The Original ‘Alien’ Returns to Movie Theaters for “Alien Day” This Month!

Written and Directed by Stevan Mena on a budget of around $200,000, Malevolence was only released in ten theaters after it was purchased by Anchor Bay and released direct-to-DVD like so many other indie horrors. This one has many of the same pratfalls as its bargain bin brethren, which have probably helped to keep it hidden all these years. But it also has some unforgettable moments that will make horror fans (especially fans of the original Halloween) smile and point at the TV like Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Malevolence is the story of a silent and masked killer told through the lens of a group of bank robbers hiding out after a score. The bank robbery is only experienced audibly from the outside of the bank, but whether the film has the budgetary means to handle this portion well or not, the idea of mixing a bank robbery tale into a masked slasher movie is a strong one.
Of course, the bank robbery goes wrong and the crew is split up. Once the table is fully set, we have three bank robbers, an innocent mom and her young daughter as hostages, and a masked man lurking in the shadows who looks like a mix between baghead Jason from Friday the 13th Part 2 and the killer from The Town That Dreaded Sundown. Let the slashing begin.
Many films have tried to recreate the aesthetic notes of John Carpenter’s 1978 classic Halloween, and at its best Malevolence is the equivalent of a shockingly good cover song.
[embedded content]
Though the acting and script are at times lacking, the direction, score, and cinematography come together for little moments of old-school slasher goodness that will send tingles up your spine. It’s no Halloween, to be clear, but it does Halloween reasonably proud. The nighttime shots come lit with the same blue lighting and the musical notes of the score pop off at such specific moments, fans might find themselves laughing out loud at the absurdity of how hard the homages hit. When the killer jumps into frame, accompanied by the aforementioned musical notes, he does so sharply and with the same slow intensity as Michael Myers. Other films in the subgenre (and even a few in the Halloween franchise) will tell you this isn’t an easy thing to duplicate.
The production and costume designs of Malevolence hint at love letters to other classic horror films as well. The country location not only provides for an opening Halloween IV fans will appreciate but the abandoned meat plant and the furnishings inside make for some great callbacks to 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. All of this is buoyed and accentuated by cinematography that you rarely see in today’s low-budget films. The film is shot on 35mm film by A&E documentary filmmaker Tsuyoshi Kimono, who gives Malevolence an old-school, grainy, 1970s aesthetic that feels completely natural and not like a cheap gimmick.

Malevolence is a movie that no doubt has some glaring imperfections but it is also a movie that is peppered with moments of potential. There’s a reason they made a follow-up prequel titled Malevolence 2: Bereavement years later (and another after that) that starred both Michael Biehn and Alexandra Daddario! That film tells the origin story of our baghead, Martin Bristol. Something the first film touches on a little bit, at least enough to give you the gist of what happened here. Long story short, a six-year-old boy was kidnapped by a serial killer and for years forced to watch him hunt, torture, and kill his victims. Which brings me to another fascinating aspect of Malevolence. The ending. SPOILER WARNING.
After the mother and child are saved from the killer, our slasher is gone, his bloody mask left on the floor. The camera pans around different areas of the town, showing all the places he may be lurking. If you’re down with the fact that it’s pretty obvious this is all an intentional love letter and not a bad rip-off, it’s pretty fun. Where Malevolence makes its own mark is in the true crime moments to follow. Law enforcement officers pull up to the plant and uncover a multitude of horrors. They find the notebooks of the original killer, which explain that he kidnapped the boy, taught him how to hunt, and was now being hunted by him. This also happened to be his final entry. We discover a hauntingly long line of bodies covered in white sheets: the bodies of the many missing persons the town had for years been searching for. And there are a whole lot of them. This moment really adds a cool layer of serial killer creepiness to the film.
Ultimately, Malevolence is a low-budget movie with some obvious deficiencies on full display. Enough of them that I can imagine many viewers giving up on the film before they get to what makes it so special, which probably explains how it has gone so far under the radar all these years. But the film is a wonderful ode to slashers that have come before it and still finds a way to bring an originality of its own by tying a bank robbery story into a slasher affair. Give Malevolence a chance the next time you’re in the mood for a nice little old school slasher movie.
Malevolence is now streaming on Tubi and Peacock.

The Original ‘Alien’ Returns to Movie Theaters for “Alien Day” This Month!

Written and Directed by Stevan Mena on a budget of around $200,000, Malevolence was only released in ten theaters after it was purchased by Anchor Bay and released direct-to-DVD like so many other indie horrors. This one has many of the same pratfalls as its bargain bin brethren, which have probably helped to keep it hidden all these years. But it also has some unforgettable moments that will make horror fans (especially fans of the original Halloween) smile and point at the TV like Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Malevolence is the story of a silent and masked killer told through the lens of a group of bank robbers hiding out after a score. The bank robbery is only experienced audibly from the outside of the bank, but whether the film has the budgetary means to handle this portion well or not, the idea of mixing a bank robbery tale into a masked slasher movie is a strong one.
Of course, the bank robbery goes wrong and the crew is split up. Once the table is fully set, we have three bank robbers, an innocent mom and her young daughter as hostages, and a masked man lurking in the shadows who looks like a mix between baghead Jason from Friday the 13th Part 2 and the killer from The Town That Dreaded Sundown. Let the slashing begin.
Many films have tried to recreate the aesthetic notes of John Carpenter’s 1978 classic Halloween, and at its best Malevolence is the equivalent of a shockingly good cover song.
[embedded content]
Though the acting and script are at times lacking, the direction, score, and cinematography come together for little moments of old-school slasher goodness that will send tingles up your spine. It’s no Halloween, to be clear, but it does Halloween reasonably proud. The nighttime shots come lit with the same blue lighting and the musical notes of the score pop off at such specific moments, fans might find themselves laughing out loud at the absurdity of how hard the homages hit. When the killer jumps into frame, accompanied by the aforementioned musical notes, he does so sharply and with the same slow intensity as Michael Myers. Other films in the subgenre (and even a few in the Halloween franchise) will tell you this isn’t an easy thing to duplicate.
The production and costume designs of Malevolence hint at love letters to other classic horror films as well. The country location not only provides for an opening Halloween IV fans will appreciate but the abandoned meat plant and the furnishings inside make for some great callbacks to 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. All of this is buoyed and accentuated by cinematography that you rarely see in today’s low-budget films. The film is shot on 35mm film by A&E documentary filmmaker Tsuyoshi Kimono, who gives Malevolence an old-school, grainy, 1970s aesthetic that feels completely natural and not like a cheap gimmick.

Malevolence is a movie that no doubt has some glaring imperfections but it is also a movie that is peppered with moments of potential. There’s a reason they made a follow-up prequel titled Malevolence 2: Bereavement years later (and another after that) that starred both Michael Biehn and Alexandra Daddario! That film tells the origin story of our baghead, Martin Bristol. Something the first film touches on a little bit, at least enough to give you the gist of what happened here. Long story short, a six-year-old boy was kidnapped by a serial killer and for years forced to watch him hunt, torture, and kill his victims. Which brings me to another fascinating aspect of Malevolence. The ending. SPOILER WARNING.
After the mother and child are saved from the killer, our slasher is gone, his bloody mask left on the floor. The camera pans around different areas of the town, showing all the places he may be lurking. If you’re down with the fact that it’s pretty obvious this is all an intentional love letter and not a bad rip-off, it’s pretty fun. Where Malevolence makes its own mark is in the true crime moments to follow. Law enforcement officers pull up to the plant and uncover a multitude of horrors. They find the notebooks of the original killer, which explain that he kidnapped the boy, taught him how to hunt, and was now being hunted by him. This also happened to be his final entry. We discover a hauntingly long line of bodies covered in white sheets: the bodies of the many missing persons the town had for years been searching for. And there are a whole lot of them. This moment really adds a cool layer of serial killer creepiness to the film.
Ultimately, Malevolence is a low-budget movie with some obvious deficiencies on full display. Enough of them that I can imagine many viewers giving up on the film before they get to what makes it so special, which probably explains how it has gone so far under the radar all these years. But the film is a wonderful ode to slashers that have come before it and still finds a way to bring an originality of its own by tying a bank robbery story into a slasher affair. Give Malevolence a chance the next time you’re in the mood for a nice little old school slasher movie.
Malevolence is now streaming on Tubi and Peacock.

Nicaraguan Filmmaker’s Relationship with the Sandinistas

Gloria Carrion: “My voice is critical of the Sandinistas, but it comes from Sandinistas”
Nicaraguan filmmaker Gloria Carrión during the filming of her movie “Heiress of the Wind”. Photo: Courtesy
Nicaraguan filmmaker Gloria Carrion narrates in her upcoming film “Pantasma” how she was forced to leave the country, despite her parents being revolutionaries.
By EFE / Confidencial
HAVANA TIMES – Exile is the theme of the film Gloria Carrion is working on, a filmmaker who always draws from her own experience. In “Pantasma,” she recounts how she was forced to leave her country, Nicaragua, something unimaginable when she shot her first feature film based on the story of her parents, both Sandinista revolutionaries.
The events her country experienced in recent years turned her into “a critical voice on the Sandinistas that grew up with the Sandinistas,” as she defined herself on April 16, 2024, in an interview with EFE, just before participating in a colloquium at Casa de America in Madrid, Spain.
“Dialogue spaces like this one in Madrid, with different voices, are important, while we hope that in the future there will be genuine dialogue that allows Nicaragua to recover democracy,” said the filmmaker, who was forced to emigrate in 2021 and now lives in Italy.
The anguish of exile
Exile is “a tear that causes a deep wound because you not only leave a place, you also leave your childhood, your memories, the smell of the dish you like, and the color of the sunset.”
“You carry all that weight wherever you go,” but exile can also be a window of hope because, in her opinion, “the abrupt departure of so many people can have a transformative potential.”
Gloria Carrion insists that she is just one more in “the exodus of hundreds of people” who left Nicaragua after the protests of 2018, and although the Ortega regime “uses exile as a form of repression,” the filmmaker believes it can backfire.
In her next film Carrion deals with another theme that obsesses her, the concept of the enemy, because it was “a very strong shock” to realize that she, who was born into a militant family, where the Sandinistas were friends and the “contras” were enemies, suddenly became the enemy of her former friends.
“It is very interesting and painful to see how enemies are constructed and what is behind those constructions, which are never random and always have an objective,” she reflects.
Reconciliation as a solution
This theme was already present in her first feature film, “Heiress of the Wind,” in which she narrated how her parents risked their lives for the revolutionary cause; how she lived a lonely childhood, and how later, over the years, she began to understand that she had to let go and seek reconciliation, not only with her parents but with their entire generation, including those who fought on the opposite side.
In the film, which is being screened this Tuesday at Casa de America, she interviews her parents, but also those who fought against her parents, and it ends with a glimmer of hope.
But after the release of this film in Nicaragua in 2018, the demonstrations took place, resulting in hundreds of deaths, arrests, and exiles.
Gloria Carrion’s second film
This is the theme of the second film being screened at Casa de America, “Hojas de K” a medium-length film that could not be released in Nicaragua and whose team sign with a pseudonym “for security reasons.”
“I wanted to open a dialogue with my first film, and what happened was an uprising and an unexpected repression —she reflects—. Now I see that the wound reopened because the Nicaraguan war of the 1980s never ended. It continued through other means.”
“The wound is very old -says Gloria Carrion- who besides being a filmmaker is a social researcher. Nicaragua is a country historically immersed in violence, with a colonial legacy and an exploitative economic model that continues to be based on social and racial discrimination.”
“We have many unresolved conflicts and a pile of pain that is transmitted from generation to generation and is like geological layers, with a weight that does not allow us to move forward, she reflects. However, the solution, then and now, remains reconciliation.”
Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.

Nicaraguan Filmmaker’s Relationship with the Sandinistas

Gloria Carrion: “My voice is critical of the Sandinistas, but it comes from Sandinistas”
Nicaraguan filmmaker Gloria Carrión during the filming of her movie “Heiress of the Wind”. Photo: Courtesy
Nicaraguan filmmaker Gloria Carrion narrates in her upcoming film “Pantasma” how she was forced to leave the country, despite her parents being revolutionaries.
By EFE / Confidencial
HAVANA TIMES – Exile is the theme of the film Gloria Carrion is working on, a filmmaker who always draws from her own experience. In “Pantasma,” she recounts how she was forced to leave her country, Nicaragua, something unimaginable when she shot her first feature film based on the story of her parents, both Sandinista revolutionaries.
The events her country experienced in recent years turned her into “a critical voice on the Sandinistas that grew up with the Sandinistas,” as she defined herself on April 16, 2024, in an interview with EFE, just before participating in a colloquium at Casa de America in Madrid, Spain.
“Dialogue spaces like this one in Madrid, with different voices, are important, while we hope that in the future there will be genuine dialogue that allows Nicaragua to recover democracy,” said the filmmaker, who was forced to emigrate in 2021 and now lives in Italy.
The anguish of exile
Exile is “a tear that causes a deep wound because you not only leave a place, you also leave your childhood, your memories, the smell of the dish you like, and the color of the sunset.”
“You carry all that weight wherever you go,” but exile can also be a window of hope because, in her opinion, “the abrupt departure of so many people can have a transformative potential.”
Gloria Carrion insists that she is just one more in “the exodus of hundreds of people” who left Nicaragua after the protests of 2018, and although the Ortega regime “uses exile as a form of repression,” the filmmaker believes it can backfire.
In her next film Carrion deals with another theme that obsesses her, the concept of the enemy, because it was “a very strong shock” to realize that she, who was born into a militant family, where the Sandinistas were friends and the “contras” were enemies, suddenly became the enemy of her former friends.
“It is very interesting and painful to see how enemies are constructed and what is behind those constructions, which are never random and always have an objective,” she reflects.
Reconciliation as a solution
This theme was already present in her first feature film, “Heiress of the Wind,” in which she narrated how her parents risked their lives for the revolutionary cause; how she lived a lonely childhood, and how later, over the years, she began to understand that she had to let go and seek reconciliation, not only with her parents but with their entire generation, including those who fought on the opposite side.
In the film, which is being screened this Tuesday at Casa de America, she interviews her parents, but also those who fought against her parents, and it ends with a glimmer of hope.
But after the release of this film in Nicaragua in 2018, the demonstrations took place, resulting in hundreds of deaths, arrests, and exiles.
Gloria Carrion’s second film
This is the theme of the second film being screened at Casa de America, “Hojas de K” a medium-length film that could not be released in Nicaragua and whose team sign with a pseudonym “for security reasons.”
“I wanted to open a dialogue with my first film, and what happened was an uprising and an unexpected repression —she reflects—. Now I see that the wound reopened because the Nicaraguan war of the 1980s never ended. It continued through other means.”
“The wound is very old -says Gloria Carrion- who besides being a filmmaker is a social researcher. Nicaragua is a country historically immersed in violence, with a colonial legacy and an exploitative economic model that continues to be based on social and racial discrimination.”
“We have many unresolved conflicts and a pile of pain that is transmitted from generation to generation and is like geological layers, with a weight that does not allow us to move forward, she reflects. However, the solution, then and now, remains reconciliation.”
Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times.

‘Immaculate’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Why Did Cecilia Kill The Baby?

Immaculate is a new supernatural horror film with an already eerie setting as its backdrop—an old Roman Catholic convent in the Italian countryside that is supposed to take care of elderly nuns. The plot follows Sister Cecilia, a young woman who joins the convent, leaving her usual life in the United States behind, as her life turns upside down when she becomes the centerpiece of a hugely important religious event. Overall, Immaculate largely maintains the spooky nature that is introduced from the very beginning and would be a good watch for fans of the horror genre.

Spoiler Alert

What is the film about?

Immaculate begins with a scene of a young woman, Sister Marie, kneeling and praying in front of an altar quite late at night. Asking for forgiveness from Holy Mary, she then gets up and sets in motion a grand plan she has made. Marie happens to be a nun at an old, strict convent, and something about the place has made her determined to escape by any means. Sneaking into the room of a senior sister, she steals a bunch of keys and then runs out of the building, towards the heavy metal main gate. As she tries to figure out the specific key for the gate from the bunch, alarms are sounded, and four nuns wearing hoods approach her and grab hold of her. Marie is caught right as she is about to make it out of the compound, and the nuns do not care about the fact that her leg is horribly injured in the process. In fact, Marie is then soon buried alive as punishment for having tried to flee the life of a nun.

A few days later, another young woman named Cecilia arrives at the convent after having flown to Italy from the USA. Cecilia has decided to leave her old life behind and be a nun at the place, doing God’s work and spending her life amidst her beloved religion. She is welcomed by the senior nuns and also gets acquainted with a sister her own age, named Isabelle, who is clearly not very happy with her presence. As Cecilia makes herself comfortable in the room that has been allotted to her, she meets another young woman like her, Gwen, who is also about to take the vows of celibacy with her. The two become close friends quickly, and the protagonist then meets with Father Tedeschi, the priest who had originally written to her about joining the Italian convent. 

Despite her life’s initial days at the convent being exactly how she had imagined them to be, there is also something that spooks Cecilia slightly, making her feel uncomfortable. As the convent is basically a retirement home for elderly nuns nearing death, it requires younger sisters like Cecilia to take care of these women, some of whom the protagonist finds scary. She is also confused by the animosity that Isabelle always expresses against her. But the eeriest experience she has is on the night of her vows, after the celebrations have ended and everyone has retired to their rooms. Cecilia hears the sobs and prayers of a woman from the main chapel, and as she goes to investigate, she finds a nun lying in a posture of prayer, with her face completely covered with a red cloth.

Right then, the Mother Superior also walks into the place and reveals to Cecilia that the convent actually has a very important religious relic, which is a large nail that is believed to have been used in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Just seeing the relic and processing its true significance makes Cecilia dizzy, and she loses consciousness immediately. When she wakes up the next morning and seemingly tries to forget about the strange experience, her life takes a very different turn, as her body starts to show signs of pregnancy. 

Why had Sister Cecilia joined the convent?

When Cecilia first joins the convent, the question of why she had taken such a major step, flying from the United States to settle in Italy, that too under such rigorous rules, is naturally relevant. Her first and only friend at the place, Gwen, also tries to find out why this is the case, as it is expected that women in the most helpless situations would decide to become nuns. For example, Gwen reveals that she had been in an abusive relationship, which led to physical assaults, too, and she eventually left. As part of a support group for women in such toxic relationships, Gwen first considered becoming a nun after noticing how effortless their lives were. Having a shelter to stay at and having food served on a regular basis in exchange for work that did not require immodesty were enough reasons for the woman to become a nun, and eventually, she too was contacted by Father Tedeschi and brought to the convent.

In the case of Cecilia, though, there was no such desperation or urgency to become a nun, but she genuinely wanted to become one. When she was a young girl, Cecilia had accidentally fallen into a partly frozen lake, getting trapped under a thick sheet of ice. After she was rescued and taken to the nearest hospital, the doctors announced that she was dead for seven minutes before her organs started working again, and she survived the accident. This traumatic experience, and perhaps hearing about her miraculous recovery from her parents, made Cecilia very religious, as she started to believe that God had saved her. She also grew confident that God had protected her from death for some very specific purpose, and in order to understand what her aim in life should be, she had decided to become a nun. Since her recovery from the accident, Cecilia has been searching for an answer regarding her purpose in life, and she has started serving her religion back in the USA. But when her local church closed down, and Father Tedeschi wrote to her, she agreed to come down to Italy and join the convent.

Gwen first states that Tedeschi has some natural instinctive way of finding out women who are either emotionally broken or are in some desperation, asking them to join the convent. However, it is revealed that there were no instincts used by the man but a very real network of churches to gather information about such women. When Cecilia finds a file with her description in it, she realizes that she had been specifically researched and targeted by Father Tedeschi and that he had written to her, knowing well about her desire to work for the church. When Tedeschi’s real plan is revealed, it becomes quite obvious that he needed women who could be manipulated easily, at least into coming to the convent, from where nobody can escape after they have taken the vows.

What is Father Tedeschi’s real plan?

The real mystery behind this unique convent in Italy is rooted in the real identity of the priest, Father Tedeschi. When Cecilia starts showing symptoms of pregnancy, she is immediately tested by the authorities inside the convent, headed by Dr. Gallo, who works and seemingly stays at the place. A final sonography test reveals that there is indeed an embryo growing inside her body, and Cecilia is immediately questioned about whether she has gotten intimate with anyone in the recent past. However, she had never had such an experience with any man in her entire life, and since her organs also prove this claim, Cecilia is considered to be a saintly figure, bearing a child in a miraculous manner while still being a Holy Virgin. She is suddenly given all the importance and care in the world by the same nuns who did not mind misbehaving with her earlier. Although she becomes the center of attention for everyone at the convent, Cecilia finds the whole situation very suspicious and difficult to accept.

The protagonist does not have any intention of becoming a mother, and so she tries to come up with various ways to save herself. She realizes that once her miracle baby is born, the nuns and priests will no longer care for her. Cecilia is also naturally concerned about her own health, as she believes that she needs proper medical attention at a hospital. It is for this reason that she fakes a miscarriage by stuffing a dead, bleeding chicken inside her body, only so that she will be rushed to the hospital. But her ploy is revealed when a sister finds the head of the chicken in her room and immediately informs Father Tedeschi about the same. 

It is now that Tedeschi reveals his true plans and the real purpose of the unusual convent. Before becoming a priest, the man had been a scientist, with extensive research on genes and human DNA. When he learned of the nail artifact kept in the chapel of this convent, Tedeschi started a new experiment of his after becoming a priest as well. Examining the nail that was supposed to have pierced the right hand of Jesus Christ, he found traces of blood, tissue, and bone remains on it and was sure that they belonged to the religious leader. He then attempted to create embryos with this DNA sample and impregnated nuns with it, wanting to have Jesus Christ born again. Tedeschi’s genetic experiment failed multiple times, leading to the babies dying before being born and also getting malformed during the fetus stage.

However, in the case of Cecilia, the impregnation had worked greatly, and the embryo inside her body was growing in a healthy manner. It seems most likely that she had been impregnated via a syringe when she passed out on the night of her vows after being drugged through her drinks. This was all a plan of Tedeschi, and he had tried the same on numerous women before, including Sister Marie, which is why some of them still carry signs of the experiment. The elderly nun who creeps Cecilia out also had crosses burned onto her feet, and the protagonist also now receives the same torturous symbols on her feet in order to mark that she was really the chosen saint. In fact, Marie was the previous resident in Cecilia’s room, and she had left a secret note behind a painting on the wall, which was to alert anyone in her situation. There was an entire group of nuns working, especially under the command of Tedeschi, and they were the ones wearing red clothes over their faces. They had carried out the whole operation, just like always, and it was also them who had killed Sister Marie at the beginning of Immaculate.

What happens to Isabella and Gwen?

Isabella works as the assistant to the head sisters at the convent, and she evidently wished to gain some favors because of this situation. The reality was that Isabella had somehow gotten to know about the experiments by Tedeschi, and she wanted to be the one who would be impregnated with the genetically created embryo and play the role of the Virgin Mary. Therefore, she was tremendously angry when Cecilia was chosen for the job, and so Isabella tries to drown the protagonist out of jealousy. She is immediately taken away by the nuns and guards at the place, and the next time she is seen, Isabella jumps from the terrace to kill herself, with signs of tremendous injuries on her body. The nuns had tortured her to the extent of committing suicide, or they might have even pushed her off the roof to kill her.

On the other hand, Gwen is infuriated by the fact that Cecilia is not taken to the hospital despite her pregnancy, and she speaks out against the authorities publicly. Naturally, Gwen is immediately captured by the religious priests and nuns, and the protagonist later sees her being tortured by Tedeschi’s nuns. Gwen’s tongue is cut off for having spoken against the rules of the convent, and she is also killed, the proof of which is found by Cecilia towards the end of the film, when she finds Gwen’s dead body in the catacombs. 

Why does Cecilia kill Her baby?

During Immaculate‘s ending, Cecilia manages to burn down Tedeschi’s laboratory and also kill the man, finally managing to escape the convent through the catacombs. Right when she had started to bravely kill one figure after another, using all religious objects like a crucifix and the rosary, Cecilia’s water broke, and she was nearing giving birth. Finally, when she makes it out in the open, Cecilia gives birth to the baby that was growing inside her, but it is seemingly not a normal human being. We are not shown the baby and can only hear its breathing, which makes it clear that it does not have normal human anatomy. The strange noise might suggest that the baby was born deformed and would not have a healthy life, or that it is not even human and something supernatural. 

Immaculate ends with Cecilia finding a heavy rock and throwing it down on the baby, killing it. Cecilia had never wanted to have this baby, and this enforced motherhood would always remind her of the torture she had to experience. While she could have just left the baby to be found by someone else, her decision to kill it suggests that it was born heavily deformed, and so she does not want to suffer throughout its life. The baby would obviously be hailed and regarded as the second coming of Jesus, and so he would be kept alive for many years, which would be a great struggle for him. Therefore, Cecilia kills him as the first step in recovering from the trauma at the unusual convent. 

10 Best Movies Like ‘The Proposal’

2009’s rom-com The Proposal brought two fantastically sarcastic and funny actors together in the form of Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. These two work wonderfully together in this madcap comedy that sees the two get on smashingly—literally!Recommended Videos So, if you are looking for more films like The Proposal, here’s out recommendations. Rom-com is the genre that keeps on giving, and this one certainly gave. Enemies to lovers? Check. A convoluted reason they have to spend time together? Check. Fake engagement? Check. Raunchy Betty White? Check and check. Bullock plays the high-powered Margaret Tate, editor-in-chief of a New York book publishing company who is feared by all her staff; think Miranda Priestly with a long silky ponytail. If Bullock is Miranda Priestly, then that would make Reynolds the suffering personal assistant Andrea, though in this case, he’s called Andrew Paxton.
When Margaret discovers that she could be deported to Canada thanks to a visa violation, she comes up with a solution on the spot: She’s engaged, to Andrew. Andrew is forced along for the sake of his job, but he goes along with it on the terms that he gets promoted, and that she allows him to visit his family, a trip that she must also accompany him on. Through their lies and getting to know one another out of the office, the two, of course, fall in love and decide to get married for real to keep Margaret in New York. Ah, love. It is fickle. It is odd. Here are some other odd and wonderful films you may also enjoy if you love The Proposal.
1. 10 Things I Hate About You (Buena Vista Pictures Distribution) This retelling of the Shakespearian play The Taming of the Shrew became an instant genre classic and is much loved in the rom-com community. With an all-star cast including Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this film features deception, betrayal, and the softening of a strong woman’s heart as she learns to love (this is such a trope), all set against the backdrop of Padua High School. Don’t miss out on this film if you want to see Ledger as a leather-wearing bad boy who bursts into “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” over the school speaker system whilst avoiding being caught by school security; it’s a must see.
2. Wedding Season (Netflix) A more recent “let’s pretend we’re an item” rom-com comes in the form of 2022’s Wedding Season. Rather than pretending to be there to keep immigration off their backs, economist Asha and DJ Ravi pretend to be an item to keep their family, and all the gossiping aunties off their backs during the wedding season. On top of the usual humor, it also takes a look at the pressures of growing up in an immigrant family that values marriage above all else. It stars Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi) and Pallavi Sharda (Lion) who do have very sweet chemistry together.
3. Definitely, Maybe (Universal Pictures) If more Reynolds in rom-coms is what you want, then Definitely, Maybe is definitely what you want. Set up a little bit like How I Met Your Mother, Reynolds’ character Will Hayes is spending some time with his daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin), who demands to know the story of how he met her mom, who he is currently divorcing. The film works through flashbacks, looking at three different women Will dated (though he changes their names): April Hoffman (Isla Fisher), Summer Hartley (Rachel Weisz), and Emily Jones (Elizabeth Banks). It looks at the reasons the relationships fell apart, but Maya deduces that not all is lost, guessing that her father still harbors feelings for one of the three women.
4. Crazy Rich Asians (Warner Bros. Pictures) One of the most successful rom-com films of the last decade comes in the form of Crazy Rich Asians. Much like how Margaret has to meet Andrew’s parents in Alaska, so too does Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) have to visit her boyfriend, Nick Young’s (Henry Golding) parents only this time in Singapore. If Andrew’s parents owned most of the town, Nick’s parents own most of Singapore and are the wealthiest family in the country, which puts Rachel in a very odd and uncomfortable situation. To be with Nick, Rachel must first overcome the fierce dragon mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh).
5. Miss Congeniality (Warner Bros. Pictures) If you think of Sandra Bullock, it’s hard not to think about one of her most iconic films of all time: Miss Congeniality. Bullock’s comedic talent shines through in this film where she plays FBI special agent Gracie Hart, who has to go undercover at the Miss United States beauty pageant to foil a terrorist plot. Though not necessarily a rom-com, more a comedy with a romantic element, there are similarities between her character here and in The Proposal. Gracie is initially work-obsessed and takes herself too seriously, but through the charade of playing Gracie Lou Freebush, she discovers that there’s more to life than just work. Shoutout to the great performances of Michael Kane and William Shatner here, too.
6. Anyone But You (Sony Pictures) The most recent one on our list has to be Anyone But You starring Glenn Powell and Sydney Sweeney. Much like 10 Things I Hate About You, this film is based on a Shakespeare story; this time, it’s Much Ado About Nothing. Having spent a night together, Bea (Sweeney) overhears Ben (Powell) essentially talking trash about her. The two meet again six months later, and things are, well, bitterly cold. During a wedding, the two pretend to be together to get people off their backs (Of course they do! They can’t just be civil!) which results in confused and hurt feelings. Hmmm, I wonder how this will end?
7. Two Weeks Notice (Warner Bros. Pictures) And we are right back with Bullock in Two Weeks Notice, a 2002 rom-com where she starred opposite Mr. Rom-Com himself (at that time) Hugh Grant. Much like with The Proposal, this is another enemies-to-lovers situation—or rather enemies, to boss and employee, to lovers. Here, Bullock plays intelligent liberal lawyer Lucy Kelson, who is determined to preserve the Coney Island Community Center, which is set to be bought and destroyed by wealthy playboy, George Wade (Grant). When he offers her a job, stating he will protect the center, Lucy takes it but soon realizes that she has become almost a glorified babysitter. Somehow, she still develops feelings for him, and so the drama ensues.
8. Sweet Home Alabama (Touchstone Pictures) The classic “girl goes back to her hometown to see what she has been missing” film is, of course, Sweet Home Alabama. Reese Witherspoon plays Melanie Carmichael (formerly Smooter), who is a prominent fashion designer set to marry the wealthy Andrew Hennings. All she needs to do is go home, announce the engagement, and oh yeah, get a divorce from her former sweetheart Jake. Leaving the big city and returning to her Southern roots proves a little more challenging than she first thought, leaving her with more problems than answers. Much like in The Proposal, Melanie’s trip has her questioning what she really wants out of life.
9. How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days (Paramount Pictures) Starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey in their rom-com prime, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days is one of the classics of the ’00s. Released in 2003, writer Andie Anderson (Hudson) states that she can write an article about how women, like her friend (hello Kathyrn Hahn), keep pushing guys away. She states she can get a man, make him like her, and then repel him in 10 days. Advertising executive Benjamin Barry (McConaughey) also makes a similar deal with his boss, only he bets he can get a girl to fall in love with him in 10 days. Cue emotional manipulation, psychological torture, and a gradual falling in love once Andie meets the family, all to come to head in a messy screaming match. Guys, love doesn’t need to be this hard in real life, but man it’s fun to watch.
10. Green Card (Touchstone Pictures) Probably the closest, in regards to the plot of The Proposal, is the 1990 film Green Card. In order to get the apartment of her dreams, Brontë Parrish (Andie MacDowell) must be married. To stay in the country, Georges Fauré (Gérard Depardieu) needs a Green Card marriage. What to do, what to do? The pair marry but live apart, but when immigration gets suspicious, Brontë invites Georges to move in with her. Cue a lot of pretending shenanigans, lying to friends and family, and obviously, getting to know one another on a deeper level that inevitably ends in love.
Aside from the fact that, in reality, starting a relationship with a lie is usually not a good sign, it’s incredibly fun to watch onscreen. Do you have a favorite film featuring this trope that we didn’t mention? Let us know! (featured image: Touchstone Pictures)

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Timothée Chalamet sings as Bob Dylan in N.J. with movie’s Joan Baez

Get ready for Timothée Chalamet singing Bob Dylan.Chalamet, who is decidedly not a complete unknown, stars as a young Dylan in “A Complete Unknown.”The actor took the stage with a guitar to sing (see video below) as filming for James Mangold’s Dylan movie rolled on in New Jersey.Joining him onstage to sing at Mountainside’s Echo Lake Park Monday was Monica Barbaro.The “Top Gun: Maverick” actor plays folk music star Joan Baez in the movie.Baez and Dylan had a relationship in the ’60s. Early-career Dylan is the focus of the film.Chalamet performing as Dylan at Echo Lake Park.Bobby Bank | GC ImagesThe scenes filmed in Mountainside recreated Dylan and Baez’s performance at the 1963 Monterey Folk Festival, where they performed a duet of “With God on Our Side.” (See a clip of them below doing the same at the Newport Folk Festival.)Chalamet’s singing voice can be heard in the actor’s performance as Willy Wonka in the movie “Wonka,” released last year.“A Complete Unknown” filmed overnight in Hoboken last Friday (April 12).Moran’s pub on Garden Street was given a complete ’60s makeover for the scenes, becoming McAnn’s Bar and Restaurant.Chalamet fans watched as the “Dune: Part Two” actor crossed the street and entered the pub as Dylan. He was dressed in black with a white shirt, dark boots and shades, smoking a cigarette as he sauntered over to the bar sporting young Dylan’s signature hair.“A Complete Unknown” is filming in Jersey through June.Last week, Chalamet was seen filming in Paterson and Passaic with another of his co-stars, Elle Fanning.Fanning reportedly plays a character based on Suze Rotolo, an artist who Dylan had a relationship with in the early ’60s in New York. Rotolo appears with Dylan on the cover of his 1963 album “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.”The Searchlight Pictures movie has also filmed in Jersey City. In May, the production is set to film in Cape May, where the movie looks to be recreating another folk festival — the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.Dylan famously went electric at the Rhode Island event by playing an electric guitar for the first time, which didn’t sit well with some in the folk community.The festival is also where Dylan first performed his 1965 song “Like a Rolling Stone.” The Chalamet film’s title comes from the lyrics:“How does it feel?” Dylan sings. “To be on your own, with no direction home. A complete unknown, like a rolling stone.”An open casting call went out for the Cape May scenes — the movie needed Jersey locals to serve as extras.The cast of “A Complete Unknown” also includes Oscar nominee Edward Norton as folk legend Pete Seeger.Chalamet serves as a producer alongside Mangold, who co-wrote the film with Jay Cocks (”Gangs of New York”).The Oscar-nominated director has helmed films including “Walk the Line,” which starred Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter.He also directed the 2019 movie “Ford v. Ferrari” and the Jersey-set “Cop Land” (1997).Thank you for reading. Please consider supporting NJ.com with a subscription.Amy Kuperinsky may be reached at [email protected] and followed at @AmyKup.

“A spanking”: BC regulator forcing Rio Theatre to censor film at festival

Tonight is day one of Dan Savage’s Hump!, a film festival showcasing amateur erotic short films at the Rio Theatre, and Consumer Protection BC is forcing the theatre to censor a portion of it or face the consequences.A three-minute-long short film is at the centre of this controversy.
Corinne Lea is the CEO of the Rio Theatre, and she put out a statement on Thursday afternoon with an update on the festival and the order to censor the film.

“The Rio Theatre has just been informed by Consumer Protection BC that they are censoring Dan Savage’s HUMP! film festival that opens tonight at the Rio,” she said.
“The Rio has been informed if we proceed without censoring the film, we could lose our licence and face possible criminal charges,” Lea added.
A little later, Lea said, “I’ve just been informed that the film that has been removed is a same-sex married couple who are expressing their love through consensual bondage.”
Hump! is a 19+ event and takes place between April 11 and 13 in Vancouver.
Rio submitted the program to BC Consumer Protection “at its request,” Rachel Fox, a Rio programmer, told Daily Hive.
BC Consumer Protection told the Rio in a letter that it was bothered by the three-minute short film called The Reward, which included a scene “that spoke to bondage.”
“That was the wording in the letter,” Fox added.
“What they said verbally was that it showed non-consensual bondage.”
In response, Fox told Daily Hive that all the content in all the films is completely consensual. Fox said the short film in question would have to be removed for them to screen the festival.
Fox and Lea have both stated that this is the first time this festival has ever faced any sort of censorship, and it is shown globally.
“They’ve never been hit with censorship,” Fox said.
“This is such an overreach. It’s a waste of time. It’s like five people in an office with nothing to do,” she said, audibly frustrated.
An Instagram comment from Fox says, “We have yet to determine if any potential punishment from the Province of BC will include a spanking.”
Adding, “Or handcuffs.”

Before the Vancouver screenings, Hump! was shown in New York and Berlin, and following Vancouver’s event, it will be heading to Philadelphia, Toronto and Columbus.
“Ridiculous. Sorry you have to deal with this garbage,” a Rio follower said in response to the censorship.
Consumer Protection BC couldn’t offer any specific details, but spokesperson Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith offered us a statement.
“The Motion Picture Act (here is a link to section 5) outlines what type of content isn’t allowed to be in adult films. We enforce that legislation, and by law in BC, all adult films must be reviewed and approved by our office. This process ensures that specific content such as incest, necrophilia, child pornography, bondage in a sexual context, and other defined content isn’t depicted in adult films.”
The statement added, “If a film does not contain scenes prohibited by the Motion Picture Act, they are approved for distribution or exhibition. Our licensed theatres and distributors are aware of what type of material is allowed in adult films in BC. We have provided options to the Rio Theatre for this film.”
We’ve contacted Savage for his thoughts on this first-time censorship of his event.