Friday's movie reviews run the quality gamut, with "Higher Ground" receiving three-and-a-half stars and "A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy" getting zero stars. So I trucked over to Movies Critic Michael Phillips' cubicle to ask him about it.
First, about the good movie.
"Hollywood rarely deals with faith and religion without making the film inaccessible to someone, cutting off whole swaths of the audience," Michael said. Think of Mel Gibson's religious film, "Passion of the Christ."
But he felt that "Higher Ground" is really good. It took years to finance, and Vera Farmiga was originally just going to act in it. But she didn't like the rewrites, and eventually they asked her if she'd prefer just to direct it, which she did.
The zero-star movie.
"I try, like with four-star movies, to give it out once or twice a year. You don't want to cry wolf. You want people to believe you," Michael said. But this? This wasn't funny.
I asked, since it was so bad, why he didn't just walk out of it. The answer:
"We're paid to see the whole thing and try to figure out why we wanted to walk out, but didn't!" He laughed, and I couldn't tell if it was a funny-laugh or a funny-because-it's-sad laugh.
Anyway, there they both were to review in a single week, and the result is in your A+E Movies section Friday, along with stories about NASA and Hollywood, a review of "Five Days of War," celebrity coverage and Ask Amy.
-- James Janega
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