In Theaters Now


The Passion of The Christ
by Loretta A. Stradley

Lance Vermont is on hiatus.

The Passion of the Christ was the most intense movie I have seen in a very long time. The dramatic depiction of the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life from the betrayal of Judas in the olive garden to the final moments on the cross was so realistic I felt as if I was there.

I was prepared for the movie to be gory from what I had heard. What I was not prepared for was the brutality and the remarkable looking realism. During the flogging of Jesus you can actually see the flesh being gouged out and the lifelike looking blood flowing from the wounds. I wondered how they were able to make it look so real with out actually hurting the actor, Jim Caviezel.

Maia Morgenstern was incredible as Mary, mother of Jesus. As a mother myself, I could feel her pain while she watched the torture and the crucifixion of her son. The actress portrayed the mother’s pain quite well. I almost cried when I saw the grief etched on her face.

I was not aware that the movie would be subtitled, but it did give it a more convincing feel when the actors only spoke Aramaic and Latin. Aramaic, for those who don’t know, is closely related to Hebrew and most probable the language spoken in the time of Jesus. Latin was the language of the Roman Governor of Palestine, Pontius Pilate. It didn’t matter for the passion and the drama came through anyway. All the actors must be commended for their dynamic and convincing portrayals.

What came across to me was the politics of the whole condemnation. The leading Jewish priests and Pharisees were afraid that Jesus was taking their influence away from them. They demanded of Pilate, who was stuck between a rock and a hard place, to put Jesus to death by crucifixion, the worst punishment reserved for the worst crimes. If Pilate didn’t do, as they demanded, then there would be rioting, and if there was rioting and continued unrest his emperor would have him punished. You almost felt sorry for the man because his wife, Claudia, believed that Jesus should be rescued. He couldn’t win either way.

I highly recommend this movie because of its special effects, make up artistry, and best of all the performances of the actors from the title role to the extras. They were fantastic! As Lance would say, it is worth the price of the popcorn, but bring your Kleenex just in case.

Editors note, we also spoke with a devote Christian girl in her 20's who recently saw the film and states that "everyone should see it." She found it very closely follows the Bible (although she stated it was missing the part where he goes down into Hell and then later resurects) and makes you understand what he went through.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave this movie an "A" rating. He was once a Catholic alter boy and states that "The Passion of Christ" actually follows the 14 stations of the cross, which is a ceremony done at Lent. Ebert's review is quite in-depth about the mechanics behind the story from a Catholic-Journalist who is one of the world's formost critics. Ebert, of course, has been a part of "At The Movies" for more than a decade. The show began as a local PBS offering on WTTW in Chicago and became a national network sensation. His late partner on the show, Gene Siskel, died a few years back. Gene reviewed for the Chicago Tribune.

To read Roger Ebert's full review on "The Passion of Christ" click here!

It should also be noted that some scholars fault the Latin being used, stating that Greek would have been more appropriate for the Middle East.

Finally, as Roger Ebert properly pointed out there is no anti-semetic message in the crusifiction. If we are to believe the Chrisitian Bible all of this was God's plan and nothing could be done to stop it. Christ was born to die on the cross! It wasn't a Jewish or Roman decision it was God's decision. If you chose NOT to beleive in Christian thinking, then Jesus, who was a Jew, was given a very common treatment in those days. Anyone who stepped across the line would have died on a cross!

For another take on this controversial film we have:

A Passion for Sadists and Masochists.

By Michael Levy

Why would anybody want to sit through two hours of gut wrenching, mind numbing barbarity on the silver screen, made for family entertainment?

By all accounts Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is a violent and brutal movie. Even in the name of art and religion, there can be no excuse for magnifying violence. As a man thinketh so shall he be...Therefore; those who want to watch two hours of unadulterated brutality will magnetize brutality into their minds and thus into their lives

It is a well known fact that negative, traumatic thoughts cause stress related diseases such as cancer. The passion is a traumatic, ferocious film and brings overreaching violence into peoples lives in the name of religion. Showing violent scenes can never, ever can be justified no matter how the intellect tries to find reasons for it. And it is especially erroneous to focus on the turbulent last few days of a mans life, when most of his life was spent helping folks to live in love & joy.

Jesus said; "Be as a child and you will live in joy in the kingdom of heaven." We are all children of God and the question we must ask is would we allow our children to view the movie....If it is not fit for children to watch then Jesus would not approve of any adult watching it.

Take away the religious aspect of the movie and all we have left is a man being tortured to death and who wants to watch that? Would you like to see a movie of a young girl being raped and murdered for two hours?

Of course, some strong stomached fundamental Christians will claim it depicts the cruelty mankind heaped on Christ and he died to save us from our sins. That may well be, but it still is not an excuse to fill the screen with nightmare scenes of extreme, intense, duress and viciousness.

In geneses God said; "All is good" and The Passion of the Christ is NOT a good movie .......It is only suitable for Sadists and Masochists who want to dress up violence with a cover of religious history....For Christ's sake, live with his message of love thy neighbor and treat them as you would treat yourself...Graphic violence is not a treat ... it is insanity!

A superb film that is dedicated to Jesus' message of peace and harmony would be the hallmark of a producer with a flare of genius, whereas this movie is the hallmark of a producer/director whose passion is for sadistic violence.

.The author, Michael Levy was born in Manchester, England on the 6th March 1945. After many life experiences and a successful business career he retired to Florida in 1992. In 1998 Michael established Point of Life, Inc., as a vehicle to project his philosophy and spiritual understanding. The website and the associated newsletter (Point Of Life Global Newsletter) are visited and read by thousands of people around the world every month. Michael is a frequent speaker on radio, television (just a few examples UK; BBC, ITV4..USA; NBC, C-Span, ABC, Howard Stern Show) and at seminars where he shares and discusses his views about the purpose of life, finding peace and enjoyment and leading a healthy, stress-free life.

In just a few years he has become a world renowned poet. In 2002 Michael was invited to become a member of the prestigious Templeton Speaker's Bureau.

Michael has recently established the Point of Life Foundation, a National Heritage Foundation dedicated to bridging the gap between science and religion and to bringing a clear, unbiased message to the general public to help them lead a meaningful, sharing and enjoyable existence. Starting in 2003 the Point of Life Foundation will present seminars and conferences bringing together opinion leaders from the fields of science, religion, medicine, philosophy and nutrition to help find common guidelines for leading a purposeful life.

Michael Levy is the author four books "What is the Point? "Minds of Blue Souls of Gold" "Enjoy Yourself - It's Later Than You Think" and "Invest with a Genius." Michael's poetry and essays now grace many web sites, Journals and Magazines throughout the world.His philosophies have become a major source of Truth, Wisdom and Love for many people. Just one example from many........ The Royal Collage of Psychiatry has recently published two of his works. He has recently become a host on the Point Of Life Show at Radio America.

Web Sites :



Fifty First Dates

One of our teenage correspondents recently saw this film and loved it! She's a big Adam Sandler film and says this film is both funny and sad.

The plot of the movie is that Adam Sandler falls for this girl (played by "Charlie's Angels" star Drew Barrymore) who suffers from a lack of short term memory. Thus, the day after she goes out on a date with Sandler she doesn't remember him or the date! It's like he's a total stranger. The problem his, he really likes her and wants more than just a "quicky" relationship. He wants romance with a history, something she can't do since she won't remeber him tomorrow! In fact, she denies knowing him or even liking him, so he has to start all over again from scratch.

This would be a great date movie! It would be something both guys and girls could enjoy and laugh about!


Lord of the Rings Wins Big-Time

The fantasy film "Lord of the Rings (Part 3) Return of the King" won Best Picture and many other Oscars at the Acadamey Awards Show in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 29th.

Fantasy films have traditionally never won major awards in the past. "The Wizard Of Oz" for example, was nominated but only won for special effects.

The Lord Of The Rings, which consists of three huge books (known in the book trade as 'tomes') plus a huge prequil. They were written in the 1930's by an Oxford schollar based on stories he told to his children at bedtime. The stories deal with inter-racial cooperation, courage, compassion and virtue set against a mythical background called "Inner Earth" in a time long before man walk the surface. Wizards, Warriors, Elves, Hobbits, Beasts and Dragons are among the many players in this tale. These books have been discovered over and over again by high school and college students. There have also been previous attempts to bring the stories to both small and large screens, but usually as animation movies. The classic rock group Led Zeppellin wrote several songs based on the Hobbit tales and even Leonard "Mr. Spok" Nimoy wrote and sang his own ode to Bilbo Baggins on Paramount Records back in 1966 (and he sold the pressing, recording a total of two albums for Paramount which were released as "Star Trek" music offerings, they are now collectors items).

This movie is still playing at selected theaters around the world. Our review of LOTR is found last month in our holiday special issue.

In this issue we have a humor piece on how to give LOTR An Oscar Or Two (we only assume Golem got a little gluttonous as they ended up with far more than that)!

Comedy and Action Adventure

Starsky and Hutch (2004)
by Lance Vermont

Growing up with the original Starsky and Hutch I was a little reluctant to see it rehashed in a movie, but Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are such great comedic actors, so I thought I would give the movie a chance. I am glad I did, because it was fun too watch them do their thing on the screen.

They kept to the original story. Sometimes extra things will be added to shows that are being shown again with new stars but they stayed with the basic story concept. Written and directed by Todd Philips, Mr. Phillips not only wrote a good plot but he let the actors spread out a little and get their mojo going. Very good Mr. Philips!

Snoop Dogg made an excellent choice as Huggy Bear. I was amazed at how well he did too. I did not know he could act. In fact I don't think anyone knew but he was fantastic. Thumbs up Mr. Dogg! Well done!

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson kept to the original characters but you could still see their own shtick in there. They were almost convincing as the original characters. Almost!

There was just enough action to keep it interesting but the best part was watching Stiller and Wilson playing off of each other. The laughs kept coming and coming, from the looks on their faces with the nude woman to the accidental cocaine use by Starsky. All in all I think this was a good movie if all you want is some fun. There was nothing too hard to understand but lots of laughs! I rate this movie worth the popcorn and soda.

DVD Review


Jean Claude Van Damme
Sofia Milos
Brian Thompson
Ben Cross
Charlton Heston

Written by Les Weldon and Jean Claude Van Damme
Directed by Sheldon Lettich

I got this DVD to get my dose of action, violence and karate and wasn’t let down for a moment!

Up until the very ending the writing actually held up! At the ending, however, it reverted to a canned, phoned home, Sylvester Stallone movies. In fact the bad guy in this film was once the bad guy in one of those canned, phoned home Stallone films (Cobra) and the ending plot was even close to that same dud of a film.

Van Damme’s a second story man (cat burglar) who at the start of the film is off to steal a priceless Faberge egg held by the Russian Mafia. The heist is discovered half-way through by the police and the first of many excellent chases is on!

Van Damme manages to get away and next he is home in the U.S. where he stops off to see dear, old dad, who is, like the father of Indiana Jones, a middle East historian and archaeologist of sorts. He has this scroll this is the lost chapter to the “bible” of a renegade religious sect known as “The Order.” This sect was founded during the Crusades by a Christian solider and officer who took offense to the carnage caused by both sides. Since the sect is renegade by nature, they are still a somewhat underground organization that meets secretly in the Middle East and their membership is very secretive.

Before dear old dad can tell our hero more about what is soon to happen, Van Damme is off to meet with his fence to get ride of the Egg. The fence confiscates the Egg during the transaction at a disco and another fight scene with leaps from tall buildings and lots of kung-fu action occurs (and we are only 25 minutes into the movie so far).

As a result of the fight Van Damme ends up in jail, where he’s informed that they are also looking for his dad who has disappeared and possibly take the scroll which is now missing and stolen (why would his father break the case it was in if he already had a key for the lock? Asks Van Damme).

After getting released he heads home and gets a call from his father who tells him that he is in Israel (this movie is an Israeli co-production) so that’s where Van Damme heads for on the next plane.

Once in Israel Van Damme gets followed about by the police, who has assigned a woman officer to his case (Sofia Milos) and soon more chases and actions follows, including the quick disposal of Charlton Heston (better known as Moses to most of you, from the C.B. DeMille movie) who plays a cameo as one of his dad’s long-time friends. Heston gets killed after a chase scene (that destroys his vintage auto) by members of The Order (?).

A merry chase with the police goes through the orthodox Jewish sections and Muslim sections of the area, complete with music that enjoys some lifts from “Hora” songs of Jewish heritages and even a little like Fiddler on the Roof! At one point Van Damme takes on the orthodox Jewish garb to hide from the locals.

A TV report shows the current head of “The Order” has died in a mysterious car explosion and his second in command (the bad guy in this film) has taken charge. The second in command is a militant and he wants to start a holy war to take over everything.

This, then, becomes the ultimate plot of the movie as Van Damme, the girl police officer and her friends from “The Order” (of which she was once a member) eventually discover the plot to explode a large bomb under a religious ceremony. Also involved in this plot with “The Order” are members of the Israeli police (Sofia’s superiors).

Van Damme, Sofia, his dear old dad (who is discovered locked away in the caves under the old city) break free from the bad guys and go into another fight and chase sequence.

This film is loaded with fight sequences and several great vehicle chases! There’s also lots of historic footage from the Middle East, which is where a lot of this film was shot.

If you can live with the really D- movie ending, the rest of this film is a sold B+ or A- action film!

This is definitely not a film you watch because of the high browse writing and story line!


The Musician's PlaceTo Shop!
Instant Gift Certificates!

© 2001-2005 Issues Magazine.
All Rights Reserved.

Get 15 FREE prints!