Movie REviews REviews by scripture reviews by alphabet
About the CRitic links

But Why? 


 "Dreamgirls" is a rollicking good time, a toe-tapping musical that pulls out all the stops in its high-energy production numbers, and features a spectacular debut by Jennifer Hudson, as well as stellar performances from Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, and Beyonce Knowles. But since it's about a half hour too long, anyway, and it's not even remotely about The Supremes, after all, why cast it into the turbulent 60's and throw in all that file footage about race riots? The lack of focus detracts from an otherwise gloriously festive achievement. Even so, you still gotta love a movie where people will just break out into song at any moment. 
  
 "The Proposition" is a dark Australian Western about a grim lawman who is determined to bring in a notorious outlaw gang. There's a great biblical parallel here about when Joseph, as second in command to Pharaoh in
Egypt , demands from his (half) brothers that they leave behind (his only full brother) Benjamin, and one of them ( Judah ) offers himself as surety instead (Genesis 44). The lawman offers a proposition to the middle brother that if he will find and return his infamous older brother, then he can claim his younger brother who will be held in surety. Yes, it's a violent time and age, but why be so explicit about a rape scene, making the battered husband watch his wife being violated, which will surely turn off as many viewers as watching the screaming agony of forty lashes? Who would want to see this? 
  
 "Black Book" is a brooding, believable film about the dangerous business of being a counter-spy in World War II. A young Jewish woman named Rachel (Carice Van Houten) is hiding in the Dutch countryside in 1944. When her cover is blown, she accepts the escape arrangements of someone who identifies himself as being in "The Resistance," but he turns out to be a counterspy, and sets a trap for them all, from which only she escapes. She contacts an old family friend who helps her connect with the real Underground, but she eventually learns that she should have taken his advice not to trust anyone. She ingratiates herself with the local SS Captain, after considering the difficult question of how much of herself she was willing to give for the cause. After the thwarting of several Resistance operations, she learns that spies are everywhere, but she has a bigger problem now: the war is ending, and she is perceived as having cooperated with the Nazis. This is an intriguing tale, fascinatingly complex, and manages to create a very genuine, authentic-looking atmosphere. Of course, personal violence is inevitable; this is, after all, War. But why does there has to be so much gratuitous nudity? True, the Director (Paul Verhoeven) is the same one who gave us the shameless  "Showgirls," but that flashing proclivity here, in this film, will prevent many otherwise serious moviegoers from attempting it. 

 Questions For Discussion: 
 1) Have you ever been asked by a group to leave the group? Though a shock and disappointment at the time, did it turn out to be better for all concerned? 
 2) Would you try to stop a family member whom you know to be doing something wrong? Would you "turn in" a family member who's guilty of a crime? 
 3) Under what circumstances would it be right to defy the government? 

 Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church,
Terrell , Texas