The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

2016 #17
Martin Scorsese | 156 mins | TV (HD) | 16:9 | USA & Canada / English | 15 / R

Scorsese tells the story of Jesus in this controversial epic adapted from Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel. I have no idea how much is actually rooted in scripture — a disclaimer is keen to establish the film isn’t based on the Gospels, but obviously that’s just to appease the devout.

However, the contentious parts are its strengths: it humanises Jesus, as he shows uncertainty about his God-given role and the earthly concerns that tempt him. Willem Dafoe makes Christ a plausible human, but Harvey Keitel’s Brooklyn-accented Judas feels like a spoof.

It’s a little overlong, but an interesting interpretation of the Messiah nonetheless.

4 out of 5

For more quick reviews like this, look here.

Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger! (2012)

2014 #133
Debbie Isitt | 109 mins | Blu-ray | 1.78:1 | UK / English | U

Nativity 2David Tennant replaces Martin Freeman as the teacher of a primary school class who enter themselves in a Christmas singing competition in this part-improvised sequel to the endearing 2009 hit.

Sadly, lightning doesn’t strike twice. A talented cast (also including Joanna Page, Jason Watkins, Ian McNeice and Jessica Hynes, all of whom are underused) struggle with an over-padded story, which leads to a climactic concert full of charmless, cringeworthy songs. There’s some sweetness from the kids, but not enough to paper over the cracks.

It’s no wonder last Christmas’ second sequel (with another new, bargain basement, leading man) flopped badly.

2 out of 5

Nativity 2 featured on my list of The Five Worst Films I Saw in 2014, which can be read in full here.