Martin Scorsese, who studied for the priesthood as a young man, has divided his directorial career between mainstream dramas and revisionist religious works like Kundun and The Last Temptation of Christ.
Silence falls into the latter category. It’s been in gestation for many years and chronicles the fortunes of a 17th-Century Jesuit missionary called Sebastiao Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) who has his faith challenged during a visit to Japan to try and locate a missing mentor, Fr Christovao Ferreira (Liam Neeson), who’s said to have committed apostasy after being tortured.
The cast also includes Adam Driver as another Jesuit. Ciaran Hinds plays a priest and the Japanese actor Tadanobau Asano is an interpreter. Catholicism was outlawed in Japan at the time in which the film is set and that obviously adds to its dramatic import. It was filmed in Taiwan and premiered in Vatican City last month.
Scorsese said: “It deals with spiritual issues in a concrete world which inevitably throws up the worst of human nature”. Many have spoken of the thriller-like elements of it. Garfield went on a 30-day retreat to prepare for the role, under the guidance of an actual Jesuit. He described the experience as being akin to “walking with Jesus imaginatively from his conception to his resurrection”.
A bored High School student (Lucas Till) builds a truck from the remnants of battered old cars and finds an interesting friend when a subterranean creature emerges from the ground to accompany him on his new enterprise after an accident at an oil drilling site.
The three African-American women of this film (Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae) are the unsung heroines of inter-planetary travel. They possessed incredible mathematical skills and used them to their full potential in helping NASA launch many of its early space missions, including one involving the recently-deceased John Glenn. It’s amazing their story hasn’t been filmed until now.
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Will Smith negotiates an arduous trek back to mental stability after losing his daughter in this soft-centred tale of emotional regeneration, being helped along the way by Kate Winslet and Ed Norton.
Underworld: Blood Wars
Sad to see the talented Kate Beckinsale wasting her time on yet another exploitative venture like this, which involves a violent set of conflicts between warring vampires.
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The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
A widowed architect (Jason Sudeikis) helps a homeless young teenager (Maisie Williams) build a raft so she can sail across the Atlantic but the journey is fraught with so much danger it becomes almost suicidal.