution in one scene.
It's hard to believe that this is Jesus long before the temptation element is introduced. Unless you really dig fictitious novelizations of Jesus, this one strictly for curiosity's sake.
What critics and skeptics fail to grasp about this movie is that there is
politically correct way to portray how the the Romans crucified their
victims. Even if you don't believe in the veracity of the Gospels that
film follows so, well, passionately, it is valid to portray the events
contained in them as a work of literature. There WAS a historical Jesus
WAS crucified by Pontius Pilate at the behest of the high priests and
mob-scholars agree on that much.
The Romans didn't attend the Geneva Convention. They didn't believe in lethal injection or life without parole. Moreover, the Romans who were in Judea at this time were brutal, sadistic, and hated being at that remote outpost of the Empire. It is entirely likely, even if you aren't a believer in the Christian Faith, that these events are devoid of overdramatization. There was brutality back then that we seldom see or experience in our society.
As a Roman Catholic who attended a Catholic University and has some theological studies under my belt, I can say that the Passion is very loyal to the Gospels, and any artistic license taken at all is a natural way of filling in the gaps- witness Mary's flashback to Jesus falling as a young boy as she watches him fall beneath the weight of his cross. Or the amazed look of the soldier whom Jesus heals in the Garden after his ear is severed. Anyone would be stunned.
All in all I was left with a reminder that he endured all that to redeeem me. That is the message of the Gospels, it is what I came away with from the movie, and all the surrounding hype about anti semitism was just that. Hype.
The message resonates, and the graphic nature, while severe, has far more impact than just reading about the events in the gospels. Seeing it portrayed in Gibson's movie compared with reading about it is like diving in the ocean as opposed to reading about water. It isn't for the squeamish but is a reminder to Christians of what Christ endured on our behalf. For non christians, maybe it lends some insight into the nature of our beliefs, and gives some disturbing background of the ancient Roman Empire.
New York Mammoth star Pitcher Henry Wiggen (played by Michael Moriarty of future "Law and Order" fame) learns from that his friend and catcher Bruce Pearson (a young Robert De Niro) is terminally ill. Because Bruce is a marginal player and, more importantly, a vulnerable, simple soul, Henry sets out to protect his compadre from the wrath of his teammates, management, and the predators of Life. Upon learning of his friend's condition, Henry negotiates as part of his contract that Bruce will remain with the team for the entire season. He also strives (and this is perhaps the biggest crux of conflict of the film) to keep Bruce's condition their secret for reasons far greater than mere confidentiality. Henry doesn't know what the fallout would be from disclosure, and one of the best scenes in the film is a grilling he gets when the manager suspects that he is hiding something. Henry is also there as Bruce deals with the unsettling prospects of terminal illness. Although the setting is baseball (and writer Mark Harris is one of the best authors of baseball fiction) the story is really about friendship and what a man will do for a friend when he knows that more is at stake than winning games. Younger viewers might not relate to a number of things that date the film somewhat, such a a player negotiating his contract without an agent and Henry's offseason moonlighting as an insurance salesman (yes, players really did do that back before free agency). Any baseball fan will appreciate the footage of Old Yankee Stadium before it was renovated in 1974-75, drastically changing the character of the legendary old park. There is an eerie real-life foreshadowing of the fate of another New York catcher, also wearing Bruce's number 15. It must be said that the supporting roles, such as the team's salty old manager Dutch (Vincent Gardenia), and Bruce's gold digging girlfriend Katie (Ann Wedgeworth), are portrayed extremely well.