Maria Full of Grace

Directed by Joshua Marston, Maria Full of Grace shows us a sad side of the Columbia drug trafficking story – the use of young women as drug mules. Maria, a pregnant seventeen year-old, fed up with life in her small village supporting her mother and sister on a pittance of a wage de-thorning roses, ends up swallowed (pardon the pun) within the drug world. Soon, we see her and two friends ingesting large pellets of cocaine (in Maria’s case sixty-two) then boarding a plane and heading to New York City. What was interesting about this film was how sorry you felt for Maria (played by Catalina Sandino Moreno, who garnered a rightful Oscar nomination for her role). The story get meaty as Maria and a surviving friend wander the streets of New York and become integrated into the world that is an illegal immigrant’s lot. In the end, with the drugs returned to the dealers, Maria receives her epiphany… and perhaps her grace? Despite the topic and storyline, Maria Full of Grace is a very quiet movie that delivers on character development and plot and is well worth viewing for Moreno’s performance and to understand the (warning: preachy moment) evil drugs continue to wreak on South America’s poorest peoples. My rating 7 out of 10.


The master of digitalized actors, Robert Zemeckis, directs this retelling of one of the Western world’s greatest poems, the Song of Beowulf. Like all good stories of long ago, Beowulf has heroes, monsters, a dragon and curses. If you want a full telling of the tale, visit McMaster University’s good site here. The story is a great romping ride of exhilarating excitement on its own. However, what makes this film over-the-top fun is Zemeckis use of performance capture technology where filmed sequences and digitalized animation are woven together to give the film a rich, if creepy, look. Add to this, seeing it in IMAX 3-D and OMG, hold on to your fur-lined caps.
I thoroughly loved this film despite its liberties with the story and the bigger-than-Graceland acting by everyone involved: Ray Winstone, John Malkovich, Angelina Jolie and Anthony Hopkins, to name but a few. Special mention to Brendan Gleeson as Wiglaf however. Beowulf is two hours of mossy, thick and rich film adrenaline and should not be missed by anyone who likes a good quest/monster adventure. My rating 8 out of 10.


The Believer
Written and directed by Henry Bean, The Believer spins a – frankly – utterly unbelievable story (purportedly inspired by a true story) of a young Jew, Danny Balint (played by the latest ‘it’ guy – Ryan Gosling) who’s turned his back on his jewish heritage and spun headlong into neo-Nazism. While Gosling is brilliant in this film, the supporting crew, and more so, the rather pieced together story riddled with long philosophic ramblings about race and religion, a foiled assassination attempt on a Jewish politician, a (sort of) love story, neo-Nazi training camps and a synagogue desecration just don’t add up. What’s worse, despite the fine, fine performance by Gosling, Bean ends the film with a redemptive afterthought … almost as if he got so far in, he suddenly realized, ‘oh my, how am I going to get out of this?’. All that said, however, the film is worth a viewing to watch Gosling’s excellent performance as an antihero you simultaneously hate to love, and love to hate. My rating 6 out of 10.


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5 Responses to Movie

  1. kunhuo42 says:

    maria full of grace sounds intriguing.  and of course, i will have to go see beowulf…  my mom is an english teacher, after all, and covers that classic work in her classes!

  2. ryc: haha…sound advice!

  3. YNOTswim says:

    I almost forgot that Ryan was in “Believer”… he is such a good actor. I am sure you have seen Half Nelson, if not, go and get it now.

  4. ryc: lol…honestly making cupcakes that way doesn’t really count…but oh well =]ohh and beowulf was good, but the person playing him…like there were so many scenes where we almost saw his…thingx_Xbut didn’ti was kinda disappointed by that

  5. Fatcat723 says:

    Thanks for the review.RYC: I thought a lot about the war and actually was a counselor for some objectors.I guess I feel sorry for the men who are there under the false impression they are doing their duty for country. So while I oppose the war, I need consider each man or woman and hope the best for them. But I understand your thought and respect it.

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