Film Review: Intimate Stranger — 3 stars


SUMMARY: The compelling, tragic, global story of Joseph Cassuto, a man who loved his work more than his family.

DETAILS: Intimate Stranger is the story of Joseph Cassuto, an average, hardworking Jewish man whose life changed drastically due to WWII. Living in Egypt prior to the war, Joseph had a lovely wife and four children and a very successful career exporting Egyptian cotton to Japan, but following Pearl Harbor his life and career would take a drastic turn. His American wife and his two youngest children were able to return to America just prior to the war breaking out with the thought that Dad and the others would soon join them. But as fate would have it, it would be several years before they would arrive in Brooklyn, and in America, their successful father was a nobody. Mr. Cassuto soon started rebuilding his relationships with the Japanese and he eventually would live in Japan, away from his family, for 11 months of the year. As he became more loved by the Japanese, he became more hated by his own family. The best quote of the film is by one of his own sons who said, “I never met anybody who disliked him, other than the immediate family.” Intimate Stranger was made by Cassuto’s grandson Alan Berliner and is a great look at a man who busied himself too much with his career at the expense of those who should have loved him the most.

SCORE: 3 out of 5 stars

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The Fault In Our Stars — 3 out of 5 stars


SUMMARY: A depressing ride to death through the lives of people with no hope to hold onto.

DETAILS: Sad… this film is sad on a couple of levels. Sad in that it deals with death and dying. Our main characters are on their way to the grave. But more sad in that no one in the film has a hope to hold onto… there is no afterlife, no heaven, no God, no hope. The brief glimpse of any Christian influence is done in a mocking manner of a cancer support group leader who makes a hook rug of Jesus and is portrayed in a very cheesy way. The part that I did like was the Willem Dafoe character… who really is the God character in the film. He is the author of book that our heroes love… but the book literally ends in the middle of the sentence. Our characters must travel across the sea to meet this author and ask him why and what really happened next. When they arrive they are sorely disappointed and they learn that “God doesn’t care about them or for them” or so they perceive. But in the end this God character comes to our heroine and leaves letter that she won’t read until later, a letter that brings an element of redemption. The farther I get from this movie, the more I like it… or at least parts of it. Or maybe I just like being far from it???

SCORE: 3 out of 5


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Cold Mountain — 4 out of 5 stars

 SUMMARY: A beautiful and sad story of lovers held apart by the Civil War.
DETAILS: Sad… Jude Law and Nicole Kidman star in this beautifully filmed love story set in and around the context of the Civil War. A pure preachers daughter moves to Cold Mountain and catches the eye of a young laborer just as war breaks out between the States. He must go fight and she must stay behind and wait… and wait. It’s a story of women who need to be strong, of men who desire love more than war, and of the injustices that hunt them down. Their are strong anti-war themes and a couple scenes with strong sexuality in this powerful story.

SCORE: 4 out of 5


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