HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: STIGMATA

CAST

Patricia Arquette (True Romance)
Gabriel Byrne (End of Days)
Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones)
Nia Long (Big Momma’s House 2)
Rade Šerbedžija (X-Men: First Class)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Jack Donner(Power Rangers In Space)
Thomas Kopache (The West Wing)
Portia de Rossi(Scream 2)
Ann Cusack (Sully)
Patrick Muldoon (Starship Troopers)
Shaun Toub (Iron Man)

In the Brazilian village of Belo Quinto, Father Andrew Kiernan, a former scientist and a Jesuit priest who investigates supposed miracles, examines a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe weeping blood at the funeral of Father Paulo Alameida, who had experienced stigmata. While Andrew is collecting evidence, a young boy steals the rosary from the father’s hand. The boy later sells it to a woman in a marketplace, who sends it to her atheist daughter, Frankie Paige, living in Pittsburgh.Frankie is attacked by an unseen force while bathing, and receives two deep wounds on her wrists. As the wounds are treated, the doctors cannot find the cause. Frankie asks a priest if he is Andrew Kiernan, but the priest says he is Father Derning, the lights in the train flash, and Frankie is whipped from behind by an unseen force. While Frankie is hospitalized again, the priest sends security tapes showing the attack to the Vatican, and Andrew is sent to investigate.Andrew interviews Frankie, believing her wounds may also be stigmata. When she tells him she is an atheist, Andrew tells her that stigmata is when the deeply devoted are struck with the five wounds that Jesus received during the crucifixion. Frankie begins to research on her own what the cause could be. Her head begins to bleed, the third stigmata wound caused by the Crown of Thorns. Frankie runs home, where Andrew is waiting, and then runs into an alley. As Andrew pursues her, Frankie smashes a glass bottle and uses the shards to carve symbols on the hood of a car: when Andrew approaches her, she yells at him in another language.Andrew takes Frankie to Father Derning’s church, and the Vatican translates what she was yelling in Aramaic. The next morning, Andrew returns to her apartment to find her writing on the wall, now covered in Aramaic. Frankie talks in a male voice, speaking Italian. Wounds appear in her feet, the fourth wound of stigmata. Andrew emails photographs of Frankie’s apartment wall to the Vatican, where Brother Delmonico recognizes the words and deletes the pictures. He tells Andrew the words are from a document the church found that looked to be an entirely new gospel. Father Dario shows the pictures to Cardinal Daniel Houseman, who also recognizes them. Delmonico phones Marion Petrocelli and tells him the missing gospel has been found in Pittsburgh.Andrew goes to Frankie’s apartment to find the wall she wrote on painted over, and Frankie attempts to seduce him. When Andrew rejects her, she attacks him and denounces his beliefs in a male voice, ending with Frankie levitating off the bed, crying tears of blood. Houseman and Dario arrive with Derning and take Frankie to another church, sending Andrew to Derning’s. At Derning’s church, Andrew meets Petrocelli, who tells him the words Frankie has been writing are part of a document found outside Jerusalem they believed to be a gospel in the exact words of Jesus. Petrocelli, Delmonico and Alameida were assigned to translate it, but Houseman ordered them to stop. Alameida refused and stole the document to continue translating it alone, having been excommunicated by Houseman.Petrocelli tells Andrew that the document was Jesus telling his disciples that the Kingdom of God is in all of us and not confined to churches. Petrocelli tells Andrew that Alameida suffered from stigmata. Andrew races to the church where Frankie is, while Houseman and Dario attempt to perform an exorcism on Frankie. Frankie shouts at them in a male voice, and Houseman attempts to strangle her. Andrew stops him, and the room is set on fire. Now believing Frankie is possessed by Alameida’s spirit, Andrew offers to be Alameida’s messenger instead. He walks unharmed through the fire to retrieve Frankie, bidding Alameida’s spirit to depart in peace. Some time later, Andrew returns to Belo Quinto and finds the original documents for the lost gospel in Alameida’s church. Text describes the discovery of the Gospel of St. Thomas, believed to be the closest to the actual words of Jesus stating that the Catholic Church refuses to recognize the document as a gospel and considers it heresy.I loved this film, both for it’s interesting film quality and it’s thought provoking script. I believe it had an important message for us all to ponder created by excellent acting and beautiful film imagery. The mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has been a subject avoided by the Church since their discovery in 1945. I appreciate controversial filmmaking.

REVIEW: ED WOOD

40.1CAST

Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Martin Landau (North By Northwest)
Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and The City)
Patricia Arquette (Stigmata)
Jeffrey Jones (Howard The Duck)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil)
Bill Murray (Ghostbusters)
Lisa Marie (Sleepy Hollow)
Juliet Landau (Buffy)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Ned Bellamy (Twilight)
Rance Howard (Universal Soldier)

In 1952, Ed Wood (Johnny Depp) is struggling to join the film industry. Upon hearing of an announcement in Variety magazine that producer George Weiss (Mike Starr) is trying to purchase Christine Jorgensen’s life story, Ed is inspired to meet Weiss in person. Weiss explains that Variety‍ ’s announcement was a news leak, and it is impossible to purchase Jorgensen’s rights. The producer decides to “fictionalize” the film, titled I Changed My Sex!. Ed tries to convince Weiss that he is perfect to direct I Changed My Sex! because he is a transvestite, but is unsuccessful since Weiss wants a director with experience. One day, Ed meets his longtime idol Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau), after spotting him trying out a casket. Ed drives Bela home and the two become friends. Later, Wood persuades Weiss to let him direct I Changed My Sex! by convincing him that having a star in the film would sell tickets, and they could sign Bela for a low price.

Ed and Weiss argue over the film’s title and subject matter: Weiss has already had the poster printed, which Ed changes to Glen or Glenda and writes the film about a transvestite rather than a sex change. In the end, Weiss allows Ed to shoot whatever he wants as long as the film meets the required length. Ed takes to film production with an unusual approach; usually shooting only one take per scene, giving actors very little direction, and using stock footage to fill in gaps. After filming, the movie is released to critical and commercial failure. Because of this, Ed is unsuccessful in getting a job at Screen Classics, but Ed’s girlfriend, Dolores Fuller (Sarah Jessica Parker), tells him that he should try financing his next film independently. Ed is unsuccessful in finding money for Bride of the Atom, but is introduced to the psychic The Amazing Criswell (Jeffrey Jones) who gives him advice on how to sell himself better.MV5BMTgwMjAxMDc2NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDgyMTcyMTI@._V1_At a bar, Ed meets Loretta King (Juliet Landau), who he thinks has enough money to fund Bride of the Atom and ends up casting her as the lead instead of Dolores as originally planned. Dolores was extremely angry about it. Filming begins, but is halted when it is revealed that Loretta is actually poor, and therefore Ed has no money to continue production. Ed convinces meat packing industry tycoon Don McCoy (Rance Howard) to take over funding the film, who agrees as long as the film stars his son Tony as the leading man and the film ends with an explosion. The filming of Bride of the Atom finishes, with the title being changed to Bride of the Monster, but Dolores breaks up with Ed after the wrap party because of his circle of friends, his work, and transvestism. Also, Bela, who is revealed to be highly depressed and a morphine addict, attempts to conduct a double suicide with Ed after the government cuts off his unemployment, but is talked out of it. Bela checks himself into rehab, and Ed meets Kathy O’Hara (Patricia Arquette), who is visiting her father at the same hospital. Ed takes her on a date and reveals to her his transvestism, which she accepts.

Ed begins to shoot a film with Bela outside his home. When Ed and company attend the premiere for Bride of the Monster, an angry mob chases them out of the theater. Sometime later, Bela passes away, leaving Ed without a star. Ed convinces a church leader named Reynolds that funding Ed’s script for Grave Robbers from Outer Space would result in a box office success, and generate enough money for Reynolds’ dream project (the Twelve Apostles films). Dr. Tom Mason (Ned Bellamy), Kathy’s chiropractor, is chosen to be Bela’s stand-in for resembling Lugosi (with half his face covered). However, Ed and the Baptists begin having conflicts over the title and content of the script which they want to have changed to Plan 9 from Outer Space along with Ed’s B movie directing style, his casting decisions and his transvestism. This causes a distressed Ed to leave the set and immediately take a taxi to the nearest bar, where he encounters his idol Orson Welles (Vincent D’Onofrio). Welles tells Ed that “visions are worth fighting for”, and filming for Plan 9 finishes with Ed taking action against his producers. The film ends with the premiere of Plan 9 with Ed believing it will be the film he “will be remembered for”, and Ed and Kathy taking off to Las Vegas to get married.

This is an immensely entertaining film, both comic and endearing. It masterfully portrays Wood in a humorous light, while not being demeaning or insulting. The strong acting, writing, and directing make this unique movie a film worth seeing