Friday, June 02, 2006

The Staten Island Film festival

Does Staten Island even deserve a film festival? With the abuse the distaff boro has given us in Manhatten for the last century or so, probably not, but on the other hand, everyone else in the world his having one, so who's the right to actually complain about it?

The fest began in the beautifully restored St.George theater, just up the hill from the ferry terminal. The people were very nice, and there it ends, for the opening night film is among the worst of the year. If the rest of the flicks are anywhere near as bad, then God help it.

Here's the review:

The Celestine Prophecy

Directed by
Armand Mastroianni

It’s an old technique: “a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Coat your philosophical crapola with a fictional veneer, preferably an adventure story with lots of sex and violence, and you’ll at least get the general public to think about the stuff.

That is what made James Redfield’s silly book a best seller a decade ago, and with “The Da Vinci Code” being adapted into a film, Redfield obviously felt left out, so he financed a movie version himself.

One would think that since the book sold 14 million copies, Hollywood would have bought the film rights waay back then (they might have, I dunno), but they didn’t. After seeing this turd, I can understand why.

John Woodson (Matthew Settle) is a teacher at a parochial school somewhere in the ‘States. He gets “laid off” due to budget cuts, and when he gets home to mope, the phone rings. It’s an old friend(Robyn Cohen), who tells him about some ancient Jewish texts found in of all places, Peru, so with nothing better to do, he gets a flight out the very next day to check it out.

Well the Catholic church and the Peruvian Junta don’t like the idea of a New Age cult taking over the world, so semi-evil Cardinal Sebastian (Hector Elizondo) and very evil Mr. Jenson(Jurgen Prochnow) have decided to wipe everyone involved with the texts out. John is saved by Wil (Thomas Kretschmann), and the two of them flee to the rain forest, where they meet the rest of the cult in a luxurious mansion…

What follows is philosophical discussion punctuated with gunfire, and believe me when I tell you, there’s nowhere nearly enough of the latter. There is nothing in this movie that is anywhere near interesting, the acting is wooden, even though much of the cast can actually act, the plot far too contrived [actually, the contrivance is part of “insight #2,” or something like that], and writing is horrid.

There is no sugar coating here, and this may actually qualify for the Razzie awards, yeeesh!


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