Headed to the cinema this weekend? Check out our Cineast previews to help you decide what to see.
If you’ve been trying to fly someplace warm over this winter, perhaps you thought that you’d experienced an air-travel nightmare: flight delayed or cancelled because of snow, connections missed, planes diverted due to freak storms. Well, at least nobody was trying to hold all of the passengers on your plane hostage, with the threat of blowing the plane up in mid-air if a ransom wasn’t paid. Oh, and nobody threatened to kill a passenger every 20 minutes until the ransom was paid, either. That’s the idea of Non-Stop, and if it sounds a little like the modern thrill-ride classic Speed mixed with a bit of The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3, well, what can you do? Liam Neeson stars as Air Marshal Bill Marks, who must stop the killer while convincing the suspicious passengers that he knows what he’s doing. The film also features East End resident Julianne Moore.
Son Of God
The heyday of the big-screen religious epic is long past, but there’s always a market for “the greatest story ever told.” It wouldn’t be right if Mel Gibson’s The Passion Of The Christ, with its blood-soaked theology and apparent belief that Jesus’ suffering was what made him great, did not garner a response. Son Of God traces the entire life of Jesus, as narrated in the Bible, and seeks to show what made this man so compelling BEFORE he was tortured and killed.
Holy Ghost People
Continuing on a religious theme, Holy Ghost People deals with one of the more perverse reactions to Biblical teachings—that is, the tradition of snake handling for religious purposes. A fictional film, the story explores the all-too-real cults that believe in achieving holiness through the handling of deadly serpents, cults that operate primarily in West Virginia and Kentucky, the only two states where snake handling is legal. The tradition was recently in the news again as a well-known practitioner of snake handling died from—you guessed it—a snakebite. I’m hoping some theater will program a double feature of Son Of God and Holy Ghost People, if only to prompt the question: how do people get from the teachings of Jesus to the idea of playing with venomous snakes?
The Bag Man
In The Bag Man, John Cusack plays a professional killer hired by a crime boss, played by Robert DeNiro, to retrieve a bag. Should be a simple job, only the place where Cusack goes to get the bag is a run-down, creepy Bates-style motel inhabited by stripper/prostitutes, a sinister midget, and a violent black man with a pirate-style eyepatch. Do we ever find out what’s in the bag? I suspect not.