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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Season of the Witch

posted by Nell Minow
C-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violence and disturbing content
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:Brief sexual references and non-sexual nudity
Alcohol/Drugs:Alcohol
Violence/Scariness:Intense and sometimes grisly fantasy and battle violence, monster
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:January 7, 2011
DVD Release Date:June 28, 2011
C-
Lowest Recommended Age: High School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violence and disturbing content
Profanity: None
Nudity/Sex: Brief sexual references and non-sexual nudity
Alcohol/Drugs: Alcohol
Violence/Scariness: Intense and sometimes grisly fantasy and battle violence, monster
Diversity Issues: None
Movie Release Date: January 7, 2011
DVD Release Date: June 28, 2011

This is sword-and-sorcery film named after a Donovan song that features a joke swiped from “Jaws” — a priest looks balefully up at a looming demon and actually says, “We’re going to need more holy water.” It is a hopeless mish-mash that feels like they were making it up as they went along. It’s also dull.

Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman play Crusades-era knights and best bros named Behman and Felson who like to engage in jocular banter as they mow down infidels. When the commanding priest sends them to kill unarmed civilians, telling them they are not allowed to question him because he speaks for God, they go AWOL. They come to a town afflicted by the black plague. The Cardinal (a pustulous Christopher Lee) orders them to deliver the witch they believe responsible for the pestilence to a distant abbey, where there is a book with the necessary incantation to defeat her powers.

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And so, there is a journey, hauling the accused witch in an iron cage, guided by a swindler who says he knows the way and accompanied by a priest and an alter boy who wants to be a knight. They encounter a rickety bridge, demon wolves, and some beautiful Hungarian scenery while the girl in the cage (Claire Foy) runs mind games on them and we check our watches to see how much more before it’s all over.

 

 

The production design by Uli Hanisch and the cinematography by Amir M. Mokri are stunning. Sadly, the vapidity of the script overcomes their atmospheric effect.

 

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Parents should know that this movie has many disturbing and grisly images including dead bodies (some of which shudder and twitch) and victims of the plague with oozing sores, demonic wolves, and a devil figure. There are battle scenes and sword fights, and characters are injured and killed. Characters drink alcohol and there is a brief sexual reference and non-explicit, non-sexual nudity.<P><P>Family discussion: When in this film do the characters require proof and when do they rely on faith? <P><P>If you like this, try: “Ladyhawke” and “Dragonslayer”

  • Tom Clocker – Baltimore Movie Examiner

    Nell,
    As always, a most excellent review.
    I really loved Claire Foy’s performance…I have her down as the only positive aspect in the film. She did a great job.
    I thought everything else was pretty bad: the acting went from poor to campy back to poor again, the humorous dialogue was good for a chuckle, but you could see the joke a mile away, the costumes looked like something on a History Channel reenactment scene, and with the exception of Foy no one seemed enthusiastic, passionate or like they wanted to be there.
    I even used the word ‘dull’ a couple times when discussing the story too.
    So many ways this film could have been better and they didn’t do any of them.
    I went in with low expectations and was still disappointed:
    http://www.examiner.com/movie-in-baltimore/movie-review-season-of-the-witch-1-7-out-of-10-review

  • FilmAlicia

    Let me just say it and get it out of the way: Nicholas Cage desperately needs a new agent. He’s been in so many bad movies that I despair of his ever being in any good ones again. I’ll always love him in “Raising Arizona” but can’t say I’ve loved many of his performances since then, even in “Leaving Las Vegas” which I found almsot unwatchably grim. “Season of the Witch” previews made it look like a fairly conventional horror movie, with a bit of swordplay thrown in for good measure. I do love Christopher Lee, but the preview made it look like he was almost entirely hidden by those pustules you described, Nell. Ugh!

  • monkie

    Collegehumor has a video on youtube called ‘Nicolas Cage’s Agent’ – not appropriate for all audiences, but hilarious nonetheless. The review (and Alicia’s comment) reminded me of it.

  • Kevin L.

    On the whole, I liked the movie – not great, but good. One review I read praised it for NOT forcing it into 3-D format, though you could see how they might be tempted to.
    One plot twist at the end (POSSIBLE SPOILER) was probably wasted on anyone too young to remember Catholic masses before 1960 or so: It used to be an altar boy’s job to respond in Latin to prayers during Mass.

  • http://www.jamesviscosi.com Jim

    Okay … that “Nicolas Cage’s Agent” was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Not to mention scarily accurate.

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