Movie Diary 4/18/2009

The Reality of Hell (Creflo Dollar Ministries). Happened upon this on a religious station while channel-surfing. It’s a ten-minute video embedded into a sermon by Creflo Dollar, an experienced huckster whose God-money conglomerate is called World Changers. This amazingly sadistic short film depicts a young woman who slips into Hell after some kind of injury, a torture-porn sequence straight out of a Saw film. The woman writhes in a slimy little space, her mouth bound in a trendy S&M style, rotting creatures screaming, chains rattling, big red-eyed demon lurking around. I have to admit the “gotcha” ending works pretty well. This is a more technically sophisticated version of the filmstrips the nuns showed us in third grade, which were fairly simple renditions of people wading chest-deep through what looked like red-hot lava and a lake of fire. What a recruiting tool Hell is! The Creflo Dollar sermon, titled “The Reality of Hell,” can be found from the list on this page of his website, here; the scareshow begins around the 16:30 mark, and, as Rev. Dollar says, is “very close to what the Bible describes.”

Search for Beauty (Erle C. Kenton, 1934). Holy God Almighty, this is a weird movie. Buster Crabbe and Ida Lupino (she’s unrecognizable) are perfect athletic specimens who unwittingly help Robert Armstrong and James Gleason set up a fitness empire as a ruse to titillate people. Of course the movie itself is not at all doing the same thing. Some great lingo and a startling final joke.

Earth (Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield, 2007). I don’t care how nonchalant you are about nature documentaries, this one (gummed up a bit with cornball James Earl Jones narration) will have you gaping. If you have ever wondered what it would look like if lions attacked an elephant at night, and even if you haven’t, this will blow your mind. I wrote in my notes while watching the movie: “Look at all those fucking caribou.” Because there are a lot of caribou here, people.

Lemon Tree (Eran Riklis, 2008). The director and star of The Syrian Bride reunite for another parable about the current-day Israel-Palestine troubles. It helps that the star in question is Hiam Abbass. (full review 5/1)