Well, the Oscar nominations are officially announced. And now, the mad scramble begins to try to see as many of the nominated films as possible. I have a good head start, but definitely have my work cut out for me. And, of course new stuff just keeps rolling out on top of that.
Well, my congratulations to all of the nominees and my condolences to all those snubbed (and there are a few). But, let’s try to keep a little current and look at this week’s national releases…
Synopsis: Arthur Bishop is a ‘mechanic’ – an elite assassin with a strict code and unique talent for cleanly eliminating targets. When his mentor and close friend Harry is murdered, Bishop is anything but detached. His next assignment is self-imposed – he wants those responsible dead. His mission grows complicated when Harry’s son Steve approaches him with the same vengeful goal and a determination to learn Bishop’s trade. A methodical hit man takes an impulsive student deep into his world and a deadly partnership is born. But while in pursuit of their ultimate mark, deceptions threaten to surface and those hired to fix problems become problems themselves.
MovireDruid’s Comments: In any other week this would likely be a shoe-in for pick of the week. First off, it’s a remake of what was a pretty solid 1972 Charles Bronson film. Second, director Simon West (“Con Air” & “The General’s Daughter”) knows his way around both the hardcore action movie and the solid thriller. And, finally there’s the cast. Ben Foster (“3:10 to Yuma” & “The Messenger”) and Donald Sutherland (“Backdraft” & “The Puppet Masters”) would be solid enough, but this one features one of the great action stars of the current generation, Jason Statham (“The Transporter” & “The Italian Job”). For fans of the action genre, Statham rarely disappoints and this one should be no different.
Synopsis: Seminary student Michael Kovak is sent to study exorcism at the Vatican in spite of his own doubts about the controversial practice and even his own faith. Wearing his deep skepticism like armor, Michael challenges his superiors to look to psychiatry, rather than demons, in treating the possessed. Only when he’s sent to apprentice with the unorthodox Father Lucas — a legendary priest who has performed thousands of exorcisms — does Michael’s armor begin to fall. As he is drawn into a troubling case that seems to transcend even Father Lucas’s skill, he begins to glimpse a phenomenon science can’t explain or control… and an evil so violent and terrifying that it forces him to question everything he believes.
MovieDruid’s Comments: The idea of possession and exorcism have always fascinated me. And, thus, some of my favorite films (“The Exorcist” & “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” to name two) have dealt with the subject. As a Catholic, exorcism is a strange concept, it has both a forbidden quality and an importance in the church. One coin, two sides, I suppose. This film has the added weight of Anthony Hopkins (“The Silence of the Lambs” & “The Human Stain”) behind it. The film looks to be shot beautifully with the vast history of Rome used to great effect in creating an atmospheric menace that is so important in this sort of film.