Cinema Reviews

by Bobby Matherne

Movies we watched this past Month
Hits (watch as soon as you can):
Ben Hur

I've seen this one many times before, but this time I had it on a side tv while I watched I, Claudius on DVD so I could easily pause at the moments I wanted to re-watch, and saw the first time when Juda ben Hur encounters Jesus. It was during his enslavement and chained trip to the galley where he is supposed to die. Forbidden by the guard to be given water, Jesus leaves his carpentry work to take him some water to revive and refresh Juda ben Hur. The Roman guard notices that his ban on water is being violated and comes over to stop Jesus, but when he looks into Jesus's eyes, the guard's face changes from anger to trepidation and he stops, is speechless, and he retreats. The guard's ability to see into his own karmic destiny is unveiled in that moment by the Lord of Karma and he is troubled by what he sees is in store for him as a result of his actions in this lifetime. Juda ben Hur, on the other hand, is heartened by what he sees when he looks at Jesus, he is revived by what he sees, and stands up, taller than before, his "I" brought visibly into action again. Seeing in his own life how he will fulfil his karmic destiny brings him strength and courage once more to face whatever trials lie ahead of him. One man, Jesus, and he evokes two distinctly different reactions in two men. How is that possible unless the reaction is directly personal and therefore karmically connected.
Thanks to an insight shared with me by my friend Kristina Kaine I found that I was able to understand clearly the interactions. She said that Christ Jesus was like a movie screen upon which people saw their own karma played out. Jesus washed Juda ben Hur's face, gave him water, and said nothing. The Roman guard who had prohibited him water came over to stop  Jesus and when he got near and looked in Jesus's face, again without words being spoken, the Roman's face showed intense trepidation --- exactly as if  he had just seen the light poured into his dreamless sleep of darkness and had witnessed his karma played out before him and was unable to continue in his pathetic torture of  Juda ben Hur or probably anyone else thereafter. Juda ben Hur, revived by the water, but more so by his viewing his own karmic destiny played out before him, arose and stood erect, an amazing transformation that cannot be only laid at the feet of the water's effects. In his karmic destiny, his own "I" was bolstered and when the "I" is strengthened, it automatically shows itself in the posture. Hmmm, that's the reason teenagers tend to have such atrocious posture at times -- their "I" is lacking water due to their tendency to follow their peers in fads, fashions, modes of speech, and thoughts. No "I" in that activity.

A Voyager episode in which Neelix and Tuvoc get merged into one being, Tuvix, and the Captain has to decide whether to separate them again after having given up hope and named the new mixture. Tuvix makes a plea to be spared from "execution." Powerful drama.
Dead Poets' Society

A Robin Williams classic tale. Who can forget Carpe Diem or Captain, my Captain? The English teacher who has the class tear out the Introduction to the Poetry book so they will not be stultified in their appreciation of poetry. They retreat to a cave with a book of poetry to inhale the words of dead poets and bring girls there to swoon at the words. Heady stuff for youngsters and treasonous behavior for their headmasters who are forced into revealing their concrete hard stodginess, but not before some blood is shed and the English teacher is scapegoated.  


with Al Pacino and Robin Williams was an intriguing and suspenseful detective movie - in which one of the roles is that of a detective novel writer. Who would survive the battle of the wits - the detective or the writer? It was a case where if the detective solved the crime he was assigned to solve, he would convict himself of a crime. Like an ouroboros eating its own tail, if he feasted too much, he was a goner.
Changing Lanes

Another flick in which a slight lapse of morality threatens to lead to the demise of the two lead characters played by Samuel Jackson and Ben Affleck. Jackson provides us insight into the addiction that underlies alcoholism as he finds his life in the same kind of chaos without drinking as it was before. Affleck learns how to use the law for fun and profit, but wonders if even a big sailboat is worth the loss of one's soulboat.  
Enemy of the State

with Gene Hackman - should be enough to scare the pants off anybody. Satellites tracking you overhead. Computer imagery rotating camera images. Computer tracking of movements in buildings. All this in place and they can't find Ben Laden, makes you wonder how much of this movie was fantasy.
Jane Eyre

Don't know how I miss reading the story - my wife said she read it four or five times. Governess Jane is strong-willed and moral - a lugubrious combination in most Victorian stories - such women end up as long-suffering spinsters. Will Jane get together with her Mr. Rochester or go to India with the young missionary? Worth seeing to the end.  
A great movie in which the actress who played Jane Eyre in the previous movie we saw, played Harriet Smith in this movie. Jane Austen's Emma springs to life on the screen. A young matchmaker who loves to create matches for couples, but is oblivious to the natural matches that are going on under her nose.
Nobody's Baby
About a baby put up for adoption whose couriers died in an automobile accident which the baby survived. The fugitive petty criminal is a 20 something young man who was clueless about what to do with a baby, but kept her alive as he grew up fast. Gary Oldham played his comrade - one of the whackiest roles Gary ever played. And guess who played the baby's wet nurse? Mary Steenbergen. Go figure. A very entertaining movie, full of fun and surprises all the way to the end.
Misses (avoid at all costs):


WORST picture of the year! I want my money back. I went to see this expecting to entertained and was repulsed instead. Where do I apply for a refund? To the Academy Awards Selection Committee I suppose, as this movie appearing in their selection is what led me to even consider going to see it. This was a musical, all right, but any resemblance to "Sound of Music" or "My Fair Lady" stops as soon as you listen to the words of the songs which have to do with darkness and immorality. Just a hint - the three female leads all go to death row for killing their husbands, and that's not at the end of the movie, but at the beginning. If it's the only movie with seating available at a multiplex, buy some popcorn, go home and watch "I Love Lucy" reruns on television. You'll be better entertained than by watching Richard Gere trying to dance like Gene Kelley or Fred Astaire or Mike Douglas's wife trying to imitate Liza Minnelli.

See Bobby Matherne's website for many more movie and book reviews: www.doyletics.com; Email: [email protected]; Monthly Newsletter