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Into Temptation & Jennifer’s Body

By Howard Mc Quitter, II
Into Temptation
****
Director: Patrick Coyle

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Into Temptation

Minneapolis based director Patrick Coyle is a tenacious, conscious man who has a passion for making movies or acting in movies. After seeing Coyle”'s debut film “Detective Fiction” (filmed in Minneapolis) a few years back, I knew this very talented man was due for bigger and better things which is now clear in “Into Temptation”. As such his film is introspective and redemptive, not draped in evanescence or sensationalism.

Father John Buerlein (Jeremy Sisto), in the confessional presumably on a Saturday afternoon, a woman enters the confessional (the side with the screen) and begins to tell the priest that it”'s been years since her last confession. Since she feels her life is no longer of value, she plans to commit suicide on her birthday (which is soon), then walks out of the confessional before Father Buerlein can complete the sacrament with absolution. He”'s bothered by what she said but under church law cannot reveal a name and what he or she said. He becomes his own Sherlock Holmes at the risk of endangering his life, or opening himself to scandal or misunderstanding by his flock, his bishop, and/or his encounters with some louche characters.

Attempting to find the mystery woman, Linda Salerno (Kristen Chenoweth), [“Running with Scissors” (2006), “Bewitched”, (2005)] the priest asks his parishioner Lloyd Mantao (Bruce A Young) to assist him. Both men find her apartment but learn she has recently moved out. The hunt goes on; the priest goes alone at times, visiting a sex shop to inquire if anyone there knows her. The priest and Lloyd visit a pimp named James St. Claire (Ansa Akyea), who knows Linda but hasn”'t seen her recently.

“Into Temptation” is similar to Irvin Kershner”'s 1961 film, “The Hoodlum Priest” where a Jesuit priest (Don Murray) works with ex-cons, prostitutes and juvenile delinquents in St. Louis.

Walking down a seedy street, Father Buerlein sees a distinguished gentleman talking to a woman. He enters the restaurant, and sits down but notices a few minutes later the woman leaves. Father Buerlein, when not at his parish saying mass or addressing one of the church groups, is almost obsessed with finding Linda before she commits suicide. He asks what to do of fellow priest, Father Ralph O”'Brien (Brian Baumgartner) at another parish, without revealing Linda”'s name. The private conversations between the two priests – though about forgiving Linda, as if in a sacramental sense,- may be an impropriety.

Patrick Coyle”'s characters are working class, everyday people. To Coyle”'s credit he keeps the story simple, seldom veering from the course of the movie. Father Buerlein struggles with his vocation at times, especially when a woman whom he had dated before his entrance to the Catholic seminary re-appears at his church. He understands internal struggles even though his are different from the woman he is trying to rescue.

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Jennifer's Body

Jennifer”'s Body
*
20th Century Fox
Southdale
Running time: 101 minutes
Director: Karyn Kusama

“Jennifer”'s Body” is an oxymoron because this sexy girl seems like death”'s grip, seems immortal, causing the grisly deaths of young males, a revenge for a ritual rape by rock band members involved in satanic worship. Her best friend Needy (Amanda Seyfried) ”“ what an ironic name if not a nerdy one for such a horror flick ”“ bespectacled (deemed to be more “homelier” of the two), smarter than her demon friend, has to put up with Jennifer, dripping in blood, vomiting black tar (the vomit was green from Linda Blair in “The Exorcist”) and acting weird in Needy”'s house at night. Jennifer”'s life is dismembering fellow male students and returning to class as if nothing has happened.

Unintended comic relief (or angst) follows the young femme fatale in subtle feminist feint, using her fangs on unsuspecting young men. Needy is the only person in town suspecting her best friend of unspeakable crimes. Yet Seyfried is the only one in “Jennifer”'s Body” with any creditability. Even her character boyfriend Chip (Johnny Simmons), an adolescent boy who elicits sympathy toward his character, is still indicative of inelegance and cloying gloss.

Miss Jennifer actually levitates too, enough to scare all those she”'s about to do in. But she”'s far less impressive than Sissy Spacek in Brian DePalma”'s 1976 film, “Carrie”.

Far worse for “Jennifer”'s Body” is the screenwriter Diablo Cody after her fine script for the popular dark comedy, the 2007 film “Juno” by director Jason Reitman. Cody writes a dud of a script this time around. Besides the girl gone bad theme, we are subjected to the cannibalism, latent lesbianism and what most modern horror films seldom get right. Instead they should concentrate on real scare techniques and delete all or most of the gore.

Howard McQuitter II, Familiar to and in north and south Mpls. whose passion for writing yields volumes of journals and movie reviews, is only exceeded by his passion of faith and hope. If not at a movie screening, he”'s at a coffee house writing the next “Movie Corner” Howard may be reached via e-mail Check out his website.

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