A Test of Faith (Fiction Gems)

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Robin Williams portrayed Neil's dog Dennis, while the aliens are voiced by Jones and every other living member of Monty Python. Flash-forward 25 years to the Isle of Man, near where Mindhorn was shot, as police pursue Melly Russell Tovey , an escaped mental patient wanted for murder. He's willing to cooperate, but only if he can deal with Mindhorn Richard, however, is more than willing to help out police by heading back to the Isle of Man where his co-star and former lover still lives with their daughter , despite having no actual police skills but really looking to step out of his sad, post-fame existence.

There are few funnier places than that spot in the human psyche where delusion meets arrogance, and that is the area where Mindhorn comfortably resides. Over the last decade or so, the Chinese film industry has exploded, producing big movies on par with Hollywood blockbusters. And as the Western canon provides a rich history of fantasy — e. Legend of the Naga Pearls marks Novoland's auspicious U. The story is set in the mythical city of Uranapolis, where ho-hum humans and the angel-like Winged Tribe lived side-by-side, but with some hostility.

A war between the races led to the dominance of the humans and the Winged Tribe losing its flying abilities. The movie picks up with Xue Lie Simon Lam , an angry and possibly evil descendant of the most royal of the Winged Tribe, going on an adventure to locate the fabled Naga Pearls, which would destroy the humans once and for all. Those pearls, however, accidentally wind up in the possession of a human prince, constable, and thief, and they do everything they can to keep them out of Xue Lie's hands, a process which involves epic battles and dazzling fight and flight sequences.

Here's a compelling, and at times unsettling, movie that never quite goes where the viewer thinks it's going We come in on two young women, Nell Ellen Page and Eva Evan Rachel Wood , who live in a stately, window-covered home with their father Callum Keith Rennie in a beautiful, remote part of a forest. There's a far-reaching collapse of the national grid, but Nell and Ellen continue to live their lives as best they can.

But then the blackout continues, time passes agonizingly, the food and supply reserves dwindle, and some truly horrific things happen as Nell and Eva, far from civilization, wonder if society has completely collapsed — and fight for the lives they once took for granted. Eventually, they can't wait around anymore and must fend for themselves by heading Curious Creations is itself a curious creation.

It's a showcase for Christine McConnell, an Instagram sensation who constructs hilariously elaborate and impressive cakes, bakery sculptures, and crafts, often with a goth or horror bent. But there's a lot more to the show than making a tea set out of chocolate or cookie Ouija board —it's also darkly hilarious sitcom. It takes place in a fictionalized McConnell's idyllic home Among them are Rose, a trash-eating talking raccoon with a fork for a hand that McConnell proudly brought back from the dead; Rankle, a mummified cat straight out of ancient Egypt;, and Edgar, a werewolf who almost killed the mail carrier.

Other characters pop in, too, like a cousin who tries to burn the whole place down and kill everyone inside, an axe-loving suitor named Norman as in Bates , and a friendly ghost that lives in her home's mirrors. You've never seen anything like The Lobster. It's a dystopian story, or possibly utopian story, but it doesn't seem to be set in the future In this world, society is so committed to pairing people that those who go too long being single are transformed into animals.

David's dog companion, for example, used to be his brother. If they have trouble finding a mate who must have a distinguishing characteristic in common, such as a limp or a lisp , they can buy extra time by going out into the woods to hunt down those who choose to remain unattached and must subsequently live off the grid. As if all of this wasn't weird enough, the surreal storytelling is taken up a notch by the characters' tendency to speak in stilted, almost rehearsed tones.

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It all careens toward an ambiguous climax that speaks to the the wild things people will do to find love — and keep it. Yes, this is a romantic comedy, but it's by no means a trite, by-the-book romantic comedy. For one, it stars Ryan Reynolds, who delivers a very on-brand performance: sarcastic, flippant, and yet still engaging and charming.

It's also a story told by a purposely unreliable narrator — Will Reynolds , a guy going through a divorce who explains the story of how he met his now-ex-wife to his daughter, Maya Abigail Breslin. He makes a fun game out of it, obscuring details — including names — so as to make Maya try to guess which of Will's '90s-era flames is the one with whom he settled down and started a family. Was it college girlfriend Emily Elizabeth Banks?

Journalist Summer Rachel Weisz? Fellow Clinton campaign worker April Isla Fisher? Any of them could be "the one," and it's hard to count anybody out. A rom-com free of rom-com cliches, Definitely Maybe packs so many twists, turns, and unexpected surprises that it's almost as head-spinning as real-life love. Hell or High Water takes old fashioned Western movie tropes — outlaws, stoic sheriffs, the need for justice — and sets them in the present day. The result: a story where the bad guys have their understandable reasons for being bad, and the audience may not even want the "good guys" to win.

Facing bank foreclosure on their birthright — the West Texas ranch that's been in the family for years— brothers Toby and Tanner Howard Chris Pine and Ben Foster hatch a plot to get the money to save it.

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They hit up the very same bank's branches in distant, dusty towns and steal the money they need to essentially pay the bank back its own money. Toby, a divorced dad, is a somewhat reluctant robber, while Tanner is bit of a wild card, an ex-con who seems to delight in the excitement and violence of their scheme. Jeff Bridges, more grizzled and drawling than ever, plays the brilliant Texas Ranger on their case, a guy just trying to do his job.

Audiences will find themselves rooting for the boys to get away with their noble Robin Hoodery Surf movies aren't so much about surfing so much as they are about culture and atmosphere — the people who travel around the world to find the best spots to catch tasty waves, and what it feels like to be out there on the ocean in the early morning hours, at one with nature and one's board.

Breath is that kind of movie, a visceral, inviting film that will probably make viewers want to take up surfing as soon as possible. He mentors two enthusiastic teenage surf newbies in straight-laced Pikelet Samson Coulter and bad boy Loonie Ben Spence.

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The film is set in Western Australia in the '70s, and Baker also directed and co-wrote the movie, which explores what it means to be a surfer. Like most Americans, writer-director and Joshua Zeman and investigator Rachel Mills are fascinated with "urban legends" — those crazy, unsourced, undated stories that get passed around as the modern equivalent of folklore, detailing some bizarre or frightening happenstance.

They're tall tales and couldn't possible be true, because who's going to believe that your friend's cousin's sister's brother's friend died from eating poisoned Halloween candy, or that a guy with a hook attacked a couple of teens in a car on Makeout Point? Zeman and Mills are curious people, and they wanted to know where these urban legends began, so they did the legwork and made a documentary about it.

A Test of Faith, Fiction Gems by Karen Ball | | Booktopia

In Killer Legends, they trace four famous modern myths all thee way back to the real-life crimes that inspired the stories This documentary is fascinating and creepy, and it's not often one learns something from a horror movie. Yeah, this is basically a horror movie because it's about familiar terrors like "The Hookman," "The Candyman," "The Killer Clown" and the babysitter who gets a call "that's coming from inside the house.

Years before he wrote and directed the innovative sci-fi gem Looper no relation and an obscure little space movie called Star Wars: The Last Jedi, filmmaker Rian Johnson released Brick, a throwback to gritty, ambient, stylish, and stylized crime noir pictures of the midth century. The main difference: This here detective story is set at a suburban California high school. Imagine a very dark the titular brick is a load of heroin slow-burning Veronica Mars, and you've got a good idea of what Brick is like.

Recently dumped teen Brendan Joseph Gordon-Levitt must unravel a set of vague clues to locate his missing ex-girlfriend that involves a mysterious car, a mysterious cigarette, a weird party, and some guys Brendan definitely shouldn't mess with. It plays like an old mystery novel, but amazingly it's also difficult to predict where it's headed, let alone how it ends.

And unlike every other teen movie ever made, not everybody is guaranteed a happy ending. Just when you assume that every possible variation on the romantic comedy genre has been done, along comes Unleashed, a movie with a bizarre and delightfully doggone premise. It asks the question many have probably asked themselves in a moment of pure lonely desperation: What if your beloved pets came to life Unleashed stars Kate Micucci the charming character actress and comedian best known for The Big Bang Theory and Garfunkel and Oates as an unlucky-in-love app designer who moves to San Francisco and things fall apart with her boyfriend.

The oddest and cutest love triangle quickly develops when her cat, Ajax, and dog, Summit, magically and mysteriously transform into two human men. Justin Chatwin and Steve Howey both veterans of Shameless, oddly enough become the cat-like and dog-like man, respectively, and they're very much in love with their master-turned-object of desire.

Chatwin and Howey engage in some hilarious, over-the-top physical comedy, really going for it in their roles as confused animals in new bodies. It's the premise of lots of movies — protagonist rises out of bleak circumstances when they exhibit a remarkable talent. But Billy Elliot is different from those other movies because it isn't once treacly or mawkish, and committed first to the authenticity of the setting.

Intersection of Life and Faith

Billy Elliot takes place in the coal miner's strike in northeastern England in the mids, a bleak and poverty-stricken time. From here, Jamie Bell's Billy discovers a a way out — he's a tremendously talented dancer, and an irascible teacher played by Julie Walters wants to help him develop his gifts. And those are not approved by his family, owing to class, gender, time period, and expense, among other things. There's great chemistry between the two leads, playing near-polar opposites: Mendelsohn's Gerry is a likable loser whose life is a perpetual mess due to his habits and the actor wears all that experience like a costume , while Reynolds' affable Curtis is seemingly just along for the sake of fun and adventure.

Mississippi Grind is ultimately a compellingly realistic movie about gambling, as it captures both the highest highs of a good luck streak turned financially fruitful This wry, breezy ensemble comedy explores the divergent, intersecting lives — particularly the seedy, scandalous shenanigan parts — of the entrants in the most wholesomely kooky thing ever: a Midwestern butter sculpture contest.

These are very real competitions in the dairy-heavy Heartland, and the one in Butter revolves around the Iowa State Fair. Master butter-worker Bob Pickler Ty Burrell is forced to retire from competition after winning it 15 years in a row, but inspires a year-old foster kid named Destiny Yara Shahidi to compete after she makes a Holy Grail to complete Bob's rendition of "The Last Supper.

Come for the wacky comedy, stay for the hilarious butter sculptures in the film's climactic moments. Not long before Jennifer Lawrence launched into superstardom with The Hunger Games, portraying a young woman whose ability to make do in the wilderness will serve her well, she played a character as no-nonsense, survival-minded, and in touch with the land as Katniss Everdeen. Rural teenager Ree Dolly literally has to save her family and her home. Her dad cooks meth, but has skipped bail and disappeared, and it's up to her to hunt him down in the mountainous, forested Ozark region and get him to turn himself in, or it'll mean Ree and her whole family will lose their home.

Feeling like a visceral, American-style Greek tragedy, Ree must travel the spread-out backwoods and pry information out of people who don't want to give it to her they're all hostile for her not keeping her mouth shut and siding with the authorities rather than her people while the clock ticks and the stress and doom loom large. It's a bleak, fascinating movie about a culture not often depicted onscreen, and Lawrence proves she's a talent for the ages.

There are lots of movies about small town life, and movies about families where each member is trapped in a certain role forever. Junebug explores those topics, but knows that family is complicated and subtle — in other words, it's realistic. The North Carolina family at the center of Junebug isn't dumb; they don't talk much to each other, but still communicate volumes about their own frustrations about life. Chicago art dealer Madeline Embeth Davidtz marries George Alessandro Nivola , but his family doesn't attend the wedding.

When Madeline goes to sign a folk artist who lives near George's family, they pop in for a visit. George's relatives are recognizable archetypes to anyone with a family: never-wrong matriarch Peg Celia Weston , stoic and withholding dad Eugene Scott Wilson , and brother Johnny Ben McKenzie , a gruff guy bristling under the pressures of adulthood. His high school sweetheart-turned-wife Ashley Amy Adams is nine months pregnant.

Adams steals the movie as Ashley — sweet, kind, genuinely interested in others — but Adams resists the easy route to play her character as a simpleton.