Regression (2015)

Okay so I watched this unplanned last night after watching A Walk in the Woods (review to come). I was originally going to read, but then I ran across this on Amazon Prime and thought, “Hey I almost bought that movie Saturday!” That led me to watching it. Thank you Amazon Prime, thank you because I didn’t want to spend $20.00 on this.

What’s it About?

17 year old Angela Gray accuses her father of raping her. Though having no memory of this, the father says he did it. Detective Bruce Kenner along with psychology professor Kenneth Raines, work to get to the bottom of what really happened. Kenneth uses hypnotic regression to trigger memories not only in John, his father, but also the other members of the Gray family. This brings to light the activity of a satanic cult. Angela recalls, in very detailed manners, the rituals, the rape, the cult sacrificing babies, the painted faces, and tells a  chilling story. Soon, even our detective falls prey to what he believes is real and what is fake.

Who is in it?

Ethan Hawke as the detective, Emma Watson as Angela Gray, and David Thewlis as Kenneth our psychologist. Along with Lothaire Bluteau, Dale Dickey, David Dencik, and Devon Bostik. Devon Bostik being in this actually surprised me and made me happy because I love him on The 100.

Should You Watch It?

First off, it is important to note that this film is inspired by true events. During the 80’s and 90’s a widespread paranoia about satanic child abuse and rituals was sweeping through the nation, and there were even some court cases but a lack of hard evidence. I always like when a movie is based off of something real and talks about something so controversial.

Ethan Hawke does a tremendous job at playing the detective. The detective starts off having a hard time believing that a satanic cult, or the devil, is real. Then he falls into the paranoia that the cult will be after him next. He captures the seriousness, confusion, belief, and fear of his character very well.

Emma Watson also gives a pretty good performance. If you wanna keep watching her in roles outside of Harry Potter give this a shot. She does a pretty convincing job of playing deeply disturbed Angela Gray who is involved in nearly unspeakable deeds.

Technically the film is also pretty good. Script wise it is strong, and the camera angles are beautifully done. For some people, it would be a turn off that it is hard to tell real vs. fake at times and the special effects do get a little out there, but there is definitely worse

The film’s subject is not for everyone. If you do not want to see a deeply religious person, the satanic devil involvement, a stereotypical psychologist who is science minded, and the discussion of rape, sacrificing, and child abuse then this film is not for you. Seriously, I warned you.

The ending. I saw the ending coming about half-way through the film. Taking into consideration I was familiar with the phenomena and the cases the film is based on, and because of one very specific shot put into the film, I saw it coming. I think they tried to give closure to the viewers, and the ending was okay, but I wish it was done slightly differently.

Final Thoughts:

Okay I would give this a 7.5/10. Cinematically and technically this film was sound. Alejandro Amenabar did a great job directing this, his camera angles, choice of lighting, and overall direction was well done and complimented the film. I liked the core, special effects, script, and acting overall. This is a good mystery/thriller. Is it something you need to watch right now? Nah, probably not. However, it is worth a try. I mean I would watch this again just to pay more attention to the detective as he becomes obsessed with this case. I mean OBSESSED with this case, sleep-deprived, confused, and scared, but also confident at times. Brava Ethan Hawke, brava. He really brought it all together.

Image: http://www.empirecinemas.co.uk/synopsis/regression/f4716

The Church

I go to a non-denominational church. It is a pretty big church actually, with a total of 5 services on Sunday (3 in English and 2 in Spanish). The kid department is overwhelmingly large (trust me, I used to work in it). The people are great though. In my past experiences large churches were just overwhelming – flashy, loud, bright, with a constant non-stop buzz. My church isn’t though, it is large but not flashy. It is loud but loud because nothing makes our family happier than loudly singing and proclaiming all that is good. The church is also quiet – quiet as we gather around to listen, to learn, to pray, to be empathetic and welcoming, to be understanding, congratulating, and humble. To be adventurous but to be adventurous for God when he calls us to go and we go. There is always something going on – an author, a special guest, a worship night, a prayer fast for the month, baptisms, new people, baby dedications, and it is joyful to get to see the Holy Spirit moving throughout the church.

It is important to remember that not all Christians are the same. There are people who use the name of God (and even specific religions) to condemn and dismiss others that they feel don’t fit into the Kingdom of God.

But then there are some of us who know that there is a spot for everyone in the Kingdom of God just take the step. We use the beauty of our God to exhibit love, kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance of ALL people – not just people we deem fit because it is not up to us. My church stands for this and it makes me proud for it to be a part of my home.

I grew up in a small baptist church going with one of my friends and her family. I don’t remember much honestly, and I can’t exactly tell you why I didn’t like it there, I just didn’t. It could be because I didn’t feel welcomed, accepted, loved, I just felt like a physical body showing up. Then I started suffering from depression and stopped going to church. When I did go back I went to a church that cared more about the flashiness and less about the message. I stopped going again for 2 years. Now I am in a church that feels like home and I am addicted – seriously I can’t get enough of it and it is wonderful. I think it is important for a person to find a church where they feel at home.

A place they feel loved.

A place they feel accepted.

A place they feel they can connect with God.

A place that is more than just a building.

My family doesn’t go to church – just me. They used to (they went to the more flashy church and for some reason they stopped going. They liked it, but they stopped, maybe even though they liked it they didn’t feel connected). Trust me though – I ask constantly if they want to go and I will go to ANY service of their choosing. I go to the earliest service *yay being a morning person* but they are not morning people so I would gladly go to second or third service. However, my brother promised to go to one service when he feels ready and that is okay I am praying for him (and the rest of them) to find God and when he is ready I will gladly take him. They sometimes get tired of me talking about my faith but it hasn’t stopped me yet – just like every “no, not this week,” has not stopped me from asking.

It doesn’t matter what church you grew up going to (if you did), it does not matter what denomination those around you associate with if they associate with one at all. The beauty of being a child of God is that He gives us freedom and with freedom comes choices. We get to pick our churches and our denominations, and it is a person’s choice to believe or to not believe in God.

Recently I met up with two of my friends who I have not seen in almost a year. One of whom grew up in a Catholic church and since moving to college has been going to a Church of Christ. Her mom does not support her doing this. I however am happy to see her going to church after moving to a new city and going from high school to college. I am happy to see her finding herself through God and finding a place that she loves and feels at home with. I am happy to see how happy she is about her new church, the people, and what she feels like has become a home to her.

My other friend grew up in a large Baptist church. Actually the largest Baptist church in my town. Her fiance does not like Baptist churches (bad experiences) and prefers non-denominational churches. He happens to go to my church – which was a shocker to me but he goes to 2nd service and I go to 1st which is why we never see each other – and she has been coming to church with him. She also hasn’t been able to go to church every week after a recent promotion to manager – but she goes bi-weekly. Her friends and family have told her that she is pulling away from God and also do not support her changing churches. Again this breaks my heart. I hear her talk about how much she likes our church and how much she enjoys it and her eyes light up. But I can see how much the disapproval saddens her. I am happy for her going out and trying something new, and discovering how much she likes it. I am happy for her searching for God in different ways outside what she was raised.

The point is we all have the choice. We pick our church, our religious beliefs, and how we live our life. It is important to seek God however you feel he is calling you to do that and sometimes he calls us in different ways than those around us. Also, going to church every week does not make you less of a Christian. Sometimes we have a job that does not allow us to have Sunday morning’s off, that’s okay. Sometimes you discover a church that is different than what you were raised in, that’s okay. Sometimes you go from being a person who went to church, stopped going, went again, stopped going, and then going again, that’s okay. Sometimes you go from being a person who never went to church and now going, that’s okay. Sometimes you find one church, one denomination, and you always believed and you always stay there, that’s okay. What matters is that you are seeking God and to each person that looks different because our journey’s and experiences are different.

The Do-Over (2016) (A Netflix Original Film)

So I watched this in a spur-of-the moment, tired of doing my college classwork moment. I am not sure what I went in expecting this film to be like.

***SPOILER ALERT, SPOILER ALERT***

What’s it About?

When Max (Adam Sandler) and Charlie (David Spade) fake their own deaths and assume the identity of two men, they soon find themselves living the lives of two sought out men, one of whom is on the FBI’s most wanted list. Thinking they landed in the spot of a luxurious life with a new home, new name, new car, and new mansion, they find themselves in a race against the clock to save their lives and find what the two men were hiding.

Who is in it?

Adam Sandler, David Spade, Paula Patton, and Kathryn Hahn, with an excellent supporting cast including Sean Astin, Nick Swardson, Matt Walsh, and Renee Taylor.

Should You Watch It?

Okay, this film is surprisingly serious. Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely comedic, but the root of the film is an extremely controversial topic.

Sandler and Spade make a pretty good comedic team. Max’s character is definitely hiding something and his go along, slightly psychotic character is a lot of fun to watch, and is even disturbing at times. Charlie’s character has a pretty pitiful life and it is quite sad to watch. He is definitely more uptight and reserved when compared to Max and it makes it even more interesting to watch.

It is hilarious to see the same guy get hit with a car three times. He really couldn’t catch a break.

The ending was actually very good. The film starts off focusing on just the comedic aspect, then this meshes in the middle with action, and the film ends with resolution, comedy, and had a scene that really brought it all together.

Okay, here is the spoiler DO NOT READ IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW. We discover that the men Max and Charlie were portraying actually found a cure for cancer. A pharma company that would lose trillions if a cure was found makes an offer to the doctor that Spade’s character is pretending to be if he were to bury the cure. The doctor refuses and this gets him killed. This is all I will say in case anyone read this part anyways so it doesn’t give away too much.

Overall Thoughts:

I would give it a 7/10. The camera work, cuts, editing, music, fight-scenes, locations, and technicalities were all very well executed. There was an actual story with a problem that many people discuss today. There were times where I felt like a scene went on for too long or was unnecessary and took away from the quality of the story , or that the script was pushing too hard to try and be funny instead of letting it be naturally comedic and let it flow a little better since at times it was too scripted. Be aware that there is nudity in this and crude language if that bothers you.

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Do-Over