My Scientology is about Louis Theroux's attempts to investigate the truth behind the mysterious religion known as Scientology. Prepare for a wild, riveting and illuminating roller coaster ride with twists and turns along the way. You've never seen this side of Scientology before as Theroux tries to get an interview with Scientologists and gain access to their facility, a task that's easier said than done. Some of the footage is quite shocking and even horryfing given how Orwellian the Scientologists and Scientology as whole seem. Director John Dower deserves to be commended for finding just the right balance between entertaining the audience and provoking them emotionally as well as intellectually. There's not a dull moment to be found in this well-edited doc that offers both style and substance. Magnolia Films opens My Scientology Movie at Landmark Sunshine Cinema. Another doc opening this week is Cries From Syria, directed by Evgeny Afineevsky, about the plight of Syrians when they attempted to overthrow their tyrannical government in hopes of starting a revolution.
In the 19th Century American West ,Liz (Dakota Fanning), who's mute, lives on a ranch with her husband, Eli (William Houston). When a new reverend (Guy Pearce) arrives in town, he threatens them and kills Eli. The plot then rewinds to show how Liz's tongue was cut off and what her exact relations are with the reverend. Carice van Houten plays the reverend's wife, Anna.
Although Brimstone is very dark and unflinchingly violent, it's also exhausting, pretentious, and tedious. The screenplay by writer/director Martin Koolhoven presents the events of the story in reverse chronological order which is quite a bold choice, but it doesn't quite serve the film in an effective way like it did to another film starring Guy Pearce, Memento. Fanning and Pearce both give good performances, but they fail to rise above the stilted screenplay which doesn't breathe any life into their roles. There's a very creepy subplot that will make some audience members' stomachs turn or at least induce some cringing.
Very little happens that will make you care about anything that happens to the characters, and the consistently grim tone quickly turns monotonous because there's not nearly enough levity. At a running time of 2 hours and 28 minutes, which feels more like 5 hours, Brimstone is one of the most painfully boring, overlong and disappointing Westerns since Heaven's Gate.
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